Privacy in Medieval Times

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Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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I saw a children's book the other day called "Castles & Knights" and it
had a sectional view of the keep.

To my amazement, I discovered that there was only ONE private room in
the castle--the baron's bedchamber! And even that bedchamber the baron
had to share for the night with his small children and squires (they
slept on pallets).

The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the
night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!

It was then explained that in the morning they'd roll the pallets up and
the great hall could be used for something else.

I know it's just a children's book, but still.

WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?

Sergei


David C. Pugh

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message
news:39619C39...@hepple.com...

Yup, that's about it. "The past is another country". Or from another
angle, this privacy thing is very recent. If I travelled back in time,
I'd nominate this aspect for the one that would freak me out most.
OTOH, I've never done military service, so I'm perhaps even less used
to the lack of privacy than others; although Alpine huts have this
thing called the matratzenlager (sp?) which is a bit medieval.......

There are books on this, featuring inter alia the special significance
of the Baronial Bed as opposed to everyone else's pallets - The
History of Private Life, for example. Paul Gans knows a lot more.

Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with
someone else in the room at the time??????

David


Chris Dickinson

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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David Pugh writes:

>Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were
conceived with
>someone else in the room at the time??????


or a flock of sheep

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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David C. Pugh wrote:

> OTOH, I've never done military service, so I'm perhaps even less used
> to the lack of privacy than others

The consolation to conscripts must be that this "communal" living is but a
temporary predicament. For the medievals this doom was ETERNAL!!!

Makes me shudder.

Also, soldiers have some kind of private bed-side tables or something
where they can keep their belongings. In that picture (again, a children's
book doesn't have to depict all the minute details, but it looks so bloody
true to life) the poor squires had NOTHING else APART FROM WHAT THEY HAD
ON!!!
Do you think they had some place where they could tuck away their stuff,
or, rather, did they have any personal belongings at all?

> Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with
> someone else in the room at the time??????

But what about the prelude to that: dating, romance, words of love. Must
we also assume that no one was entitled to making out without someone else
present in the room at the time? Wasn't that embarrassing?

Thanks,
Sergei


David C. Pugh

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

> The consolation to conscripts must be that this "communal" living is


but a
> temporary predicament. For the medievals this doom was ETERNAL!!!
>

They packed 'em in tight down in Hell, too, so it really was.......
8-/

> Also, soldiers have some kind of private bed-side tables or
something
> where they can keep their belongings. In that picture (again, a
children's
> book doesn't have to depict all the minute details, but it looks so
bloody
> true to life) the poor squires had NOTHING else APART FROM WHAT THEY
HAD
> ON!!!
> Do you think they had some place where they could tuck away their
stuff,
> or, rather, did they have any personal belongings at all?

AFAIK the clothes-closet hadn't been invented (we had a thread about
garderobes, which meant somewhere quite different), but they had big
fat chests, which were lockable. Museums are full of 'em. I'm no great
expert on material daily life, but I'd certainly expect a squire to
have one of these and enough personal possessions to fill it. No
reason for it to clutter up the Great Hall, though. All parked in the
storerooms?

One reason for this communal sleeping was a sense of being under
constant surveillance and attack by evil spiritual beings. How far
would you sleep from your mates in a bivouac in enemy territory? You'd
want to set a watch, too: there's a passage in Guibert that implies
that monks had an all-night prayer rota in the dormitory, though it
might be only when someone was sick. I think you'd find that kings had
clerics praying over them 24 hours a day. Azimuthal defence, as the
French call it.

> > Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived
with
> > someone else in the room at the time??????
>
> But what about the prelude to that: dating, romance, words of love.

Aha, now you're really back-projecting modern concepts. Tell us
precisely what you mean by "dating", and we can see whether that fits
medieval conditions. Words of love can surely be whispered to your
serving-wench under the furs while the other squires in the great hall
are courteously pretending to be asleep? Romance is a BIG subject.

Must
> we also assume that no one was entitled to making out without
someone else
> present in the room at the time? Wasn't that embarrassing?

Not as much as it would have been to us, of course, but the tremendous
enthusiasm about the advent of Spring in the poetry may have been
driven by considerations other than the beauty of the leaves and
flowers. IOW, it was warm enough to make out in the woods. :-)

David

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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David C. Pugh wrote:

> Tell us
> precisely what you mean by "dating", and we can see whether that fits
> medieval conditions.

Now that you asked this and I was about to start defining the term, I
suddenly realized that I am not quite sure if anything I was going to say
can be at all applied to the Middle Ages. The simple things like "Wouldst
thou go out with me tonight?" or "Can I take you to dinner?" sound wrong.
Incomprehensible for the period people at best.

But there JUST HAD TO BE A SUBSTITUTE !!!!! Otherwise we end up with
something like "Hey, lass! You fancy me? Care for a quick one while my
buddies pretend to be asleep? Oh, yea, I just about forgot: I fancy you in
a big way and stuff."

And I bet this man would not be the only one bringing his maiden to the
Great Hall that night.

I mean, this isn't something we are uncomfortable with or something. It's
just when you start putting bits and pieces of obvious facts together and
bringing them to the logical conclusion, you get a weird picture (called
"Great Hall After The Taps").


Brant Gibbard

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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On Tue, 04 Jul 2000 15:30:22 +0400, Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com>
wrote:

>But there JUST HAD TO BE A SUBSTITUTE !!!!! Otherwise we end up with
>something like "Hey, lass! You fancy me? Care for a quick one while my
>buddies pretend to be asleep? Oh, yea, I just about forgot: I fancy you in
>a big way and stuff."

Sounds pretty much like the way a lot of men behave today.


Brant Gibbard
bgib...@inforamp.net
http://home.inforamp.net/~bgibbard/gen
Toronto, Ont.

Melissa

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message
news:39619C39...@hepple.com...
> I saw a children's book the other day called "Castles & Knights" and it
> had a sectional view of the keep.
>
> To my amazement, I discovered that there was only ONE private room in
> the castle--the baron's bedchamber! And even that bedchamber the baron
> had to share for the night with his small children and squires (they
> slept on pallets).
>
> The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the
> night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
> inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!
>
> It was then explained that in the morning they'd roll the pallets up and
> the great hall could be used for something else.
>
> I know it's just a children's book, but still.
>
> WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
> WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?
>
> Sergei
>

The thing that has always got me is the royals having a servant to aid them
in, umm, relieving themselves. I have read (in one of Antonia Fraser's
books, IIRC) that the position was quite sought after, as said servant had
the undivided attention of the king-captive audience, I guess! I've
travelled a lot and can cope with most things, but I do appreciate a little
privacy in the little girls' room!

Mel

David C. Pugh

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

> > Tell us


> > precisely what you mean by "dating", and we can see whether that
fits
> > medieval conditions.
>
> Now that you asked this and I was about to start defining the term,
I
> suddenly realized that I am not quite sure if anything I was going
to say
> can be at all applied to the Middle Ages.

Precisely why I asked :-)

The simple things like "Wouldst
> thou go out with me tonight?" or "Can I take you to dinner?" sound
wrong.
> Incomprehensible for the period people at best.

Right. Why "out", as opposed to in, over or under..... Why
"dinner"...... The MA isn't exactly smart-restaurant country. :-)

> But there JUST HAD TO BE A SUBSTITUTE !!!!!

There had? Why?

Otherwise we end up with
> something like "Hey, lass! You fancy me? Care for a quick one while
my
> buddies pretend to be asleep?

That sounds more like it, if we're talking of squires and wenches. You
should look at the sub-genres of "love poetry" called the Pastourelles
and Frauenlieder - knights and peasant girls, what we would call rape.
Some of these portray the girl, grabbed in a meadow, as initially
resisting and finally "grateful", and you can believe that or not as
you like......

The same knight who helps himself to a bit of kirtle in the woods
might address the most elaborate verses, his own or someone else's, to
a well-born lady in the castle. A whole different ball-game...... But
if you've heard of "Courtly Love", you should know that it's a
ferociously disputed subject. The more one knows, the more one
realises that one doesn't know. One extreme is to believe the
troubadours who make a big thing about the noblest love remaining
unconsummated (they can make it sound like Tantra), the other is to
regard the object of the exercise as hanging the horns on the baron.
As a way of keeping women down, or a female drive to civilise the
thugs in armour.

How did a peasant lad court a peasant girl? We don't know, as they
didn't write books. The Pastourelle genre often has a three-hander,
with the peasant lass' boyfriend (usually called Robin or Perrin)
driving off the rapacious knight. This may be simple realism, or
knightly self-irony, or knightly anxiety. Peasants are often portrayed
as big, ugly - and dangerous!

I'll leave you with a quote about Count Jean of Soissons. Hardly
typical, but it may amuse you:

"When the cleric had explained how the Lord had suffered and how He
rose again, the count hissed and said, "What a fable, what windy
talk!" "If you regard as wind and fable what I have said", the cleric
replied, "why are you watching here?" "I am waiting with pleasure",
said he, "for the beautiful women who watch with you here." Although
he had a pretty young wife, he scorned her and was in love with a
wrinkled old woman. He had a bed in the house of a certain Jew and
often had it laid out for him, but he could never be restricted to a
bed and, in his raging lust, thrust himself and that filthy woman into
any foul corner, or, at any rate, some closet. And he ordered a
certain parasite to go and lie with his own wife after the lamps had
been put out at night, pretending to be himself, so that he could
fasten a charge of adultery on her. But she perceived it was not the
count through the difference in bodies (for the count was disgustingly
scabby) and hardily felled the rascal by her own efforts and with the
help of her attendants."

David

Afropea

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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se...@hepple.com asks

>But there JUST HAD TO BE A SUBSTITUTE !!!!! >Otherwise we end up with


something like
>"Hey, lass! You fancy me? Care for a quick one while >my buddies pretend to be

asleep? Oh, yea, I just
>about forgot: I fancy you in a big way and stuff."

Michael Camille discusses courtship rituals in "The Medieval Art of Love".
There were games, presents, etc. that were all symbolic messages which
indicated desire.

Eve

David C. Pugh

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Afropea <afr...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000704101453...@ng-fg1.aol.com...

I haven't read Camille (yet), but I would expect that some of these
were survivals or imitations of Antiquity. Does he have people pelted
with apples, for instance? Big thing in Hellas, that - if a girl threw
an apple at a boy, that was his cue for a chase through the
olive-grove. :-)

David

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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David C. Pugh wrote:

> The same knight who helps himself to a bit of kirtle in the woods
> might address the most elaborate verses, his own or someone else's, to
> a well-born lady in the castle. A whole different ball-game......

That is exactly why I was wondering about the degree of privacy. (Again,
it was a picture in a children's book which aroused my curiosity, and
maybe things were slightly more complicated in real life. Anyway),

So he wins her attention at last. Suppose she agrees to spend some time
with him "in private". Where would they go? According to the picture they
only had 2 options: the Great Hall and the baron's bedchamber.
That is why I asked about private rooms and privacy as such.

O.K. With a quick one, there'd probably be no embarrasment.

But suppose you start going on about your lofty heart desires, and read
verses to your loved one, all against the backdrop of grumbling whispers:
'Man, are you going to get down to business or will you keep blabbering
this rubbish all night?'

That should be embarrasing all right. Besides, it must put you off to
boot.

Sergei

P.S. I guess it is very hard to be 'imbued' with the spirit of the MA. You
can't help looking at it in modern day terms. After all the discussion, I
am not sure I shall ever be able to get the 'feel' of what it was like
back then. Too bad. It could be a thrill.


Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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David C. Pugh wrote:

> Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with
> someone else in the room at the time??????
>

Something just occurred to me regarding company during lovemaking.

This could turn out rather awkward in case of a 'masculine failure'. Would

the poor chap be the talk of the castle the next day?

Sergei


Brent Hanner

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev wrote:
>
>
> WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
> WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?

Try and get yourself a copy of A History of Private Life vol 2, It goes
into this at various times throughout the book. As a general rule the
later in the MA you get the more and more privacy develops but people
still live in very close quarters compared to today.

Brent

--
"So fashioned is a woman's mind: though she be young or old, I find,
she likes to have a lot of dresses. It is not enough if she possesses
the things, they are not just to wear but rather so she can declare,
"I could have, you know, be better dressed than many who always wear
their best.""

Service of Ladies by Ulrich von Lichtenstien

Brent Hanner

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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"David C. Pugh" wrote:
>
>
> How did a peasant lad court a peasant girl? We don't know, as they
> didn't write books.

True they didn't write books but sometimes we see glimpses of their
lives. In the Wiltshire Eyre roll of 1249, we find a case of two
peasants engaged in "sporting". He fell on her and his knife went into
her and she died. But thats how these things make it into the record.

David C. Pugh

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

> Something just occurred to me regarding company during lovemaking.


>
> This could turn out rather awkward in case of a 'masculine failure'.
Would
>
> the poor chap be the talk of the castle the next day?

I would think so, but there's an easy out. She put a spell on him,
didn't she? ;-)


> So he wins her attention at last. Suppose she agrees to spend some
time
> with him "in private". Where would they go? According to the picture
they
> only had 2 options: the Great Hall and the baron's bedchamber.
> That is why I asked about private rooms and privacy as such.

I think the set-up with everyone sleeping in the GH except the baron
and his wife was early MA, as time went on establishments became more
spacious. And ladies always had quarters. Is the baron going to put
his daughters among his thugs and servants? The courtly love poems
always presuppose that the lady has her own chamber.

> But suppose you start going on about your lofty heart desires, and
read
> verses to your loved one, all against the backdrop of grumbling
whispers:
> 'Man, are you going to get down to business or will you keep
blabbering
> this rubbish all night?'

The game of Courtly Love was played by Rules, which were frequently
formulated ironically, and these always enjoin discretion and secrecy.
If you were a troubadour spouting your verses in the Great Hall, and
giving the countess the impression that they were written for her (and
not for the countess of the last castle but three), then doing so too
overtly might be very bad for your health. So would being caught
afterwards. Although some people claim that lords with pretensions to
literary patronage would be proud to share their ladies with a famous
troubadour; and there are certainly examples of complaisant husbands
here and there in this vast period. But no, the game wasn't played
with kibitzers like you suggest. If it was played at all and was not
just a literary fiction.

> P.S. I guess it is very hard to be 'imbued' with the spirit of the
MA. You
> can't help looking at it in modern day terms.

Dead right. We try, we try. Another thread has been talking about
historical novelists, and citing Duggan and Holland as examples of
authors who _don't_ put modern mentalities into their heroes.
Personally, if I want a character "just like me" I'll read a novel
about my own generation rather than a historical novel. I love it when
a character does something that no modern would!

After all the discussion, I
> am not sure I shall ever be able to get the 'feel' of what it was
like
> back then.

Well, you've made a start. Stick around!!!! :-)

David

V.J.

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Duby suggests rather heavily in his book on William the Marshal that this
state of affairs may have "complicated" the blood lines of the children of
Henry II.

Go Figure...


In article <39619C39...@hepple.com>, Sergei Chechnev , se...@hepple.com
says...


>
>I saw a children's book the other day called "Castles & Knights" and it
>had a sectional view of the keep.
>
>To my amazement, I discovered that there was only ONE private room in
>the castle--the baron's bedchamber! And even that bedchamber the baron
>had to share for the night with his small children and squires (they
>slept on pallets).
>
>The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the
>night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
>inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!
>
>It was then explained that in the morning they'd roll the pallets up and
>the great hall could be used for something else.
>
>I know it's just a children's book, but still.
>

>WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
>WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?
>

>Sergei
>


Dick Wisan

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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In article <Icj85.6528$MS3.1...@news1.online.no>,
davi...@online.no says...
>
> ...but the tremendous

>enthusiasm about the advent of Spring in the poetry may have been
>driven by considerations other than the beauty of the leaves and
>flowers. IOW, it was warm enough to make out in the woods. :-)

Ummmm. That's how we lived in college (long ago and far away). In
those days, it was the business of the Dean of Women to prevent
privacy in mixed company. But we had an Arboretum, big enough and
woodsy enough to put the whole college to be out there in couples,
well spaced & invisible to anyone else. In the winter, well, now
and then, something might be arranged, but...

The criterion for the arrival of spring was: The high ground in
the Arb is dry!

By origin, the college _is_ a medieval institution.

--
R. N. (Dick) Wisan - Email: wis...@catskill.net
- Snail: 37 Clinton Street, Oneonta NY 13820, U.S.A.
- Just your opinion, please, ma'am: No fax.


Paul J Gans

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote:
>I saw a children's book the other day called "Castles & Knights" and it
>had a sectional view of the keep.

>To my amazement, I discovered that there was only ONE private room in
>the castle--the baron's bedchamber! And even that bedchamber the baron
>had to share for the night with his small children and squires (they
>slept on pallets).

>The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the
>night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
>inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!

>It was then explained that in the morning they'd roll the pallets up and
>the great hall could be used for something else.

>I know it's just a children's book, but still.

>WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
>WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?

Not too much. Privacy as a common "right" is essentially
a modern concept.

The lord of the castle would often have a bit more privacy than
that. But many of the lesser folk did sleep on pallets
in the great hall.

For a decent introduction, see Gies and Gies, "Life in
a Medieval Castle".

---- Paul J. Gans [ga...@panix.com]

Paul J Gans

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote:


>David C. Pugh wrote:

>> OTOH, I've never done military service, so I'm perhaps even less used
>> to the lack of privacy than others

>The consolation to conscripts must be that this "communal" living is but a


>temporary predicament. For the medievals this doom was ETERNAL!!!

>Makes me shudder.

>Also, soldiers have some kind of private bed-side tables or something
>where they can keep their belongings. In that picture (again, a children's
>book doesn't have to depict all the minute details, but it looks so bloody
>true to life) the poor squires had NOTHING else APART FROM WHAT THEY HAD
>ON!!!
>Do you think they had some place where they could tuck away their stuff,
>or, rather, did they have any personal belongings at all?

>> Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with


>> someone else in the room at the time??????

>But what about the prelude to that: dating, romance, words of love. Must


>we also assume that no one was entitled to making out without someone else
>present in the room at the time? Wasn't that embarrassing?

If you've never had it, you don't miss it.

Among the upper classes one did not "make out" with the unwed
women of marriagable age. One was always chaperoned. "Making
out" was restricted to conversation which could be overheard.

For everyone else the chance for a little privacy of this
sort was common. While milking the cows, doing the wash,
or what have you.

Paul J Gans

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
to
Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote:


>David C. Pugh wrote:

>> Tell us
>> precisely what you mean by "dating", and we can see whether that fits
>> medieval conditions.

>Now that you asked this and I was about to start defining the term, I
>suddenly realized that I am not quite sure if anything I was going to say

>can be at all applied to the Middle Ages. The simple things like "Wouldst


>thou go out with me tonight?" or "Can I take you to dinner?" sound wrong.
>Incomprehensible for the period people at best.

>But there JUST HAD TO BE A SUBSTITUTE !!!!! Otherwise we end up with


>something like "Hey, lass! You fancy me? Care for a quick one while my
>buddies pretend to be asleep? Oh, yea, I just about forgot: I fancy you in
>a big way and stuff."

>And I bet this man would not be the only one bringing his maiden to the
>Great Hall that night.

>I mean, this isn't something we are uncomfortable with or something. It's
>just when you start putting bits and pieces of obvious facts together and
>bringing them to the logical conclusion, you get a weird picture (called
>"Great Hall After The Taps").

If you are talking about dealing with teh wenches, one might
perhaps arrange to meet in the garden or the stable. One
would *NOT* meet the daughters ofthe castellan that way...

---- Paul J. Gans [ga...@panix.com]

PS: I am reminded of Lancelot in bed with Guinevere with
Sir Kay sleeping nearby. But that was fiction, of course... ;-)

gmoreau

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Tue, 04 Jul 2000 19:24:20 +0400, Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com>
écrivait:

>David C. Pugh wrote:
>
>> Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with
>> someone else in the room at the time??????
>>
>

>Something just occurred to me regarding company during lovemaking.

>This could turn out rather awkward in case of a 'masculine failure'. Would


>the poor chap be the talk of the castle the next day?
>

Well one bedroom for the whole family was a comon thing for poor
people in Europe until WW2...
After the earthquake in Assisa, 5 yrs ago I think, some folks have
been housed in temporary housing. I saw a TV report with a whole
family, the grandpa had one room, the parents and the 2 children (8
and 5) in the other... If you really curious how they manage to make
love, I pretty sure they'd answer : not in the bed !
In MA, the bed probably wasn't the best place to make love...

Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

Chretienne

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Hmmm, you mean they had to get creative?? 8-)

--
Kelly
"gmoreau" <le_...@mail.dotcom.france> wrote in message
news:v074msso19er5995q...@club.chanzy.org...

Chretienne

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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This has been an excellent thread, folks! Informative, enlightening,
polite, and on-topic. From a mostly-lurker, thank you!

One thing I've always wondered -- approximately when did castles evolve from
the early MA model with only one private chamber for the lord and lady,
usually at the end of the great hall, to the more modern concept of multiple
private chambers?

--
Kelly

Pamela Maddison

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message
news:39619C39...@hepple.com...

> I saw a children's book the other day called "Castles & Knights" and it
> had a sectional view of the keep.
>
> To my amazement, I discovered that there was only ONE private room in
> the castle--the baron's bedchamber! And even that bedchamber the baron
> had to share for the night with his small children and squires (they
> slept on pallets).
>
> The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the
> night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
> inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!
>
> It was then explained that in the morning they'd roll the pallets up and
> the great hall could be used for something else.
>
> I know it's just a children's book, but still.
>
> WASN'T ANYONE AT ALL ENTITLED TO A ROOM OF HIS OWN?
> WAS THERE NO PRIVACY AT ALL IN THOSE BLESSED TIMES?
>
> Sergei
>
No, there wasn't; and very little privacy right down till the 19th century -
servants were always hanging around and valets, personal maids etc slept
either in the room itself or a room opening out of their master/mistress's
room - see the opening of the "Marriage of Figaro". It was only when
bell-pulls were invented and servants didn't have to be right there all the
time that ANYONE had any privacy.

D. Spencer Hines

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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The last time this came up, someone mentioned that the concept of each
family member's being entitled to his or her own room is a Victorian
innovation.

Does anyone have a good, solid, scholarly reference on that?

Perhaps this is one reason we should all hate the Victorians less.

Thank you kindly.
--

D. Spencer Hines

Lux et Veritas et Libertas

"It may be said that, thanks to the 'clercs', humanity did evil for two
thousand years, but honoured good. This contradiction was an honour to
the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilisation slipped into
the world." "La Trahison des clercs" [The Treason of the Intellectuals]
(1927) Julien Benda (1867-1956)

All replies to the newsgroup please. Thank you kindly.

All original material contained herein is copyright and property of the
author. It may be quoted only in discussions on this forum and with an
attribution to the author, unless permission is otherwise expressly
given, in writing.

Vires et Honor.

"gmoreau" <le_...@mail.dotcom.france> wrote in message
news:v074msso19er5995q...@club.chanzy.org...

| Tue, 04 Jul 2000 19:24:20 +0400, Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com>
| écrivait:
|
| >David C. Pugh wrote:
| >
| >> Would it be fair to suggest that most medievals were conceived with
| >> someone else in the room at the time??????
| >>
| >
| >Something just occurred to me regarding company during lovemaking.
| >This could turn out rather awkward in case of a 'masculine failure'.
Would
| >the poor chap be the talk of the castle the next day?
| >
| Well one bedroom for the whole family was a comon thing for poor
| people in Europe until WW2...
| After the earthquake in Assisa, 5 yrs ago I think, some folks have
| been housed in temporary housing. I saw a TV report with a whole
| family, the grandpa had one room, the parents and the 2 children (8

| and 5) in the other... If you really curious how they manage to make

I. C. Koets

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sergei Chechnev wrote:

> That is exactly why I was wondering about the degree of privacy. (Again,
> it was a picture in a children's book which aroused my curiosity, and
> maybe things were slightly more complicated in real life. Anyway),
>

> So he wins her attention at last. Suppose she agrees to spend some time
> with him "in private". Where would they go? According to the picture they
> only had 2 options: the Great Hall and the baron's bedchamber.
> That is why I asked about private rooms and privacy as such.

Didn't they have haystacks in those days?

I.C. Koets

sophia

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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In article <asp85.6786$xL3.4...@bgtnsc06-news.ops.worldnet.att.net
>, Chretienne <chret...@worldnet.att.net> writes
In England at least, the evidence points to the change coming in the
second of half of the 14th century and continuing rapidly throughout the
15th and indeed into the 16th. During this period the architectural
evidence suggests a change of focus from the hall and great chamber to
the construction of cellular lodgings, effectively the equivalent bed-sitting
rooms or hotel suits, which seem to have been occupied by important
retainers and officials who, if not the social equals of the lord, were only a
rank or two below. This individual accommodation in castles was often
provided in new towers (cf Warwick, Bodiam) or long ranges which
provided the genesis of the late mediaeval courtyard house.

There's evidence from account books etc that the late mediaeval noble
household was rapidly dividing into a number of smaller sub-households
which ate together, lived together and often had their own budgets. It also
seems that many members of the household didn't eat in hall most of the
time but instead lived fairly independently in their own lodgings and
received rations.

The move towards more privacy wasn't limited to noble houses, it can be
found in contemporary universities (inhabited medieval cellular lodgings
are to be found in many Oxford and Cambridge colleges) and collegiate
churches. Even monasteries started dividing up their huge dormitories
into rooms and providing private accommodation and separate
households at this time.

There's a great book on this subject called the Decline of the Castle by MW
Cook (1987, Cambridge University Press - Amazon have it) which traces
among other things the changing domestic needs of upper class late
mediaeval English society and its expression in architecture. It'll tell you
everything you want to know.

--
Sophia

Faith in Fabulousness
www.arxana.demon.co.uk/

Afropea

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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<< davi...@online.no says


Afropea <afr...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20000704101453...@ng-fg1.aol.com...

>> Michael Camille discusses courtship rituals in "The Medieval Art of Love".


>> There were games, presents, etc. that were all >>symbolic messages which
indicated desire.

>I haven't read Camille (yet), but I would expect that >some of these were
survivals or imitations of >Antiquity. Does he have people pelted
>with apples, for instance? Big thing in Hellas, that - if >a girl threw an
apple at a boy, that was his cue for a >chase through the olive-grove. :-)

Although I personally find being pelted with fruit to be an enormous turn on,
I'm not sure if this was part of the Medieval repetoire. I do know there was
some sort of game that involved wreathes on the head.

Suggestive gifts of intimacy included things like belts (which held the waist)
and necklaces (which caressed the neck.)

Eve

Lblanch001

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Jul 4, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/4/00
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Sophia writes:

>In England at least, the evidence points to the change coming in the
>second of half of the 14th century and continuing rapidly throughout the
>15th and indeed into the 16th.

In support of this, I can offer information on Middleham Castle, which (what a
surprise!) I put on a web site --

http://www.rblanchard.com/middleham/

One of the pages shows a timeline for the castle's construction, including the
addition of suites of chambers in the south and west ranges in the later 14th
and early- to mid-15th centuries.

Regards,
Laura Blanchard
lblan...@aol.com (or lbla...@pobox.upenn.edu)
http://www.r3.org/
(see http://orb.rhodes.edu/ to reach major medieval gateway sites)


Øystein Brekke

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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I am reminded of the novel "The Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett.
It is set in 12th century England. I remember a section where the main
protagonist is about 10 years old, and he and his parents are spending the
night in a keep, sleeping on the floor of the great hall along with everyone
else, he idly notices his parents doing what they call f***ing under their
blankets.

By the way, I have worked as a guide on a farm-museum here in Norway - the
museum includes a couple of farm-houses for ordinary peasants from the 16th
century - they just had the one , rather small room for cooking, eating,
socializing, sleeping and whatever other activities the farmer and his wife
would like too conduct. This would be the sleeping chamber of the entire
family, including children of whatever age, and even any hired hands they
might have.

Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> skrev i
meldingsnyheter:3961FE22...@hepple.com...


>
>
> David C. Pugh wrote:
>
> > The same knight who helps himself to a bit of kirtle in the woods
> > might address the most elaborate verses, his own or someone else's, to
> > a well-born lady in the castle. A whole different ball-game......
>

> That is exactly why I was wondering about the degree of privacy. (Again,
> it was a picture in a children's book which aroused my curiosity, and
> maybe things were slightly more complicated in real life. Anyway),
>
> So he wins her attention at last. Suppose she agrees to spend some time
> with him "in private". Where would they go? According to the picture they
> only had 2 options: the Great Hall and the baron's bedchamber.
> That is why I asked about private rooms and privacy as such.
>

> O.K. With a quick one, there'd probably be no embarrasment.
>

> But suppose you start going on about your lofty heart desires, and read
> verses to your loved one, all against the backdrop of grumbling whispers:
> 'Man, are you going to get down to business or will you keep blabbering
> this rubbish all night?'
>

> That should be embarrasing all right. Besides, it must put you off to
> boot.
>
> Sergei
>

> P.S. I guess it is very hard to be 'imbued' with the spirit of the MA. You

> can't help looking at it in modern day terms. After all the discussion, I


> am not sure I shall ever be able to get the 'feel' of what it was like

ArtKramr

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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>Subject: Re: Privacy in Medieval Times
>From: lblan...@aol.com (Lblanch001)
>Date: 7/4/00 4:27 PM Pacific Daylight Time
>Message-id: <20000704192736...@ng-ch1.aol.com>
Fascinating websites. Thank you.

Arthur Kramer
Las Vegas NV

gmoreau

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
to
Tue, 4 Jul 2000 19:20:56 +0100, "D. Spencer Hines"
<D._Spence...@aya.yale.edu> écrivait:

>The last time this came up, someone mentioned that the concept of each
>family member's being entitled to his or her own room is a Victorian
>innovation.
>

Euh ? Funny, but in Versailles, each family member had a WHOLE
appartment... ! :-)
No it can't be that late, every 17th century castle and manoirs had
separate bedrooms even for the lad under the roofs, and almost all
renaissance castle also, and that was one of the main reason for
reconstructing castle, making them more "liveable" and less
defencing... They were bedrooms but probably didn't sleep alone in
them, but, the idea of a "private bedroom" had spread much earlier
than the Victoria era.
That was for the riches though, for the less rich, I wonder, but like
I said, it wasn't and still isn't uncommon to share the bedroom.
When Saint Bruno founded the Grande Chartreuse in 1084, each monk had
his own bedroom and they still have ! So... :-)
But for the poor, the reconstruction of Paris by Hausmann under
Napoleon III reign (1852-1870) made appartment with several rooms even
for the poor... And the lad had bedrooms under the roofs much earlier
than that... no definetly not victorian...

Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

gmoreau

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Tue, 04 Jul 2000 17:50:11 GMT, "Chretienne"
<chret...@worldnet.att.net> écrivait:

>Hmmm, you mean they had to get creative?? 8-)

No, because to be creative back then, that meant in the Bedroom ! :-)
How daring !
There were the public baths back from the 13th til 16th... No I think
that having sex in a room where other people could be was not uncommon
or disturbing back then, but that is just a guess.

Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

gmoreau

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Tue, 04 Jul 2000 12:11:37 +0400, Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com>
écrivait:

>The picture showed the inhabitants of the castle settling down for the


>night: the baron and his squires in the bedchamber, and the rest of the
>inhabitants in the Great Hall, lying there in rows!!! on pallets!!!
>

Extract from Historia Découvertes, jan feb 1999

" Reserved for the lord and his household - that means a certain
promiscuity - the unique private chamber can be used as a bedroom, a
bathroom and dining room. (...)
At the end of the XIVth century, almost every castle got, over the
great hall or in a strong tower, a independant bedroom for the lord,
with a space for a bathtube and a wardrobe, exactly like the ones in
the castle of the count of Anjou in Saumur. The bedrooms of the wife,
the children and the nurse, appeared early XIIIth, were just above the
lord's, like the room of the duchess of Orléans in Pierrefonds.
Against the common idea, each private room had its own latrines
corbelling out (castles of Alluyes, Montreuil-Bellay, Loches or
Saumur...) "

Also

" From the XIIth and XIIIth century, the private chamber appeared, at
least for the dignitaries. The bed is a major element of furniture, to
keep the warmth, it is closed with "courtines" that are risen during
the day."


Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

Paul J Gans

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote:


>David C. Pugh wrote:

>> The same knight who helps himself to a bit of kirtle in the woods
>> might address the most elaborate verses, his own or someone else's, to
>> a well-born lady in the castle. A whole different ball-game......

>That is exactly why I was wondering about the degree of privacy. (Again,
>it was a picture in a children's book which aroused my curiosity, and
>maybe things were slightly more complicated in real life. Anyway),

>So he wins her attention at last. Suppose she agrees to spend some time
>with him "in private". Where would they go? According to the picture they
>only had 2 options: the Great Hall and the baron's bedchamber.
>That is why I asked about private rooms and privacy as such.

To a major extent, this depends on the time period yoiu
are talking about. In the 11th and early 12th century
there were very few private rooms. Later there were more.
We are talking about a huge time period here...


>O.K. With a quick one, there'd probably be no embarrasment.

>But suppose you start going on about your lofty heart desires, and read
>verses to your loved one, all against the backdrop of grumbling whispers:
>'Man, are you going to get down to business or will you keep blabbering
>this rubbish all night?'

>That should be embarrasing all right. Besides, it must put you off to
>boot.

>Sergei

>P.S. I guess it is very hard to be 'imbued' with the spirit of the MA. You
>can't help looking at it in modern day terms. After all the discussion, I
>am not sure I shall ever be able to get the 'feel' of what it was like
>back then. Too bad. It could be a thrill.

Give it a try. The more you read the easier it gets.

Paul J Gans

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Dick Wisan <wis...@catskill.net> wrote:
>In article <Icj85.6528$MS3.1...@news1.online.no>,
>davi...@online.no says...
>>
>> ...but the tremendous
>>enthusiasm about the advent of Spring in the poetry may have been
>>driven by considerations other than the beauty of the leaves and
>>flowers. IOW, it was warm enough to make out in the woods. :-)

>Ummmm. That's how we lived in college (long ago and far away). In
>those days, it was the business of the Dean of Women to prevent
>privacy in mixed company. But we had an Arboretum, big enough and
>woodsy enough to put the whole college to be out there in couples,
>well spaced & invisible to anyone else. In the winter, well, now
>and then, something might be arranged, but...

>The criterion for the arrival of spring was: The high ground in
>the Arb is dry!

>By origin, the college _is_ a medieval institution.

Used to be a saying at my school: Don't kick the
bushes, they might kick back.

Paul J Gans

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Chretienne <chret...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>This has been an excellent thread, folks! Informative, enlightening,
>polite, and on-topic. From a mostly-lurker, thank you!

>One thing I've always wondered -- approximately when did castles evolve from
>the early MA model with only one private chamber for the lord and lady,
>usually at the end of the great hall, to the more modern concept of multiple
>private chambers?

The interior arrangements changed as castles changed from
wooden motte and bailey affairs to the great stone works
of the 12th century and on. They also changed as castles
changed from primarily military sites with a live-in
garrison to fortified residences.

Almost any book on the history of castles will give
examples and dates.

Paul J Gans

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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sophia <sop...@arxana.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>In article <asp85.6786$xL3.4...@bgtnsc06-news.ops.worldnet.att.net
>>, Chretienne <chret...@worldnet.att.net> writes
>>This has been an excellent thread, folks! Informative, enlightening,
>>polite, and on-topic. From a mostly-lurker, thank you!
>>
>>One thing I've always wondered -- approximately when did castles evolve from
>>the early MA model with only one private chamber for the lord and lady,
>>usually at the end of the great hall, to the more modern concept of multiple
>>private chambers?
>>
>In England at least, the evidence points to the change coming in the
>second of half of the 14th century and continuing rapidly throughout the

Any relation to our MW Cook?

sophia

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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In article <8jucrk$i9a$9...@news.panix.com>, Paul J Gans
<ga...@panix.com> writes

>Any relation to our MW Cook?
>
A Freudian slip - I'd been looking at that gentleman's very nice website
earlier in the day - it should of course be MW Thompson... sorry everyone.

Chretienne

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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"gmoreau" <le_...@mail.dotcom.france> wrote in message
news:nm65ms4pbmcv3obbt...@club.chanzy.org...

No doubt about that. Sex was viewed as a normal bodily need. I expect
others discreetly looked the other way, just as we would today if we were
camping and one of our companions had to step into the bushes to relieve
himself. As others have pointed out, privacy as we know it now had not yet
been thought of, so it simply wasn't missed.

--
Kelly

Susan Hicks

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Some years ago I had to study Chaucer's The Reeve's Tale as part of my
English 'A' level studies.
Chaucer paints a vivid picture of the Miller, his wife, daughter and baby
plus two student 'guests' all sleeping in the same room together. I haven't
got the original Chaucer to hand, but I do have a prose translation by David
Wright.

'The miller....made up a fine bed spread with sheets and blankets for them
in his room, not a dozen feet from his own bed. Near by in the very same
room, his daughter daughter had a bed all to herself. This was the best
they could do for the simple reason there was nowhere else in the place to
sleep.'

The miller drinks himself silly and so does his wife and they fall into bed.
'The cradle was set at the foot of the bed so that she (wife) might rock it
or give the child suck. The miller had certainly had a skinful, for he
snorted like a horse in his sleep, honking at both ends, and his wife joined
in the chorus with a will. People could hear them wheezing away a quarter
of a mile off. And the girl snored with them for company's sake.'

One of the students gets into bed with the daughter and has his will of her.
The other student, feeling left out, moves the cradle so that when the
miller's wife goes out to pee and then returns, she gets into his bed
instead of her husband's. 'It was the best bout she'd had in years.' !!

Very bawdy and forthright - and if you read the tales they contain some
useful insights into the period even while they entertain.

Cheers
Susan :-)

Urania

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Paul J Gans <ga...@panix.com> wrote in message
news:8jt51m$920$3...@news.panix.com...

>
> If you are talking about dealing with teh wenches, one might
> perhaps arrange to meet in the garden or the stable. One
> would *NOT* meet the daughters ofthe castellan that way...

>
> ---- Paul J. Gans [ga...@panix.com]
>
> PS: I am reminded of Lancelot in bed with Guinevere with
> Sir Kay sleeping nearby. But that was fiction, of course... ;-)
>
The Lady of the Castle (the Lord's wife) was responsible for the moral
welfare of the girls in her charge. It was her responsibility to their
parents (if they had any) or to their guardians to ensure they were
still virgo intacta on their wedding night. Hence the girls of
marriageable condition would be corralled (sp?) in a dormitory and
supervised during the day. Any caught monkeying about would probably
be despatched pronto to a reliable nunnery.

If you wanted to MARRY (as opposed to the other thing) then the
correct procedure was to ask the maiden's father - or other male
guardian - for her. She might be pleased or not, but is dad liked the
look of your lineage, size of your treasure chest, ramifications of
your political contacts &c he would give his consent and that would be
that.

From about the 12th onwards the church had the revolutionary idea not
only that marriage was a sacrament and ought to solemnised in church
but that the WOMAN'S consent was essential for the marriage contract
to be binding - not just the consent of pa & bridegroom. However in
practise the church would normally only uphold a bride's objection if
she wanted to be a nun - a bride of Christ. If she just wanted to
marry another man then the church was unlikely to be much help, as far
as they were concerned one man was as bad as another ....

If you REALLY want to get hyped up on the privacy topic, read a few
accounts of weddings and the quite dire public show that was a Wedding
Night !
It is also worth following up the concept of the "Tobit Night" .....
--
Urania.
"I care not if you bridge the seas,
Or ride secure the cruel sky,
Or build consummate palaces
Of metal or of masonry,

But have you wine and music still,
And statues and a bright-eyed love,
And foolish thoughts of good and ill,
And prayers to them who sit above ?"

James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)
"To a poet a thousand years hence."


Urania

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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> Tue, 04 Jul 2000 17:50:11 GMT, "Chretienne"
> <chret...@worldnet.att.net> écrivait:
No I think
> that having sex in a room where other people could be was not
uncommon
> or disturbing back then, but that is just a guess.
>
> Gaėtan

To go off at a bit of a tangent ...
This lack of privacy may be one of the reasons why there was such
disapproval of both homosexual activity and self-abuse during the MA.
Sex directed at procreation could be tolerated but not the other(s).
I suspect that there was a lot less sex going on in the MA than now.
Sexual activity needs (generally speakin|g) warmth, health, privacy
and leisure.
People were less healthy and lived shorter lives.
Malnutrition means puberty is delayed and the menopause advanced.
Privacy was limited.
And leisure was not a concept they understood either.
Also sex worked without hindrance. ie women were more often pregnant -
although there were more miscarriages, still-births & neo-natal
deaths - so individual women were often out of the running.

In addition, sexual activity - even between spouses - was forbidden
during Lent (40 days before Easter) Advent (4 weeks before Christmas)
the night before other major church festivals and also (I think) any
day when you as an individual planned to take Communion. This cut out
a lot of the year.

The Lent prohibition was sensible. Most people were mal-nourished by
the end of winter and babies conceived then would be born in
November/December/ January when the weather was bad and their chances
of survival greatly reduced.

David C. Pugh

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Jul 5, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/5/00
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Urania <Nd....@btinternet.com> wrote in message

(....)


> The Lady of the Castle (the Lord's wife) was responsible for the
moral
> welfare of the girls in her charge. It was her responsibility to
their
> parents (if they had any) or to their guardians to ensure they were
> still virgo intacta on their wedding night. Hence the girls of
> marriageable condition would be corralled (sp?) in a dormitory and
> supervised during the day. Any caught monkeying about would probably
> be despatched pronto to a reliable nunnery.

You're talking gentlewomen here, aren't you? Her personal maids? But
surely this wouldn't apply to the castle serving-wenches etc. For one
thing, the nunneries wouldn't take daughters of the peasantry anyway.

Of the Anglo-Saxons William of Malmesbury says:
"There was one custom repugnant to nature which they adopted; namely
to sell their female servants when pregnant by them, after they had
satisfied their lust, either to public prostitution, or to foreign
slavery."

Moreover, Duby has some startling remarks about the lord's
illegitimate daughters constituting "the pleasure-reserve of the noble
house". Being Duby, he doesn't footnote this with any examples, so
feel free to believe he's talking through his hat, but we should be
operating with some categories in between Valuable Heiress and
Scrubber.

I'm also tempted to wonder whether the virginity of the bride was
quite as essential in practice as in theory. Guibert notes that
Enguerrand of Boves married Sybil de Coucy when she was already
pregnant by another man. (She then married her daughter to her lover
so as to keep him by her side: sort of reverse Lolita....)

Regarding consent, Arnoul of Saint-Medard advised Guy of Chatillon
that:
"Canonic authority forbids that a girl should ever be married to a man
she does not want. I therefore enjoin you to give the maid to the man
she loves, so as not to force her into an unseemliness."
However, there was a catch: Heaven arranged for the man she loved to
die, so that the widow could be married to her parents' choice :-)


> It is also worth following up the concept of the "Tobit Night" .....

You thinking of the three nights of continence? Just been reading
about that in Boswell.

David

"Do you want to rekindle your husband's ardour? I shall make him a
priest!. The moment a man becomes a priest, he begins to burn with
desire."
Hugh of Lincoln

Afropea

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Jul 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/6/00
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davi...@online.no says

<Moreover, Duby has some startling remarks about <the lord's illegitimate

daughters constituting "the <pleasure- reserve of the noble house".

I think this might have also been mentioned in the book "Medieval
Prostitution". I believe they mention something about an official being in
charge of the castle prostitutes. Not sure of the original source on either.
Is anyone else familiar with this?

Eve (please forgive any unusual spacing here, as I just got a new computer and
am totally confused.)

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/6/00
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Urania wrote:

> In addition, sexual activity - even between spouses - was forbidden
> during Lent (40 days before Easter) Advent (4 weeks before Christmas)
> the night before other major church festivals and also (I think) any
> day when you as an individual planned to take Communion. This cut out
> a lot of the year.
>

I was under the impression that the people at large (especially the
nobles) had to have more of Edward IV kind of attitude to these
'prohibitions'.

I don't think those restrictions were at all strictly abided by.

It's just a speculation, a logical guess. I may be completely wrong, but
that is the way it looks. This thread leaves the impression that MA
people were 'closer to nature' in these things.

Sergei


Chretienne

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Jul 6, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/6/00
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I think you're absolutely right, Sergei. People will be people, no matter
what the century. I doubt that they were substantially less sexual in the
MA than now.

Look at our present-day admonitions against premarital sex and how well we
abide by those!

Kelly

"Sergei Chechnev" <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

news:39642D42...@hepple.com...


>
>
> Urania wrote:
>
> > In addition, sexual activity - even between spouses - was forbidden

> > during Lent (40 days before Easter) Advent (4 weeks before Christmas)...
<snip>

<snip>

gmoreau

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Jul 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/7/00
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Thu, 06 Jul 2000 23:14:14 GMT, "Chretienne"
<chret...@worldnet.att.net> écrivait:

>I think you're absolutely right, Sergei. People will be people, no matter
>what the century. I doubt that they were substantially less sexual in the
>MA than now.
>

With quite a big difference though. It seems that puberty was much
later than today, girls had their first periods around 16 or even
later, so the pre-marital sex time was pretty much short...

Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

Arkadiusz Danilecki

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Jul 7, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/7/00
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Please notice that in eastern Europe things were quite different.
Abraham Ibn-Jakub, when describing Poland in X century said that
girls that have completely sexual freedom _before_ marriage. In
Lithuania even in XVII century girl could sleep with anyone she choose
and marry anyone she choose.

--
A.D.Danilecki "szopen"
--
Linux registered user nr 160460
Od władzy ludu wolę władzę ludzi

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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What about the check-up for the girl's being virgo intacta. I cannot
believe it had no importance. It is one thing to hush up this unsavoury
situation before the marriage, and quite another for the custom to
actually permit ignoring this altogether. Sounds too present-day.

Sergei

Arkadiusz Danilecki wrote:

> Od wЁadzy ludu wolЙ wЁadzЙ ludzi


Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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gmoreau wrote:

> It seems that puberty was much later than today

What about Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother? She was 13 when she gave
birth to him.

Also, I couldn't help thinking about Romeo and Julliet...

Sergei


Arkadiusz Danilecki

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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In article <39670761...@hepple.com>, Sergei Chechnev wrote:
>What about the check-up for the girl's being virgo intacta. I cannot
>believe it had no importance. It is one thing to hush up this unsavoury
>situation before the marriage, and quite another for the custom to
>actually permit ignoring this altogether. Sounds too present-day.

Not in Poland. Of course i don't know what about peasants, and of course
with coming of western ideas this was changing, faster in Poland, but still,
in XVI century in Lithuania Barbara Radziwill could sleep with Zygmunt August
and nobody make big halo about that.

In early medieval i know it was very concerning for church.

A.D.Danilecki "szopen"
--
Linux registered user nr 160460

D. Spencer Hines

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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Good point.

Yes, and Margaret was 12 when she married.
--

D. Spencer Hines

Lux et Veritas et Libertas

"The final happiness of man consists in the contemplation of truth....
This is sought for its own sake, and is directed to no other end beyond
itself." Saint Thomas Aquinas, [1224/5-1274] "Summa Contra Gentiles"
[c.1258-1264]

All replies to the newsgroup please. Thank you kindly.

All original material contained herein is copyright and property of the
author. It may be quoted only in discussions on this forum and with an
attribution to the author, unless permission is otherwise expressly
given, in writing.

Vires et Honor.

"Sergei Chechnev" <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

news:396708D0...@hepple.com...

gmoreau

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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Sat, 08 Jul 2000 14:56:16 +0400, Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com>
écrivait:

>What about Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother? She was 13 when she gave
>birth to him.
>
I was talking in general you know. And certainly aristocracy with a
better nutrition had a lower mature age. But though it is a fact that
the first periods age is constantly younger.
In the XIXth, it was generally 16 yrs old, and then wedding was often
soon after... The teenager didn't always exist, for quite a while the
child became directly an adult...

But for record, I remember the Guinness spoke about a girl mother at 8
or 9, and one grand'ma at 17 !!!!

Finally, be careful with the age of women during the MA and soon
after, alot of them weren't even sur of their age ! For example, we
don't even know for sure the date of birth of Saint Louis, so...

Gaėtan
------
Vae Victis

Lblanch001

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Jul 8, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/8/00
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Sergei writes, re age at menarche:

>gmoreau wrote:
>
>> It seems that puberty was much later than today
>

>What about Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII's mother? She was 13 when she gave
>birth to him.
>

It's possible that Margaret fell quite early in the distribution for age at
menarche in her time.

There are more than a few girls reaching menarche at 10 (or earlier) these
days. Now, *there's* a frightening thought.

Sergei Chechnev

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Jul 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/10/00
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Lblanch001 wrote:

> It's possible that Margaret fell quite early in the distribution for age at
> menarche in her time.
>

Forgive my ingnorance (which I am especially ashamed of knowing the high
standards of this ng), but looking this up will take too long, and I am too
tempted to reply straight away.

Did this marriage (I mean, the bride's age) strike any of the contemporary
writers as odd, out of the ordinary? Did they make any comments to that effect,
confirming that 12 was too early an age to marry (like: "Naughty-naughty
Edmund, you should be ashamed of yourself")?

If they didn't, may we assume that they saw it as normal, common, usual? In
which case the distribution for early menarche must have been quite
substantial.

Sergei

P.S. As I wrote this, I thought of something else. Noble children were often
betrothed at their birth or very soon afterwards (the first name that pops into
my mind is Henry, Duke of Buckingham (the one that wreaked havoc together with
Richard III) who was betrothed to a Woodville bride before he was of
marriageable age).

Were they supposed to share lodgings with each other before they became of age?
When were they allowed to live as man and wife? In fact, we hardly know when
such marriages were actually consummated, do we? Maybe, at the same age as that
of Margaret? Which again leads us to certain conclusions about menarche etc.


Susan Hicks

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Jul 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/10/00
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The age of consent in the Middle Ages was twelve for a girl and fourteen for
a boy.

While some marriages were undoubtedly consummated at that early age, I think
that others were left to mature. King John, for example, married Isabelle
of Angouleme when she was reputedly twelve years old (she was born 1188) -
but they didn't have any children until 1207 - after which they were rather
prolific. I suppose we'll never know the truth, but this suggests to me
that John frolicked with his mistresses and left Isabelle to grow up before
he set about begetting heirs.

Cheers
Susan


David C. Pugh

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Jul 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/10/00
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Sergei Chechnev <se...@hepple.com> wrote in message

(...)

I'll leave Margaret for Laura to talk about......

> P.S. As I wrote this, I thought of something else. Noble children
were often
> betrothed at their birth or very soon afterwards (the first name
that pops into
> my mind is Henry, Duke of Buckingham (the one that wreaked havoc
together with
> Richard III) who was betrothed to a Woodville bride before he was of
> marriageable age).
>
> Were they supposed to share lodgings with each other before they
became of age?
> When were they allowed to live as man and wife? In fact, we hardly
know when
> such marriages were actually consummated, do we? Maybe, at the same
age as that
> of Margaret? Which again leads us to certain conclusions about
menarche etc.

This is definitely an issue, Sergei. Marriage did often precede
consummation, as is most clearly seen when the parties were infants.
In those cases I believe that the bride grew up in the household of
the groom's parents. That would have an interesting consequence.
According to the evolutionary biologists, humans are in fact
hard-wired not generally to take a sexual interest in those we grow up
with as infants, whether or not they are our blood relatives (and
contrariwise, there is no purely biological mechanism that stops us
fancying a full sibling we have never seen before). This being so, our
infant couple might have serious problems with their subsequent
marital life. Which might, just possibly, explain some of the "virgin
marriages" and other odd goings-on, or failures to go on.

As regards age of consummation, medievals believed that bearing
children right after puberty was bad for the health of the woman and
her offspring. It was best to wait a couple of years for the woman to
grow and develop more. Defloration of brides immediately after puberty
certainly happened but it wasn't considered optimal.

Andronicus Comnenus was considered a monster for his suspected
consummation of his marriage with Agnes of France, who had been
married to the heir, Alexius II, but was still a virgin. She was 12 -
and _he_ was 65.......

David

Lblanch001

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Jul 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/10/00
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Sergei writes, re Margaret Beaufort:

>Did this marriage (I mean, the bride's age) strike any of the contemporary
>writers as odd, out of the ordinary? Did they make any comments to that
>effect,
>confirming that 12 was too early an age to marry (like: "Naughty-naughty
>Edmund, you should be ashamed of yourself")?
>
>If they didn't, may we assume that they saw it as normal, common, usual? In
>which case the distribution for early menarche must have been quite
>substantial.
>

I don't know about the contemporary comments, but I do know that it was
customary to wait until a younger bride was more mature than Margaret Beaufort.

To quote Jones & Underwood from _The King's Mother_: "It was normal practice to
wait until the woman was fourteen before consummating the marriage, indeed this
was often specified in the contract. Yet Margaret's territorial position gave
the twenty-six-year-old Edmund a brutal and exploitative interest for
immediately making her pregnant. By this he ensured a life-interest in his
wife's inheritance, for once a living child was produced (no matter how short
its life) the father became tenant by courtesy of England, and was legally
entitled to enjoy his wife's estates until his death.... Margaret's experience
was traumatic. Her child's birth was a difficult one, and at one point mother
and son were close to death. Tudor's behavior was ruthless and inconsiderate:
he was more concerned about being materially well provided for himself than in
founding an aristocratic dynasty."

Of course there is a delicious divine retribution visited on this insensitive
swine: He caught the crud and didn't live to see the birth of this heir that
was supposed to secure his fortune.

D. Spencer Hines

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Jul 10, 2000, 3:00:00 AM7/10/00