Someone dressed in a suit of armor rides a fake dinosaur at a Renaissance fair.
Yes, I like knowing about dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs mean nothing to me.
Dinosaurs were not even a twinkle in science’s eye during the Renaissance. In 1677, Robert Plot published his findings on an enormous dinosaur bone. He wrote, “(notwithstanding their extravagant Magnitude) they must have been the bones of Men or Women.” To summarize: He thought that a bone from a dinosaur was a bone from a giant person. A giant person!
2. Do you appreciate the convenience of paper money?
I would like to go back to precious-metal currency.
Europe was largely precious-metals kind of economy. If your money is made of the same stuff your rich people make plates out of, you’re gonna have a circulation problem. If you were a peasant, you would likely be paid “in kind” (e.g. “in bacon fat”) rather than money. This is not to mention the evil colonial powers mining for silver and gold outside Europe. ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMATIC, YO.
A woman signs to an audience at a Renaissance fair.
Nope, I am a monster.
Although deaf people in the Renaissance certainly led productive lives — like Bernardino di Betto Biagi, an artist who painted frescoes in the Sistine Chapel — with widespread illiteracy in Europe, it was especially hard to be hearing-impaired. Although the Renaissance marked a turning point toward wider acceptance of deaf people as part of society, it still wasn’t a great time to be deaf. More handicap-accessibility = better world. Yay, sign language interpreters! More, please!
5. When you empty your bowels, do you enjoy flushing that stuff away?
A flush toilet. NOTE: This particular toilet was not actually at the Renaissance fair, but similarly flushing toilets connected to sophisticated modern plumbing were.
Honestly, I wish I could keep it in my room for a little while.
In Europe, flush toilets did not start to become popular until the late 1800s. The Maya civilization had indoor plumbing, aqueducts, and pressurized water systems in 600, but hundreds of years later, Her Royal Highness Elizabeth I (1533-1603), was shitting in a pot with a velvet lid. Disgusting.
Blech, never mention that detestable liquid again.
If you enjoy water, you’d be out of luck in the Renaissance, because there was pretty much no safe water back then. Beverage options were beer, wine, or disease-water. Even children drank booze. Children!
…something I leave in a trash can to be picked up by garbage collectors.
…something I throw in the street.
Renaissance England was like one giant garbage pail. English people pretty much threw their garbage in the streets. Some towns employed pigs as garbage collectors, in addition to the human “gong farmers” that used to shovel excrement. #LOLcivilization
The thing I take when I want to get from one place to another.
Dirt, at best.
HA. Even in the 17th century, a road “was not a clearly delineated strip along which traffic flowed smoothly,” historian Fernand Braudel writes, meaning that Europeans could not even easily tell where the road was. Potholes galore. Bumpy as hell. You’d be better off staying home.
9. Do you like the idea of a leader who imprisons her likely successor for 19 years, then executes her?
A man clad entirely in denim reclines at a Renaissance fair.
Don’t even try to get between me and my jeans.
Show me a pair of jeans, and I will show you myself barfing.
Nope, no jeans in the Renaissance. Denim wasn’t patented until 1873. But it gets worse: When you picture Renaissance fashions, you probably see velvets and silks; sadly, only super rich people wore that stuff. Regular folks wore a lot of wool. Just, like, wool on wool on wool.