Modern scholars tend to see medieval people as helpless victims if climate deteriorated. In this paper will be discussed which methods peasants could and did use to adapt flexibly to new conditions. Precise knowledge of which climatic preconditions were necessary to make different plants and animals productive was necessary. Productivity might decline in some fields and necessitate shifts in the importance given to other products. Crops had to be combined to give maximum food security. The exemples will be from Norse agriculture. Norse peasants may have understood how to neutralise negaitve consequences of climate change better than today’s scholars.
The central issue to be addressed in this presentation is part of a sociocultural history, taking into consideration the study of female figures related to small urban commerce in Lisbon, at the 14th and 15th centuries. These women, that were trading in the city streets, were members of medium-sized segments, mostly of low status and of all marital status. They were single, married, widowed, and engaged as ‘regateiras’ (regrateresses), reselling food and objects of first need. This reflection turns to the analysis of the actions of such female figures in the city space, taking into account time and relations between genders. It will be made from Lisbon City Council records, such as the Posturas do Concelho de Lisboa and the Livro das Posturas Antigas, in transcribed and published versions by the end of the 20th century. We understand that in the urban environment with developing municipalities, the unfavorable income conditions of the poorest population have made women’s work to be more prominent. These blurring boundaries of daily life in a medieval city were witnesses of the actions of such women who performed functions for the provisioning of Lisbon.
While Chaucer has been seen to have a particularly modern understanding of ‘alcoholism’ and the sociability of drinking (Bowers, 1990; and Earnshaw, 2000), this paper locates Chaucer’s presentations of drunkenness within the wider context of the period’s medical and legal writing. Chaucer’s rendering of intoxication and chronic drinking is revealing of a late medieval materialism consistent with the period’s Hippocratic/ Galenic understandings of the relationship between the condition of the body and the formation of mental states. Despite differences in their moral and epistemological frames, there are interesting points of resonance between Chaucer’s understanding of chronic drinking and recent neuroscientifically informed addiction theory.