Life in a Medieval Village

Frances Gies, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.95 (257p) ISBN 978-0-06-016215-3
According to the authors of Life in a Medieval City , the vast majority of medieval Europeans lived in villages--``permanent communities organized for agricultural production.'' This earnest but dry distillation of period documents and archeological records focuses on Elton, an extant village located 70 miles north of London. The Gieses examine the dynamics of Elton's open-field type of agriculture; the division of the villagers into free and unfree, rich and poor; and the relationship between peasants and their ecclesiastical lord. Also discussed are the peasants' simple dress; meager diet; primitive housing; quarrels and lawsuits; sexual mores; rites of marriage, death and inheritance; and penchant for ale. Coroners' rolls reveal that parents frequently neglected infants; court accounts demonstrate that witnesses of crimes were obligated to come to the rescue of the victim. While valuable to history students, the barrage of facts presented here won't come alive for lay readers. Illustrations not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club and QPB alternates. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-201668-3
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-092046-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5414-1066-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-241566-0
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