It seems to me that when the medieval period is portrayed
both on screen and in literature we hardly ever see a complete picture of what life was really like. I think this is partly due to storytelling taking precedence over reality; and in part due to the fact that it is almost impossible to recreate history. And do we really want our favorite stories marred with the unhygienic realities of life in the middle ages? I have to admit that I am guilty of this. When I write I concentrate on my characters and setting, and omit the unsavory truths.
With this in mind, I’m surprised that there is so much fiction involving
time travel. I for one would hate to travel back in time, and here are three
Knights and Lords Were Little More Than Murderous Thugs.
The feudal system was such that it rewarded the cruel and punished
the just. So if the king asked you to murder you neighbour, who also happened to be your brother-in-law, you had better be prepared to do it. Or he could accuse you of treason and have you killed instead. Yes, most successful kings were murderous thugs too.
For example; in 1377, in the town of Cesena, Italy, John
Hawkwood, an English knight, and his company of mercenaries massacred between 2500 and 8000 men, women, and children.
He was under orders from Cardinal Robert of Geneva, who in turn was acting in the name of Pope Gregory XI. After a lifetime of murdering and pillaging for money, Hawkwood is said to have retired to England as a country gentlemen.
It hardly seems fair does it?
No Tea or Coffee. Both tea and coffee were unknown
in the middle ages. With tea originating in China and coffee in Ethiopia both drinks made their way to Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
So, as a peasant, (and yes, most of us would have been peasants) you would wake up in the morning, if you were lucky you owned a bed and a blanket. Your feet would hit the frozen dirt floor of your stone hut and your breakfast would consist of last night’s leftovers. Leaving you to face the stark reality of a cold, damp morning without a single drop of caffeine. I don’t know how mankind survived
And lastly and most importantly
No Indoor plumbing. Not only was there no plumbing there was no clean drinking water. Everyone, including the children, drank a
weak fermented liquid called small beer. So by the end of the day you might be pretty sloshed. And just imagine that after facing your morning without a daily cup of Joe you would also have to deal with the fact that your bathroom was a hole in the ground? or if you lived in the country, a bush?
Can you imagine the smell from the open sewers? Let alone the diseases this lack of sanitation would create.
Some of you might rough it when go on holiday and call it
camping and you might even enjoy it. Personally, I don’t call it camping I call it cruel and unusual punishment, and it’s my number one reason not to travel
back in time.
I’ve only mentioned my top three reasons but of course there are many more. What would be your biggest reason not to travel back in
Here’s a 24-second video from comedian Jeremy Hotz with
his view on camping.