Life in the Middle Ages by Richard Winston

By Richard Winston

Right here, nationwide booklet Award winner Richard Winston explores existence within the center a while - from the 5th to the 15th centuries, starting with the autumn of the Roman Empire and finishing with the sunrise of the Renaissance. In either geographical region and towns, from the peasants to the bourgeoisie to the the Aristocracy, no element of existence during this period is left unexplored.

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Functional and comfortable chain mail, which had been good enough for the Crusaders, was totally passé. The only thing now was plate mail that enveloped the body; the head and face were also enclosed in a helmet. The most desirable stock came from Germany, where the art of steel-making was highly developed. The steel plates cold be damascened – that is, inlaid with brass, silver, and gold. They were then fitted to the individual wearer. Swords had to match. Even omitting an armored breastplate for one’s horse, such an outfit, did not come cheap.

With the help of a salaried painter attached to his household and serving as curator, he commissioned new works and bought up whatever handsome illuminated volumes came on the market. He left a fabulous collection of both devotional and secular works. The Très Riches Heures, executed for him in the last years of his life and, in fact, not quite finished, remain connected with his name. During his lifetime, his enthusiasm was catching. Both his brothers embarked on book collecting. In response to such patrons, a whole branch of art flowered.

No peasant wanted to live so far from a population center that he could not bring his produce into town and return to his home village within the same day. Since he went on foot or on a leisurely mule, this meant a distance of no more than ten miles. Moreover, it had become evident that a town added to the prosperity of a region. Since the lord owned the land on which the town would be located, he could collect good rents from building lots. He could also collect small fees from future commerce – so much for every wagon entering the gate, so much for the use of every market booth.

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