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In those areas where most people could not read, the reason was a lack of cultural emphasis on literacy. But we should not assume most people could not read throughout medieval Europe.

The Byzantine Empire had a primary school system operating at the village level, founded in 425 AD, which continued until 1453 and taught both boys and girls. The Jews and Muslims also had schools where most boys, and some girls, were taught. We have tended to believe anything written by Renaissance writers about the ignorance of the age from which they were so proudly recovering, and much of what they wrote was not true.

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13y ago
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14y ago

The society and the church didn't promote reading or writing and it wasn't until later (1446) that the printing press was invented so there weren't volumes of books to read. When people are illiterate it is easier to control them and to tell them what to think. This is exactly what happened and it is one reason why we need an educated population today. When people can think, reason, and think critically about issues they can't be slaves or controlled by the government/church. George Washington stated that to have a democracy an educated population was needed.

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13y ago

no on could unless they were very rich and then they could pay people to tech them but it was generally hard to find someone.

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Q: Why didn't most people learn to read or write in the 1300s?
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