Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How Many Hours are we Talking About, and How Heavy?

1) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : "in a time when most people died at an average age of 35" ; 2) What others have to say about Life Expectancy through history - and my take on that ; 3) Longevity in Selected Ancestry and Inlaws of Eleanor of Montfort ; 4) Tudor Times Demographical Stats ; 5) How Many Hours are we Talking About, and How Heavy? ; 6) New blog on the kid : When "Answers" Paint Middle Ages Black ; 7) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI Provided some Lifespans of the Past ; 8)Other list from CMI of lifespans ; 9) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Medieval and Early Modern Lifespans, Again: Berkeleys and Related ; 10) Story of a Cardinal's Title with Pre-Industrial Demographics


From same response session by Lita as previous:

A man may sell his daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. This is illegal in America, but if the opportunity existed in another country, is this still right with God?

You’re assuming that the ancient world was as friendly as the Western world is to those who have enough wealth and leisure time to sit around on the Internet making bigoted assumptions about an ancient text.

Way to view the text as a bigoted 21st century Western man! This is more like the scenario—a family is destitute and they have the choice to either let their teenaged daughter starve to death with them, or ‘sell’ her (really, give her in marriage) to someone better off who could take care of her, and the bride gift her husband gives would allow the family to survive. Not what you’d read in a modern romance novel, but the ancient world was not as convenient as the modern Western world is—since most people in the world throughout history had to work long hours just to survive.

What I really want to talk about is this last sentence, which I consider erroneous.

"but the ancient world was not as convenient as the modern Western world is—since most people in the world throughout history had to work long hours just to survive"

As this was part of her defence for a passage which these days has some attackers, I will return to what Haydock says.

Now, there are three categories of society

which we can deal differently with when it comes to working hours.

1) The élite. Kings, priests, nobles, officers, judges, at least major judges of appeal, prefects of provinces where applicable (like, not in San Marino sized states) ...

Not what she was talking about, since not most, but only a minority. But they at least did not have to work long hours just to survive.

Just noting, this is not in any way contradicting her - yet - since it was not these she referred to.

There are two more categories, which together make up "most people" in any land.

2) Prime producers of raw material necessities, first and foremost food. Fishers, farmers, shepherds, cowherds, pigherds. And so on.

3) Anything in between categories 1 and 2, including soldiers (who were usually paid by tax money under control of the élite), but foremost artisans, since these being in "free competition" (not really quite free, but not as protected as soldiers from not being paid) would be relevant for a study of working hours and what you get for them.

Now, let us take each at a time.

2, mainly farmers:

I could let on the "Irish voice", if I were making a video for tektontv instead of writing a blog post. Here goes*:

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "Imagine if every farmer you knew, who enjoys tractors fuelled by petrol, and who is working hard as that, had to produce the same thing, but with only his hands and feet, and perhaps an ox or a horse to draw the ploughs, and even had to sow by hand, how hard all this work would be, he would be totally exhausted. (Sob, sob!)

"But that was really true, since back then, there were no tractors, they were only invented one hundred years ago or so. (Sob, sob!)

"Now imagine the real tragedy. While farmers are only 10 percent of the population now, back then they were 90 percent and all those suffered these terrible chores of yore."

[Me:] "Hold it!"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "?"

[Me:] "How many were the farmers relatively speaking back in the Middle Ages, you said? Or back in the Bronze Age?"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "They were 90 percent, and none of them (sob, sob) had tractors ...."

[Me:] "What does that mean for how much food they had to produce without tractors?"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "Farmers always have to produce food for everyone, so they had to produce as much as now - without any tractors (sob, sob)."

[Me:] "Sure, ALL the farmers had to produce for ALL the people, but what about EACH farmer?"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "?"

[Me:] "First of all every farmer has to produce for himself. The baker won't grow his wheat for him."

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "And then ... (not sobbing, but crying .... stopping to cry, sobbing) .... then every farmer has to produce for everyone else!"

[Me:] "Sure, but how many are that?"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "Everyone else, of course!"

[Me:] "Yes, but as farmers are now 10 percent and everyone else is 90 percent, that is nine people per farmer."

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] (Sob, sob ...)

[Me:] (Looking desperately for a handkerchief to offer him in my pockets - no, all are already used.)

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "Nine people per farmer! Think how terrible that must have been before the tractors!"

[Me:] "But there weren't nine people per farmer before the tractors!"

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "?"

[Me:] "There were nine farmers to help each other about the tenth guy who wasn't farming."

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "?" (Making even bigger eyes!)

[Me:] "Sure, you said yourself there were 90 percent farmers."

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] "So you mean the tractors hasn't made the workload overall lighter for each farmer? Just moved out people from farms into towns?"

[Me:] "Yes." (Watching leprechaun drop to the ground unconscious after the shock of letting that thought in.)

3, mainly townspeople artisans:

One might start guessing that farmers were a bit lighter off actually than now, since if more burdened on the muscles, at least less stressed.

But how about townspeople?

You worked more to make the shoes you were to sell or the bread you were to sell, or the pots you were to sell, or ... well, you get it.

However, when this was done, you could buy less for it.

Correct? Yes.

It must have sucked, right? No. Why?

Think of it like this.

1) You could not afford to buy any batteries for your cassette recorder, and there were no batteries to buy for it, and there was no cassette recorder, and there were no cassettes. But this means, that you were not socially handicapped if you had neither cassette recording nor LP of the classic Beatles and Elvis or the latest Twisted Sisters (contrasting my taste in an artist recently having died or a pop group recently dissolved after death of John Lennon, with some talent for singing Obladi blada, with the taste of classmates for still extant rock groups). ANYTHING you would now be buying from the music industry was then simply not on the to buy list.

OK, anything except instruments or concerts, that is.

2) Women who wanted to be fashionable were even back then able to get rouge for cheeks, possibly khool for eyelashes, but lipsticks (and the whale blubber that implies) and nylon stockings were off the list.

Somehow, woman managed to be considered beautiful** without those two (probably the reason they are picked out in Polly's or Jill's tirade against Susan Pevensie).

3) And you certainly couldn't buy any gasoline for you car. Wait a minute, you couldn't have a car either. Even worse, you would hardly afford train tickets to 30 km (20 miles) from where you lived back and forth each day just to get to work.

How did they possibly survive such conditions!

Could it be that the general "shortage" (to put it extremely mildly!) of cars had meant that no one was being employed thirty km or twenty miles away from home anyway?

4) Could there even be a somewhat curious pattern which could be fairly well summed up by the formula:

What they couldn't afford with the prices for hand made goods only was what wasn't there to be bought anyway. And what wasn't there to be bought was generally also not an everyday necessity.

[Leprechaun with Irish voice:] (After waking up:) "We've been had, guys!"

[Me:] "You can say that again!"

Hans Georg Lundahl ... signed too early! I had promised a bit of apologetics on Exodus 21:7. Context:

7 If any man sell his daughter to be a servant, she shall not go out as bond-women are wont to go out.

8 If she displease the eyes of her master to whom she was delivered, he shall let her go: but he shall have no power to sell her to a foreign nation, if he despise her.

9 But if he have betrothed her to his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

10 And if he take another wife for him, he shall provide her a marriage, and raiment, neither shall he refuse the price of her chastity.

11 If he do not these three things, she shall go out free without money.

Here is Haydock comment on some of these:

Ver. 7. Go out, to work in the fields, according to Grotius; or rather, to enjoy her liberty. A father who sold his daughter, always expected that she should be the wife of the purchaser, or of his son. If this did not take place, she was free after six years, or before, if her master died. Constantine sanctioned the power of the Romans to sell their children. The Phrygians and Thebans had the like custom. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Daughters. When she is old enough to be married, he shall give her a dowry like his own daughter, or like a free woman. (Haydock)

Ver. 10. Marriage. This seems to insinuate that she was divorced: but the best commentators suppose, that the introduction of the second wife was not to infringe the rights of the first. Hebrew, "he shall not diminish her food, raiment, and dwelling," but treat her as his wife. The Athenians required husbands to visit their wives thrice a month.

Price, &c. A sufficient dowry, or the rights of marriage; "her company," (omilian.) Septuagint.

So, if my excuse for that custom being in the law was not "everyone was working his or her arse off to get food and no one had time for liberty or dignity", what was it?

Israelites had just come out from Egypt - that is one part. They had taken on some bad manners, which Moses simply tolerated for the hardness of their hearts (as with divorce, where Christ says so explicitly), besides the world was getting so dangerous due to diverse evil empires in the neighbourhood that keeping slavery made sense even as a kind of protection for slaves. And this rule meant that a Hebrew daughter sold as slave didn't get treated as a slave, but as someone's wife. Or got free plus money. Show a nation back then with such rules! Not even Rome or Athens!

Only later were Christians making things even better.

And now, I have earned some right by writing to sign.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Edilburg of Yorkshire

Credits to Lita Cosner:

CMI Feedback : Hoax ‘testimony’ and Hoax endorsement:
Is eating shellfish still an abomination?
Published: 10 July 2010(GMT+10)


* May J. P. Holding excuse any possible ineptitude in imitating his style! It's inimitable!

** But they didn't always manage to consider themselves beautiful without the rouge, though obviously, quite often they were in fact so!

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