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Medieval Children

Recent scholarship has shed some much-needed light on the lives of medieval children and dispelled many misconceptions about how they were regarded and treated by their elders. These sites offer some details of daily life for children in the Middle Ages.

The Medieval Child, Part 1: Introduction
The first in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part I examines the concept of childhood, the importance of children, and the question of affection in the medieval family.

The Medieval Child, Part 2: Entry into the Medieval World
The second in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 2 examines childbirth and baptism.

The Medieval Child, Part 3: Surviving Infancy
The third in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 3 examines life for the infant and a child's chances of survival.

The Medieval Child, Part 4: The Playful Years
The fourth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 4 examines play, chores, socialization, and discipline for youngsters of ages four to twelve.

The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years
The fifth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 5 examines education during adolescence.

The Medieval Child, Part 6: Teens at Work and Play
The sixth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 6 examines the work options of adolescents and recreational activities.

The Medieval Child
A detailed index to our series of articles about childhood in the Middle Ages.

The Art of Onfim
Intriguing article by Paul Wickenden of Thanet explains how drawings on birchbark by a 12th-century child survived to give us a glimpse of his life in medieval Novgorod.

Childhood and Fantasies of Medieval Mystics
From the Fall, 2000, issue of Lloyd deMause's The Journal of Psychohistory comes this dense article by Ralph Frenken, Ph.D., focusing on the childhood experience of medieval mystics.

Children In The Middle Ages Bibliography
Compiled from Sociofile at the ORB, this listing of useful resources provides an abstract for each item. Very helpful.

Childrens Alphabet by Hans Weiditz
These illuminated letters date to 1521 and depict very young children in various playful positions around the letters of the alphabet. 23 gifs (no J, U or W), free for non-commercial and personal use at Retrokat.

Chronica Regiae Coloniensis, The "Children's Crusade"
English translation by James Brundage of a 13th-century chronicle relating the sad events of a "children's" crusade, placed online by Paul Halsall at the Medieval Sourcebook.

The Medieval Child: an Unknown Phenomenon?
This scholarly article by Sophie Oosterwijk lucidly addresses the idea that childhood was perceived as a separate phase of life by medieval people.

Toys in the Middle Ages
Extensive, well-supported overview of various toys known to have been used and enjoyed during the Middle Ages, by Kimberly Tuttle; placed online at "Stefan's Florilegium" by Mark Harris.

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