Daily Life in Medieval Europe

By Jeffrey L. Singman | Go to book overview
Save to active project


Over half a millennium after the close of the Middle Ages, the period continues to exercise a unique emotive power over Western culture. Our attitude is ambivalent but never detached. A governmental system we dislike is termed “medieval, yet we continue to be drawn to tales of King Arthur and Robin Hood. We consider the Middle Ages a barbaric time, yet they furnish some of our most enduring icons: the knight in shining armor, the idealized noble lady, the king upon his throne. The Middle Ages somehow remain with us in a way that other historical periods do not.

Our interest in things medieval is not an idle fancy. In many respects, the Middle Ages represent the point of origin of modern Western culture. They began with the confluence of three distinct cultural strands: the classical civilization of imperial Rome, the barbarian culture of the Germanic tribes in the north, and the near-eastern traditions imported into Europe with the advent of Christianity. Further back, we find the elements of modern Western culture only in fragmentary form, but in the Middle Ages all the main pieces come into place. The medieval world is at times alien and remote, yet it always resonates within us.

Of course, fascination and understanding are two quite different things. The sorts of images of the medieval world that abound in popular culture prove that our perception of the Middle Ages is mythic rather than historical. The transition from popular stereotypes of the Middle Ages to a real understanding of the period is not easy to make, and the difficulty is aggravated by a shortage of introductory information. There


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Daily Life in Medieval Europe


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 270

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?