Questions tagged [middle-ages]

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 were siege ladders used to attack medieval castle walls?

It's a common trope in both movies and computer games that ladders are used to climb walls when assaulting a castle. But in each case it seems like it would be incredibly easy to defend - it appears ...
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How did Medieval European river passenger transport develop?

I read some sources that transport by boat over European rivers developed already in the early medieval period, ie after having developed ships with low draft as well as the invention of a ...
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What was the role of Scotland during the Hundred years war

I know Scotland was the enemy of England back then as they had just won their Scottish Independence just few decades back to it makes sense for them to join hands with the French forces. And i had ...
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Were any prominent people exiled from France during the Hundred years war? Especially between 1390-1397

Were any notable figures (such as noblemen, or mercenaries, politician [idk what they called them back then] etc. ) that were exiled from France during Hundred Years War between 1390 to 1397. Or any ...
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Is Jacques Le Goff's statement about medieval labor mechanization not leading to qualitative progress true?

Jacques Le Goff said this in his book "Medieval Civilization 400-1500" on pages 200-201. I would like to know if modern historians agree with these statements of Jacques le Goff and why: ...
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At what height were Gargoyles typically used in Gothic architecture

In terms of the design of gothic buildings, specifically French Gothic, at what height were Gargoyles typically installed / deemed necessary? Or were they installed in most stone buildings regardless ...
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How was plate armour attached and secured?

I can see from this quora post leather straps were used throughout history, but was that all that was used, and where typically (if there's well defined types of attachment) did various parts attach ...
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Why didn't pre-Gutenberg movable type systems cause a printing revolution? [duplicate]

From Wikipedia Around 1040, the first known movable type system was created in China by Bi Sheng out of porcelain. Bi Sheng used clay type, which broke easily, but Wang Zhen by 1298 had carved a more ...
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How did ancient people handle lightning in practical life?

..and any culture before the ubiquitous recognition of lightning in our current everyday understanding. In particular those who were especially exposed in everyday life: For instance Scandinavia had ...
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How aware was Europe nobility of the danger of consanguinity?

If my understanding of history is correct, it was common for much of European history for nobles and royalty to need to keep the blood 'pure' by marrying only people of similar standing. This ...
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How did Medieval crafts people manufacture scales?

A scale in this sense is a series of evenly spaced graduations like the marks on a ruler: Today, we use an End Mill or a Dividing Engine to manufacture the scales. Scales were used frequently on ...
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Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage?

Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage? Years ago, I saw this in Terry Jones' Medieval Lives episode 1 ( at 14:00). Jones explains pottage and then says there was an instant type of ...
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Insect consumption in late middle-ages in the Northern Europe

Were insects consumed in the Northern Europe in the late Middle Ages by the rural population? It seems natural to use any available source of food during a famine, but in order to get substantial ...
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Was throwing hammers as weapons common during European medieval combat?

I'm doing some research into the weapons of Dungeons and Dragons, and one of them is a 'light' hammer that you can throw. The description says it weighs 2lbs, if that helps narrow it down. I don't ...
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How were British monarchs educated about military strategy in the Middle Ages and early modern period?

It seems Erasmus and the like gave humanist education in classics and liberal arts. It also seems tactics were taught through childhood games, hunting, and archery contests. But what about the skill ...
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How does this bird trap work?

www.nuernberger-hausbuecher.de provides the illustration below: I want to know how this bird trap mechanism works, as shown by this bird hunter of the medieval period on the book image, and it doesn'...
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Was there any sort of medieval defensive contraption which dropped rocks on attackers?

I was wondering if there's any evidence of such a contraption in the Middle Ages? I'm imagining this as a cousin to the catapult; instead of catapulting rocks on attackers, they simply drop rocks on ...
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What were the heir and children of monarchs with the titles "Grand Prince" or "Prince" called?

I've tried to look everywhere, but I could not find anything substantial. What I want to know is, what were the heirs and grander offspring of monarchs, with titles such as "Grand Prince" or ...
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When did Averroes start to study medicine?

I'm doing research about Averroes, especially his interest in medical sciences. And I want to know his interest motivation, indication, and his age when he started to study medicine. I looked at what ...
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What percentage of the population was in the clergy (chastity vows) in Europe *at its peak* between 500-1500)?

According to this Wiki.fr page, 90% of the population were peasants. Of the 10% remaining, what percentage of them were clergy people? And does it apply during peak time? And when was this peak time? ...
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What historic documents do we have supporting women wearing veils as historically continuous since Assyrian law?

The documentation of Assyrian law is given in the answer to this question. What is the earliest history of Middle Eastern women wearing veils for modesty while in public? What historic documents do we ...
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How common was cannibalism in Christian Europe until the 17th century?

When hearing about cannibalism, a Robinson-Crusoean narrative usually comes to my mind, where primitive tribes would engage in limited warfare and probably ritualistically consume their prisoners. ...
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How common were marital duels in medieval Europe?

On social media, I came across a post claiming that in medieval Germany spouses could settle a divorce outside of court, civic or religious, through trial by combat! Naturally, I was shocked (the ...
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What is the reasoning behind these huge numbers for participants in the Battle of Grunwald 1410?

I was reading about the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410 during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War and I found this strange excerpt from current Wikispeedia, (which is based on an old Wikipedia ...
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How were Cumans physically?

I usually find pictures of Cumans or Kipchaks (I know they are not exactly the same, but they were strongly related) wearing full armor and full helmets with a face mask on it. I'm curious about two ...
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Did medieval libraries loan books to other libraries?

I'd like to know this: Did medieval libraries loan books to other libraries -- as opposed to something like having them transcribed and sending the copy? What do we know about the process? (e.g., ...
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What does Tuchman mean by transition to a "money economy" in the Middle Ages?

In A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Chapter 4, Barbara W. Tuchman writes: The governing fact was that medieval organization by this time [i.e., the 14th century] had passed to a ...
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Marc Bloch's "Feudal Society"; Why do nobles have this vocation? [duplicate]

In volume two of "Feudal Society", Marc Bloch writes in the chapter about nobility, under the section named "THE PROFESSION OF ARMS", that: "the possession of manors was the ...
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Did medieval armies cultivate resources during their campaigns?

Reading on the siege of Constantinople of 717, the following is mentioned: The Arab army was well-provisioned, with Arab accounts reporting high mounds of supplies piled up in their camp, and had ...
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Did medieval kingdoms issue health related guidelines?

Today national health protection agencies around the world such as CDC in United States often issue health and personal hygiene guidelines during pandemics or epidemic or where a large population of ...
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Is there any evidence of the miracles of Tulsidas?

Several miracles are attributed to the great medieval poet and philosopher Tulsidas, among them reviving the dead, and one of the ones that most caught my attention was his arrest by Emperor Akbar. ...
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How did medieval cities get rid of waste?

What I am trying to get to is that many video games have a sewers level. To my understanding, these aren't as realistic as we'd like to think (too big or sewerage wouldn't exist yet in the settings ...
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Why was the knitting needle or the distaff a symbol to show contempt in the Middle Ages?

From Charles MacKay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions, the chapter on the Crusades has the following section: In most cases, the laugh was turned against them, for when it became known that a man was ...
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How long did it take to make a woolen sweater?

In premodern times, in temperate or colder climates, clothing was orders of magnitude more expensive than today and textile production made up a large percentage of total economic activity. I'm ...
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What became of the Richard III infidelity surprise?

Back when Richard III of England's grave was discovered, a paper published in Nature Communications reported that while his identity was confirmed through a direct-female descendent of his sister, Y-...
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Was there and if so what was a northern silk road route from Khazaria to China?

From the reading I had done in various sources through the years, I understood that possible silk road routes from Khazaria to China were: Northern: Atil - Tashkent - Dunhuang - Chang'an Central: ...
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Is the depiction of the Stirling Castle Knight historically accurate?

For some reason BBC depicted him with a shaved head. I was wondering if it is historically accurate for a 700 year old English nobleman to have a shaved head?
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How much would 300 pounds (money value) weigh in Medieval England?

I remember reading a Robin Hood story as a child where the Sheriff of Nottingham rode though Sherwood forest, as I remember foolishly going alone, and Robin Hood robbed him of 300 pounds. And I ...
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Did Thomas Aquinas's correspondent James of Tonengo become bishop of Vercelli?

Thomas Aquinas wrote the long letter/short treatise De Sortibus at the request of his friend James / Jacobus / Giacomo of Tonengo. James was a candidate to be bishop of Vercelli (Northwest Italy) but ...
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How did medieval peasants decide where to build their houses?

When a person moved out of their parents' house, they needed a house. How was it decided where this house would be located? For example, did they just pick the next available spot on a path? Were ...
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Did Saladin speak any European languages?

As the leader of a large coalition force I'm aware he was multilingual, speaking at least Kurdish and Arabic (one site added Turkish) but a European language seems like a longshot. If he did speak one,...
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How many people lived in a medium sized European villiage around the year 800?

My question is, how many people lived in a medium sized European village (like Germany) in the year 800. And how many people would have walked on the streets in a daily routine?
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How was reconnaissance performed in medieval warfare?

During the middle ages reconnaissance played at least a minor part in a tactician's plans. As evidenced by this question Irish Hobelars would be used to scout ahead in terrain that was too difficult ...
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When did "killing" become wrong in society? [closed]

It occurred to me that in many medieval settings, people getting killed is just a part of life. If you angered a feudal lord or noble, they could cut off your hands or kill you and no one bats an eye. ...
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Were titles in the British Peerage ever connected to land grants, and if so, when did they stop being connected to land?

I have been trying to understand the peerage systems of Britain as of late, and I have a number of questions. Let's assume we're in the middle ages. A baron-in-chief, Thomas Smith, holds a number of ...
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Have any palimpsests been found in medieval Icelandic (saga) literature?

Old Norse mythology and history are mostly known through Icelandic medieval parchements. Have those been found to include palimpsests, like medieval parchement in Europe has?
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How is the term "medieval" used to describe non-European civilizations and cultures?

I have done a quick Bing search, and the term refers to the Middle Ages, a time period in Western European history. It has the alternative meaning of "very old-fashioned or primitive". Yet, ...
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Is the use of flamethrower style naval weapons depicted in this game accurate?

In the popular strategy game Age of Empires 2, one key naval unit is the so-called Fire Ship. Fire ships in the game use a siphon to launch a continuous stream of fire projectiles on the enemy. ...
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In a medieval city how large a market was needed relative to population? [closed]

In a large medieval city fed by the agricultural product of the area, plus imports such as grains, spices, fish, etc. and also serving as a regional hub for the exchange of trade goods, what ...
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Is there art or written evidence of crescent shaped arrows being used for bird-hunting in Medieval Europe?

I have heard it said that crescent arrows were used for hunting birds in medieval Europe. I could not find any art or literary evidence for it, though. The art I found for bird hunting generally ...

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