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 did helmets have this metal thing between the eyes?

I have seen many medieval helmets that looked like this: Why did they have that metal thingy between the eyes? What is the point? To me, it would be harder to see if I had something like that ...
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2answers
171 views

Why were brothels legal? [closed]

Until fairly recently, brothels had been legal in most parts of the West for a long time. The same might be true of other "medieval societies" in other parts of the world with traditional values. ...
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2answers
483 views

How long does it take to craft the kinds of armour worn by typical medieval warriors in europe?

In various fantasy roleplaying games I've seen different estimations on how long it takes to craft various armour (largely different forms of plate armour, and chain armour). Do we have a credible ...
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2answers
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Did the biblical apostle James visit Ireland?

I remember reading in a magazine that the biblical apostle James visited Ireland 400 years before Saint Patrick. Is it true that he went on a mission to Northern Ireland? Forgive me if I overlooked ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
255 views

When did the Polovtsy convert to Islam?

Polovtsy is a name used to refer various Turkic tribes living to the East of Kievan Rus. I wonder at what point those Turkic peoples became Muslim?
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5answers
658 views

What name is taken if a man marries into a noble house?

In regards to marrying into noble houses, if a noble man marries a noble woman from a different house, I would assume one of two things happens: 1. The woman takes the man's name and the two houses ...
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3answers
326 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 ...
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278 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 ...
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1answer
141 views

What kind of music was played at European, High Middle Age (c. 1100-1400 A.D.)'s medieval universities' ceremonies?

What music was played at European medieval universities in the High Middle Ages (circa 1100-1400)—for example, at their commencement or convocation ceremonies, at ceremonies inducting professors into ...
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2answers
207 views

What buildings could be found in the inner ward of a castle?

I'm familiar with some different layouts of castles (motte and bailey, concentric,...) and the main parts or areas they have or need (Keep, moat, barbican, ward, cistern, great hall, etc.) While ...
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2answers
249 views

Medieval farmer's metal tools

What metal woodworking tools should I expect to find in the household of a 14th century well-off peasant farmer from Hampshire? (Answering more broadly is acceptable, but it might help to give this ...
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1answer
108 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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6answers
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Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

Typical decisive battles in Roman times involve 4+ legions - around 20,000 men + auxiliaries giving a total of about 30,000 men, on the Roman side only. Battles in even the late middle ages and early ...
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3answers
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How did Medieval Armies survive the use of mail armor in the deserts of the Middle East?

Something that has long puzzled me is the use of full mail hauberks and the like in the Crusades. How did Crusaders and their various enemies avoid cooking inside their armor? I know many of them did ...
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9answers
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How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
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1answer
369 views

Did a forged seal ever seriously compromise a political or military operation?

Wax and clay seals have always struck me as a rather imperfect security mechanism. Better than nothing, of course, but imperfect. So I was interested to learn that Los Alamos National Laboratory's ...
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3answers
479 views

What exactly were currours, and what were they used for?

In researching this question on Medieval light cavalry, I came across this reference to "currours" in Wikipedia, with no link: Many countries developed their own styles of light cavalry, such as ...
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2answers
353 views

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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1answer
265 views

How were little children dressed in medieval times? [closed]

So I wonder how did people dress their children for simple things in medieval times. What kind of clothes? Were there real clothes (pants/shirts) for (normal/poor) children? Or were some random ...
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2answers
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How was security on the Silk Road between China and the West maintained?

From the 2nd century BC to the beginning of the 15th century the Silk Road (or more correctly roads, as there were alternative routes) was the primary trade route between China and the West. One ...
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1answer
92 views

Where was the ruling seat of East Francia located under Henry the Fowler?

It seems safe to assume that Bavaria wasn't an option as Arnulf the Bad controlled this area throughout Henry's reign. The only possible candidates that I can find are Memleben (where Henry died) or ...
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0answers
111 views

Where to find a list of participants in The Crusades? [closed]

I am curious as to where a compiled list of participants in The Crusades exist and how would one access this, particularly of European Crusaders but would find it interesting of any records of both ...
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2answers
191 views

Were there prominent secular philosophers in the European middle ages? If so, who?

I've only done a small amount of reading on the middle ages, and on the history of Western philosophy, but from what I can glean education and religion were tightly coupled during the period, so most ...
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4answers
3k views

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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2answers
225 views

Was it possible to navigate a river against the current on a medieval boat?

I'm aware of the historically importance of rivers for earlier civilizations. Some of the most significant economies of the past were built on the bank of a river. I would like to know if: Was it ...
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1answer
434 views

What is the meaning of people “looking elsewhere” on medieval paintings?

Looking at some medieval paintings I noticed that there are sometimes people "looking elsewhere" even though they take part in an important event and would be expected to pay attention: Is ...
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1answer
213 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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2answers
735 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?
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2answers
299 views

Why did serfdom disappear gradually in England?

Why did serfdom gradually die out in England? Why was its abolition not the locus of explosive and acute social conflict, like in Russia or France?
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11answers
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Were the Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

I would like to know if the medieval people in Britain, by around 800 AD, knew that there was an empire that ruled Britain several hundreds of years before. Otherwise, were there any myths, legends, ...
2
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1answer
144 views

What were the Jurchen tribes/confederations in the 11th-12th centuries?

I couldn't find anything about them other than vague geographical localization. Basically, I'm looking for the highest tribal organizations (no need to cite every single clan), akin to the five Mongol ...
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1answer
408 views

Jean III de Grailly, captal de Buch's strange title

The title of Jean III de Grailly, captal de Buch, seems odd to me. It was acquired by his father Jean II de Grailly (so it was passed down from father to son like other titles of nobility): Jean ...
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3answers
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Who should be the king/queen of England? [closed]

If you start from 1066, the last direct line legitimate monarch was Richard III. Then you have the Tudors with a fairly weak claim, then they handed it on to the Stuarts with an even weaker claim. ...
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7answers
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How close were the living standards of India compared to England during the medieval period?

India, China and the African continent today are mostly associated with poverty in Europe, the US and so on. Looking at India specifically, did it during the medieval era share a similar standard of ...
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3answers
405 views

What was the size of surface of a cereal crop needed per man per year during the Dark Ages in Western Europe?

If I'm a peasant during the dark ages, what surface (in meters (<- I am in advance on my time)) I need to farm to get enough cereal (for bread and brew) ? how many cereals (in kg (<- again, I'm ...
4
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1answer
347 views

What was the average percentage of taxes in Europe during the Middle Ages? [closed]

I've found a lot about what kinds of taxes existed in the Middle Ages, but couldn't find a source pointing to specific percentages (apart from the tithe, but I don't know how thoroughly it was ...
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3answers
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What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

I know that wheat, barley, rye, onions, lettuce-like plants and turnips were common but how common were other things like meat or cheese? I've heard the "plowman's lunch" was a concoction of the dairy ...
21
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2answers
843 views

Classical battle sizes vs medieval battle sizes

Why did classical battles did tend to be larger than medieval ages? One particular example I am thinking of was the battle of Stamford bridge, which had around 30,000 participants, compared to the ...
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5answers
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Is there any evidence that the Catholic Church slowed innovation during the Middle Ages?

I often hear that the rate of innovation was very high during ancient times in Greece and the Roman empire. I've also heard that the rate of innovation was reduced once the Catholic Church gained ...
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0answers
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Was any Medieval state ever “partially” Roman Catholic? [closed]

It is my understanding that in most of (if not all) the states in western medieval Europe the Roman Catholic church was the only recognized religious body. I'm looking for an example of a state with ...
5
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2answers
362 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 ...
3
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3answers
614 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 ...
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5answers
3k views

Why don't people without access to clean water drink beer anymore?

In the medieval ages, peasants used to drink beer instead of water because the plain water wasn't safe to drink. Why do people in countries where the water sources are polluted not do this today? Why ...
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4answers
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3answers
1k views

How were fortification doors protected against fire?

Ancient and medieval fortifications are often shown to have wooden gate doors in the midst of their stone walls. Now granted, these doors are often massive and incredibly thick, but it still seems ...
6
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1answer
218 views

Were women banned from entering the castle of Trakai?

According to legend, Vytautas the Great banned women from entering the Trakai Island Castle under penalty of death. I read it in Russian, it is called "The Horse of knyaz Vytautas". The plot is ...
3
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1answer
490 views

What was the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Carolingian emperors?

Charlemagne was crowned by the pope in the year 800. But was it Charlemagne's choice, or was he compelled to do so? Having conquered his lands, couldn't he just crown himself emperor? Moreover, did ...
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What were the advantages of sheepfolds? [closed]

In the British Isles (and other regions of the world) drywall pens were built for sheep. In England they were called sheepfolds. What the the advantages of this format over others in common use at ...
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1answer
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Baldwin IV, the Leper King

Baldwin IV was crowned King of Jerusalem, from 1174 until his death in 1186 at the ripe old age of 24. As a child, his tutor, William of Tyre, discovered he had leprosy. Understanding that he was the ...