lack of understanding of context of history

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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Marcus Woodhouse
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Sorry my spelling has gone to Hell, not thinking straight.
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Marcus Woodhouse
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I think that no matter how hard we try we are never going to be of the same mindset as our ancestors. How would you deal with the pain of a headache without the relief offered by an asprin? How would you deal with the fear of famine because of a wet summer? What would you be thinking of when the only son out of five to make it to adulthood is dragged out of the fields to fight in the army of a Lord you only see on rent collection days?
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Post by craig1459 »

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I think that no matter how hard we try we are never going to be of the same mindset as our ancestors. How would you deal with the pain of a headache without the relief offered by an asprin? How would you deal with the fear of famine because of a wet summer? What would you be thinking of when the only son out of five to make it to adulthood is dragged out of the fields to fight in the army of a Lord you only see on rent collection days?


there are parts of the world that are still like this :|
die Behmen hinder iren bafosen ... stunden vest wie die mauren

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Post by Bittersweet »

I suspect that you've hit the nail on the head Cleggy but not on the way to Quakerism, more like anti-establishmentarianism :lol:

Sophia, haven't the Jewish community just recently celebrated the return to open worship in this country (can't remember if it was 300 years ago that it returned? something like that) after some nasty Eddie (I?) slaughtered them all or chucked them out because they didn't have any money left to lend him?
My point here being: depending on the period that you re-enact you may not have been here at all, or you would have done your best to not be obviously Jewish then.

Does this apply to others too, maybe they were all there doing their bit but doing it very, very quietly :?
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Post by Sophia »

Bittersweet

You are right about the Jewish community - I wouldn't tell a MOP I was Jewish if doing a living history. There may well have been hidden Jews at all stages of the expulsion (more likely in the post-reformation era but they would have been very careful). In this context I was simply using it as an example of how one might reconcile oneself to the issues raised.

In fact what I do is act religious, show respect at any religious event, as I would anyway.

If queried on my religious status in the context of my character I would declare that I was Christian and depending on whether doing first person or simply re-enactment would either not acknowledge issue or explain that pre-reformation the concepts of Catholic and Protestant were irrelevant. Unless, of course you are a heretical type like the Hussites or the Lollards.

I stick to outward to forms of devotion that I can reconcile myself with - so don't wear a cross or any saint's badges but a string of beads which could be mistaken for a paternoster but which I use to remind myself to say Brochahs and do my Heshbon Nefesh. That's why I am considering commissioning a period book of psalms from Jorge.

Sophia

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Post by Bittersweet »

Just goes to demonstrate that there are really clever ways to achieve an end result without 'giving up' your natural "now" state in order to reasonably represent the "then". Well done Sophia, sounds like you've thought it through well.

I'm having similar problems but of a secular nature. Just what is a skilled tradesman's wife doing shooting bows at a target on a war encampment?! :oops:

Perhaps his wife would have travelled with him and learnt to use a bow (not necessarily a war bow) for hunting and defending herself?
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Post by Sophia »

Absolutely darling - the whole issue is credibility

Alternatively you could consider a second set of soft kit and cross dress for battle. :D

I certainly think that more women could well have been involved in non-female activities than we think though of course we have no proof.

The problem is that unless you are very famous or came to the attention of the law courts there is little fine detail about ordinary people's everyday lives.

Sophia :twisted:

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Post by Bittersweet »

Not so keen on the battling, I'd rather take the time out to watch that than take part in it.

Where I really fall down in the wifely department is the fact that my sewing is terrible :oops: I can't sit outside looking like I'm doing something useful. This means that when I'm not shooting, I really am a hanger-on during 'open times' at events. This can be good though, I can relax and enjoy the 'show' for a while. :wink:
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Post by gregory23b »

Sophia

"I certainly think that more women could well have been involved in non-female activities than we think though of course we have no proof."

what kind of activities where you thinking of?

To open the discussion more:

Women who were widows of say artisans were legally allowed (in quit a few cases) (status of femme soles London and Lincoln in particular) to run the business in their names, some guilds were women and even some supposedly men's guilds did not exclude women, esp if they were the widows of a member and were running the business. The other thing to bear in mind is where, in Europe women's roles varied not just from nation to nation but from city to city and from city to country (side). If we are talking say take up arms as a matter of course then the evidence for that is somewhat sparse and the situations exceptional, whereas records for women working in a range of trades are much more readily available. Being recognised for the involvement is another thing altogether as they may be merely included as part of the unofficial staff, or may well be in a trade that does recognise them.

Women in the Medieval Town, by Ulrika Uitz is a pretty good resume of women in the late middle ages, covers thigns like law, work, war etc.

Henrietta Leyer's Medieval Women Covers a wider range of the middle ages - 1066 onwards but gives in depth insights into the women at work, at home and with regards to religion.

A little sample re work.
"...traditional roles did not exclude others. A woman might be an armourer, a book-biner, a merchant, a fletcher. she as not considered too weak to undertake jobs requiring physical strength, such as carrying thatch, turves or tiles, or loading wool on to ships. Very occasionally, her role beside her husband is acknoweldged. Thus we hear of the wife of Roger del Grene, Julian, a comber, who in 1393 also 'practices the craft of saddler with her husband'..."

Certainly the implication is that women are indeed part of the business but taken for granted as so, unless other duties took their time up, eg child rearing or food preparation as in supplementing diets with agricultural work.

As a general statment, I think there are many myths in reenactment, often down to not looking into this enough, there is plenty for everyone to do, some things are not done by all, that is life then and unchangable but many things are open to at least interpreting in quite sensible ways. Especially in a non-military environment (all genders) where most of the work in reality happens, imagine a domestic scenario of quite a basic but essential activity undertaken by all members of the 'family' at varying stages. Totally doable and if researched and carried out well woudl be of real interest to not only do but pass on to the audience. The social aspect of a working medieval family unit is highly sellable.
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Post by guthrie »

gregory23b wrote:As a general statment, I think there are many myths in reenactment, often down to not looking into this enough, there is plenty for everyone to do, some things are not done by all, that is life then and unchangable but many things are open to at least interpreting in quite sensible ways. Especially in a non-military environment (all genders) where most of the work in reality happens, imagine a domestic scenario of quite a basic but essential activity undertaken by all members of the 'family' at varying stages. Totally doable and if researched and carried out well woudl be of real interest to not only do but pass on to the audience. The social aspect of a working medieval family unit is highly sellable.

I certainly agree, and opening things up would also increase the context available for the public to see. An excuse would be that it is kind of tricky to get all this done, requiring careful investment, equipping of the family group, and a bunch of other stuff. But i think a few groups do get somewhere close to that. Perhaps we really need a medieval village for this, rather than tents.

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Post by gregory23b »

" An excuse would be that it is kind of tricky to get all this done, requiring careful investment, equipping of the family group, and a bunch of other stuff. But i think a few groups do get somewhere close to that. Perhaps we really need a medieval village for this, rather than tents."

yes like anything else it is not an overnight affair, but for some it is a realignment of what they already know, kitwise they may already have it, depends on what it is.

Tents, do not a domestic scene make, a medieval village to test these things, or demonstrate them would be ideal, but also there are publicly and privately owned venues that lend themselves to this also, like all other activities it needs planning etc.[/i]
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Post by Sophia »

Jorge,

I suggest we get together at Tewks over a cool drink or two to thrash this one out.

OR

You can wait until after Tewks for me to reply - it is just to hot for serious geeking :D . To say nothing of the fact that I have masses of seriously authentic kit to finish - can't type and sew at the same time.

Sophia 8)

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Post by gregory23b »

Oh no rush, just had a spare moment between juggling kids and thangs.

I saw an opening for a potentially stimulating convo.

Not that I don't want to talk about it at Tewks, I suspect time wont allow us much waffling and general geekery, certainly not after about seven pm or so. Be more than happy to buy you a refreshment of choice though.

But a thrashing sounds very interesting though.....
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Post by Peter C-H »

No kids to juggle yet - my secondary ball of choice is tidying up and cleaning as my Mum is coming to stay for a couple of days tomorrow and I have to get the sitting room to a state where I can unfold the sofa bed. :D

Would like to continue convo when have more time.

Afraid I can't offer you a battlefield thrashing as am not a fighter - my interest is primarily costume and social history - though admit to knowing more about mainland Europe in particular Netherlands.

We will be up in Tewks from Thursday evening - are B&B'ing though as no authenti-tent and plasti-camp ain't too nice.

Peter C-H is doing something traffic management shaped to help out on site.

Look out for me - I am the short plump one in late C15th gear (new gowns are red and yellow/dark green). Peter C-H is not too tall and tends to wear blue hose and black riding boots (current doublets are red and blue).

Looking forward to that drink.

Sophia :D
Peter

aka Peter Chedzoy - second husband to the Kentwell tailor and painter and stainer of cloth

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Post by gregory23b »

Will do.

On the field I will be using a pavise, yellow ochre, red ochre edging and a winged ox top left to view. Either as a pavisier or an archer, but pavise one way or the other. My sallet will have dangly bits at the back. Me not thin either.

But sounds like the beer tent, will keep hat on...
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Post by guthrie »

HHMmm, which side are you on? I'll be the winnning side, I think; us mercenaries have short memories.

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Post by gregory23b »

The vile POrkists I beleive as my group is generally of that persuasion, even though old Gascoigne seemed to see the light at times, must look up when he was a Lanc and then a Porkist.
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Post by Lena »

Sophia & Jorge,

Would love to be in on this discussion as well. Won't be at Tewkesbury (being a 14th C. person, I'd be dead by then :wink: ), but will be present online.

/Lena

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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

The past is a hard place to find and a hard place to visit thats why it makes this so much fun.
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Post by Bittersweet »

If you could really get there to really find out, you'd probably get burned, ducked or hung because you're a time-travelling witch or you'd catch the plague. I think I'd rather carry on with long-distance research and conjecture. :lol:
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Post by Kate Tiler »

I'll just pull up a bar stool here as I won't be at Tewkesbury either (working at an event at Syon Park instead...)

The best that I've seen the 'family unit' working so far was last year at Harewood House, at one of the Leeds Armouries events - a couple and their two children called 'The Crafty Beggars' - he makes green wood working stuff like spoons etc and she makes lovely rush hats.

Their set up was lovely - helped by the fact that they'd been travelling with Leeds Armouries all over Scotland for the previous 3 weeks, apart from the tent they had a very good small timber frame hovel type thing, covered with canvas but very typical 'bodger in the woods' arrangement and of course the woodchips helped!

The girls by the time they got to Harwood were bored with hanging out with Mum & Dad and instead came & played with me all day Sunday - on Saturday evening as soon as the visitors had gone Mum & Dad got out a hurdy gurdy & a fiddle & a small group of traders were magnetically drawn to this lovely encampment - it was the best social gathering at an event that I've ever been to as a trader.

I've been thinking ever since that what I need is to replace my trader's tent with more of a portable workshop style affair, with green whole chestnut poles & just the odd canvas panel, rather than a neat looking tent. I shall have to get my Dad involved this winter... Trouble is I'll end up with needing a bigger van!
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Post by gregory23b »

"I shall have to get my Dad involved this winter... Trouble is I'll end up with needing a bigger van!"

big bloke then?
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Easy....
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Post by Kate Tiler »

Lol :)

My Dad was a coppicer & still a handy man to know if you want any wood :) I can see me ending up with a portable hovel that needs a pantechnican to move it if I get him involved!
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Post by Gail Horn »

Just out of curiosity, Kate, what's on at Syon? I'm stuck round the corner in the hospital and I haven't seen any advertising up for anything at the moment!
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Post by Kate Tiler »

Hi Gail!

http://www.syonpark.co.uk/news.asp?#21

Their website has "July 2006 - Sunday 9th
" Domestic Monastic Life in Tudor times at Syon Abbey" - Demonstrations, re-enactments and children's activities" 11.00 to 17.00 hours (last entry 16.15 hours)

I think I cover all 3 things!

They had a (Time team?) dig there & discovered lots of nice things, I think it is going to be quite a small event but very interesting.
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Post by Gail Horn »

Thanks, Kate! I was so annoyed when I found out about the Time Team dig as I was in the hospital working again at the time - I could have nipped round in my lunch hour!

Mmm! Wonder if I can get the Spawn along by pretending all along that I want to go to the needlecraft shop, which closed last year, but they don't need to know that! :D

Maybe I'll see you, maybe not - depends on what else is happening (cooking, cleaning, polishing, dusting; all the other swear words I try very hard not to do! :? )
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

I agree with the comment made by Bittersweet, which is the point I was trying to make. I read in a history book once that all that was needed to travel back in time was a set of clothes. By this I believe that the author meant that people in the past worried about the same things we do, loved the same way and so on. I really don't agree anymore. They did indeed have the same concerns as us but I think they appraoached them differently. The otherwise pretty poor Timeline brought this home when the French man and the Scots lead character ended up dead or clapped inirons because the team of time travellers seemed to forget that 21st century friendships between nations had ne relation to 14th century alleigencies.
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Post by m300572 »

The otherwise pretty poor Timeline


Is this a group - who are they and how long have they been going?

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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

Forever, thats what timelines do.
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