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5 myths about the middle ages that everyone believes

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Kveto from Prague
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5 myths about the middle ages that everyone believes

Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon January 14th, 2013, 12:16 am

Here's an article for a comedy website that touches a subject dear to our hearts. Quite a few things we have discussed here.

http://www.cracked.com/article_20186_6- ... es_p2.html

I particularly like number 2 about womens' position in society.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon January 14th, 2013, 12:41 am

that was cool to read
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Mythica
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Post by Mythica » Mon January 14th, 2013, 4:03 pm

Some good points in there, especially about life expectancy. The misunderstandings about life expectancy in history is one of my pet peeves.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon January 14th, 2013, 4:59 pm

Trouble is that in dispelling the myths they get so many of their refutations skewed or wrong that they create a whole new batch!
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Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon January 14th, 2013, 8:05 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Trouble is that in dispelling the myths they get so many of their refutations skewed or wrong that they create a whole new batch![/quote]

Yeah, I noticed that as well. Repeating the "crusaders as pure evil baby-eaters" kinda peeved me.

But it's nice to see some work dispelling myths humourously.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Tue January 15th, 2013, 2:55 am

The misunderstandings about life expectancy in history is one of my pet peeves.
It's a pet peeve of mine, too! One of my ancestors lived through the Thirty Years' War (when the population declined drastically in his part of Germany) and died in his 90s after fathering his last child in his 60s. Infant and child mortality was very high in past centuries, so if people are using an average life span to estimate life expectancy in the past, it will be skewed to a pretty young age. And yet I've heard people say things like "40 years was really old then" as if it were equivalent to 80 years in our own time and 40-year-olds were tottering, feeble graybeards.

One correction I would make is on the status of women. Peasant women and widows were in a better position than most aristocratic women vis-a-vis men of their own class. Aristocratic women were subject to their fathers and husbands and generally used as pawns to make family alliances, which could put them in a very subservient position with little power over their own lives - at least, unless and until they were widowed and inherited property either in their own right or to manage during their sons' minority, when they could become almost as powerful as men.
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Post by EC2 » Tue January 15th, 2013, 4:43 pm

Mine was that Eleanor of Aquitaine rebelled because her husband had too many mistresses. Goodness, she couldn't give a stuff about his mistresses. It was at the point when he had her barons do homage to her eldest son for Poitou and leave her out of it entirely that the last gasket blew. The fights were over land, power and politics, not who he'd been shagging the night before.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed January 16th, 2013, 2:25 am

It was at the point when he had her barons do homage to her eldest son for Poitou and leave her out of it entirely that the last gasket blew.
I'd blow a gasket, too. It was her territory!
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Post by Justin Swanton » Wed January 16th, 2013, 6:08 pm

My favourite is the entrenched notion that all mediaeval monks were fat, lazy and loose, and all priests were thin, scheming, and just looking for the nearest heretic to put on the pyre. Apart from the Cadfael series, I've never actually come across a mediaeval novel that portrays churchmen in a sympathetic light (maybe I haven't looked hard enough).

Interesting observations on life expectancy and the fact that mediaeval peasants didn't have to work that hard. I can imagine them wondering what on earth we are up to today, chasing our tails in the name of progress.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Thu January 17th, 2013, 3:21 am

My favourite is the entrenched notion that all mediaeval monks were fat, lazy and loose, and all priests were thin, scheming, and just looking for the nearest heretic to put on the pyre.
It's pretty funny when you put the two stereotypes next to each other like that! :D
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