In this classic of social history, the author describes the lives of five lesser-known men and women of the Middle Ages, as well as one famous one. She draws on account books, records, letters, diaries, and wills to make the life of those times as concrete and comprehensible as our own. There are full-length portraits of Bodo, a Frankish peasant in the time of Charlemagne; Marco Polo, the celebrated Venetian traveler—only one of many—of the thirteenth century; Madame Eglentyne, the prioress of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, whose life can be copiously filled out from the records of the nunneries of fourteenth-century England; the young wife of a fourteenth-century Parisian bourgeois; and two English merchants of the fifteenth century, Thomas Betson of the wool trade and Thomas Paycocke, an Essex clothier.
This is an informative yet entertaining look at an era through the eyes of people that lived it.
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