Every time they make a change, I am scrambling to catch up. Posts disappear. And I spend hours trying to recreate what I wrote earlier. It’s enough to make me wonder how medieval people communicated.
So, what else could I do? I went on a little research trip.
At HistoryExtra.com, author Emma Mason shares in A Brief History of How People Communicated in the Middle Ages some of the ways this was carried out.
Ah yes, the church officials, namely the priests, delivered the news by reading aloud to the masses. They would present the news of a battle well fought and help to raise funds needed to continue the war.
According to the author of the article above, the royals had an intricate network of messengers, who rode their horses for weeks on end, carrying messages over the countryside.
What people wore also told a great deal about themselves and the political conditions of the day. The color, material of the clothing, and symbols told of their station. Their armor, banners, coats of arms and royal standards marked whether they were of noble rank. When in battle, it also marked who was worthy of a ransom. Even those from the guilds wore badges to mark that they were members and could be trusted.
In my Knights of the Swan series, the symbol that the knights in the brotherhood carried was a talisman in the shape of the swan. Sometimes the messenger would present the swan to prove who sent them and that the message could be trusted. Other times it is used as a cry for help.
In Signed-sealed-delivered: How Messages Were Sent in the Middle Ages the cost to hire a messenger would be too exorbitant a price to pay. They relied on word of mouth, what they heard and saw, and that would carry from person to person, from village to village.
Can you imagine the rumor mill grinding away at the truths and half-truths? It makes me wonder how accurately history was maintained. It certainly is understandable that there are many sources who saw the same scene and end up telling a different story.
Remember the game phone tag? Or was it called Grapevine or AKA Telephone or AKA Telegraph? According to Wikipedia.org, the game is also known as Russian scandal, whisper down the lane, broken telephone, operator, grapevine, gossip, don’t drink the milk, secret message, the messenger game, and pass the message. I found the rules for the game, and it brought back memories.
This game is intended for a large group, kids and adults 15 or more. The more the better. The group sit in a large circle. The kids should be spaced about arms length apart. The way we did it was to hold hands in a circle and gradually spread out until our arms were stretched. Now everyone takes a seat. The “originator”, usually the one who organized the game, or the bossiest, starts a message. The originator whispers a short message into the ear of the person sitting to the right of them. The message is whispered once. The new messenger then whispers the message into the ear to the one to their right, and so on and so on. When the message reaches the person sitting to the left of the originator the message is announced out loud. Seldom does the message arrive in its original form. The person to the right gets to be the next originator.
A variation of the game is to start one message to the right then start a message to the left and see what happens. Tongue twister are really fun messages to send.http://www.gameskidsplay.net/games/mental_games/grapevine.