Monday, May 7, 2012

The Good Medieval Wife

One of my favorite research books is The Good Wife's Guide: Le Menagier de Paris, A Medieval Household Book. This book was translated by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose, but was originally written in the medieval era as a tool for wives.

I thought I would share with a few guidelines about being a good medieval wife... How do you add up?

  • Arise at daybreak and say your prayers. Take care with dressing and doing your hair so that no one will mock you.
  • When traveling to town or church, make sure you are suitably accompanied by your gentlewomen--and avoid the company of those that would be considered suspect. In other words, don't ride to town alone with a man who is not your husband, or even a woman with a bad reputation.
  • Attend mass daily and go to confession often. When you're at church--do not look at anyone or anything other than your prayer book and or Jesus.
  • Care for your husband's person. This means making sure he has clean linens, removing his shoes before a fire, making sure he has plenty of food and drink and be sure to lay out his clothes the following morning.
  • If your rooms are infested with flies, hang sprigs of ferns from the ceiling so they will settle there. To kill them mix milk and hare's gall bladder in a bowl, those pesky flies who drink it will perish.
  • Do not assume authority or command over your husband, else he fell you with one hand.
  • Keep your husbands secrets.
  • Remain chaste--or else... Some rather vulgar and scary stories to scare women from cheating... One in particular about a woman who was impaled through the groin on a post.
  • The book also teaches woman how to prepare menus, down to ordering meat from butcher shops and how it should be prepared and multiple dishes to serve and how to arrange them.
  • Do not abandon your heart to any of the Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath, Greed, Lust, Sloth, Pride, Envy and Gluttony. Instead, capitulate to Humility, Devoutness, Magnanimity, Contemplation, Fear of the Lord, Gentleness, Pity, Justice, Modesty and Equity.
Would you make a good medieval wife? In reality, if I were living during this time period, my answer would be NO. I'd probably be whipped daily, starved and a horde of other atrocious things because I am a total independent control freak, lol. But I am surprised to see that most of the guidelines are things women do now anyways, including myself. I arise at daybreak. I take care of my household. I avoid the Seven Sins. I'm a vegetarian so I avoid the meat market... but I do get fly traps if we ever get any during the summer, and I do keep my husbands secrets. 



I'd love to give away a signed copy of my medieval romance, A LADY'S CHARADE, to one lucky commenter (US & Canada only). Leave a comment to win! I will draw names on Friday.


From across a field of battle, English knight, Alexander, Lord Hardwyck, spots the object of his desire—and his conquest, Scottish traitor Lady Chloe. 

Her lies could be her undoing…

Abandoned across the border and disguised for her safety, Chloe realizes the man who besieged her home in Scotland has now become her savior in England. Her life in danger, she vows to keep her identity secret, lest she suffer his wrath, for he wants her dead. 

Or love could claim them both and unravel two countries in the process…

Alexander suspects Chloe is not who she says she is and has declared war on the angelic vixen who's laid claim to his heart. A fierce battle of the minds it will be, for once the truth is revealed they will both have to choose between love and duty.


Eliza Knight is the multi-published author of sizzling historical romance and erotic romance. Visit her at www.elizaknight.com or www.historyundressed.blogspot.com

16 comments:

  1. Great post! I, too, would make a terrible medieval wife. The only one I might be able to do is keep my husband's secrets. LOL!

    Diana
    bookofsecrets(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol Diana! I hear ya! Thank goodness I was born in this era!

      Delete
  2. That's a great book, Eliza. I have to get a copy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Tarah! You do! It is fun reading as well as a great resource.

      Delete
  3. Great post, Eliza. I think I need to add this book to my research shelf! For the record, I think I'd be a pretty bad medieval wife, too, at least as far as the praying and obeying goes. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, Marin, I know! It would be soooo hard! Yes, you should add this book, I love it!

      Delete
  4. Love this post, Eliza! I definitely need a copy of that book for my medieval research collection! Funny how a couple of those are still applicable - do your hair so no one will mock you (ha!) - and do not abandon your heart to the seven deadly sins.

    Can't wait to read your latest story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lana!

      I love the mocking line. I can picture a bunch of medieval woman holding their hair at crazy angles as they mocked my bedhead :)

      Delete
  5. I'm a reader and a writer of historical fiction I'm currently researching a later time - WWI era - but keep working my way back in time. Would love to take a break from modern times and go medieval!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting Carol! The WWI era is also fascinating. I would love to write a book during that time period. Medieval rocks too!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. lol, Rebecca. I'd be hiding in my hut (dare I dream to live in a castle?)

      Delete
  7. The research book is very interesting. Your book sounds very good.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks bn100! History is fascinating!

      Delete
  8. And the winner is... Lana Williams! Email me with your address and I will get A LADY'S CHARADE shipped to you!!!

    Thank you all for participating!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love your post, Eliza. I definitely wouldn't have made a very good Medieval wife. lol

    ReplyDelete