The Middle Ages is a periodisation of European history, encompassing the period from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the Renaissance in the 15th century.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

14
votes
3answers
583 views

Why were the Normans such good builders?

The Normans are a bunch of Vikings that settled in northern France, and within a century they were Christians speaking French. By 1066 they had become very experienced at fighting wars between ...
7
votes
2answers
294 views

Why did England and Portugal cheap out on the Battle of Aljubarrota?

One of the most important and famous battles in the Iberian Peninsula took place in Aljubarrota. There were two main parties: Castille (With Aragonian, French and Italian support) Portugal (With ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Why was spice trade so profitable in the 15th century?

During the 16th century, Portuguese captured Melaka to dominate the lucrative spice trade; other city states such as Aceh, Banten, Brunei and Pegu also sprung up by exporting and trading spices. ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

Baron is to Barony as Earl is to what?

A simple question really. I'm trying to find a word and my Google-fu has failed me. Baron is to Barony Duke is to Duchy Earl is to what?
2
votes
2answers
232 views

What toilet facilities were available to commoners in the middle ages?

Whenever I searched for toilets/restrooms/.... in the middle ages I only found sketches or engravings about either clerics (probably curches) or about rooms on the side of the walls of castles. But ...
3
votes
1answer
230 views

Livery and Barons

Circa 1495, would a baron have worn the livery of the Earl of his Palatinate county? For example, would Thomas Butler, Lord of Warrington, have been insulted if Thomas, the earl of Derby asked him to ...
3
votes
2answers
159 views

What level of knowledge was required to enter medieval universities?

According to this answer, students at university in the medieval period were generally paying their own way and were independently rich or were selected by the crown or the church, the latter making ...
79
votes
9answers
16k views

Why did archery not make a comeback when armor was phased out in the 18th century?

Even if we account for the argument that it is much more tedious to train a man to use a bow than a musket, why then did the arbalest not make a comeback? Its effective range - reportedly at 300m, is ...
35
votes
1answer
1k views

What were the acceptance criteria in universities of medieval Europe?

Did they have entrance tests? Were certain groups officially banned from entering? How much did one have to pay? Did they have scholarships for talented studends? How these criteria differed between ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

Why did the Moors invade the Iberian peninsula?

Almost all of the information that I can find with regards to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula simply states when the Moors invaded. There seems to be very little on what the motivation ...
1
vote
1answer
128 views

How do I differentiate ancient ceramic from today's junk?

I've been to London's River Thames, a famous place where it is relatively easy to find ceramics and other relics of the past. I found something but I have no idea how to distinguish ancient stuff ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Name of Kingdom that was formed after marriage refusal?

A while back, I read that in the middle ages, or even thousands of years ago, in Europe (I think around Netherlands), someone asked for a lady's hand in marriage (I think she was daughter of some King ...
2
votes
3answers
185 views

Under what conditions could a medieval castle or fortress expect to break or outlast a siege? [closed]

In Medieval Europe (ie before gunpowder), medieval siege tactics are well known. I am curious if there is any known sense of how often sieges were broken. If you were in a castle besieged by a well-...
5
votes
2answers
432 views

Did Charlemagne's Christian conquest of Germany cause the Vikings to hit back at Britain?

A documentary on The Dark Ages says that Vikings invaded the British isles after Charlemagne of France conquered some of Germany and forced the Germans to convert or die in the years 783-804. The ...
1
vote
3answers
226 views

Did medieval commanders exchange words before battle?

Random question for anyone who reads accounts of medieval battles. Was it customary for European medieval commanders to exchange words before battle, not merely for diplomatic reasons but more out of ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

Why were Catholic priests prohibited from participating in ordeals but allowed to participate in inquisitions?

Pope Innocent III prohibited priests from participating in ordeals during the Fourth Lateran Council, but Pope Innocent IV later allowed torture in inquisitions. What is the ideological difference?
3
votes
1answer
145 views

How did the French and English forces “stack up” toward the end of the Hundred Years' War?

I am of the opinion that Joan of Arc, an "amateur" general, started France on the road to winning the war because she understood something that the "professionals" did not; that is, that the French ...
18
votes
1answer
477 views

What is the ancestry of the Robertians, progenitors of the Bourbon dynasty?

The countries Spain and Luxembourg are currently ruled by kings from the House of Bourbon, so I thought I'd try to trace their (patrilineal) ancestry as far back as possible. Well, the Bourbons are ...
4
votes
4answers
531 views

What is known about the possibility of a “real King Arthur”?

I once saw a documentary that discussed a discovered possible "round table" but wondered how "pie in the sky" this possibility was as well as just how much/how little evidence is there for any ...
1
vote
2answers
219 views

Why was there never a tachanka-style cannon or crossbow?

There seems to be a clear line of progression for many weapons. For example, in the west, crossbows were mounted on carts by the Roman empire, while in the east, they were mounted on camels. The ...
4
votes
8answers
2k views

What caused the turning point in Hundred Years' War?

At school I have learned that the English had upper hand in the war until Joan of Arc convinced the French king to give an army under her command to besiege Orléans and since then, the French forced ...
9
votes
1answer
375 views

Using a lance while on a charging horse against ground based enemy

In historic light cavalry, if a rider was using a lance, how many times could it be reused? How long before it became a liability by getting someone stuck on the end of it, or got snagged on a body ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
4
votes
3answers
313 views

Divine Right of Kings: Why?

I know this question is too broad and I expect it to be closed: that's fine. But I lack the specific History background to be able to ask a better question at the moment (too many other pots in the ...
6
votes
1answer
238 views

Did Hungarian Army ever use Crescent banners?

I was reading about Battle of Mohi between Mongol Empire and Kingdom of Hungary. The Wikipedia contains this artistic depiction of the battle: The cavalry on left hand looks like Mongols while ...
2
votes
0answers
172 views

Did medieval Europeans really walk around barefoot in winter?

Luaan posted a comment on a question, as follows (emphasis mine): Take an old-school shoe with no rubber, and you'll see that it's extremely slippery on wet surfaces - medieval Europeans went ...
19
votes
3answers
12k views

In the Medieval period, how long would an average swordsmith need to forge an average sword?

Based on this question over in RPG, I'm trying to figure out how long it took to forge a sword in the Medieval/Renaissance smith to make swords. I am recalling a figure of about 9-12 months per sword,...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

Today, nearly all commercial footwear has a sole made of either rubber or plastic with rubber-like qualities. It's a great material for the job, but it comes from a tree that's native to the Americas,...
28
votes
3answers
10k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
28
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the status of Arab Christians during the crusades?

Did Arab Christians take an active role in the crusades in the Holy Land or at any point on their trip to the Holy Land. Or were they victims of the crusaders? Did the crusaders typically ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

How were the borders of the Holy Roman Empire established?

We all know that the Holy Roman Empire was a collection of minor Germanic states in the Medieval and Renaissance Europe. Wikipedia stated that: The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of ...
0
votes
2answers
194 views

How much did a good sword cost in Medieval Western Europe?

I realize the title is probably too broad to answer, so I'll narrow it down a bit: Sword types: Viking swords, and/or Arming swords Quality: Pattern welded iron/steel, crucible (or pseudo-crucible) ...
2
votes
2answers
178 views

At what point did noblemen stop being the backbone of the military? [closed]

During the Dark Ages one of the primary responsibilities of noblemen was to engage in warfare. It was a large part of their education, and a nobleman was expected to be able to win easily against a ...
6
votes
1answer
751 views

What is known about how many Ulfberht swords exist?

For those who don't know, the Ulfberht sword was a Viking weapon of the finest quality, made with exquisite skill from the best materials available. They were produced between 800 and 1000 CE in ...
10
votes
4answers
676 views

Is there evidence of extensive Viking presence in North America?

The Vikings appear to have had two long-lasting communities in Greenland, and a site has been found at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland Canada. But is there any solid evidence that the Vikings had ...
1
vote
4answers
611 views

Was early marriage of queens not considered pedophilia?

Joan of the Tower was married on 17 July 1328 to David II of Scotland at Berwick-upon-Tweed. She was seven years old, he was only four. Isabella of Valois married Richard II at the age of six and was ...
1
vote
3answers
239 views

Why were the first Universities created?

I have read through my world history book and did some research online, but I have been unable to learn why the first Universities were created?
22
votes
6answers
7k views

Where did Medieval Europe's gold come from?

Medieval Europe processed copious amounts of gold into religious artifacts, jewelry and of course gold coins, as evidenced by the large number of those that survive to this day. Given that today, no ...
5
votes
3answers
536 views

Was either side legally in the right in the Hundred Years War?

Legalistically speaking which side was right in the Hundred Years War. My view is that the Salic law combined with the principle that nobody can transmit a right greater than he himself can possess (...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Life in the middle ages for ordinary people? [closed]

From studying medieval history and reading related literature, I know enough about day to day life in the sense of life expectancy, work, pleasure, etc. My question is, given that human nature is ...
9
votes
2answers
794 views

What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?
10
votes
4answers
746 views

Was Frederick II of Hohenstaufen really a medieval Dr. Mengele?

According to legend, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who was intelligent (spoke six languages) and influential, also purportedly used cold-blooded methods to further his "scientific" inquiries. ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How long would the average sword last in the middle ages?

Assuming normal wear and tear, how long before a knight had to replace his sword?
9
votes
1answer
420 views

What particularly watershed events led to the War of the Roses?

What were the key events that led to the War of the Roses occurring in England during the 15th century. Was there any particular event that was the tipping point?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Was there any mention in historical articles regarding Joan of Arc's physical appearance?

Modern media seems to portray Joan of Arc as a very attractive girl. I don't quite buy this interpretation of her as it would also suggest plenty of suitors and could be counter productive in a camp ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

What kinds of documents were forged in the middle ages and how common was forgery?

For example I was reading about the Privilegium Maius, and was wondering what other instances of document forging were there in the middle ages ?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Why did Baldwin of Boulogne proclaim Edessa a County, not a Kingdom?

[Edessa was] ruled by Thoros, who was officially a vassal of the Turks but in reality acted independently. He did not expect that situation to continue for very much longer without help, so he offered ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

What did 'regular' medieval people think about royalty? [closed]

During the Medieval times what was the general consensus of the common-people in regards to the King and his close associates? From a number of documentaries i have watched recently it looks like the ...
0
votes
0answers
115 views

The Code of Corsairs of Mediterranean of the Middle Ages

How was the code and operating rules of the corsairs of the Mediterranean used, such as by Barbary Corsairs or Knights of the Order, during Middle Ages? There are references to agreements in the ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

A zoo during the rule of Omayyad or Abbasid dynasty?

I recall that when I was in high school that I read a text -which sounds more like a legend- about an Arabic Sultan/Caliph who on a trip trough his empire passed by an injured (wild) animal (don't ...