Life in a Medieval City (Medieval Life)

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9780060908805: Life in a Medieval City (Medieval Life)

From acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies comes the reissue of their classic book on day-to-day life in medieval cities, which was a source for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

Evoking every aspect of city life in the Middle Ages, Life in a Medieval City depicts in detail what it was like to live in a prosperous city of Northwest Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The year is 1250 CE and the city is Troyes, capital of the county of Champagne and site of two of the cycle Champagne Fairs—the “Hot Fair” in August and the “Cold Fair” in December. European civilization has emerged from the Dark Ages and is in the midst of a commercial revolution. Merchants and money men from all over Europe gather at Troyes to buy, sell, borrow, and lend, creating a bustling market center typical of the feudal era. As the Gieses take us through the day-to-day life of burghers, we learn the customs and habits of lords and serfs, how financial transactions were conducted, how medieval cities were governed, and what life was really like for a wide range of people.

For serious students of the medieval era and anyone wishing to learn more about this fascinating period, Life in a Medieval City remains a timeless work of popular medieval scholarship.

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From the Back Cover:

Medieval history comes alive in Frances and Joseph Gies’s Life in a Medieval City, used as a research resource by George R. R. Martin in creating the world of A Game of Thrones.

Reissued for the first time in decades, Life in a Medieval City is the classic account of the year 1250 in the city of Troyes, in modern-day France. Acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies focus on a high point of medieval civilization—before war and the Black Death ravaged Europe—providing a fascinating window into the sophistication of a period we too often dismiss as backward.

Urban life in the Middle Ages revolved around the home, often a mixed-use dwelling for burghers with a store or workshop on the ground floor and living quarters upstairs. A developed economy, focusing on textiles, farming, and financial services, could be found in the town center, where craftsmen competed for business while adhering to the guilds’ codes of conduct. There were schools for the children, though only boys could attend and the lessons were taught in Latin by a priest. The church was a hub of both religious and civic life; services were lively and filled with song, and baptisms and other special occasions brought neighbors together to celebrate. The weddings of wealthier townsfolk were lavish affairs full of song and dance and drinking that could sometimes last for weeks.

“An excellently written account of what is known of the life of medieval burghers.”—Library Journal

About the Author:

Frances (1915–2013) and Joseph (1916–2006) Gies were the world’s bestselling historians of medieval Europe. Together and separately, they wrote more than twenty books, which col-lectively have sold more than a million copies. They lived in Michigan.



Frances (1915–2013) and Joseph (1916–2006) Gies were the world’s bestselling historians of medieval Europe. Together and separately, they wrote more than twenty books, which col-lectively have sold more than a million copies. They lived in Michigan.

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