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 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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3answers
242 views

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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114 views

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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3answers
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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
163 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 ...
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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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1answer
65 views

Knights' coat of arms colors [closed]

Okay, I was playing chivalry medieval warfare (after customizing my knights look to be my family's coat of arms) when I started thinking, "Wait, did knights have the colors of the one they served on ...
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3answers
1k views

What motivated Germanic tribes to accept Christianity?

I have read histories that tell of St. Boniface and other Anglo-Saxon and Irish monks working in the Rhine valley among Germanic tribes converting them to Christianity. I understand that this work ...
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1answer
77 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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5answers
1k views

What were shoe soles made from in previous ages?

Today, nearly all commercial footwear has a sole made of either rubber or plastic with rubber-like qualities. It's a great material for the job, but it comes from a tree that's native to the ...
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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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9answers
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Did archers synchronize fire? Why?

I noticed that in medieval movies and TV shows, when there is a big battle happening, groups of archers always synchronize their firing. I was wondering whether this is something that writers made up ...
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What were the traveling practices of merchants, roughly between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

How did salespersons of the aforementioned period(s), whether affluent merchants or peddlers, tend to travel? I'm familiar with caravansaries/caravanserais, but how did this concept translate to ...
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1answer
155 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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3answers
248 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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1answer
73 views

Medieval physician Cornelius Shilander?

I am doing a research related to history of military medicine. I came up with a book published 1596 by Cornelius Shilander. https://archive.org/details/corneliusshiland00schi I have tried to do ...
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5answers
668 views

Is chain mail expensive?

I've read many textbooks and talked to plenty of people who explained to me that making thousands of rings, then interlocking them is terribly expensive. This confuses me because history had Vikings ...
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574 views

The Needham Question: What stunted China's technological and proto-scientific advancement?

According to Joseph Needham Why did modern science, the mathematization of hypotheses about Nature, with all its implications for advanced technology, take its meteoric rise only in the West at ...
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2answers
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What is the difference between Taino and Puerto Rican?

I have heard a lot of Puerto Rican's call themselves Latino or Hispanic. However, after watching this video, I am a bit confused about what they say. Can anyone confirm why different Puerto Rican ...
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1answer
190 views

Why are most late medieval fencing manuals German?

Not only is the German school dominating modern European martial arts, but almost everyone who talks about late medieval fencing refers to German fencing manuals as the primary source. Why are German ...
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2answers
89 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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2answers
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What was the life expectancy in Medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
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10answers
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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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1answer
557 views

Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
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1answer
360 views

Did barracks exist in the middle ages?

In many medieval RTS games soldiers come out of a building named 'Barracks'. Where did medieval soldiers actually train ? Did such specialised buildings exist ? Most peasants probably got no training ...
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1answer
332 views

What was the political consciousness of a 15th century English peasant?

How did they feel about the monarchy and living under lords? Were they are aware of alternative political structures? Did they believe their lives were fair?
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141 views

Colonies in Machiavelli's age

In Chapter 3 of the Prince Machiavelli offers this advice to the prince who would hold a newly acquired territory: [T]o send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, ...
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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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328 views

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

In some cases, before the industrial revolution, nobles and other elites had access to ice in regions where it wasn't naturally available. How could they get it? Was it simply transported in big ...
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3answers
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Status of merchants in feudal Europe

What was the status of merchants during the feudal age in Europe? Did they, like peasants, serve/have allegiance to certain land owning lord? If yes, do they have different status or privileges from ...
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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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1answer
118 views

What was the main role of alcoholic drinks in ancient to medieval times? [closed]

I assume that alcoholic drinks served two main purposes in centuries gone by: To purify water for consumption Drunkenness I'm not clear on number one being the case, and if it is I'm not sure ...
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193 views

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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4answers
486 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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9answers
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Why did archery not make a comeback when armor was phased out in the 18th century?

Even if we account for the argument that it is much more tedious to train a man to use a bow than a musket, why then did the arbalest not make a comeback? Its effective range - reportedly at 300m, is ...
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2answers
3k views

How much do we know about Emperor Ashoka?

A recent Indian Tevevision series is showing a detailed a life characteristic of Ashoka's childhood. Though its a work of fiction, I would like to know how much of that is actual fact, and how much do ...
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Authenticity of the Russian birch bark manuscripts

More than 1000 birch bark manuscripts have been found in Novgorod and other Russian cities in last 50 years. Many of them stayed in the soil for more than 700 years. In the same time, no special ...
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How did commoners in late medieval to early modern Europe learn to read?

Literacy in the early Middle Ages was very low, but as I recall, by the time of Reformation quite a lot of commoners could read. Even if they were not very good in reading and writing, by the 17th ...
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2answers
242 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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2answers
305 views

Can the University of Bologna be considered the first university in the world?

There are usually two different opinions: the first group considers the University of Bolgona to be officially the first one, some others instead claim that there might have been other groups of ...
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3answers
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How was the current month and day disseminated to the townspeople of Medieval Europe?

How was the current month and day disseminated to the townspeople of the Medieval Europe? I'm quite sure that personal calendars weren't a thing back then... but I could be wrong... If they had a ...
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2answers
258 views

Were children often renamed in late Saxon England?

In Bernard Cornwall's The Last Kingdom the protagonist is renamed at age 10 or so after his brother, aged 16+, is killed by Danes. The protagonist is an Alderman's second son in Northumberland and is ...
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3answers
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Use of lead sheets in reconstruction of late medieval tower?

I guess it's more of an archaeology question, but this is the closest forum I could find. So, we stopped at Gardiki Castle, Corfu, Greece, built in the late Byzantine era in the 13th century, and ...
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262 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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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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3answers
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Meaning of samurai crest / symbol

I would like to ask you all to explain the meaning of the 8-th symbol in this picture*: I would like to also know what are those symbols? Thank you very much. * Source: ...
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1answer
436 views

Why didn't Japan expand into Ezo?

Throughout the first millenium of Japanese history (and before that even) the Japanese rather steadily expanded up Honshu. Once they had taken the whole of Honshu however they seemed largely to stop. ...
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How “religious” was the average person in the Middle Ages?

During Europe in the Middle Ages, how religious was the "average Joe"? Looking at the large scale politics of the time it seems religion was a major part of the elites' lives, with treaties with the ...
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7answers
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Why was Poland spared from the Black Death?

The featured image of the Wikipedia page for the Black Death is a gif showing the spread of the bubonic plague throughout Europe. There are a few places where the plague never spread to, including the ...
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6answers
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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 ...