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The Goths are converted to Arian Christianity.
Ulfias writes his translation of the New Testament, the only surviving work of written Gothic.
The Goths defeat the Romans in the East at the Battle of Adrianople.
A coalition of Germanic tribes cross the Rhine into Roman territories and take land for settlement.
Alaric, king of the Visigoths, conquers Rome.
The Huns, encouraged by the Roman Emperor Aetius, overrun the East Germanic kingdom of the Burgundians on the Rhine, killing King Gundahari (the historical antecedent for Gunther/Gunnar of the Nibelungenlied / Volsunga saga).
Hengest and Horsa begin the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain.
The West Germanic tribes living around the North Sea (Angles, Saxons, and Frisians) begin to add runes to the Elder Futhark to deal with sound changes in their dialects, creating the Anglo-Frisian Futhork.
King Theodoric the Great, later a prominent hero in Germanic tales, rules in Rome until his death.
Lives of the historical antecedents of Beowulf, Hrothgar, Hrolf Kraki.
Date of the Sutton-Hoo ship-burial, a rich Germanic grave containing artifacts of Swedish manufacture.
Penda, last heathen king of England, dies in battle.
Radbod, King of the Frisians, rejects attempts to convert him to Christianity.
Primitive Norse (or Runic Norse) gives way to Old Norse.
Building of the Danevirke.
Charlemagne begins his war of extermination against the heathen Saxons, destroying the Irminsul.
5 Ridiculous Myths You Probably Believe About the Dark Ages
From Stone Age to Space Age, every era in human history has ultimately been about progress. Well, almost every era. The Dark Ages are an exception to the rule -- everyone knows that after Rome fell, the world stumbled ass-backward into a figurative night that lasted for centuries. It was a period of intellectual and economic darkness where everyone was either a brutal warrior or a filth-encrusted victim.
Well, that's what they say, anyway. Although the Dark Ages were definitely darker than modern times (in the same way cellphone reception was significantly worse during the Bronze Age), they were by no means the bottomless pit of despair they're generally presented as. In the name of correcting some popular misconceptions about the period, let's take on myths you almost certainly have been led to believe.
(The Dark Ages aren't the only era you've been lied to about. Buy our De-Textbook and you'll learn that the Pyramids used to glow white at night, and that the ancient samurai "bushido" code was just made up in 1900. Your favorite book sellers are now accepting pre-orders!)
Throughout Bretonnia are fairgrounds designed specifically for jousting contests. These are pleasant, temperate fields complete with jousting stilts and stands. During jousting competitions, brightly coloured tents and buntings matching the Knights' Heraldries decorate the area, and people come from miles around to watch and participate in the sport. [3a]
During times of war, many knights are tempted to issue challenges to enemy officers on the jousting grounds before their armies do battle. While such jousts are risky and often discouraged by more conservative generals, many heroes cannot resist the chance to test their mettle in single combat. [3a]
Introduction to Burgundy in the Fifteenth Century
Dukes of Burgundy (from left to right): Philip the Bold, 16th century, oil on panel, 41 × 30 cm (Hospice Comtesse, Lille) After Rogier van der Weyden, John the Fearless, 16th century, oil on panel, 41 × 30 cm (Hospice Comtesse, Lille) After Rogier van der Weyden, Philip the Good, c. 1450, 29.6 x 21.3 cm (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon) Rogier van der Weyden, Charles the Bold, c. 1454, oil on panel, 49 x 32 cm (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin)
“The unlimited arrogance of Burgundy! The whole history of that family, from the deeds of knightly bravado, in which the fast-rising fortunes of the first Philip take root, to the bitter jealousy of John the Fearless and the black lust for revenge in the years after his death, through the long summer of that other magnifico, Philip the Good, to the deranged stubbornness with which the ambitious Charles the Bold met his ruin – is this not a poem of heroic pride? Burgundy, as dark with power as with wine…greedy, rich Flanders. These are the same lands in which the splendour of painting, sculpture, and music flower, and where the most violent code of revenge ruled and the most brutal barbarism spread among the aristocracy.”
—Johan Huizinga, The Autumn of the Middle Ages, 1919 (1996 english ed.)
Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands: territories inherited by Charles the Bold in 1467 (map: National Gallery of Art)
This remarkable passage from Johan Huizinga’s early twentieth-century classic The Autumn of the Middle Ages anticipated how the history of Burgundy has been written by many later historians: that is, as a series of successive dukes (Philip the Bold, John the Fearless, Philip the Good, and Charles the Bold).
The first of these, Philip the Bold, became one of the wealthiest individuals in western Europe after he inherited the county of Flanders from his father-in-law in 1384, adding to his lands in Burgundy. His successors expanded on these holdings to create a territorial power located between France and the Habsburg Empire .
From the beginning, the dukes of Burgundy aspired to rival kings in their magnificence and authority. Their wealth and access to Flemish craftsmen enabled the dukes to produce one of the most visually splendorous court cultures in western Europe, one that in turn influenced royal patronage and ceremony in Spain, France, England, and the Habsburg Empire.
Claus Sluter workshop, Portal of the Charterhouse of Champmol, c. 1385-93 (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker)
Monastery as monument
The first major project undertaken by a Burgundian duke was the construction of a Carthusian monastery outside Dijon, the Charterhouse of Champmol (1383—c. 1410), eventually served as a mausoleum for Philip the Bold and many of his descendants. The monastery was destroyed during the French Revolution and the site is now a psychiatric hospital, but some monuments from it survive, including the tombs of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless.
Claus Sluter, Tomb of Philip the Bold, 1390-1406, alabaster, 243 cm high (Musée Archéologique, Dijon) (photo: Dr. Andrew Murray)
Other monuments include the so-called Well of Moses, which sits above a well in the main cloister of the monastery, and which includes life-size statues of Old Testament prophets below a crucifixion scene (that does not survive). The base with the prophets can still be visited in its original place, as can the portal to the church of the Charterhouse, which still has life-size statues in deep relief of Philip and his wife Margaret praying to the Virgin and Child and supported by donor saints. The Charterhouse of Champmol was intended to secure Philip’s memory and prayers for his soul after he died, but it was also a political monument, serving to remind his family and peers of his wealth and power.
Claus Sluter (with Claus de Werve), Well of Moses, 1395-1405 (prophets 1402-05, painted by Jean Malouel), Asnières stone with gilding and polychromy, slightly less than 7 meters high, originally close to 13 meters with cross (photo: Dr. Steven Zucker)
A turn towards Flanders
During the fifteenth century the main site of ducal patronage moved towards the Burgundian territories in the Low Countries . After the assassination of John the Fearless in the presence of the French king in 1419, the third duke, Philip the Good, shifted his attention away from the intrigues of Paris and France, focusing instead on consolidating and expanding his territories in the Netherlands. The most famous artworks made in the court of Philip the Good are the paintings of Jan van Eyck, who Philip retained in his services.
Unfortunately, although we know van Eyck made portraits of Philip and his wife, Isabella of Portugal, there is no surviving work known to be commisssioned by Philip. As the art historian Craig Harbison has suggested, van Eyck might have been most often enlisted by the duke to decorate the courtly environment, either by painting walls or even designing stages and centerpieces for courtly ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and tournaments. One of the most spectacular types of ceremonies would have been “Joyous Entries”: civic processions in which the duke and his entourage were guided through and around a town lined with pageantry, plays, and tableaux vivants . These events marked a town’s acceptance of their new or current ruler.
Necklace of the Order of the Golden Fleece, mid-15th century, gold and enamel, 39 cm long (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Weltliche Schatzkammer)
Knights of the Golden Fleece
Philip the Good and Charles the Bold knew their titles (Dukes) were inferior to those of their neighbors (including the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France), and they both sought crowns from the Holy Roman Emperor. Both also had ambitions to launch crusades against the Ottoman Empire. Even though these later two dukes never went on crusade, they often publicly fashioned themselves as defenders of Christendom. These two rulers therefore favored tapestries and manuscripts that depicted the lives and actions of chivalric heroes, particularly those of Alexander the Great (who conquered the east) and Saint George (a Christian warrior). In 1454, Philip the Good even hosted a grand banquet, the famous “Feast of the Pheasant.” This spectacle was intended to encourage the members of the chivalric order Philip founded, the Knights of the Golden Fleece, to vow to support a crusade. The tables were decorated with statues, and automata (moving statues), and accompanied by music. An elephant (most probably a mechanical one) with an actor dressed as a woman personifying the church was led before the guests, and the Knights had to make their oath before a live pheasant decorated with pearls and a gold necklace (perhaps like that worn by members of the Golden Fleece).
Vow of the Pheasant (Philip the Good and Isabella at the Feast of the Pheasant in Lille in 1454), 16th century, oil on canvas, 39.3 x 85 cm (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
Splendor and ambition
Not everyone in Burgundy shared these chivalric values. The refusal of the Netherlandish towns to fully support and fund Charles’s wars played a major part in his downfall and death at the Battle of Nancy in 1477. This event marked the beginning of the end for the Burgundian state, but its art and ceremony would remain a strong influence on the Habsburg dynasty that subsequently took control over the Burgundian Netherlands. The towns that had provided the crafts, stages, hosts, and audience for the Burgundian courts would also continue to develop their own civic visual and ceremonial cultures. The remarkable splendor and influence of the short-lived Burgundian court stemmed from its feverish and often violent ambition as a wealthy but precarious power in western Europe.
Burgundian Netherlands: Private Life, and Burgundian Netherlands: Court Life and Patronage from The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
Art from the Court of Burgundy: The Patronage of Philip the Bold and John the Fearless 1364-1419 , Dijon, 2004.
Karl der Kühne (1433-1477). Kunst, Krieg und Hofkultur, Susan Marti, Gabriele Keck, Till H. Borchert (eds.), Bern, 2008.
Wim Blockmans and Walter Prevenier, The Promised Lands: The Low Countries Under Burgundian Rule, 1369-1530 , Elizabeth Fackelman and Edward Peters (trans.), Philadelphia, 1999 ( This is the shortest and most easily assessable introduction to the period ).
Wim Blockmans and Walter Prevenier, The Burgundian Netherlands , Cambridge, 1986.
Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Agency, Visuality and Society and the Charterhouse of Champmol , Aldershot and Burlington, 2008
Jousting is a game which involves two people on horseback carrying long poles (called lances) riding towards each other at speed from opposite ends of a tiltyard (a special arena for jousting). There is usually a wooden barrier in between the two competitors and they must angle their lance across this barrier with the aim of knocking their opponent off their horse.
Henry loved jousting and the evidence suggests he was very good at it. He also saw it as an opportunity to show that he had the skills of a great knight, even if he did not have the opportunity to prove this on the battlefield.
Henry had a spectacular tiltyard built at his palace in Greenwich in 1515. It had viewing galleries for spectators because Henry wanted to impress foreign ambassadors when they came to visit England. Part of the reason jousting was impressive was because it was also dangerous. People broke their arms and legs and even died. Henry’s friend Sir Francis Bryan lost an eye while jousting in 1526. In 1536, Henry himself was left unconscious for two hours after a particularly nasty fall from his horse. But none of this really took away from the fact that jousting was seen to be splendid entertainment, with the competitors wearing fine armour. Henry even wore gold, silver, pearls and precious stones while taking part in jousting tournaments!
Alcohol in the Middle Ages, Dark Ages, or Medieval Period
The Middle Ages was a period of almost one thousand years. It’s between the fall of Rome (476) and the beginning of the Renaissance (1300).
With the fall of the Roman Empire, it could no longer protect the population. Law and order broke down. This led led to the feudal system. It provided some degree of security and protection. The Church was important in protecting alcohol in the Middle Ages.
- With the fall of the Roman Empire monasteries became the main centers of brewing and winemaking techniques. 1 Home production of rustic beers continued. But the art of brewing essentially became the province of monks. And they carefully guarded their knowledge. 2 Monks brewed virtually all beer of good quality until the twelfth century. So alcohol in the Middle Ages depended heavily on the monks. 3
- During the Middle Ages the monks maintained viticulture. They had the resources, security, and stability to improve the quality of their vines slowly over time. 4 Also, the monks had the education and time necessary to enhance their viticultural skills. 5 So throughout the Middle Ages, monasteries owned and tended the best vineyards. Not surprisingly, vinum theologium was superior to others. 6 Of course, wine was necessary to celebrate the mass. However, the monasteries also produced large quantities to support themselves. 7
- People made most wine for local consumption. Yet some wine trade did continue in spite of the deteriorating roads. 8
- In the early Middle Ages, mead, rustic beers, and wild fruit wines became popular. This was especially so among Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Germans, and Scandinavians. However, wines remained the preferred beverage in the Romance countries. Especially in what is now Italy, Spain and France. 9
- Monks discovered that egg whites can clarify wine. This was an important advance to alcohol in the Middle Ages. 10
- In Poland, as early as the Middle Ages, Polish kings had an alcohol monopoly. 11
- Beer could pay for for tithes, commerce, and taxes. 12
- Few commoners in Feudal England ever tasted claret. That is, red Bordeaux wine. Their staple was ale, which, to them, was food rather than drink. Not surprisingly, men, women, and children had ale for breakfast. Also with their afternoon meal. And finally before they went to bed at night. 13 A gallon per person per day was the standard consumption of ale. 14
- ‘Alcohol consumption in medieval Britain was, by modern standards, very high.’ 15
Sixth Century A.D.
‘Gregory of Tours observed that wine had replaced ale as the popular drink of the Parisian taverns.’ He also wrote of the repeated drunkenness of the clergy. 19
The monk St. Gildas accused British chieftans of going into battle drunk and leading the country to ruin. 20
Seventh Century A.D.
- Viticulture and winemaking flourished in Uzbekistan up until the seventh century. With the spread of Islam, production went from wines to table grapes and raisins. 21
- The European ‘medieval war epoch’ began and lasted until the early 1300s. This benefitted viniculture. Commercial vineyards advanced as far north as the Welch border in England. And the average harvest in Western Europe occurred about one month earlier than today. 22
- In England, Theodore was the Archbishop of Canterbury (688-693). He decreed that a Christian layman who drank to excess must do a penance of fifteen days. 23
- Viticulture in Kazakhstan appeared during the seventh century. 24
Islamic Prophet Muhammad directed his followers to abstain from alcohol. 25 But he promised them that there will be ‘rivers of wine’ awaiting them in the gardens of heaven. (Surah 47.15 of the Qur’an.)
In England, Archbishop Theodore wrote that a person is drunk ‘when his mind is quite changed, his tongue stutters, his eyes are disturbed, he has vertigo in his head with distension of the stomach, followed by pain.’ 26
Fortunatus commented on what he considered to be the enormous capacity of Germans to drink. 27
Eighth Century A.D.
Bavarians may have added hops to beer as early as around the mid-eighth century. Yet exactly when and where brewing with hops began is unclear. 28
However, hopped beer was actually an altogether new beverage. It resulted from precise fermentation using only water, barley, and hops. Importantly, using hops gave a good flavor and preservation. 29
So the use of hops was a major development of alcohol in the Middle Ages. Old recipes added such ingredients as “poppy seeds, mushrooms, aromatics, honey, sugar, bay leaves, butter and bread crumbs.” 30
The monastery of St. Gall built the first significant brewery in Switzerland. At that time each monk received five quarts of beer daily. 31
Cir. 850-1100 A.D.
‘Alcohol was central to Viking culture. Their gods drank heavily. Their paradise consisted of a battlefield, where dead heroes might fight all day every day for eternity. It had a celebration hall, Valhalla.’ 32 The deceased went there every night to enjoy roast pork and mead. Best of all, beautiful blonde Valkyries served it.
The Vikings enjoyed mead, ale, wine, and beer. Although they prized mead, they drank mostly ale. Attempts to reproduce a Viking brew have yielded a strong (9 percent alcohol), dark, sweet, malty beverage. It would have seemed even sweeter in an age when sugar was rare.
Vikings strained ale before serving it. We know this because archaeologists have discovered ale strainers in graves.
‘Records show that hop growing flourished in Bohemia in 859.’ 33
Tenth Century A.D.
‘The use of hops did not become widespread until after the ninth century.’ 34
The word ‘beer’ disappeared from the English language for about 500 years. 35 Perhaps this was because beer was an upper-class beverage that was stronger and more expensive than ale. 36
Eleventh Century A.D.
- ‘Simeon Seth, a doctor [was] practicing in Constantinople in the eleventh century AD. He wrote that drinking wine in excess caused inflammation of the liver….’ 37
- Russian priests preached the virtues of drinking in moderation and they devoted entire sermons against drunkenness. However, the idea of abstinence from alcohol was heretical. 38
William, Duke of Normandy, captured England at the Battle of Hastings. As a result, English-French wine trade expanded rapidly. 39
Alewives in England brewed at least two strengths of beer and monks brewed three. They showed the strength of the beverage with single, double, or triple Xs. 40
In England, Anselm decreed that priests should not attend drinking bouts or drink too much. 41
England imported wine. So it was expensive and considered noble. The demand of its gentry ‘sparked a viticultural revolution in the Bordeaux region of France. This had been English soil following the marriage of Henry Plantagenet to Eleanor of Aquatine in 1152.’ 42
The first national levy on ale in England was to support the Crusades. 43
King Philip II of France granted exclusive rights to Parisians to import wine into the city on the Seine. They could sell it directly from their boats. Therefore, non-Parisians who wanted to bring in wine had to ‘first associate himself with a Parisian.’ 44
Cir. Thirteenth Century
Around the thirteenth century, hops became a common ingredient in some beers, especially in northern Europe. 45 Addition of hops both flavors and preserves. Ale was often a thick and nutritious soupy beverage. Brewing ale was for local consumption. It soured quickly because it lacked hops. 46
Clearly the most important alcohol development in the Middle Ages was that of distillation. Considerable disagreement exists over who developed distillation.
There’s also disagreement about when and where it occurred. Some suggest that it was the Chinese who developed distillation. 47 Others believe it was the Italians, 48 and some name the Greeks. 49 However, most assert that it was the Arabians. 50
But if it was indeed the Arabians, was it the physician Rhazer (852-932?). 51 Or was it the alchemist Jabir in Hayyan around 800 A.D.? 52
Perhaps it was all of the above. “That spirit could be distilled from fermented matter was undoubtedly independently discovered in many parts of the world.” 53 Alcohol (al kohl or alkuhl) is Arabic in name. 54
However, Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) first clearly described the process which made possible the manufacture of distilled spirits. 55
- Arnaldus of Villanova (d. 1315), a professor of medicine, coined the term aqua vitae. “We call it [distilled liquor] aqua vitae, and this name is remarkably suitable, since it is really a water of immortality. It prolongs life, clears away ill-humors, revives the heart, and maintains youth.” 56 These were modest claims compared to those made much later by the fifteenth-century German physician, Hieronymus Brunschwig.
“It eases the diseases coming of cold. Comforts the heart. Heals all old and new sores on the bead. Causes a good color in a person. Heals baldness and causes the hair well to grow, and kills lice and fleas.
It cures lethargy. Cotton wet in the same time and a little wrung out again and so put in the ears at night going to bed, and a little drunk thereof, is of good against all deafness.”
“It eases the pain in the teeth, and causes sweet breath. Heals the canker in the mouth, in the teeth, in the lips, and in the tongue. Causes the heavy tongue to become light and well- speaking.
It heals the short breath. Causes good digestion and appetite for to eat, and takes away all belching. Draws the wind out of the body.
It eases the yellow jaundice, the dropsy, the gout, the pain in the breasts. And it heals all diseases in the bladder, and breaks the stone.
It withdraws venom from meat or drink. Heals all shrunken sinews, and causes them to become soft and right. Heals the fevers tertian and quartan.
It heals mad dog bites, and all stinking wounds. Gives also young courage in a person, and causes him to have a good memory. It purifies the five wits of melancholy and of all uncleanness.” 57
- In the 1200s, the city of Hamburg developed a flourishing alcohol trade because its brewers used hops. 67
- In the mid-1200s, fermenting and drinking hard or fermented cider became more popular in England with new varieties of apples. 68
Philip II Augustus (1180-1223) ordered provinces to submit examples of their wine to Paris for a national exhibition. 69
King Louis IX (1226-1270) banned taverns from serving drinks for consumption on the premises to anyone other than travelers. 70
French law did not permit any competition when the king’s wine was available at the market. Criers had to announce its availability morning and evening at the crossroads of Paris. 71
Adultering alcoholic beverages was a crime punishable by death in medieval Scotland. 72
- Beginning in 1315 and continuing until 1898, the world experienced a dramatic climate change. It was the Little Ice Age. It was especially severe from about 1560 until 1660. The Little Ice Ages severely impacted all agriculture, including viniculture. As a result, wine became scarce. 73 The Black Death and subsequent plagues followed the beginning of the Little Ice Age. They reduced the population by as much as 82% in some villages. Some people greatly increased their consumption of alcohol. They thought that this might protect them from the mysterious disease. Others thought moderation in all things, including alcohol, could protect them. It would appear that, on balance, consumption of alcohol was high. For example, in Bavaria, beer consumption was probably about 300 liters per capita a year. That compares to about 150 liters today. In Florence wine consumption was about ten barrels per capita a year. The consumption of distilled spirits for medicinal purposes increased. 74
- “[I]n Britain of the 1300s, the daily consumption by adult males of one or two gallons of ale per day was not uncommon.'” 75
- As the end of the Middle Ages approached, the popularity of beer spread to England, France and Scotland. 76
- Drinking spirits as a beverage (rather than as a medication) began by the end of the Middle Ages. 77
In one English village about 60% of all families earned money in some way with brewing or selling ale. 78
London had an estimated one alcohol vendor for every 12 inhabitants. 79
Because of a scarcity of wheat in England, a proclamation was issues prohibiting its use in brewing. 80
A law in England required that wine and beer must sell at a reasonable price. However there was no indication of how to determine what a fair price might be. 81
A French law required taverns to sell wine to anyone who requested it. 82
Florence prohibited innkeepers from selling wine or other beverages to poor people. 83
Exporting beer and ale from England required a royal license. 84
The increasing price of corn in England led to an increasing price of ale. This caused a concern that the poor would be unable to afford it. Therefore, the mayor of London decreed price controls on ale. 85
Duke Philip the Bold established rules governing the production of Burgundy wine to improve quality. 86 He ordered the destruction of all vineyards planted in Gamay. In his words the “disloyal plant makes a wine in great abundance but horrid in harshness.” 87
Winemaking in Bulgaria ended when the Turks imposed Muslim rule between 1396 and 1878. 88
We’ve seen the highlights of alcohol in the Middle Ages. So now let’s explore the story during the Renaissance.
Popular Resources on Alcohol in the Middle Ages
1 Babor, T. Alcohol: Customs and Rituals. NY: Chelsea, 1986, p. 11.
2 Cherrington, E., (ed.) Standard Encyclopedia of the Alcohol Problem. Westerville, OH: Am Issue Pub, 1925-1930.1925, v. 1, p. 405.
3 Hanson, D. Preventing Alcohol Abuse. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995, p. 7.
4 Seward, D. Monks and Wine. London: Mitchell Beasley Pub., 1979, pp. 15 and 25-35.
5 Lichine, A. Alexis Lichine’s New Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. NY: Knopf, 1974, p. 3.
6 Patrick, C. Alcohol, Culture, and Society. Durham: Duke U Press, 1952, p. 27.
8 Wilson, C. Food and Drink in Britain from the Stone Age to the 19th Century. Chicago: Academy Chicago Pub., 1991, p. 371. Hyams, E. Dionysus: A Social History of the Wine Vine. NY: Macmillan, 1965, p. 151.
11 M., J., and Zielinksi, A. Poland. In: Heath, D., (ed.) International Handbook on Alcohol and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995. Pp. 224-236. Pp. 224-225.
12 Beer History. Beer History webstie. beerhistory.com/library/holdings/raley_timetable.shtml.
15 Plant, M. The United kingdom. In: Heath. Pp. 289-299. P. 290.
19 Sournia, J.-C. A History of Alcoholism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1990, p. 13.
20 Hackwood, F. Inns, Ales and Drinking Customs of Old England. London: Unwin, 1909, p. 37.
21 Uzbek Wines. Karakalpakstan website. com/2010/04/uzbek-wines.html
23 Bickerdyke, J. The Curiosities of Ale and Beer. London: Spring Books, 1965, p. 97.
24 Robinson, J., (ed.) The Oxford Companion to Wine. London: Oxford U Press. 2006, pp. 380-381.
25 Alcohol in Islam. The Religion of Islam website. islamreligion.com/articles/2229/. Alcohol in Islam. Free-Minds Organization website. free-minds.org/alcohol-forbidden-islam.
28 Mathias, P. The Brewing Industry in England, 1700 – 1830. Cambridge: Cambridge U Press, 1959, p. 4. Cherrington, v. 1, p. 405.
29 Claudian, J. History of the Usage of Alcohol. In: Tremoiliers, J., (ed.) Inter Encyc Pharma Therap, Sec 20, vol. 1. Oxford: Pergamon, 1970. Pp. 3-26. p. 10.
30 Braudel, F. Capitalism and Material Life, 1400-1800. NY: Harper and Row, 1974, p. 167.
31 Jellinek, E. Jellinek Working Papers on Drinking Patterns and Alcohol Problems. Popham, R., (ed.) Toronto: ARF, 1976, p. 76.
33 Nachel, M. Beer for Dummies. Foster City, CA: IDG, 1996, p. 29.
35 Monckton, H. A History of English Ale and Beer. London: Head, 1966, , p. 36.
36 Simon, A. Drink. London: Burke, 1948, p. 146. Gayre, G. Wassail! In Mazers of Mead. London: Phillimore, 1948, pp. 83-84.
38 Jellinek, E. Old Russian church views on inebriety. Q J Stud Alco, 1943, 3, 663-667.
39 Ford, G. Wines, Brews, & Spirits. Seattle, WA: Ford, 1996, p. 15.
40 King, F. Beer Has a History. London: Hutchinson’s, 1947, p. 3.
43 Monckton, H. A History of English Ale and Beer. London: Head, 1966, pp. 40-44.
44 Di Corcia, J. Bourg, bourgeois, bourgeoisie de Paris from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. J Mod Hist, 1978, 50, 215-233. P. 215.
46 Austin, G. Alcohol in Western Society from Antiquity to 1800. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1985, p. 54, pp. 87-88. Good coverage of alcohol in the Middle Ages.
49 Forbes, R. Short History of the Art of Distillation. Leiden: Brill, 1948, p. 6.
51 Waddell, J., and Haag, H. Alcohol in Moderation and Excess. Richmond, VA, 1940.
52 Roueche, B. Alcohol in Human Culture. In: Lucia, S., (ed.) Alcohol and Civilization. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1963, p. 171.
53 Doxat, J. The World of Drinks and Drinking. NY: Drake, 1971, p. 80.
58 Seward, Desmon. Monks and Wine. London Beazley, 1979, p. 151. Roueche, pp. 172-173.
61 Watney, J. Mother’s Ruin: A History of Gin. London: Owen, 1976, p. 10. Doxat, p. 98.
67 Arnold, J.P. Origin and History of Beer and Brewing. Chicago: Wahl-Henius Inst., 1911, p. 242.
69 Duby, G. Rural Economy and Country Life in the Medieval West. Columbia: U South Carolina Press, 1968, p. 138.
70 Dion, R. Histoire de las Vigne et du Vin en France des origines au XIXe Siecle. Paris: Roger, 1959, p. 487.
71 Hopkins, T. An Idler in Old France. NY: Scribner’s, 1899, p 123.
Blunt Hand Weapons
Clubs and Maces
A mace is a simple weapon that uses a heavy head on the end of a handle to deliver powerful blows.
A development of the club, a mace differs from a hammer in that the head of a mace is radially symmetric so that a blow can be delivered equally effectively with any side of the head. A mace consists of a strong, heavy, wooden, metal-reinforced (or metal) shaft with a head made of stone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel.
The head is normally about the same or slightly thicker than the diameter of the shaft and can be shaped with flanges or knobs to allow greater penetration of armour.
The length of maces can vary considerably. The maces of foot soldiers were usually quite short (two or three feet, or 70 to 90 cm). The maces of cavalrymen were longer and better designed for blows from horseback. Two-handed maces could be even larger.
During the Middle Ages metal Armour and chain mail protected against the blows of edged weapons and blocked arrows and other projectiles. Solid metal maces and war hammers proved able to inflict damage on well armoured knights, as the force of a blow from a mace is large enough to cause damage without penetrating the armour.
One example of a mace capable of penetrating armour is the flanged mace. What makes a flanged mace different from other maces is the flanges, protruding edges of metal that allow it to dent or penetrate even the thickest armour. This variation of the mace did not become popular until significantly after knobbed maces. Although there are some references to flanged maces (bardoukion) as early as the Byzantine empire circa 900, it is commonly accepted that the flanged mace did not become popular in Europe until the 12th century.
Maces, being simple to make, cheap and straightforward in application, were common weapons. Peasant rebels and cheap conscript armies often had little more than maces, axes and pole arms. Few of these simple maces survive today. Most examples found in museums are of much better quality and often highly decorated.
A mace type commonly used by the lower classes, called the Holy Water Sprinkler, was basically a wooden handle with a wooden or metal head and radiating spikes the name most likely originates from the similarity to the church object.
A plançon a picot is a heavy and thick two-handed mace with an Armour-piercing spike on top.
The mace was the usual weapon of the cavalieri, essentially mercenary armies of Northern Italy hired by Italian city-states and throughout Europe starting in the 14th Century. The production of both body armour and weaponry to support the cavalieri centred around Milan, partially in support of the Milanese movement to remain separate from Papal rule.
Maces were employed by the clergy in warfare to avoid shedding blood (sine effusione sanguinis). Bishop Odo of Bayeux is shown wielding a club-like mace at the Battle of Hastings in the Bayeux Tapestry. Other Bishops were depicted bearing the arms of a knight without comment, such as Archbishop Turpin who bears both a spear and a sword named "Almace" in the The Song of Roland. Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy, fought as a knight during the First Crusade.
Maces are rarely used today for actual combat, but government bodies, universities and other institutions have ceremonial maces used as symbols of authority, in rituals and processions, and for other purposes.
Like many medieval weapons, maces have been used in blazons, either as a charge on the shield or as external ornament.
The burial of knights in churches
The knights tombs we see in parish churches and cathedrals would reflect his status. He would be depicted in full armor, with his sword, maybe a dog under his feet to signify loyalty or a lion to signify bravery. The knight shown below lies in Michelmersh church in Hampshire UK. He was Sir Geoffrey Canterton, forester to King Edward II in the New Forest. His feet as befitting his role, his feet lie upon a buck. The crossed legs so often seen have been interpreted in many ways, a sign of the cross or that the knight had been on crusade or maybe just an expression by the sculptor in that period that was copied.