Top 10 Stories About Misconceptions During Medieval Life

History today tends to have rewritten many medieval life facts, and many of these misconceptions about medieval life are abound today. We do not wish to see that they carry on any longer and as such. So we have made a humble attempt at debunking some of the most common misconceptions about medieval life that you have probably heard of.


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10. No record of Primae Noctis exists

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Contrary to common misconceptions about medieval life and the life of the lords and peasants of medieval times, Primae Noctis never happened. This was the belief that the Lords ruled sovereign over the peasants and as such had the many rights including the right to sleep with the peasant’s bride on the first night after her wedding. Sadly, this fact was most likely conjured up, as no recorded instance of this exists.

9. Vikings and other medieval warriors wore horned helmets

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Yes, Vikings were heroic and fearful warriors. Yes, they intimidated all they faced in the battlefield, and yes, they were conquerors. But the Vikings were never known to have worn horned helmets. No medieval warrior ever wore horned helmets. These would not have been very useful in battle. The history of artwork indicating that the Vikings wore horned helmets started emerging in Scandinavian paintings in the 19th century.

8. Medieval people thought the earth was flat


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One of the most common misconceptions about medieval life is that people within that era were very backward. Hence, the reason behind beliefs that medieval people assumed that the earth was flat, conveniently fits into this misconception. It should, therefore, be one of the more interesting medieval life facts that the medieval people believed that the world was indeed round and had sailors like Columbus who had gone sailing not to prove this belief but rather in full awareness of this fact.

7. Chastity belts were used in the medieval period

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This is amongst the misconstrued medieval life facts that are widely believed. Chastity belts were not, as is amongst the common misconceptions about medieval life, used my medieval lords to prevent their wives from having sex. These belts were never a part of the middle ages. Rather, they emerged in the 19th century – the result of fascination over torture items from the medieval ages.

6. Medieval people did not have good table manners

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There are fewer common misconceptions about medieval life that could be further from the truth. Evidence gathered from research to gain insight into medieval life facts have shown, that indeed the medieval people, from kings to peasants followed a certain prescribed etiquette. There were very strict procedures for eating and drinking.

5. Polluted water forced people to drink beer and wine


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There were many numerous sources of clean water during the medieval ages even though people avoided polluted water. However, there are well-known medieval life facts showing beer and wine were simply an integral part of life then. Even so, people were known to dilute wine with water to reduce its potency.

4. Life expectancy during the middle ages was very poor


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The most common misconceptions about medieval life are that people did not live past 30 years during that period. What could be farther from the truth? Higher infant mortality meant that many did not live to adulthood. It, however, did not prevent those that did from living well into their 60s and 70s.

3. The medieval people made use of elaborate torture devices

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It’s funny how people make these common misconceptions about medieval life. It is one of the well-known medieval life facts that the medieval people made use of gruesome torture devices. Nonetheless, many torture devices, attributed to the medieval people, were actually invented centuries after the medieval age.

2. Medieval women were slaves to their spouses

Image credit: Medieval Chronicles

We have held such bleak opinions about the medieval people that we have invented many common misconceptions about medieval life. Women in medieval life facts have shown, could own, inherit, sell and buy property. In fact, medieval women had more rights than was accorded to them during the Early Modern Period. Clearly, medieval women were no slaves to their husbands.

1. Medicine was entirely based on superstition

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This is untrue. Please ignore Game of Thrones, not all of it is entirely factual. Whilst a lot of ignorance-induced mysticism existed during the medieval times, many aspects of medieval medicine could be considered logical by modern thresholds. Anesthetics was practiced during the medieval ages.

These misconstrued facts about medieval life are abound today. We hope we have successfully debunked a few. Are there any more out there you wish we included? Feel free to let us know. We love reading from you.

Post Author: SparkInList Staff

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