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From the Pissprophet to the Scavenger: The Wide Range of Odd Jobs in the Middle Ages

The weirdest jobs in the Middle Ages

By Chukwuebuka Sunday Published 6 months ago 3 min read
Depiction of a Pissprophet and a rat catcher

The Middle Ages, also known as the medieval period, was a time of great social and economic change in Europe. While knights and lords are often the focus of medieval history, there were also many commoners who played vital roles in society. These individuals often held odd jobs that were crucial to the functioning of medieval society.


The role of the scavengers in the Middle Ages was to collect and dispose of waste, including animal carcasses and human excrement.

Scavengers were often looked down upon by other members of society, as their work was considered dirty and unpleasant. However, their job was essential for maintaining public health and sanitation.

Scavengers remove dead animals

In medieval cities, waste would often accumulate in the streets, leading to the spread of disease and foul odors. Scavengers would collect the waste and transport it to designated locations for disposal.

They would also clean the streets and public areas, helping to prevent the spread of disease. Despite the low status associated with their work, scavengers played an important role in maintaining the health and well-being of medieval communities.

Rat Catchers

The job of a rat catcher in the Middle Ages was to control the population of rats and other vermin in cities and towns. Rats were a common problem in medieval society, as they would often infest homes, shops, and other buildings, spreading disease and damaging property.

Rat catchers would use a variety of methods to catch and kill rats, including traps, poison, and trained animals such as dogs and ferrets. They would also search for and close up any holes or entry points that rats could use to enter buildings.

Rat catchers were often employed by city governments or individual households, and their services were in high demand. Despite the unpleasant nature of their work, rat catchers played an important role in maintaining public health in medieval society.


Falconers in the Middle Ages trained and cared for birds of prey, such as falcons, hawks, and eagles, for the purpose of hunting.

Falconry was a popular sport among the nobility and upper classes, and the birds were highly valued for their hunting prowess. Falconers would train the birds to fly and hunt on command, and would often accompany their patrons on hunting expeditions.

Falconry was a respected job

They were also responsible for the care and feeding of the birds, which required specialized knowledge and expertise. Falconers were often highly respected and well-compensated for their work, as their services were in high demand among the wealthy and powerful. In addition to their role in hunting, falconers also played a cultural and symbolic role in medieval society.

The Pissprophet

The role of the pissprophet, also known as a uroscopist, was to examine a patient's urine to diagnose various illnesses and diseases. In the Middle Ages, urine was believed to contain important information about a person's health and well-being, and uroscopy was a common diagnostic practice.

Pissprophets would look at the color, smell, and consistency of the urine, as well as taste it in some cases, to determine if the patient had any underlying health issues. They would then provide treatment recommendations based on their diagnosis.

The pissprophet examined urine to make diagnosis

Despite the seeming strangeness of the practice, uroscopy was a widely accepted medical practice in the Middle Ages and was used by both trained physicians and unlicensed healers. However, the accuracy of the diagnoses made by pissprophets was often questionable, and many of their treatments were ineffective or even harmful.

As medical knowledge and practices advanced, uroscopy gradually fell out of use, and the role of the pissprophet disappeared. Today, the practice of uroscopy is considered outdated and is no longer used as a diagnostic tool in modern medicine.


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Chukwuebuka Sunday

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