Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formattingExcerpt from Essay:
Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader
The extent gender and class played in Cecilia's life experiences
Looking at the life of other peasants, Cecilia was from a wealthy family. They had a large house constructed from twigs, moss and mud covering approximately 150 sq. Cecilia came from a one-roomed family house, with a fireplace at the center for cooking and warmth. Cecilia spent much of her life as a child in the garden surrounding their house, where she played and helped with caring for her younger sibling (Agnes), cooking, and gardening. Cecilia's home was surrounded with a diverse and large community. Cecilia came from a village whereby people lived close to one another and sometimes shared a wall. Most trade and businesses took place in the villages while critical economic activities occurred in the countryside. The economy of this village looks upon arable fields and pastures, arable fields comprise of a quarter of the land belonging to manor where oats, wheat, rye, and barley are grown. On the other hand, pastures supports oxen, sheep and horses kept by villagers and farmers.
Cecilia experienced a life where families were divided by a three field farming system. In this system, where by peasants practiced crop rotation across three field every year. Leaving her premises meant that Cecilia was forced to walk across a series of lines comprising of tightly knit outbuildings and homes. She would pass across surrounding arid meadows and fields and go beyond forests. Most peasants left their village and traveled to neighboring markets. This is where Cecilia and her fellow peasants could gain knowledge about the recent news across the world. These families of peasants were based on a feudal estate system whereby peasants worked on lands owned by the elites. Cecilia and other families of peasants worked in these fields paying taxes for the elite landowners. Cecilia could not own land because the village was a royal manor, whereby people like Cecilia could not hold lands as tenants. While peasants from different manors had to address issues of vigilant landowners, Cecilia lived in absolute independence from manorial vigilance because she had absent property owners.
In addition, Cecilia lived as a tenant enjoying benefits from a unique legal position; all tenants including Cecilia were allowed to lease the manor while managing the manorial affairs in their own perspective. Although this privilege came with deadly costs, annual tax payment, and working for the land owners during each harvest period, peasants in this village attained freedom and dignity via self-governing. Cecilia lived in a divided world comprising of three well-established orders: the peasantry, the elite land owners and the clergy. According to Cecilia, the clergy was the most important category because it addressed what she considered as key issues, her outward salvation. She considered the elite land owners as the second most important because it comprised of the noblemen and the kings who defended peasants against external invaders. Cecilia believed that her class, the peasants were responsible because they sustained the economy by working on the fields. In theoretical terms, the peasantry was the lowest order and Cecilia plus other peasants held differing opinions on different matters raised by their superiors.
Advantages and disadvantages that Cecilia experienced as a woman, and specifically as a single woman
As a medieval woman, Cecilia was viewed as having limits and inferior because she was not allowed to participate in various activities. Many women including Cecilia had powerful positions. Men ruled the estates while women maintained family responsibilities at home. Women were perceived as incapable of defending themselves. As a single woman, Cecilia was burdened with the responsibility of raising children and managing her family affairs and property. As a single medieval woman, she worked hard to acquire her own wealth and property. This made her garner respect due to her financial gains. In those days, equity was not compromised. Debates were hot with some people arguing that women were equally positioned to men. In all ways, there was a great gap between women and men, including rights, intelligence and strength. First, Cecilia had abilities and rights but were not equal to those of men. One of the great disadvantages Cecilia faced was that she could not own land or inherit any titles or property. This was on the basis that existing brothers were entitled to such rights; this is a universal situation. However, Cecilia could own property and land if it came to her. With time, this right was eliminated not for any better.
Women were not allowed to be monarchs. Compared to other peasant women, Cecilia enjoyed the privileges of being crowned as a ruler. Cecilia is both typical and atypical. As a single woman, Cecilia found herself both advantaged and disadvantaged compared to her married sister. A better-off free peasant, Cecilia enjoyed many rights and privileges that serfs or non-free peasants of either gender did not have; likewise, as a landholder she also had responsibilities that they did not. She was among the ruling women of the Manor. While aggressive ruling men marked this period, it did not stop Cecilia from ruling, which was against the laws and traditions. Other peasant women could not rule, but they were allowed to rule and own smaller areas such as duchies. Men worked at various jobs including carpenter, stonemason, physician, weaver, and anything that can be imagined. Most of them fought in battles.
During this period, most peasants worked with their families and were encouraged to take over any business that came their way. Often, this would include plowing farms, working as a merchant and a baker. In this era, this was ignored because businesses could be legally transferred to women in case of demise or incapacitation of the husband. As the medieval age approached modernity, women were elevated and placed on a pedestal. Evidently, this improvement was not wholesome. As pointed out, women were not allowed to own property because the society degraded them.
Various rights Cecilia enjoyed as a better- off peasant and a comparison of her life to those of both male and female peasants and serfs on Brigstock and other manors
In spite being a devout Christian, Cecilia could not read and learn about catholic principles through the local clergy and pictures. Together with her neighbors, Cecilia participated in folk activities including beliefs in fairies and spell casting. This behavior had been condoned by the church but in some ways, it tolerated these rituals into religious practices, whereby religious peoples hared holy days with pagans. Therefore, for Cecilia, Christianity was an extended daily life responding to the tunes of the surrounding natural world. Most of the time, holy days coincided with harvesting time and equinoxes. Cecilia matured at a time of famine, which ravaged most parts of the country. The famine was caused by exceptionally wet and cold weather worsened by overpopulation. It led to early deaths of approximately 9% of the six million people living in England. For peasants to survive, including Cecilia, they turned to crime. Even with the tampering famine, inflated crime rates were a common phenomenon as peasants thought they were moving towards resettlement in the wealthy neighborhoods or were meant to take a little surplus to assure their worries over the uncertain future life.
At this time, Cecilia's parents died signaling the end of a comfortable childhood. However, the deadly famine shone light in her life. Because of her parent's death, she was left with a significant portion of the inheritance. She used this inheritance to go back on a great and profitable career in land ownership. Cecilia exploited desperate situations leading most peasants to sell their leases at a loss, hence making profitable acquisitions. From this famine, Cecilia emerged with whooping acquisitions of approximately 25 acres of land under her name. Cecilia grew up in…[continue]
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