Activities and Roles at the Castle

I’m writing an interdisciplinary book about lifestyles at Medieval strongholds in Östergötland province, Sweden. The central chapter “Activities and roles” is currently 8,900 words. Here are the section headers.

  • Agriculture at arm’s length
  • Baking bread
  • Brewing
  • Animal husbandry and the eating of meat
  • Hunting and the eating of game and wildfowl
  • Fishing and the eating of fish
  • Cooking
  • Dining and drinking
  • Waste disposal
  • Relieving oneself
  • Lighting
  • Keeping warm
  • Healthcare and personal grooming
  • Fashion and jewellery
  • Ladyship
  • Chivalry and horsemanship
  • Love affairs
  • Weddings
  • Growing up
  • Religion
  • Music
  • Gambling and boardgames
  • Writing
  • Taxation, customs collection, rent collection
  • Trade and other coin use
  • Soldiering
  • Imprisonment
  • Slavery
  • Keeping pets
  • Smithwork
  • Crafts in perishable materials
  • Fur production
  • Shipbuilding


  1. #1 Eric Lund
    May 19, 2017

    That looks like a lot of material to cover in one chapter. If it gets too long, you might want to look at splitting it into business/leisure or some similar division.

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 19, 2017

    Chapters needn’t be of equal length. To me they’re just a way to organise the contents thematically.

  3. #3 Sean M
    May 21, 2017

    Are you working with any of the living history groups in Sweden? It seems like there are some pretty serious and competent groups there (and some which lean to the “dress-up-and-get-drunk-in-the-woods” end of the spectrum). I don’t know if Sweden has any long-term experiments like Butser Ancient Farm.

  4. #4 Martin R
    May 21, 2017

    I’m not, though I have many friends in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Occasionally I get questions about gear from reenactors.

  5. #5 BirgerJohansson
    May 22, 2017

    The two points “waste disposal” and “relieving oneself” are probably related to why life expectancy was so short in medieval days. Plus, “malnutrition” and “medical science that made things worse”.

    Writing -a job for monks, and some very few of the aristocracy?

  6. #6 Martin R
    May 22, 2017

    Yeah, literacy wasn’t widespread and the only education you could get was through the church. There’s one guy in sources from Stegeborg castle c. 1500 who is both chaplain and scribe, that is, secretary, to the fiefholder.

  7. #7 BirgerJohansson
    May 22, 2017

    After seeing the film ”Jabberwocky” where Terry Gilliam used medieval sanitation for low comedy, my attitude to the past never recovered.

    One orb to rule them all:

  8. #8 Stefan Rotmark
    Stockholm, Sweden
    May 22, 2017

    Slavery? Really? What do you/they mean by that?

  9. #9 Martin R
    May 22, 2017

    Ancient slavery continued in Sweden until about 1330 when it was made illegal to keep slaves who had Christian parents. By that time pagans were in short supply.

  10. #11 JustaTech
    May 24, 2017

    Will this be an academic book, or is it intended for the general public?
    In either case, do you expect it will eventually be available in English? (I speak/read zero Swedish and doubt my relatives would be willing to translate a book.)

  11. #12 Martin R
    May 24, 2017

    It’s an accessible academic book in English and I hope to distribute the PDF for free.

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