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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249 views

Where can I find information about “stone power” / lapidaire?

While doing some research about Middle-Ages jewelry, where stones comes from and the economy around it, I found a website mentioning this book and mention beliefs in some magical properties of ...
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Why were medieval babies in painting so ugly? [closed]

As u can see the baby looks like the evil button eyed mother in Coraline and the mom looks dead
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What drugs were used in England during the High Middle Ages?

It's well known that alcohol was brewed and drunk throughout the Middle ages in England, but I wonder what is known from archaeological evidence and contemporary sources about what other drugs were ...
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Are there any writings by blinded and/or exiled Byzantine emperors?

Several Byzantine Emperors were deposed and subsequently blinded and/or exiled by their successors. Are there any extant texts authored by any of these deposed emperors?
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How were large monetary transactions conducted in medieval Europe?

Recently, I have read in the news about a large hoard of Norman coins in England being found. Apparently, all of these coins were silver pennies. And then it occurred to me that small silver coins ...
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How was the black death spread? [closed]

When discussing the black plague, many historians believe it to be the bubonic plague transmitted by fleas on rats. I was wondering if there are any competing theories to what caused this mass death.
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How did medieval manors handle population growth? Was there room for more fields to be ploughed?

Most villeins were bound to the manor and not allowed to move elsewhere. But what happened when the population grew? The size of the manor remained the same didn't it, so how did they keep up with the ...
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3answers
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How were medieval castles built in swamps or marshes without draining them?

By this, I mean a castle built without terraforming or draining the swamp; a castle that was built while keeping the swamp intact. Inspired by Monty Python Since apparently, castles built in marshes ...
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What is the history of the university asylum law?

I fear this question may be rather broad and I would like help to narrow it down. Currently a debate is ongoing in Greece regarding the law preventing police from stepping into university campuses. ...
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Are there any medieval records of girls with large clitorises misidentified (and subsequently raised) as boys?

Several years ago, I read a piece of trivia in a popular science magazine1, which said pretty much exactly: In the Middle Ages there were many cases where a newborn girl was born with a clitoris ...
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Did Pope Urban II issue the papal bull “terra nullius” in 1095?

Countless sources claim that the origin of the term terra nullius is from a papal bull issued by Pope Urban II in 1095 called "Terra nullius". Here are a two: Pramod K. Nayar, The Postcolonial ...
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What should I call bands of armed men in the Middle Ages?

I am writing a fiction short story roughly based off medieval times in Europe. In it I have a group of men who live in a castle and fight for the castle's lord. (They mainly protect the surrounding ...
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Was Richard I's imprisonment by Leopold of Austria justified?

I read in Wikipedia and Britannica about Richard I of England regarding his imprisonment and I was perplexed by the fact that a sovereign monarch, and a crusader at that, could be imprisoned by a ...
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What are the most accurate depictions of medieval cavalry charges in movies or TV series? [closed]

Reading this excellent question/answer about the Physics of heavy cavalry charges, I am wondering what are the most accurate depictions of medieval cavalry charges in movies or TV series? Two come to ...
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Were war horses unable to graze naturally in grass fields and so needed to be feed manually with exclusive type of hay?

I found this trivia in a historical strategy game (the game name will be kept secret) and so I want to know the credibility of it. It states that war horse (i mean destrier or other type of european ...
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Why did Al-Andalus become cosmopolitan?

I have been watching some BBC documentaries on the history of Spain recently. 'Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain with Simon Sebag Montefiore', and 'The Art of Spain' (Episode 1: The Moorish South). ...
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When the Swiss Guard was formed, was the height requirement 174 cm (5' 8 1/2")?

The current minimum height required for the Swiss Guard at the Vatican is 5'8 1/2" or 174 cm (Swiss Guard requirements). Has that always been the case? I remember reading years ago that the minimum ...
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1answer
112 views

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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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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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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239 views

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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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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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
186 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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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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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 ...