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Disabilities in the middle ages

Discussion in 'Research' started by Dragoncat, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Dragoncat

    Dragoncat Minstrel

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    I haven't been here in awhile...and this is actually not for my original fiction, it's for a Legend of Zelda fanfic. I know we're not supposed to post fanfics here, but if you're interested, ask and I'll PM you a link to it. Figured this would be the best place to find the information I need...

    What sorts of disabilities were known in medieval times, not life threatening, but bad enough to prevent someone from becoming a knight/soldier/etc? I have an idea to make the son of a knight and a merchant born with something like that. Thought about making him blind, but he has to be able to run a shop like his mom does. If he was blind I don't think he would be able to count money, all the different values are the same thing only different colors. With a 20 feeling the same as a 1 when you touch it, there's a possibility that people will give him a 1 for an item worth 20 because they can get away with it.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Graylorne

    Graylorne Archmage

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    Any serious physical disability: withered arm, lame leg, crooked back, all will prevent you from becoming a knight or a soldier.

    Another problem is, I can't imagine a knight being married to a shopkeeper. Social inequality. He would marry to advance his career, probably another knight's daughter or at max. a rich merchant's child, but not one that worked in a shop.

    A knight's son like that would probably become a monk.

    He could be a common soldier, or possibly even a mounted man-at-arms. Then his poor son would work in his mother's place. But
    then the woman with the shop could well be a remarried widow who inherited the business from her late first. Women didn't inherit or bought businesses as a rule.
     
  3. Dragoncat

    Dragoncat Minstrel

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    Well...the social inequality issue doesn't seem to exist in the world this is in, and there are female knights and business owners. The potion shop is run by a married couple, and the wife sells them and the husband mixes them. Gender equality is there.

    I stuck those two together, because in the canon side of the game, they both got their hearts broken, so I figured they would be attracted to each other, having that in common. It is fantasy after all, so it doesn't have to follow the real world 100%.

    A physical disability like what you said will probably work. If it helps, the knights fly around on giant birds.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    If you aren't worrying about historical accuracy in one area, why worry about it in another? Rather, give him any sort of disability you please and blame that for not becoming a knight. In fact, simply being born half a commoner could be sufficient. Another could be to make him strongly left-handed. Or have a lazy eye. Or he's afraid of birds. Just make up what works as a nifty plot device and your readers will believe it.
     
  5. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    A great many physical disabilities were actually well known at the time, although how they came to be and how to treat them took a few centuries to get down. Doctors of the time were even familiar with internal issues like asthma, and had herbal remedies that may or may not have helped with them. So do what works best for the story.
     
  6. Dragoncat

    Dragoncat Minstrel

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    Afraid of birds lol...that wouldn't be possible. It's Skyward Sword, after the story. Anyone whose played it knows the people live on a floating sky island during the game, my fanfic takes place after, when they've moved to the land below. Since there's no airplanes, the birds were their only transportation method, the civilians had them too at first. Half commoner...nah. Lazy eye...

    I think I'll give him a clubbed foot, he has to walk with a cane and a leg brace.
     
  7. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Balance issues(ear problems can cause balance problems, balance issues make it very tough to ride horseback.) or being blind in one eye(depth perception issues) He can see but only out of one eye.) eye patch?
    Missing a limb, peg leg prosthesis.
     
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