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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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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429 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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903 views

Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?

In medieval time, different religions coexisted in China, Japan and Korea, but only Christianity was allowed in Europe. What factors made medieval East Asia more religiously tolerant than medieval ...
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198 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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402 views

Symbolism of lion with forked tail

The John de la Pole tomb in Wingfield church has his feet resting on a lion with a forked tail. Does the forked tail symbolize anything please?
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688 views

Middle east and North africa population during the high middle ages

I am looking for this information everywhere, but I can't seem to find the population of anyone else but the Europeans during the middle ages. We know that the population of the European countries ...
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234 views

In Europe, why were hereditary dynasties more prevalent in the medieval world than in the ancient world? [closed]

I know that at least in Western Europe, the various dynasties that held the title of Holy Roman Emperor claimed descent from Charlemagne. In France, the Capetians were the first to call themselves ...
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80 views

Where can I find the text of “Ecerinis”?

This is a play from the 14th century (reportedly "the first secular tragedy written since Roman times") relating the tale of Ezzelino da Romano and written by one Albertino Mussato. Is there an online ...
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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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179 views

When was King Alfred first called 'Alfred the Great'?

In his book on Alfred the Great, historian Justin Pollard notes that it was in the 16th century that King Alfred was first called 'Alfred the Great' - no reference, no note, no bibliographical text ...
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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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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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200 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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382 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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901 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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90 views

First Royalty in Scotland?

The standard answer is Kenneth Macalpine as far as I can see with lesser kings before him, I assume between Scotland and England this where out modern/current Royals come from, I was trying to ...
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266 views

Wales and Ireland in medieval times [closed]

There is a very interesting article on wikipedia on Welsh Law. Though it defines the structure of the Court in Wales in the late medieval period, it says nothing of the status of other nobles and ...
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84 views

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

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 ...
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159 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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197 views

Did the Byzantine Empire use Roman numerals?

Wikipedia says about Byzantine emperor Heraclius that he was responsible for "introducing Greek as the Eastern Empire's official language". If so, is it right to assume that Byzantines used Roman ...
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104 views

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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299 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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506 views

Battles that ended with a disaster for all the parties

Have there ever been (recorded) battles (in the middle-ages) which ended badly for all parties? I would like to explain what could be meant by disaster giving to possible scenarios: by disaster I ...
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460 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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187 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 ...
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442 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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Paradigm change in power: from military to economic in Europe [closed]

It seems to me that the Middle-Ages/Renaissance observed a paradigm shift between the source of political power in Western Europe. Indeed, in the High Middle-Ages, Kings were ruling surrounded by ...
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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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389 views

How were peasant houses constructed in medieval England?

What was the typical construction material and process for a house in medieval England? Specifically, for a typical farming serf, operating a few acres of land. This question is meant as a ...
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109 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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161 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 ?
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339 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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158 views

Subjects of sermons in the Middle Ages

Were they more often devoted to New Testament subjects or to Old Testament subjects?
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300 views

Are there any examples of soldiers faking their death a combat before the modern era? [closed]

Let me give you a simple scenario, let's say two huge armies are attacking each other, thousands of soldiers are attacking, one of the armies starts to have a lot of casualties and begins to retreat ...
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237 views

What are the highest and biggest half-timbered buildings built during medieval era?

In any part of present Europe, let's say before the fall of Constantinople (1453 AD). Also if you can show me a drawing or a picture (if these buildings are still there), I would appreciate it. Also, ...
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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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1answer
286 views

In the History Channel series the Vikings, who is Ragnar? [closed]

I've been watching the Vikings series on Amazon and I am curious who Ragnar, the main protagonist is supposed to be based on? I think he is supposed to be the "first" viking leader to raid England. I ...
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1answer
143 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?
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Why were Greek philosophy and sciences taken up by medieval Muslim civilizations, but not contemporary Western Europe?

Greek-based philosophy and sciences were taken up in the medieval Islamic world. A lot of these works were translated into Arabic, and were later developed further and these contributed to the ...
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299 views

What sort of architecture existed in Catholic Eastern Europe around the late 1100's and very early 1200's?

What I'm really interested in most is building materials, but I'm pretty open to answers. Essentially, it sounds like the late 1100's in Eastern Europe were still pretty solidly Romanesque, with ...
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3answers
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Did medieval guards wear heavy armor for long periods of time?

We've all seen guards in movies walking around with full plate mail, clunking with each step. Now, I know that plate mail was much more mobile, and much less heavy, than movies and literature imply. ...
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230 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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87 views

Exact date of Aquitania uprising over Charlemagne?

I read that the uprising of the Aquitainians and Gascons led by Hunald II, probably son of King Waifar, was in 769. But I can't find info about the exact date (only the month name).
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Are there any sources which talk about the experience of attending a 15th/16th century fencing school?

I'm interested to know of any material which describes the experience of being a student at a medieval period fencing school e.g. once which may have been run by a Master teaching in the Lichtenauer ...
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67 views

How did French people greet in 1400? [closed]

How did French people greet in 1400? In particular I'm looking for french expressions that a peasant like Saint Joan of Arc could have used to greet a friend.
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51 views

Orthodox traveller in Catholic lands [closed]

What would the options have been for a member of the Orthodox church have been for religious observations while travelling in Catholic countries during the middle-ages? Presumably someone travelling ...
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Lusatia oath from 1422

Citizens of Lusatia are claimed to have been made to take an oath in 1422, starting with the following words Die Ketzer und in dem christlichen Glauben irresame Leute zu tilgen und zu verderben ...
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248 views

How did families parent in the Middle Ages? [closed]

The question is probably a subject for a book, but I am really curious: how did parenting look in the middle ages? How did the common folk bring up children? How were the children clothed, what was ...
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326 views

First-hand sources for medieval urban life in central Europe

I am a teacher and I would like to do an exercise with my students concerning the urban life in the Middle Ages. I am looking for original, first-hand sources who describe urban life from the 11th ...
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Why are there so many depictions of pre-Christian gods built in Medieval and Renaissance Rome? [closed]

I wonder why Church officials not only allowed but also endorsed and paid for depictions of pre-Christian gods. Examples include Pietro Bracci's Oceanus, which was funded by the Pope, and multiple ...