The life of Peasants in The Middle Ages By:Alyssa Klein
During The Middle Ages there were many different groups of people, peasant’s being one of them. Nearly ninety percent of the populations during The Middle Ages were peasants. The life of peasant’s was pretty difficult. Most peasants farmed to support and feed their families. Others were millers which grounded wheat or blacksmiths which took care of horse’s hooves, bakers or carpenters. The women on the other hand would stay at home and slave over a hot stove to cook for their husbands and children. They also helped their husbands with their jobs because of the lack of money. Peasants were mostly poor. They lived in tiny cottages with three rooms at the most. The homes had dirt floors and were made of wood, stone or branches. Most didn’t even have a bed to sleep on; they would lie uncomfortably on straw.
It is sad to say that even today there are peasants, which live under the same horrible conditions. For example in Africa, a large portion of the population is poor, living in tiny inferior homes with little or nothing to eat. It really makes you think about how grateful you are considering all we have! Now we have so many opportunities such as getting a good job and education.
Back then girls were not educated; they would stay home with their mothers and learn how to cook, clean, sew and keep the house running smoothly. The males would not begin schooling until the age of seven, if they made it that long. In the Middle Ages the fertility rates were very high, five percent of infants died during delivery and ten to twelve percent died before the were one month old. If they made it to the age of schooling they were taught important prayers, Latin, mathematics and songs. When the boys were old enough they will begin to work in the same field of their fathers and carried on the family name.
Peasants could get married at a very young age. Young ladies had to be twelve and the lads had to be fourteen, however most peasants married between the ages seventeen and twenty. Marriages were arranged by the parents of the couple. Most of the time, the couples hardly knew each other. I could not imagine how awkward it would be to marry someone you don’t love let alone even know. Once married the husband was the completely in charge. Wives were their property, literally. Men were allowed to beat their wife as long as she did not die. They also were the only ones to ask for a divorce. If you were a women married to an abusive horrible men that you could not stand, there was nothing you could do about it. However if you were a man you could get divorce in a blink of an eye. Women did not have many rights in this time period.
Peasants were not like slaves. They were free however, any thing they owned such as land, pets, houses and etc. belong to a manor. A manor is a small village in which peasants had to meet the requirements to live there. This peasant’s were called serfs. In the manor there is a lord that is in charge. In order to get complete freedom they had to be able to afford their own land. The lord of manor is basically the landlord of today. Peasants either paid them rent or worked for them as collateral.
The clothing they wore was hand made by the women. Unlike today they did not have the technology to make clothes, such as sewing machines. They wove coarse wool and linen into clothing. The men wore tunics and tights, and the women wore dresses. Since the poverty they had only one or two sets of clothing. On their feet would be clogs or leather-like shoes.
The Feudal System was the law system during The Middle Ages. Peasants and serfs were at the bottom of the chain. The King had complete power, then the Nobles, Lords and Villeins. This form of government worked of well and by the twelfth century it was eventually spread through all of Western Europe.
Religion was a main aspect of the peasant’s lives. It was taken very seriously, before The Feudal System; The Church was in charge. It had many austere laws that needed to be followed or the peasants could face the consequences. The main religions were Christianity and Catholicism, both practiced by many peasants.
Though their life was defiantly tough, the peasants found time to have fun! Many celebrations took place through out the year, for births, baptisms, Christmas and Easter. On these days the peasants would have huge feasts, with singing and dancing and just having a blast. This kept their sprits up and smiles on their faces.
We have evolved so much from The Middle Ages! Our way of living all together changed, from our jobs, housing, education, clothing and technology. Even though society evolved, we still face the some of the same problems, like poverty. Being citizens of the world, we work together to over come these issues as best we can. I’m proud that we have come so far and learn so much from our ancestors. Our future will only get better!
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