It’s a good time to be thankful that most of the household items we take for granted today were a source of great amusement to people in the middle and ancient ages.
Probably not much thought is given to household items. But perhaps now is the time to begin because these everyday necessities have weird origins. Here are some of the things we use daily that have fascinating histories and facts:
This three-pronged object we use daily was once thought to be morally unacceptable and unhygienic. The Latin word “furca,” which means pitchfork, is where the term “fork” originates.
Forks were not used elsewhere until the Italians began using them to eat sugary and syrupy dried fruits during the Renaissance period. The use of forks was first recorded in the middle east between 330 and 1453. The ruling classes of the byzantine empire also used forks for dining.
When Maria Argyropoulina wed the dodge of Venice’s son, she brought a small case of forks for the wedding feast. Maria was a niece of Basil II and Constantine VIII, two byzantine kingdom emperors.
Maria died from the plague three years later, the Venetians were horrified, and Saint Peter Damian declared it to be God’s retribution. Saint Peter Damian ended the fork in European history for the following four hundred years. The Venetians were outraged.
Humans were still willing to risk everything to get the fork back to taste the sugary sweet things, and that’s how the fork was brought back.
Egyptian headrests made of stone or wood are the most well-known type of cushion. These characteristics are similar to the definition of the term “pillow,” which originates from the Latin term “pulvinus.” The words “Pulvinus” and “pulpit,” which refer to the elevated platform in churches, have similar etymologies.
To the Egyptians, pillowcases or cushions were essentially elevated platforms for the head. These sturdy cushions have most notably been found in Egyptian tombs supporting mummy heads.
Many people in ancient Africa, Asia, and Pacific regions used stiffer pillows rather than fluffy cushions for a pleasant night’s sleep. Some of the earliest pillows dating back to the Third Dynasty have an arch-shaped piece resting on a pillar and resemble tiny stools.
3. Table linens
Elegant medieval dining required fine table linen. The casual manner in which we treat tablecloths would horrify many medieval people. Fine linen symbolized high social standing in the eyes of knights and their ladies.
Don’t underestimate the value of table linen, which includes more than just elaborate damask, Perugia towels, and handwoven diamond diapers. Every piece of linen had to be carefully woven after being harvested, spun, and bleached by hand.
Ancient plates, also referred to as trenchers, were constructed from bread slices that were two or three inches thick and had been left out to dry for about four days. Meals were typically served on hardened bread, and people would normally eat the meal with their hands.
The bread trencher was eventually abandoned, and people had to eat from a wooden base. For the purpose of holding food juices, a grove was carved into the wood. These flower-themed wooden trenchers were purchased in dozens.
The first plates, after bread plates, were those created by nature.: a sizable leaf, a shell, a piece of wood, or pretty much anything else that could carry food. Traditionally, communal plates were shared.
5. The Sofa
In the Medieval Era, kings, queens, and members of the royal family traveled from one castle to another with their furnishings in tow. The main feature was mobility. However, due to a civil war, 10-year-old King Louis was forced to flee Paris in 1648, leaving him without any furniture.
As a result, when members of the royal family visited him there, they had nothing to sit on. He felt ashamed that he was unable to extend hospitality.