The Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century) were a weird couple of centuries. Sandwiched between the Classical and Modern time periods, the Middle Ages is also sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages. Many know this time period as the time when kings and queens reigned, although in truth, kings and queens have been around since way before the Middle Ages -- and even extended years after the era.
Other than kings and queens (or princesses and princes), the Middle Ages also had some hilarious real-life beliefs that would be so funny to many of us now. Perhaps this is why so many people are endlessly fascinated about this time period.
|A pig being tried in the court / Photo by: Wired|
Pigs Were Dangerous -- And Were Tried for It
According to History Extra, a website discussing both British and world history for all levels of knowledge and interest, pigs were considered a “type of exhaustive husbandry.” This led to more people being able to interact with people regularly, during hunting or otherwise. In fact, they had so much contact with pigs that sometimes children would get involved and even reach a point where pigs would accidentally eat the children. It feels like something straight out of a horror scene but is horrifyingly true. As a result, entire courts would try pigs for their murder crimes and give them death sentences.
|Archers preparing in case of war / Photo by: History Hit|
Archers, At the Ready
The Middle Ages were also pretty chaotic. Castles were created and fortified against sieges, attacks; there were crusades and straight-up wars that lasted for an inordinate amount of time. Castles and kings had to be ready with some sort of strategy -- and men. And so, History Hit recounts how in medieval England, the British royalties would require archery practice so that the king “always had a steady supply of archers available.”
|Jeanne d'Arc description / Photo by: History Extra|
Many Were Multilingual
Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that people during the middle ages were also well-versed in many languages. Of course, they would be. This was a time of alliances, of queens and sometimes even maitresse-un-titre or mistresses being a part of the king’s court from different countries across channels, across boarders. But more than that, medieval people had such wide repositories of language because some would even use different languages in different situations. People would sometimes use Latin for praying and French for law.
|Two royals talking to each other / Photo by: British Library via History Hit|
Football Was Believed to Cause Evils to Rise, And So it Was Banned
This one is a little on the whacky side. According to History Hit, a website bringing extraordinary, dramatic, tragic, and fascinating stories of our shared pasts, football had once been banned in England by King Edward II on April 13, 1314. This is the biggest irony since many parts of Europe now are as enamored with their football teams as they are with their tea. Back then, though, King Edward II said he will ban football because apparently, the “large balls” used in the game was something “from which many evils may arise which God forbid...”
|A public bath / Photo by: Medieval Weapons Info|
And Yes, They Bathed
Because it was not as civilized or even have indoor plumbing we have now, many people seem to believe that people in the middle ages simply did not get into baths more often. That was so obviously false. Bathtubs were very common back then, to the point that major towns would even boast about their public baths. Some of these baths were even drawn for the specific purpose of healing certain illnesses.
|An eatery during the middle ages / Photo by: Tristan Hughes via History Hit|
No Race or Particular Religion
Interestingly, race and religion didn’t play as big a part in the history of medieval Europe as it does now in most of the world. According to History Extra, many people come together from different walks of life bearing the crest of different religions and faiths. Paganism, in particular, had been “common in the north” for a pretty long time. In the case of race, most people also believed than that sometimes, “a black bishop from North Africa was considered more civilized and of far higher rank than a white slave from eastern Europe for example.”
|Drinking water in the middle ages / Photo by: Knights of Colombus|
Clean Water or Dirty Water?
As we are entire centuries away from the middle ages, it is sometimes difficult to gather information about things they did and what we think they did. While it was a fact in the middle ages that clean water was often hard to come by--in addition to establishing a water supply for food preparation or for baths, it was also not entirely true that medieval people drank booze exclusively in fear of dirty water. According to food historian Jim Chevallier, who spoke with io9 Gizmodo, medieval people had ways to tell good and bad water.