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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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7 votes
1 answer
12k views

Did medieval Mongol horse archers have deformed arms like English bowmen?

Did medieval Mongol horse archers have deformed arms like English bowmen? And were there other archer inside or outside of Europe in ancient times who suffered the same deformity like English archers? ...
10 votes
2 answers
5k views

What buildings could be found in the inner ward of a castle?

I'm familiar with some different layouts of castles (motte and bailey, concentric,...) and the main parts or areas they have or need (Keep, moat, barbican, ward, cistern, great hall, etc.) While ...
3 votes
1 answer
121 views

Were the Novgorodians aware of Romanesque architecture in the 11th century?

The Cathedral of St Sophia in Novgorod was completed in 1050. Many online sources note that the style bears resemblance to the Western European Romanesque style. Is it possible that knowledge of this ...
1 vote
0 answers
127 views

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I've been reading Riasanovsky's "A History of Russia" (2nd edition, so fairly out of date), and it comes out strongly against the Norman theory.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 ...
27 votes
2 answers
4k views

When did Kievan Rus' rulers become culturally Slavic?

As the title says, when did the Varangian rulers become culturally more Slavic? I presume that among the elites there was cultural borrowing from Byzantium too, so I am not claiming a Viking-Slavic ...
27 votes
6 answers
5k 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
117 views

What do the inscriptions in Pomposa abbey say?

I've recently visited Pomposa Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in northern Italy near Ferrara, and while visiting I've stumbled upon these inscriptions below a fresco depicting an Hydra. I have ...
23 votes
7 answers
15k views

How did knights who required glasses to see survive on the battlefield?

Googling this has been less than helpful on the history factor, and a quick look at HEMA rules and regulations says it's easier to use fencing masks instead, which isn't what I'm asking. (This was ...
1 vote
0 answers
101 views

Is there an historical reason why artists would not sign their work?

I was reading about Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, and followed the track of the others famous historical persons involved in the Wars of the Roses, such as John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury and ...
7 votes
1 answer
451 views

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, ...
1 vote
1 answer
556 views

When did hand cannons become handguns?

When did hand cannons change to handguns? The Wikipedia article doesn’t address when the change happens in my opinion, but I could be wrong. I’m asking mostly for curiosities sake. I know that hand ...
0 votes
1 answer
149 views

Was the Seljuk Empire an independent empire or an autonomous sub-entity of the Abbasid Caliphate?

The Seljuk Empire was formally part of the Abbasid Caliphate, which means that the Seljuk Sultan, supposedly, should have been responsible in front of the Abbasi Caliph in Baghdad. Nevertheless,as ...
3 votes
2 answers
777 views

Did medieval armies cultivate resources during their campaigns?

Reading on the siege of Constantinople of 717, the following is mentioned: The Arab army was well-provisioned, with Arab accounts reporting high mounds of supplies piled up in their camp, and had ...
-1 votes
1 answer
140 views

What would term would a lollard use to refer to the Bible?

I assume they would not call it the "Bible". Would they say "Holy Scripture" or "The Word of God" when talking about the whole collection of OT NT (and apocrypha) or was ...
1 vote
1 answer
267 views

What would "close confinement" look like for a Saxon count being punished by Henry V of Germany in the early 1100s?

While reading the Cambridge Medieval history collection I keep coming across 'confinement' or 'imprisonment' being used to punish or coerce nobles, kings, and even popes. I'm wondering what the ...
28 votes
3 answers
5k views

What evidence is there of the vision aids people used before the invention of eyeglasses in about 1286?

The Wikipedia article on glasses says ‘scattered evidence exists for use of vision aid devices in Greek and Roman times’ but only cites the example of Nero’s emerald. This article on Magnifying ...
1 vote
0 answers
63 views

Who held the land (and from whom) around Pilleth, Wales at the time of the Battle of Brynglas 1402?

This settlement in the Marches was the site of a battle in which Owain Glyndwr was the victor. There is a small church and a holy well that was a focus for pilgrims. I need background information ...
2 votes
0 answers
366 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
314 views

Did people write on loose leaf or directly in notebook in middle age?

Did Isaac Newton handwrite directly in notebooks or on loose leafs and then make notebooks from this papers? In other words, could a blank notebook be bought or did people first have to write on loose ...
-2 votes
2 answers
330 views

What is the association of the 4 playing card suits and the Mamluks?

As I understand it, playing cards made their way to Europe perhaps via China (paper) but most visibly by way of the Mamluks. One legend is the Mamluks and Tibetans defeated the Chinese once in battle ...
3 votes
1 answer
169 views

In the Magna Carta, is the distinction between the phrase "law of the land" and the "law of the kingdom" significant?

What is the distinction between the phrase "law of the land" and the similar phrases "law of the kingdom" and "law of the realm" also used in Magna Carta, and which ...
43 votes
2 answers
8k views

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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
8k views

Did Aurangzeb issue a farman promising 4 Rs for all males that convert and 2 Rs for females?

I found a reference to this farman at IranicaOnline (first link) But I can't find the source of the author (or if its authentic). Is it from an akhbar or from a biography of Aurangzeb? Its mentioned ...
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

Did the Crisis of the late Middle Ages cause a notable expansion of wilderness in Europe?

There was a lot of wild forest in the early Middle Ages, around 75% in the 9th century according to Wikipedia, much of which was cleared during the population boom in the High Middle Ages. I also read ...
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

How thick was Late Medieval horse armor?

Is it known how thick Late Medieval horse plate armor (for field of battle) was? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it ...
23 votes
8 answers
11k views

Who was the longest lived European monarch of the middle ages?

After a lot of googling, I'm still not sure about this. Finding the longest reigning monarchs is easy enough, but I'm less sure about the one who lived the longest. A good candidate would appear to ...
26 votes
1 answer
6k views

Did Saladin speak any European languages?

As the leader of a large coalition force I'm aware he was multilingual, speaking at least Kurdish and Arabic (one site added Turkish) but a European language seems like a longshot. If he did speak one,...
5 votes
1 answer
877 views

How were medieval camp followers vetted?

So I'm writing a medieval epic fantasy book, as one does. I've read in a few places that armies should have camp followers, but frankly, I'm not sure what that means or how that might operate. As I ...
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

A zoo during the rule of Omayyad or Abbasid dynasty?

I recall that when I was in high school that I read a text -which sounds more like a legend- about an Arabic Sultan/Caliph who on a trip trough his empire passed by an injured (wild) animal (don't ...
2 votes
1 answer
202 views

What kind of clothing was worn in Mahgreb states circa the high medieval period?

I'm interested in medieval clothing (I'd focus on the time period from the 9th century onwards) in north Africa especially in the Maghreb states and the other countries that surround the Sahara such ...
0 votes
1 answer
391 views

What was the physical appearance of Theodoric I, the King of the Visigoths?

What was the physical appearance of Theodoric I, the King of the Visigoths? Although there are paintings portraying him as blonde, I haven't come across any sources that provide a description of his ...
63 votes
12 answers
17k views

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Stefan Molyneux claims in The Truth About The Crusades that: Islam dominated slave trade between the 7th and the 15th century, while the Christians entered the market of human flesh much later - ...
5 votes
1 answer
728 views

What would have kept Clement V from instigating a popular revolt against Philip V?

I am reading this book, "Trial of the Templars" by Malcolm Barber. I am not a historian, so I do not know to what extent Barber's thesis is right - that the Templars were arrested because ...
1 vote
1 answer
228 views

What could be the origin of this polychrome wooden statue?

I purchased this statue at an estate sale. I initially thought it was depicting a Wise Man from a nativity scene, but the back is flat indicating it was against a wall. Now I'm thinking it was ...
1 vote
2 answers
436 views

Were regular citizens of the Republic of Venice permitted to own and carry arms/weapons?

I've been researching about Venetian warfare and came across this website which inspired me to ask the question. According to this website (of perhaps questionable repute), the following is stated: ...
1 vote
1 answer
934 views

Did Dukes, Counts, Barons, etc. have courts similar to a King/Emperor? [closed]

So this question is somewhat based on my thoughts from playing Crusader Kings. But how historically accurate was it for anybody besides a King/Emperor to have a court system of courtiers? Did a Count ...
1 vote
1 answer
2k 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 ...
31 votes
4 answers
26k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
9 votes
2 answers
684 views

How and when was the Temple of Trajan destroyed?

From Wikipedia article on the Temple of Trajan in Rome: The Temple of Trajan was a Roman temple dedicated to the emperor Trajan and his wife Plotina after his deification by the Roman Senate. ...
1 vote
0 answers
83 views

Are there other names of Greek places with the Sta(n)- prefix besides Stalimene and Stanchio in medieval Western Europe?

I don't know what I can add to the question, except that it is ultimately related to the question of why Istanbul is not called "Istinbul" instead. The more examples of other Greek places ...
3 votes
0 answers
120 views

Was Alice Perrers a Lollard?

A footnote on page 141-142 of E S Holt John De Wycliffe1 claims Alice Perrers was a Lollard. I know her reputation has been revised recently but is there any evidence for this? a footnote on page ...
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What was the population of late Pre-Islamic Arabia and the population of Arabic speakers before Islam?

The Arab tribes were spread out widely, and the land of Arabia was not as viable to live on as the Fertile Crescent, so I would expect the population to be lower. But, how much in an estimated range ...
8 votes
1 answer
415 views

How was Enguerrand VII de Coucy able to keep his allegiance to both king of England and France during the Hundred Years War?

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
412 views

What's the point of the transept?

(If there is a different, more suitable stack exchange site, let me know.) I recently visited Bourges cathedral, which does not have a transept, and the interior seemed much cleaner than the usual ...
10 votes
1 answer
262 views

Who is 'Chlodebaudo/Chlodebaud' in the Merovingian-era Clovis I genealogy & Charlemagne ancestry, supposedly mentioned in a Salic Law manuscript?

In Henry H. Howorth's The Ethnology of Germany.-Part VI. The Varini, Varangians, and Franks.-Section II (1884), p.228 he writes: We must remember also that in a genealogical table attached to an old ...
1 vote
0 answers
91 views

What was the ethnic composition of the Castilian army and Muslim Spain (al-Andalus) army in Middle Ages? [closed]

I have been searching for the ethnic composition of the armies of the Iberian Christian kingdoms (mainly Castile) during the middle ages but I couldn’t find any source mentioning anything about it. I ...
71 votes
4 answers
18k views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
345 views

How did medieval architects determine sizes and numbers of pillars, buttresses etc?

While looking at some magnificent gothic cathedrals, I began to wonder how these buildings were designed. (I hope that this site it the right place to ask, rather than the engineering one?) For ...
36 votes
2 answers
16k views

Did the Pope's crossbow and archery bans have any effect?

One of the more famous and certainly curious decisions at the Second Council of the Lateran in 1139 was a ban on using missile troops against Christians. Specifically, Canon 29 states that: We ...
23 votes
5 answers
4k views

What caused the imposition of strict celibacy for Catholic priests during the 11th century?

At the Second Lateran Council in 1139, the Catholic Church implemented a rule requiring all priests to remain celibate. Although the Church has already talked about being celibate for the previous ...

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