live in the early Middle Ages

Women in the Middle Ages

The following article, Living in the early Middle Ages: survival manual, was sent to History Pills gives Mauro Napoliello, a history and writing enthusiast.

In thanking him for the collaboration, I warmly invite you to read the post, which is basically a short but comprehensive one excursus on the peculiar aspects of life in Italy in the middle of the Middle Ages.

Enjoy the reading.



live in the Middle Ages

Living in the early Middle Ages: family scene

Imagine being in the High Middle age, on the Italian soil.

We are now far from the glories of the Roman Empire, the peninsula has been worn far and wide by political and social changes, continue invasions, illnesses e demographic decline, complete the picture.

Living in the early Middle Ages: population condition, countryside and city

live in the early Middle Ages

I work in the fields in the Middle Ages

Much of the population lives in the fortified estates of the local lords, much safer than in degraded cities.

even Roma, for centuries the capital of the ancient world, it is in ruins.

As for the cultural side of the moment, ignorance is rampant.

The only custodians of human knowledge are i monks refugees in monasteries, the only places where the ancient texts will be kept.

Small mention for the area ofEastern Roman Empire: within the confines of Constantinople, substantially, there are not too many headaches.

The emperor is still in his place and corporate mechanisms, they are all functional.

It will be here, that the Arab world will learn the basics of their culture.

Said this, analyzing the situation in various aspects, it is clear that if you lived in feudal Italy, you would have understood why those periods were baptized dark ages.

The daily life was obviously different according to social status.

I noblemen they were the most privileged part.

Who owned a fief, he collected taxes from his servants.

In return he undertook to fortify the property and in case of enemy attacks, to defend with his soldiers, i coloni.

I farmers they worked in the large estates, the efforts were many and the earnings were rather poor.

Living in the early Middle Ages: diseases and medicine

The social disparities they have always been enormous over the centuries, but one thing united the poor and the rich: the disease.

The medical skills of the early Middle Ages were scarce, for example, one died of dysentery.

Even the nobles, although treatment could be afforded, had to do with doctors totally unprepared, there were no drugs and the human body was not known.

Ever since the ancient man had chosen to live in the cities, medically, he had forgotten those
primitive knowledge, which he used to heal some diseases.

You will have to wait until the discovery of America to rediscover thanks to indigenous people, those ancient notions that will lead man to modern medicine.

The were used spices as medicines, even chopped pearls and precious stones, since the thought of the time was what matter was most valuable, the greater its effectiveness would be.

At this point it is easy to deduce, that probably if you didn't go to the doctor, he was living longer in some

The medieval man had alife expectancy not the best, not only from a medical point of view.

Food and war

Foods in the Middle Ages

L’farmer feeding it was based on what the earth gave him, rather what the master of the earth left him.

If he was lucky and there was a forest nearby, maybe he could have the luxury of hunting a little’ of small game and collect some mushrooms.

Different speech for i noblemen.

The meat it was the food par excellence in their diet, so much so that we easily died of diseases caused by this type of diet, as the gotta.

And if you had to go in war?

Also in this case, the social difference was king.

It happened that the duke had to wage war against another kingdom and there were no more regular armies from Roman times, the feudal lords were called to arms, nobles and peasants in tow.

Who had the economic possibilities, armor could be afforded, weapons and horses and the less well-to-do arranged their own means, to good and better.

The rulers did not supply equipment to go to war, we will have to wait until the modern era to review regular armies with uniforms and weapons all the same.

Hygiene and the law

live in the early Middle AgesAs for thehygiene we don't talk about it, not much attention was paid to this aspect, there was little washing and there were no bathrooms.

Due to social barbarization, in the cities the sewers overflowing, you no longer had the knowledge to operate these services.

Another element that distinguishes this period are laws and their application: the system was the barbaric one, the law of retaliation, punishment of equal measure was inflicted upon the damage received and the dead often escaped.

The judge he was the local lord who had to resolve conflicts within his fiefdom, written laws were not followed, knowledge was passed down verbally.

The religion

Finally, an important feature, we find it in’religious environment.

We are in a period where the Christianity it is professed throughout the western world and medieval man is deeply devoted and superstitious.

The clergy is respected, the rulers place them in the hands of the bishops and the pope, their hopes; the power to promise
earthly and especially afterlife protection, it makes the papacy over the centuries, a real rich and powerful state foraged by nobility and plebs.

To give an example of how the Church was powerful and influenced in the political framework of Europe, just think of the events that brought down the Lombard kingdom.

In the mid-eighth century AD, Pope Hadrian I, under the threat of the king of the Lombards Desire at the gates of Rome, aware that he is unable to repel such an army, he called for help Charlemagne.

The king of the Franks, in that time, he was at war with the Saxons, but at the Pope's call he headed quickly for Italy, this was because the sovereign wished to remain under the ecclesiastical protection of Rome.

The result, fu l’annihilation of the Lombards.

Living in the early Middle Ages: conclusions

In summary, the common man in the early Middle Ages, lived a very hard life, he placed his hopes in religion and in a good harvest.

He traveled little, because it was dangerous, if he went to war he would manage as best he could and if he didn't go to the doctor it was better.

Survival manual, it's a bit of a title’ ironic, to play down those centuries of human history, where man was forced to start from an almost primitive condition, which, however, will be the foundations of the Renaissance (Article written by: Mauro Napoliello) (photo:,,, e

Bibliographical references
Idro Montanelli, Roberto Gervaso Italy of the dark ages: the Middle Ages to the thousand, Rizzoli 2018
Piero Angela, Alessandro Barbero Behind the scenes of history, daily life through time best Bur