- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; unknown edition (April 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780316511575
- ISBN-13: 978-0316511575
- ASIN: 0316511579
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 179 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,521 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World Paperback – April 1, 2000
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From the Back Cover
AS THE SHADOW OF THE MILLENNIUM DESCENDED ACROSS ENGLAND AND CHRISTENDOM, IT SEEMED AS IF THE WORLD WAS ABOUT TO END. ACTUALLY, IT WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING . . .
WELCOME TO THE YEAR 1000.
THIS IS WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE.
How clothes were fastened in a world without buttons, p. 10
The rudiments of medieval brain surgery, p. 124
The first millennium's Bill Gates, p. 192
How dolphins forecasted weather, p. 140
The recipe for a medieval form of Viagra, p. 126
Body parts a married woman had to forfeit if she committed adultery, p. 171
The fundamental rules of warfare, p. 154
How fried and crushed black snails could improve your health, p. 127
And much more...
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I would not be able to read or write, but could communicate orally in English, such as it was then. I could not afford to own even one book. I would have only one name, no surname. I would live by saints’ days and the church calendar, like the neighbors. I would know nothing of the world beyond a few miles of my home, but would live in fear of invasion by armies of thugs. And I would have to behave myself, lest I be mistaken for the Antichrist who was expected to arrive with the millennium. Typically, there was a gallows on the edge of town. Such was England, or Engla-lond, in the year 1000.
This book is a fascinating glimpse into the past, derived from contemporary documents such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, the Julius Work Calendar, monastic rules, wills and legal documents, even bawdy jokes and poems. Plus archaeological findings. It makes me appreciate the comforts I have now, but it was not all bad then. Their world was quiet, unpolluted, and not overpopulated.
Overall I enjoyed the book, it was not too heavy but such is its design. It was written to ‘ask the questions about everyday life and habits that conventional history books often ignore…’ It paints a picture in one’s mind by merely giving the reader a feel for the time not a starched compilation of tedious facts. As a history buff, I found it a light yet interesting read. If you are looking for a more thorough historical chronicling of the time, this is not the book for you.
Many readers recall doomsday soothsayers of the late twentieth century and their predictions of mass electrical outages, food shortages as the time turned from Dec.31, 1999 to Jan.1, 2000. fears from our increasing dependency on computers. Others pointed to scriptural passages from the “Bible” or other traditions predicting the beginning of the end of the world.In the year 999, there were predictions and fears as well. Most of the populous Illiterate, relying on religious leaders to guide but often scared them by warning what was to come for as the end of time drew near.
Plagues were a constant threat, as were invasions from the several directions on hamlets living throughout this island. Life itself was tenuous and often brief. Starvation an ever present threat. Many infants didn’t survive beyond their first year. Sanitation, water purification, illness prevention were over 900 in the future. Life was rough, shelter was primitive, weather harsh, and often what attempts that were thought to cure, most often made medical conditions worse.
The land we know of today as Great Britain, most difficult month for starving to deathwas July! Because of its agrarian culture, the first of two harvests was preserved for their most precious possessions, farm animals. throughout the cold months. The second
harvest was for humans. it was this planting which was often destroyed or not as abundant as the first.
Invaders took food, killed or enslaved the young and hardiest of the population in a hamlet and demanded possessions. Attempts to gather under the lord or one who owned the land on which peasants worked was the only option for survival.
The authors of done exhaustive research; the result is a highly informative book.It includes word derivation language changed over centuries. Most fascinating was English cultural history as invasion and tradition altered the landscape and the conquered people who adapted what they were forced to adopt.
I hope you’ll take time to read this enchanting book and absorb information found in it. After all, we Americans share its common language, though we too have very much adapted what we’ve adopted.