Adolescence and youth
in The life–cycle in Western Europe, c.1300-c.1500
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This chapter considers those in their teens and twenties whom society recognised as physically young and still in a developmental stage. It focuses on the image of and attitudes towards youths and the opportunities open to them. The growing strength of the youth's body was matched by an increasing sharpness in the mind. Youth has had an association with social disorder, and the young in late medieval society were no exception. Beyond theory, medieval society at large acknowledged the existence of young people who were going through a period of formation and transformation before full adulthood. This might be because they were still pursuing education and employment training, had not yet received their inheritance, or had not yet married and taken responsibility for their own lives and those of others. The chapter highlights the type of training and life experiences gained by adolescents as they gradually assumed their adult roles.


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