Guilt and discovery play a role in this latest post. My life is such that I don't spend as much time on the computer as I used to, and thus my blog isn't as frequented. That's the guilt part. The other part is Pinterest -- a wonderful invention -- that led me to discover a list of 100 Medieval Occupations. Being the fantasy writer I am, I was elated, and thought I'd share that list with you in my own words (and pictures, of course).
Academic -- scholar or sage -- astrologer, cartographer, historian, philosopher, etc.
Reading up on astrologers, it appears they were much more mainstream than I previously thought. Not that I gave it much thought, really, but one site says: Hilary M. Carey notes: “It permeated most aspects of mediaeval intellectual, cultural and political life, and it is not possible to enter sympathetically into mediaeval society without understanding it”. We might consider as analogous modern day germ theory; while the non-medical professional doesn’t necessarily understand the science of microbes, this theory is still one epistemological model through which we understand our world. [Woodewalkers.wordpress.com]
Ideas of astrology in medieval Europe were a long way from today's star sign horoscopes. Although some medieval astrologers were thought to be magicians, many were highly respected scholars. Astrologers believed that the movements of the stars influenced numerous things on earth, from the weather and the growth of crops to the personalities of new born babies and the inner workings of the human body. [source]
Interesting to consider when it comes to worldbuilding.
Cartography, for those who don't know, is map making. I've always thought that kind of thing was very neat, for those who have the mind for it. Which I don't. My spacial perception is awful. But I have always liked old maps.
So, Academic. An Academic is anyone who studies (and practices) a certain refined science.
Architect -- Master builder
Ascetic -- A hermit or wandering monk
Friar Tuck-ish? And look at what all the barbers did.
Barber -- doctor, surgeon, bloodletter, dentist, and haircutter.
Looks like they got a little carried away with their razors, hm?
"They often performed procedures ranging from leeching and dentistry right up to surgical procedures such as amputations, hernia repairs and gallstone operations. Surgery was a nightmarish affair because up until the discovery of anesthetic, operations were performed on conscious patients. Procedures needed to be performed as quickly as possible so that patients did not die from blood loss or pain.
In order to show that he had set up shop, a barber would place a red and white striped pole out in front of their shop. This tradition carries through today although in the USA, the pole has red and blue stripes. The pole actually refers to the barber’s dual roles of medicine and hair care. The red strip refers to the surgery aspect of the trade and the white refers to the process of caring for someone’s hair.
If you look at an original barber pole, you will see that there is a wash basin at the top. This was usually made of brass and represented a container where leeches would be kept. There is also a second basin at the bottom of the pole which represents the container which would catch any blood that was produced during treatment."
Barrister -- a lawyer
Bureaucrat -- a local functionary, servant to some more powerful political figure
Engineer -- builder of roads, bridges, castles, fortifications, and siege engines
Herald -- an announcer and deliverer of news on behalf of a lord
Monk/Nun -- a lay cleric devoted to prayer and spirituality
Scribe -- skilled in taking dictation or copying documents
There's the first batch. Next we'll look at Lesser Nobility.