Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Stuff that didn't happen in the Middle Ages

Zelde at Indigobirds is doing a series where she tries to learn more about history by revising various dates concerning important events, developements, breakthroughs in science, art.... You get the picture. I really enjoy this series not only because I study history but also because it is my passion. So I thought I'd do a little history post myself. This one concerns the Middle Ages. Or rather what people think when they think of them. So here we go, three things about the Middle ages that are nothing but hocum:

- Witches weren't burnt in the Middle Ages (MA) but in the Early Modern Age. Seriously. The Malleus Maleficarum was only written in 1486 which is the very, very late MA (Columbus went to America in 1492 which is the most popular date for historians to end the MA).

- People did not believe that the earth is flat. Want proof? Kings and emperors in the MA had so called insignia, one was the globus cruciger which should symbolize the power of christianity over the world. As you can see it is not exactly flat...

The insignia of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (Source)
- People in the MA were actually more hygenic than in the Early Modern Era where people often thought that bathing was harmful. Many people in the MA visited public bath houses frequently where they would sit together in bath tubs and sometimes get massages. Gender, social status, religion and of course money were the crucial factors when it came down to who was allowed to use which bath house. Oh, and another fact: Nobody thought the nudity in those bath houses was anything sinful. This form of prudery is also an "invention" of the Early Modern era.

If you are interested in this, I am going to collect some more facts about history for you, maybe some funny or ridiculous ones.

Have a great night,

The Countess

10 comments:

  1. But as far as I know, there was a smelly time at some point. I learned somewhere that the Tudors didn't wash much because by that point, bath houses had become to synonymous with prostitution so people stopped going and they had no bathrooms at home. There was also this odd idea about warm water opening your pores and letting illness in as far as I know. People definitely didn't wash much in the 18th century but they changed shirts instead and wore LOTS of perfume. The royal courts must have smelled aweful.

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    1. I agree, the Tudors were not exactly the cleanest but Henry VIII. was born in 1491, the last year which I count as part of the Middle Ages so to me the Tudors belong to the Early Modern era.

      No matter how much I love the dresses of the 18th century, the smell must have been disgusting...

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    2. Actually, the biggest problem for Middle Ages and for Eighteenth century wasn't so much about the smell of people,but about the small of the streets (no generalized water evacuation system, spoiled water and every thing else put directly in the streets or by the opened window...), cause, yes even in the eighteenth century, people did take bath (at least the common people bathed in the rivers.

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  2. Fufufu, I'd absolutely love to read more facts like these! I too might have a thing for history >u>.

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    1. I'm thinking of doing more posts about history because I often stumble across weird or funny facts :)

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    2. And, by the way,if convicted witches was quite rare in the Middle Ages,they were mostly not burned but hanged (and that is also true for the Modern Area), nevertheless, the people convicted with heresy were burned, and quite a lot at some point (for example in the Cathare 'trials')

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    3. It really depended on the area the witch was convicted in, most of the time the bigger cities had their own laws and punishments which differed from the ones that were used in the other cities

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    4. Yes, I know I am talking a bit too generally, and for that I am really sorry, nevertheless, even with the various legislation, most of Medieval magistrates were getting kite nervous when it came to burn one of their own religion. It did not provide them to cast a few very unfair sentences toward women, but, I afraid that life... Just kitting.
      Anyway, even if I can get a little annoying (that the problem with medievalist, and even more if their specialization is around marginal populations...)I really love this little article. Thanks for trying to break false ideas about this period.

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