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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108 views

What determined who would be on the front lines of a large infantry engagement? [duplicate]

In Ancient and Middle Aged European Armies, what decided whether a soldier was at the front lines or just in the normal center-back? Was it a status symbol or honor to be in the front lines? Please ...
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Did Kublai Khan's army consist largely of Mongol warriors or native Chinese?

Kublai's army is always referred to as a 'Mongol' army but I suspect that after the initial conquest of China, his army consisted largely of native Chinese. Is this correct? Did the Japanese and ...
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How was law enforcement handled in medieval China before professional police?

This question came from: How was law enforcement handled in large US cities before professional police? China (Zhōng Gúo 中国) has had very large cities with more than a million people since the early ...
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Were Medieval Islamic peoples in Northern Eurasia given religious dispensations due to the long diurnal cycles?

Christian troops in Northern Europe were given Papal dispensation to allow them to follow religious practices properly during the long(er) diurnal cycle at those latitudes. Were Medieval Islamic ...
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Did the Catholic Church ban adoption in the Middle Ages?

In the book Contours of the World Economy (2007), by Angus Maddison, it says: The adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 380 AD led to basic changes in the nature of European marriage, ...
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Are there historical statistics about the number of market towns?

As a way to understand changes in the middle ages, I want to know the development of market towns. Particularly, I am looking for the increase in their number, organised by country and period (e.g. ...
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Why didn't the Black Death made the peasants more desperate and more accepting of exploitation? [closed]

The Black Death is said to have made labor more expensive and the peasants free. But why hasn't the opposite happened?
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Was the Bundesbrief a forgery?

Steinberg (2015, Why Switzerland?) writes: The famous Bundesbrief of 1291 is one of many ‘Fälschungen’ – forgeries which carbon-dating has shown to be from a later period. But briefly googling, it ...
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Are there 15th or 16th century English sources that exemplify Empress Matilda as an impediment to having a Queen Regnant?

I'm reading Alison Weir's 'Elizabeth of York', and she makes claims as to why Elizabeth of York couldn't succeed to the throne after Richard III which are not supported by evidence. Legally, there ...
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How expensive were castles? And how were the costs distributed?

In, Castles, Battles, Bombs: How Economics Explained Military History, I came across this passage : "The cost lay mostly in direct labor cost, as most labor had to be paid. (In contrast, raw material ...
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When and how did classical mythology subjects start to appear in art in medieval/Renaissance Europe?

All early medieval Europe art objects I am aware of are either about the Christian subjects or about the history (chronicles etc.). Classical mythology was obviously known in Europe before, see e.g. ...
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Were eastern weapons ever seen in medieval Europe and western weapons ever seen in medieval Asia? [closed]

Like could some trader in medieval France be selling a katana or urumi amongst his wares that he obtained in his travels? Could a merchant in Japan have a zweihander or flamberge in his collection?
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How would an early Medieval German market have looked?

I am trying to find sources on how a medieval German market would have looked. Any artwork (painting, wood carving, wood print) would be perfect, but even just a description would already be great. My ...
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How did the Hansa organize river trade in the 14th and 15th centuries?

How did the Hansa accommodate the transition from sea to river trade along a trade route? Would river travel have been controlled by one group of people, e.g., Guild of the River Oder Merchants? Would ...
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How did (riverine) toll castles operate?

Toll Castle A toll castle (WP) was a castle built either on a river, lake, or road intended to guard that trade route: Such castles were usually placed at strategic locations, such as border ...
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What did the English people during the Peasants' Revolt know about the Ciompi Revolt?

The Ciompi revolt started in Florence in June 1378 and the Peasants' Revolt started in England in May 1381, just three years later. Did the news about Ciompi Revolt reach England in three years? Did ...
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How were cities administered in the early Byzantine Empire?

First of all, I would just like to note that I am not looking for an answer concerning Constantinople, but rather how other cities were governed (e.g. Thessaloniki, Adrianapole, Nicaea, Smyrna, ...
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Do these depictions of hunt in medieval Catholic churches have the same symbolic meaning? If not, what is it?

I have come across 3 depictions of a hunt in Catholic churches. The first two are tiles that were on the floors of an English abbey and a church not far from Reims, France; I could not find any ...
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How did philosophical and scientific knowledge in Christian Europe in 1085 compare to the body of knowledge contained in the library of Toledo?

In 1085, Moorish Toledo was conquered by Alfonso VI. According to prof. Robert Sapolsky (he is a primatologist and neurobiologist, but usually all information he gives is very reliable), at the time ...
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What percentage of the population were serfs by region/year?

Where can I find statistics on the percentage of the population that were serfs, ideally broken down by country/region and by year? Even very rough estimates would be helpful, but unfortunately I've ...
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How historically accurate Is this replica “15th century hand and a half” sword?

Sorry, not a plug, but this sword at this shop called The Medieval Store has a 15th century hand and a half sword and I am curious the historical significance of it. What makes it 15th century? Can ...
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How did private property work in medieval France?

Were you required to purchase a land deed to get permission from the ruler of the area, or could you build wherever you wanted? If the latter is how it worked throughout Europe for the most part, I ...
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What was the point of hanging in “hanging, drawing, and quartering”?

As I understand it, “hanging, drawing, and quartering” was specifically designed in order to be torturous and frightening. Certainly drawing (whether referring to dragging by a horse, or ...
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What are the historical equivalents of cooperative storytelling like modern role-playing games?

I understand the direct history of RPGs mostly coming from Dungeons and Dragons, which had grown out of the combat game Chainmail, but I am wondering if there were any close equivalents in older ...
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Who were the first “businessmen” to rival the kings throughout the world? [closed]

The merchants seem to have existed for as long as human history. But when did they begin to "take over" the kings? By that I mean, by the time of the "tycoons" like the Oil and Train people of the ...
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What are some good books about middle ages plague? [closed]

Could someone recommend some good books on the plague epidemics during the middle ages?
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How was Christmas celebrated in early Byzantium?

I haven't been able to find any information regarding Christmas in Eastern Rome from before the tenth century. Literally any information regarding the celebration of Christmas in the fifth and sixth ...
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To what extent did the medieval European peasantry know their extended family?

It may not be possible to find a definitive answer to this question, as I know the answer to this would have varied from family to family and culture to culture, but I am curious to know to what ...
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How did gong farmers see when cleaning out cesspits?

As in the title, how did gong farmers of medieval(500-1500AD) England, France, etc. see when cleaning out cesspits when their job requires them to work at night with minimal light. Since cesspits are ...
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Were there any travel restrictions during the Black Death pandemic?

From the Wikipedia article Black Death: The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence, Great Bubonic Plague, the Great Plague or the Plague, or less commonly the Great Mortality or the Black Plague,...
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What is an Odalbönder and Heathguard?

I saw and heard these words in a video in my history class last year but my teacher didn't elaborate on what they meant. In the context of the video, it sounded as if they were social positions or ...
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Did people shoot from both sides of the bow in medieval times?

Most modern archers are taught to shoot with Mediterranean style; that is, putting the arrow on the left side of the bow (if they're right handed) and pulling the string with 3 fingers. Some claim ...
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How would “distraint of knighthood” law in medieval England fit with the fact that all knights must be of noble birth?

I've read recently about “distraint of knighthood” law in medieval England started by Henry III but I found it very strange indeed. This law forced all rich people who has 40 £ or more to be knighted ...
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Are there thirteenth century sources linking the Fifth Crusade to the Book Of Daniel?

Are there any thirteenth century sources (Christian, Islamic, or Jewish) linking (the timing of) the fifth crusade to a possibly self-fulfilling prophecy1 from (the eighth chapter2 of) the Book of ...
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What did the term “Parage” mean in middle ages Langued'oc?

In the book "Massacre at Montsegur" Zoé Oldenbourg mentioned the term "Parage" that was used in that time in the area: It was the honour of the Occitan nobilty, so humiliated by these Northern ...
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How was the Pandidakterion organised?

How was the Pandidakterion organised? Wikipedia:Pandidakterion states that the Pandidakterion lacked 'corporative structure'. I do not understant exactly what the corporative structure is and how was ...
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What was the point of horse armour?

From my knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong), horse armour wasn't very thick (0.4mm-1.9mm) according to the paper in the link: How thick was late medieval horse armor? Even without ...
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Was it possible to “aim for the epaulette boys” during the Middle Ages?

During the American Revolution, American troops were often told to "aim for the epaulette boys,"* that is, to first shoot at officers wearing epaulettes, on the theory that killing an officer would ...
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Did healers in medieval Europe use moldy bread in poultices for wounds?

In a Song of Ice and Fire, injured characters are frequently given a poultice made of, amongst other things, moldy bread. We drowned the wound with boiling wine, and closed you up with a poultice ...
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How would a king's servants prove that they are on a task given by the king?

How would servants of kings, lords or so on, prove that they are on some task given by their lord if someone were to question them? I imagine a letter written by a ruler would be enough for those who ...
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How much power and influence could a child monarch have?

As I understand, if a monarch died before his heir reached adulthood, the heir would still become a king or queen regardless of age, but the country would be temporarily governed by a regent. I want ...
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What authority did the Catholic Church have over European monarchs from 900–1450?

I recently described the Catholic Church as a superpower during the Middle Ages and was surprised a respected member of the board (LangLangC) objected to that characterization and thought the Catholic ...
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What actually happened during the elephant duel (Songkram Yutahatti) between King Naresuan of Ayutthaya/Siam and Mingy Swa of Hongsawadee/Burma?

Before we start, I just want to say that I find Thai history and the history of Southeast Asia in general to be extremely fascinating and interesting. I think that it’s just as interesting as Chinese ...
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How was the vast Khazar fortress of Sarkel destroyed?

I understood that Sarkel was a vast Khazar hilltop limestone-bricks fortress of the type of a fortified town, located in the present-day Rostov Oblast of Russia, on the left bank of the lower Don ...
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How did the roots of European knightly culture transfer from ancient Iran to European Middle Ages? [closed]

I have come across a reference in a German guide book on Iran that suggests the roots of knightly culture in European Middle Ages may be found in the Sassanian Empire (224 to 651 AD; translation ...
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What is this consistent symbol in the Spanish coat of arms? [closed]

I have been reading Spanish history today, and have noticed a very distinct commonality in the flags and coat of arms for various periods, but I haven't been able to find precise explanations of the ...
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Where does the Kurrent letter-form for E come from?

The old German cursives, both Suetterlin and Kurrent, have several peculiar features compared to modern German cursive handwriting. One is a double-stroke letter-shape for E. Most introductory ...
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How were the Burmese able to sack Ayutthaya when it was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in Asia at the time? [closed]

So I’m “watching” (more like skipping to the interesting scenes) the Thai lakorn/historical drama Sri Ayodhaya and in one episode, this one professor said that Ayutthaya was an incredibly wealthy and ...
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Who was the medieval author who addressed readers 1000 years in the future?

I'm trying to remember the author of a quotation, where the author addresses the reader in the far future. It's says something like "if you are reading this in 100 or perhaps 1000 years I hope the ...
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What are the precursors of the Bayeux Tapestry?

Background from Wikipedia: Bayeux Tapestry is one of a kind, cr. 70 metres long, narrative embroidery depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, and culminating in the Battle ...

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