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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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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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Who did Nachmanides marry?

I would like to know who Nachmanides married. What was her name and how old was he when he married her? I asked everyone I knew and googled it a thousand times but I could not find an answer. Thanks!
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What was the military makeup of the Baltic tribes/Lithuania from 1200 to 1500?

There is quite a lot written on the Teutonic order and it's military, but I'm having a harder time finding any good English sources on the military of one of it's chief foes, Lithuania and the other ...
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Did cows in Medieval times have calves in spring or all year round?

I'm a Dairy Educator and want to learn about milking and cows in Medieval Times. I suspect that cows had calves only in spring, like most livestock. Am I correct? Would Medieval people drink the ...
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What is the large blue object on the right in this picture showing Greek fire?

This well-known image showing a Byzantine dromon type ship using Greek fire has a blue object behind or on the ship on the right for which I have not been able to find any explanation: Image source: ...
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What periods and locations in early European history had evidence based criminal trials?

What periods and locations in European history had evidence based criminal trials? I'm interested in creating a medieval role playing setting and some fictional narratives involving crime ...
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Medieval symbol for money/trade/banking

I take part in arranging a medieval fair. As part of that I have the task of creating a pair of moneyboxes for use at the counter of the main place where the visitors can buy something to eat and ...
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What was the conflict in Milan from 1041-1044?

I was researching the Pataria movement in Milan that began around 1045. I found mention of a compromise of Milan in 1044. This got me interested in these earlier events. The only information that I ...
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Did Ancient or Medieval People Know About Underground Rivers/Lakes?

If they did, did they utilize them for farming? If so, how would they?
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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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Percentage of helmet owners in 15th century Europe

There already is a similar question, but it has been closed as unclear. I will attempt to post a clear question instead. Time : 15th century Country: medieval Europe excluding Eastern Roman Empire, ...
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Why did greaves go in and out of fashion?

I made a very counterintuitive find. Wikipedia says: Greaves were common until around the ninth century, when they largely disappeared.There is not much evidence of their use until the second ...
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How were the hides of wild beasts cured and tanned back in the 11th century? [closed]

I am currently running a roleplaying game where my player wants to work as a tanner but being honest i have no clue about how tanning and curing worked back when modern chemicals or equipment didn't ...
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What was the Hospitaller gonfalon like in the 12th and 13th centuries?

The Templar Order had a gonfalon (a military standard of a specific type) of black and white called the beauseant (I have come to prefer the spelling most common in the book I first took it from ...
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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 ...