Medieval Society and Influences OR THE BITS WE KNOW: OR THINK WE KNOW: OR SUSPECT
A Difficulty is that Medieval Dress Often Does not Match Dates of Paintings “Baptism of Christ”
1) Fresco 1482 Sistine Chapel
2) Fresco (Salimbeni) 1416
Loose over garments open under the arms worn by 15 th Century Florence aristocrats.
Styles of paintings were copied which led to dress of subjects changing.
No access to loads of clothes (particularly at bottom end)
Peasants did not have coats, woolen hats and mittens and harder than us.
Washing of clothes not common
Deodorant wood smoke from fires.
Anti moths etc hanging over urinals.
Presume huge 2 Nd Hand clothes trade
MEDIEVAL WORKING CLASS Stuttgart Psalter 820-830
MASS OF THE POPULATION
What there is shows that dress did not change for 500 years. Tunics and hose.
Probably bare feet or rough leather shoes
Gown and hooded mantle worn by both sexes
Only item of working dress in constant use was the Apron
King Wenceslas Bible 1400: Blacksmith (Apron)
1405: Sewing Apron
1490: Miners-Hoods and leather breeches
WE BELIEVE (FOR PEASANTS) IT WENT LIKE THIS.
"At Halifax there is no cloth made but yearde brode carsies" Calderdale weavers specialized in making a kind of cloth called Kersey or "Carsey". They chose to make Kersey because there was always a ready demand for them. It was not too expensive and had a reputation for being hardwearing, weatherproof and good value.
MEDIEVAL UNDERWEAR: Did they wear them?
Braies: Not ‘Victoria’s Secret’ – for warmth.
‘ Bikini Girl’ -
Does not show up on inventories or wills.
Clothed burial considered ‘pagan’
Linen shirts and doublets developed to go under armour
By 14 th Century male and female clothing diverges. Evidence of high fashion in clothes. Also sources of information more numerous. Shorter doublets for men. Buttons appear.
Geography of Styles
At the end of the 14 th century with increasing merchant wealth clothing styles (Fashion) started to diverge across Europe.
Climate and types of available fabric started to influence dress styles.
1) Florence 1365. Close ‘empire style ‘ bodices flared to the ground. Wide necklines and tight sleeves.
Germanic Lands 1340 looser with ruching and dagged edges. Hoods and veil.
My Very Best Picture
3 POINTS OF INFLUENCE ON CHANGE IN FASHION AND DRESS
ROLE OF WOMEN
ROLE OF CHURCH
WOMEN IN MEDIEVAL SOCIETY ‘EVE TEASING’
Eve was the villainess , the cause of original sin and of man's Fall. God created her from Adam's rib, she was tempted by the serpent, and tempted Adam to sexual sin. Thus Everywoman dwelt in the shadow of the fallen Eve, sentenced to the pain of childbirth and the labor of motherhood. The stereotype of woman as Eve was that she was weak, foolish, sensual, and not to be trusted. Women were scapegoats for the physical impulses that warred perpetually with the spiritual in men, a conflict sometimes depicted as an allegory of marriage. Self-disgust and revulsion against women are typically mingled .“ Christian teaching held the potential for an immense respect for women and specifically female functions elevated to their highest degree in life of the Virgin Mary., "Alone of all her sex/ She pleased the Lord,"
St THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) On the Generation of Women. (A Knotty Problem for the Church)
A Woman is an occasioned male: an incomplete man.
Females come from weak defective semen but are a work of God for a purpose.
In Spite of their lower function the female sexual organs will remain at the resurrection. (Even in the bodies of risen saints)
Women are weak, and imperfect but are created by God.
BUT THEY ARE STILL GUILTY
Huge lack of references to women in early documents due to low status. Women are a problem. But because of this probably their involvement in society is under-rated.
Women were largely pawns for marriage or breeding.
Women carried Eve’s guilt (Accepted as thus) thrown out of paradise because of female vanity. Eve covered her head in penance after the fall.
Wives outsiders in the family; not related by blood.
CLOTHES TO SUIT AGES OF LIFE
VIRGIN MARY (ANJOU) 1419-1427
Young women and girls, apart from religious images, hardly ever appear in pictures.
Virgin Mary depicted in the clothes of the time.
Principle function of women was maternity.
Women’s clothes cut very loose to accommodate pregnancy, usually split down both sides.
Front of the garment fastened with adjustable lacing to alter shape of gown.
Lacing usually extended to allow easy breast feeding.
Green and red colours popular to represent fertility.
SEX REARS ITS HEAD
Agnes Sorrell as the Madonna. Mistress of Charles VII of France
Breasts were for feeding babies.
IT WAS EVERYWHERE
A Society of child death, no social security and a knowledge of what sex was for.
So allure was very important.
A society that lived close to animals and close to each other in their dwellings.
IT IS ALL MADE TO DRIVE MEN WILD
Practically, women's hair is considered to be sensuous. Once a woman is married, she reserves her sensuous side for her husband. Additionally, once a woman is married, she must make a special effort not to "advertise" herself, for the results of a married woman's illegitimate relationship are much more disastrous than if a single girl were to make the same mistake
A Problem 1600
A Coronation Picture but painted on her death.
Virgin long hair
Ermine on Robes
World ordered by God so attempts to change were sinful. Born to your station in life.
Priests etc could normally read which gave power.
Eve sinned and so needed clothes. Huge problem with sex appeal as women had sin.
Church was a Centre of Political Power
1200-1500 over 20 Vatican authorised ‘world coming to an end’.
Age of fear, witchcraft, plague, sudden death, the Devil and demons, plunging populations etc.
PRINCES OF THE CHURCH
From about the 6 th century clerical dress became more ornate. Today’s high church wear dates from around the 12 th century.
Highest quality of materials and decoration. Church of Rome considered it possessed the sole road to heaven.
Robes were to glorify God.
Around 1200 rise of mendicant orders preaching poverty and abstinence.
Absorbed by the main church and tolerated to a point.
NOTE Martin Luther was an Augustine Monk
MONASTIC ATTIRE DEFINED THE PERSON AND THE POWER
Detached from the world. Tonsures and shaving. Cardinal sin was to seek admiration in dress. Poverty Chastity and obedience. Cowl represented a child’s hood as innocence. Loose fitting wool attire with rope belt. Light colours (Cistertion) exultation, innocence, gory. Dark colours contempt for worldly things.
Negation of sex.
Clothes of the time until 13 th century.
Shifts of horsehair under gowns
Nuns habits a rejection of harlotry and the devil’s work.
HUGE IMPACT OF DISEASE
LADY REBECCA ROLPH
Constant sweep of Plague until 17 th Century.
Gravesend (As it says) thought to be safe as a port of departure for the New World from London plagues
Spread of Medieval Disease
Explanations of the plague were not sought in the human sphere but in God's wrath and the configuration of planets. A chronicler called it "a divine plague from which no doctor could possibly liberate the stricken." Man's only contribution had been his sins. Priests in insisted that immoral living and indecent clothing fashions were responsible
SUPERSTITION AND TRYING TO MAKE SENSE
LOMBARD STREET FROM 12 th CENTURY
Italian City States made wealthy by being at the centre of trade routes.
Crusades had brought a demand for ‘oriental luxuries’
Climate of 12 th century warmer than now.
Threatening the established rule of Church and aristocracy with their wealth
Financing the English Wool Trade.
Lending to Popes. (M’edici)
FASHIONS NOTED ACROSS EUROPE
SHAKESPEARE RICHARD III
“ Report of fashions in Proud Italy; whose manners still our tardy apish nation limps after in base imitation.
Not important to chroniclers.
Clothes became more flowing and exaggerated.
Hennins became high fashion and the work of the devil. Covered the head in Eve’s penance but became a work of vanity.
Dresses now showing breasts
Clothing of upper class women moved away from any pretence of work.
SO: GOD’S WRATH WAS ALL THE FAULT OF WOMEN’S VANITY AND MEN IN TIGHTS
Extravagant revealing clothes.
Colours and stripes of the devil
Effeminacy in action
Also of course low necklines and headdresses in women’s dress (But they are always to blame)
“ All Witch-craft comes from carnal lust which in women is insatiable” J Springer & H Kraemer 15 th Cent.
HOWEVER, IF THAT WAS TRUE WHAT ABOUT PRIESTS WITH PLAGUE?
Jacabus Omne 160-80 (Monks with plague blessed by Priest)
Many disillusioned Christians failed to understand how a loving god they had worshiped had failed to protect them from the terrors of the Plague, nor could they readily forgive the priests who had fled and failed to administer last rites to dying Christians.
FOR THE SURVIVORS LIFE CHANGED 1390 Merchant woman-Venice 1400
Feudalism broken in much of Europe.
Huge Labour shortage and rise in wages and mobility
Women now accepted in many guild and trades
Huge loss of power and moral influence of the Church.
Flowering of fashion and secular influence
Styles in Clothes of the sexes started to move apart.
Rise of non functional conspicuous consumption.
GUILDS 14 th Century Notre Dame Norwich 1407 (Flints)
During the early to mid Medieval Age, the textile industry was dominated by guilds, as were the other crafts. A guild was a workers' association. The main role of a guild was the regulation of its trade or craft. "No one not a member could sell at retail in the town. A foreign merchant had to sell to a guildsman, who would then re-sell to the citizens. In some cases foreigners were allowed to sell directly, but they had to pay a very heavy tax for the privilege. Foreign merchants were usually limited to one year's stay in the town or less - they could not set up shop permanently"
BABY ITS COLD OUTSIDE
As in the Roman Period, most people wore loose linen or wool tunics like big baggy t-shirts. Men mostly wore tunics down to their knees, though old men and monks wore their tunics down to the ground, and so did kings and noblemen for parties and ceremonies. Men sometimes also wore wool pants under their tunics. Wearing pants was originally a Germanic idea, and the Romans disapproved of it. But it gradually caught on anyway, especially among men who rode horses and in colder areas. Other men, especially noblemen, wore tights under their tunics. Knitting had not yet been invented, so they had to wear woven tights which did not fit very tightly. Outside, if it was cold, men wore wool cloaks.
On their feet, men wore leather shoes if they could afford them. You can tell if a medieval painting or tapestry was made before or after about 1300 AD by looking at the mens' shoes. In the earlier paintings men wear shoes with square toes, but later the shoes have pointy toes and even curve up at the toes in a kind of hook, just to be extra fancy.