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A Monks life - Is the site or the sources booklet more useful in telling you about the life of a monk?

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Question Is the site or the sources booklet more useful in telling you about the life of a monk? Answer Introduction - A Monk's life The medieval monk's life was one of great detachment from the outside world of 'sense objects', and involved intrusive studies in pursuit for their divine leader; God. They followed a simple code, in order to lead a supreme life, with every experience nearing themselves to their Idol, and guaranteeing them a comfortable seat within the godly boundaries of heaven. During their daily life, monks abided by a strict routine, where, every few hours they were to attend a service (this included early morning), study chapters of St Benedict's books and obviously, eat. Food was nothing but a simple vegetarian diet. This is because food was not considered as important as prayer, as monks were expected to rise above the cravings of their mental and physical sheaths, and live a life in harmony with the divine spark within them, i.e. their soul. During the times that they were not praying, they were labouring. Work included general agricultural production, such as working on granges. Mainly the lay brothers (less educated monks) did this work, however even choir monks were subject to such work for at least 1 hour per day. Excess items produced were sold, and helped in funding the monastery. The above is a basic idea of a monks life, during the emergence of the Cistercian rule, however this changed to a more lavish way of life, as the monastery gained in wealth and influential power, mainly due social ties with elites trying to guarantee a place in heaven, and, perhaps due to importance gained by visits from highly regarded political figures. As you can see from the above, there are four main aspects in a monk's life: 1. Religious aspect 2. Political aspect 3. Social aspect 4. Economic aspect I will use these subdivisions, as a guide to judge the utility of the sources and the site. ...read more.


Furthermore, the mill suggests that monks worked in order to provide for the monastery. The stables and barn suggest that monk's looked after animals, and probably used them to help with manual work. And the almonry suggests that monks helped the poor, by giving them alms, and the diagram of source B backs this up. Source D The timetable in the source is shows us a typical monk's day. It is useful in telling us that prayer was a big part of a monk's life, and what makes it more useful is that the source acknowledges that this was the case in early times, and does not mislead into the fact that it was always this strict (which it was not always the case, as I know from my contextual knowledge that the rules did become more and more relaxed as time went on). The source does not directly attempt to link politics with a monk's life, however, some political influences on a monk's life radiate through the thick foliage of other, perhaps irrelevant information. We are told that the Normans rebuilt cathedrals and churches, and elevated their beauties to even higher levels than before. This influence by the Normans suggests to me that the life of a monk would get more and more luxurious, as, if the buildings are intended to be beautiful, rather than purposeful, then the minds of the monks would be withered gently towards comforts rather God. This is clearly shown to us also in the fountains abbey site, where in the guesthouses (opposite cellarium), basic architecture has been removed to put in a chimney, suggesting a fire, for warmth and comfort. This source is slightly useful in telling us about the social aspect of a monk's life, as it tells us how they were trying to detach themselves from the community, and actually live a life in the typical Christian way. ...read more.


Therefore, it is vital that you research into such facts, and consider such unreliable and misleading items of the abbey. Another limitation is the fact that not all the time can you use architecture to show the transition of simple to lavish, as sometimes architects used the same styles of architecture that were use 200-300 years before in order to make the style blend together. A classic example of this is the front of the cellarium. Furthermore, the fact that the Abbey is a ruin is a definite limitation. This is because it is much more difficult to pick up on certain things, which may have otherwise easily been seen as evidence, as they are so subtle due to the fact that they are in such poor condition. Conclusion After studying the sources and the site, I feel that in many areas, the sources work in harmony with the site and at times, the site compliments the sources, for example the diagram in source B tells us that monks helped the sick - this is backed up by the site, as we can see the remains of an infirmary. This leaves me to conclude that a more accurate idea of a monk's life can be gained, when we draw together each individual fibre of the sources, with the perforated strings from the fountains abbey site itself, to create one smooth rope, which ties together the scattered pieces of evidence, and together directs us to a more accurate idea of a monk's life. Appendix In the middle of the lay brother's and choir monk's church towards the Galilee porch West end of church West range - to tower The nave with approximate position of rood screen between Choir monks and lay brother's church South aisle Markings on architecture along south isle Lay brothers night stairs The cloister - notice the cider press in the centre The chapter house The refectory - notice the raised platform for reading out prayers on the right hand side of the photo History Coursework - Question 1 1 Vaibhav Khullar 10 MAR ...read more.

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