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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1answer
171 views

When the Swiss Guard was formed, was the height requirement 5' 8"?

The current minimum height required for the Swiss Guard at the Vatican is 5'8". Has that always been the case? I remember reading years ago that the minimum height requirement used to be about a foot ...
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Is there a source for Medieval army composition and tactics across cultures?

It's mostly a source question, because the topic is too large to be covered by simple questions and answers, so im sorry if i posted this in the wrong place. I'm trying to research on the ...
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Did every medieval village in Europe have a manor, castle, or other type of lord's residence?

I know that some villages were the sole and only property of certain minor lords or knights. Such villages surely had a manor (or even a castle) where the lord lives. On the other hand, many lords ...
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When did the Roman Empire fall according to contemporaries?

The Roman Empire divided itself into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Constantinople and the Western Roman Empire headquartered in Rome. The city of Rome itself fell in the year ...
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261 views

To what extent was Christianity responsible for the dark ages of Western Europe?

Some sources assert that Christianity caused the dark ages of Western Europe. But actually, to what extent Christianity was actually responsible for the dark ages of Western Europe? I know this can ...
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213 views

Why the belt or strap in some plate armor and some other armor exposed in the middle front side?

(the belt or strap locate at the middle side of the breastplate or the plackart) Won't the belt become easy target to be cut or to be worn out? Making the armor prone to break up or unable to cover ...
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239 views

Do medieval mongols horse archer have deformed arms like English bowman?

And is there other archer inside/outside of Europe in ancient time suffer the same deformity like English archer? From skeleton reconstruction . I also cant find the credible site, but its pretty ...
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132 views

Why are some of the towns or villages near the shore or river not entirely surrounded or enclosed by their wall? [closed]

Especially the side that facing the shore or river. Just to be clear, I don't mean the wall must be surrounding or enclosed all the way through the water, or near the tip of the shore or river, ...
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What was the relation of Barons to Counts/Dukes/Earls in England during the medieval ages? [closed]

Barons from what I gather, were under direct obligation to the king. What was the position of counts or dukes? Was their position that of viceroy? As in the barons in the area under the county/duchy ...
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How were noblewomen named/titled in Medieval France, c. 11th century?

I was reading through some articles on Wikipedia and long story short I ended up reading about 11th century dukes of France. I noticed that a lot of their wives had names such as, e.g. Adelaide of ...
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176 views

How did currency exchange work in the Middle Ages, especially if the coins are not recognized?

According to Wikipedia, there were a wide range of currencies in the Middle Ages: The various Germanic states in the west all had coinages that imitated existing Roman and Byzantine forms. Gold ...
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A question about the definition of heresy (13th. C)

I write considering a definition of heresy, given by Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (fl. 1235), who's words are widely cited in regards to the history of the inquisition: An opinion created by human ...
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Medieval infantry deployed in ranks of #(?) men (formation depth)?

We know quite a lot about Greek phalanx, its deployment and depth and, I believe, about Roman legions as well. But do we know anything about Western European infantry formations of high/late middle ...
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226 views

What did people of the middle ages call their periods? [closed]

I initially misread this question and am now left wondering what the answer to my first interpretation is. What did the people of the middle ages call their periods? I'm curious not only about ...
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5answers
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What's the correct term for a waitress in the Middle Ages?

How was a waitress called in the Middle Ages? Handmaid, waitress, maid, ...? And is there a different name for the ones who did this kind of job inside a castle, in contrast to the women doing this ...
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261 views

What is an example of effective flanking maneuvers in medieval battles?

I'm interested in better understanding medieval military tactics. I know that flanking maneuvers are often considered devastating in battles but I can find any good examples of this tactic being ...
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Was the Maltese Falcon a real historical artifact?

Am wondering if any of this is true (Hammett, The Maltese Falcon, p. 150). "The archives of the Order from the twelfth century on are still at Malta. They are not intact, but what is there ...
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1answer
347 views

What does it mean to “take the Cross”

I am reading Simon Schama's A History of Britain Volume I, which often makes reference to this form of punishment. For example, on p144: "The assassin's made for Yorkshire, where they lived ...
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Is the term “chainmail” historically accurate, or a modern invention?

I've heard the claim that the armour widely known today as "chainmail" or "chain mail" was never historically never called by that name in the era when it was used in Europe, rather known as "mail" or ...
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Did men and women feast together in the early Middle Ages?

I am interested in important feasts of the upper classes (nobility), e.g., Easter or the baptism of important heirs, in the Eastern Frankish kingdom around 900 AD, specifically the duchy of Saxony. ...
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What was the place of a catapult in a formation

My question is where would you usually keep a catapult on a battlefield. It feels as if you shouldn't keep it in the rear back of the army since it won't reach the target, and also you want to have as ...
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1answer
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Did Henry V’s archers at Agincourt fight with no pants / breeches on because of dysentery?

At the Battle of Agincourt (1415), according to the War History Online article The Time English Soldiers went to Battle without Pants, and Won The conditions for the archers at the start of the ...
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How would one muzzle a full grown polar bear in the 13th century?

In his answer to a recent question on whether there had been a Viking Exchange between Europe and the Americas, LangLangC brings up that the King of Norway offered a polar bear to Henry the 3rd in ...
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How did women give birth in middle ages? [closed]

I don't really know where to ask this question, and how to name it properly in short. But here: As I read through historical literature about middle ages it seemed like the dark times: constant wars,...
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1answer
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Chancery vs Common Pleas vs Exchequer vs King's Bench

Please explain with simple words. I'm interested only in their jurisdictions and functions: How did these 4 main courts' differ? What did the King's Bench cover? Parliament.uk distinguishes only ...
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1answer
170 views

Why were the doors of ghettos locked at night?

I've heard that some hundreds of years ago, in many places, the Jews were forced to live in ghettos and that the doors to the ghetto were locked at night. (See, for example, https://widerimage....
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What was the economic impact of Notre Dame When it was built?

After visiting Notre Dame a while back I became curious about the economic impacts behind building a cathedral in the middle ages. The literature and the guides talked about a variety of motivations ...
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448 views

What's the point of fortified castles inside fortified cities?

In middle ages people built highly fortified castles for royalty inside cities that were already fortified by walls. What was the reasoning behind that? Were they made to protect royal families from ...
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1answer
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Do we know anything in detail about the effect of the black death on Sub-Saharan Africa?

When I was in school 20-odd years ago, historians were still unsure about whether or not the black death traveled through Sub-Saharan Africa to any large degree, in large part because the vector (...
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1answer
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What were the grooves in the side of the walls at the rear entrance of Harlech and Beaumaris gatehouses for?

The back of Harlech and Beaumaris castle gatehouses seem to have grooves in the side of the wall for a portcullis, but there is no groove above so if there was one was there it could not be raised. ...
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Why Were Madagascar and New Zealand Discovered So Late?

Considering how exploration over long distances into the unknown has been a part of human nature right at the beginning, it's surprising that some fairly large places have been discovered relatively ...
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Where are the agrarian reforms of Basil II codified?

I am interested in Byzantine law, especially under Basil II. Much weight is always attached to his agrarian reforms. I would like to read some of his laws in the original. I guess these reforms were ...
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What's the meaning of a knight fighting a snail in medieval book illustrations?

Someone sent me this really weird picture of a medieval illustration. It depicted a knight fighting a snail, and was basically a viral snarky commentary about how weird medieval ideas were. I tried ...
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Schism of 1054 - what were the positions of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch?

Q1 Given that the validity of the Western legates' act is doubtful since Pope Leo had died and Cerularius' excommunication only applied to individuals, why was the schism allowed to continue to the ...
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Have any artifacts or archaeological remains from the White Ship disaster of 1120 ever been recovered?

After the White Ship disaster, which claimed the lives of all on board (except one), including William Adeline, the heir to the English throne, England was plunged into a civil war known as the ...
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Military reforms after the battle of Manzikert?

After the battle of Manzikert and during Alexius's reign was there any attempt towards military reform to go back to the theme peasant-soldier system instead of mercenaries? In John Julius Norwich's ...
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Did Cimabue also paint the Last Supper?

May I ask if the painter Cimabue also painted the Last Supper? I am trying to draw some comparison between the different paintings of The Last Supper in different eras... But Cimabue (1240-1302) has ...
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1answer
343 views

What was the population of late Pre-Islamic Arabia and the population of Arabic speakers before Islam?

The Arab tribes were spread out widely, and the land of Arabia was not as viable to live on as the Fertile Crescent, so I would expect the population to be lower. But, how much in an estimated range ...
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helmet change from Greek to Macedon, Rome and Medieval period

Why did Roman helmets not cover the mouth like their greek counterparts? Did individual soldiers need to shout commands? Same for companion calvary Boeotian helmet vs that of medieval knights.
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Where in a city would a cathedral be built?

I am creating a medieval style village in a video game I am developing. Trying to be as accurate as possible I have studied the basic form Gothic Cathedrals and come to a pretty good understanding. ...
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2answers
333 views

Could medieval soldiers be organized into a Roman style legion order of battle?

Is there any reason why medieval soldiers could not have been organized into the order of battle of the Roman Empire by a ruler or empire that chose to do so? Integrating crossbowmen, longbowmen, ...
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What are some of the earliest examples of welfare states?

I was reading about Welfare States and came across this on Wikipedia: Emperor Ashoka of India put forward his idea of a welfare state in the 3rd century BCE. [...] The concepts of welfare and ...
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At what age could you hold custody of another in 12th century England?

My question is as stated in the title. My reason for asking is that I know girls could marry at twelve, and boys at fourteen. I am wondering at what age could each have legal custody of another? I ...
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Who revoked their signatures from the union agreement at the Council of Florence?

In many Byzantine history books, a general statement is made that from the 700 strong delegation to the council of Florence, "many Orthodox bishops revoked their signatures" after the council ...
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How accepted were public displays of affection in medieval France?

Were a man and a woman allowed to kiss/hug/hold hands in public? Did it differ depending on whether they were married or not? What about if they were engaged? If it was forbidden, what punishment did ...
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261 views

In the High Middle Ages, how did French nobility introduce each other?

Say two lord, or lord and a lady are talking. Would they start a conversation with a person whose name they don't know? And if so, how would they ask for the other's name/introduce themselves? I'm ...
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Was it possible to organize a women's uprising or feminist movement in the Middle Ages? [closed]

Women in Europe endured thousands of years of gender inequality, culminating in the Middle Ages. Women in the Middle Ages had few rights and were treated like minors and properties, yet they did very ...
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In the Middle Ages, adultery was strictly condemned by the Church. How did Kings justify their extra-marital affairs?

In the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for kings and other nobles to have extra-marital affairs. Sometimes such affairs were semi-public. Even a few Popes (such as Alexander VI) had girlfriends ...
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What is the best book to learn about medicine in medieval times? (research for a novel)

I am writing a novel where the main character is a healer in medieval times / a low-technology environment. Most of his work would involve field medicine, or treating people generally as a village ...
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Did medieval ransom taking have agents?

Medieval ransom taking was big- people were taken of all types of social standing for wide ranges of payments for their release- virtually a business. Did the business have agents who provide various ...