30 votes
Accepted

How does this bird trap work?

It seems that this is a depiction of a variant of the profession fowler, or bird-catcher, a type of food production industry. A bird catcher is waiting in a hiding place and tries to catch birds with ...
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  • 77.3k
20 votes
Accepted

How common was marriage between nobles and peasants in the Middle Ages?

Probably more common than you would think. Lots of nobles were little more than farmers with a coat of arms. Peasants could acquire a lot of wealth. Where the division between the two classes fell ...
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  • 5,411
12 votes

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

Salting, brining, smoking and fermenting were all common methods of Medieval food preservation used in autumn in preparation for the lean winter months. Note that in Northern Europe it would still be ...
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10 votes

How common was marriage between nobles and peasants in the Middle Ages?

It's hard to prove a negative (outside of math, of course), but let me try to show why this would be extremely rare (and mostly exist in legends). The institution of marriage exists to protect the ...
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  • 25.7k
10 votes

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

In addition to preserving, there were various techniques to start the growing season very early. Some vegetables can be planted very early and harvested within a month or two. Radishes are ...
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  • 53.1k
9 votes
Accepted

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

Okay - I got duck-souped rock-souped1 into an answer on this one based on this paper (Thank you Gort the Robot) that analyzed about 200 adult skeletons over the time period 1100 to 1300 for a small ...
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9 votes

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

Medieval times span ten centuries and a continent. An English village in 1400 would be far from a Norwegian village in 500. That makes generalizations difficult. Here I'm thinking of the 11th or 12th ...
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  • 16.1k
9 votes

How were "Wehrbauern" (soldier peasants) in medieval Europe even a thing, at all?

Let us take the example of the empire of Charlemagne and its expansion over the Pyrenees, in the late eighth century, clashing with the Umayyad Caliphate which controlled the Iberian peninsula. This ...
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  • 91
8 votes

Insect consumption in late middle-ages in the Northern Europe

The evidence for this is overall scarce, given the low status of peasant food and most of the animals involved in such a frame, even though their sheer number of species to consider is extremely vast. ...
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  • 77.3k
6 votes
Accepted

What toilet facilities were available to commoners in the middle ages?

There were latrines, aka public toilets, in the Roman era... to the extent that Vespasian set out to institute a urine tax, and public urinals still hold the latter's name today in some countries. ...
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4 votes

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

Literacy rates in the 15h century were on the order of 10%, and that would have been concentrated in professions (clergy, law, government) - so let's halve that for the village population. I wish I ...
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  • 31.1k
3 votes

How common was marriage between nobles and peasants in the Middle Ages?

There are some examples. King Erik XIV of Sweden married the servant Karin Månsdotter in 1567 (not really middle ages, but quite close). Karin Månsdotter was the daughter of a soldier/jailkeeper and a ...
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  • 2,028
3 votes

How common was marriage between nobles and peasants in the Middle Ages?

Since I have a great memory and access to the internet I quickly found a case of the child of a mighty noble and a peasant becoming his father's successor, but unfortunately they don't seem to have ...
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  • 17.5k
3 votes
Accepted

Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage?

The series is rather nondescript about this stuff, and I did not find any recipe that is really described as 'instant pottage'.* As such I preliminarily infer that this is a humorous but not totally ...
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  • 77.3k
2 votes

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

People have already mentioned various winter-crops and food preservation; winter was indeed a harsh time of year for many preindustrial Europeans, but unless their food stores got damaged or stolen, ...
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  • 464
1 vote

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

No. Not for peasants. Wealthy families might have a primer, a book with the alaphbet, prayers, and stories that a child might learn from. Nicholas Orme's book Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to ...
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  • 121
1 vote

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

I would say for the majority of inhabitants the answers presented here are correct, however there are a few notable exceptions, especially in renaissance italy (and other cities with a strong merchant ...
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  • 119
1 vote

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

Before the printing press was invented in 1439 the only books were hand copied ones. Building a "large" library first required that you trained a team of scribes to write, and then found places to ...
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  • 135
1 vote

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

There may have been "libraries" in villages, but they were private libraries. Typically maintained by the local church or monastery, or by a handful of wealthy citizens. They would have had maybe a ...
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  • 103k
1 vote

What toilet facilities were available to commoners in the middle ages?

In towns one might see a medieval equivalent of these public urinals: or even: For some reason these very space- and time-efficient conveniences have never caught on in North America; but they are ...
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