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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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Where was the Battle of Clontarf recorded? [on hold]

The Battle of Clontarf is a battle in Ireland between the Irish and vikings, but where is this information recorded and in what books? How do we know this information?
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Was Lithuania civilized or tribal before Christianization in the 14th century? [on hold]

Was Lithuania, in the period before Christianization in the 14th century, civilized like the "Holy Roman Empire" or tribal like Samis? Is there any illustration showing how they looked?
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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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152 views

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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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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3answers
330 views

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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4answers
547 views

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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3answers
144 views

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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104 views

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 ...
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1answer
147 views

In medieval England was heresy dealt with in the king's courts or church courts?

In medieval England was heresy dealt with in the kings courts or church courts? Clearly heresy was a crime against the church but the punishment was death so presumably it must have been dealt with ...
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Source material for a tale originating from the Middle ages: “Falling off a church and surviving by falling on someone”

I'm looking for the original story of a tale I've been told years ago back in high school by my history teacher. A worker in France was working on a church and lost his balance and fell. He landed on ...
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1answer
114 views

Are there any famous people who died from cancer before 1800? [closed]

Cancer was described by the ancient Egyptians by 1600 BC and, much later, by Hippocrates and then Celsus during the early empire. Cases were diagnosed but there is no mention of people who were famous....
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1answer
156 views

Youngest age for the militia in the middle ages

I know it probably differed from village to village, town to town, city to city, but what was the standard bare minimum age for anyone to join the local militia or receive any sort of combat/survival ...
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122 views

How did medieval fishermen work a long line?

How did medieval fishermen use a long line? What did they use as bait? How many hooks were there? When was it put out? When was it pulled in? I want as many details as possible.
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3answers
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Did a villein ever rise to the nobility in Medieval England?

I know that there are tales of burghers and other commoners getting rich through trade. Was it unknown for villeins to climb the social scale?
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2answers
158 views

Oppression of non-ethnic Hungarians in Hungary pre 1800s

I was reading about Magyarization and it is noted that this process only began in the 1800s. However, I was wondering about earlier oppression of Romanians specifically in the Transylvania regions pre-...
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1answer
117 views

What is an antimendicant?

I am reading a book (Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Books Under Suspicion, (University of Notre Dame Press) 2006.) called Books Under Suspicion. In it, there is an ongoing struggle between the mendicant orders ...
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1answer
166 views

Are there any documented cases from ancient or medieval times of someone escaping captivity by cross-dressing?

In 1642, at the beginning of the English Civil War, the Irish Royalist Daniel O'Neill escaped from the Tower of London where he had been imprisoned by the Parliamentarians by tying bed sheets and a ...
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1answer
209 views

What expenses did a village have?

I'm trying to research the incomes and expenditures of a small village in medieval England. The village occupies a formerly abandoned settlement situated against an abandoned castle. The village is a ...
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2answers
5k views

What is the date and original source of this medieval picture?

While researching the history of chimneys, I came across this medieval image on two different sites, neither of which gives any details. Source: Dark Ages Project. The same picture can also be found ...
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2answers
379 views

Aside from Henry VIII, did a king ever take part in a joust as an unknown knight (incognito)?

The unknown knight would seem to belong in the realm of fiction - witness Gareth in Le Morte d'Arthur and Wilfred in Ivanhoe, among others - but incognito knights fighting in jousts or melees were not ...
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2answers
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Why did King Arthur have such a great influence in Brittany?

King Arthur, according to its literature, was a British leader. However, its influence in Brittany is huge. The Brocéliande, the mythical forest where Merlin was buried, is there, lots of family names ...
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4answers
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Did foreign language phrase books exist in the ancient world?

I am finding out about the ancient equivalent to modern foreign language phrase books, used in conversations. Such as a medieval Italian-Latin conversational book, or an ancient English-French ...
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1answer
105 views

The Abbasid ransom for the Black Stone (Hajar Aswad)

The Black Stone (Al Hajaru Al Aswad, popularly called Hajar Aswad) of the Kaaba in Mecca was stolen in 930 AD by the Qarmatians, and was returned 23 years later in 952 AD for "a huge" ransom paid by ...
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1answer
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Who are the three men standing and what are they holding at this University of Paris Doctors' Meeting?

The image below is used on several sites but none of them give much information on this painting other than "Medieval Education in Europe: Meeting of Doctors in the University of Paris" and the source ...
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4answers
4k views

Has there ever been an archbishop or bishop younger than the 16-year-old James of Nicosia?

In 1456, King John II of Cyprus appointed his illegitimate son James as Latin Archbishop of Nicosia. James was just 16 at the time. James soon lost his position, being forced to flee the following ...
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1answer
194 views

What was the range of medieval bombards?

We know the weights of various medieval bombards and the weight of the stones they launched (such as the famous Mons Meg or Dardanelles gun). But I can't find any information about their range or how ...
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1answer
230 views

How did contemporaries view the Byzantine Empire during the 11th century?

I'm curious about how the Byzantine empire was viewed by contemporaries during the Middle Ages (11th century). By contemporaries, I mean the other powers of the era, such as Western European countries,...
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1answer
175 views

Identify two Medieval Indian coins

Can someone help me identifying these two old coins found in India? They are made of copper. They are very thick and weigh around 10 grams. Both the coins have a diameter of 1.5cm and thickness of 0....
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0answers
113 views

Was ambition considered a character flaw in medieval times or Renaissance?

In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar", ambition is an undesirable trait: "The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault". Was ambition widely considered ...
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4answers
228 views

Did Europe experience forest deficits prior to 19th century?

I would like to understand if there were issues with forests in Europe prior to 19th century and, if so, what were the reasons behind them? Two versions that I have are overusing forests as the ...
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1answer
543 views

Why was the battle of Bouvines that incredible?

I've been looking on some history books, history of the Plantagenets (who were part of this) and history of the Capetians, and I don't see why it was such a shock that Phillip II won the battle of ...
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1answer
263 views

What is the name of the weapon shown in the image below? [closed]

I am looking for the proper name of the sword in the image below. I was not sure which stack exchange site to post this on so I put it here, figuring it was a type of medieval weaponry, if an obscure ...
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0answers
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Did Constantine I of Cilician Armenia usurp the throne or did he rule legitimately?

The accounts concerning four brothers who became Kings of Cilician Armenia towards the end of the 13th century tell a tale of murder, usurpation and treachery, but who betrayed who and when is far ...
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216 views

Did horse sacrifice persist in Christian Europe?

While researching the Indo-European horse sacrifice, I happened upon the following claim online: Although the papal ban seems to have greatly reduced the consumption of horseflesh in most of Europe,...
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0answers
124 views

Which early rulers used the title of King of Italy? [closed]

It is easy to list modern rulers who used the title of King of Italy. The kings of the modern Kingdom of Italy were Victor Emmanuel II 1861-1878, Umberto I 1878-1900, Victor Emmanuel III 1900-1946, ...
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2answers
185 views

Do medieval historic references to “Semites” refer to Jews or to speakers of Semitic in general?

In medieval times, we often read of Semitic pogroms and expulsions etc., for example in Spain, or after the Black Death. Do the original sources refer specifically to "Semites" or to "Jews"? And if ...
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1answer
527 views

Did Jeanne d'Arc really tell a woman that she couldn't serve on the battlefield?

When I was browsing TV Tropes today, I came across this interesting tidbit of information on Jeanne d'Arc's Useful Notes page: "Also, Joan has been attributed with feminist and/or populist views, ...
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1answer
224 views

Weird weapons in medieval times [closed]

I know that this will be a bit vague, but here goes: what’s the weirdest weapon ever made/used in the medieval times? I meant in terms of how it’s used. I wrote the man catcher question so I would ...
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1answer
347 views

Were man catchers actually used in medieval times?

I know that man catchers were invented sometime during the medieval times, but were they actually used during the medieval times?
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2answers
425 views

Example of a battering ram used to successfully breach a gate

I am looking for a specific example of a battering ram used to breach the gate of a castle or fortification in Europe. I can find lots of indirect references to the use of battering rams on gates (...
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2answers
311 views

Eastern Europe during middle ages, a world view [closed]

I am a Belgian man conversant in Dutch, French, English, German (so English is not my first language), therefore you read many mistakes. My question is this: in our class and country it seems that ...
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1answer
200 views

Knights relieving vows and deeds of arms

I've been doing a lot of reading lately of books like Ivanhoe, The White Company, etc. that take place in medieval times. Frequently, I see a knight in one of those books asking another knight if he ...
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2answers
445 views

What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

It is commonly believed that winter during that age was a period of starvation, with very limited means of procuring food. If the above is true, what did the commoners (peasants, serfs, etc) had to ...
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1answer
265 views

What are the dimensions of the house in this picture?

What are the approximate dimensions of The Yeomans' House, Bignor, West Sussex, England?
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1answer
312 views

What obligations did a freed slave have to his/her former master in Anglo-Saxon England?

As in Ancient Rome, slaves in Anglo-Saxon England could gain their freedom: The manumission (freeing) of slaves was solemnized by ceremony, the presence of witnesses, and legal documentation... ...
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2answers
3k views

Who was Richard of York at the Battle of Grunwald?

Gloria.TV states that "the foreign knight,...Richard of York" fought, and was killed, at the Battle of Grunwald (Tannenberg) in 1410. I can find no one from the house of York who might have been at ...
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5answers
8k views

What is the pre-schism Christian church called today?

I've come upon numerous instances where a pre-11th century person or artifact is associated with either the Orthodox or Catholic church. The most recent example is in Francis Fukuyama's "The Origins ...