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Medieval European Life

Life expectancy is around forty. Infant morality is common and is experienced by every family. People are fully preoccupied with death.

The dominant theology rules that everyone from the time that they are born is damned to hell (pardon me) and needs to be saved through the Church. One who is not sufficiently pious may purchase salvation from the Church. This arrangement does not encourage the wealthy to lead noble lives.

The Church has fixed ideas about the world. They are based on the Aristotelian philosophy and rules of nature. The Earth is flat. Anyone who says to the contrary risks being burned at the stake. Scientific freedom and discovery are therefore non-existent.

Knowledge is dangerous. New ideas are dangerous. Innovators are burned at the stake.

The mystics hold sway, in part because of the ignorance and in part out of necessity, as a form of escape. In the twentieth century, a person who claims that a snake spoke to him would wind up on a couch and be asked to talk about his childhood. During the Medieval years, the person's neighbors would hold him in awe.

They have different standards for cruelty. Confessions are not valid unless they are extracted under torture. Cities buy criminals for torture to entertain their citizens.

If you aren't from the clergy or from the nobility, you are probably a serf (read slave). The nobleman who owns you provides protection when he isn't fighting the neighbors. If he loses and if you aren't used as a pawn, you survive and just belong to someone else.

No plumbing. There is a communal ditch in the middle of the street where you really don’t want to fall in. No one bathes in the winter. Don't ask about the summer. No perfumed deodorants. There are other things which covered up bad odors. You have animals all over the place. You have that ditch in the middle of the street. Enough said.

No central heat. To survive the cold European winter you need to sleep almost in the fireplace.

Night is dark, no lights. All but a few are able to read. Nothing much to read anyway.

[Rose]Let's sum up by saying that in some ways, things weren't then as rosy as they are today in Siberia.

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H
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© 1996- by Harlan Black, JewishAmerica. All rights reserved.
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