What is something that was normal in mediaval times, but would be weird today?
By - sinoxx_the_maymayer
This was a love potion recipe from the 10th century:
A woman will lay a cloth on the ground and cover it in grain. She will then strip her clothing off and cover her body in honey. After that, she will roll around on the cloth and try to get covered in grain.
Afterwards, she will get up and take the grain stuck to her body over to the mill and ground that into flour. She will then use that flour to bake bread and give it to her husband to eat.
There was also another love potion that involves a wife presenting her naked butt to her husband who then rolls bread dough on it that will be turned into bread.
Edit: Did not expect this to blow up. I read this in an excerpt of Burchard of Worms book “The Corrector” (or alternatively “The Physician”). He was a bishop in southern Germany who wrote books on canon law. Book 19 (this one) covered a lot of popular pagan rituals
In modern times, love potions still exist in the form of camgirls selling their bathwater to gamers.
The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
I know. That was my reaction when I read that and asked my professor whether he was bs-ing me or not. He was not
Donating your urine to a Dyer.
I believe that this is where the phrase "doesn't have a pot to piss in" originated. If you were poor, you sold your urine. If you were REALLY poor, you did not have a pot to piss into and thus could not sell your urine.
ETA: OK just got home from work and this blew up way bigger than I thought it ever would, so I need to edit this to add that I did learn that this is not the proper etymology of the phrase.
The phrase was not actually used until it was written by Djuna Barnes in her novel "Nightwood" first published in 1936. It does reference the medieval practice of selling urine and throwing "waste" out the window, but the actual phrase was not actually coined in medieval times.
Here I am, flushing it away ... like a chump!
Literally pissing away money!
Wearing a codpiece.
Ah, when syphilis inspired fashion.
> syphilis inspired fashion
This was also one of the reasons why wigs came into fashion.
Syphilis makes hair fall out? I thought it affected the skin on face first (but oh right - makeup). My professor told us that dinners in those times for the regency was interesting - some kind of beetles - I think carpet beetles - fell out of wigs onto dinner plates. The old paintings make them look so pretty, but the reality is ladies also wore jewelry that looked like cylinders with little holes - there was some kind of bait maybe inside, I don’t remember. It was a way to capture body lice.
Large cod pieces were made popular because they “discreetly” held bandages and herbal remedies onto the diseased penises of the men who wore them. Additionally, the larger designs probably helped prevent pain because they probably prevented unwanted physical contact with whatever mess they had going on down there.
Edit: I feel like I may remember a poem about Henry VIII being responsible for the large size of the cod piece. Can anyone confirm?
Edits: grammar sp
He was. The tower of london has a set of armor from that period with the codpiece being very prominent (i think it was his own armor). Googling images of that era’s armor does show a bit of enlargement but nothing compared to the armor displayed in the tower.
On a side - note: Henry VIII's armour was so intricate it was studied by engineers working on NASA's spacesuits.
It's [quite impressive](https://i.redd.it/twa2y4k0f6l51.jpg) I must say.
I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by the metalwork and engineering talent or the size of the knob pocket
"That's the king, ye can see't by's magnificient groin!"
Duels over a bride at a wedding.
Edit: Thank you for the award!
That leads to my favourite trivia of weddings, where the best man was not necessarily your best mate, but the best duellist you knew, in order to help fight over the bride at a wedding.
And the reason they stand on the side they do has to do with positioning and having a sword to hand, I think.
Also the reason for bridesmaids and groomsmen is to act as body doubles for the bride and groom and confuse any evil spirits looking to do them harm. In addition to mundane duties.
So bridesmaids and groomsmen are supposed to be your expendable friends/family members?
"Uh oh, looks like the spirits got Sarah!"
"Well we never did have much hope for her, nor did she have any prospects for a potential suitor..."
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single spirit in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife
Drunken dudes still do this in college bars
A barber doing surgery.
It was more like a surgeon was also doing haircuts
Just imagine a barber giving you the sickest fade while you get a radical prostatectomy or giving you a bob while performing a hysterectomy. It's like a great 2 for 1 deal.
EDIT: Thanks for the awards :)
The best part is your hair would look spot on for the funeral.
And we still have a representative of bloody rags outside of every shop.
The hue and cry. Literally shouting that someone stole something and having the whole village chase after them
I mean.... Have any better ideas for when you get robbed in a public place? Sounds like a sound idea to me.
But imagine getting wrongly accused and getting lynched by a handful of peasants
impossible to imagine a wrongful accusation and mob overreaction in the modern era
Having rules about what colors and what type of clothing and hats you could wear, based on your occupation or social level.
Sumptuary laws covered a whole host of things, beyond clothing. It'd also limit, for example, the number of guests you could have at a wedding.
Is that the same word root as sumptuous?
Both from Latin *sūmptus*, meaning expense. The sumptuary laws were also designed to limit extravagant spending
HOA. Hat Owner's Association.
Animal Courts. By far the most serial offenders were pigs, accused and convicted of chewing off body parts and even eating children. Most were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging or being burned at the stake. In 1386, a convicted pig was dressed in a waistcoat, gloves, drawers and a human mask for its execution.
> In 1386, a convicted pig was dressed in a waistcoat, gloves, drawers and a human mask for its execution.
That is some peak fucked-up 14th century shit right there. That's the kind of shit that made Barbara Tuchman pour a tall drink and oil her typewriter.
Ther was a Pope in 897 who hated his predecessor so much he had his dead body taken from its grave and put to trial just so he could talk shit about him in front of everyone.
The history of the Church is honestly a great read for people interested, there's some frankly bizarre stuff going on there.
it's pretty much a giant list of everything Jesus specifically said **not** to do
Shoutout to that pope that just had orgies in the Vatican, he knew what was up.
Dude's just trying to bring Temple Prostitution back...
This video by historia civilus covers animal trials pretty well. https://youtu.be/ALWLELLlv6E
Historia civillis is by far one of the best history channels ever. He also covered another weird thing called [lupercalia](https://youtu.be/a_ZGSpQaw3A)
Then there was the brutal hanging of Mary, the circus elephant in 1916 (and several other elephants killed by Thomas Edison). It's so heartbreaking to read about what she went through even in their bizzare attempt to lynch her
I live not far from where this occurred and I've never read the details cuz I know I'd cry.
Definitely don't. I have encountered many wild elephants and witnessed their intelligence and empathy. This just ripped my heart to shreds.
Outlawry, which stripped a person of all legal rights and allowed anyone to kill them with impunity
Civil Death is the modern version of this and it’s still practiced in Rhode Island.
I guess I’ll add that civil death in Rhode Island includes the loss of ability to possess or bequeath property, get married, or even to bring a claim in court. Civilly dead attacked or molested in prison have no capacity to sue, because they are “dead.” It is not clear whether a defendant could legally be convicted for murder of a personal already legally dead, and there’s no case law to that effect so it would have to be decided by the court. The RI Supreme Court has upheld the statute’s bar on bringing claims in court several times in recent years, despite RI’s constitution featuring a provision absent from the US constitution, which protects the right to bring claims in court.
In case anyone is interested, this is the definition of civil death as per the RIACLU:
" The law, enacted in 1909, declares people sentenced to life imprisonment to be “dead” for virtually all legal purposes, including those relating to matrimony and holding property, even though most are eligible for parole after 20 years. "
when's the last time it was used?
It came under fire as late as two years ago, [after inmate Dana Gallop was denied his right to sue another inmate after an assault because Gallop was legally dead](https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2019/07/a-rhode-island-man-tried-to-sue-a-prison-for-a-vicious-attack-he-was-told-he-couldnt-because-he-was-dead/).
Editing to add: The Rhode Island law only makes you dead in the eyes of *civil* law, not *criminal* law. This law makes it hard for inmates current and former (because some are eligible for parole after 20 years, but it's not settled whether they would be then civilly "alive" again) seek recognition in civil courts. This can make it difficult or impossible to get married, sign contracts, or pursue civil litigation. This last part is especially important because part of the civil protection that may no longer be granted to those civilly dead are constitutional rights, like against inhumane torture or treatment. Of course, there's very little precedent to make this clear because affected inmates are literally not recognized by the courts who would settle this issue and the US Supreme Court declined this year to hear a case from RI on this matter.
Lol wtf. That is... so blatantly unconstitutional, how have they gotten away with it for so long?
A lot of folks really seem keen on the idea that if you are in jail, you should have no rights, and you should be being punished. One of the reasons our recidivism rate is so high is because our prisons, where an inmate should have access to counseling, job training and other classes to improve their life when they are out are lacking.
Seeing someone in stocks on a stage in public.
The [Groom of the Stool](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groom_of_the_Stool). And it wasn't just a respected position, it was a very powerful one.
What makes you think you can convince the king to banish me, the head of the royal guard, general who’s won countless battles, who has the loyalty of the military, what do you have?
I wipe his ass
Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck I’m so sorry I had no idea please have mercy!
For real though, imagine getting executed because you made a dude that wipes kings ass angry.
Well, you really gotta trust someone if you're gonna have them wipe your ass and they haven't betrayed you.
Only my true homie wipes my ass
That's why I use my cat.
Self cleaning toilet paper
I'm a little late to the conversation but there's no actual proof that the Groom of the Stool wiped the king's ass. His actual duties included dressing/undressing the monarch and monitoring his shits to report to the royal doctor.
He wielded no formal power in the government but it was an influential position in the sense that he was constantly with the king, frequently alone, and privy to all kinds of information.
I think the Groom of the Stool was literally the only person who was ever completely alone with the King?
Lots of potential for scheming and plotting.
And it was a paid position. In that you had to pay FOR the job. And had to be a noble of a certain rank to qualify. Louis XIV was good at that, making all the nobility pay him for the privilege of waiting on him hand and foot.
Noblemen would try and get their wives to sleep with Louis so they could get him favours for their husbands.
I'm a nurses aid should this apply to me as well? I wipe more than one butt so that means more respect and power, right?
The one toucheth by thy holiness's shit shall be held in high regards
Going to sleep as soon as it gets dark, waking up and hanging out with your family for a few hours in the middle of the night, and going back to bed until sunrise.
I would like to know more.
Before the industrial revolution, sleeping habits were different. It changed because of street lights, working hours and such modern things, into a single 8-hour cycle.
But in earlier times, you would go to bed at sundown, sleep 4-5 hours, wake up and maybe fuck your spouse or go shoot the shit with your neighbor for a couple hours - things that didn't require light - then go back to sleep for 3-4 more hours.
There is some speculation that this sleeping pattern is more natural, and that this may have something to do with why some people have problems with insomnia. Note the 'speculation'.
Before alarm clocks were commonplace the factories used to employ people to walk up and down the streets knocking on the windows of the shift workers to wake them up. They used a long pole with some wire on the end.
But who would wake up the people who woke up the shiftworkers?!
I'm not sure, but it could be the case that these folks essentially worked a night shift, and went to bed after getting everyone up, and so they wouldn't need to be gotten up.
Also a single large clock is much easier to make than a bazillion alarm clock sized ones. Like, the ancient Greeks had clock towers (using water clocks and sundials). So the waker-upper could just live near the town clock.
Alarm clocks, duh ...
But who wakes up the alarm clocks?
So alarm clocks were a candle with like a nail in it at different points. When the candle burnt to that point the nail would fall onto a metal plate and wake them up.
Is that true? That's genius!
Ive fallen into this habit for the past few months.
Actually feel pretty good since it started.
I seem to do that some lately. I’ll “get home from work” (leave my computer room) around 19:00 and end up asleep by 20:00. I wake up around midnight, then watch Twitch for a few hours, then fall asleep again at 03:00, waking up again at 07:00.
~~Unfortunately I dont have any sources on hand~~ [Here’s the wiki, its called Biphasic Sleep](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biphasic_and_polyphasic_sleep), but the gist is the normal human sleep cycle is for about 4 hours at a time. It was common to sleep for 4 hours, wake up and do things for a bit, then go back to sleep for another 4 hours, instead of the 8 straight hours we (should) have now.
Fuck I wish it was easier to sleep, insomnias a bitch, and yes this is something I learned while I couldn’t sleep one night
Edit: fuck not having sources!
It's not an unusual occurrence if you have a baby in your home. People had lots of babies back then.
Can concur. Our kid and baby seem to sleep 4 hours at best, then wake up for a diaper change/bottle, muck about for an hour then pass out. And naturally they want Mommy to tend to them.
I've basically converted to biphasic with the occasional midday nap. Because hot tip for new parents: SLEEP WHEN YOU CAN.
Sleeping in 2 shifts was very common, more recently than medieval times
They called it "first sleep" and "second sleep". It's a recent thing to believe that everyone should sleep eight hours all in a row. There's an article [about it here](https://www.sciencealert.com/humans-used-to-sleep-in-two-shifts-maybe-we-should-again).
Throwing your shit out of the window
Nowadays we keep it securely locked inside
Don’t *touch* my shit!
In Rome, once a year Jews were made to run through the streets naked.
Did they hire Borat to spectate the Running of the Jew?
Fight instead of divorce
Why waste time on courts and child support? In medieval Germany, if a husband and wife reached a dead end on some important issue, they entered the ring.
The rules, of course, equalized the forces of men and women. In the ring, the man was in a hole, one hand was tied behind his back, so that he could strike with only one hand. And the wife was given a bag of coal, with which she struck.
Whoever wins the fight (inflicts serious injury or the defeated one asks for mercy) is, therefore, right in the dispute.
>In 1228, a woman fought a man at Berne, Switzerland, and soundly defeated him. German law provided that in such a case the man should be armed with three wooden clubs. He was to put be [sic] up to his waist in a three-food-wide hole dug in the ground, with one hand tied behind his back. The woman was to be armed with three rocks, each weighing between one and five pounds, and each one wrapped in cloth. The man could not leave his hole but the woman was free to run around the edge of the pit.
>If the man touched the edge of the pit with either his hand or arm, he had to surrender one of his clubs to the judges. If the woman hit him with a rock while he was doing so, she forfeited one of her stones. Bizarre as it may seem to us today, this marital duel was very far from play-acting. For both parties, the penalty for defeat was death. If the woman won, the man was executed; if the man won, the woman was buried alive.
Gives people a whole lot more incentive to sort out their grievances in private
>the woman was buried alive.
Was it in the same hole?
It seems like it would be wasteful to not use the same hole.
I'd prefer execution over live burial :(
PREVIOUSLY ON SURVIVOR
I do historical reenactment of landsknecht, and we've always wanted to do a fight between a married couple. Sadly, the faire we're at rightfully wouldn't allow us to dig the hole needed.
Could you build a temporary platform of sorts with a hole in the floor to re-enact this?
You with your practical solutions!
Sleeping with your entire family in one bed.
Or if you are a king, sleeping in the same bed with a rival king to cement your friendship and respect for each other, as brothers.
Privacy was just not really a thing in the middle ages!
Edit: I came at this with a pretty western perspective obviously. Many families around the world still sleep together in the same bed/space. However in modern western culture, it isn't considered as normal as it would have been in previous centuries.
actually it wasn't a thing for the majority of history. Only relatively recently, the last 150yrs or so with seperate bedrooms
And I like it tbh
Yeah, grandma doesn't wear panties. Found that out the hard way.
Serious question, what did a couple do when they had a family in a one room house and wanted to have sex?
Send the kids out to do something, same as today. Adults shouldnt be weirded out when you say, "Me and my wife need some alone time, can you take the kids out for a while?" Did you ever go to a relative's house while your parents stayed home?
I came the realization that my parents probly banged every Sunday after church when me and my brother and sister were little. I’ve obviously never brought it up because I don’t want confirmation of it lol. But every Sunday after church we would get a ride with my grandparents to their house and my Nan would make us lunch and we would hang out with my grandfather playing with Lincoln logs or dicking around in his garage/workshop with him. My parents would “go home to change out of their church clothes” and it would usually be an hour or so until they got to my grandparents for lunch. Their house and my grandparents house are 5 minutes apart and the church is literally half way between the two houses.
To be fair, they might have also just gone home and taken a nap. Two young kids gets tiring and maybe they just needed a break and some silence.
100% of the time they want it to be sex. Only 25% of the time is it really sex.
This is wholesome though. I’m glad your parents had a good enough marriage that they were still doing it years after you kids arrived.
The king one actually kind of makes sense
But I feel like there are a lot of people today who would respond with something like “but that’s gay”...
Two dudes, sleeping in a bed, six feet apart cuz they’re not gay.
Not European, but foot binding is weird as fuck. Like, let’s make this kid wear tiny shoes so her feet stay like kids feet her whole life so men find her more attractive.
It was also a socioeconomic status symbol. It showed that her family was wealthy enough that they could afford to feed/house/clothe her without her help as a laboring member of the family.
You have insulted my honor , I challenge you to a duel !
Pies at ten paces.
In medieval times it was a common practice to display *tapestries* on walls instead of oil paintings and other works of art.
My parents had tapestries hanging in our house growing up. To add to the medieval-ness, in order to get the mounts to hang them, my dad went to the renaissance fair, spoke to a blacksmith about making the mounts, then a year or two later when they came back through was able to actually get them.
That's pretty neat, actually. Not how I'd decorate my own house, but I'd be stoked to visit a friend who did that.
Tapestries had the added benefit of acting as insulation.
They also impact how sound moves in a room
There are pieces falling off of me.
I'm not half the man I used to be.
Oh why did I get leprosy.
Brushing your teeth with a stick
A tooth brush is just a stick with brissles at one end.
A lot of people believe, that medieval people had bad teeth. This might be because of movie interpretations. Truth is, their teeth weren’t rotten because back then, they didn’t eat that much sugar as we do nowadays.
there is a book in my local museum with an absolutely brutal traveller’s description of a queen (can’t remember which one lol) which basically says her teeth are all black and falling out because she is both gluttonous and rich enough to afford imported sugar and fruits, although I can’t see that being much of a problem for the common folks
Inheriting clothes being a big deal.
Things weren't really disposable back then - people wore, turned, refreshed, re-sewed, cut down and re-sewed, stripped into trimming and then into rags every piece of clothing they owned. There was a thriving second hand market, and a lot of money in carefully re-using good bits of cloth, cutting off worn out buttonholes and re-sewing garments, re-using trim, etc. Even the upperclass did this to an extent, you had to get to ridiculously wealthy Royalty level for clothing to be abundant and completely new all the time. You rarely find whole garments in archeological digs, but you find all sorts of bits and pieces that were cut off an otherwise whole garment.
This was because making cloth was insanely time consuming, especially in the earlier periods when the primary looms were upright and sheep weren't yet fully modernized and produced smaller amounts of wool, of various qualities. Linen was even more time consuming, cotton wasn't a thing yet (and cotton is seriously annoying to process by hand), and silk was out of reach for most people.
So, people willed cloth to relatives when they died, as well as specific garments. These days you sell off all Grandma's old WalMart clothes, or sometimes get some cool vintage stuff you wear occasionally, but back then getting a few ells of worsted wool cloth was a huge score. There are garments that were passed down several times, because they were just that valuable - and clothes show up in the wills of people from many different classes. It was entirely normal for your daughter to be wearing a dress made from her great-grandmother's old overgown that had been willed down through the family and the good cloth re-purposed until it was only fit for rags. There were whole industries devoted to re-finishing cloth that had gotten a bit worn so new garments could be sewn from it.
Imagine today getting excited because your Aunt died and left you four pairs of jeans. But, in the Medieval period, that would have been a truly great score of an inheritence.
First, I just want to say great comment! I had no idea this was a thing.
Second, I’m dyslexic and read “cutting off worn out buttonholes” as “cutting off worn out buttholes” at first. So not only was it informative, it made me giggle.
The last public execution in the US [happened in 1936](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_execution#Reforms); in France in 1939.
The middle east wants to have a word
I read a book from the 1930's about life in Medieval England, one of the thing that really stuck out was the level of animal cruelty, and I don't just mean beasts of burden and what not. In one section on the types of games played at fairs there was one for example which involved tying a Rooster to a peg and then the contestants took turns throwing stones at it, whoever killed it was the winner. Bear baiting, bull baiting and baiting just about any kind of animal, usually ending in it being killed was the height of wholesome fun.
Never traveling more than a few miles outside of your village or town.
I don't understand why cloaks are amazing
we should bring cloaks back
I have an unproven theory that certain garments like cloaks, great coats, and trench coats have fallen out of popularity simply because they're a pain in the butt while driving a car.
I think it's because they're inefficient and our society values efficiency. They're yards and yards of cloth. (Which makes them heavy and kind of expensive if you're getting a good quality one) They get caught on things and get dirty far more easily than say, wearing a coat and a hat.
In addition, our society likes seeing people's body shape and lines. Cloaks obscure body shape, meaning that they look less attractive to people in general.
Trench coats fell out of fashion because of that weird kid in everyone's middle school.
*edit: yes yes Columbine. I didn't mention it because I wasn't alive then and trench coats were weird in my middle school even without kids thinking about Columbine. Also, it makes my joke less funny to mention it, not more funny.
Imagine being Big Trenchcoat. You blow a shitload of money pushing for everyone to wear trench coats in The Matrix. Trench coats will be cool and popular and rise again, easy money.
The Matrix released in March of 1999. You start to see sales rise.
April of 1999 rolls around. This pair of fuckheads go and murder a bunch of people while wearing trench coats. Sales plummet. Now you have tons of stock and nothing to do with it.
In fact, it was normal to pick your nose back then
Sometimes blowing doesn’t get the job done
Yeah there's no way anyone exists who doesn't. I just got inside from cutting the lawn and it felt like a boulder was in my nose.
Pissing and shitting in a bowl and just tossing your shit out the window in the morning.
We do that on social media instead
More horrifying than weird, but burning cats alive was a popular form of entertainment in medieval and early modern France. The cultural historian Robert Darnton writes:
>Cats also figured in the cycle of Saint John the Baptist, which took place on June 24, at the time of summer solstice. Crowds made bonfires, jumped over them, danced around them, and threw into them objects with magical power, hoping to avoid disaster and obtain good fortune during the rest of the year. A favorite object was cats—cats tied up in bags, cats suspended from ropes, or cats burned at stake. Parisians liked to incinerate cats by the sackful, while the Courimauds (or "cour à miaud" or cat chasers) of Saint Chamond preferred to chase a flaming cat through the streets. In parts of Burgundy and Lorraine they danced around a kind of burning May pole with a cat tied to it. In the Metz region they burned a dozen cats at a time in a basket on top of a bonfire.
The ancient Egyptians seem to be the only people in history that liked cats. Damn do they get shit on all the time. Feels bad as a cat mom.
Turkey is cat crazy, Istanbul is famous for having tons of street cats that are treated with respect. Lots of people leave water bowls out for cats and on cold or rainy nights they’ll leave cat shelters out with straw, blankets, or towels in boxes. Neighborhood cats often get named and taken in for medical care and there are statues of a bunch of especially famous ones. There’s good documentary about Istanbul’s cats called Kedi (cat/kitty). They became venerated for eliminating rats, there was a saying for 500 years that went like “welcome cats in your street or rats in your home.”
"Kedi" is absolutely amazing. Love that documentary. Loved the cats walking around everywhere in Istanbul even more. They had the most golden eyes of any cats I have ever seen.
I edited the British subtitles for that film and it was the loveliest job I've ever worked on! Alas, straight after that I worked on a YouTube film 'starring' Logan Paul, blurgh.
In a desert country, grain was a precious way to store the meager summer harvest so that you would have bread in the winter. Mice ate the grain, so cats protected their stored food.
[Muslims liked cats too.](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_cats) One of Muhammad's companions was called Abu Hurairah, meaning "Father of the Kitten" because he liked cats so much. There's a legend about Muhammad where he cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than wake his cat who was sleeping on it. Cats are be thought to be ritually clean, and allowed to enter mosques.
> Cats are be thought to be ritually clean, and allowed to enter mosques.
Wise, unless you like chasing rats out of your mosque by hand.
Having multiple children, over many years, while living in a 1 room dwelling.
Eta: I had answered the question assuming op was talking about the socio-economic and cultural experience that the time period was, and not the time all over the world. My bad.
So, specifically, having sex in the same room as your kids.
Carrying a sword.
More like not having enough money to be able to afford a sword. A decent sword cost several months' wages for the average man.
A knife or dagger would be carried by everyone though
Gruesome executions that took a while to actually kill someone.
Seriously medieval people WTF is it with sentencing people to be burned at the stake or crucified or drawn-and-quartered?
A swift beheading was the most benevolent way to kill someone in the old days but not widely practiced as it turns out.
Beheadings took skill. France solved that
For most of history, for the average person, getting married was as simple as agreeing to be married. The ceremony, witnesses, and engagement were only really important for people who were afraid of being deceived. A wealthy person, with a lot to lose, would typically announce their upcoming wedding to allow time for any issues to be discovered, like a previous marriage, financial ruin, or an affair that could call into question legitimacy of any heirs.
Witnesses were useful because a marriage by agreement is truly and he said/she said set up until the marriage becomes common knowledge. If party A claimed to be married to party B and party B denied it, they would call on witnesses to confirm or deny each senario. The more witnesses or the higher their status, the more reliable the testimony would be. So, say a local noble denied that he married a lower class girl, and it's him and his family against her and her family. The girl's family would likely lose. But if a priest married them, his word would be final. Having people sign a church register was a natural extension that occurred more frequently over time. Similarly though, they could go to a local public place and tell people together that they were married and the marriage would become common knowledge, which is hard to deny.
Basically all the wedding layers that we enjoy as romance and tradition are just levels of security.
Wielding supreme executive power because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
Strange women laying in ponds distributing swords is a horrible basis for a system of government
I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away!
Must be the king.
'Ow do you know?
He's not covered in shit.
Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!
A doctor taste testing urine
Women plucking their hairline to make their forehead bigger. In the C13th, there was this whole European aesthetic about women's sexy, sexy foreheads. So women would pluck their hair to make the forehead bigger and sexier.
Whenever I tell my classes about this they go "ew" but they are all manscaping and waxing other body parts.
I wish I lived in that era. My 5 head would've be HAWT
I’ve taken medieval literaturein college. There’s a lot of strange things that was normal for them but strange for us. Selling off your daughter so the rest of your family can eat, putting iron near your baby to protect them from Changelings, et cetra et cetra
I've read that the whole changeling thing may have actually been autism. Something about how the child was usually two when they started acting different and I believe that's when autism can be detected. At least with my nephew it was around 2.
That's why my autistic historian boyfriend often jokes about being a changeling.
Public baths. Not on the same scale as they were in Rome, but it was still pretty common to have a bathhouse in medieval Germany and surrounding places to bathe in a group in a large tub of hot, fragrant water, called a "Zuberbad" in German. Now everyone's all hung up nudity. even among friends, so it's way less common (although you can still enjoy a public Zuber bath at medieval markets and renaissance fairs in Germanic countries).
Maybe in the West, yeah. Last I checked, saunas are extremely common in Finland, and public bathing happens all the time in some Asian countries.
Yes, in finland we just dont give a shit and sit naked in the sauna with a bunch of other strangers.
I've been to a few in the US, so it definitely exists, but because it's still a thing most people don't do, not everyone showers before getting in.
Japan, full of public baths, everywhere. As well as hot springs.
God didn't gift women with multiple consecutive orgasms so they couldn't take advantage of it.
Let's sleep on some hay on the floor.
Assuming that most women you meet can't read.
Assuming that most men you meet either can't read or can also read Latin.
Not going more than 20 miles from where you were born.
Salt being extremely expensive. (Getting some comments here - expensive is a relative statement, and when you consider that less than three hours of minimum wage buys a 50 lb bag of salt today... it's safe to say that a modern person would be surprised at how expensive salt was. Additionally, salt in West Africa was expensive even in absolute terms.)
Barbers also being doctors and performing surgery.
Marrying second cousins. When nobody travels and villages are small... it's pretty much unavoidable.
Huge age disparities between husband and wife, both of whom are getting married for the first time.
Paying different taxes based on religion.
Having people help you get dressed and undressed as an adult.
The whole family waking up at midnight to drink and bullshit for an hour or two before going back to bed.
Sleeping all together on the floor, with people casually having sex without problems
We did that in the 60's.
Boiling fruit before you eat it.
(People in medieval times thought raw fruit was bad for you - so they boiled their fruit before eating it. Boiling removes vitamin C from fruit. This habit is thought to be one of the reasons why there were high rates of scurvy in medieval times. One of the symptoms of scurvy is hallucinations. Scurvy-induced hallucinations are thought to be one of the reasons why so many people in medieval times were documented to have had religious visions. LPT - if you want to see Jesus, stop ingesting vitamin C. Possible side effects include loss of teeth, bleeding gums, aforementioned hallucinations, suppression of immune system, and death).
The name Lance isn't popular in this day and age, but back in medieval times people were called Lancelot