||[Jun. 26th, 2005|10:16 am]
According to Pip Patrick (article in Current Archaeology 198) the stereotype of the fat, jolly monk has some basis in fact.|
Pip did a study of skeletons from a number of medieval cemetries in London and found that monks "were five times as likely to develop some form of obesity-related joint disease as their secular counterparts."
Nice to find science (for once) confirming rather that debunking myth.
That must have been some fine dining!
"Monastery accounts show that at Westminster Abbey the monks were consuming in excess of the modern calorific RDA (recommended daily intake) even when supposed to be fasting."
Seems like the medieval satirists were right.
2005-06-26 03:48 am (UTC)
ah certainly, in the past the monasteries were the only places other than rich peoples' houses where one could eat decently!
Go figure.. in Bavaria, during the fasting of lent, the monks brewed that super-extra-strong beer so they could ingest something nutritious and satisfying even with the fasting..
I'm sure I was a monk in a past life (perhaps in several past lives.) Monastic ruins hold a deep fascination for me. A fascination that includes an element of repulsion and disgust.
2005-06-26 04:20 am (UTC)
Yeah.. I get this too. I have spent a week in a monastery once, a "fasting healing experience", and have to say that the atmosphere appealed very much to me and somehow awakened distant impressions/memories.
Nowadays those places are a little bit too ascetic for my taste though. I am sure this was not the case in the past :)
I had a friend once who was a probationary monk- a jolly, Friar Tuckish little man. He didn't stay the course.
If you were a monk back in the day, I just don't see you as either fat or jolly, somehow!
You probably took your fasts and prayers seriously.
I bet all those jolly jiggly monks were jealous.
I don't suppose I was ever fat and jolly in any past existence.
But who knows?
How much of our personality do we carry from life to life? Or are we perhaps completely remade each time?
Can one carry a monastic bent in one's genetic code? Being fat and jolly--yes, certainly. And being a shaman of a sort--perhaps.
I, too, am drawn to churches.
In fact, I'm leaving for one now...
I'm drawn to churches- but these days only as repositories of the past. I dropped into St Michael's Ashton-under-Lyne last week to look at the fabulous medieval glass.