In this classic of social history, noted medieval scholar Eileen Power recreates the lives of six ordinary people who lived during the Middle Ages. Drawing upon account books, diaries, letters, records, wills, and other authentic historical documents, she brings to vivid life Bodo, a Frankish peasant in the time of Charlemagne; Marco Polo, the well-known Venetian traveler of the 13th century; Madame Eglentyne, Chaucer's prioress in real life; a Parisian housewife of the 14th century; Thomas Betson, a 15th-century English merchant; and Thomas Paycocke of Coggeshall, an Essex clothier in the days of Henry VII.
Largely untouched by fame (with the exception of Marco Polo), the lives and activities of these common people offer a unique glimpse of various aspects of the medieval world — peasant life, monastic life, the wool trade, Venetian trade with the East, domestic life in a middleclass home, and more. Enlivened with charming illustrations and touches of humor, this scholarly, yet highly readable work "possesses a color, a dramatic touch that humanizes the dry bones of charters and documents." — New York Tribune.
Students, teachers of history, and anyone interested in medieval life will be delighted with this spirited account that is sure to capture the imaginations of general readers as well.
Reprint of the 1963 U.S. edition.
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