Mudcat Café message #4018397 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166858   Message #4018397
Posted By: Anne Lister
10-Nov-19 - 06:05 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: Rumpelstiltskin, thousands of years old?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Rumpelstiltskin, thousands of years old?
HiLo - First of all - travel does not - and did not - necessarily mean "to London". There were as many destinations then as there are now, some outside these islands and some remarkably distant. People reached them. Read the history of the Crusades, as one small example. There was certainly no question of "wafting". People had feet. People also knew other people, who might have had access to a horse and cart. There were donkeys, there were oxen. There were rivers. There were boats and ships. People did travel, whether or not you or I understand the practicalities of it. Who said there were no horses owned? Who exactly do you mean by the "labouring classes", and when we're discussing travel, why are they the only "class" you mention? You will know, I'm sure, that at this point in history that concepts of class are anachronistic. Not everyone was free to do as they chose. Have you read any Chaucer? Consider his pilgrims. They were not unusual characters on any kind of unusual mission. The text which was the centre of my PhD thesis was written in Occitan for a King of Aragon, who had married a granddaughter of Henry II of England and Alienor of Aquitaine. In his kingdom there people from many different kingdoms, as well as the three major religions (Islam, Christianity and Judaism). Iberia, Sicily and Malta were enormous crosssroads in which all manner of people worked together. I have mentioned Alienor of Aquitaine and her travels took her all across Europe(note - it wasn't just men on the road, therefore). There were networks which allowed this to happen. Yes, she was a ruler, but she had an entourage of people who were not royals, nor all nobility. As I've already said on several occasions, there is no question that not everyone travelled, just as not everyone travels today. But more people travelled than is often assumed, and that was the whole point of my statement in the first place.
I didn't say that Pryor dispelled any myths. Nor do I think he makes any undue assumptions about other historians. He has, on the other hand, been working on practical investigations of agricultural practices and come up with some soundly based conclusions, to do with practices which pre-dated the Romans. Flag Fen is a fascinating site. You're referring to his Britain AD book - there are others, some pre-Roman (Britain BC).
You did make some statements about the relative height of the Saxons and the changes brought about - not quite sure just how - but now you're talking about "assumptions". I've said that we don't know enough, and I stick to that. I'm not making assumptions about periods we don't know enough about, myself, but I am saying that the supposition that people all died younger and were shorter isn't based on substantial evidence. If you can refer me to the academic publications that provide that evidence, I'd be interested to read them. So far you haven't cited any particular references.
My own background is largely in medieval literature. I've had to deal with a quantity of related history as a result of that, and I live with a historian who spends his working life in 1645, but knows a huge amount about social history in varying periods. I don't claim to be an expert, but this whole discussion arose from an area in which I'm fairly well informed. My husband spends a lot of his life trying to inform the visitors to his place of work about facts rather than pre-conceived notions, and it tends to rub off on me.