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A Brief History of Life in the Middle Ages Paperback – Bargain Price, July 28, 2009
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My only critique will be the mention of the use of corn o corn flour several times, because the middle ages go into the 16 century I guess corn could be available then from America but beside that this is a great book.
We Anglo-Catholics tend to reverence the Middle Ages as a time of faith – but things are not that straightforward.
East Anglia had more murders in the 14th Century that does New York today.
Trading was international so English coins have been found as far away as Russia.
There was ethnic cleansing – the Danes were regarded as ‘weeds’ and there was a massacre. The accusation that ‘foreigners are coming over here and taking our jobs’ is nothing new.
Most incomers assimilated very quickly.
Setting up a monastery was a tax loophole. Monasteries were not attacked by people against religion but as sources of wealth.
Not all clergy were celibate and minor orders were allowed to marry.
Pagan symbols were employed form cultural, rather than religious, reasons.
Bristol was involved in the slave trade as far back as 700.
Life expectancy was 35 for men, 25 for women.
The origins of modern ground rents can be found in mediaeval London.
Cathedrals were in rural areas but the Normans rebuilt them in cities so as to have church and state together controlling everything.
Boys could marry at 14, girls at 12 and sex after betrothal but before marriage was OK.
Ale was made from grain but beer from hops.
There’s a very good chapter on the persecution of Jews.
If as king was killed, even a bad one, this effected the whole country’s fortunes.
I didn’t know that an older custom than Midnight Mass was a vigil for Christmas which included the reading of Jesus’s genealogy.
Ronald Hutton sees the reformation, where celebrations of the medieval calendar were abolished, as ‘the end of merrie England.’