Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Life, History, Food, Wealth, Evidence, Clothes, Architecture, Nature

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/07

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Based on the evidence in the images provided, life for the aristocracy and life for peasants in Europe during the Middle Ages differed quite dramatically. The first image depicting an aristocratic lifestyle is filled with people enjoying themselves as they gather around a table of food. Based on the evidence in the image, the aristocracy ate very well during the Middle Ages because a large banqueting table covered with many different dishes occupies the most prominent position in the painting (the foreground). The diners seated around the table are enjoying themselves, talking to one another and socialising. From this evidence the image suggests that, for the aristocracy, food was plentiful and there were ample occasions to gather, eat, and socialise with each other in a leisurely fashion.
In contrast, the image depicting peasants in the Middle Ages does not feature any tables overflowing with food. Instead, the means by which the peasantry would make and provide their own food are depicted: beehives, a pen filled with livestock, and domesticated fowl in the yard. This evidence points to the way in which the peasantry depended on the land for their food and had to produce it themselves, whereas in the image of the aristocracy there is no indication of where the food came from, or who provided it, suggesting that this was not something that the aristocracy needed to concern themselves with. The image of the peasants also suggests how hard life could be during the Middle Ages, as the figures in the landscape are still outside working despite the cold winter weather. The harshness of their environment is particularly suggested by the figure in the foreground on the right-hand side who is braced against the elements, and by the woman in the blue dress inside the house who is warming her feet by the fire. The two figures working in the middle ground suggest that life for peasants in the Middle Ages before the advent of industrialisation and mechanised farming involved a lot of physical labor. They had to work hard in order to survive; unlike the aristocrats, their life is not defined by leisure and plentiful food.
The clothes worn by the peasants have some bright colors— most notably a strong blue on three of the figures—however there is a lot less color and elaborate detail in their clothes than in the clothes of the aristocracy. The clothes worn by the aristocrats feature bright colors with intricate trims, borders, and patterns. This suggests that a lot of craft and labour was required to make these clothes, and as such they would have been costly and indicate the wealth of the aristocracy during the Middle Ages. The aristocracy’s wealth is also indicated by the various metal wares in the foreground on the left-hand side of the image, as these items would have been costly to make in a pre-industrial society.
This image depicts a number of knights and soldiers in the background. There are several horses and all of the soldiers are depicted wearing full armour—these are further indicators of wealth and status, as both horses and finely-crafted metal armour would have been costly in the Middle Ages, and not something everyone could afford. These depictions also indicate something about the occupation of the aristocracy, as they would have been required to defend their land and fight for their country if needed.
That life in the Middle Ages could be violent is further indicated by the architecture depicted in the image of the aristocracy, specifically the castle in the background and the fortified gateway in the middle ground, on the left-hand side. These structures suggest the grand nature of the living spaces of the aristocracy (stone is a more expensive and labor-intensive building material than timber), but more significant is the fact that they are defensive structures. Both the fortified architecture and the large number of soldiers depicted in the image of the aristocracy suggest that life in the Middle Ages was characterised by a lot of conflict and violence, with numerous threats of siege or attack.
There is a second type of architecture depicted in the image of the aristocracy that provides information about life in the Middle Ages. The banquet scene in the foreground takes place in front of columns with intricate carvings, which look as if they may be covered with gold leaf. The columns are not simply a basic support for the ceiling, but are an aesthetic embellishment to the aristocrats’ houses. They are yet another indicator of the aristocracy’s wealth, as they had the means to employ craftsmen to decorate their living spaces in lavish styles and with costly materials.
In contrast, the domestic architecture in the image peasant life is much simpler. In the foreground, on the left-hand side, is a structure made from timber. It is a functional structure without the embellishments seen on the columns in the image of the aristocracy, and is clearly providing its inhabitants with shelter from the harsh weather outside. This suggests its fundamental purpose is one of shelter and protection, rather than being a chance to display wealth and status, as with the columns. Also depicted in the image of the peasantry is a tall brick structure on the right-hand side of the image, which is related to the production of food. This again underlines the fact that the peasants had to produce their own food during this time. In the background of the image is a small settlement, with a church spire rising out of the collection of buildings. This suggests the rural nature of much life in the Middle Ages, and also suggests the significance of religious life in communities. The importance of the church is also alluded to in the image of the aristocracy, where one of the diners at the banqueting table is a member of the clergy. Based on this evidence, the images suggest a divide in wealth and status not only between the aristocrats and the peasants, but also between the clergy and the laypeople during the Middle Ages.
The evidence of these two images suggests a large disparity between the aristocracy and the peasants in Europe during the Middle Ages. There is a marked difference in the occupations of the two classes, as the aristocrats’ life is defined by leisure and wealth and the peasants’ life is defined by working the land to produce food. However, both images suggest the harsh nature of life during this period, whether due to the unrelenting demands of physical labour required to work the land, or due to the reoccurring threat of war and conflict.

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WePapers. (2020, October, 07) Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example. Retrieved December 03, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/
"Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example." WePapers, 07 Oct. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/. Accessed 03 December 2021.
WePapers. 2020. Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example., viewed December 03 2021, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/>
WePapers. Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example. [Internet]. October 2020. [Accessed December 03, 2021]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/
"Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example." WePapers, Oct 07, 2020. Accessed December 03, 2021. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/
WePapers. 2020. "Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved December 03, 2021. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/).
"Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 07-Oct-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/. [Accessed: 03-Dec-2021].
Free Life In Europe In The Middle Ages Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-life-in-europe-in-the-middle-ages-essay-example/. Published Oct 07, 2020. Accessed December 03, 2021.
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