Since my nation of birth and residence (England) is suffering under a cruel and sweaty heatwave, i got curious.

Was the temperature and weather of 1220 any different to that today. Of course there aren't any accurate records until enlightment era but are there more instances of rivers/lakes freezing over, terrible droughts in summer and such like?

Obviously, folks back then lacked basic heat regulation such as air conditioning and insulation, but then, so does my office.

I'm just trying to imagine fighting a battle in this temperature wearing full chainmail. how did knights keep themselves hydrated? were junior squires following them around with barrels of water?

The oxygen and Hydrogen isotope ratios from precipitation will tell you what the temperature was like when they evaporated and precipitated (with some reasonable fudging for how many precipitation events a particular mass of water experienced before the analysed sample fell). I thought that someone had some sort of clever way of finding appropriate samples for historical European periods but all I can recall at the moment are ice cores and a methodologically flawed study using tooth enamel of greenland settlers.

Perhaps my memory is playing tricks on me in my old age.

I use the link below to look up unusual weather in England during history. I've no idea how accurate it is ... though the weather has always seemed fairly varied (perhaps more severe winters) ... meterology@bracknell

You can also use the timeslice to look up major climate shifts across history. Over the 13thC the climate seems to have moved from a warm period to the beginning of a mini-ice age.

Huh? :open_mouth:

You just reminded me my lowest grade in College was Meteorology. :frowning:

This might help a little


it kind of shows how at the end of the 13th century, the temperature began dropping...

well, you can read it.



The church iteself is a great source on information...the monks would write down how the crops did and any little event that happened in their fields..consider...

The practice of 'pruning' dates to a discovery by Christian monks...
They cultivated grapes for food and wine...Someone let a bunch of goats into the vineyard...(all recorded into the record books)...Lo' and behold! the next harvest, the yield of the crops had SIGNIFICANTLY changed..for the better. The monks then found that if you cut various pieces off the plant, it would stimulate growth.. and grape production...

Their record would also contain days it rained...though the amount would not be acurrate in most cases...

Here we are hit by the heat wave as well - right now several hours after sundown the temperature in my appartmant is only now becoming tolerable - and apparently it'll become even warmer tomorrow (I should say that having the nicest beach less than 10 minutes walk form here, yet can't go there due to on call work doesn't lessen the heat!).

And I recall from my medieval history studies at university that Europe from the mid 14th century is said to have suffered from a regular agrarian crisis. This was brought on by the falling temperatures (compared to earlier) and aggrevated by the onslaught of the plague from a. 1348.

To follow up on the former link you can also:

This crisis, by the way, is primarily in terms of less yield from agriculture. To the people who survived the dropping temperatures and especially the plague - well to the following generations - it's might not entirely have been a crisis. Many fields were suddenly left vacant and for the first time peasants had become a limitid asset to the lords. Because of their relatively higher value a majority, allbit for a short period, experienced better treatment from their lords and an improved standard of living. This didn't prevail though, but that's also why it later become a period also characterised by rebellions and efforts of the common people to fight for better lives.

All influenced by the changing of the climate and a vermin-spread disease.

Greetings from
A Dane also suffering from the Heat...

I once ran an extended story where a (non-historical) drought hit France and Germany, and the characters slowly got dragged into the politics and economics of the situation. It wasn't purely a mundane adventure, either. One of the big mini-climaxes was convincing the "queen-tree" of a magical forest NOT to march said forest across fields and villages in order to get to a better water source. Some interesting trade happened there, with the Magi eventually making a really strong ally.


ps. and it's DAMN hot in Los Angeles as well.

pss. Looking forward to hanging out at the Atlas booth at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend!