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Reply #35: Some of that is as much (if not more) myth as fact, even though even historians repeat it. [View All]

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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-08-10 03:03 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. Some of that is as much (if not more) myth as fact, even though even historians repeat it.
I think I even repeated it in this thread. :) Not that I was ever a full-blown historian, just a grad student of history. :(

People didn't drink from rivers, they drank from wells. Cities were more of a problem than rural areas, and a traveler generally didn't drink water because you generally try not to drink bacterial cultures different from the one you're used to, but there was fresh water to drink. Some places even had indoor plumbing and running water, even back in the eleventh and twelfth century--the monastery of Cluny, for instance.

Even so, they drank wine in the cities because it generally improved health. It did kill off bacteria that popped up in food from time to time. And of course a city was more likely to have travelers who weren't used to the water. And of course, wine is more fun than water. Ale and beer were the same, except of course they were made from the water.

And of course, the Renaissance isn't medieval--it's generally marked as the end of the Middle Ages, as Europe began to emerge from the Hell of the Fourteenth Century, with its constant wars and the Plague.

There was the whole "12th Century Renaissance" era, but that was largely stolen from Islamic Spain and Italy. There was more art, thought, and culture at most points in the Middle Ages than medieval culture was given credit for. That's largely because the name and the whole definition of the "Middle Ages," or as it was sometimes called, the "Dark Ages," came from the Renaissance, as people looked back at the last hundred years of Hell and decided the entire period between the fall of Rome and the emergence of the Renaissance must have been just like the Fourteenth Century.
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