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"Give us this day our daily mush"


This might have been the prayer of the majority of people in the early Middle Ages. Bread being served to the upper classes only.

The annual consumption of breadstuffs per person, estimated by experts, varies greatly depending on - for example - region and century. As an average, one may assume 200 bis 250 kg. That means that a major German city, such as Cologne or Lübeck, with a medieval population of about 40.000, required around 8000-10.000 tons per year.

Leaving aside the difficulties producing such an amount - with the conventional methods of that day and a cost/income ratio of 1:4 - the transport and storage required exceptional efforts as well.



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Noble landlords, cities and monasteries built storehouses, also called tithe barns or fruit boxes, made of quarry stone or half-timber. Architecturally striking were the long rows of windows for ventilation. The enormous buildings dominated their environment and represented hallmarks for their builders.


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The preserved buildings, mostly dating from the late Middle Ages, are interesting examples of medieval civic architecture. They had an important function in the prevention of famine, but also played a role in speculation.



Translation: Erik Eising (M.A.)


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