discovery europe

discovery europe - The People In a physical sense, medieval...

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The People In a physical sense, medieval men and women were mostly young: forty-five percent of the population was under fifteen. Even the rich might be considered poor by our standards, and we would think the average man or woman to be desperately poor. Most Europeans went to sleep hungry most of the time, and most of them were sick. There were the weaknesses and ills caused by simple malnutrition. Many, especially adult women who had entered menstruation, given birth to babies and so lost considerable amounts of blood on a regular basis, were anemic. An unbalanced diet low in iodine led to goiter, thyroid malfunctions, and contributed to a high percentage of miscarriages and birth defects. Lack of vitamin-rich vegetables during much of the year led to bad teeth and crooked legs (rickets), as well as a host of skin diseases such as beri-beri and scurvy. A diet low in protein resulted in weak bones and muscles. We might feel that the pangs of hunger would have been the most distressing aspect of this situation, but we would be wrong. The Europeans made a virtue out of necessity, filled their religious year with fasts, and revered the holy hermits who reduced themselves to skin and bones in a mortification of the flesh that was intended to be an imitation of the passion of Jesus. Few people lived to be what we call "senior citizens." There were endemic ills such as malaria and tuberculosis, and periodic waves of epidemic bubonic, typhoid, cholera,
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discovery europe - The People In a physical sense, medieval...

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