Life in a Medieval City by Frances Gies

Life in a Medieval City

For students, researchers & history lovers, a look at day-to-day life in a rarely explored era. "About life & death, midwives & funerals, business, books & authors, & town government."--Choice

Details Life in a Medieval City

TitleLife in a Medieval City
Release DateJul 18th, 2010
PublisherHarperCollins e-books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Historical, Medieval, Medieval History, Reference, Research, European History, Cultural, France, Anthropology

Reviews Life in a Medieval City

  • Darwin8u
    "Anything written in a book has a certain sacredness, all the established authors are authorities, and all are timeless, from Aesop to Horace."- Joseph & Frances Gies A nice survey of Troyes in 1250 AD. Joseph and Frances Gies examine everything from medicine to women to the church and cathedrals in Medieval Europe, focusing their historical lense on Troyes, which at the time was a prosperous center of commerce in Europe. Not super deep, but VERY...
  • Laurie
    Understandably a classic of social history. I enjoyed learning that in 13th century Europe pepper was was so expensive (though not the most expensive of spices available, those were saffron and cinnamon) that pepper sellers would sell individual peppercorns to housewives. Enjoyable social history centered in 13th century Troyes, France.
  • Debbie
    "Life in a Medieval City" is an educational nonfiction book. It covered all aspects of city life in the 12th and 13th centuries in Europe. The focus was mainly on what life was like in Troyes, France, but the authors also compared Troyes to various other European cities.The content was technical (as in, serious research rather than interesting trivia), but the writing wasn't dry. I liked the depth of information and the quotes from documents writ...
  • Karen Brooks
    This is another outstanding addition to a captivating series for any history buff or beginner historian. Taking the reader through a 'typical' medieval city, in this case Troyes in 1250, the Gies' introduce us to all aspects of everyday life throughout the year - from schools and scholars, to authors and tanners, to the famous Hot and Cold Fairs that ran for a few centuries. Discovering what people ate, wore, how they interacted, the imposition o...
  • Hedlun
    I came across this in our basement, it was from one of Stephanie's classes at Alma College. Fairly interesting and quick read. I liked how it was organized by topic: A Medieval Housewife, Small Business, The Doctor, and Disasters to name a few. Most interesting to me were A Burgher's Home and The Doctor. This book gave me a greater appreciation for how difficult life was and included details that get glossed over in even the best literature and f...
  • SlowRain
    It took me three starts over many years, but I finally got around to finishing this book. It's very informative, and great for people just starting out with the Middle Ages. The main theme running throughout the novel was the fairs. However, I'd say this wasn't a strong enough narrative thread to pull me along. It could've been better written, but it is what it is--a very good place to start.
  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    A classic of social history, Life in Medieval City uses Troyes in 1250 to explore the ordinary life of the small yet prosperous bourgeois. This is an age of relative stability and wealth. The Catholic Church is the undoubted supreme power in Christendom. A system of interlocking guilds regulates the cities, and the sophistication of stone walls against the relatively crude military logistics of the age favors defenders. Troyes is situated to medi...
  • Athan Tolis
    This was a Christmas gift from my son George. Expectations were guided by the one pound Sterling he paid for it at the school fair.Boy, was I in for a surprise!For a week of my life, this little gem of a book transported me to life in year 1250 at the city of Troyes in Champagne, France.With no exaggeration, this voyage is a true craddle-to-grave job: you're taught how the new class of burghers (the authors avoid the word bourgeois) is delivered ...
  • Subowal
    Medieval history is mostly about kings, barons, bishops, friars and popes. Occasionally there is a mention of the peasants, but there is very little in traditional histories about the medieval city. I consider it a pity because in my opinion medieval city is what really distinguishes Europe from Asia and the rest of the world. The city had more or less disappeared from the European scene with the fall of the roman empire, and when it re-emerged f...
  • Ash
    Using Troyes, a 13th century French town boasting two annual fairs, numerous aspects of medieval life across the classes are discussed highlighting the advances that separate "current" Troyes from the Dark Ages: the burgeoning of business and all of the legal and monetary advances this entails, manufacturing and construction processes, the formation/solidification of town governments, and daily life and its major moments (weddings, childbirth, fu...
  • Ryan Castner
    This book was recommended by my Western Civ professor. I found the reading rather tedious at times and would recommend skipping the introduction entirely as it is just a fact dump that has no context to keep up with. Each chapter was organized as a focus on a certain topic, the cathedrals, the markets, the burghers, the home. This sorting made sense from an organization perspective, but it left the book feeling rather disjoint, almost like separa...
  • C. Lee McKenzie
    There are a lot of interesting details about life in the middle ages in this book. Some chapters were more interesting than others, but I believe that's because I was in search of more of the daily lifestyle of the time, rather than the information about its institutions. Still I made note of the government and church laws as points to remember. What I really liked was that the entire book is written in the present tense, so I often forgot I was ...
  • Jason Koivu
    This series of medieval life books by Gies gives a solid overview of the various day-to-day happenings during the period as well as the pulse points of historically pivotal moments as they affected the Europeans of the time. It's perhaps not riveting reading for anyone other than history buffs. However, I've found it mildly entertaining and in the very least quite useful for research.
  • Cynda
    I found this book readable and informative. Because this a book by -good- amatter historians, the writing is essential stilted and more readablE, something like reading a well-written historical fiction book.
  • Oleksandr
    Yet another element of the puzzle called Middle Ages is Life in a Medieval City, a book by historians Frances and Joseph Gies. The place is Troyes, the historical capital of Champagne, a region to the east of Paris. The year is 1250 when the county was ruled by Thibaut (Theobald) IV who was a poet, an admirer of the French Queen and a crusader.Since the Dark Ages, Troyes was a bishopric and one of the largest cities in Northwestern Europe. Standi...
  • Carole
    This book was a very comprehensive and interesting exploration of Troyes (in France) during the year 1250 and a little before and after that year. City life was amazingly complicated and active at that time. Although the exact nature of materials and how work was done was very different from contemporary Chicago, all the issues and aims were readily identifiable. I enjoyed the book a great deal. Here are two bits I loved:In describing the merchan...
  • Frode
    Informative and interesting, nicely written and well documented--that's my description. This could have been a dry and lifeless book, but the Gies brothers have a knack for making the mundane come alive. The random reader will come across some terms that are unfamiliar, chasuble, comes to mind, but for the most part those terms apply to items common in 1250 in France but no longer in use.The book has chapters that somewhat stand alone, so one can...
  • Robert
    As another reviewer said: "a classic of social history." Fascinating look into the beginnings, evolution and state of cities in 1250 France, specifically Troyes. The detail- from aspects of cultural attitudes; the mechanics of the churches control over all aspects of society; married life and the running of households from rich to poor, the lives of knights and burgers-all are explored here. Well illustrated and showing the evolution of villages ...
  • D.P. Woolliscroft
    I picked this up when I saw it on Bookbub and for $2 it's a bargain. Here is an introduction to life in a medieval city, in particular the city of Troyes, France, in the mid thirteenth century. It's easy, engaging reading with each chapter focusing on a different aspect of life (business, children, schools to name but three). There will be a plethora of interesting insights for all but the most hardened history buff.Recommended too for lovers of ...
  • Craig Becker
    Interesting readI enjoyed this book on medieval living. Having really only a touch on the age in school, then zillions of fantasy books is nice to see a bit of reality tossed on top. Really wish they had freshened the pictures, seemed unfocused, and splitting the maps in two really only works in a bound book. A little tiresome in spots, but easy to read and some fun interesting descriptions. Boo to the publishers for the poor illustrations and a ...
  • Diana
    "Life in a Medieval City" presents a fascinating look at the town of Troyes as it was in 1250, covering such topics as a burgher's home, weddings and funerals, small business, the Church, and the Champagne Fair in detail. It is written in present tense, as if the reader were walking through the town and watching its residents as they go about their daily tasks. Footnotes are extensive and call on many sources. The author corrects many wrong ideas...
  • N.A.K. Baldron
    This book was fantastic, and I'd recommend it to anyone else looking for a basic history book about what it was like to live in a typical medieval city. The book walks the fine line of offering enough detail to be informative without overloading the reader with so much information they're forced to reference other texts to understand it. This is not a replacement for an advanced college textbook, but for anyone interested in getting started with ...
  • Sarah Crawford
    This is a very interesting book in that it shows what kind of life people had in a typical medieval city. It wasn't wonderful but it was survivable and the people did the best with the technology that they had. The book also has an index and an About the Author portion. I read the ebook and about 35% of that is taken up with a very, very complete bibliography.
  • Sasha Twyst
    A good overview of life in a 13th century French city with insights into other parts of the world. A good splash if you want to do any writing set in the day. Also if you play tabletop fantasy RPG's. The narrative style is a bit rambling, which I found distracting, but given the ton of information, I don't know how one could not ramble a bit.
  • Timothy Eveland
    It's easy to see the cool bits where George Martin got his inspiration from, like the rushes on the floor, the funeral process and other cool medieval facts. I give this book 5 stars because it did everything a history book ought to do: expanded my vocabulary, enhanced my perception of the past and entertained me.
  • Abigail
    This book isn't overly long, it just took a bit to read so that I could absorb it. For the most part it was interesting. Some of the chapters dragged on a bit, and some of them felt like they were just lists of facts which got a bit tedious at times. Other than that, if you want a basic, readable overview of life in a medieval city, this would be it.
  • Rob
    Informational but very factual. Textbook-like. There was also likely some things lost in translation between French and English. I learned a few new things so any student of this era might find the book interesting. However, I did not really enjoy the style in which the info was fed to the reader.
  • Nancy
    This was a wonderful read. Gies takes elements of life in Medieval Troyes (France) and explains them. Troyes was the site of an annual market fair and Gies uses that to explain how a Medieval city developed, who was in charge, what family life was like, how people were educated, how they interacted with outsiders, and so on. I enjoy "slice-of-life historical writing and this was a good one.
  • Dennis
    Excellent book for those needing details on the aspects of life in those times. It's not a narrative, but each chapter on different topics (government, church, women, men, business, farming). Anyone writing a story on Medieval times needs this for research insights.
  • David Johnson
    Great insight into life in this periodOne thing I enjoyed was seeing the emergence of legal and financial structures that were further developed into practices with which we are familiar today.