Throughout our time in this class, we have learned a broad spectrum of different elements that made up life in the Medieval Times. Two aspects that really fascinated me were their clothes and the rules in regards to them. Another was their means of traveling.
Clothes were a symbol of rank and distinction among the different classes of people, not by their shape as it was portrayed, but by the quality of fabric and color. Prostitutes were allowed in London, but had to wear a yellow hood as a sign of their trade according to regulation. The women’s hair and face was the most important quality of her body rather than her breast and legs, like in today’s society. People would dress according to their status, for example, Aristocrats wore expensive furs, men and women with a lower status wore cheaper furs, and town’s people wore rabbit fur.
There were laws and regulations that put stipulations on who could wear what type of clothing. This was to keep everyone speared according to the status quo. The royal families had no dress codes to abide by, but were seen as trendsetters. What they wore one day would soon make its way onto those whose class where under them and so on and so forth in cheaper forms all the way down to the lowest class. The royal families background, such as French had a strong influence in the colors and embroidery of their clothes. In 1330 the invention of the button came into play, which changed many of the old ways of making clothes. A fact that I found kind of funny was that even Knights at this point and time actually wore corsets, which are not as commonly thought of when thinking of knights in armor. In 1390, Knights carried around 80 pounds of armor when riding off into battle.
There were two main ways of traveling long-distances, either by horseback or by a ship. Both forms of travel come with risks such as robbers, pirates, and shipwreck.Maps were not made for travels to look at before their journeys, but had the purpose of being kept as records in the libraries. Since there were no compasses or maps to carry as tools of navigation they used the sun’s position and the stars location as their means of travel. Knowledge of the rivers and where the place to crossover was a big deal of knowing how much farther they would have to travel.
Roman roads were even used through the Saxon and Norman centuries. The highways in which the king traveled had routine maintenance done to insure the king’s speedy and safe travel. Other roads were not maintained like the highways, but instead of clearing the path, travelers would just find another way around. To cross a bridge there was a toll that was collected in order to have the funds to repair it after all its uses. There were two main types of ships at the start of the century that traveled in English waters, hulks and cogs. While at sea you only had so many options to relieve yourself. One way was to use the side of the ship as your bathroom spot. In one of our books, titled “The Traveler’s Guide to the Medieval England” on page 142 declares, “If you fall overboard it would be the last mistake you will ever make. You would have been, literally, “dying for a toilet.” I have to wonder if this is where the phrase, “don’t fall in,” came from.
Ta-ta for now,