Hot answers tagged

107

Yes, a trained archer can probably put more effective shots on an unarmored target than a trained musketman of the 18th century. The problem is that word trained. Consider that most nations in the 18th century did not have a standing army. Men were called up, served their time, and left. That means you either need to use skills they already have (in WWII ...


85

Poland wasn't actually "spared", it was merely less affected than the rest of Europe. That graphic is incorrect (or rather, incomplete), since a substantial number of both Poland and Milan's population did in fact die of the plague. Their death rates were only "low" in comparison to the rest of Europe - if it happened today, it would be horrifying to us. ...


38

A major reason would be logistics. It's not all about population sizes. The strength of an army is constrained not just by its manpower sources, but also by the logistical infrastructure available to pay for, feed, and equip it. The Romans in particular were much better at this than the feudal states of Medieval Europe, which tended to be quite factious and ...


36

Another simple but important reason besides economic changes starting at this time is the spread of printing technique. A scientific community really only works when scholars can cite each other and share their ideas in a cheap and fast way, thats why internet boosted scientific progress in our time. If you study the link, the Gutenberg printing technique ...


34

The surname 'Hood' implied where the individual was from. For all purposes, there were many people with the last name. The name Robin Hood is accounted as not an uncommon name in the middle ages. There is a corpus of evidence that there were outlaw stories circulating about a Robin Hood during the reign of King John. However, there are cases of multiple ...


34

Indeed, the idea that educated people in the middle ages thought the earth was flat is a myth. It was well known to have been round since well before Christ. Many early maps represent a round earth with edges covered by a sea. It is quite possible that the earliest of these actually are meant to represent a flat earth, but that's 6th century BC. Of ...


34

Many writings from this time period mention Roman Britain. Notable examples include the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, both of which mention Rome. These date to around the 9-12th centuries and the 8th century, respectively. There are also pseudohistorical works that speak of Rome, such as the fantastical 9th-century ...


31

Actually the motivation is pretty well-known. The motivation for the invasion of Spain was similar to that of all Muslim conquest of the period. Islamic armies under the command of the "The Rightly Guided Caliphs" and the following Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs benefited from a unifying religion to form a large and motivated armed forces, out of what had ...


29

There are a number of good accounts of the development of warfare in Europe, but the two key things you need to realise are: a) "morale" b) "mass" Much of European warfare has been conditioned by these two abstract concepts. Broadly, morale is the capacity of a unit to continue to engage in what it is doing despite adverse outcomes and mass is the capacity ...


28

Here is one noting: The European medieval diet was largely determined by social class. For the majority of the of the people, peasants, a large portion of their daily diet was made up of grains such as wheat, rye, oats or barley(carbohydrates). The grains were boiled whole in a soup or stew, ground into flour and made into bread, or malted and brewed ...


28

Things to consider: First, it is difficult to assess the size of armies in the Middle Ages. Roman troop strength is relatively easy to calculate by knowing the legions involved (the legions usually having the same size), but medieval armies usually had no such regularity. Smaller polities (kingdoms and or counties instead of empires) meant smaller ...


27

I don't have much historical evidence to bring to this one, but I've worn heavy SCA armour on hot days (hot by British Isles standards) and discussed the problem with people who have done so in hotter climates (Texas and Israel, most notably). So, first and foremost, they probably would not have worn the armour unless they were expecting to go into a fight. ...


26

There was a separation between the noble french and the vulgar Old English. Or as I wrote in my comment: Who cares about the language of peasants I found a nice source for this assumption Middle English (1100-circa 1500 AD): After William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England in 1066 AD with his armies and became king, he ...


26

Your question embodies large amounts of modern fantasy. Firstly, imagine that nothing can be bought or sold by the vast and overwhelming majority of the population. Coin does not exist or circulate for most people. There obviously would have been farmers, creating and selling produce in markets Nope. Farmers are a modern institution related to ...


25

I don't think it is possible to idenitify a single point in history as beginning the "slope toward the end". Such thinking results from the simplistic model of an empire's history as consisting of two segements: "growth" and "decline". In reality, the history of the Byzantine empire is a complex sequence of alternating growth and decline. I'd say that the ...


25

You will find some cost/price data here: List of Prices in Medieval England Image of the Armour data: Expensive is a relative and subjective term, the best that can be done to answer the question as asked is to compare the prices with typical incomes/pay. For such a we find that a labourer would earn 1-4 pence per day (the lower pay is earlier the higher ...


24

The first example of catapulting plague victims into a besieged city was that of Caffa (Modern day Feodosia) in the Crimea. This was in fact the first account of plague in European history. Caffa had been under siege by the Mongol (aka. Tartar or Golden Horde) army. The siege had been long a protracted. First starting in 1343, it was lifted by the arrival ...


23

That's not exactly how it worked. As not everybody was able to become a knight (especially without richness), many squires were adult, sometimes more than 30 years old, and because of their experience, they were well-trained fighters. Don't think of heavy cavalry only as knights. For example, the regular heavy cavalry unit in Poland was called Chorągiew (...


22

The fourth crusade was the turning point. The crusade was high-jacked by Venice to take revenge on the Byzantines for past deeds: imprisonments, break of contract, etc... The crusade was aimed to land in Egypt originally, as it was seen as the main threat to taking Jerusalem back. However, since the crusaders could not pay for the large Venetian feet, it ...


22

It would be very interesting to see a chart of rate of innovation over time in western civilization. Of course, this begs the question of what is "innovation". Do you count number of inventions? Do you give more weight to inventions that would have long lasting significance through history? Or ones that may have been less influential but providing a huge ...


22

There are many reasons, and I'm going to present the materialistic one championed by the Marxists (collective thud as the audience of History.SE falls off their chairs and faints). One of the requirements for having scientific progress is economic - you need enough surplus to enable the resources devoted to scholarship. This was enabled at the beginning of ...


22

I'm afraid any answer to this question must begin by considering what is understood to be the 'Renaissance' and the 'Scientific Revolution'. And that consideration, in turn, inevitably reveals a number of historiographical difficulties. The first of these is that neither of these were 'events', at least, not in the sense of a war or an assassination. They ...


22

Probably not. It seems to have existed as a traditional right, but was almost never exercised. Wikipedia denies the existence of this right, citing Albrecht Classen's The Medieval Chastity Belt. Snopes concurs, citing Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 10.610: [The droit du seigneur] is paralleled in various primitive societies, but the evidence of ...


22

Maybe someone more knowledgeable about the economics of a society like the medieval Mongols might expand on this, but to me it seems that such a civilization could generate much more income by conquering and looting new territory than what they could produce internally. This is also true to the nomadic people in the migration period some centuries earlier: ...


21

Officially the Knights were disbanded in the early 14th century, beginning in France with King Philip IV prosecuting them for multiple reasons (the Templars had lost standing after the Third Crusade, public mistrust, and the King owed money to the order), with other countries to follow. Pope Clement V disbanded the Order in 1312.


21

"armour" is a bit general, from the fancy gleaming best tournement suit to the few bits of salvaged chain mail stitched onto an archers leather jacket. Generally the knights and foot soldiers wouldn't march in anything like full armour, medieval battles were fought on agreed sites when the armies were visible to each other - not ambushes or blitzkreig. So ...


21

Having done some archery, I can attest to the fact that you can get a lot more people on the line, shooting at the same time, if their movements are at least broadly in sequence. The combined benefits of the physical impact of more archers in the same space, and the moral impact of a thousand arrows hitting at the same time rather than a steady stream, seem ...


21

Mentions of Bandits and robbers: Bandits and robbers were a constant threat on the Silk Road. Xuanzang mentions several encounters with bandits. Near Dunhuang, the Silk Road split in two to skirt the rim of the Taklamakan Desert. The roads met again 1400 miles west at Kashgar. But between these two oases lay the Silk Road's most dangerous terrain. ...


20

Most of the information I have found indicates that the Arab Christians were caught in the crossfire between the Muslims and the Christian Crusaders. In fact, they were often slaughtered along with the Muslims. Most likely this was because the Crusaders did not want to risk being infiltrated by Muslims posing as Christians. Ironically, the Crusades ...


20

Leather was probably the most common material. The most basic transportation technology of the medieval era was the foot ... Those who did not go barefoot ... wore simple shoes. These shoes were made from leather, including the flat sole. - Wigelsworth, Jeffrey R. Science and Technology in Medieval European Life. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006. ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible