I need help identifying how Ian Mortimer describes how the lives of men and women differed in the sixteenth century England during Elizabethan England from present time
(three key points would really guide me into understanding).
1 Answer | Add Yours
During the sixteenth century, known as the Elizabethan Age, England knew "a renaissance of classical ideals, international expansion, and naval triumph over Spain" (Wikipedia). Tudor England was "economically healthy, expansive, and optimistic." Yet, as Mortimer describes it, England in the 1600's was "dangerous, misogynistic, violent, repellent, exhausting, unhealthy, and cruel."
Yet, there were immigrants from the Continent who brought with them new techniques for farming despite the dangers of the Bubonic Plague which killed 10-25% of the population and the flu which killed 5% of the population. Life expectancy was between 35-40 with the median age as 29. Since people were much younger than nowadays, they were more temperamental, more violent, and they had less experience;parents could expect to lose one-half of their children to disease or illness. Rights were few. Married women could not own property or carry on a trade; they could be beaten by husbands and did not have the right to have a will.
Many people starved or died from no shelter as it was against the law to provide shelter to someone "It was against the law to offer homeless people shelter if they were not from the same parish," Mortimer writes. Further, he describes cruelties of the age:
Torturing people in the name of the state was very much an Elizabethan innovation (not a medieval one as many people assume). Criminals were routinely killed by hanging or, in the case of treasonable women, burning at the stake. Male traitors had their guts cut out and burnt in front of their eyes
There were tremendous technological and scientific discoveries. Advancements in mathematics and astronomy were made. The study of magnetism was initiated with the study of the earth as a magnet. In this era, "the scientific discoveries were a by-product of religious enthusiasm" (e.g. herbals) (The Telegraph). Something called "electricitas" was discovered, but Elizabethan scientists did not know how to contain it.
In the Elizabethan Age, food was produced and eaten in the same place. Mortimer writes that as a resident of Devon, nothing is farmed where he lives in the countryside but sheep and bullocks; there are no milk-producing cattle in England. Manufacturing, too, is not done in one's area, but in Elizabethan days, people produced everything that they needed. Fossil fuel production is nowadays what people depend upon; however, Mortimer warns,
We have practically laid siege to ourselves – medieval style – so that if someone were permanently to destroy the fuel distribution network across the UK they could starve us, as if we were all in a Britain-shaped castle surrounded by a large moat with not enough food. And we know that petrol and diesel will eventually run out.
We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question