It would be good to have some sort of middle ground...the course about England in the time of Richard 111 isn't very good...it is entirely free so it isn't as though anyone spent oodles of money but it veers between being incredibly basic...this week is about burial practices at a level which would suit a ten year old...but last week was the advent of printing, which was so incredibly complicated many of the comments from course members were that they'd simply given up trying to understand it.
William Caxton was highly political and there was so much wheeling and dealing going on that it was virtually incomprehensible...it's no wonder so many people found themselves charged with treason and the like...they probably didn't know what was going on either...
It is difficult to know what to include and what to leave out...and teaching adults isn't easy...but I wish they'd include links so you can find out more if you wish or read an in depth article rather than one which leaves so much out...for instance, this week is, as I've already written, about burial practices and the way the Mediaeval people regarded Purgatory, Heaven and Hell. It states that pebbles were often put into the corpses mouth...and that's it. It's as far as the information goes.
I know from my own personal research that the practice was carried out to prevent the persons spirit escaping...especially if they were of the criminal class or a heretic. But I ought to qualify that and say' it is thought' that is why it was done.
Many of the people who leave comments also include links they've found which delve more deeply into the subject being discussed and for that I'm grateful otherwise much new knowledge would simply pass me by...
Having skimmed through the section on Purgatory...in case you don't know that's the place you spend time before someone decides whether you'll be allowed into Heaven or not...or whether you'll be descending into the fiery depths of Hell...and I do feel awful sorry for the poor staunch believers as their comments struggle against those of the Atheists and Agnostics and Pagans...
You could pay you see...you could pay a Pardoner...and he'd ensure you'd go to Heaven and your time in Purgatory would be short...
It takes little imagination to visualise what the Atheists et al response to that statement was...
Chaucer wrote the Pardoners Tale...I've always considered Chaucer to be a silly old bugger and having been forced to read him at school haven't changed my mind...though it might be worth the while reading the Pardoners Tale I suppose...
The Church appears to have always been money oriented...it was, and still is, commonplace to pay for Monks to say a Mass or to pay the local priest to say a special Mass for the Repose of a person's soul ...the idea being that they will spend less time in Purgatory the more Masses are said for them. This was a practice which began in the Middle Ages when the Church was in dire financial straits...though they'd long before discovered the pulling power of relics of Saints.
Pardoners carried relics around with them...it'd cost you a bit more if you wanted to touch the casket they were enclosed in though...
The Medieval Church played on the ignorance of the common people...they couldn't understand Latin so Church services were over their heads...they were frightened witless at the idea of spirits and Hell and they didn't even have enough money to pay a Pardoner for the soul of their departed to spend less time in Purgatory...
Those in the higher echelons of society could understand Latin...they were not so afraid of vengeful spirits that they buried their dead with a pebble jammed into their mouth and they had enough money to pay a Pardoner or a community of Monks to say Masses for the souls of their dear departed...
I've been scathing about this course I suppose because I'm disappointed that there is little depth to it...but having said that, it is unfair to expect to have information handed to you on a plate as it were...I'd have liked much more detail certainly...and reading others comments they feel as I do. It's a fine line between the political arena of the age and the social lives of those ordinary people who make our past.
Changes in Court...whether it was a new King crowned or another law brought in, affected the common peasant very little...his world revolved around the last harvest and whether or not his Lordship would grant him permission to plough another acre...it is his world most of us are interested in ...it would have been the peasant who was afeared of spirits and ensured Granny had a pebble in her mouth when she was buried...it was the peasant who attended Church every Sunday and would have been bewildered by the language he didn't understand...it was the peasant who buried the man with the crooked back outside the Church walls and gave wide berth to the local lepers...
I'm picking through the topics which appeal...following on with those which hold my interest and practically ignoring those that don't.