Friday, March 11, 2011

Flashback Friday - Medieval Times

I have a problem. I have a passion that borders on obsession with England and I really love Medieval England. Why? I don't know. I mean there is the obvious: castles, kings and queens, knights and crusades. Then there is the not so obvious: the plague and how it affected Medieval society, the great Cathedral building that thrived during this period of time and the beauty of the architecture and how that contradicts the way the majority of society lived. The "Dark Ages" weren't really as dark as they have come to be known. Advances were made in the arts and medicine and it wasn't just a bunch of dirty peasants running around drunk on ale. Although, ale was the primary drink, for young and old alike, as water was unfit to drink and the ale actually provided some minerals and vitamins. No, I am not promoting underage drinking. I am simply stating a fact.

I have compiled a few sayings that we still use today that had their origins in Medieval society. I find this interesting, so maybe you will, too. If not, have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.

caught you red-handed: a thief's hand was dipped in a berry-die that would stain the hand and all that saw him would know that he was a thief.

raining cats and dogs: although there is some controversy over the exact origin of this one, some say it is from the cats, dogs, mice, rats and birds that found refuge in the thatched-roofs of Medieval homes and when a heavy rain came, down came the varmits.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater: Medieval hygiene left a lot to be desired. One cleaned themselves a little each day, but because of the expense of a large barrel in which to bathe and the wood to heat water, a good soaking bath was only taken once a year, usually in May. The man of the manor was the first to bathe, followed by his sons and other men of the household, then women, children and last, babies. By the time the poor babes were allowed to bathe, can you imagine the gooey, muck of the water (that's for you Sue!)? You could hardly see the babe in all that muck, thus the saying. Credit for this saying is to the Germans, not the British, but I love the saying.

frog in your throat: Medieval physicians believed that frog secretions could cure a cough. So, a frog was put in the mouth of the patient until it was determined the treatment was complete. Ok, maybe it was the "dark ages".

Betcha can't wait until I post on facts about the Plague!


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