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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Medieval wall and garment patterns

To my mind Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen (1924) is a work of absolute genius, perhaps surpassing even Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) in movie history. It is very rich, beautiful, yes tragic, and deep....
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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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Housing Materials, Structure and Style in the late Middle Ages in Germany

So my friend and I are coming to develop an Age of Empires-esque game set in the late Middle Ages. Like any good developers we're doing our research first and we've come up with some issues. When ...
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Did parties of adventurers actually exist? [closed]

In the role-playing sense of parties of particularly various skilled people going around and killing animals, killing bandits, sorting out various awkward local political/military problems and ...
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What difference is between “seigneurie” and “manor”?

In the Spanish/Austrian Low Countries a change in the ancient coat of arms of a seigneurie could not be made except by authorization of sovereign. The coat of arms of a noble family could be ...
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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 ...
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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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234 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 ...
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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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213 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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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969 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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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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497 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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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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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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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 ...
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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 more-...
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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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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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356 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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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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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-...
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334 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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241 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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293 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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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?
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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 ...
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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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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 ...