PEOPLE - A CONTRADICTION?
Many medieval people lived in filthy huts, and as a group
they were too stupid to work out how to deal with sewage.
Even in the halls of rich lords the smoke had to find its
way out through the tops of windows, and the smell would make
you sick if you could travel back from our time.
Medieval people worked out how to make clocks. They produced
manuscripts of such complicated designs, using materials that
lasted, in some cases over 1000 years, that nowadays we marvel
at them. They did have a version of the flush toilet.
Medieval rulers had horrendous ways of killing people they
didn't like. They also seem to have had no regard for anyone's
or anything's life.
Medieval people produced poetry and music using such complicated
rules that people nowadays mostly can't understand them.
people, like most groups of people, are difficult to lump
together. In some ways I find them even more difficult than
other bits of history, I think.
Medieval people built this, it's Canterbury Cathedral. There
was international rivalry to see who could build the highest
and most complicated churches. Even now, architects and engineers
are seriously impressed by the techniques used, and the sheer
bravery of the designers and builders.
This was most definitely not built by primitive halfwits.
Medieval people also did this:
people had various unpleasant ways of killing off those they
didn't like. Taking away the heart was supposed to be particularly
effective, especially if the person was still alive up to
the moment it was cut out.
They were also rather fond of burying different bits of people
in different places.
then there are the stories they told:
GERALD OF WALES, or Giraldus Cambrensis, as he liked it in
latin, wrote a book about his own journey round Wales in the
year 1188. He went with Archbishop Baldwin, largely to encourage
men to join the crusades, or The Pilgrimages, as they should
The best thing is to read the book, if you can wade through
it! It's available, translated, in Penguin editions.
Gerald was a highly educated man. He spoke several languages,
was no fool, and was very experienced and widely travelled
- several times to Paris, to Rome, and many other places.
In his book he is not afraid of writing criticism of Kings
and even Archbishops; he also tells many stories, and shows
no signs of disbelieving them.
The staff of Saint Curig may be seen in the church of Saint
Germanus in Gwrthynion. It has miraculaous powers, but is
especially good for curing swellings. All those suffering
in this way may pay one penny to the crosier, and the sweeling
will go. One man paid half a penny, in faith, and half his
swelling went. When he could, he paid the rest, and the rest
of his swelling went.
Another man promised he would pay the penny later. His swelling
went down, but came back when he did not pay up on time. Full
of sadness and guilt the man paid up, in fact he paid three
times over. Then his swelling went down.
Then there was the boy who tried to steal doves from the church.
As he began to climb up, his hand stuck to the stonework.
He was held there for a number of days. God was preventing
him from his planned crime.