1. Ben Tiller
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    Ben Tiller Member

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    Daily Life Medieval Ages

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ben Tiller, Jan 8, 2011.

    Based on a fantasy setting based on medieval period like 500-1500 AD or something and probably set in the same time-frame of Lord of the Rings I need to know:

    -What do people do fun? Other than dueling, hunting, etc.? Other than 'tag' and 'hide-and-seek'?

    Obviously I researched quite a bit and found some possible library books here, http://historymedren.about.com/od/dailylifesociety/tp/dailylife.htm

    Basically I need to know the
    -Best library books about daily life in medieval times?
    -Best library books about daily life and interests of peasant girls/women living in villages or towns?
    -What boys and girls, men and women did for fun/games?

    Are there any popular, interesting professions other than herbalism, hunting, farming, etc? I know woodcutting, carpenting, smithing are popular professions in village life and most villagers were skilled in those areas. Also know about skinning and leather-working.

    What would a sixteen-year-old 'tomboy' girl aspire to be? (shes one of my main characters).
    I have these choices so far:
    -Tailoring or knitting? Skinning or leatherworking? She's too impatient to be interested in reading and writing.
    -If it helps in my setting women are kinda equal to men. In medieval time women were treated like property.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Rather than a history book recommend reading Ellis Peters Cadfael books - they are really well done set 12th/13th Century England at the time of the English Civil War.
     
  3. Ben Tiller
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    Ben Tiller Member

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    Yeah but not gonna have any guns or rifles...just bows instead of that. Thinking more traditional medieval and not American Civil War :p
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes the first English Civil war not the second one that started in 1642 (full 200 years before the American one). the one between Empress Matilda and her cousin King Stephen in the 1100s. It is about a Monk just returned from the Crusades. He is a herbalist and detective you can even just watch the TV series. Well within in your time frame and she depicts medieval life beautifully.

    Also rifles are medieval Chinese were using them in around 1300s. Maybe earlier.
     
  5. Ben Tiller
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    Ben Tiller Member

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    wats the tv series called?
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cadfael - I know BBC America showed it when I was last out there.
     
  7. Naiyn
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    Authors Joseph and Frances Gies have three in partricular that I found useful, Life in a Medieval City, Life in a Medieval Castle, and Life in a Medieval Village They cover a lot of what your asking here. I bought them on Amazon, not sure if your local library would carry them or not, but they're not too badly priced if you have to buy them.
    Never underestimate the power of story-time. Of course, music was always welcome, but exchanging tales over a mug of ale or mead was huge. Not sure about specific kids games, but I'm sure they could find something inventive with a stick and ball. Throwing dice and playing cards were also around.

    Miller, baker, brewer, weaver, thatcher etc...

    It was pretty normal for the women to be the brewers of ale and mead-- or wine if available. This might be one possibility. Otherwise, just write her, and see what she wants to do.
     
  8. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dancing was a popular thing to do. This had the dual effect of helping keep a person warm during the colder parts of the year as well as social interactions.

    Depending on the size of your village, there may be a bakery. There may be a general store or a merchant that comes through the village every so often. Some of the villagers may even brew their own beer, moonshine, etc.

    As for the tomboy, does she have someone she looks up to or has a role model? She may aspire to be like him/her.
     
  9. Ben Tiller
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    Ben Tiller Member

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    I can't find any good library books on medieval professions, specifically on smithing and smelting/forging. I searched the library catalog for that and got no results. I read somewhere that Paolini in writing I think either Eldest or Brisingr, in that scene where the elves forge a sword in the forge, he researched the process of smithing/forging.

    Basically I need to know the tools medieval blacksmiths worked with and the process of smelting/forging. Much appreciated.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you tried the BBC website or typing horrible histories into youtube ? The kids horrible history books are fabulous. I am still sticking with Cadfael as a great example of a great medieval historical fiction series.

    For what you are after I recommend looking in the children's history section of your local library.
     
  11. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Ohh - Brother Cadfael! Good suggestion, El. Really good stories, Ben. Especially if you like mysteries or that era of history.

    "...Based on a fantasy setting based on medieval period like 500-1500 AD..."

    You're going to need to narrow it down more - by year and location. The world changed profoundly over that millennium. Just as a small example, people in Europe went from wearing mostly wool to undertaking the transition to mostly linen.

    Seems like a small change? Linen stands up better to laundering, so people could be clean via freshly washed cloths. This allowed them to not bathe so much, plus the idea of bad airs causing disease meant that people were discouraged from opening up pores through hot baths. 500AD, wore wool and bathed occasionally - 1500AD, wore linen and rarely bathed.

    Wool (and all animal fiber) is conditioned with vinegar and damaged with ammonia, while linen (and other plant fiber) is the opposite. They both take dies differently. They both are processed a bit differently. They are cultured using different types of agriculture.

    Most of the people were farmers. Many of the rest worked processing and dying the fiber. So, the economy shifted, including the daily lives of many of the people.

    Certainly, start your project, but you're going to want to narrow things down more. In the mean time, while doing your research, you could practice by writing short fiction about the times/places/professions you read about.

    -Frank
     

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