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.

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Why was the Håndfæstning forced on Erik V of Denmark?

Håndfæstning was the name for charters forced upon the Scandinavian kings by their nobility, not unlike Magna Carta in Britain. Erik V of Denmark was the first to sign such a document. What were the ...
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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 ...
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407 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 ...
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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 ...
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416 views

Until 1600, was it legal to counterfeit money?

Forging money or currency is more often called counterfeiting and, as is well known, the counterfeiting of money is usually attacked aggressively by today's governments. But, generally speaking, was ...
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196 views

What was the political significance of the investiture conflict? [closed]

I understand that Pope Gregory VII and Henry IV were heavily involved in determining who gained the power to appoint church officials. However, I'm a little unsure of the consequences of this conflict ...
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381 views

Sieges: Average Attacker to Defender Ratio in Middle Ages

I have read that attackers should outnumber defenders, 20 to 1 or better 50-100 to 1 in sieges in a book about conquest of İstanbul, though I can not find its reference right now. I remember that this ...
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211 views

Is there evidence that Harald Bluetooth died from an arrow to the rear?

There's a popular opinion, that a famous Danish king Harald Bluetooth died as a result of taking an arrow, well... straight to his rectum. Not only have I encountered said story over the Internet on ...
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93 views

Noble hierarchy in the early middle ages [closed]

I know it would have varied, but what would a typical hierarchy of feudal noble titles have been during the early middle ages in western Europe and Britain? Was it much different than what existed in ...
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4answers
807 views

Whose colors/coat-of-arms did men-of-arms wear in a feudal army, 14th century?

During the feudal age in Europe there were some kind of hierarchy among nobles, for example, a small lord provided military service to a larger lord, which did the same to a yet larger lord, etc. ...
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What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
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Differences between European monarchies [closed]

What are the main differences between the "new" monarchies and the "absolute" monarchies? From what I can tell, they where very much alike in several aspects: more centralized government, more power ...
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854 views

Why were the Mongolian armies able to to use greater percentages of archers than (Medieval) Europeans?

Much has been made in other posts about how hard it was for European armies to train and maintain large numbers of archers able to use a longbow, crossbow, or similar weapons. Yet, the Mongolians ...
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1answer
141 views

Who would have a good or fair command of Latin in medieval Western Europe?

This answer to this question states Latin was the language of diplomacy in medieval Western Europe, but this does not imply that royalty or nobility themselves knew Latin: it would suffice that a few ...
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0answers
142 views

Did ordinary(uneducated) citizens consider crusades a failure? [closed]

Did ordinary people (non noble, non-clergy, non-participants) view the crusades as a failure, and did the Catholic church lose reputation/prestige because of them?
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1answer
229 views

Prior to the Age of Exploration, Did Slavery Endure Anywhere in Europe?

Could someone tell me if there was a period in European history prior to the age of exploration where institutionalized slavery existed nowhere? If so, who was the last (European) nation to end the ...
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How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
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5answers
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Where does the name of the country “Belarus” come from?

I've read the German and English Wikipedia on this topic as well as the translated Belarussian version and some sites I googled. They all seem to argue that the 'Rus' part stems from the Region called ...
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How were medieval guilds formed?

How did one go about starting a guild? Were guilds usually formed by a group of individuals or just a single person? What restrictions existed on starting a guild? What I'm mainly interested in is ...
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211 views

How common was cavalry in medieval Brittany?

The House of Rohan was a dynasty of French nobles from Rohan, Brittany. The early branch existed from 12th century to about 15th century or so. My question is: to what extent did medieval Brittany ...
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175 views

To What Extent Were St. Augustine's Just War Principles Used In The First Crusade?

The question is mostly self-explanatory; however I want to state I have read a few books so I am aware of abuses and also some of the origins of the Crusade. So what I am really asking for is ...
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4answers
439 views

From how far away could an experienced and skilled archer hit a man?

So I'm not asking about shooting into the enemy formation without specific target but targeting a single individual with a reasonable chance of success.
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What English company founded in the 1200s filed for bankruptcy in the 2000s?

I heard a news story about an English company that had been successful since about 1200 and filed for bankruptcy in the last ten years. I heard it reported on NPR's Morning Edition, in early spring of ...
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1answer
167 views

Is there any historic record of using a wooden bow as a club?

Every time I see someone hit a person with the limb of a wooden bow in a movie I cringe. I mean first of all, it's way too light, thin and bendy to have any reasonable impact, but hollywood is as ...
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How prominent were taverns in medieval Europe?

Taverns as defined as a 'commercial establishment in the business of selling alcohol'. I'm aware that taverns existed in some parts of Europe during the late medieval period, but I don't know quite ...
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What reached Scandinavia/Northern Germany first: Muslims, or Islamic texts?

Years ago i had the chance to leaf through some Qur'an translations (Latin, German? some bilingual with Arabic text) in a library in northern Germany which are dated to 16th century and later. As we ...
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170 views

When did chairs with arms and backs develop in Europe? [closed]

There are numerous depictions of early / high medieval Popes, Kings and Bishops sat on thrones, with arms and a back, and the saddles of the high medieval period had a padded back, but every depiction ...
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Were Christian Mediterranean ports open to Muslim traders in the middle ages?

This article talks about Muslim-christian trade in the middle ages 11th-14th century, also referenced in this answer. In brief: Trade greatly intensified after the crusaded and was conducted at ...
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1answer
253 views

How thick was late medieval horse armor?

Do you know how thick was late medieval horse plate armor? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it makes sense to protect them. ...
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474 views

What specifc training occurred for members of medieval military orders?

What were the dominant martial and clerical themes to the training of knights in medieval military orders? Were there specific fighting or training techniques, or weapons, adopted to meet religious ...
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405 views

What caused the imposition of strict celibacy for Catholic priests during the 11th century?

At the Second Lateran Council in 1139, the Catholic Church implemented a rule requiring all priests to remain celibate. Although the Church has already talked about being celibate for the previous ...
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207 views

How would prospective members join a medieval European guild?

On related lines, 1) How would a young person (young man) have selected a master with whom to apprentice? How did the matching up process work? 2) What motivated a master/practitioner to take on an ...
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158 views

How widespread was literacy in classical Greek in Europe during the medieval period?

How widespread was literacy in classic Greek in Europe during the medieval period? I assume "every" (?) educated person, such as clerks, monks, nobility, judges, doctors and similar knew Latin at the ...
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Were any fortified castles self-sufficient in food?

I read here and there about sieges of fortified castles which lasted extended lengths of time (two years for instance). Was there any castle in Medieval Europe that was self-sustaining? By ...
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1answer
143 views

What was used to pay taxes in Medieval England [closed]

Was coinage issued by the Kings (Queen) used to pay taxes in Medieval England? If so were these silver or gold coins or base metal ? And how did the use of tally sticks fit into the tax system
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What percentage of Jews were in “finance” (money-lenders) throughout Middle Ages?

The stereotypical image of a Jew in Middle Ages (and the portrayal of them) was of course "the money-lender". From Ivanhoe's Isaac of York, to Shakespeare's Shylock, to "Проклятый жид, почтенный ...
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The crusades against the Moors [closed]

It seems to me that recent history portrays the Christian crusaders as evil and brutal for taking back Spain from the Islamic Moors who conquered them and toppled the Spanish government and ruled over ...
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Early medieval history of England as seen by ordinary people [closed]

I'm having trouble finding resources for the period around the conquest of England by Normans in 1066. I'd like to take it from a commoner's perspective and depict how ordinary people lived before ...
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1answer
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What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village?

The question is self-explanatory: What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village? The officer would: Survey the village or tenant, to ...
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Diaries or writings of Cathar Perfecti in 12th Century France

The Cathars were a Gnostic sect of southern (Languedoc) France in the 12th Century. "Perfecti" were individuals in the sect who followed the most extremely austere lives, renouncing worldly pleasures ...
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What would be used to write things in 15c in Europe

What sort of pens/quills would be used? Would paper, cover and bindings be readily available?
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531 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 ...
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1answer
478 views

Are there examples of well known medieval battles with very little archaeological evidence?

When I was researching the history of The Battle of Kulikovo (битва на Куликовом поле), I was struck by the seemingly complete dearth of available archaeological evidence at the site of the battle ...
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What was the average size of French families during the Middle Ages?

My question takes place in at the beginning of the middle-ages in France. Let's focus on small villages and ordinary people (peasants, craftsmen, etc.). I would like to know how many people used to ...
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1answer
322 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 ...
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457 views

How did people categorize each other in the middle ages, how did racism work? [closed]

I'm interested in the european high middle ages, about the 12th-13th century. I'm trying to understand how people sorted each other. Nowadays, some overlapping categories people use would be: ...
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Why was there a tradition attached to Crossbowmen?

Medieval literature makes several references to Gascon, Flemish and especially Genoese to denote elite troops wielding Crossbows. However, it isn't exactly hard to shoot a Crossbow accurately and ...
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Could a ruler demand a homage from an independent prince?

The Polish Wikipedia about the battle of Kowal (1327) says (translation mine, maybe in some places duke and prince are not used correctly): In 1327 Władysław I Łokietek [the Polish king] begun the ...
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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 ...
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1answer
220 views

During the Middle Ages, how many people could fishing feed?

I known fishing was pretty popular in the middle-age. But I don't know how many people could be fed by a single fisher? I'd like to know it mostly for river fishing but I'm also interested by sea ...