Although meat is not as essential as bread to the maintenance of human life, its consumption was across the board in medieval society, stressing social disparities. It had (and still has) a strong symbolic value. Diets varied in accordance with the status and wealth (qualitas personarum) of the consumers. It was not only a matter of quantity. There were meats of different quality for the poor and for the rich, for religious and monastic communities, for peasants and for citizens. Shortages could stir up ancient fears of social regression from a civic to a rural condition among urban classes. Feeding the city with abundant, cheap, healthy, and fresh meat represented, thus, a crucial challenge for local food policies. Using data from both Southern and Northern European cities, this paper investigates the importance of meat supply in maintaining public order and social peace.
The deliberations of Dubrovnik city councils concerning the care of and control over urban spaces used for food merchandise can be divided into three interdependent groups: the first covers the decisions regarding solid masonry structures with storages, among which were not just public buildings, but also fortifications, male and female monasteries, and private dwellings; the second concerns temporary wooden storages and banks at open public spaces; and the third the administrative structure of deputies who were responsible for the realisation of the deliberations. The reasons for delivering and repetitiveness of certain deliberations as well as the obstacles, dynamics, and success of their realisations would be furtherly discussed.
The most common tableware in the Middle Ages were wooden vessels and their craftsmanship is attributed to turners, who were specialized men shaping them using different methods. In this paper, I present results of the analysis of 10th to 13th-century wooden turned vessels discovered during the excavations held in Ostrów Tumski in Wrocław, Poland. The main problem described is the woodturning technology and its changes throughout the Middle Ages. The study also focuses on the raw materials used by medieval turners. The analysis helped to establish the reasons behind more frequent use of some materials compared to others. The form of the vessels themselves is of significance as well. Until the 13th century they had distinguishable local dimensions, whereas in the late Middle Ages they were similar in all Central Europe.