Marriage, Life in the Parish, Fur-collar Crimes, Race and Ethnicity on the Frontiers #6-The Life of People
Marriage Importance to the Youth of the Middle Ages “whether rich or poor, male or female, the most important right de passage for peasant youth was marriage.” Premarital pregnancy was a common occurrence to insure fertility. Children were economically important to families of the Middle Ages.
How were spouses chosen? Though the Church stressed the importance of consent from both parties, parents often arranged marriages because of property. A husband was chosen by his ability to take over the family business or land. A wife was chosen by her ability to care for her in-laws.
What would happen if you were married outside of an arrangement? There are records of young women who chose to marry outside of an arrangement chosen for them. If the union was deemed unacceptable by the parents she would be cast out of the family as if she were dead.
At what age were you married? Women were married at later ages ”as an adult(pg. 361)” Men were married at an older age, between 24 and 30.
Wedding customs started in the Middle Ages Being married under a priest Women would take great care in preparing for their wedding. They would paint their faces in cosmetics, sun bleach their hair, pluck their hairline, and even weave flowers into their hair. The marriage day was one of great celebration Members of the village who attended the wedding would bring gifts such as utensils or other house hold tools. Rings were exchanged The groom would buy drinks for the local men
SEX IN THE CITY Prostitution: (Flourished with so many unmarried men) municipal authorities sought to regulate this by setting up houses or red-light districts outside the city walls or away from respectable neighborhoods. Most prostitutes — poor women or were sold into prostitution by their parents because of heavy debts. See pg. 364…City Brothel Rape: Upper-class women were protected, but no attempt to protect female servants or day laborers from rape or seduction (within a narrow window after the attack, victims had to prove that they had cried out and attempted to repel the attacker). Homosexuality: originally known as same sex relations A capital crime in most of Europe (but that so few executions took place indicates that the practice was more widespread). See pg. 365 for illustration
Recreation Because medieval society was based on war they engaged in tournaments such as jousts, archery, and wrestling. They enjoyed the cruel sport of bull-baiting and bear-baiting. Many also enjoyed public torture much like that done to William Wallace, the Scottish hero who led the revolt against Edward I of England. Life In the Parish
How did people feel about the parish? Many people were not content with doing manual labor on the lord’s land so when asked to perform service tasks they revolted.
What were Fur-Collar crimes? These crimes were committed by the nobility who no longer had employment from the Hundred Years’ War. The crimes were rarely as serious as rape or murder and most often crimes of social status such as robbery, kidnapping and extortion. Fur-Collar Crimes
How did they get away with it? Much like wealthy criminals today they intimidated witnesses, threatened jurors, and bribed judges.
Robin Hood! Believe it or not, our beloved childhood hero was pulled form a real person and the Fur-Collar crimes. He and his band of followers were known for returning the goods, stolen by nobility, to the poor. He symbolizes the deep resentment of aristocratic corruption. Folk legends from late medieval England that describe the struggle against fur bandits and aristocratic oppression.
Who moved where? English moved to Scotland and Ireland. Germans, French, and Flemings moved to Poland, Bohemia and Hungary. French moved into Spain. And in the Fourteenth century many Germans moved into eastern Europe to flee the Black Death. Race and Ethnicity on the Frontiers
. Legal Dualism: Native peoples remained subject to their traditional laws, while newcomers brought the laws of the country from which they came. (The exception — Ireland, since the entire Irish population was unfree). “Purity of the Blood”: Some attempts were made to maintain ethnic purity and prohibit intermarriage (Ireland). Statute of Kilkenny(1366). What was it? Specific to Ireland Ethnic tensions & Restrictions
Whose laws did they follow? If you were native to your area, the laws and customs of that land were applied to you. If you migrated to a new area, you would bring your own laws and customs with you and continue following them. …legal dualism!
The difference between race today and then. Today we consider race and ethnicity to be based on biological and anthropological classifications. In the Middle Ages race was based on socially constructed beliefs and customs. Today color is a marker for our different races, then the markers where Language and customs.