Think of the Middle Ages, you think: gallant knights galloping along, women in long, overflowing attire, a sea of plagues, lots of filth, lots of wealth, pretty maidens, battles, castles and dingy huts.
Most of us who learn even a little about medieval times think of castles in faraway lands and begin to study everything there is to know about medieval living. Once we do that the dress, the food, peasant and aristocratic lifestyles, knights, crests and battles.
Why once you learn about the Middle Ages you will fall in love with these times? Here are five pretty good reasons.
Many in the Middle Ages wore woolen clothing, with undergarments made of linen. More wealthy people at the time were quite colorful with brighter colors and better materials. The clothing tended to be quite elaborate with men of the wealthy sporting hose and a jacket, often with skirting, or a tunic with a surcoat. Women wore flowing gowns and elaborate headwear, ranging form headdresses shaped like hearts or butterflies to tall steeple caps and Italian turbans.
We’re fascinated by the many books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen. There’s King Arthur and George Martin’s popular Game of Thrones. Americans don’t tire easily of consuming exciting stories of knights and maidens, ladies and squires battling life and each other in drafty castles and rat-infested huts. Jobs and occupations dictated the quality of life during the Middle Ages. It was a time of enormous changes, prompted by the Crusades and travel to strange lands that always offer high drama.
Knights and swordsmen, archers and foot soldiers went at each other with war and death a constant thing. There was always a fight for power. Keeping it and taking it. Lords, earls and dukes were all in the running, landgraves and various clergy fought for power and money. Villages and their peasants were owned by the rich and fought over, sold ad borrowed against.
Even the wealthy had to deal with drama. Their castles and manors were cold and drafty, their diets made them sick. Lice and other vermin were a fact of daily life, hygiene was pretty much non-existent. The fastest communication happened via horse and courier. Would we survive at that time? It’s fascinating to look at our lives now and know they had no running water, electricity, heat. We romanticize the knights who fought for the honor of women.
When we think of Medieval times the first thought is often Knights and their ladies. Knights fought to serve their Lord according to the Code of Chivalry. Weapons practices included enhanced skills in two-handed swordplay, battle axe, daggers and lances. Knights were expected to guard a Castle, particularly during Medieval warfare.