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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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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
179 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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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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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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Did the journeyman system exist?

Answers on apprentice contracts and mastery elsewhere leads me to ask if the journeyman system ever existed in European guild labour systems, and its broad manner of operation?
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295 views

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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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
82 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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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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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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168 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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215 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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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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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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217 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
435 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
215 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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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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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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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
181 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
491 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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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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315 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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379 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
244 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
192 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
423 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
256 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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288 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
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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
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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 ...
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1answer
147 views

Why was Caliph Suleyman disliked by the noted generals in the Umayyad army?

Caliph Suleyman of Umayyad Empire was by all accounts a rash man who kept a grudge. He also appears to have had stormy relations with the Army's Walidist generals. His only apparent support in the ...
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215 views

Turko-Mongol horse tactics and Western European response

Did not seem that Western European armies stood up to Turco-Mongol military tactics such as the horse archer. Did these European armies ever learn to counter those tactics? The Slavs (Polish) had a ...
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2answers
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How widespread was the consumption of rabbit meat by the poor in Medieval and Early-Modern Britain?

The Romans raised rabbits as livestock in Spain in the 2nd century BC and later brought them to Britain. French monks are believed to have domesticated them in the 5th century AD for their meat and ...
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0answers
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Did the Danes sack Hamburg after the conquest of Hedeby in 983?

In 983, the Danes reconquered the southern Schleswig area from the Germans. Some sites claim that the Danes conquered Holstein as well during this invasion and even sacked Hamburg in cooperation with ...
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Is there evidence that the annual pilgrimage to Mecca facilitated cultural exchanges?

I've read once (but I don't recall where anymore) that the Hajj, that is, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, had an important non-religious consequence in medieval times, namely the fast spread of new ...
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Was Leo II of Armenia poisoned?

Leo II, also known as Leon II or Levon II, became the King of Armenian Cilicia from 1269/70 and was a vassal of the Mongols. Five of his 16 children by his highly regarded wife Keran (who later ...
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3answers
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Are there any documented cases where a society was capable of large scale selflessness for the benefit of future generations? [closed]

Are there any documented cases in history where a society has altruistically created or conserved something exclusively for the benefit of next generations at a large scale? An good example of such ...
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2answers
708 views

What is the title of a medieval mayor?

In the medieval/renaissance era what is the title of a person who runs a city in his king's kingdom? Like he isn't the king but he serves him by running the city. I think they could be called a ...
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1answer
104 views

When did medieval monarchs start being depicted with ermine fur garments?

Probably all medieval monarchs wore fur garments when the weather was cold enough. But what seems to be the normal medieval picture of monarch in civilian dress was to wear a long robe with a cloak ...
11
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1answer
420 views

How did people say “I have to go to the bathroom” before the bathroom and pipes were common?

I am writing a story in a medieval world of fantasy, and today a little girl is trapped next to her brother in a hole. The girl has to go to the bathroom, but I do not know how to be someone that age ...
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1answer
142 views

What techniques were used to make rings in medieval times?

There is a lot of information on the internet regarding the process by which rings are made today using modern tools. What techniques were used before the 17th century to do it?
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3answers
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Why didn't the steppe bow spread further?

So, this question was triggered by my reading Stephen Turnbull's book on the Gempei War, when he says that he thinks that the yumi, or Japanese longbow, had an effective range of 10 meters against ...
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5answers
467 views

Where were there growing economies in dark age Europe, excluding Iberia and Constantinople?

Question: Were there major places where the economy grew, inversely to wider situation, in the late Roman Empire and dark age Europe, c. 350-950? The examples that I can think of are Venice and the ...
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What were the most controversial thesis' of the Scholastics?

What actual theses were controversial and caused a stir at the time (not today) in the sense of having the most amount of written response? What specific questions were defended in actual theses by ...
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How and why buttermilk was added to English medieval butter?

My question engages in the history of butter. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I will give it a try. I read an old Jewish text (Sharei Dura 78) dated to the 13th century that ...
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4answers
10k views

Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?

Before the invention of the telegraph, a message couldn't travel faster than the speed of a horse (or maybe a messenger pigeon or something along those lines - still pretty slow). Has there ever been ...
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0answers
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Primary sources on Medieval Christian depictions of non-Christians (in English)

I'm a history student and I'm looking for primary sources in English (not Latin) that could help me with my research. I'm trying to find primary sources preferably written by Christian monks about the ...
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1answer
264 views

How the average female body used to be before the industrial revolution? [closed]

I have this curiosity for several reasons.History articles says that before the isdustrial revolution most people used to be quite poor and most of the population were peasants. In other words, most ...