How They Lived: An Anthology of Original Accounts Written before 1485

How They Lived: An Anthology of Original Accounts Written before 1485

How They Lived: An Anthology of Original Accounts Written before 1485

How They Lived: An Anthology of Original Accounts Written before 1485

Excerpt

This book shows how people lived in England and Wales up to 1485 so far as a selection of passages from original writers allows. Translations from Latin or French are taken, so far as suitable ones are available, from existing published texts by English writers from King Alfred onwards, as this will enable any reader wishing to delve deeper to do so. Thanks are due to all the publishers mentioned in the notes on sources for allowing translations to be thus reprinted, and I hope that such kindness will be fitly rewarded by increased demands for their publications.

The arrangement of this book is by topics, so that anyone interested in any particular aspect of life will find related matter brought together. It is, however, necessary to consult the index, for there are many passages included which throw interesting sidelights on more than one aspect of life.

How They Lived is a companion to They Saw It Happen and to Who's Who in History, both of which were are arranged by date, and both of which contain notes on the leading chroniclers here quoted. Many important passages from early writers were printed in They Saw It Happen, and this fact makes necessary the inclusion of cross-references to them. Thy Saw It Happen and Who's Who in Historyare abbreviated to T.S.I.H. and W.W.I.H.

These extracts from medieval writings reflect most of the chief aspects of daily life. There are, however, some ideas, such as the nature of buildings, which can better be conveyed by photographs and plans of existing remains and commentaries thereon based on recent scholarship. Other ideas, such as styles of art, and the way that certain religious ideas were envisaged, are also unsuitable for inclusion in an anthology of the written word. The nature of the sources is such that it is much easier to find good extracts to illustrate some aspects of life than others. 'Courtesy books' and household ordinances and accounts are full of fascinating passages illustrative of domestic manners, especially among the upper classes and their servants. On the other hand vivid and brief . . .

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