Questions tagged [everyday-life]

Questions marked with this tag should concern habits and customs in normal people's lives. This can be limited to some epoch in history and to some region.

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Was the Milky Way visible in all its glory in pre-industrial times? [closed]

So, this is a bit of a silly question admittedly, but it's something that seems obviously the case, yet we never really acknowledge or make a big deal out of. Before the industrialisation and all the ...
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26 votes
2 answers
6k views

Were there luxury restaurants in East Germany?

I was recently reading the excellent book Mac B, Kid Spy: Mac Saves the World by Mac Barnett. It is set in 1989, and Mac crosses the Berlin Wall to infiltrate the Television Tower in East Berlin. I ...
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15 votes
1 answer
4k views

Was FDR right that a garden hose was really $15 in 1940 (c.a. $300 today)?

As FDR stated in a White House Press conference on December 17, 1940: "What I am trying to do is eliminate the dollar sign. All right! Well let me give you an illustration: Suppose my neighbor's ...
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-6 votes
2 answers
255 views

Was the average citizen of antiquity able to survive in the wild?

During ancient times, particularly in the Greco-Roman world during the first centuries BC, how widespread were survival skills among citizens? For example, did everyone know how to start a fire, did ...
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45 votes
2 answers
6k views

How do ancient Chinese "mirrors" such as these in the National Museum function?

In the National Museum of China we find "mirrors" from various Chinese dynasties: A photo I took of "mirrors" at the National Museum of China in Beijing Notably, these mirrors ...
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26 votes
1 answer
3k views

How does this bird trap work?

www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de provides the illustration below: I want to know how this bird trap mechanism works, as shown by this bird hunter of the medieval period on the book image, and it doesn'...
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43 votes
6 answers
8k views

Are there any accounts of everyday life during the Black Death?

How did everyday life looked like for people living during the Plague? I'm mostly interested in trying to understand things from the point of view of a regular person living in Europe. For example, I ...
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5 votes
1 answer
310 views

Is there any estimate for expected life of 'ordinary' or 'poor' people in middle ages after surviving infancy?

I tried to do my own research on this and according to paper I found: Life expectancy at birth was a brief 25 years during the Roman Empire, it reached 33 years by the Middle Ages and raised up to 55 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
153 views

How common was poisoning as tool of murder among common people in 19th and early 20th century Europe? [closed]

We all know famous people who were murdered by poisoning from ancient times till today. I am not interested in this, I am more interested in average people killing their spouses, relative (maybe ...
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4 votes
0 answers
135 views

What's the significance of "cat, hare, and ale" in this quotation?

From Alice Morse Earle's Colonial Days in Old New York (1896): In Albany in 1677 all "Shrovetide misdemeanors were prohibited, viz.: riding at a goose, cat, hare, and ale." The fine was ...
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1 vote
1 answer
427 views

What is the origin of lighting candles on birthdays?

What is the origin people start lighting the candles on birthdays. Also please explain what is the reason/logic behind it?
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-2 votes
4 answers
576 views

How many days have elapsed since October 23, 4004 B.C.?

I need the number of exact days from October 23, 4004 B.C., but obviously it's a bit challenging, i.e. there were some days "disappeared" in the history, and things became a bit complicated. ...
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3 votes
0 answers
591 views

What did the Gauls look like during the 1st century BC? [closed]

Right around the time of the Roman conquest of Gaul, contemporaneous accounts describe the Gauls as having looked like beasts or savages, with thick knotted cloaks and unkempt long hair and beards. ...
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5 votes
1 answer
193 views

Were single men permitted to adopt in the 1930's-40's USA?

I am writing a historical fiction tale, and have a question about families of the time. The situation in my book is that there are two brothers in the peacetime US Navy Aviation corps, and one of them ...
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25 votes
3 answers
2k views

Was frequent bathing for personal hygiene in medieval Europe common or not?

The usual narrative: No bathing There is a frequently debunked claim that medieval Europeans did not bathe. Occasionally, the claim is connected to pandemics of the era and extended to the idea that ...
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2 votes
0 answers
207 views

Did 12th century French nobles really sleep in the great hall of the castle? [closed]

I've been on so many sites and each one seems to tell a different story. Some say that nobles had their own bedrooms (evidenced by the fact that castles had bedrooms) but I have also seen people say ...
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2 votes
0 answers
237 views

What did people do about kerosene lamp fires?

In the late nineteenth century, kerosene lamps were widely used for illumination. They were effective and affordable, though had the nontrivial disadvantage of being a significant fire hazard; a lamp ...
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3 votes
5 answers
2k views

Why did hobos (at least stereotypically) carry their belongings in a cloth on a stick on their shoulder?

Would not a hobo be protective about their few belongings? Why put it on a stick and carry it over your shoulder, for anyone to grab? Why not simply walk with it in your hands, like a bag? Don't you ...
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3 votes
0 answers
74 views

Was it ever common practice to make "wax" seals out of bread (especially in the mid-1800s)?

In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Purloined Letter", there is this quote in which a seal on a letter is replaced by bread: D-- rushed to a casement, threw it open, and looked out. In the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
449 views

What happened when the Çatalhöyük burial holes were full and the houses had no more room?

Çatalhöyük was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7100 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC. The deceased in ...
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2 votes
0 answers
359 views

What did the kings and aristocrats in Europe use before toilet paper was introduced?

The current news of people hoarding toilet paper made me wonder what could be used instead and history should be able to provide some good answers since this is a universal human need! Historically, ...
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1 vote
1 answer
71 views

Why where individual servings replaced with shared dishes during the Song dynasty?

In part six, "Song," of section thirty-six, "Food & Drink," of Endymion Wilkinson's Chinese History: A New Manual, Fifth Edition (2018) there is the following excerpt: Sitting on chairs to eat ...
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1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Does anyone know of a good source on French folk customs?

I have been looking into French culture and was wondering if anyone knows of a book or collection of documents, etc... That contain prayers, customs, etc... That the French practiced. Kinda like a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
177 views

What would a small-scale merchant in Renaissance Italy consider a necessity at home?

Presume we have a small-scale merchant in Renaissance Italy. By "small scale" I mean someone who has a shop and a house but isn't big enough to be a "rich merchant". I believe that something like ...
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4 votes
0 answers
266 views

Was lobster considered a poor man's food in the Georgian era?

Many years ago I took a tour through a restored Georgian-era house in Dublin (best €2 I spent that summer). This included some pretty good explanations on the everyday life and customs in that period, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
273 views

What is the earliest recorded reference to a bubble floating in the air?

What is the earliest reference to a bubble floating in the air?
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5 votes
3 answers
990 views

Is it true that Nazi Germany replaced prices ending in .99 by round prices and called this "Aryan pricing"?

On a questionable website full of revisionist pro-nazi propaganda, which is not worth linking to (*), I found the following statement: Along the same lines, I remember a National Socialist ...
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57 votes
2 answers
14k views

Why does Japan use the same type of AC power outlet as the US?

Does it have something to do with the US taking part in aiding reconstruction of the country after WWII? I've tried googling around for an answer, but every site I find simply states the outlet style, ...
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  • 1,268
2 votes
0 answers
195 views

Is there a meaning in a name marked on the rear of a headstone rather than the front?

I have found a family headstone with the names of the deceased on the front (with many details), and a military cross (for their son) in front of the stone. On the rear of the stone is a name and age,...
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

How exactly were beer/bread made in Ancient Egypt?

I'm writing a novel set in large part in Ancient Egypt and am incorporating many tasks of everyday living into the narrative. The one I'm stuck on is the making of bread and beer (which were ...
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17 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is meaning of 4 letter abbreviations in Roman names like Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus?

I am reading about Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47) and cannot find meaning of T. f. T. n. in his full name as written in Wikipedia, "Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Sabinus." All I have found is a ...
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3 votes
1 answer
70 views

Addiction in history [closed]

I would like to know how communities have coped with addiction problems in history, especially with regard to alcohol and gambling. How did the community define such people? And what they did to solve ...
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27 votes
2 answers
921 views

Did men and women feast together in early medieval East Francia?

I am interested in important feasts of the upper classes (nobility), e.g., Easter or the baptism of important heirs, in the Eastern Frankish kingdom around 900 AD, specifically the Duchy of Saxony. ...
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1 vote
2 answers
196 views

Looking for good documentation about daily life under Stalinist USSR

I am contemplating the idea of making a role playing game set in USSR under Stalin, specifically the period between when he gained full power (roughly 1930) and operation barbarossa (June 1941). I am ...
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49 votes
5 answers
17k views

What did babies eat before the advent of modern blenders?

Modern baby foods are commonly made using various strengths of blender, but what was used before then? I assume something like a potato masher, but that would only work for a few foods. So what was ...
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4 votes
0 answers
384 views

What was the average day like for a 15th century English peasant or agricultural Labourer?

Because I live in a major urban American city of nearly 500,000 (Colorado Springs), I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of medieval subsistence agriculture. I am particularly ...
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18 votes
2 answers
9k views

How did people in the desert stay cool in the past?

Putting on layers of clothing, building insulated shelters or simply lighting a fire are some simple yet effective ways of staying warm. Humans have shown they are quite adept at keeping themselves ...
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3 votes
1 answer
275 views

How often was bread made at home? Daily? Weekly?

My grandmother used to tell me about the life of field workers in her (and her grandmother's) time, going from the 1950s backwards to the 19th century (in Portugal). This often included baking bread ...
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9 votes
1 answer
287 views

How common were private bathing facilities in Late Republican Rome?

For example, there are small private bathtubs in Pompeii, but this is about 150 years later and in a period that practices were changing, as more people became wealthy enough to have such things. My ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

How did people say “I have to go to the bathroom” before the bathroom and pipes were common?

I am writing a story in a medieval world of fantasy, and today a little girl is trapped next to her brother in a hole. The girl has to go to the bathroom, but I do not know how to be someone that age ...
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1 vote
2 answers
446 views

What animals did South East Asians ride in the Middle Ages?

I just got curious, what animals were used by Asians (peasants and rich people) for riding in the Middle Ages? In the west region of the Earth people rode horses, but I guess horses were not common in ...
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5 votes
1 answer
954 views

What was clothing in ancient Palmyra like?

What is known about what people used to wear in the city of Palmyra during the third century AD? Was it more similar to Roman or Persian fashion of the period?
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51 votes
7 answers
34k views

How did people wash dishes before dish detergent?

Using a sponge and dish detergent is a convenient way to clean one's dishes and utensils, but how did people clean their dishes before the invention of dish detergent?
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13 votes
1 answer
686 views

Was there self-censorship in private correspondence in the early 19th Century?

I've been reading collections of letters and journals (generally relating to the Napoleonic Wars) published in the first half of the 19th century. Often these contain words that have been partially ...
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9 votes
2 answers
820 views

Why were Roman dice elongated?

According to this article, Roman dice did not always have the modern cube-shaped form: [I]n contrast with modern dice, they weren’t always exactly cubes. Sometimes they were noticeably a bit ...
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5 votes
2 answers
170 views

What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
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  • 475
8 votes
3 answers
6k views

Did French people in 19th century not bathe every day?

I am currently watching Ikoku Meiro No Croissant episode 4. In this episode, Yune tried to take a bath, but it didn't work out nicely. So in the next morning, Claudel-san said that: Only rich ...
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  • 211
23 votes
2 answers
4k views

What was life like for an adult Victorian chimney sweep?

What was life like for an adult Victorian chimney sweep? I'm looking into my family history at the moment and my great-great-grandfather is listed on an 1881 census as a chimney sweep. I thought this ...
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  • 2,967
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

How did the Faroese heat their houses?

As Faroe Islands' "low temper­atures during the growing season, stormy winter weather, and variable winter temperatures are unfavourable for tree growth", there are hardly any trees on Faroe Islands. ...
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3 votes
2 answers
757 views

What happened during a Viking Feast?

I am looking for information about Viking feasts. The only information I found, was about their food, what they ate and so on. But are there any sources of information about the typical schedule of a ...
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