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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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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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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196 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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82 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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186 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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1answer
337 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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758 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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257 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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155 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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165 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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92 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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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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262 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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2answers
393 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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1answer
161 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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373 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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107 views

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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187 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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105 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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321 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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153 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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1answer
246 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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1answer
231 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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427 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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1answer
273 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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137 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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266 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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1answer
210 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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0answers
39 views

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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50 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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71 views

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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229 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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306 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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286 views

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 ...
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394 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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335 views

Why anthropocentrism disappears during the Dark Ages

The human being ceases to be central part of Art in Europe with the arrival of the Dark Ages, only to return with the Renaissance. What are some factors that explain that?
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Did books from classical times delay scientific progress in the middle ages?

When seeing some documentary about the history of medical science in the middle ages, I got the impression that many doctors were happy to merely study the works of Galen, rather than do their own ...
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198 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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3answers
184 views

Battle which has been decided by an epidemic plague

Well i think the title say's all but here some necessary details to make some focus: I would like to know if there's a record of a Battle or a Siege (or War, but only optional) which have been ...
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375 views

Could a nobleman / lord join the clergy in the middle ages? [closed]

First of all, perhaps my terminology is dodgy here, but by nobleman I mean A member of a noble family, of noble birth and by lord I mean a ruler -- that is, the Duke of Somewhere would be a lord; his ...
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1answer
85 views

Recorded data on crime rates [closed]

Is there any online source that displays the change in world crime rates since the Middle Ages? I am also looking for attempted crime, not "successful" crime, since the rate of successful murders may ...
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Was there ever simultaneously plague and witch hunts in Hungary during the 15th century? [closed]

Was there ever simultaneously plague and witch hunts in Hungary during the 15th century? I'm writing a book which is happening in Hungary and adventurers are escaping plague and witch hunters.
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55 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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82 views

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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134 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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97 views

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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102 views

What were the coat of arms / flags of Lotharingia? [closed]

Sometimes the flag of the Lorraine region is identified as the flag of Lotharingia. But I didn't found any proof of that. The paint made by Albrech Dürer (~1500AD), show only the western and the ...
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182 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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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 ...