The Vintage News: Half of Medieval Workers in England Broke Bones as Part of Day to Day Life

Day to Day Life

History was finite and contained within comprehensible limits. It began with the Creation and was scheduled to end in a not indefinitely remote future with the Second coming, which was the hope of afflicted mankind, followed by the Day of Judgement.  Within that span, man was not subject to social or moral progress because his goal was the next world, not betterment in this.  In this world he was assigned to ceaseless struggle against himself in which he might attain individual progress and even victory, but collective betterment would only come in the final union with God.

The average layman acquired knowledge mainly by ear, through public sermons, mystery plays, and the recital of narrative poems, ballads, and tales, but during Enguerrands lifetime, reading by educated nobles and upper bourgeois increased with the increased availability of manuscripts. Books of universal knowledge, mostly dating from the 13th century and written in (or translated from the Latin into) French and other vernaculars for the use of the layman, were literary staples familiar in every country over several centuries.  A 14th century man drew also on the Bible, romances, bestiaries, satires, book of astronomy, geography, universal history, church history, rhetoric, law, medicine, alchemy, falconry, hunting, fighting, music, and any number of special subjects.  Allegory was the guiding concept. Every incident in the Old Testament was considered to pre-figure in allegory what was to come in the New.  Everything in nature concealed an allegorical meaning relating to some aspect of Christian doctrine. Allegorical figures-Greed, Reas, Courtesy, Love, False-Seeming, Do-Well, Fair Welcome, Evil Rumor-peopled the tales of political treatises. [119]

The Vintage News: Half of Medieval Workers in England Broke Bones as Part of Day to Day Life.