Friday, 18 April 2014

Q is for Quests

This A-Z, I’m looking at aspects of medieval history that are relevant to writers. Today, I want to make a simple point: medieval people went on quests. Well, sort of, at least if we define a quest as “going on a journey to do a special thing”. They certainly went on plenty of pilgrimages, with there being a kind of regular circuit of saints’ relics to get around. People even set out on long journeys with the explicit aim of acquiring as many such relics as they could. The most extreme version of this kind of pilgrimage was going on crusade, with people taking the cross for all kinds of reasons before heading off often years later. Not always to the Holy Land, incidentally. Quite a lot of later "crusades" (there has been some argument over what counts) were focussed things against heresies in Europe.

But even aspects of everyday life could fulfil some of the requirements. Travel to more remote areas was always something of an adventure, and there were such things as bandits and dangerous animals around, as well as more mundane concerns such as being treated with suspicion whenever travelling somewhere strange. Messages moved at the pace of a horse or running man, but they could still cover the length of England in a few days. An urgent message really could be an adventure, and often a terrifying one.


Susan Kane said...

A quest--to go on a quest--to ask a question--marvelous things to do.

Vikki T said...

Just stopping by from the A-Z list to say "Hi" and good luck with the rest of the challenge :)

Wow interesting theme x

debi o'neille said...

Great theme. I'm stopping by through the A to Z, and I just joined as the newest follower to your blog. Nice post!