Almost all the churches that were built during the Middle Ages were made of stone. A little wood was used on these churches. It was used on the ceilings, floors, and doors.
The church provided spiritual guidance and a place were people could get an education. Stained glass windows were used as a teaching method. The windows would tell bible stories and the lives of the saints.
The only universal European institution was the church.
It was very rich and powerful during the Middle Ages.
The church was organized like a government with laws. It even collected its own taxes. Some of these taxes went to help the poor. Most of the taxes were spent to build beautiful churches.
All the power within the church’s hierarchy was in the hands of the local bishops.
The nobles and the church worked together to control the common people. They wanted everyone to practice Christianity in a certain way.
Being a monk was one way to stay alive during the Middle Ages. Some young nobles became monks to avoid a life of constant battling. Monks lived in monasteries or abbeys. They worked and prayed. Women could also serve a religious life as a nun. Monks were often teachers who taught noble children. Some monks worked the land of the monastery, growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Some even had the job of praying for everyone else.
Women in the Middle Ages The women of the Middle Ages were totally dominated by the male members of their family. The women were expected to instantly obey not only their father, but also their brothers and any other male members of the family. Any unruly girls were beaten into submission and disobedience was seen as a crime against religion.
The education concentrated on the practical as opposed to academic. Young noble women as young as seven girls would be sent away from their home to live with another noble family.
She was taught manners and etiquette, including how to curtsey and how to mix with the greatest nobles in the land.
Time would be spent learning how to dance and ride.
Archery were also taught to young noble women.
These young girls were expected to act as servants to the older ladies of the castle.
The duties of the young noble women would be to look after clothes and the assist ladies with their dressing and coiffure.
Some housewifely duties such as preserving fruits and household management would be taught, to prepare them for their duties as a married woman.
High ranking young women would take on the role of ladies-in-waiting and were taught French.
Young noble women would also be taught the principles of the Medieval Code of Chivalry and Courtly Love and would join the spectators at jousting tournaments.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Women and Marriage
Women had very little choice in who her husband might be.
Marriages were frequently arranged so that both families involved would benefit.
Marriages would be arranged to bring prestige or wealth to the family of noble women.
Marriage for love was a rare occurrence.
Women were expected to bring a dowry to the marriage. A dowry was an amount of money, goods, and property that the bride would bring to the marriage.
The law gave a husband full rights over his wife, whether she was a Noble woman or a commoner. She effectively became his property.
A wealthy marriage of a Noble woman was celebrated by nine days of feasting and jousting.
After marriage women were expected to run the households but their main duty was to provide children.
Large families were the norm in the Middle Ages as the mortality rate for children and babies was so high.
Many woman made arrangements for the care of their children in case they themselves died during childbirth.
The life expectancy of a woman in the Middle Ages was just forty years.
Most Medieval woman would become pregnant between 4 and 8 times.
A woman during the Middle Ages would expect to lose at least one child.
Appearance of Women
The appearance of a woman during the Middle Ages was important.
A woman aged quickly during this era due to constant child bearing.
The diet of noble women during the Middle Ages lacked Vitamin C which resulted in bad teeth and bleeding gums.
To retain the look of youth, a woman might even dye her hair yellow with a mixture of saffron, cumin seed, celandine and oil.
Face make-up was applied to acquire a pale look.
A pale complexion was so desirable that women were bled to achieve the desired look.
Face paint made from plant roots and leaves was also applied.
Long hair and curls hair were common for the medieval hairstyle.
In medieval times women who had a high status in the society always wore long hairs. Long hair was a kind of a distinguishing factor for the society status.
For most women the hairdos were curly in appearance, and they also attached the golden balls at the end of strands. During the medieval times the common people used minimal fancy items to decorate the hair. Some of them also used hair braiding. A lot of styles of hair braid were used during that times.
The Age of Consent
The romance of Courtly love was completely opposite to the practicalities of Medieval marriage.
With parental permission it was legal for boys to marry at fourteen and girls at twelve.
A betrothal often took place when the prospective bride and groom were as young as 7 years old and in the case of Higher nobility many were betrothed as babies.
But a marriage was only legal once the marriage had been consummated.
Weapons of the Middle Ages
There were basically two types of armed men during the Medieval era who used different weapons available during the Middle Ages, Knights and the Foot soldiers, who included the Archers.
The Medieval men-at-arms held weapons according to their status and position which was determined by the Feudal system.
The weapons, weaponry, armor and horse of the Knight were extremely expensive.
Lords were expected to provide soldiers who were trained in a variety of Middle Ages weapons.
Knights were supported by their soldiers .
The Battering Ram and the Bore were used to literally 'batter' down, pound, punch and shake and drill into castle gates, doors and walls
The Ballista was similar to a Giant Crossbow and worked by using tension.
The Mangonel launched Missiles
The massive Trebuchet consisted of a lever and a sling and was
capable of hurling stones
weighing 200 pounds with
a range of up to about 300
This siege weapon was designed to protect attackers and their ladders whilst storming a weak area of the castle wall. The tower was usually rectangular with four wheels and a height equal to that of the wall, or sometimes even higher.
Polearms - This type of Medieval weapon consisted of a razor-sharp blade mounted on a wooden shaft, or pole which was between 4 and 14 feet long!
These weapons were designed as single and double-handed battle axes
Used as a close contact weapon in the early Medieval period of the Middle Ages
It could be hurled as a missile
This Medieval weapon was an armor-fighting weapon
Used as a close contact weapon and also used from horseback
The shaft was made of either wood or metal
The lethal head was made of stone, iron, bronze or steel - with flanged or knobbed additions
The mace weapon could be mounted on either a long shaft, measuring up to 5ft or a short shaft measuring 1ft.
The Lance was a long, strong, spear-like weapon touse on horseback.
The spear develop into the Medieval Lance and was also a popular weapon used during jousting tournaments.
The lance was made of wood, usually ash, with a metal tip made of iron or steel similar to a spear head.
Knights would paint their lance to match the colors of their livery or coats of arms.
The weapon measured from 9 to 14 feet in length.
The Shield Medieval Shields were developed protect a knight or soldier from the direct blows from the weapons of their enemies. Shields used during the Middle Ages were also used as bludgeoning weapons.
Middle English Dictionary <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/med/>
(a) A person who travels to a holy place; a pilgrim; also fig. ; (b) pilgrimes wede (wedes, clothes, clothing) the clothing of a pilgrim; ~ staf , a staff carried by a pilgrim; appareillen in pilgrim(es wise , to dress as a pilgrim; (c) a crusader; (d) one who journeys about to preach, a missionary; (e) in proverbs.
A traveler, wayfarer; also fig. ; also, a wanderer, wandering beggar.
Con’t 2. (a) An alien, a foreigner, a stranger, a sojourner; an exile for the Christian faith [quot.: c1384]; ben ~ , to dwell as a foreigner or sojourner; taken ~ , receive (a foreigner) as a guest; (b) as adj.: alien, foreign; (c) an unorthodox doctrine; as adj.: unorthodox. 3. Fig. A man or soul as an alien, a sojourner, traveler, or pilgrim; esp. one whose home or destination is heaven, etc. 4. Astrol. A planet which occupies none of the positions in the zodiac that could heighten its influence. 5. (a) The name of a drinking cup; (b) in the name of a horse; (c) as surname and place name.
Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet, was born about 1342. (Historians are uncertain about his exact date of birth.)
Geoffrey came from well-to-do parents,John Chaucer and Agnes Copton, who owned several buildings in the vintage quarter in London.
Not much is known about Geoffrey's school career. He must have had some education in Latin and Greek.
Out of school he went on as a page in the household of the Countess of Ulster. Chaucer rose in royal employment and became a knight of the shire for Kent.
As a member of the king's household, Chaucer was sent on diplomatic errands throughout Europe.
From all these activities, he gained the knowledge of society that made it possible to write The Canterbury Tales .
Chaucer died in October 1400.
He was buried in Westminster Abbey in London.
An old map of Canterbury Pilgrims Passed To and Fro to Canterbury
A few Pilgrims on their way to Canterbury…
Knight – a distinguished soldier and gentleman
Squire – the Knight’s son, also a soldier
Yeoman – the servant of the Knight and expert bowman
Prioress – the mother superior of a convent
Nun’s Priest – her Chaplin and secretary
Friar – a begging monk
Merchant – a successful businessman
Man of Law – a successful lawyer
Franklin – a landowner and epicure
Wife of Bath – an excellent weaver and wife
Pardoner – he sells phony relics and forgiveness
Geoffrey Chaucer – the observer of the pilgrimage
Harry Bailey – the host of the Tabard Inn
1387 and 1400
lines 1 – 18
follow in Middle English and in modern English
1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote When April with its sweet-smelling showers
2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour; By which power the flower is created;
5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth When the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth In every wood and field has breathed life into
7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne The tender new leaves, and the young sun
8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne, Has run half its course in Aries,
9 And smale foweles maken melodye, And small fowls make melody,
10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye Those that sleep all the night with open eyes 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages), (So Nature incites them in their hearts), 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, Then folk long to go on pilgrimages, 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, And professional pilgrims to seek foreign shores, 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; To distant shrines, known in various lands;
15 And specially from every shires ende And specially from every shire's end 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, Of England to Canterbury they travel, 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke, To seek the holy blessed martyr, 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. Who helped them when they were sick.