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 were conflicting allegiances settled in Western Europe during Middle Ages?

I was trying to do some research on the subject of feudal contracts. I found some example contracts here. This contains two contracts and one oath of fealty which as I understand it is part of the ...
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How did smaller feudal vassal realms survive a war or raid?

Say you're a knight or baron or just generally a landowner who swears fealty to a much more higher title than you. One day a war breaks out between a rival realm or raiders from a more tribal-like one ...
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Do the edges of the CK3 map reflect real discontinuities in the medieval world?

Crusader Kings III was released a week or so ago, mostly to critical acclaim. I, too, have played the new release, and enjoyed it thoroughly. However, the while the new map is significantly better ...
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Have there been any significant developments in the “Norman Controversy” on the origin of the Kievan Rus? [closed]

I've been reading Riasanovsky's "A History of Russia" (2nd edition, so fairly out of date), and it comes out strongly against the Norman theory. Today though, most sources seem to lean ...
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Was frequent bathing for personal hygiene in medieval Europe common or not?

The usual narrative: No bathing There is a frequently debunked claim that medieval Europeans did not bathe. Occasionally, the claim is connected to pandemics of the era and extended to the idea that ...
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In the Middle Ages - 18th century, how long would it take for a blacksmith forge a regular farming scythe to a war scythe?

Whenever I look up how long it took for a blacksmith to certain tools or weapons, I just get information on forging swords. Let's say a peasant is trying to make his scythe efficient for self-defense ...
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How were taxes collected for traveling merchants in the middle ages?

I've done research on taxation in the middle ages. I found this answer particularly helpful. (What was the average percentage of taxes in Europe during the Middle Ages?). It mentions that merchants ...
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Why were (are) food tasters human?

In the TV series The Borgias, there were people who tasted food or drink for others (e.g., the Pope, the Queen, the King) just in case it would be poisoned. Looking this up on Wikipedia, I find that ...
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Which English king voided noble land claims after a certain date?

If my memory holds, a medieval English king ruled that noble lands were falsely held and should be returned to the crown. Parliament, of course, rejected this seizure. King and parliament compromised ...
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Did 12th century French nobles really sleep in the great hall of the castle? [closed]

I've been on so many sites and each one seems to tell a different story. Some say that nobles had their own bedrooms (evidenced by the fact that castles had bedrooms) but I have also seen people say ...
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What criteria are used to determine the popularity of Medieval European rulers?

It is relatively common to see certain monarchs described as "popular" while others are "unpopular". It confounds me as to what specific evidence has been used to determine this, ...
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How common or acceptable was it for a female yeoman or peasant in 14th century Germany to move around alone?

My query is specifically about an early teenage yeoman's daughter in what is modern day Saxony-Anhalt region in Germany. My period is the turn of the 14th Century. From my reading in medieval ...
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Is there a Welsh or Irish equivalent to the Declaration of Arbroath or Magna Carta?

Is there any pre-modern document (or was there any, if it didn't survive) in Welsh or Irish history, which is broadly equivalent in intention and purpose to the Declaration of Abroath or the Magna ...
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Why did so many Saxons emigrate to England?

I read some interesting DNA research recently showing that vikings left little or no DNA traces in the population of present day UK but Saxons on the other hand left a huge imprint. It amazes me that ...
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How did the layout of a Medieval European village typically change as it grew into a town?

Some of the research I've done so far WordlbuidingSE: How did the layout of a village change over time? This question was too broad, it's now more specific: It is not about settlements that were ...
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Are there historical texts in England querying where Roman structures came from?

I watched a film recently called King Arthur, showing London post Rome (guessing set in Middle Ages with modern-ish buildings but still with some Roman buildings / walls showing. It got me thinking: ...
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Were the 1400s-1600s really not part of the “Middle Ages”? [closed]

I read something confusing on Wikipedia and an answer on Stack Exchange today: No terrestrial globes from Antiquity or the Middle Ages have survived. Then two paragraphs later: The earliest extant ...
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What language(s) were spoken in 11th century Romania?

Curious to know what languages would've been spoken and used in correspondences during this time, specifically in Transylvania.
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How many barons did Magna Carta apply to? [closed]

How many barons had their rights improved by Magna Carta when it was signed in 1215? And how did this number evolve later? The supervising council consisted of 25 barons, but I presume more barons ...
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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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