Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Life in the Middle Ages - Welcome
Welcome to the C. Dale Brittain blog, "Life in the Middle Ages."
Between "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones," there's a whole lot of interest in what life in the Middle Ages was really like. As both a professor of medieval history and a fantasy writer myself, I've been studying medieval times for over 40 years.
In this blog, I'll be posting fun bits of information about the period--some funny, some sad, some downright weird. I'll also be putting up some pictures of medieval architecture and the like, almost all of them mine. There is an amazing amount of misinformation about the Middle Ages out there (no, not everyone was middle-aged!), so I'll be correcting some of that too.
First tidbit of information: The Ox.
An ox was a crucial medieval animal. An ox is just a bull who was castrated as a calf, so he (it?) grew up with a bull's powerful muscles but none of a bull's testosterone-fueled fury. Strong and placid, able to subsist on grass rather than needing expensive grain (because of the multiple stomachs all cattle have, good for getting the last ounce of nutrition out of something), an ox made a great draft animal. Carts and plows were normally drawn by oxen.
And when an ox got old and died, its skin was used for leather (ox hide is thick and tough), and its meat could be boiled up and eaten (though also thick and tough).
(Click here for more on medieval farm animals.)