The setting of The Dark Mod is fantasy (specifically, science fantasy, what with the magic and steampunk elements), not history. However, due to the nature of the society depicted and focused on in the game's setting, The Dark Mod still takes heavy inspiration from real history, primarily the society of late-medieval and early modern Europe. Though there is plenty of room for anachronisms and creativity, the setting's down-to-earth nature can be enhanced with bits of historical accuracy concerning the daily living conditions, working conditions and amusements of people from various social classes.
Consider this article a resource on historical topics related to everyday life, work and socialising of people from period societies. Feel free to take inspiration from the online and bibliographic sources provided, or to suggest and/or add useful sources you've found yourself.
- 1 General info
- 2 Food, cuisine and cooking
- 3 Agriculture, forestry, mining and other resource gathering
- 4 Old crafts, industries, commerce
- 5 Housing, social infrastructure and architecture
- 6 Clothing, garments and footwear
- 7 Healthcare, medical science and chemistry
- 8 Writing, literature, arts
- 9 Sociology and customs
- 10 Bibliography
- 11 Some recommended viewing
- 12 See Also
Internet Medieval Sourcebook (ORB) - At the Fordham University website.
Library of House Greydragon - A multitude of articles on period clothing, cooking, dining, and even entertainment.
La Belle Compagnie - Medieval living history group (1337-1453). Be sure to check out the Medieval Matters resource section.
LivingHistoryNetwork.com - Website on living history and old crafts, with a North American, 17th-19th century focus.
The Met Public Domain Images Collection - The Metropolitan Museum in New York has made a big part of its collections in the public domain available to the public. Various pieces of visual art, material culture, clothing, all from different periods. For those interested, here are the Terms and conditions.
PaleoPlanet Forums - A discussion board for enthusiasts of experimental archeology (mostly focused on prehistoric and/or primitive crafts and tools).
Aspects of Life in Ancient Egypt - Useful if you want to incorporate a more believable ancient civilisation into an FM.
Project Gutenberg - Huge online archive of (mostly older) public domain books, fiction and non-fiction. "Offers over 57,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online."
Food, cuisine and cooking
Food timeline - A timeline overview of foodstuff and recipe introductions, from prehistory to the present.
Antique Roman Dishes Collection - Native Roman Ingredients and conversions, as well as recipes.
Medieval Cookery & Recipes - Information, and notes about cooking in medieval Europe. Also has an extensive blog, which reviews non-fiction about medieval and early modern cuisine.
A Chaucerian Cookery - An examination of the foods found in the writings of the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Included is A Chaucerian Feast, which contains recipes and instructions for presenting a feast based on Chaucer.
History of Food - The histories of tea, coffee, cheese, chocolate and a compliation of medieval recipes from a variety of cultures.
Lothene - A Short History of Porridge - A brief history of the traditional Scottish dish from Roman times to the present.
Middle Ages Food Preservation - Who food was preserved short-term and long-term with the more limited technology of the Middle Ages.
Tudor era food, cuisine, cooking and dining topics - An in-depth look at the preparation and serving of food in the Tudor period. Includes an article on food preservation methods of the time.
Tudor period food and drink glossary - To go with the information provided above.
Food Storage in the 18th Century - More food preservation recipes, both similar and dissimilar, from several centuries later. A playlist of videos.
Agriculture, forestry, mining and other resource gathering
Multi-Use Management of the Medieval Anglo-Norman Forest - Forestry in medieval England. Article in downloadable .pdf format.
The Medieval Forest - The medieval history of woods and forestry in the modern day New Forest National Park in Wales. Article in downloadable .pdf format.
Forests in the olden days - A video by Lindybeige. Some notes on the appearance of forests, on forestry and economic use of forests throughout different periods of history.
Marcher Apple Network - A group of enthusiasts focused on researching, growing and preserving old and historical cultivars of apples. Their website includes a resources and research section.
The Economics of Horses and Oxen in Medieval England - Article by John Langdon, published in The Agricultural History Review. Available in .pdf format.
Old crafts, industries, commerce
Middelaldercentret.dk - "Medieval Centre", a world-renowned Danish open-air museum, established in 1992, that focuses of experimental archaeology and recreating various medieval technology. These efforts include the creation of working replicas of technology that survived in records, but was lost to history for many centuries before being successfully recreated.
Berufe: Medieval professions and jobs - Detailed overview at Deutschland im Mittelalter.de, in German.
Occupations of Yesteryear - Similar to the previous link.
How to make a medieval lantern - The construction of a simple wooden lantern light source, with a candle-lifting device.
Medieval Baltic Ships - Traditions and constructional aspects - Detailed science paper on medieval ship types and shipbuilding techniques used in lands around the Baltic Sea during the Middle Ages. Also available as a .pdf here.
British & Irish Clock and Watch Makers (c1600-c1940) - Online Archive Library, Trade Directory Lists.
African steel making - An article and a podcast episode on the subject.
Medieval Life - Everyday life during medieval times. A description of the history, literature, chivalry, commerce, customs, food and life of people living in Europe, Asia and Africa during the Middle Ages.
Life in a medieval castle - Brief account of daily life in a Medieval Castle. Touches on such aspects as religion, hygiene and water.
Guédelon.fr - Guédelon Castle project. The only authentic medieval castle under construction today, in France, using only period (13th century) materials and methods. Possibly the biggest experimental archaeology site in the world. Construction has been ongoing since 1997, and the castle is to be completed at some point in the 2020s.
Campus Galli - Guédelon's German cousin, an experimental archaeology project aiming to recreate a Carolingian era monastic community, at a rural building site near Meßkirch, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
A Glossary of Castle Terminology - Glossary useful for adding historically authentic terms to any plot involving castles and fortifications. Please note that the overview is spread across two pages, A-L and M-Z.
Fortifications terminology - Overview of various fortification-related terms and concepts, by form, era and local context.
Box-bed - An interesting, enclosed style of bed that originated in late-medieval western Europe (in places like the British Isles, Brittany, France, the Low Countries).
A history of mattresses - Quick, brief overview, posted by stumpy after he had done some research on the topic.
How to make a medieval lantern - The construction of a simple wooden lantern light source, with a candle-lifting device.
Some thoughts on torches, torch alternatives, etc. - A quartet of videos looking at the advantages and downsides, and actual historical usage of light sources such as torches, lanterns, oil lamps, lit sticks of wood, etc. in the past. There's also a bit of a follow-up here, about lighting fires in the past.
18th century lanterns and lighting - Outdoor lanterns and old indoor lamps from several centuries later.
FlashlightMuseum.com - For any FM where you might want to include new-fangled electric lanterns. (Browse for "lantern" or "mini lantern" flashlights, there are lots of antiques among those.)
Clothing, garments and footwear
Medieval Clothing - Medieval attire. Men's clothing, women's clothing, children's clothing, sanitary napkins, diapers, wool, linen, silk, leather, fur, etc.
10th Century Scandinavian Ankle Boot: A Brief History and Method for Turnshoe Construction - Article available in donwloadable .pdf format.
Guide to making replica Viking turnshoes - Article available in donwloadable .pdf format.
Anglo-Scandinavian Shoes in the style of Jorvik’s Danelaw finds - Article available in donwloadable .doc format.
S. B Juniper - The website of a period footwear manufacturer. Includes late-medieval and 16th century era shoes and boots, as well as 17th century ones. Good for reference images if one was planning any changes to characters models or adding shoe items into the game.
Healthcare, medical science and chemistry
Alchemical and archaic chemistry terms - Glossary useful for adding historically authentic terms to any plot involving alchemists, mages and so on. Please note that the overview is spread across two pages, A-K and L-Z.
Phisick - Presents a collection of medical antiques grouped by specialty, with photographs and descriptions of each item.
Eye Antiques and Collectibles - Eye antiques display items from the ophthalmic past including glasses spectacles, ophthalmoscopes, microscopes, and eye exam items.
Historical Eye Glasses - A video on authentic replicas of early modern eyewear.
Weights of an Apothecary - A resource site for the antique weights formerly used by apothecaries, chemists, druggists and pharmacists. Most British weights of the 19th and 20th centuries illustrated and described. A forum for exchange of information and discussion.
Scales and Weights - A collection of all types of historical scales and weights from different periods of the past 3000 years.
Scientific Medical & Mechanical Antiques - Complete articles are posted from the journal, American Artifacts, on early microscope makers, hand corn shellers, early surveying instruments, a variety of quack medical devices, as well as information on early patents.
The Medical Humanities SIU PRESS series - Bibliographic overview of the non-fiction book series of medical history monographs.
Hair Care Recipes from Medieval/Renaissance Sources - Women and men alike, especially more affluent ones, had a thing for hair care already during the time period TDM takes inspiration from.
Writing, literature, arts
German medieval songs - Period songs for different occassions. Includes complete lyrics.
Early Music - Classical Guitar Ensemble - "Free Early and Renaissance Music. Recordings of 2, 3, 4 and 5-part songs and instrumental music from the 14th through 19th centuries."
Biographical Dictionary of Organists, Composers for Organ and Organ Builders - This site list biographical detail for organists, composers and organ builders. It includes birth and death details, places they have worked (lived) etc. Note quite a lot of these people were also teachers; the entries are world wide.
Info on historical musical instruments - A downloadable .zip with some relevant scans. (For private study purposes only, do not spread or copy.)
Early music ensembles - Music ensembles focused on researching and recreating pre-18th century music, i.e. ancient, medieval and early modern music.
Sociology and customs
Victorian Slang Glossary - For the more steampunkish/noir aspects of The Dark Mod. Rather detailed, loads and loads of period cant and other argot expressions.
Sumptuary law - Examples of laws set up to regulate (or even limit and stigmatize) the dress codes and consumption of various goods by people of certain social classes. (These laws were mostly biased in favour of the nobility, and to the disadvantage of townsmen/bourgeoisie and the peasantry.)
Historical hairstyles - Detailed videos on hairstyles from antiquity, the medieval and early modern period, and their authentic recreation, by professional historian and archaeologist Janet Stephens.
The people who think they are made of glass - Article on a unique historical psychiatric disorder (which coincided with the more widespread manufacturing and availability of glass).
See also: Names
The following are some sites that could help you with choosing convincing given names and/or surnames for characters:
Old Names - A website with a list of old-fashioned names if you need to pick something quickly.
Medieval Names archive - List of medieval and Renaissance era names.
Database of names in early Germanic languages - Courtesy of the University of Duisburg. Well worth taking a look at.
BehindTheName.com - The largest database of given names and surnames/family names (and their etymology) on the Internet.
|Book title||Author||Publisher||Country of origin||Pages, edition and cover||ISBN||Description|
|Open Air Museums: The History and Future of a Visionary Idea||Rentzhog S.
(eng. transl. Airey, S. V.)
|Carlssons Bokförlag (Stockholm)
& Jamtli Förlag (Östersund)
|Sweden||1st edition 2007
|ISBN 978-91-7948-208-4||A comprehensive book on the history and development of open-air museums and their depictions of housing, work and life in previous historical periods.|
|At Home: A Short History of Private Life||Bryson B.||Doubleday (London)||United Kingdom||536 p.
1st edition 2010
|ISBN 978-0-385-60827-5||In the words of the author, "homes are not a refuge from history, they're where history ends up". The author goes through his house room by room and discusses the reasons why they are like they are. For example, why do we have salt and pepper on the kitchen table ? Why not salt and cumin ? He then delves into the historical reasons for this. It focuses mostly on Britain with a bit of America thrown in too.|
|The Building of The Green Valley: A Reconstruction of an Early 17th Century Rural Landscape||Peachey S.||Stuart Press
& Heritage Publications
|United Kingdom||210 p.
1st edition 2006
2nd edition 2010
|Recreating rural housing, work and life from the early 17th century Welsh borderlands (Monmouthshire), on an authentic farm from the period.|
|La Ville au Moyen-Âge
(The City in the Middle Ages)
|Heers J.||Fayard/Pluriel||France||560 p.
1st edition 2010
ISBN-13 (EAN): 978-2818500231
|Life in medieval cities. A very complete piece of non-fiction, if one with a dry approach to the topic. It covers urbanism, social management and economy, and it covers period politics only when it touches upon these topics. A Spanish translation exists, not sure about an English one.|
|La ville médiévale
(The Medieval City)
|Boucheron P.; Menjot, D.||Editions du Seuil||France||544 p.
1st edition 2011
|EAN 9782757825471||Life in medieval cities. Takes a more political approach than Heers' book, not only on inner urban dynamics, but also their relation to increasingly bureaucratized feudal states. Probably no English translation.|
|The Growth of the Medieval City
(A History of Urban Society in Europe series)
|Nicholas, D. N.||Routledge||United Kingdom||432 p.
1st edition 1997
|A good summary of medieval urbanism and its evolution, in two English-language volumes.|
|Power and Imagination: City States in Renaissance Italy||Martines, L.||Johns Hopkins University Press||United States||400 p.
1st edition 1988
|Analyzes the development of the great city-states of Italy from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, as small market towns grew into independent centers of power and culture. A general work that provides excellent info on social organization, etiquette, and political processes in the various republics, oligarchies and principalities.|
|Cities And The Rise Of States In Europe, A.d. 1000 To 1800||Tilly, Ch.; Blockmans, W. P.||Routledge||United Kingdom||290 p.
1st edition 1994
|"Charles Tilly, Wim P. Blockmans, and their contributors document differences in political trajectories from one part of Europe to another and provide authoritative surveys of urbanization in nine major regions; they also suggest many correctives to previous analyses of state formation. They show that the variable distribution of cities significantly and independently constrained state formation and that states grew differently according to the character of urban networks in a given region."|
|Dark Ages Economics: A New Audit||Hodges, R.||Bloomsbury / Bristol Classical Press||United Kingdom||176 p.
1st edition 2012
|ISBN 9780715636794||A study about the development of towns and trade around the North Sea in the early medieval period. Clearly a scholarly book, altough the author writes with clarity, and introduces the basic theories behind the topic fairly well to an average reader.|
|A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries||Coleman, J.||Oxford University Press / Academic||United Kingdom||272 p. (vol. I)
352 p. (vol. II, hardback)
354 p. (vol. II, paperback)
514 p. (vol. III)
536 p. (vol. IV)
|ISBN: 9780199254712 (vol. I, hardback)
ISBN: 9780199557097 (vol. I, paperback)
ISBN: 9780199254705 (vol. II, hardback)
ISBN: 9780199557103 (vol. II, paperback)
ISBN: 9780199549375 (vol. III)
ISBN 9780715636794 (vol. IV)
|An examination of historical British cant, slang and argot from the 16th century to the recent past. Consists of four volumes.|
Some recommended viewing
Aside from reading non-fiction books and other publications, or reading online non-fiction articles about these topics, there are certain television documentaries worth checking out. The ones recommended below are mostly British, and cover topics related to daily life, from later prehistory to the heyday of the industrial revolution.
|Programme title||Period||Topics covered||Production &
|The Ötztal Man and His World||Neolithic / Chalcolithic (alpine Europe)||Farming, housing, forestry, crafts||ZDF Enterprises, ZDF, ORF, Channel Four, Discovery Channel||2000||1 x 93 min. (theatrical)
1 x 75 (TV cut)
Article on the film
|Living in the Past||The Iron Age||Farming, housing, forestry, crafts||BBC Bristol & BBC2||1978||10 x 30 min. or 2 x 50 min.||IMDb |
2008 retrospective (1)
|The Worst Jobs in History||Roman era to present day||Particularly difficult or unpleasant historical occupations||Spire Productions & Channel Four||2004, 2006||12 x 60 min.||IMDb |
C4 site (1)
C4 site (2)
Legal viewing link (playlist)
|Terry Jones' Medieval Lives||Middle Ages||Debunking myths and clichés about eight different social roles/occupations of the medieval period||Oxford Film and Television Production & BBC Two||2004||8 x 30 min.||IMDb |
|Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death||Middle Ages||About the significance of a person's birth, marriage and death in the context of medieval culture and society and the rituals surrounding them||BBC Scotland & Matchlight||2013||3, 177 min. total||BBC |
|Secrets of the Castle...||High Middle Ages, 13th century||Castle construction and maintenance||Lion Television & BBC Two||2014||5 x 60 min.||BBC |
Legal viewing link (eps follow each other)
|Medieval Fight Book||Late Middle Ages, 15th century||A look at unique late-medieval military and civilian inventions, and some medieval combat techniques, documeted in Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch||Wild Dream Films & National Geographic Television||2010||1 x 60 min.||National Geographic |
Legal viewing link
|Let's Cook History||Middle Ages, Renaissance period, etc.||Period cuisine and feasting||?||?||? x 52 min.||Legal viewing link (Medieval Feast episode) |
Legal viewing link (Renaissance period)
|Tudor Monastery Farm||Early Tudor era, 1510s||Farming, housing, crafts, mining, trade||Lion Television & BBC Two||2013||7 x 30 min.
(incl. Christmas special)
|A Tudor Feast at Christmas||Tudor era, 16th century||Christmas feasts of the nobility||Lion Television & BBC Two||2006||1 x 60 min.||BBC |
|Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home||Tudor era||Design flaws and unexpected threats of domestic housing in the Tudor period||Modern Television & BBC Four||2015||1 x 60 min.||BBC |
Legal viewing link
|Tales from the Green Valley||Stuart era, 1620s||Farming and housing||Lion Television & BBC Two / BBC Cymru Wales||2005||12 x 28-30 min.||BBC |
|The Victorian Kitchen Garden||Victorian era, 19th century||Gardening, cooking and housing||BBC & BBC Two||1987||13 x 30 min.||IMDb |
|The Victorian Kitchen||Victorian era, 19th century||Cooking and housing||BBC & BBC Two||1989||8 x 30 min.||IMDb|
|The Victorian Flower Garden||Victorian era, 19th century||Gardening and horticulture||BBC & BBC Two||1991||8 x 30 min.||IMDb|
|Victorian Farm||Late Victorian era, 1880s||Farming, housing, crafts, celebrations||Lion Television & BBC Two||2009||9 x 60 min.||BBC |
|Victorian Pharmacy||Victorian era, 1840s-1890s||Pharmacology and drugstore history||Lion Television & BBC Two||2010||4 x 60 min.||BBC |
Legal viewing link (playlist, first 3 eps)
|Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home||Victorian era, 1840s-1890s||Design flaws and unexpected threats of domestic housing in the Victorian period||Modern Television, BBC Wales & BBC Four||2013||2 x 60 min.||BBC (1) |
Legal viewing link
|Full Steam Ahead||Victorian era||Railway history and steam power||Lion Television & BBC Two||2016||6 x 60 min.||BBC |
|Edwardian Farm||Edwardian era, 1900-1914||Farming, fishing, housing, crafts, mining, trade, tourism||Lion Television & BBC Two||2010-2011||12 x 60 min.||BBC |
|Hidden Killers of the Edwardian Home||Edwardian era, 1900-1914||Design flaws and unexpected threats of domestic housing in the Edwardian period||Modern Television & BBC Four||2013||1 x 60 min.||BBC |
Legal viewing link
Food - Article with some examples of cuisine from The Dark Mod's setting.
Jobs - Article with examples of what sort of occupations people would have in The Dark Mod's setting.
Letter Writing - Article with examples of how letters would be written in The Dark Mod's setting.
Rooms and Furniture - Article with examples of typical furnishings in the housing of various social groups.
Wealthy Household - Article with examples of the infrastructure, staff and functioning of a wealthy household.
Historical accuracy in TDM - A discussion on the amount of historical accuracy in a fantasy property like TDM, and how much authenticity it needs or does not need.
Standard Rooms and Furniture - Discussion topic closely related to "Rooms and Furniture" and "Wealthy Household".
Dark Mod Inspiration Thread - Not directly related, but a very useful place to get some inspiration from existing historical architecture for FM building (in addition to more fantastical sources of inspiration).
Different interpretations of the city I've noticed - A discussion on how The City and the various other cities, towns and settlements can subtly vary in their portrayal (but this is for the better, if we're shown different bits of these inhabited places).