From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


COLE SPROUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "A soft-boiled egg has little feet to rush blah blah blahto the luxuriating peasant who catches drops of honey on his tounge."

Whoever captioned the first image is a poet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:38, 3 October 2009 (UTC)


re: this:

That "peasant" is sometimes used as an insult by those townsfolk who consider themselves superior to rural labourers should not affect the sturdy and hard usefulness of an old term.

What's interesting and notable is not only that certain people use it pejorativly, but how did it get to be that way, what were the forces and events that made peasant a "@!#$@%$#@$" word (it wasnt always), then we can re-examine modern uses of the word in a new light. --Stbalbach 17:38, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Could you include this in the article somehow? It would be a great addition to the article. Overall this article needs much work, as it is still somehow "raw" and uncomplete. Thanks! Peregrine981 12:20, Feb 3, 2005 (UTC)

In the common vulgar vernacular the term peon, is pronounced as in Spanish peón, with the dipthong separated into separate vowel sounds. As a result it sounds to English language speaker ears as if to "urinate" on. The term peasant is used far too broadly in the Latin American context, where warrior cultures such as the Guajiro in Cuba, the Jíbaro in Puerto Rico, the Gaucho in Argentina are regarded as passive recipients of what ever may happen to them. El Jigüe 1-27-06 Happy birthday!!!

my previous edit "rvv"[edit]

was not "rvv", my mistake, rather reverting a non-encyclopedic website promotional article. Stbalbach 15:26, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Can someone verify that the 16th century was actually "a good time to be a peasant"???

It wasn't. My European History book says "The Sixteenth-Century Household. Hunger and cold were the constant companions of the average European. In Scnadinavia and Muscovy, winter posed as great a threat to survival as did starvation... hard times meant hunger and starvation." I'm taking that statement out. 13:42, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Many other history books refute that peasants lived poverty-stricken lives that were in constant danger of starvation. So I would say this a disputed.

dissociate peasant from industrial worker, give more detailed history of peasant/serf class, other edits[edit]

I cut some clutter from the back end of the last paragraph and replaced it with a more accurate tracing of the path of the medieval peasant from the dark ages to the industrial age. I felt there was too much blurring of the concept of the modern class system with the medieval one, with little consideration given to the intervening centuries. I tried to preserve the apparent similarities between the two classes while still showing that they were not necessarily related through either membership or causation.

I also got rid of the "arbeit macht frei" paragraph, since this is better known as a nazi death camp slogan than as a clever peasant saying.

IMO, the entire article needs more revision. Beerslurpy 01:06, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Good time to be a peasant generalization[edit]

Also, "a good time to be a peasant" is entirely dependent on what region you lived in at what time. Dont forget that there was a "Little Ice age" during the 2nd millenium that made living in the northern half of europe very difficult for a few centuries. Additionally, Western Europe followed a very different path from Eastern Europe after the 14th century, for a wide variety of reasons. Russia (and many its satellite states) never got the Black Death (an important catalyst for change) but instead had to deal with the Tatars and a long line of autocratic and sometimes bloodthirsty tsars who feared innovation and advancement until relatively recent times. Contrast this with places like Amsterdam and Venice that developed advanced economic, artistic and scientific practices very early on and spread them to the rest of Europe.

Remember that a rising tide lifts all boats (from yachts to garbage scows). A "lower class" person in American today has a better standard of living than most kings throughout history (though obviously fewer servants and far less real property). While the wealthy enjoy far greater luxury and security in their lives, we shouldnt let this distract us from the fundamental truth that good times make things easier for everyone. When poor people are fat, times can generally assumed to be good. Beerslurpy 01:06, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

I thought the lttle ice age ended definitely by the beginning of the 13th century, I remember hearing a statistic like the border at which grapes could be grown had moved 25 miles north by that point, though that is remembered from some time ago and nothing to quote on.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Check Wikipedia under Little Ice Age: The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period (Medieval Climate Optimum).[1] While not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939.[2] It is conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries,[3][4][5] though climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Black Death[edit]

I have seen arguments like the one in the wiki (that things got good for enterprising peasants after that point) and also arguments that things got much, much worse. I've heard about things getting considerably easier for nobility due to the influx of estate money from the countless dead (which ultimately led to the social mobility which undermined the feudal system) but I have heard that, with so few peasants left, the ones remaining were made to work so hard as to account for the lost ones.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

More more more[edit]

Why does the article not give examples of modern peasants. I still find a great resemblance of the peasants of old and their modern counterparts. There is a great amount of ant-noble feelings in the world, even in powerful countries that consider themselves world powers. This article could be so much more.--Margrave1206 20:30, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Look forward to your help in making Wikipedia better. -- Stbalbach 15:24, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

As to Peasants[edit]


You may have a greater familiarity towards this topic than do I. And if so, if you would be so kind as to add where several statements throughout the article originate within the references listed below, that will greatly help towards the integrity of the article. I may be in error, however it upon first and second glance appears to have several original (uncited) statements that seem to merit an unreferenced tag. Apprecitate you time. Mister Fax 18:37, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

The article does list its references. They are just not in-line. The unreferenced tag is incorrect. Using fact tags is the best way to bring attention to any concerns. Even better, if you think something is wrong, just delete it from the article entirely, fact tags are not an excuse for bad information. -- Stbalbach 13:05, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Excellent idea, Stbalbach. I've removed three instances of motivations and/or characterizations for peasants until sufficent citations are provided to back up these statemenst. Mister Fax 18:32, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

First Sentence[edit]

I think that the first sentence is very difficult to read. You should start with the definition and then get into the origin of the word.

Other terms...[edit]

Should "clown" go in the section on other words meaning peasant? Shakespeare uses it in this sense, if I remember properly...


Considering the similarity between the two words, may thay not have similar etmological origin?-- 16:39, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

No. ZFT (talk) 05:37, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

My recent reversion[edit]

Today I reverted edits by in large part because they appeared to be unsupported by references and may have been unpublished synthesis of information. Please refer to WP:SYN and WP:CITE primarily. In retrospect they do appear to be NPOV. Please accept my apology for the cut. This article probably needs considerably more cutting and pruning.Trilobitealive (talk) 22:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Vasnetsov's painting[edit]

The couple on Vasnetsov's Picture Moving House are NOT "Russian peasants". These are urban people, most probably some low-paid St Petersburg functionary with his wife. This is shown by their clothes which are anything but peasant and by the fact that they are moving house right in the centre of St Petersburg, in front of St Peter and Paul fortress. This mistake ought to be corrected.

If you want a picture with Russian peasants, try some other one. I would recommend Alexey Venetsianov's The Reapers (Zhnetsy), for example. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Proskinitis (talkcontribs) 18:12, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

Regarding introductory sentence/definition of a peasant[edit]

A peasant is certainly not necessarily an agricultural worker. For instance, in Tsarist Russia there were labour (barschina) paying peasants and rent (obrok) paying peasants, the rent paying peasants could pay for rent however they desired, based on their profession which could be jewelcrafting, blacksmithing or, in theory, anything.

Russia 1815-81. 2nd Edition. Russell Sherman and Robert Pearce. Published by Hodder & Stoughton. Page 59-60.

PS. I apologise if my citation is wrong, I don't have much experience with citations yet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Masternewbie (talkcontribs) 21:36, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

This article needs improvement[edit]

The overall thrust of this article is very good but some parts of it are shit. There are many errors in this article right now. There are statements about the lives of peasants that are inconsistent with other articles about the middle ages. Someone please review and fix this article. (talk) 07:34, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

moved thread into chrono order. It's just a lexical entry, appears adequate as such to me but above average for wiki, brief scan didn't indicate other stuff like the Paisano thing . (talk) 09:37, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

The Land of Cockaigne (Bruegel)[edit]

The description accompanying this image describes a peasant catching honey as a legged-egg runs toward him. This is a clerk, not a peasant. The fellow to the right, asleep on his flail, is the only peasant in this image. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:24, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

This article fails to mention smallholders, freeholders, and yeoman farmers[edit]

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, both current online edition and 1911 edition [1], as well as the Oxford English Dictionary, define peasant as "a class of persons who till the soil as small landowners or as agricultural labourers." The term peasant has frequently been applied to wealthy yeoman farmers and millers. Conversely, many countries (Hungary, Poland) had masses of poor nobles. Zyxwv99 (talk) 02:29, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

Change to lead[edit]

Last night I changed the lead from this:

A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally works land owned or rented by/from a noble, with regards to the era. The peasant was bound to the land and could not move or change their occupation unless they became a yeoman (free person), which generally happened by buying their freedom. The peasant also generally had to give most of their crops to the nobles.

to this:

A peasant is a member of a traditional class of farmers, either laborers or owners of small farms, especially in the Middle Ages under feudalism, or more generally, in any pre-industrial society.[1][2] In Europe, peasants were divided into three classes according to their personal status: slave, serf, and freeman. Peasants either hold title to land in fee simple, or hold land by any of several forms of land tenure, among them socage, quit rent, leasehold, and copyhold.[3]

The lede doesn't ordinarily required references, but in this case is seemed necessary, as the existing lede was defining serf, not peasant. The first two references were to the OED and Merriam-Webster, the third to a book that describes the standard division of peasants into three classes according to personal status: slave, serf, and free.

The edit in which my contribution was removed (13:04, 4 June 2012‎ Evenrød) also included other changes which were mentioned in the comment: "Image with explanatory caption; also rmvd simplistic assertion; depending on region, there were oft varieties of livestock and varieties of different types of crop; it's a mistake to view everything as all or nothing like the Irish potato famine, etc". There was no explanation for why the lede was changed back. Zyxwv99 (talk) 14:26, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Sorry about that Zyxwv99. That was actually just a mistake on my part. I never intended to remove your contributions which I greatly appreciate. Somehow I inadvertently removed that when I was trying to get the images squared away. The only text I meant to remove was that one sentence in "Line 9" of the edit page which wasn't associated with the lede. I've had a migraine the last 24 hours or so, but I've never made a mistake like this in the past so I don't generally not edit just because of the soul-bending pain. haha - Anyway, Thanks for assuming good faith. Evenrød (talk) 15:28, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
Whew! (Sigh of relief.) Thanks! Zyxwv99 (talk) 15:47, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Ways to Nobleship[edit]

There were certain possible ways how a peasant could earn their badges rights to nobleship titles, since the Modern Age, Renaissance, Middle Ages, the Iron Ages, and as far as throughout the ancient Bronze ages.

  • Any peasant, by their own right of use or in times of emergency, can or possibly have to join the military, to protect their kingdom from invasion. Possibly, if one person or few still keep their position in the military, or some even protect a high officer, general, a relative of a noble family, or even the King in battle(worthy grant of a title), the soldier may have the right to become a high ranking officer, or unexpectedly in the Middle Ages, earn the title of Knight as an automatic commission to become a noble, although, the soldier will still have to go through the ceremony to become a knight, it was worth it, at the end of the ceremony and believing you made your country, family, and HONOR sacred. There are same stories with the Samurai. There have been reports of children of peasants secretly exchanged adoption to noble families so they can be safe from invasion and expand the land to prosperity by making them knights or samurai.

The earning of honorary title similar to stories of Joan of Arc, and Genghis Khan(started out as a noble, but was later captured to slavery, and later became high ranking official, to finally as an Emperor of Mongolia)

  • Any peasant may have the right to serve as a religious person. Most monk travellers would find the homeless and convince them to join a priesthood, after being initiated as a monk, nun, or priestess, they need not worry about the sickness and hunger, for they will eventually, know about karma, medicine, and trust in spirituality. If one does receive great admiration by the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, and other sanctuaries, they may become a higher authority in a religious council. Possibly, even become Bishop, Preacher, Imam Khatib, Rabbi, Sangha, and other clergy.

A good example of a person is Pope Pius X.

  • Any peasant may have found new land in a new world, or region may own the land, struck a gold or diamond mine, or even a water spring or geyser, and become instantly rich, earn the laborer employees and become a tycoon person.

A good example is the founder of the city of Tombstone, in Arizona, Ed Schieffelin.

  • Any peasant if they have to earn those characteristics, maybe used as a great singer, and may become the lead singer in a musical choir, or a become a great musician, actor, writer, and artist, as well as creating inventions; with these talents, and extra money, as well as becoming notable, may earn the title as a noble.

Examples would be William Ostler, actor of the Globe Theatre and scattered Elizabethan Theatres and was greatly used by director William Shakespeare started out as an apprentice and later actor. Sacharias Jansen who has being also credited for inventing the first truly compound microscope. Isaac Newton famous English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian.

Many ways how peasants may earn or secretly adopted the commission of a nobility title. -- (talk) 16:08, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

The picture of the three girls with berries[edit]

I updated the description that erroneously stated that the berries were a "traditional offering". I believe it was just a misunderstanding of the LOC description for the picture that simply stated "Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba". The word offer here does not imply any sort of tradition,

Secondly, and more importantly, only two of the three women in the picture are peasants. The girl in the middle clearly stands out. Her attire is in a different style, and the fabrics are richer. She is wearing a lot of jewelry; close-ups show four different necklaces including a massive amber one. She is in fact not even offering berries; close-ups show a smaller plate holding what appears to be sturgeon caviar for which the Sheksna region was famous. The final clue is the fact that she is not wearing a shawl, something unthinkable for a peasant girl of the period. I'm not aware of any serious research into the picture that's been published, but there's Russian-language web sources that appear to agree that the girl in the middle is a visiting upper-class girl and not a peasant. [2] [3] [4]

So, in short, I'm not entirely sure if a picture of a bejeweled city girl holding a plate of sturgeon caviar should really be the leading picture for an article about Peasants. (talk) 03:40, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

The middle girl is wearing what looks like beaded necklaces; I don't know if I'd describe her as "bejeweled". If she is wearing amber, that itself is indigenous to Baltic waterways. But she does look to be of a different class strata with the number of necklaces and costlier fabric and not donning a headscarf, especially (but actually the most interesting necklace is what the peasant girl on the left is wearing). Based upon Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky's other photographs, and what he said his stated goal was, his scenes are rooted in cataloging cultural traditions and folk dress across the old Russian Empire. Even with super zoom it's not possible to tell what is on the middle dish; but it is interesting that two different types of berries are shown.
This very early color photograph is in itself very significant. It's possible to zoom to see the details and colors of dress of the young peasant woman and the expressions on their faces. It takes the peasant out of the realm of the medieval feudal abstract and shows human beings. There are plenty of other peasant stereotypes to be had. Although not all peasants were serfs, it's possible that the living grandmothers of the girls depicted in this image had lived as serfs — living history stretching back several centuries, that these very girls communed with. I think that tweaking the photograph's description is much preferable to scrapping the image altogether and thereby losing everything else that the image can teach.Evenrød (talk) 13:11, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Peasants in China: non-NPOV?[edit]

"Modern Western writers often continue to use the term peasant for Chinese farmers, typically without ever defining what the term means.[1] This Western use of the term suggests that China is stagnant, "medieval", underdeveloped, and held back by its rural population.[2]"

This seems non-NPOV to me. Firstly, it draws attention to "westerners not defining 'peasant' when using it to describe Chinese peasants", which I'm sure is true, but no different from most western discussions of western peasants. Secondly, the sentance "This Western use of the term suggests..." is written in such a way as imply that Wikipedia is stating this as fact, rather than merely Cohen's opinion. For that matter, who is Cohen and why are his opinions significant? There isn't a wiki article for him, and all I can gather from this one is that he is an anthropologist who doesn't like using the word "peasant" for Chinese farmers. Iapetus (talk) 13:01, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

A Victorian Insult[edit]

I am going to give my opinion here, though whether anyone will read it I do not know. I despair of people who use this truly hideous term to describe the common man and woman of the Mediaeval period in England. I have studied historical documents very extensively over the years and have never seen this term in contemporary usage. It is indeed a perjorative term. It is condescending and insulting. It is the creation of a snobbish British Victorian scholarly elite who wished to distance themselves from persons from Medieval history whom they considered to be inconsequential and socially inferior to them. This scholarly elite of course wanted to concern themselves with persons whom they considered important such as the tiny minority of people who were in the royalty and the aristocracy, who were usually also persons of political and military significance. People who were deified almost in nineteenth century England.

There are no peasants. I repeat, there are no peasants. There are freemen, cottagers, villeins, bordars, yeomen, Gentlemen, tailors, smiths, cordwainers, labourers, carpenters, wheelwrights and a whole host of other classifications of people. Some were poor, others very comfortable by the standards of their day. Some were of high social standing and commanded great respect from their peers and some were the lowest of the low. Some were of great intellect and some were extremely dull. Just as people are today. None of them were "peasants". They never existed as a class. In fact, there are many books which can still be found which do not use this vulgar and unnecessary term at all. I hope that it will die a death in the 21st century and that people in Britain will in future have more respect for their ancestors. John2o2o2o (talk) 13:33, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

To me this term is as insulting as referring to black African tribesmen as savages. Yes, I feel very strongly about this. John2o2o2o (talk) 13:46, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

The Hebrew Bur and the English Boor - no connexion[edit]

I don't know if there is a good reason for the speculations mentioned in the subchapter about the Jewish term Bur.Bur is a Hebrew word. In English Boor is a word of Germanic origin (in German Bauer, or local derivatives buer, burm in Dutch Boer etc) and has nothing to do with the Hebrew word Bur. Even in Yiddish the word for peasant is of Germanic origin Poier, also from Bauer, buer, pur, bur. Thus the subchapter about the Hebrew word Bur = ignorant, is in my opinion superfluous.Ewan2 (talk) 23:35, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

As far as I can tell the references provided don't establish that linguistic connection - thus the points made in that section are not directly applicable to defining how "peasant" has historically been used in oral/written history and literature. So the tangential information could be misleading to readers and it's in the realm of original research: WP:OR. Evenrød (talk) 04:09, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified one external link on Peasant. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 18:45, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ Myron Cohen, Kinship, Contract, Community, and State: Anthropological Perspectives on China. 2005. p. 68
  2. ^ Mei, Yi-tsi. Ideology, Power, Text: Self-Representation and the Peasant 'Other' in Modern Chinese Literature. 1998. p. 26