Medieval Era, also known as the Middle Age was a nice light after the fall of Roman Empire. Often known as the Age of Discovery, this era has seen many colors and shaped the history of Europe. Well, who doesn’t enjoy the stories of Kings, Castles and wars from the middle ages?
It definitely gives us chills about the difference in quality of lives in those times. Many parts of it might astonish you or sometimes disgust, but we have searched for around 25 extremely weird facts about medieval era which can drop your jaws, make sure to pick it up later. Ready? Let’s get right into the facts.
25. Sad Life of Peasants
Peasants were the poor farmers of that time and had a low social status. They had many struggles regarding quality of food, health care and income but what’s more to disgust about is the fact that they were no less than slaves to their lords and kings. Peasants were expected to work hard in exchange for a small piece of land, where they could grow food for their families and graze cattle and that with no such authority over their own lives.
Moreover, they could actually set themselves free by running to another town and if they spent more than a year there, then they could be free to do anything. But the punishment of running away was worse than they could’ve imagined so there were not much courageous peasants to run away from their lands.
24. Marriages Were Bland
Unlike modern times, the marriages in the medieval times were simple. The groom and bride would be made to recite a few words in front of some witnesses and that would do. This kind of culture changed by time after the intervention of churches in almost all aspects of lives of the people living in that age. After which there were some colors and music in the weddings that has a glimpse of it in the modern times, also.
23. The Haunting Black Death
Black Death was the outspread of deaths by Plague which engulfed nearly 200 Million people across Europe from C.1346-1353 and surrounding areas. How traumatizing it would be to see dead bodies on the streets, mass graves and knowing the fact that around 60% of the population in Europe had diminished by the curse of Black Death.
22. Peasants without Tooth Decay
Peasants having low quality of food to eat in their daily lives didn’t have the privilege to enjoy the sweet desserts which would be prepared for high status bearing lords and kings in the castle. For this reason, they didn’t really experience tooth decays abundantly. Well at least they could chew in their old ages, unlike the king back in the castle.
21. The Curse of Excessive Drinking
The craze of alcohol isn’t new to the modern world. How we loathe the concept of drinking being a common practice nowadays, it would be worse to feel it in the middle ages where binge-drinking was extremely common. The reason behind it was a misconception amongst the masses that alcohol keeps them away from many diseases; this gave birth to alcoholism which resulted in deaths by over-drinking.
20. Football Was a Violent Sport
Who could’ve though that the place where this game was invented would be forced to ban it. Football was a common sport in England in the middle ages and it had a different way to playing in that time. It was called Mob Football because there were no rules for how many players there would be in a team and a whole mob of players would hustle to get the ball.
Now you can imagine how everyone would end up wounded with broken nose, eventually making King Edward II to take the decision of placing a ban on it in 1314.
19. The Roads Were Smeared with Shit
Since the Medieval Era had low knowledge about sanitation, health and organization, there were no such pavements for the public to walk on when it a bright day. Well, they would walk bare footed on the roads which were basically spread with animal dung and food waste. What’s more shocking is the fact that there were no such arrangements for cleaning these areas and the public didn’t choose to care too.
18. Peasants Had Some Authority
Even though peasants were ridiculed for their existence, there was a part of respect given to them by the higher status officials and that was the authority over minor locals. There was a council of peasants introduced to be given power over the issues of Minors. The issues like land disputes were fixed by the chosen peasants which would sometimes give advantage to the smart ones amongst them to take over the lands of their owners, too.
17. Weird Rituals
Since the intervention of churches in the personal lives of the locals of middle age, the ambiance around Europe experienced a change in the way of life. This included the methods of getting married, attire, beliefs and other essentials of daily life; but there were some rituals which were considered to be a part of their culture and weren’t objected from the churches as they considered it to be something done for fun. These rituals included throwing wheat over the heads of newlyweds or throwing lit up wooden barrels down the hills.
16. Lord of Misrule
This is considerably the weirdest fact of the middle age. There was a person in the community called Lord of Misrule who was an idiot elected by the peasants every year and celebrated for being the fool of the society. In addition, he would be made to wear a paper crown to show off around the town; that’s community service for you.
15. Poor Wouldn’t Have the Privilege of Anesthetics
Unlike the modern era, the miracles of anesthetics were allowed to be readily available for the high class societies who’d get a treatment with little or no pain experienced. On the other side, the poor were not given much support from the high authorities with regards to their health care which meant that the medical doctors wouldn’t treat them with anesthetics; they would helplessly bear all the pain while getting treated, normally.
14. Too Much Blood in Your Body Was Bad
In an age where doctors relied on astrologers for the secrets for different treatments, there were many assumptions which would be practiced commonly by the masses. One of them is the custom of withdrawing blood in a bowl occasionally. This was a widespread practice because people had misconceptions about excessive blood being a gateway to certain diseases and doctors recommended that internal fluids like bile and blood should be balanced in their quantities in the body.
13. Medicines Were Introduced by Superstition
The medical treatments in the medieval era was deprived of scientific knowledge and doctors of that time relied exclusively on the astrologers. Many diseases were treated by strange methods and people would rely on charms, spells or herbs which were influenced by incantations.
There were also many strange theories about different diseases or internal fluids inside the human body such as the practice of blood-letting was done due to a superstitious belief of bad blood being a cause of many diseases and was important to be removed.
12. Barber Surgeons
In the middle age, barbers would also work as part-time surgeons due to being experts in using sharp tools. They would be barbers in daytime and treated patients in the evening, sometimes tooth extractions was also a part of their expertise.
What’s interesting to realize is the fact that the spiral barber pole we see in front of a barber shop was actually a pole for keeping bloodied bandages; wondering why it is always striped red and white in the European areas? Now you know.
11. Most of the Authors Couldn’t Write
It was rare for most people to read or write due to quality of life being low for the middle class or poor masses; so the wise ones with theories and stories would hire Scriveners, who were expert copyists and would write down the books for these people. We can actually call them the first ghost writers, spreading knowledge without a name.
10. Shops with No Names
Since majority of population of the middle age couldn’t read or write, it would be pointless to put banners in front of different shops. Instead, the shop owners would put symbols in front of their shops to let the customers know what their expertise is. For instance, a key maker had a medium sized key symbol hanging in front of his shop and similarly a smith would have an Anvil.
9. If You Had Bad Breath, You Could Be Divorced
How annoying is it to wake up next to someone who had a morning breath and well, had a tooth condition of halitosis? Well, the medieval women were too offended by the fact that their men had a bad breath throughout their day; there are records of these women divorcing their men for having a bad breath. Bad breaths were potentially common at that times because the knowledge and practice of oral hygiene being scarce amongst the masses.
8. Smaller Farm Animals
Most of us might think that cattle in the middle ages would be larger than the animals in the modern age but that could be a misconception. Strangely, the animals of that time were smaller in sizes and weight. For instance, a bull was as tall as an average calf we see nowadays. This could be explain by the fact that with increase in research in genetics, scientists have enabled the animals to grow in size effectively through food and synthetic growth hormones.
7. Animals Could be Criminals
This can be strange to hear but animals were treated like humans in the Medieval Era, which was also not at all in a positive sense. Since discipline and law was expected to be followed by everyone, if animals broke these laws or committed a “crime” then they were punished by death.
For instance, if you pet dog had bitten someone, it would be last time he would taste blood; Forget what I said just now, it’s highly emotional.
6. Old Bread Could Kill You
During the days when food shortage was widespread, people would choose to store rye bread and ate them once in a while for keeping their back straight. This had an alternative effect to the consumers as eating it would provoke a drug-like effect similar to LSD. Due to this, an overdose on old rye bread could kill many people in that time.
5. Archery Was a MUST
Archery was compulsory in the medieval era; the men of the society would practice it for at least 2 hours on Sunday who were guided by a religious leader.
4. If You Were Ill, You Could Be Evil
In the middle age, it was a common belief that everything you experienced was a product of what you had committed in the past; the concept is similar to karma. So if a person was struck with a disease, he would be ridiculed with a accusations of different sins. Sometimes, an insane person was considered to be suffering due to grave sins and treated worse than animals.
3. The Difference in Time
We are in a very blessed age, where watches are not only used for knowing time but to make calls. The middle age had different methods of knowing time. One such method was to divide the day in three days, each part would consist of 7 hours and there was also a difference in the concept of minutes in the hour according to seasons. For instance, an hour in summers would consist of 60 minutes while an hour in winter would consist of 150 minutes.
2. The Real Robin Hood
Well the concept of your favorite character is a part of real history. There are records of real life robin hoods that were known for having exceptional archery skills to have lived in the woods and looted the rich merchants to feed the poor. I guess the archery sessions worked in one way or another, what an irony!
1. People Didn’t Like Taking Baths
There might be a misconception about the royals having strict rules about sanitations in the middle age but unlike the earlier Roman era, the churches had intervened in this matter to proclaim that sanitation was a gateway to immorality and disease. For instance, it is popularly known that the Queen Isabella of Spain had only two baths in her whole life.
I can smell the stench, stop me.
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