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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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What name is taken if a man marries into a noble house?

In regards to marrying into noble houses, if a noble man marries a noble woman from a different house, I would assume one of two things happens: 1. The woman takes the man's name and the two houses ...
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Was rape common in Europe during the Middle Ages?

I recently read an article (in Norwegian), claiming that rape was much less common in the Middle Ages than what is commonly believed, and more specifically that it was much less common than what is ...
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Authenticity of the Russian birch bark manuscripts

More than 1000 birch bark manuscripts have been found in Novgorod and other Russian cities in last 50 years. Many of them stayed in the soil for more than 700 years. In the same time, no special ...
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Where was the Battle of Clontarf recorded? [on hold]

The Battle of Clontarf is a battle in Ireland between the Irish and vikings, but where is this information recorded and in what books? How do we know this information?
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Was Lithuania civilized or tribal before Christianization in the 14th century? [on hold]

Was Lithuania, in the period before Christianization in the 14th century, civilized like the "Holy Roman Empire" or tribal like Samis? Is there any illustration showing how they looked?
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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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What are some of the earliest examples of welfare states?

I was reading about Welfare States and came across this on Wikipedia: Emperor Ashoka of India put forward his idea of a welfare state in the 3rd century BCE. [...] The concepts of welfare and ...
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At what age could you hold custody of another in 12th century England?

My question is as stated in the title. My reason for asking is that I know girls could marry at twelve, and boys at fourteen. I am wondering at what age could each have legal custody of another? I ...
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How accepted were public displays of affection in medieval France?

Were a man and a woman allowed to kiss/hug/hold hands in public? Did it differ depending on whether they were married or not? What about if they were engaged? If it was forbidden, what punishment did ...
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Who revoked their signatures from the union agreement at the Council of Florence?

In many Byzantine history books, a general statement is made that from the 700 strong delegation to the council of Florence, "many Orthodox bishops revoked their signatures" after the council ...
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In the High Middle Ages, how did French nobility introduce each other?

Say two lord, or lord and a lady are talking. Would they start a conversation with a person whose name they don't know? And if so, how would they ask for the other's name/introduce themselves? I'm ...
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Where did the term “Middle Ages” come from?

Where did the term "Middle Ages" come from? Who was the first known person to use that term?
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In the Middle Ages, adultery was strictly condemned by the Church. How did Kings justify their extra-marital affairs?

In the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for kings and other nobles to have extra-marital affairs. Sometimes such affairs were semi-public. Even a few Popes (such as Alexander VI) had girlfriends ...
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How was the Black Death stopped?

I came to understand that the Black Death was transmitted through rats. But I can't find how it ended. Was it the lack of people and a reduction of the trading system between countries that made it ...
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Was it possible to organize a women's uprising or feminist movement in the Middle Ages? [closed]

Women in Europe endured thousands of years of gender inequality, culminating in the Middle Ages. Women in the Middle Ages had few rights and were treated like minors and properties, yet they did very ...
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What is the best book to learn about medicine in medieval times? (research for a novel)

I am writing a novel where the main character is a healer in medieval times / a low-technology environment. Most of his work would involve field medicine, or treating people generally as a village ...
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2answers
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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
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When was King John of England given the name 'Dollheart', and who first used it?

As if being called 'Lackland' and 'Softsword' was not bad enough, King John also acquired the very unflattering-sounding name of Dollheart. This is mentioned on this University of Sheffield page, in ...
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2answers
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Why did physicians recommend curing the “dancing plague” with more dancing?

The Dancing Plague of 1518 was an event in which nearly 400 people in Strasbourg danced for days on end, some even dying of exhaustion or other causes. One section of the Wikipedia article has me ...
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2answers
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Where was the ruling seat of East Francia located under Henry the Fowler?

It seems safe to assume that Bavaria wasn't an option as Arnulf the Bad controlled this area throughout Henry's reign. The only possible candidates that I can find are Memleben (where Henry died) or ...
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Did medieval ransom taking have agents?

Medieval ransom taking was big- people were taken of all types of social standing for wide ranges of payments for their release- virtually a business. Did the business have agents who provide various ...
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1answer
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In medieval England was heresy dealt with in the king's courts or church courts?

In medieval England was heresy dealt with in the kings courts or church courts? Clearly heresy was a crime against the church but the punishment was death so presumably it must have been dealt with ...
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What percentage of Jews were in “finance” (money-lenders) throughout Middle Ages?

The stereotypical image of a Jew in Middle Ages (and the portrayal of them) was of course "the money-lender". From Ivanhoe's Isaac of York, to Shakespeare's Shylock, to "Проклятый жид, почтенный ...
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Were travelling judges paid in medieval England?

During the reign of Henry II (1154-89), some key changes in the English judicial system took place. One of these was the introduction of travelling judges: In 1166, Henry issued a Declaration at ...
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1answer
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Are there any famous people who died from cancer before 1800? [closed]

Cancer was described by the ancient Egyptians by 1600 BC and, much later, by Hippocrates and then Celsus during the early empire. Cases were diagnosed but there is no mention of people who were famous....
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Source material for a tale originating from the Middle ages: “Falling off a church and surviving by falling on someone”

I'm looking for the original story of a tale I've been told years ago back in high school by my history teacher. A worker in France was working on a church and lost his balance and fell. He landed on ...
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1answer
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Youngest age for the militia in the middle ages

I know it probably differed from village to village, town to town, city to city, but what was the standard bare minimum age for anyone to join the local militia or receive any sort of combat/survival ...
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7answers
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Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

Typical decisive battles in Roman times involve 4+ legions - around 20,000 men + auxiliaries giving a total of about 30,000 men, on the Roman side only. Battles in even the late middle ages and early ...
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7answers
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How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
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3answers
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How much did a good sword cost in Medieval Western Europe?

I realize the title is probably too broad to answer, so I'll narrow it down a bit: Sword types: Viking swords, and/or Arming swords Quality: Pattern welded iron/steel, crucible (or pseudo-crucible) ...
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0answers
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How did medieval fishermen work a long line?

How did medieval fishermen use a long line? What did they use as bait? How many hooks were there? When was it put out? When was it pulled in? I want as many details as possible.
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Did a villein ever rise to the nobility in Medieval England?

I know that there are tales of burghers and other commoners getting rich through trade. Was it unknown for villeins to climb the social scale?
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Oppression of non-ethnic Hungarians in Hungary pre 1800s

I was reading about Magyarization and it is noted that this process only began in the 1800s. However, I was wondering about earlier oppression of Romanians specifically in the Transylvania regions pre-...
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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 - ...
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Why were the first Universities created?

I have read through my world history book and did some research online, but I have been unable to learn why the first Universities were created?
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1answer
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What is an antimendicant?

I am reading a book (Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, Books Under Suspicion, (University of Notre Dame Press) 2006.) called Books Under Suspicion. In it, there is an ongoing struggle between the mendicant orders ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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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What were the effects of the Black Death in the Muslim world?

What were the effects of The Black Death in the Muslim world? Both Wikpedia's page on The Black Death's migration and The Black Death have information regarding the effects of Black Death in the ...
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‘Avoid sleeping on your back’ & ‘breathe in toilet smells’ were seen as precautions against the Black Death. Why did doctors think these would work?

Browsing a school book, Medieval Britain by Brenda Williams, I came across three precautions recommended by doctors to help people avoid going down with the plague. These were: cover windows avoid ...
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9answers
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Why did only the English adopt, evolve and use the longbow en masse in war?

The bow was a relatively common weapon on dark age battlefields as Harold's arrow in the eye at Hastings will attest. But shortly after is was largely superseded by the crossbow, partly because pretty ...
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What did squires do in the middle of a medieval battle?

According to wikipedia, a normal squire daily job included: Carrying the knight's armour, shield, sword, Holding any prisoners the knight takes, Rescuing the knight should the knight be ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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How did England react to the arrival of the Black Death?

For an assignment, I need to be studying the Black Plague, and different people's reactions to it. I know about England when the Black Plague hit it. However, were people in England aware of the fact ...
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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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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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Were there any high-ranking female soldiers during the Middle ages?

There are several fictional works describing female knights in a fantasy world, but do they have any real world counterpart? For example, a knight or a high-ranking female military officer during the ...
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10answers
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Did archers synchronize fire? Why?

I noticed that in medieval movies and TV shows, when there is a big battle happening, groups of archers always synchronize their firing. I was wondering whether this is something that writers made up ...
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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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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 ...