Could You Survive In The Middle Ages?


Hey there! Welcome to Life Noggin. Ooh a D20! My lucky day! Guess what, gang! Today we’re heading over to the fifth annual
Life Noggin Medieval Fair! Don’t ask what happened with the first four. It’s fun to dress up in all this cool armor,
but to help us /really/ get into character, we should probably learn more about what life
was actually like back in Medieval times — and how likely we would have been to survive back
then. The medieval period, often referred to as
the Middle Ages, is a term used to loosely define the period of European history between
the fall of Rome in the 5th century CE and the beginning of the Renaissance around the
14th century. You may think of it as a magical time of knights
and nobles, but before you get too excited rolling up your real-life DnD characters,
most of the people back then were peasants. Might still be a bit til’ you can save up
for that heavy armor. Though if you were still in the fighting spirit,
duels were a thing back then. They started in Europe in the 11th century,
and weren’t officially abolished until the beginning of the 19th century. Imagine surviving the harsh reality of the
Middle Ages just to die over some dispute with your neighbor. That’s a pretty tragic way to go if you ask
me. Karen, these chickens are mine. Get lost. And speaking of death, one of the most devastating
things to happen back in those times was the Black Death. Occurring near the end of the Middle Ages,
around the middle of the 14th century, the Black Death was a horrific global epidemic
of plague that proportionately caused the most amount of deaths than /any other/ known
epidemic or war up to its time. The plague spread from person to person through
the air, as well as by the bite of an infected flea and rat — but no one really knew that
back then. It understandably caused a bunch of panic,
leading people to flee from the cities to the countryside. That didn’t help much though, as the Black
Death affected livestock like goats and sheep. Peasants also usually lived with their animals
in the same hut, so you can see how there really was no escape from the devastation. With all of the inferior medical practices
that they had back then, it’s a wonder that anyone survived. I mean vaccines didn’t even really become
a thing until around the turn of the 18th century after Edward Jenner — who is thought
of as the founder of Western vaccinology — inoculated a young child in 1796 with cowpox, who then
afterwards showed an immunity to smallpox. Today, because of vaccines, smallpox no longer
exists outside the lab. That’s good, because according to the CDC,
it seems like 3 out of 10 people who got it generally didn’t survive, making it a pretty
terrifying thing to get back in the Middle Ages. And while you’ve probably heard of bloodletting
— that creepy practice where leeches were supposed to suck out an illness — what very
possibly was even more painful back then was their “treatment” for hemorrhoids. Nothing too fancy, just a searing hot poker
applied directly to the site of the problem. Ouch! Oh, and there’s some evidence to suggest
that urine was generally seen as an antiseptic at the time, so patients really just had a
rough go of it all around — even if they did manage to survive everything else. So what do you think? Could you have survived the Middle Ages? Is there any other time period you’d like
us to travel to next? Let me know in the comments below. Enjoyed this episode of Deblocked? Check out the previous one we did. Hold up gang! Did you see that!? It’s probably Santa! Wait a minute, that’s not Santa. It’s just a big pile of plastics. Darnit. I was worried about this happening. As always, my name is Blocko, this has been
life noggin, don’t forget to keep on thinking!

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