Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What did nobles do for fun in the middle ages?

When there wasn’t a huge celebration, or entertainments going on, nobles still did things for fun, just like we do. Has your power ever gone out? What did you do for fun? Believe it or not, what they did for fun is a lot like what we do today for fun, without the technology and electricity.

Here’s a list of some things they might do:

  • Read quietly or aloud
  • Write – poetry, theology, philosophy
  • Art – painting, drawing, sculpting
  • Sewing – tapestries, embroidery
  • Music – playing, singing, listening, dancing
  • Gardening (flowers, herbs, picking fruit and berries)
  • Walking
  • Horseback riding
  • Mock fights (men – unless you have a feisty woman)
  • Hunting – there were a lot of types of hunting. Hunting was done on horseback with either/both hounds and hawks (falcons too). They would hunt deer (stag), wild boar, fox, and any other wild animal that caught their fancy. Women hunted too. Hunting was a dangerous and exhilarating sport. If you recall, Henry VIII injured his leg quite badly in a fall while hunting.
  • Talking
  • Playing cards (triomphe, piquet, vingt-et-un)
  • Playing board games (chess, checkers, draughts, dice, backgammon, tabula)
  • Watch or participate in a play
    Outdoor games: Bocce, Bowling games, Tennis, In France/Italy a form of football was played called la Soule
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Bobbing for apples
  • Wrestling
  • Treasure hunts
  • Christmas Game – “King of the Bean” a bean was baked into a bread or cake, whoever found it was king of the holiday feast
  • Riddling – making up riddles people had to figure out (popular among knights as well—kept their wits sharp which was just as important as keeping their bodies in shape.)
  • Puzzles
  • Gambling
  • Blind Man’s Bluff


Patricia Barraclough said...

The more things change, the more they stay the same. An old saying that is so true. There is a lot on that list that I have always enjoyed. It is a shame that many modern children and young adults have never spent much time not plugged into something. I'm afraid many of them would have no idea what to do if they didn't have their electronics. What a shame, they are missing so much.

Eliza Knight said...

I agree Patricia!!!

I'm a big proponent of getting the kids outside to play, or games, arts and crafts, reading, etc...

Thanks for your comment!

Kirsten Steen said...

The King of the Bean game sounds like the French "Epiphany" game with Gallette des Rois! Love those gallettes! Also love the postcard picture you posted. I have some like these and am so enamored with the colors.
Happy Fall to you!

Eliza Knight said...

Thank you Kirsten! Me too :)

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Hi Eliza! This list reminds me of this Robin Hood computer game I had back in the 90's where you had to Morris dance and play a game kind of like chinese checkers to move ahead. *Sigh* I loved that game!

Eliza Knight said...

Thanks Elizabeth! That game sounds awesome, I want to play!

Lauren said...

I think they had more fun that I have...!
Also, your class is an excellent idea!

Anonymous said...

What A fun day they must have had!

Anonymous said...

I was doing middle ages fun topic and i was so nervous because we had a test and no other website had information like this well done the y must have had alot of fun then