[Gatesedge] Fw: Literacy WAS Birthdays!!!

D. Vandever hlannes at ev1.net
Fri Aug 6 10:31:42 PDT 2004

OOOPS ! Meant to send this to GE too. My bad.
Annes (Annyes or whatever)
Dear God,  Help me to be the person
my dog thinks I am.  Amen
----- Original Message -----
From: "D. Vandever" <hlannes at ev1.net>
To: "Young, Carolyn" <Carolyn.Young at goodmanmfg.com>
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 12:30 PM
Subject: Re: Literacy WAS Birthdays!!!

> Caitlin wrote:
> >
> > True, true.  But my point is that most of the gentry, males especially,
> > could write their names, if nothing else, and those around them would
> spell
> > THAT  name THAT way.
> *If* they could read and write at all, maybe. And most (as you point out)
> *women* couldn't do even that. That's why women like Eleanor of Aquitaine
> and Hildegard von Bigean (sp? LOL) were such famous oddities. Literate
> women! And even more than some (most) of the men of their time.  And both
> them are much later than the Dark ages.
> >
> > >> Even kings were often illiterate and had scribes (monks) to read and
> > write *for* them.  It was the mark of wealth to be able >> to afford
> someone
> > who could do this for you.
> >
> > I'm not so sure about that.  Even the peasants could have a
> > priest/monk/scribe do that for them.
> Using what for money? Maybe a chicken...if they had it. I again think that
> it is a function of the place, the time, and the availablity of someone
> could read and write. Most "peasants" re: "serfs" were not much better off
> than slaves to their land and to the landowner. They didn't have much that
> was their own to give or spend. And who would *they* be writing to anyway?
> Another illerate serf?
> >but that they could
> > write their names (rather than just make their mark) and at least follow
> > along in their prayer books at Mass.
> Hmmm...again, who (and when) are we talking about here? For all I've read,
> even "prayer books" were very few and far between. Had to be transcribed
> hand y'know...and then there was all that illumination and gold leaf and
> suchnot. It wasn't until Gutenburg (1398-1468...rather late in our playing
> time period) and his press that written material became widely
> (comparitively) available. I don't think that "prayer books at Mass"
> widely used until after Gutenburg. And *his* famous "Bible" had only *42
> lines* in it! I've read accounts of estates of various times throughout
> middle ages and most of it is clothes, furniture and kitchen utensils.
> "Psaltrys" ie prayer books are rare entries. I think that the bragging
> people in the middle ages do *about* their ability to read/write in
> literature of the time points up the fact that *most* couldn't read or
> write.
> BTW, as a side note, the search I did for Gutenburg noted that "we found
> many spellings of Johann as we did for Johannes, so we went with the
> spelling found in the Gutenburg Project". Even *his* name at that late
> period had multiple different spellings!
> Here is a good link I found that points up how very rare and precious
> writing was in the middle ages. With it being this rare and expensive to
> write *anything* (paper wasn't made in Europe until the 12th century in
> Spain), it would stand to reason that reading (and thus spelling
> anything..."correctly" or otherwise) was *also* a very rare art. Which
> points up the fact that bards and skalds were so important for their
> incredible memory skills in order to keep the *oral* traditions alive!
> http://www.historicpages.com/texts/mshist.htm
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Caitlin (who was quite literate... for her time)
> Meaning that you could probably (maybe) write your name. And how *I* or
> someone else might spell it could be quite different. Now *counting* is
> another whole matter. Counting would have been very important for anyone
> owned anything. And counting (not addition or subtraction necessarily)
> wasn't/isn't that hard to learn. Counting history is much larger than
> reading history showing that it was more widespread of a skill. The
> Sumerian clay tablet is a counting of the stuff in a storehouse.
> Toodles,
> Annes (or Annyes or....you get the drift)

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