Tomas asked Sharon Kay Penman:
What do you think are some universal values we have in common with people of the past?
Sharon Kay Penman HI, Tomas. What an interesting question. it is easy enough to rule out those values that we do not share with people of the past. Tolerance is one, for that was not considered a virtue throughout most of history. The faithful of the three major religions in the MA--Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam--were all convinced that theirs was the one true God and therefore those who believed otherwise were infidels. Nor would medievals have believed that women should enjoy equal rights with men, being daughters of Eve. And the concept of animal rights would have sent them into gales of laughter. But they valued many of the virtues that we value today. Courage, for one. Honor, for another. And while they did not always practice it, compassion was considered a virtue, but then we do not always practice it today either. Forgiveness was another one. And I believe that human emotions have not changed much over the centuries. People have always loved their children; that once-popular theory that medievals did not allow themselves to bond with their children because of the high child mortality rate, has been thoroughly discredited. While marriages were made for political or business reasons in most unions, we know that there were husbands and wives who came to love one another. The human need to bond with animals like dogs and horses was certainly true in the MA, even if they did subscribe to the belief that man has dominion over the earth and all in it. Loyalty to one's family, friends, lord, clan, king, etc, is a belief that we find familiar today. Medieval soldiers bonded on the battlefield just as soldiers today do. The trappings of civilization change, but human nature does not. At least in MHO!
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