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Publisher's Summary

Life in a Medieval City is the classic account of the year 1250 in the city of Troyes, in modern-day France. Acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies focus on a high point of medieval civilization - before war and the Black Death ravaged Europe - providing a fascinating window into the sophistication of a period we too often dismiss as backward.

Urban life in the Middle Ages revolved around the home, often a mixed-use dwelling for burghers with a store or workshop on the ground floor and living quarters upstairs. A developed economy, focusing on textiles, farming, and financial services, could be found in the town center, where craftsmen competed for business while adhering to the guilds' codes of conduct. There were schools for the children, though only boys could attend and the lessons were taught in Latin by a priest. The church was a hub of both religious and civic life; services were lively and filled with song, and baptisms and other special occasions brought neighbors together to celebrate. The weddings of wealthier townsfolk were lavish affairs full of song and dance and drinking that could sometimes last for weeks.

©1969 Joseph and Francis C. Gies (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

“Some particular books I found useful for A Game of Thrones and its sequels deserve mention.... Life in a Medieval Castle and Life in a Medieval City, both by Joseph and Frances Gies.” (George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series)

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 04-02-18

Troyes, an old town but a new city

"Anything written in a book has a certain sacredness, all the established authors are authorities, and all are timeless, from Aesop to Horace."
- Joseph & Frances Gies v

A nice survey of Troyes in 1250 AD. Joseph and Frances Gies examine everything from medicine to women to the church and cathedrals in Medieval Europe, focusing their historical lense on Troyes, which at the time was a prosperous center of commerce in Europe. Not super deep, but VERY interesting with some great nuggets. This book is written for general readership and seems to always jump to the next chapter just as soon as my interest was piqued. Here is a list of the chapters/subjects:

* Prologue
1. Troyes: 1250
2. A Burgher's Home
3. A Medieval Housewife
4. Childbirth and Children
5. Weddings and Funerals
6. Small Business
7. Big Business
8. The Doctor
9. The Church
10. The Cathedral
11. School and Scholars
12. Books and Authors
13. The New Theatre
14. Disasters
15. Town Government
16. The Champaigne Fair
* After 1250

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent

They could have removed the long French passages i suppose.... I enjoyed it though. Hooray

1 of 1 people found this review helpful