The Medieval Townsman as a Precursor to Our Modern Way of Life

Essay by tine981College, UndergraduateA, April 2005

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The medieval townsman is very much like the modern day human being. The way they lived, what they owned, and what their jobs entailed were much like today. It could be said that the medieval townsman was a forerunner to our present day modern way of life.

In the Middle Ages the townsman was considered to be the middle class. The nobility was the king or soldiers and the peasants were farmers. The townsman worked usually in some kind of a store. In "The Diary of Gregorio Dati" a medieval townsman "set forth an account of our activities so as to have a record of them, and wherein having once more and always invoked the name of God, I shall record the secret affairs of our company and their progress from year to year" (p. 451). Like Gregorio Dati, people today work to earn money. But unlike today, citizens are not classified by what they do as nobility, middle, or peasant we are classified by how much money we have.

The medieval townsman lived a life similar to the one we live today. The townsman "lived in a town that had a government and owned or worked in a store in order to earn money to pay taxes" (Professor Shannon). Like the townsman today most citizens work or own a business in order to earn money to pay for every day expenses. Also, citizens today live in a town under a common government.

What was owned by the townsman is also similar to what people today own. "They hold one farm, which has in arable land 8 bunuaria and in meadow 4 arpents. They perform services as the above" (p.432). Like the townsman, citizens today own land, animals, and sometimes they even own their own business and have to pay...