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Everything you’ve always wanted to know about the middle ages but were afraid to ask!
Two professional medieval historians answer questions from the audience about anything and everything to do with the middle ages. Did they know about other kinds of sex? How long would I really have lived? Who was the best medieval? What were the best swearwords? Listen and find out…
Please send us more questions via Facebook, Twitter or email – we will always try to answer!
Dr Alice Rio works in the History department at King’s College London. She specialises in the earlier middle ages (aka The Dark Ages). She is the author of Legal Practice and the Written Word in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Slavery After Rome, 500-1100 (Oxford University Press, 2017).
Dr Alice Taylor also works in the History department at King’s College London. She specialises in the European central middle ages. She is the author of The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Episode 1: Sex
“Did they know about other kinds of sex?” Yes, they did! Come with us on a journey of discovery, and find out how to make someone wild with desire for you by kneading bread with your buttocks.
Episode 2: Death
“How long would I really have lived?” Was life really so brutish and short during themiddle ages? How young did most people die, and of what?
Episode 3: Smell
“How badly did it smell, really?” Find out about one of the least savoury aspects of the middle ages. Sensitive souls: you have been warned.
Episode 4: Swearwords
“What were the best swearwords?” Before you get out that Latin slang dictionary, find out what you’re getting into, and the true cost of rudeness in the middle ages…
Episode 5: Extreme Sports
Was battle a bit like modern-day sport?” Find out what it took to be a medieval knight, and how best to show off your skills.
Episode 6: Time Travel
“If I got into a time machine and appeared in contemporary clothes talking the way I talk, would I automatically be burned as a witch?” Not necessarily, though that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have other things to worry about. Listen to our survival advice and gain peace of mind for your next medieval time-travel adventure.
Episode 7: Childbirth
How did they handle childbirth? Was it really as dangerous as it is perceived to have been?” Find out how medieval people dealt with one of the most common, as well as one of the most dangerous, of life experiences.
Episode 8: Pets
“Did they have pets? Or just animals to munch on?” The truth about cats and dogs – and monkeys and elephants and polar bears…
Episode 9: Best Medieval part 1: Henry the Young King
« Who was the best medieval?” What better way to settle this once and for all than with a dedicated (and intermittent) mini-series? First up in this high-stakes competition is Henry the Young King (1155-1183).
Episode 10: Slaves
Did they have slaves? We’re used to seeing slaves in films and books set under the Roman empire; not so much in those set in medieval Europe – but is this misleading?
Episode 11: Magic
“Did they have magic?” Yes – and everyone was doing it (though sometimes without knowing it).
Episode 12: Humour
“What did they find funny?” We turn to the silliest side of the middle ages – and also the nastiest…
Episode 13: Justice
How fair was what passed for a criminal justice system?” How could the concern for justice be so universal, yet exclude so many people? Were lords less likely to be convicted than poor people? (And what about pigs or butterflies?) Listen and find out.
Episode 14: Best Medieval part 2: Dhuoda
The mini-series “Who was the best medieval?” continues with Dhuoda – ninth-century wife, mother, and towering intellectual.