You've been whisked back in time to Medieval England.where will you stay? What should you say? What clothes should you be wearing (lest you be fined for dressing above your rank!)? This tour guide covers the nitty-gritty details that any passer-by would need to know, including lodgings (and why the buildings and streets are anything but symmetrical); the landscape (10 Places to See in London!), the people you'll encounter, manners, shopping, traveling (roads, tolls, bridges, transport, ships.), the prices of various goods, hygiene, the law, and entertainment. You'll find that there would've been plenty to do, and much to see-and that there's much to learn. A fascinating way to learn about the ins-and-outs of daily medieval life across the spectrum of society! 342 indexed pages, hardcover with dust jacket.
The past is a foreign country.
This is your guidebook.
A time machine has just transported you back to the fourteenth century. What do you see? How do you dress? How do you earn a living and how much are you paid? What sort of food will you be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? And more important, where will you stay?
The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England is not your typical look at a historical period. This radical new approach shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. All facets of everyday life in this fascinating period are revealed, from the horrors of the plague and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and medieval haute couture.
Through the use of daily chronicles, letters, household accounts, and poems of the day, Morti-mer transports you back in time, providing answers to questions typically ignored by traditional historians. You will learn how to greet people on the street, what to use as toilet paper, why a physician might want to taste your blood, and how to know whether you are coming down with leprosy.
From the first step on the road to the medieval city of Exeter, through meals of roast beaver and puffin, Mortimer re-creates this strange and complex period of history. Here, the lives of serf, merchant, and aristocrat are illuminated with re-markable detail in this engaging literary journey. The result is the most astonishing social history book you're ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance, and fear.
Ian Mortimer is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was awarded the Alexander Prize in 2004 for his work on the social history of medicine. He holds a Ph.D. in history and a higher doctorate from the University of Exeter. He has written five other medieval books, most recently the revolutionary study Medieval Intrigue: Decoding Royal Conspiracies. He has also worked for several archive and historical research organizations in the U.K., where he lives with his wife and children.
In this compelling volume, Medieval history expert Mortimer (The Fears of Henry IV) transports readers to jolly, squalid old England for a thorough survey of everyday 14th century life. Going beyond the "nasty, brutish and short" of it, Mortimer's immersive visitors-guide approach to popular history gives readers a seamless sense of being there. The population is young"Half of the population is aged twenty-one or less"but incredibly diverse. The idea that social classes were distinct and fewfighters, prayers, and farmersgets exploded in Mortimers examination society and the Medieval character, including everything from humor and juggling to mariners to doctors. Mortimer even argues, convincingly, over relative standards of hygiene ("to regard a medieval kitchen as 'dirty' because it has not been wiped down with modern detergent is to apply our own standards inappropriately"). He also looks at the role of periods four greatest writers of the time , and reveals the horrors of contemporary medicine (with terrifying descriptions of the plague) and law (the outskirts of every town were decorated with the hanged corpses of minor criminals). Mortimer's toungue-in-cheek vistors guide is an impressive accomplishment, turning 600 years of history transparent to give 21st century audiences a clear view on Medieval life. (Jan.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"Amazing...an incredible tour de force." -- Alison Weir
"An amazingly detailed social history...From wages to wardrobes, [Mortimer] reconstructs what everyone from all walks of life did on an everyday basis and speculates about what they were thinking while they were doing it. A gem for history buffs as well as travelers." -- BOOKLIST
"[Mortimer] sets out to re-enchant the fourteenth century, taking us by the hand through a landscape furnished with jousting knights, revolting peasants, and beautiful ladies in wimples. It is Monty Python and the Holy Grail with footnotes and, my goodness, it is fun." -- KATHRYN HUGHES, THE GUARDIAN
"After The Canterbury Tales this has to be the most entertaining book ever written about the Middle Ages." -- SUE ARNOLD, THE GUARDIAN
"Perhaps the most enjoyable history book I've read all year." -- PROFESSOR STEPHEN HOWE, THE INDEPENDENT
"The resulting portrait of the era is as lively as it is informative. His work of speculative social history is eminently entertaining but this doesn't detract from the serious and thorough research involved." -- ANGEL GURRÍA-QUINTANA, FINANCIAL TIMES
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