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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 is the earliest evidence for the use of hearing aids?

D. N. Brooks, in Hearing aids – a historical survey states that Emperor Hadrian reportedly used to cup his hand behind his ear, the better to hear the affairs of state...Historically, the cupped ...
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What did medieval European knights do if they were defeated in battle?

I know that in medieval Japan, if samurai were defeated in battle or dishonored in any way they had to commit seppuku (killed themselves). I just wanted to know if medieval Europe had a similar rule.
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Do we know where in Clermont was the second Council of Clermont held?

I know that the second Council of Clermont was (of course) in Clermont, Auvergne but do we know where (in terms of venue) it was held? Which church, hall or public venue that Pope Urban II gave his ...
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Was the name “William the Conqueror” (or its translation) actually used in William's lifetime?

More generally, what early records do we have of his name? Who called him "William the Bastard" (French Guillaume le Bâtard) - was this mostly his Anglo-Saxon enemies?
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How were political borders marked during the Middle Ages?

I have a very specific question regarding borderlands: between 500-1500, how were the political borders identified? Was it a mere furrow on the ground? Did we have any signs? In other words, were such ...
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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. ...
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Were there cases of bride kidnapping in the medieval period?

In the Medieval period in Europe was there ever been any occurrence of a royal/nobleman capturing a fellow high-born woman (potentially from another country) for the sake of marrying her (and thus ...
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Who was the oldest woman to give birth in the Middle Ages in Europe that we know of?

In 1166, Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II of England, gave birth to the future King John when she was at least 42 years old (it is more likely she was 43 or 44). Eleanor of Castile, wife of ...
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Who was the English Knight Templar holding command in the Mongol Army?

Excerpt from Great Captains Unveiled (1927), by B. H. Liddell Hart: After this holocaust, Hungary was occupied without further fighting. An organised administration was set up, and the land ...
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Who was the Holy Roman Emperor that was a travelling adventurer?

I recall reading about a medieval Holy Roman Emperor, or heir apparent, that didn't get to rule over the kingdom. He was the last in line from a major dynasty, and held a high amount of prestige. He ...
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What was this major foreign policy reversal by the Vatican in the Middle Ages?

I made a note about something, but now I can't find it. It was a major shift in the political situation of Europe in the late Middle Ages. Initially one country was the hegemon and the pope organized ...
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How likely would it have been for a rural Bohemian to encounter someone with darker skin?

Recently a new video game was released called Kingdom Come: Deliverance, claiming to be a somewhat authentic representation of life in medieval Bohemia. However at the same time the game has courted ...
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Were there any role-playing games in medieval times?

Note: This might be a bit of a naïve question, but I imagine it is a valid one. I am not a historian. That is, were there any "standard" activities (with a set of rules or other concrete description),...
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Kissing in early Icelandic law

I'm reading the Grágás laws of early Iceland and have come across a passage I don't understand: K155, Ib p.47 "If a man kisses a woman in private, with no one else present and with her consent, then ...
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Was there an alcohol abuse problem among monks and priests in the High Middle Ages in England?

I read somewhere (just can't remember where) that monks in the High Middle Ages in England sometimes had a reputation for drinking too much. For supporting evidence (not conclusive I know), I found a ...
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Was bronze ever used for chainmail?

I was reading the Wikipedia article on mail, more commonly known as chainmail, when I saw a mention that mail could be made with bronze. The section in general did not appear to be talking about ...
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Any information about what William Marshall (Guillaume le Marechal) did in the Holy Land?

William Marshall, Knight, Earl, Justiciar and Regent was an extremely important person in British History. His history is well recorded except for one period of his life when he went to the Holy Land ...
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Were groups (or 'companies') of dogs used to attack enemy armies in medieval battles?

In Dogs in warfare and The Dogs of War, a number of examples are given where dogs were used in battle in ancient times. Polyaenus, in ‘Stratagems’, also gives a clear example (late 7th century BC): ...
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Has any medieval army ever fought 3 or more distinct battles on the same day?

In the fantasy fiction A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of thrones, during Robert's Rebellion, three battles were fought in the same day, in the same place. There where particular conditions that lead to ...
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What was the life expectancy of a Medieval European monarch?

Inspired by Who is the longest lived European monarch of the middle ages?. What was the life expectancy of monarchs during the middle ages in Europe? Preliminary research showed According to ...
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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 ...
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What were the rights and responsibilities of (various classes of) 11th century English commonfolk?

I have been dismayed to see (what I see as) gross mischaracterizations of serfdom on this site; usually conflating it with slavery, and often even with the particularly abhorrent version of slavery ...
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What is the history behind this English village well?

The thatched well (below) in the village of East Marden is a well-known attraction in the South Downs, not far from Chichester. The village is recorded in the Domesday Book (as Meredone) and St. Peter'...
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Mudéjar revolt of 1264–66: how were the Mudéjars armed?

In the Mudéjar revolt of 1264–66, the recently conquered Muslim subjects (also called Mudéjars) in Castile rebelled against the crown, and were helped by the Muslim Kingdom of Granada. In the ...
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How were laws promulgated in the Middle Ages?

These days, new laws are usually announced to the public through the publication of government gazettes and/or on official government websites. How did the public find out about new laws before ...
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Did ancient/medieval armies have music/chants to march to?

During battles or marching into battles did armies (like the Spartan or Eastern European armies) have music/chants to march to?
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How heavy were the heaviest war hammers actually used?

On the German Wikipedia page about warhammers it says their weight reached from 3 to 14 Kg! Having done some really heavy sports in my past, I was truly surprised by this last number! I searched ...
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From Twitter: When did Islamic literacy fall behind?

This morning I found this interesting question from verified Twitter user Iyad el-Baghdadi. Transcription: Question to experts (and good researchers). My impression is that parts of the ...
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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 ...
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Are there any major library fires reported for the middle ages?

With nearly all books made from parchment, I wonder if anything combustible was around after papyrus was phased out and paper not in use yet.
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How much smaller were medieval farm animals in England than today?

According the Medieval Life and Times website, Farm animals were small, for scientific breeding had not yet begun. A full-grown ox reached a size scarcely larger than a calf of to-day, and the ...
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Why did the grip-centered viking shield fall out of use relative to the kite shields?

Did Normans have battle advantage with strapped kite shields over Saxons and Vikings with their grip-centered shield style of fighting? What often comes to my mind are battles like Hastings (1066). ...
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Why was Ormond Castle in Scotland so called?

There was a castle in Scotland known as Ormond Castle which had existed since at least the beginning of the 13th century. It sat upon Ormond hill in the Black Isle. Why was it called Ormond Castle? ...
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What is this book about the Avar and Khazar Turks from the early 20th century?

I came across a book on the internet that connected the Avars to the Khazars. It was written sometime during the 1920's-40's, I think the mid 20's, by a European scholar. It never became popular. This ...
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Circa 1000, what name would locals in England use for invaders?

If I am living in England around 1000 and some Scandinavian raiders show up at my village to pillage our farms, which phrase would I be most likely to be saying: "Oh no, here come the Vikings!" "Oh ...
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What metallurgy advancement allowed the transition from mail hauberk to plate armor?

Why did it happen in the 14th century, when the blast furnace was invented much earlier? Can someone explain, how medieval blacksmiths figured it out? What discovery enabled them to create plate ...
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What kind of ink was used by medieval scribes in Iceland, given that there were no plant galls for iron-gall ink?

Iceland was deforested since early settlement, and possibly never had oaks. It has no gall wasps either. I understand that Iceland was very isolated in medieval times. So without oak galls, how did ...
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How was the hilt attached to a medieval sword?

Modern swordsmithing seems to make use of drilling and boring the Pommel and handle to fit the tang. But drill presses didn't exist in those days. How was a sword's handle (and pommel) attached to a ...
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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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What was Income Disparity like in the Middle Ages of Europe?

I was looking up the income disparity today. What I got for America, was Food service could get as little as $18,000 annual income, while Lawyers got paid $140,000, surgeons $320,000, and Bill Gates ...
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Why do we clink glasses and say cheers?

Is it true that in Medieval Times kings used to invite other king for a feast and poison other king's drink? this became so prevelant that the guest king would clink his glass with the host king's ...
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Has an armed gang ever taken a medieval city? [closed]

Are there any instances of a medium small armed gang (<100 men) entering and taking over a medieval city (in any part of the world)? How well did medieval city defenses work against medium-small ...
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Typology and the cause of difference between European medieval kingship?

Western Medieval Catholic kings and nobility in Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, Italy, Germany and Austria share certain distinctive common features that can be summed under the term of vassalage ...
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Jerusalem 1187: How would Saladin's army have laid siege to the walls?

BACKGROUND In fall of 1187 Saladin's "12,000 professional cavalrymen [and] 30,000 volunteers" arrived at Jerusalem and began a two week siege, assaulting the walls with towers, arrows, rocks, and ...
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Was the Vistula delta inhabited by Slavic tribes or Baltic tribes?

Specifically I'm talking about the area in between the Nogat and Vistula river. Googling maps of Old Prussian territory seem to have a mix of including this land and not including it. This map ...
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Jerusalem 1187: How did ethnicity impact Saladin's army?

This is intended to be the first (and longest) of a series questions about the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187. It was originally one massive question, but the community rightly recommended that I break it ...
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What happened to the burial sites of Edward I's children?

Despite being spared the destruction wrought upon other religious sites during the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII, there appear to be quite a few ‘lost’ burial locations in ...
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Did Charlemagne ever visit Constantinople?

The answer to this question, is probably no. There doesn't appear to be any significant historical evidence pointing to Charlemagne traveling beyond Italy. However, there is perhaps one exception........
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Where is (or was) the biggest medieval drawbridge?

A pretty straightforward question. I'm trying to find the largest drawbridge in medieval Europe, and it's more difficult than it seemed at first. At least I want to know if it would be possible to ...
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What evidence is there of Asians and Africans in medieval Britain other than Moors in the 7th century?

According to the National Archives website: ..in the Middle Ages, Moors arrived in Britain. They probably came, directly or indirectly, from Spain, which had been conquered by Muslims from ...