Life in a Medieval Village

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9780060162153: Life in a Medieval Village

The reissue of Joseph and Frances Gies’s classic bestseller on life in medieval villages.

This new reissue of Life in a Medieval Village, by respected historians Joseph and Frances Gies, paints a lively, convincing portrait of rural people at work and at play in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the village of Elton, in the English East Midlands, the Gieses detail the agricultural advances that made communal living possible, explain what domestic life was like for serf and lord alike, and describe the central role of the church in maintaining social harmony. Though the main focus is on Elton, c. 1300, the Gieses supply enlightening historical context on the origin, development, and decline of the European village, itself an invention of the Middle Ages.

Meticulously researched, Life in a Medieval Village is a remarkable account that illustrates the captivating world of the Middle Ages and demonstrates what it was like to live during a fascinating—and often misunderstood—era.

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A lively, detailed picture of village life in the Middle Ages by the authors of Life in a Medieval City and Life in a Medieval Castle. "A good general introduction to the history of this period."-- Los Angeles Times

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Reissued for the first time in decades, Frances and Joseph Gies’s classic bestseller on life in medieval villages

In Life in a Medieval Village, acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies reveal what life was actually like in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the village of Elton, in the English East Midlands, the Gieses detail the agricultural advances that made communal living possible and the social and economic divisions that separated lord from serf that made life so difficult for so many. Life in a Medieval Village takes modern readers through every aspect of day-to-day life, describing the villagers’ diet (centered around a bland stew called pottage lacking in nutrients), how they harvested crops, and the central role of the church in maintaining social harmony. We learn the clothes villagers wore, their (sometimes lacking) standards of personal hygiene, and the bizarre treatments they devised for a variety of medical maladies. But it wasn’t all bad: the medieval village was one of the first functional modern societies, and its surprisingly advanced legal system and code of conduct helped lay the groundwork for contemporary civilization.

Though the main focus is on Elton, circa 1300, the Gieses supply general historical context for the origin, development, and decline of the European village. Meticulously researched and vividly told, Life in a Medieval Village illustrates the captivating world of the Middle Ages and demonstrates what life was like during a fascinating—and often misunderstood—era.

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