Check out the Blog entries about Beggars and Begging for some real information.
Yes, it’s a bizarre topic for a website, but it stems from my research into Medieval Begging. It all started in 1981 when I discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism. Being a history buff anyhow, and particularly interested in the category called “living history” (including all kinds of reenactors), I was somewhat interested in authenticity.
The S.C.A. is not generally known for its authenticity, with a few notable exceptions. But it is a great gateway into the living history world, where you’ll find a more serious dedication to living past lives. Check out some of these hobbyists.
Meanwhile, noticing that the S.C.A. (as a slice of Medieval life) was VERY top-heavy with nobility, I sought to promote a more balanced picture of the period. What I found was that nearly everyone (no matter where in the world) was nearly destitute: poor, sick, dirty, illiterate, ignorant, desperate, and short-lived. This was the norm 1,000 years ago.
Within the S.C.A., I and a few like-minded friends founded House Mendicus, more commonly known as the Beggar’s Guild. This “household” did, of course, have historical precedent, and was generally appreciated by my fellow Scadians. However, not many of my fellow Scadians took to the concept first-hand. For some reason, they preferred to be the givers of alms rather than the receivers. Actually, that turned out pretty good for us mendicants!
So anyhow, it led me on a path to appreciate, and somewhat sympathize, with those of our ancestors who had nearly nothing, and suffered greatly all-ways. From time to time, I shall share some information, philosophical discourse, and canny observations here on the subject. — D.M. a.k.a. Daibhre