In the past here at the Medieval History site, we've often discussed going back in time, either to meet someone from the Middle Ages or to actually live there. As a creature of the modern age, I must admit I'd rather live in the 21st century than in the 12th, mostly because I'm spoiled and love my electronic gadgets. But my fondness for the now does make me wonder: what would some of my favorite medieval people think of life in the 2000s?
My first thought is they'd be pretty freaked. Technology is so far advanced that most of what we take for granted would probably look like magic to them, and not necessarily in a good way. Airplanes, cars and trucks could scare the living daylights out of them. But once they stopped screaming about sorcery and demons, wouldn't it be cool to get their reactions to the present day -- not only technologically, but socially? What would they think about our system of government? Our schools? Our clothes? People going around without hats?
If you could bring someone from the Middle Ages into the present day, who would it be? Where would you take them? What would you show them? What would you want them to know about the intervening centuries? Since this is all a fantasy, of course you can assume there'd be no trouble communicating... but would you send them back to their own time with knowledge of the future?
Let me know what you think in the comments.
There have been a lot of kings of England named Edward. This man -- the first-born son of Alfred the Great -- was the first. He appears to have had no trouble following in the footsteps of his illustrious father, fighting to expand his kingdom and negotiating with rivals and allies. Find out more about him in his Who's Who Profile and this Concise Biography
The image of Edward was taken from a miniature created sometime in the 14th century. It is in the public domain.
Thanks to an urban renewal project in Namur, Belgium, where latrines dating back more than 600 years were found, researchers have the opportunity to examine fossilized feces. They've discovered viruses that contain genes for antibiotic resistance. These viruses are taxonomically different than those in modern samples, but it's clear that they perform the same job, even though the modern human diet is radically different than that consumed by most medieval folk. Find out more in the article, Fossilized human feces from 14th century contain antibiotic resistance genes at Phys.org.
For the first time in 30 years, the British Museum is mounting a major exhibition on the Vikings. Developed with the National Museum of Denmark and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin), the exhibit will feature many new archaeological discoveries and artifacts never seen before in Britain as well as objects from the museum's collection. While there is no danger of Vikings losing their reputations for ferocity, the exhibit will do its part to enlarge our understanding of early medieval Scandinavian culture.
The exhibit opens March 6 in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery and will remain open until June 22. Check out these resources for more information:
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