The middle ages was an age where violence was a very common thing. William the Conquerer made ten laws as the new king when the Normans invaded England in 1066. The first were involved with religion, then loyalty to the crown, and then murder. The policy that William set up for murder was that the offender must be seized, or have the town the murderer came from, if the murder went unsolved, pay forty-six silver marks to the crown. This implied that the human life was valued at forty-six silver marks by William. In 1215 when the Magna Carta was written, it did not mention assault or homicide in the first 56 regulations. If the life of a man was only valued at 46 silver marks, what was the life of a woman valued at?

Medieval customs encouraged men to beat their wives regularly to "keep them in line." Men were excused for the injuries inflicted on their wives as long as he didn't maim or kill her. Think about that. It was legal for wives to be beat as long as wasn't any long term extreme damage. A Spanish law even made it legal for men to kill their fiancees or wives if he thought she cheated on him. The wife's lover was also able to me legally killed because the husband's integrity and honor was tarnished. A century later, an English law made it legal for men to "correct" their wives for whatever they did wrong in whatever manner they thought was suitable.

Educating women was also considered a waste of time. Even Saint Thomas Aquinas claimed that "woman is defective and misbegotten". The middle ages was a time when peasant women toiled in fields, female serfs aspired to be household servants, and women of all classes and ages were forced into as well as out of marriages.

The middle ages was a very violent time and women were treated very roughly. Women today should be grateful that the trend has changed and society as well as men have become more educated.


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