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 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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Does anyone know of a good source on French folk customs?

I have been looking into French culture and was wondering if anyone knows of a book or collection of documents, etc... That contain prayers, customs, etc... That the French practiced. Kinda like a ...
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Were medieval and renaissance era jesters commonly disabled?

In Hilary Mantel's famous historical fiction Wolf Hall, she implies more than once that the court fools of figures in the era of Henry VIII often had some form of learning difficulty. Indeed in one ...
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How did William the Conqueror consolidate his military victory?

Seems to me once you have won the war, your troubles are just beginning. You've got a small number of men few that can speak the local language. How do you go about putting your men in charge, ...
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How often would monks leave their monasteries in the Middle Ages?

I have been reading about medieval monasteries, and I recently read that monks could sometimes act as village priests. This confused me as I had read that monks couldn't leave their monasteries. Was ...
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Is this medieval picture of hanging 5 royals showing an historical event?

I was reading up on medieval hanging and came across this picture. It shows five royals (kings? princes?) being hanged from trees, but the articles I read don't mention any royal hangings. I had a ...
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Who were the social elites of the European middle ages?

I have recently been reading into the European Middle Ages, where one of the challenges is the limited sources available. I have often seen seen this described as a source bias towards the elite ...
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Why did Shi'ite Islam split in the 9th century?

UPDATE: There is a low hanging piece of fruit on the Wikipedia page for the Qarmations. I might give the bounty to someone who finds that. ORIGINAL QUESTION: I'm asking about the reasons for the ...
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What was the aftermath of a battle in the middle ages? How did wounded soldiers proceed?

The Red Cross was founded by 1859 over these circumstances: Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and/or well-established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and ...
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What does “two ells within the selvages” mean in the Magna Carta?

Clause 35 of the Magna Carta defines some standard weights and measures to be used throughout the realm. The first part is straightforward: the standard weight/mass used for wine, ale and corn is the ...
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Were Jews cut off from the Babylonian Geonim?

This is the view that I'm familiar with about the decline of the Geonim: The Mesopotamian Gaon reached the height of its prestige in the 10th century- with Saadia Gaon (d. 945), but the ...
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How would you address a merchant in the High Middle Ages?

If you were to address a powerful and affluent noble with a wide monopoly over trade in the 11th-13th centuries, what would you call them? (Assuming you are of lesser rank to them) Would it be Sir, ...
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Is The King (2019) historically realistic? [closed]

The King (2019) by Netflix is about king Henry V. A few aspects of the movie struck me as either unbelievable, or contradicting what little even I know about history. In no particular order: The ...
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How effective was medieval horse armor?

Medieval longbows seem now to have been only marginally effective against armoured knights of early fifteenth century although Henry Fifth was wounded in the face at Shrewsbury in 1403 with a limited ...
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Did medieval stores have names?

Re-posting this question of mine from the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange: I know it's common for shops and stores to be named in D&D and other fantasy settings, but how common was that practice in ...
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How did medieval serfs obtain their iron goods?

Serfs were farmers who paid taxes in agricultural produce and subsisted on the remainder. As I understand it, they (unlike freeholders) did not sell their produce or manufactured goods for personal ...
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In what way were Renaissance battles like chess matches?

I have been reading Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence. Although the book is well documented, it has an astonishing passage for which the author provides no ...
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How were the beds in which privileged man in medieval Europe slept? [closed]

I think it is correct to say that for all medieval Europe time the basic peasant, worker bed was a cold stone floor or at most a mattress made out of straw. I wonder how and on top of what powerful ...
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Did the Buyids emerge as allies of the Abbasid Caliphate?

The Buyid dynasty were Shia sympathizers. However, I might have read somewhere that the Buyids came to power as allies of the Abbasids. This would have been as an anti Tabaristan or anti Ziyarid ...
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How did Roman law change between Justinian and Basil II?

What were the ways in which Roman law changed between under the rule of Justinian I (with his Corpus Juris Civilis and the rest of his Legal Order) and under the rule of Basil II? I am interested in ...
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Are there any records of Foreign investments or Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in history from pre-medieval or medieval period?

A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. If we look at the articles about the ...
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Were the arches on medieval bridges large enough to permit river traffic? [closed]

I’ve been looking through the Civitates Orbis Terrarum to get a sense of the way Medieval cities and their surroundings were organized, but there are some questions I haven’t been able to answer about ...
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Where is the sword used to execute Queen Anne Boleyn?

If a 'skilled' (with sword) executioner was summoned from Calais, did he bring his own 'equipment' and, if so, is there record of him & it there? Was the sword seized when Francis, Duke of Guise ...
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How close would a peasant from middle ages England ever come to interacting with the king?

Presuming we have a peasant who works on land owned by a "common" lord (sorry, here I don't know the terminology. I mean a landowner who is not a royal), how close would that person ever get to ...
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How were de jure lands determined during the Middle Ages in Western Europe?

I was continuing my research on the strained relationship of France and England during the Middle-Ages. As I was reading up on Philip II Augustus of France in Wikipedia I stumbled upon this: The ...
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Where was the Barberini psalter created?

Would you know where the Barberini psalter was created? I have checked the on-line sources and cannot find the answer (maybe I have overlooked it?) It was created in the 11th century. The obvious ...
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Why was silage only invented in the 19th Century?

For thousands of years in the Northern climates mankind had to slaughter a large proportion of their livestock due to a shortage of winter fodder. What prevented mankind from using silage/haylage ...
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What did a tournament sword made of whale bone (baleen) look like?

I accidentally found this information from the Wikipedia page Boiled leather: The word cuirass for a breastplate indicates that these were originally made of leather.[11] In the Late Middle Ages, ...
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How effective are rope helmets as protection?

I accidentally found this in some 15th century painting in "The Arrest of Christ" in the "Karlsruher Passion" from Master of the Karlsruhe Passion (Hans Hirtz?) "The Disrobing of Christ" and after ...

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