Medieval History/Medieval history

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Question
Why would medieval men and women subject themselves to such a harsh lifestyle? How was the monks approach to religion different from the approach of the average person living in europe at this time? What are the benefits/disadvantages of this lifestyle? Why do you think they took a vow of silence?

Answer
Hi, Belen,
When you say "medieval men and women" in the first sentence do you mean the average "medieval men and women peasant"? Or the average monks and nuns of the Medieval Era?
If you mean the first; they had little choice in the matter. Life was not easy for peasantry, and there was little escape for those born into the lowest class of peasantry, except if they became an outlaw and turned to robbing and looting (mostly of their fellow peasant).
If you mean monks and nuns; they did so out of devotion to their religion.
The monks were better educated; so while a peasant who attended church (when they could) might know the texts from hearing them, they probably wouldn't be the ones reading them (only the educated, and a few lucky people, could read).
The monks were arguably more devout, as you said, some took vows of silence. All would spend countless hours in prayer alone. This was an act peasants could not achieve, as they would have to attend to the fields and other duties of the peasants.
The advantages of being a monk would be cleaner living quarters, better food, more respect (after all a man of God, among those who believe in the same God, is respected. As opposed to a peasant who isn't even considered an equal of anyone other then another peasant, much less a superior). The disadvantages would be, if you see it as such, spending all day everyday engaged in religious activities and duties dedicated to your God.
I think monks took vows of silence because they felt it was their duty to God, and/ or to improve themselves as men. Some orders mandated a vow of silence, while in others it was optional.
Think how hard it is to not go a week without talking with someone. Now imagine going a week, a month, or even years without saying a single word to another person. Could you think of a better test to prove your devotion to your God (if you believe in such things as trials to prove faith)? Or another way to get closer to Him?
I hope this helps,
~Zachary

Medieval History

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Zachary Phillips

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to medieval culture and weaponry. Specifically in terms of culture I can answer questions relating to style of dress, weapons employed by the various classes -- in simple terms the nobility (knights, feudal lords, and Kings of the various countries -- Britain, Wales, France, Germany Italy, Portugal, to name a few of the prominent states of the period--), the religious orders (priests, for example), and the peasantry (which contrary to the normal view of the populous, could fight. The problem was they were unable to gain sufficient leverage in terms of weaponry to overcome the problem the armor of the time worn by knights and wealthy land-owners such as priests, and so are modernly stereotyped as incompetent fighters. In addition I can also answer questions relating to the use of the weaponry, as well as the weaponry in use at the time. I can also answer questions relating to diet and fasting. Also mannerisms (though I lack linguistically knowledge of how they differed besides general terms). I am unable to answer a question that does not fall into one of these categories. For this part of history I am a predominate military historian, and thus focus more on the weaponry. As well as the military tactics of the period.

Experience

I am self taught, and have been studding military tactics and weaponry from the age of approximately two years old. My focus in history is predominately Roman and Byzantine history (which, depending on your view point may be oxymoronic. However, a distinction between the two terms is made here due to many making the distinction). However, I have amassed a sufficient quantity of knowledge on medieval practices as to be of use in this section (in addition to knowledge of other wars and time period which may be of use in explaining the evolution of such weaponry as pole arms).

Education/Credentials
I am a student at an accredited university currently. I have been accepted into the Molloy College Undergraduate Philosophy Lecture, to present a lecture on my philosophical work -- despite not attending said university. As testament to my education (mostly self-taught) I enrolled in university at the age of 15, and have maintained enrolment in said university. My credentials as to material should be evident from my answers to questions put-forth to me by the general population -- and my peers in the field.

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