Sunday, December 12, 2010

Medieval Village Books

I'm keenly interested in ancient and Medieval daily life. Last month I grabbed a bunch of books to read my daughters for bedtime. I thought I'd share them here as they make excellent references for dioramas, tabletop wargame scenarios, or rpg settings.

Life in a Medieval Village is a classic on the subject. It's a scholarly, yet approachable text discussing the lives of the lord, clergy, and all the various peasants found in a feudal English village.

The Luttrel Village by Sheila Sancha is meant for children, but is equally illuminating for adults. In the 14th century the lord of an English village, Geoffrey Luttrell, commissioned an illustrated prayer book, now known as the Luttrell Psalter. It offers a rare visual depiction of ordinary Medieval people. The author studied the psalter's images, the village site's modern landscape, and referenced current (as of the 1980s) archaeology. She combined these sources into her own artwork and text. There are 64 pages of greyscale maps and illustrated scenes of the annual work and life in the village called Gerneham in Lincolnshire.

Recently a documentary film was produced, recreating the village of the psalter: Luttrell Psalter Facebook page. They made the video viewable for free online

Growing up in Viking Times was a happy discovery. The text is maybe at an 8-yr-old reading level, but the illustrations are by the esteemed military history illustrator Angus McBride. So, the book is basically eye-candy. There are 32 pages of color viking scenes: exploring, farming, and trading.

I've got a bunch of 28mm villager minis painted up along with 28mm animals. Right now I'm working on Zvezda's 1/72 Medieval Peasant Army models (see sprue scan). I'm using them to build a 9th century Saxon fyrd, but a few poses could be used as villagers at work on the farm. If you're in need of 1/72 livestock, check out this sprue scan of Pegasus Farm Animals.


Paul´s Bods said...

They don´t look that bad...good little reference books with ideas for dios. Nice find

ArmChairGeneral said...

That village would be fun to create. I avoid the hard Medival setting in RPGs as who really wants to deal with plagues and be a serf?

Andrew said...

I don't know. It seems like it actually wasn't too bad to be a serf. Did you see that report that came out recently saying the average Medieval English peasant was better off than modern impoverished countries?

Cameronian said...

Interesting to research but no way I'd like to have been there!