Author Topic: Life in the Middle Ages  (Read 15991 times)

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2009, 10:38:20 am »
In concluding the Introduction to the book, here's a rather lengthy (sorry) series of quotes I consider quite relevant in summing up what this book is about:

As with all periods of the past the rich, powerful and famous leave more evidence behind than the poor and powerless. ... The semi-free villager of the late eleventh century left no more to his or her heirs than the struggling peasant farmer of a modern less-economically-developed-country today. And the handful of cooking utensils and agricultural tools which formed such a vital legacy to the next generation are often not even mentioned in the surviving documentation. With less to leave, these people had less to be remembered by and were more easily forgotten. Yet to those inheriting these few valuables they represented the careful accumulation of a lifetime. When such evidence does survive it is as vital as the more abundant and varied evidence ... of the wealthier neighbours.
....

Social history must put us firmly in touch with the lives of people in the past and the issues they faced.

....

The common issues of our shared humanity across the ages are at least as striking as the great differences in outlook and experiences.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2009, 11:18:11 am »
The Middle Age - when does it start? When does it end?

But since the social realities did not much change with those watersheds, the 'Social' Middle Ages would best be framed by 900 (the West-Saxon re-conquest of land held by invading Vikings) and 1553 ('the rigorous Protestant Reformation of Edward VI's reign (and the destruction of the Catholic 'ritual year'))

I think his point about change in social realities is good and well taken, but I'm obliged to point out that Edward VI died in 1553 and was succeeded by his half sister, "Bloody" Mary Tudor, who took England back to the papal allegiance and Roman Catholic forms of worship. (The business with Lady Jane Grey briefly intruded, but let's not go there.) Mary then reigned for five years until she was succeeded by the other half sister in the family, Elizabeth I.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2009, 11:56:25 am »
Yes Edward's reign, followed by a short-lived atempt at returning England to Papal Ways by Mary Tudor was then followed by Elizabeth's long reign.

The point is, the social changes that Edward VI, the child king and his guardians were a more significant social turning point - or watershed - than Henry VIII's (his father's) creating the Church of England (which continued to be quite Catholic in practice), because of the considerable reformations that the short-lived Edward's reign (from age 9 to 15) brought about.

Mary's efforts had very little lasting effect (other than the putting-to-death of a whole bunch of people) and Elizabeth merely solidified - or embraced the reformation changes that had been instituted during Edward's reign.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2009, 01:54:32 pm »
Yes Edward's reign, followed by a short-lived atempt at returning England to Papal Ways by Mary Tudor was then followed by Elizabeth's long reign.

The point is, the social changes that Edward VI, the child king and his guardians were a more significant social turning point - or watershed - than Henry VIII's (his father's) creating the Church of England (which continued to be quite Catholic in practice), because of the considerable reformations that the short-lived Edward's reign (from age 9 to 15) brought about.

Mary's efforts had very little lasting effect (other than the putting-to-death of a whole bunch of people) and Elizabeth merely solidified - or embraced the reformation changes that had been instituted during Edward's reign.

Sure enough. I'm just being really picky and pedantic. If it were me, and I was going to pick a date, I would have picked 1547, the year Edward succeeded his father Henry VIII, as the "turning point," rather than the year Edward died. But then, I didn't write the book.  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2011, 05:58:16 am »
Been a while ... two years ... but I've started rereading the book again and highlighting elements and factoids again.

My sister's fascination with reincarnation drew me to this little bit ...

Everytime reincarnation is claimed, it rarely implies a commoner ... which represented some 90% of the people (in England).

... the abolition of slavely in England in 1102 by the Status of Westminster, was largely due to the fact that the bottom end (read: poorest of the poor) of the English rural population was being so effectively exploited (read: enslaved) there was little need for this institution.

Unfree people are referred to as 'villeins'

In the period 1066-1200, villeins could be sold by their lords and families split up.

...

As late as 1460 - when villenage was long in decline - (an individual) found himself accused by an enemy of being descended from villeins. This was a common way to extort money.

What is clear is that , in 1290, ... about 60 per cent of the rural population on arable land was still technically unfree.

...

... and some of those who have usually been considered free were more restricted than has often been assumed.
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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Life in the Middle Ages
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2011, 01:57:37 pm »
Been a while ... two years ... but I've started rereading the book again and highlighting elements and factoids again.

My sister's fascination with reincarnation drew me to this little bit ...

Everytime reincarnation is claimed, it rarely implies a commoner ... which represented some 90% of the people (in England).

Heh, true for many, but there are also quite a few - in India, say and even on this board, when they speak about possibly being reincarnated - never claim to be anyone famous.
   
I have been noticing a trend though.  If people from Western cultures believe they were reincarnated, they almost always were from a previous Western culture.  I'm one of the few who believes I 'might/maybe/possibly/perhaps' have some affinity for a past life, where my past life was in an eastern culture.

You never read about someone in Iowa believing that their previous life was as a peasant in Tibet or some tribesperson in Patagonia.

Quote
... the abolition of slavely in England in 1102 by the Status of Westminster, was largely due to the fact that the bottom end (read: poorest of the poor) of the English rural population was being so effectively exploited (read: enslaved) there was little need for this institution.

Unfree people are referred to as 'villeins'

In the period 1066-1200, villeins could be sold by their lords and families split up.

...

As late as 1460 - when villenage was long in decline - (an individual) found himself accused by an enemy of being descended from villeins. This was a common way to extort money.

What is clear is that , in 1290, ... about 60 per cent of the rural population on arable land was still technically unfree.

...

...and some of those who have usually been considered free were more restricted than has often been assumed.


Ah, serfdom.  Basically a type of permanent servitude.  But the Black Death sure changed that around, didn't it?