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I haven't studied the medieval period in much depth, but some basic research tells me that the general populace after the fall of Rome lost a lot of the technological and artistic advances of the Roman Empire.
What I can't find is exactly why the populace stayed in this state for as long as it did. As far as I can tell, for the majority of the medieval period the technology, economy, artistic, etc. remained where they were in terms of development.
Why? What kept the people of Europe from advancing?
I apologize if there is an obvious answer. I feel like it should be obvious, but I can't seem to find it.
The premise of this question is simply incorrect, at least in terms of art and technology. The middle ages were no less a time of technological progress than the period it followed and also showed massive artistic changes.
What did change with the fall of the Rome in the West was that the economic system collapsed, and without a single unified power behind it, it never recovered. Instead of a single, unified Empire where goods could move hundreds of miles freely you had a bunch of small states, each taxing or blocking trade. The lack of economic centralization meant it was hard for true political centralization, which meant no large power could follow Rome. This meant that the general scope of people's lives seemed smaller, and there was less centralized free wealth for great displays. The poorer economy meant smaller populations in the West in general. (And the waves of plague certainly didn't help.)
If you read on the period (or you can listen to the excellent Fall of Rome podcast) you will find that it is far more interesting and varied than the old stereotype of people sitting on their thumbs and doing nothing between 500 AD and 1500 AD.
Actually there's really no obvious answer. That's the beauty of history; it is subject to multiple interpretations.
First off, semantically, we have to define what it means to be "developing" or "progressing." It should be noted that certain scholars (especially Petrach, who is mentioned by name in this Wikipedia article) referred to the medieval period (roughly the 5th Century to the 15th Century) as "surrounded by darkness and dense gloom." Petrach felt that the era was marked by darkness: the so-called "Dark Ages." However, that's certainly not a matter of fact. Rather, it's a matter of historical interpretation; a question of historiography.
To offer a competing interpretation, Petrach wrote these comments in the early 14th Century, near the end but still solidly within the period that most historians now consider the Middle Ages. Surely a man living in the time period he is criticizing as being the "Dark Ages" is not unlike what Owen Wilson experienced in Midnight in Paris: the yearning or longing for a time thought to be more exhilarating, more artful, more plein de vie simply because one was not part of it.
Second, even taking Petrach's comment at face value, his characterization is at best extreme and at worst somewhat ignorant. The period was marked by significant technological, artistic, religious and economic advancements. For example, accurate mechanical time pieces (time pieces using an escapement mechanism--a technology that is still employed today in high end mechanical watches) were devised during this time period. The printing press was famously invented by Gutenberg in the mid-15th Century. Metal working was highly sophisticated during this period producing a variety of custom-made fully articulated armoured suits for both practical (military) purposes as well as for parades/ceremony. Not to mention the variety of weaponry including crossbows, swords, siege devices (trebuchet, catapaults) and cannons. See here and here.
But to answer your question: "what kept the people of Europe from advancing," a variety of factors influenced Petrach's characterization which has wound up as somewhat of a colloquialism. First, Europe was riddled (or "plagued," if you'll excuse the pun) with disease. The Black Death was estimated to kill somewhere between 30% to over 50% of the population of the European continent. Second, the theory that we as a people identify first with a nation or a country is a somewhat recent development in human history. In the Middle Ages people identified and pledged their allegiance to a "lord" or "master," a concept which formed the basis of feudalism. This sort of "governmental" power structure was not really conducive to getting a lot of things done at a macroeconomic or political level. "Lords" were highly concerned with consolidating land and power resulting in constant infighting, raids, sieges and cutting other people's heads off. See here.
Just that's a quick answer; by NO MEANS intended to be comprehensive. There's much more research to be done.
All answers so far are correct. There were advances in the Middle Ages but they revolved around the priorities at the time such as improvements in weapons, shipbuilding, metallurgy, and architecture (designs and methods for gothic cathedrals and palaces were developed during the Middle Ages and many construction projects on these types of buildings were started in the late Middle Ages). However, the Middle Ages did see a stagnation of scientific and philosophical ideas compared to the Roman and Greek era and the general population had less opportunity to evolve. The primary reasons for this stagnation were:
Religion. The Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions were much more domineering in people's lives than previous religions during Roman and Greek eras and controlled every aspect of people's lives including scientific research, education, and philosophy, and were fearful of and hence restricted any idea that put into question its dominance or theology.
Feudalism. Small territories ruled by Lords which were always in conflict with each other were not condusive to trade, travel, peace, centralized authority, individual rights or prosperity, all of which tend to expand knowledge and technological and cultural advancement.
Population growth and plague. Cities in the Middle Ages had large growing populations but didn't have the sanitation that was customary in large Roman cities. As such, plagues and disease were common in the Middle Ages as well as recurring famine when weather conditions made for poor harvests unable to support the large city populations. During times of plague, disease, and famine, people tend to concentrate on survival rather than scientific advancement and distrust travel or travellers who they fear may bring the next plague.
Do you know that the chimney was introduced to Europe in the 18th century? There had been use of the same principle in large commercial ovens and Roman baths but for some reason the idea to do the same thing for home heat didn't occur to them. Regular British homes didn't get them till 19th century.
Great leaps forward are not the norm. We are indoctrinated with the idea of steady progress, technologically and socially, but that's actually exceptional and was the product of massive investment (New Deal infrastructure projects, post-WWII rebuilding, moon project). Progress has actually stalled much as educational and infrastructure investment has declined. Things are glitzier but mostly refinement from what was invented during the 1940s-1970s. It is often said that War is a great stimulator of technology and economy, but the truth is that money is the stimulator; just more common to justify taxes and massive spending during times of war though we can do it anytime.
Remember how cars 20 years old were "classics" and looked very different than the cars people were driving at the time? Not now, very little innovation going on. Even though we have the technology to automate and electrify our manufacturing, transportation, homes we relegate all implementation of those fundamental areas to private interests. Just like Europe after the fall of Rome, we have no central force to implement change. Government is supposed to but has only enforced mild regulation, not ordered change (equivalent to forcing the building of aqueducts and sewers).
Homebuilding in the US got a small compromise update (regulation) in 1979 even though we have technology to make them many times more efficient at a price that would be negligible in a few years with energy savings. But that doesn't serve the energy/oil companies or the banks making real estate loans on cheaply built homes - to both builders and buyers.
Progress can be slow unless we work hard at it.
Belief in and practice of witchcraft in Europe can be traced to classical antiquity and has continuous history during the Middle Ages, culminating in the Early Modern witch hunts and giving rise to the fairy tale and popular culture "witch" stock character of modern times, as well as to the concept of the "modern witch" in Wicca and related movements of contemporary witchcraft.
The topic is a complex amalgamation of the practices of folk healers, folk magic, ancient belief in sorcery in pagan Europe, Christian views on heresy, medieval and early modern practice of ceremonial magic and simple fiction in folklore and literature.
While the idea is not new, Wright identifies the central problem as being one of scale and political will. According to him, the error is often to extrapolate from what appears to work well on a small scale to a larger scale, which depletes natural resources and causes environmental degradation. Large-scale implementation also tends to be subject to diminishing returns. As overpopulation, erosion, greenhouse gas emissions or other consequences become apparent, society is destabilized.
In a progress trap, those in positions of authority are unwilling to make changes necessary for future survival. To do so they would need to sacrifice their current status and political power at the top of a hierarchy. They may also be unable to raise public support and the necessary economic resources, even if they try. Deforestation and erosion in ancient Greece may be an example of the latter.
A new source of natural resources can provide a reprieve. The European discovery and exploitation of the "New World" is one example of this, but seems unlikely to be repeated today. Present global civilization has covered the planet to such an extent there are no new resources in sight. Wright concludes that if not averted by some other means, collapse will be on a global scale, if or when it comes. Current economic crises, population problems and global climate change are symptoms that highlight the interdependence of current national economies and ecologies.
The problem has deep historical roots, probably dating back to the origins of life on Earth 3.8 billion years ago. In the early Stone Age, improved hunting techniques in vulnerable areas caused the extinction of many prey species, leaving the enlarged populace without an adequate food supply. The only apparent alternative, agriculture, also proved to be a progress trap. Salination, deforestation, erosion and urban sprawl led to disease, malnutrition and so forth, hence shorter lives. [ citation needed ]
Almost any sphere of technology can prove to be a progress trap, as in the example of medicine and its possibly inadequate response to the drawbacks of the high-density agricultural practices (e.g. factory farming) it has enabled. Wright uses weapon technology gradually reaching the threat of total nuclear destruction to illustrate this point. Ultimately, Wright strives to counter at least the Victorian notion of "modernity" as unconditionally a good thing.
In Escaping the progress trap, O'Leary examines historical and scientific evidence for patterns and underlying causes of progress traps, arguing that individual behaviour is a contributing factor. He presents research from the neurosciences, notably the work of Roger W. Sperry and adherents in the field of lateralization of brain function. His study relates how individuals, institutions and societies can become invested in technocratic instruments in the service of short-term interests. In this scenario, humans diverge from a default interdependence with nature resulting in technical preoccupations that gradually inhibit innovative problem solving, thus compromising long-term survival. Where advances result from technical specialization and are harmful—such as desertification resulting from irrigation—the trend compounds itself and can be irreversible, with collapse of the enterprise following. Examples are Sumer and the Indus Valley civilization where irrigation canals slowly combined to increase soil salinity, preventing the land from supporting harvests on which populations relied. The decline of Seymour Cray's Control Data Corporation is a modern case. Continuing oil consumption in a time of climate change is an illustration of the problem sustainable development is viewed as a solution.
O'Leary notes that progress traps are not limited to technology the Medieval Church's rejection of Roger Bacon's science follows a pattern where the institution itself inhibits solutions to problems arising from its development. He asserts that behavioural contributors to the syndrome can be mitigated in balancing technical endeavour with creative education and cultural vitality, so that individuals and societies do not become pre-eminently technocratic.
Iain McGilchrist's 2009 book The Master and His Emissary, provides neurological insight into behaviors where predominant attention to short-term interests might compromise long-term outcomes.
Aurora Picture Show, a microcinema in Houston, Texas has released a collection of "informational videos by artists who use recent technological tools for purposes other than what they were designed to do and, in some instances, in direct opposition to their intended use". The title of the DVD is At your service: Escaping the Progress Trap. 
Arrival of the Plague and Spread
The plague had been killing people in the Near East since before 1346 CE, but that year it grew worse and more widespread. In 1343 CE, the Mongols under the Khan Djanibek (r. 1342-1357 CE) responded to a street brawl in the Italian-held Crimean town of Tana in which a Christian Italian merchant killed a Mongol Muslim. Tana was easily taken by Djanibek, but a number of merchants fled to the port city of Caffa (modern-day Feodosia in Crimea) with the Mongol army in pursuit. Caffa was then put to siege but, at the same time, the plague began to spread through the Mongol army between 1344-1345 CE.
The Italian notary Gabriele de Mussi (l. c. 1280 – c. 1356 CE) was either an eyewitness to the siege or received a first-hand account and wrote of it in 1348/1349 CE. He reports how, as the Mongol warriors died and their corpses filled the camp, the people of Caffa rejoiced that God was striking down their enemies. Djanibek, however, ordered the corpses of his dead soldiers catapulted over the city’s walls and soon the plague erupted in the city.
It has been suggested by some modern-day scholars that the dead could not have infected the people of Caffa as the disease could not be transmitted by handling corpses but, even if that were true, many of these dead bodies – described as “rotting” – were most likely already in an advanced state of putrefaction and gases and bodily fluids could have infected the city’s defenders as they tried to dispose of what de Mussi describes as “mountains of dead” (Wheelis, 2).A map illustrating the spread of the Black Death plague from its origins in central Asia to western and then central Europe, 1347-1352 CE / FlappiefH, Wikimedia Commons
A number of the people of Caffa fled the city in four merchant ships which went first to Sicily, then Marseilles and Valencia, spreading the plague at each stop. From these ports, other infected people then spread it elsewhere until people were dying across Europe, Britain, and even in Ireland where ships from Europe had docked for trade.
Abandoned medieval plague village
I recently visited a village, or what used to be a village, that was abandoned at some point during the plague (1348) for unknown reasons. It's called Wolfhampcote and is located in England. I was intrigued by it. All that's really left of it is a church, still standing, and a ruined tower. Apparently it was quite large in its day. The landscape around the church shows evidence of many structures, in addition to farming. Does anyone have thoughts on why such a village would be abandoned completely? Are there other such villages in England? What about in other countries?
There are lots of cases of villages/towns becoming abandoned for one reason or another due to disease, warfare, or economic devastation. There are abandoned villages all over the French/Belgian border due to WWI and WWII not to mention the countless other wars and diseases that have plagued the continent.
Why does this happen? When you boil it down it really doesn't take much to knock out a small economy of a village. Once a majority of the village's "doers" are no longer contributing to the food supply, repair, and daily maintenance of the village, living standards will go downhill very quickly for everyone else.
Here's some examples: watermill breaks because William and his sons have all died of pox? Guess you're not going to be making flour anytime soon. Landlord takes all the food you grow to help his family instead of yours because half the farm hands are dead? Well that's too bad - might is right.
Faced with famine, disease, and threat of violence, people will try to do whatever they can to survive. Some might successfully integrate into another town or go to "the big city" but it's doubtfully going to be easy for them, as the people in those towns will be wary of outsiders because they will believe that it's most likely outsider's fault for making their town sick (even if this isn't the case).
You also have to recognize the power of superstition at this time. We usually forget about the impact of this when we talk about historical events because it's hard to pin down precise information about this sort of thing. Most historians like records so things that aren't recorded are somewhat frustrating, though they doubtlessly still happened and we must still try to take their existence into consideration. Since most of the people who could write at the time were part of the clergy, and the clergy's main job was the stomp out non-Christian superstitions, you can bet your socks that they will have pretended like those didn't exist and thus not have recorded what the locals believed and spread rumors about. Yet still, this doesn't stop the fact that in one form or another word would've gotten out that Wolfhampcote was haunted by evil spirits and witches and that you should avoid that place at all costs.
Another thing people fail to recognize when we talk about the plague is how it helped in creating job opportunities. Yes. Surviving the plague would've meant the possibility of having an economic advantage in creating a better life compared to what you had in those pre-plague years. So who needs to return to a village when you have a cushier lifestyle in the big city of York or London? Things needed doing, the countryside needed rebuilding, and so wherever people were paying and feeding folks is most likely where youɽ end up. Not back in that backwater village you came from that probably isn't even around anymore, and if it is, it's haunted by spirits and witches.
So all of this contributes to entire villages just disappearing. Years turn into decades and decades turn into centuries and the little village becomes completely forgotten. In the US we call these places "Ghost towns" but they all have somewhat similar histories they were once a population center and now they're not, generally because the economic engine of the place completely collapsed and folks moved on.
History of Carpentry
Medieval - Carpenters build from the chaos
1500 years ago
Medieval or medium aevum in Latin for "Middle Ages" was between the decline of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. The 1000 year Medieval period had three basic ages Early, High and Late. The time this covers is the Early Middle age that began with the extinguishing of the light of Rome around 500 and lasts to 1000, often called the "Dark Age" since people were just trying to stay alive so very little information survived, leaving History in the dark. The High Middle Age from 1000 to 1300 produced the The Magna Carta in 1215 which is considered as the document that provided the foundations for English liberties, which were then extended to America and used as part of their own declaration of civil rights. The Late Middle from 1300 to 1500 with the fall of Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire to the Turks in 1453 again sees famine, plague and war. The bridge we call the middle ages was full of romantic tales of knights and castles, brutal torture, chaos and epidemics like the Black Death, the beginning of higher education for all people. Perhaps a golden age for carpenters with the intensive training in the guilds and master carpenters being retained by king, nobles and church as craftsmen producing master pieces of timberwork and the finest of trim jointery on their castles churches and estates.
Carpenters in Europe had to rebuild from the choas, produce sanctuaries for the populace and retain the carpentry trade as much as possible for the time. In the wake of the demise of the Roman Empire, peasants, nobles and clergyman had to literally remake their lives. The lack of security on the roads prevented most commerce so each town had to be almost self-sufficient, producing the necessary iron, wood, wool and wheat, and without commerce there can be no large cities. As the urban life of Rome gave way to the countryside, people became more closely attached to the land, their very survival depended upon it. These people needed security and protection from the roving hordes. The majority of towns were often founded near the fortifications the carpenters built for feudal lords, monasteries or the ruins of antique cities where they could have found existing building materials. In return the development of serfdom and feudalism promised security and protection, however, feudalism contained the seeds of its own destruction. What began as an attempt to restore social, political, military and economic order, ended up producing nothing less than anarchy.
Early Middle Age - Dark Age
The breakdown was fast and dramatic. By the first 300 years carpentry technology and engineering advances were lost, education collapsed great libraries like at Alexandria burned and a rise of illiteracy among the leadership. In the early anarchy of the dark age you see the Roman cities like London abandoned, Rome seiged and sacked for it's riches. Warlords desimated safe trading and manufacturing in Europe. There was a period of rapid cooling, and with the loss of the Roman slave plantation system, farming yields declined to subsistance levels. The food shortages produced a migration of tribes into the Empire, which were hunting bands of clans descended from a common ancestor who felt that they were related by blood. The Justinian Plague of 541 wiped out 25 percent of the population, (before the even worse Black Death in 1347) and piles on even higher death tolls to the madness and destruction. It would have seemed like it was the end of the world.
The people turn to religous fanaticism looking for a way out, perfect timing for the rise of Christianity but this does bring more good than bad in the high middle age. England was invaded in 500 by Jutes and Angles from what today is Denmark, and Saxons from northern Germany. By 600 most of the Anglo-Saxon kings were converted to Christianity. The kings were inclined to welcome a religion whose scriptures supported monarchy and in 669 the appointment of an archbishop over the whole of England and a larger role by the Church in state affairs. In 700 the Moors move into Spain. In 768 Charlemagne united Gaul with the Carolingian Empire a foundation for the brief rise of the Holy Roman Empire.
A brief summary of the major waves of invasions. Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians invaded England. This is the root of the term Anglo-Saxon, which is often used to describe English peoples. Arabs (Moors) and Saracens invaded from the south settling in Spain, Italy, Portugal and southern Gaul (France). Danes invaded England and settled in the northeast of the country. Goths, (East Germanic people) whom were called barbarians by the Romans, invaded Italy and Gaul. Hungarians occupied lands taken in the eastern Europe. Normans were the descendants of Vikings and their western European colonies, they invaded and captured England in 1066, eventually expanding to Italy, Sicily and the Holy Land. Vandals (southern Scandinavia) invaded Spain and Africa.
Carpenters, farmers, peasants and serfs
The peoples eventually gather around the churches, warlord fortresses and into villages where the Roman carpentry guilds become even more important with the carpenters protecting the encampments and building what will turn into castles. Their knowlege, though much is lost, is handed down and coveted by King and country and the carpentry guilds eventually become even more powerful. Peasants were the poorest people in the medieval era and lived primarily in the country or small villages. Serfs were the poorest of the peasant class, and were a type of slave. Lords owned the serfs who lived on their lands. In exchange for a place to live, serfs worked the land to grow crops for themselves and their lord. In addition, serfs were expected to work the farms for the lord and pay rent. Farmers were a bit better off than peasants, as some owned their own farms. Most worked the farm lands themselves or with the aid of peasants and serfs.
When the Germanic and Norse turn south they bring with them their tribal democracy and earliest known parliments. Raidng Norse factions, the Vikings, make a huge impact in our line of carpentry with most Norse (Northmen) Angles and Saxons assimilating and melding into the settlements with their craftsmanship and what is left of the Roman carpenter guilds. This though gives opportunity to the strong and the Church who convert many of the tribes which take advantage with serfdom and fuedalism. The collegia did survive in the east. The Book of the Prefect, a manual of government probably drawn up by the Byzantine emperor Leo VI in the year 900, provides a picture of an elaborate guild organization whose primary function was the imposition of rigid controls, especially for financial and tax-raising purposes, on every craft and trade.
Eventually, though you have to admit not the best way to go about it, the death and destruction does give rise to the importance of the carpentry trades. Perhaps even what could be considered the golden age of carpentry later in the era when you look at some of the fine craftsmanship of the master carpenters work on the castles, estates and the Romanesque Norman wooden stave churches built with post and beam construction, later in the High and Late Medieval ages. A little draw back was a master carpenter at that time could have been put to death if anything went wrong. Elite master carpenters were highly skilled tradesmen with the finest able to earn a decent wage always being in demand and sought after.
9 Answers 9
It depends on a lot of things.
How does the magic work? What can it do? What are the limits of capabilities of a trained mage?
You said it's difficult and tiring, so it seems likely that the few actually trained mages would not be able to make a significant difference by themselves. Their powers may make them feared personally, may make them extremely hard to assassinate, may let them intervene in certain situations from time to time, but it's unlikely to replace industrial production with a load of self-sustaining spells to operate a factory.
But maybe it helps with knowledge. Science, historically, was done by rich people who could afford to do it (everyone else was largely concerned with making sure they had enough to eat). So some of those rich people in your world might be mages rather than scientists, but what would they do with their magic? Does their power allow them to examine the world in more detail? Could they skip past the need to invent the microscope in order to discover bacteria? Could they discern molecules and atoms? Subatomic particles? Quantum mechanics? Or on a larger scale, can they discern the nature of the solar system, the kind of physics that leads to general relativity? Would they ultimately be able to resolve the question of quantum gravity which is as yet unsolved in our world?
If they could, they may actually trigger vast technological progress if they passed such knowledge on and worked with non-magical scientists and inventors and industrialists. Their attitude obviously matters, maybe they're not interested in helping anybody, but maybe they are, maybe they want their country to become more powerful and more productive and they're sitting on this spell that has given them an idea about getting energy from unstable isotopes of certain heavy metals, and they've got another spell that lets them find out where to mine them.
Of course, if you can't use magic to find stuff out about the world, then it's not likely to help at all.
I'd read TV Tropes for their various tropes on magic systems, as there are many ways to do magic and their implications are all very different. A more mystical, more widespread magic system is more likely to inhibit technological progress than a very comprehensible, scientifically definable magic system.
5 The Printing Press and Mass Literacy
For expansion of human knowledge, the year 1440 may be the most significant demarcation line in the history of mankind. That was the year that Germany native Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press capable of mass-producing books. (While other presses existed as early as the 3rd Century A.D., Gutenberg&rsquos was the first dedicated to books specifically.)
Before the Gutenberg Press, manufacturing copies of books was an arduous, painstaking by-hand process. Books were therefore both limited and expensive and, because of that, only 30% of Europe&rsquos adults could read by the mid-15th Century. Some places were even worse off: barely 10% of Italians could read Dante&rsquos Divine Comedy upon its publication in 1321. What good are the classics if only one in 10 people can enjoy them?
The Gutenberg Press changed both the economics and availability of books, flooding the market. Literacy rates rose significantly, and the European Renaissance that had begun about a century earlier kicked into overdrive.
&ldquoWhat had been a project to educate only the few wealthiest elite in this society could now become a project to put a library in every medium-sized town,&rdquo explains historian Ada Palmer. 
Just as importantly, the press accelerated the pace of advanced education,  allowing knowledge to be shared on a far broader scale than individual teachers could accomplish. It also changed the instruction process itself &ndash especially with technical subjects. Suddenly, complex engineering diagrams, mathematical charts and architectural works could be replicated with vastly increased accuracy and efficiency.
8) Kingdom of Heaven:
Haunted by his wife’s recent suicide, Balian a blacksmith based in France decides to join the Crusade toward the Holy Land, accompanying his father after he had killed his half-brother for explaining that he had his wife beheaded in order to prevent her from ascending to heaven before her burial, in an attempt to convince Balian to join the noble cause. As he is ordered to be arrested, Godfrey, the man that previously passed Balians village searching for new recruits for the Crusade does not give him up, and in the fight that begins for his refusal to do so, is shot by an arrow in the body, fatally wounding him. Before he succumbs to his injury, he knights Balian and orders him to serve the King of Jerusalem, protecting the weak and poor, and driving out the Muslim Saracen invaders from the Holy Land. On his journey, the boat carrying his fellow crusaders is run aground by a raving storm that leaves only Balian alive to continue his sacred duty.
What was preventing the populace from progressing in medieval times? - History
Burning at the stake was a very common way to execute blasphemers, thieves and witches. It was used throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.
If the fire was big enough, death occurred first by asphyxia rather than damage done by the flames. However, this was a known fact and the victims were usually burned in a smaller fire so they would "suffer until the end". When the fire was small, death occurred because of loss of blood or a heatstroke which could take even hours.
When the victim was hated by the population if he, for example, raped a woman, the general populace often congregated around the stake to see the victim die. The smell was terrible and lasted for many hours or even days after his death.
Burning at the stake was often preceded by other torture methods. Hundreds were burned alive during the Spanish Inquisition.
Joan of Arc and many other important people were killed with this method.