1 That medieval people thought the earth was flat
Virtually every medieval scholar believed the world was round. However, in the 19th century it was widely reported that people in the Middle Ages thought the earth was flat, because it made for a good example of how backward the period was believed to be.
2. That Vikings wore Horned Helmets.
Vikings and other medieval warriors never wore horned helmets – they would not be very useful in battle. In the 19th century Scandinavian artists began adding the imagery to their depictions of the Vikings.
3. That there were elaborate torture devices in the Middle Ages.
There are many different gruesome torture devices – for example the Iron Maiden, the Pear of Anguish, and the Breast Ripper. However, while many are said to be ‘medieval torture devices’, they were actually invented centuries later.
4. That Chastity Belts were used to prevent women from having sex.
The story goes that when medieval lords went on crusade, they would make sure their wives would not have sex by enclosing their waists in a locked belt. The truth is that chastity belts were never used in the Middle Ages, and that they first became popular in the 19th-century as part of that period’s fascination with instruments of torture from medieval times.
5. That medieval people drank wine and beer because water was so polluted.
While people would avoid polluted water in the Middle Ages, there were many sources of clean water which would be used for drinking. It was also common for water to be added to wine in order to make it less potent.
6. That people thought tomatoes were poisonous.