Questions about the Middle
What was life like in the Middle Ages?
Why was the church important?
How did the Black Plague kill so many people?
1) A political, economic, and social system
based on loyalty and military service.
2) In other words, the king awarded land grants or "fiefs" to his
most important nobles, his barons, and his bishops, in return for
their contribution of soldiers for the king's armies.
KNIGHT – 20 yrs
SQUIRE – 15 or 16 yrs
PAGE – 8 yrs
Code of Chivalry
Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its
Thou shalt defend the Church.
Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender
Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without
Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to
the laws of God.
Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the
Good against Injustice and Evil.
In 1300, 85-90% of the population of England
Memorizing 1200 lines, about 100 pages, was a
common assignment for a schoolboy.
A grown man who was well educated could often
recite a whole book of 185,000 lines!
Cannibalism of dead bodies were eaten by
starving peasants in the 1200-1400s in England.
Grave robbery was common
Revenge was taken on corpses.
A murderer’s dead body would be mutilated by
the victim’s relatives.
Everyone was together in one
Prisons were wiped out due to
Prisoners paid for their own food.
Torture devices such as the
If you charged someone with
murder and they were found
innocent, you were killed!
Mortality Rate of Children
2/3 of all children died before age 7.
1/3 of the remaining population died before
reaching the age of 14.
½ of those remaining died before reaching age
Treatment of Women:
Men could whip servants, women, and
children without penalty.
Divorces were unheard of until the 1500s
Fidelity of the wife was extremely important.
Result of infidelity: stoning
Husband and children get to throw the first stones
Men would test future wives to
see if they would be faithful to
them after marriage.
Marriage was only acceptable
within the same social classes
If a man committed a crime out of
love for a woman (if he murdered
someone in a jealous rage over a
woman), the courts and society
would blame the woman.
Death was preferred to
dishonor or public shame
Women who were raped were
encouraged by their families to
commit suicide instead of
dishonoring their family’s name.
No zippers or buttons in the
Clothing tied with
crisscrossing like shoe laces
at the front of
chest, pants, sides of
legs, and sleeves.
Dresses were expensive
Rich women bought 6 per
Middle class bought 4 per
Poor women bought 1 per
People ate moldy spoiled
meat (no refrigeration or
salt), scraping off the
mold, or creating a spicy
sauce to cover the flavor.
Instead of eating a chunk
of meat for dinner as we do
it, they would stretch what
little meat they had by
chopping it in tiny
chunks, making lots of
gravy and pot pies.
Ate two meals a day (no
breakfast or snacks).
The Black Death
(The Black Plague)
Historians think that the plague arrived in
England during the summer of 1348. During the
following autumn it spread quickly through the
south west. Few villages escaped. Churchyards
were full with bodies.
The plague spread quickly during the winter of
1348-1349 to the north of England. By
1350, nearly the whole of Britain was infected
with the plague.
At the end of 1350 nearly two and a half
million people were dead!
What Caused it and How
Was it Transmitted?
Medieval “Cure” #1:
The swellings would be softened with figs and
cooked onions. The onions whould be mixed
with yeast and butter. Then, they open the
swellings with a knife.
Medieval “Cure” #2:
They took a live frog and put its belly on the
plague sore. The frog would swell up and burst.
They repeated doing this with further frogs until
they stopped bursting. Some people said that a
dried toad would do the job better.