The studies of Alchemy is a combinative curriculum of mysticism, hermeneutics, chemistry, physics and other basis learnings of spheres, Medieval Alchemy is often practised in the laboratories of high-rulers and people of high noble status, usually in the mansion’s of noblemen and in Royal cities. Fundamentally, Alchemy was valuable and expensive and so the support of patrons were necessary in this particular case if anything were to be provided and achieved. Prosperous Alchemists sustained their wealth and notoriety of the Royal cities and among the citizens, however, like most masses whom practise this course of study usually wind up in prison or are penalised to death by the authority. The main objectives of an Alchemist in the times of the Medieval Ages was to find the mystical ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ and to convert base metals into gold.
Alchemy is used to reconstruct and brew herbs and other ingredients into medicine and other remedies, in order to construct the potion it is required to be informed of the prerequisite recipe to the vital remedy, a mandatory step, and a guide to your first or unexplored antidote. With the acquired formula you may begin brewing and mixing the elements for the making of a newly composed elixir.
The important steps are listed in the books and must be adhered to precisely, if deviated or strayed away from, the potion will most likely fail, your ingredients will be lost and the brewing process with have to be repeated with new freshly bought, and also expensive components.
The measured difficulty of each brewed elixir are differentiated on each recipe and all require a variable number of steps, with each recipe you are fond of, the more you are likely to succeed but the first step is to always pour the potion base into a cauldron where you able to add ingredients and brew the mixture on the prescribed flame, you should always be cautious of how long you brew for if the recipes demand it. With the mortar and pestle you are to grind the ingredients but it is also suggested to be thorough and attentive to your work of art.
The dangers of Alchemy comes with a great cost and so those who are found guilty of the evil foundations of Alchemy is sentenced to death, or turned into a slave depending on who catches you. However misinterpretations are bound to happen by any point of your Alchemy course, whether you are not bound by evil, death sentences are still given out regardless just by the sheer fact of the great hazards included in the field of work.
Alchemy is used for a variety of good if correctly used, for the most part it is publicly used to cure wounds and has an effect on the mind, it is also used to moderate internal health and purge diseases. With the help of Alchemists, particularly almost always has a great benefit and is favourable by both good and bad parties on account of the possibilities of an adept Alchemist.
It is certainly not desirable to have an Alchemist work against you, for it comes with great danger and burdens a colossal price as an end game.
In the Medieval times, food was not a struggle for those whom were of Royal and noblemen status, the Royal Court’s were primarily sourced with various meats such as venison, poultry, and fish, they’d also have spices from foreign lands, fruits and condiments containing nutmeg, pepper, sugar, ginger, dates, saffron and cardamom. Also depending on one’s wealth, herbs and honey were available as well as oil which were used to flavour food. Peasants and those of the poor did not have access to such foods because of the costly rarity, however, locally they’d have organic and farmed foodstuffs that were sourced regionally, foods that were primarily cabbage, onions, parsnips, turnips, beets, garlic, carrots, celeriac, parsley, cucumbers and melons.
An army that lacked food supplies would be the losing party, a well performing army was a well-fed army, the average soldier consumed 3,000 calories a day as ninety percent of the supply weight revolved around eating, in war and in battles, energy was a necessity and without the consumption of food and the prolonged malnutrition over several days would considerably reduce soldier's of physical and mental abilities to do well in battle. Meat, vegetables, cheese and condiments such as olive oil as a cooking supply were required. Water contents were also of importance, wells and other sources such as rain provided the necessities to an everyday need.
Eggs, milk, bread and cheese were an all year round availability and popular choice for the locals. Other popular foods and desserts include fruit which were apples, pears, cherries, plums, berries, nuts, seeds and cereals. Though there were many ingredients that are common today that were not all-so-common in the Middle Ages, ingredients and edibles such as potatoes, tomatoes, sweetcorn, peppers and rice. Obtaining all of these were not easy as they did not make their way into Europe until the discovery of America or imports from Asia.
Farmer’s provided grains and seeds, 'legumes' in other words are are grown agriculturally, primarily for their grain seed called pulse, for livestock forage and silage, and as soil-enhancing green manure. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupin bean, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts and tamarind, peas, lentils, vetches and beans. A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae, or the fruit or seed of such a plant. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption of their grain seed.
Food replenishes nourishment, in the Middle ages it was believed without in-taking a certain amount of calories you’d be considered skinny and weak even if you weren’t. The need to feed was demanded of in every battle, war and your everyday urgent requirement of consumption.
It is not wise to ignore hunger, the longer you go without food and malnutrition to sustain the body's requirement of consumption, the weaker you get. If you fast long enough you can even die, not every edible foodstuff is like the other, an apple won't fill you up like a roast duck, but it will stay fresh longer.
You are able to view when you need to eat by peeking at your hunger stat and see the length of the bar to determine the satisfaction of one's nourishment, it differentiates whether you are hungry, or overstuffed however you must not overeat! Stuffing yourself like a pig has the advantage of being fully satisfied and replenishes your need for hunger for much longer, but a full belly will slow you down and will most likely cause you to vomit it all out.
It is suggested what kind of food enters the mouth! Watch what you eat, if you eat or drink something that's spoiled, rotten and overdue then you can get food poisoning which in turn effects your internal health, if killed by internal health you succumb and are Character Killed, however there are curable by taking potions brewed by Alchemist's.
Noble status didn’t necessarily mean you had a great deal of wealth in the Middle Ages, often it was enough that you had a military upbringing, you had subjects and servants to moderate administration and administer physical work, a man of Nobility’s main duties were the assortment and collection of taxes, managing and administering the militia and all hereditary functions. Their own possessed lands came with it's inhabitants who had to pay their liege lord rent and labour on his farmlands.
Medieval art was undoubtedly influenced by Nobility necessarily because they were the main source of sponsors and patrons of such artistic work, this applied to a variety of things ranging from architecture, paintings, sculptures, fashion accessories, hairstyles and even furniture.
Nobility, the highest position of feudal society beneath the monarch, with the capabilities and and power of legal privileges commensurate with their landed title or family crest. Men of Noble status were answerable to the king, their possessions such as land were to be paid to the King’s dues were they were obligated to assist with military in the event of war or battle. The becoming of a Nobleman when one’s heritage are of nothing but Peasants is a rarity in and of itself, there are many ways of becoming a man of Nobility however the procedures are strict and uncommon.
In most cases, peasants who take over various work industrial-like corporations, such as being a multi-possessed blacksmith distributing business is most likely to become of Noble status. An additional rare circumstance is the hiring of a person who already sustains and holds the Nobility status, where the peasant is obligated to work for and assist, and in return is granted free housing inside the garrison.
Construction works arose around every major building site, employing stonemasons, carpenters, bricklayers, blacksmiths, freight haulers, stone cutters, ropers, pillar makers, coopers, and so on. Stone or wooden elements and auxiliary structures were made directly on site and the place where the construction works was called a courtyard. Artisans often use specialized tools such as wooden lifting machines, winches, hoists and cranes powered by hand or by means of large tread wheels.
Construction works assembled a great many workers, who became bonded together by natural and informal ties. The community of workers also provided ample custom for the surrounding merchants and innkeepers, and most of the workers would live in the vicinity for the duration of the building project, which often lasted years.
The Master Builder was in charge – allocating tasks, leading the construction process and negotiating with the owner or patron of the building.
In the Middle Ages a significant part of any property ownership consisted of livestock which included horses, goats, cattle and poultry. Horses were highly prized and very expensive because of the wonders that come with it, being able to ride, carry and also ride passenger of the wonderful animal, it creates a lot of variety and access to easy transport. This field of work also participates in providing for the King's military and in return total protection from invaders, however almost every serf in the Middle Ages would prefer to own a cow than a piece of arable land, so even some landless folk had access to food by way of milk.
Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture that involves caring for and raising animals for the sake of meat, fiber, milk, eggs and other products. Animal husbandry is the work of day-to-day supervision and management, otherwise things will no doubt fall apart. Pigs in the Medieval times were left to forage in the woods all year round to feed on beechnuts and acorns, Medieval pigs were much like wild boar and only had little relevancy with today's pink animals.
Sheep were used for wool and were very common to keep as a Serf, however the upper class also kept sheep for their cozy wool, the less unfortunate ones often keep goats for milk and cheese. In the coldest of winters livestock were to be kept inside one's house, commonly in the same room with people to serve as a source of heat. All cattle grazed freely on the meadows situated around villages as a general area.
It was not too common for dairy goods to be traded as every serf and peasant in the Capital had a cow or goat of their own for a source of consumption. Animals are a good resource, however, they're even a better resource used for dragging bigger farm equipment along the soil to produce a better outcome.
Unlike today, when the land has long been given over to agriculture, the burgeoning of farming in the Middle Ages brought the need for new fields where there were only forests or untilled land. The timber from forest clearing was used for construction, the remaining roots, stumps, and scrub were burned, and the ground then leveled.
The finished fields were cultivated by the 'three-field system' – a third of the land lay fallow for two years to recover nutrients - this was used for grazing livestock, which added manure. It was then returned to use and tilled, while in turn another third, which had been used for raising crops, was left to lie fallow. There was thus a regular crop rotation to save exhausting the soil.
Vegetables and legumes were cultivated to a greater extent than today, grown in fenced gardens next to houses. These were mostly peas and lentils, but also vetch and beans, and around the villages, flax and hemp were grown extensively.
Since the beginning of time, and as a natural instinct, foreigner's are usually treated as invaders and were not welcome into one's home, in the Medieval Ages a 'foreigner' meant not only anyone who arrived from outside one's town or village, but potentially an enemy and those of without legal status. Foreigners were without legal rights until they paid a surety, this circumstance was dealt with by the courts of law and there many various regulations setting fees for running a business or renting a house.
Foreigners without legal status were not allowed to acquire or inherit ownership, foreigners were not as welcome as one would think even with the payment of surety, they would sometimes carry possible diseases which would endanger the whole Kingdom if not properly treated, thus taking caution when permitting immigrants.
Townswere the economic and cultural centers, but it was the country that provided the goods, especially foodstuffs. In a medieval town, the best properties around the square and the market were owned by rich Councillors and merchants.
Around them lived the craftsmen and artisans, and the poor by the city walls. The townspeople’s livelihoods stemmed largely from the trade, skilled crafts, and many associated professions.
Like today, the townsfolk bought their food at the market.
In the 11th century, most settlements were small sized and had a minor population mostly consisting of poor farmers & peasants. Cities in the Flintwhenian region never surpassed the 1.5 thousand marks (Royal Capital).
The Village of Pinewood, it is nestled between the large landmark of Mount Chiliad and the forests of Shady Creek. It boasts an amazing view of the mountain and is virtually a minute away from the eeriness of Shady Cabins. Sitting at the base of the enormous Mount Chiliad; the rural small-town is host to various blacksmiths, bowyers, and trading stands.
The town also houses several facilities, including a tavern, cathedral and a monastery. The population consists of mainly saxon settlers, mainly beggars although there are very valuable farmers as well as bowyers, town criers, troubadours and scriveners.
Flintshire is a small rural area located in Flintwhenia. Located in southeastern Flintwhenia. It's surrounded by a hillside area with lots of fields and crops. Situated close to the border of The Barrows and the swamp.
There is a functional well which produces clean pure water, usually settlers replenish their thirst here as they pass by. It's made out of several houses, small blacksmith, a barn with dusty old equipment and alongside that several broken-down caravans which are portrayed as small market stalls.
Delton is located in northeastern Flintwhenia. It neighbors Lake Delton and it's ports and it's where the name for the village comes from. The village is very subtle, made out of multiple buildings. There are two barns, one acting as a normal barn whilst the other as a stable. Several huts for housing, a town hall, a small tavern and a podium for speeches.
This particular area has achieved notoriety for being the home of fishers thanks to the openness and ease of the ports that lay across the lake. Relatively the size of the lake also allows for small boats to roam around it's boundaries and access the ports fairly well.
The Barrows are a heavily forested region of Flintwhenia. The Barrows comprises the southeastern portion of the map, and is connected to the notorious and foul smelling swamp. The camp is most characterized by its rugged terrain, foul-smelling swamp, giant hills and rocks.
The camp acts as a regional hangout for merchants, thieves, pirates and other multicultural beings. A home, residing all the nasty, gut-wrenching and hideous activities seen no where else. The foundation is made out of a series of docks, cabins, rotten and spoiled housing and a plethora of decaying elements all around.
During the Middle Ages, new elements of combat techniques, as well as weapons and armor, were coming into their own.
The arming sword maintained it's popularity and chain mail armor was used.
Knights took to heavier longswords, crossbows and strike weapons, such as maces, flails etc. A complete armor suit of armor was affordable only for a wealthy nobleman.
Most often the armor worn gave only partial cover, more reliance being given to good combat technique for protection.
Accordingly, sword-fighting developed in two directions:
knightly swordsmanship – fought with a spear, sword, and shield in full heavy chainmail armor
commoner swordsmanship – for lightly armored footsoldiers, who fought with swords and home-made weapons, e.g. daggers, flails, scythes, and bludgeons.
In combat between the lightly armored and the ironclads it was often swiftness, agility, and cunning that made the difference. Hence swordplay drew interest in the poorer echelons of society. Over time, they gained their skills in sword fighting schools.
The training was not very professional, based more on agility, readiness, and use of all and any advantageous resources available apart from weapons.
The word 'Pagan' first came about in the 4th century to catagorise various groups of religion that were not of Christianity, the population of the Romans in particular that practised polytheism were called this. Paganism, specifically in Norse, revolved around honour, they believed honour was linked to their family blood. Honour was eternal even when you died, your honour was left behind for you to claim, this is called 'Alfr', Alfr's reside near the burial mound and they were made up of your integrity and memory, your posthumous reputation. When you are to reborn you reclaim this honour, honour was not just considered of your 'renown' or 'reputation' but it also consisted of your soul, the spirit of dead which was linked to the bloodline of your family, your lineage or tribe in which case was forever eternal and cannot disappear. When reborn, you get to reclaim this honour for it is a never-ending cycle, which means his spirit cannot die, his body is able to succumb, the human 'shell' but not his honour, not his spirit which means he is able to keep returning. To remain forever, the soul of the dead is kept alive with songs being sung and festivals being danced, when the spirit is in the burial mound it is ever-lasting from tales told of the deceased to ensure they're not forgotten and left behind.
In the Medieval times, Pagan's, strictly of Norse would be reborn and enter their own burial mounds after walking in the renewed bodily shell and would recollect their belongings, and most importantly their thigh bones and skull, the thigh bone were a symbol of a life force that kept you standing up and the skull was a symbol your performance and mind in which they would say 'these are the heads of my forebears'. The Gauls would mistake this and think they were the head's of their enemies and classify the Pagan's as headhunters, this is not the case, the head's were collected so they could regain their honour and become who they once were, to become themselves and reclaim the once-acquired-honour from their previous lives. The Hallowing was achieved in the Yule tide, when at a young age, you receive the items from the grave as gifts from the Aflrs, which in turn was yourself giving to yourself. Although honor was linked to individuals, it was also linked to the Kin, to the entire family.
Honour is believed to be a guardian spirit, a divine force or a 'follower' and would aid the individual in their life by giving them luck and turning thes table in their favour like some of metaphysical force, all in all assisting the person. Honour is gained by acts of justice, from being loyal, being brave and just overall heroic acts, however, by gaining honour you are also able to lose it, thus a concept of 'law' was created, though not the idea of law in which the Christian's would have had in mind, but instead 'honour' was law, honour is replaced in this sense, you are deducted honour as a consequences of doing dishonourable and unjust acts which would keep the barbarians in check of their own law.
Diseases spread due to poor hygiene, natural disasters, crop failures, famine, cold, humidity, wars and animal-borne contagion.
In addition to the most common medieval disease – the plague, known also as the 'Black Death' - other prevalent diseases were whooping cough, cholera, influenza, malaria, tuberculosis, typhus, leprosy, anthrax and diphtheria.
Great risks stemmed from commonplace mold and from giving birth. People commonly suffered from parasites, bladder problems, kidney stones and hernias. Fractures were also commonplace.
Cataracts could be removed by a surgeon or an executioner.
The majority of people during the medieval period were illiterate; this goes for men, women and children, rich and poor. For the poor, there was almost little or no chance of learning to read or write, as a woman, this is even less. Forgery of various documents was relatively widespread. Few people could read or write, so few people could judge the authenticity of any record. Even gentlemen of high standing could seldom read and only dictated their documents to scribes – so there was not as much trust in the written word, which might contain falsehoods. Greater faith was placed on oral promises, oaths and the other person’s word of honour.
So what about the rich, well, the men would have had some sort of education, the women are unlikely to have been able to read or write. If these women’s father’s allowed, they might have been taught well. In earlier times, reading would have been done out loud, this way, there could only be one interpretation of the text. Those who read in their heads were often suspicious, especially for females. Not everyone could pick up a pen and paper and write, for starters, paper was not that easy to find. It took a lengthy process to make, out of animal skin, which needed to be dried out, stretched, cleaned, scraped.
Armour was essential in the Middle Ages, in the times of war, battle or defending against foreign invaders you had to make sure your military was well protected, there are many types of armor and the most expensive would ensure safety from most blunt weaponry. Armour is a protective covering that is used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual by direct contact from weapons or projectiles, for example swords and bows that are used usually during combat. The poor often did not purchase armour if well-guarded by guardsmen inside the cities, however it is suggested if they lived outside of the cities where harm could come their way, though it came with a hefty price.
Armour was crafted by plate-smiths and helmers, often from one piece of tempered sheet metal, the best armourer would ensure the best results from of course your provided budget. Combination armour was used by heavy cavalry – it was based around chain-mail, supplemented by plate armour on the limbs and a simpler version of the cuirass or plackart, or just a gambeson (quilted breastcoat). Some cuirasses and breastplates were equipped with a hook to support the knight’s spear or lance in combat. If the armour lacked a hook, the spear or lance was lodged in the bouche, a notch in the shield, which covered the left arm controlling the reins and the lower part of the helmet. A very common helmet type was the bascinet, with its distinctly shaped 'klappvisor', giving rise to the name 'hounskull'. In addition, pictorial sources frequently show iron hats, often with one or two viewports. The shoulders were protected either by chain-mail sleeves or pauldrons.
The Spangenhelm was used extensively in the centuries before the 11th but it was still very much in use. It was composed of several strips of iron or some other metal that were riveted into a helmet shape and then the spaces in between the strips were filled with sheets of metal or other material. Often the plates were composed of layers of metals like copper or bronze. Another type of helmet in use during the 11th century was the conical helmet. It was composed of a single sheet of iron that was hammered and shaped into a half cone that sat on the head. It sometimes had a piece of iron that extended down to cover the bridge of the nose.
Platemail wasn't in use yet and the most common type of armor for the chest and the torso was something called a mail Hauberk. This was a garment that covered the torso and usually reached down to about the knees. It was made of a series of rings that were stitched or riveted together and armor made from this technique is called "Chain Mail". Hauberks were also, although less commonly, made of a series of overlapping metal scales that were sewn or stitched together and it is speculated that this configuration was riveted to some type of undergarment.
There are many different types of armour types that cover all of the limbs of the body, from the head to the chest, arms to the hands, and legs to the feet. An essential part of the armour was the shield which also had many variants.
The Trebuchet is a siege weapon used to break up enemy formations or to smash gates and battlement walls. Although it resembles a catapult, or a stave sting its mechanism is different. The main contraption is a leverage mechanism with a counterweight on one side and a projectile sling on the other. The counterweight sets the entire arm in motion and the projectile (most often a dressed stone) flies up to several hundred metres along its ballistic trajectory. Apart from stones, the payload could be burning bales of straw, dead bodies, barrels of faeces, dead animals, quicklime, pots of Greek fire or fire in general, burning sand (which became trapped inside armour), casks of burning tar and so on. The disadvantage of the weapon was how demanding and time-consuming it was to load.
The Trebuchet was a highly accurate siege engine requiring expert building and design skills. The trebuchet was a scaled-up stave sling used to reduce fortresses and is a counterweight siege engine. The Medieval Trebuchet consisted of a lever and a sling, a very large force was applied to the shorter end of the arm, the load is on the other longer end of the arm with the fulcrum in the middle, the siege engine's arm could measure up to 60 feet in length and heavy lead weights or a pivoting ballast box (filled with earth, sand or stones) were fixed to the short end of the trebuchet arm. A heavy stone, or other missile, was placed in a leather pouch that was attached by two ropes to the other, long, end. When the arm was released, the force created by the falling weight propelled the long end upward and caused the missile to be flung in the air towards the target. The Trebuchet was capable of hurling stones weighing 200 pounds with a range of up to about 300 yards, after maximum range was achieved, the trebuchet was moved toward or away from the target.
Pennants and Banners in the Medieval Ages differentiated your opponents and your allies, it also depicted who you represented in the times of war, even when aiding and overall as a representation of your house. In the heat of the medieval battle, where most of the combatants had the same or similar equipment, the pennant or banner was often the only sign differentiating friend from foe. Pennants also helped lift the morale and to organize the various units during troop movements. Pennants and banners took the shape of extended triangles, upright rectangles and squares. Flags were fashioned from coloured canvas or silk and the depictions or emblems were painted onto them, most often the coat of arms of the respective feudal lords.
Cavalry carried small pennants on their spears and craftsmen who were members of the guilds also had their own banners. The guild banner was emblematic of the profession and was shown at public ceremonies and at military and other ostentatious events. Banners were also used to claim territories and grounds, kingdoms and all sorts of settlements, it was a sign of dominance and power to hang the banner's up on your enemy's holding grounds.
The armoury was the place where the military equipment was kept, or the civic militia’s repository which were swords, spears, halberds, bows and arrows, crossbows, suits of armour, helmets and other offensive and defensive gear. The armoury acted as a plan b when foreign invaders would call upon an all out war on their enemy's settlement. In times of threat, it was the duty of all residents to defend the city, and for these purposes, the city had an armoury with enough to arm its residents. Even in times of peace, the armoury was well kept of, they were sharpened, polished and even recycled with new ones and so on, townspeople often had to take turns on guard duty even when there was no real posing threat.
When their opponents are close to breaching the walls, the armouy was then used, and the townspeople were to defend their own grounds. The military and guards would often fight off foreign invaders instead of attending to the wounded, hence why the armoury was active in the times of invasion.
Sufficient supplies of drinking water constituted a crucial matter for the medieval town. The townspeople often solved the issue by excavating wells in the grounds of their houses or even in the cellar. Apart from these, there were also public wells. The same usually applied in castles, where a well was often dug out to collect water from a nearby source, such as a stream. Well-building was very costly and not possible everywhere. Castle wells could reach enormous depths, in extreme cases even more than 100m deep. It proved more effectual to build a cistern - a tank that resembled a well, but did not have its own water source. They usually collected rain water, which was filtered, and would be emptied out once a year.
As well as the obtaining fresh water, drainage was necessary. The building of simple sewers or drains is attested to by instructions from aldermen regulating that these sewers be dug and maintained, follow the shortest route and covered from above. Especially in towns, open ditches along paved roads served as drains. Such a system of sewage disposal was a nuisance to the populace, a source of unpleasant smells and spread infectious diseases and epidemics. Hence the originally open ditches were progressively covered over, eventually replaced by brick sewers, which diverted rainwater from the streets and roofs to the nearest watercourse or pond. The regularly recurring epidemics spreading around Europe later demanded a more radical solution.
Waste was dumped behind the house or buried in pits. Toilets consisted of cesspits topped with a wooden superstructure with a seat or just a board. There were water drainage systems and no lack of free-standing latrines or outhouses, or at castles 'privies'.
It was not uncommon for a latrine to be shared between several dwellings. In the inhospitable and badly-heated castles, there were sometimes bathrooms with bathtubs or even plunge pools. Swimming was attractive not just as a means of cleansing the body, but also for pleasure. In private houses a bathroom was a sign of luxury and high status. This did not mean that wealthier residents washed more often, just that they were more readily able to put on clean clothes.
The most common acts of hygiene included hand washing. Even the poorest homes affording a basin with a water pitcher or a suspended water cistern with a faucet. The cleanest people were villagers, who would often wash in the stables or the river.
The Church was generally against cleansing the body, and so allowed the priests or monks to bathe only twice a year—at Christmas and on the feast day of some chosen patron. In spite of this there were public baths in each town where people went not just to get clean, but to socialize. Contrary to today’s notions, the people of that time were not very prudish and men and women shared the bathhouse together. Even the urban poor had the right to visit the baths, paid for by the municipality.
Execution places were situated on hilltops, at crossroads and out of town, as they were considered unclean. These were deserted places that everyone avoided; no craftsman would work nearby for fear of losing his reputation. The only one to be seen thereabouts was the executioner, who often lived near the site. Common folk would approach the gallows or execution place for the sole purpose of witnessing an execution. Executions became popular folk entertainment, often with the whole town gathering to watch. But sentencing to capital punishment was a right granted only to selected towns, and by no means all of them had their own executioner.
During the Middle Ages (also known as the Medieval period) public torture and execution was common throughout the United Kingdom and regarded as a socially accepted form of punishment. Different levels of pain and types of execution were inflicted on prisoners depending upon the nature and severity of their crime. Torture was typically used as a way to extract evidence and information and public execution was often used as a warning to prevent others from committing crimes. There were no laws or rights given to prisoners, allowing torture and executions to be widespread and completely unregulated. Despite the gruesome nature of all of this, executions were often public and attended by large, jeering crowds.
These are some of the most common types of Medieval execution
(Few are gruesome enough to be tagged NSFW, click cautiously.)
Beheading was deemed as one of the most honorable and least painful way to be executed in the Middle Ages. If a sharp enough axe was used, a person could be decapitated with one swift blow, allowing for an instantaneous death. Because of this, beheadings were often reserved for nobles, knights even royalty.
Perhaps the most brutal of all execution methods is hung, strung and quartered. This was traditionally given to anyone found guilty of high treason. The culprit would be hung and just seconds before death released then disemboweled and their organs were then thrown into a fire - all while still alive. Once dead, they would then be cut into four pieces and traditionally have their body parts sent to four different parts of a city as a public warning to others.
To be "burned at the stake" was a common type of execution and was often given to people believed to be heretics or witches. Strapped onto a wooden stake and surrounded by branches, these were then lit and would slowly burn alive.
Used both as torture and for execution, Medieval crushing involved placing the accused's head in a device that slowly crushed the top and sides of the head together. Eventually the eyes would pop out, skull would crack and the neck would break.
Boiling to death was usually reserved for poisoners, coin forgers and counterfeiters. It involved being flung into a cauldron of boiling water or oil and the accused would slowly scald to death.
As the name suggests, Medieval impalement meant to be impaled (or stuck through) a large sharp object, such as a metal spear or pole and left to die. This corporal punishment was regarded as one of the most shocking public form of executions and was often given to suspected witches, women found guilty of infanticide and child molesters. It could take up to three days to die by impalement, an extremely painful and cruel punishment.
One of the most well known forms of execution, traditional hanging was still very commonplace in the Middle Ages. Someone could be hung for various different reasons, from the petty thief to an esteemed Nobleman. When hung with a trap door the neck would break allowing for a quick death but simply being hung could take minutes (sometimes longer) to die.
The wheel or Catherine wheel involved the victim’s limbs being gradually broken while strapped onto a wheel and then left to die. Agonising, this form of execution could take days to die.
Sawing is just as it sounds. The victim would be hung upside down and slowly sawn in half. If sawn all the way, they would die, but often the victim was only sawn up to the stomach and left to die, which could potentially take several days.
Harking back to biblical times, crucifixion was also carried out throughout Medieval Europe. Crucifixion is to nail a person to a cross with their hands and feet and leave them there until they die. A very prolonged and of course painful way to die, it can take days and even up to a week for death to occur.
The better your reputation, the more friendly and helpful behaviour you can expect from other folk and guardsmen; people will talk to you more willingly, be easier to persuade or bribe and will offer you better prices in trades, your reputation will be monitored in the capital, guardsmen, men of royal status and men of noble status can be sure they will spread the word in the community about your good or bad behaviour, they've the power to call suspicions and have the authority place you as a suspect. Your relations with particular individuals is also important. If you do or say something to please or offend a particular person, it may increase or decrease your overall reputation among the people of the capital, either seeing you a lowlife scum or a highly respectable individual.
One's reputation falls not only when you commit crimes or other unchristian deeds, but also when you intimidate people, refuse orders or lie to them (if you get caught out, of course). You can restore your good name depending on the will of the individual by either helping the person in question or someone close to them, by paying generously or selling cheap in trades. If all else fails, hopefully the saying 'time heals all wounds' is as truthful as folks make it seem and people will eventually forget their grievances!
All infringements of the law are punished and the severity of the punishment fits the crime. Theft will land you a fine and confiscation of the loot, while a killing will incur a much severer penalty. The nature of the penalties are differentiated and dependent on your crime. If someone sees you committing a crime, but you don’t get caught, you’re still not in the clear if there are witnesses, witnesses will most likely remember you and may cop a hefty price once told of your crime, if you return to the scene of the crime there’s a strong chance the guards will still be on the lookout for you and will continue to pursue you.
Medieval prisons mostly consisted of castle dungeons. Later, different types of strongholds for internment of criminals came into being: municipal jails, located at the town hall, and separate prisons for debtors. Prisons held both men and women together; segregation was practiced solely on the basis of social status and the severity of the crime. Prison was not intended to serve a remedial function, as nowadays, but rather as a temporary residence for the condemned before punishment of another nature, because no one wanted to have to feed prisoners long-term.
Many prisoners who were deemed fit and able to be kept as slaves and chosen to work in the mining caves were considered lucky, they either mined or collect and produce some sort of product for the capital, those who were not fit to continue or those who rebelled were executed. The old and sick eventually led a death of their own, the prior however were kept in cages and were fed in the mines until it was their time to shine, with kept shackles by the ankles dug inside the earth and with mining equipment to work.
Forests belonged to the King, especially along the border zones, and played not only an economic, but also a strategic role – felled trees were used as a form of fortification called 'abatises'. It was considered proper to look after forests, and only the ruler could decree whether his subjects could cut down trees for construction. The ruler could also allow farmers rights to graze their livestock or to make charcoal, but on condition that the hinds and does could bear their young unhindered. The subjects had to cut the grass and dry the hay on forest meadows and were allowed to catch hares. Hunting of other game by anyone except the owner or his appointed huntsman was, however, prohibited under strict penalties.
In the forests of the time the tree cover was largely of beech and fir and mixed oak, in which only certain timber varieties would be felled: oak for water structures, beech for charcoal-burning etc. Overall, forest cover in the Middle Ages suffered considerable intervention and in some places was completely wiped out.
Hunting was always a source of meat and furs, mainly for the lesser nobility. For the aristocracy, courtly hunting was more for enjoyment, being much cheaper entertainment than tournaments, while providing similar thrills. Hunting became a favourite pastime and chasing game with dogs became almost a ritual. Hunting weapons were similar to those used in battle: bows, crossbows, spears, daggers. Dogs were used to track and chase down game until the exhausted animal stood its ground in last defence. Then came the moment for the hunters (up till then only following the sound of the baying hounds), to down the animal with an arrow or spear. Finishing off on the ground was done with a sword or dagger.
Falconry, hunting with a falcon and other specifically trained raptors (goshawks and sparrowhawks) was more of a fashion, a pursuit for both men and women. The poorer classes were not allowed to hunt in the forests, subject to strict penalties with the exception of hare-hunting.
Gamekeeping and hunting in the Middle Ages were not only for amusement, but chiefly a source of great profit for the King and the nobility who owned the woods. The feudal gamekeepers and huntsmen also undertook woodsmanship - in addition to their obligation to look after the game, they took charge of the forest and its protection. In the forests it was prohibited to hunt deer, fallow-deer, boar or any other game, violation of which was a criminal act subject to heavy fines, or even, in the case of repeated infringements, physical punishment. The same was true for unauthorized logging and collecting of timber. Many poachers came from the ranks of the poor and had not very much to lose, which quite often resulted in physical conflicts with the huntsman when they were caught red-handed.