Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life in a Medieval Village - Joseph and Francis Gies

Life In A Medieval Village
Francis and Joseph Gies
Harper and Row Publishers
Copyright: 1990

The book Life In A Medieval Village is, of course full of detail about everyday village life in thirteenth century Britain. The authors are looking particularly at the village of Elton. There is lots of information about the structure of the village, both physical, such as the design of the houses and the layout of the fields, as well as social, looking at the various duties and responsibilities, but also not forgetting the fun and festivals.

Much of the evidence used in the book has been gleaned from surviving documents as well as from the physical evidence remaining today, such as it is.

As is often the case with history books, this book is divided into sections, each focused on a particular aspect of medieval life, such as the chapter on Marriage and the Family, or the one on Medieval Justice.

Perhaps Life In A Medieval Village doesn't go into as much detail as it could, but the writing style is engaging for anyone interested in this period and easy for the non-specialist to understand. It certainly makes a good introduction to the period. I know I'm planning to buy some of the other books these two authors have written about the period, namely the book on life in a medieval city. It should make for good reading too.

Other medieval history books I've read and reviewed:
Pilgrimages - John Ure
The Worlds Of Medieval Europe - Clifford R. Backman
Reading The Middle Ages - Barbara Rosenwein
The Crusades - A Very Short Introduction - Christopher Tyerman
1215: The Year Of The Magna Carta - Danny Danziger and John Gillingham
By Sword And Fire - Sean McGlynn

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