Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

31
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
503 views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
456 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
692 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
356 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
332 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
367 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
143 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
786 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
191 views

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........
5
votes
1answer
356 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
611 views

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 ...
40
votes
3answers
7k views

What did people in 13th century England know about Greek mythology?

I understand this may depend on various factors, but I am interested to find out whether many/some/any people in 13th century England would have knowledge of the stories out of Greek mythology. ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Did the medieval Europe have an active “lowbrow” culture?

When we look back on another age, we tend to skip to the highlights. That goes double for things like art, sports, literature, and music. But in our own time, we recognize that by divine fiat 90% of ...
0
votes
1answer
243 views

Barbarian Army sizes and how they compare to Medieval times

There're many questions about why armies of antiquity were bigger than those of medieval times, but most of the answers revolve around empires like Roman or Parthian where the explanation is pretty ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What kind of education would a 12th/13th century English knight get?

I'm trying to get inside the heads of historical actors of the period. I'm sure the martial class was just as diverse as any social group, but give me the best summation that you can. I'll expand a ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Edward the Confessor choose Harold Godwinson as his successor?

It has been claimed that King Edward the Confessor chose Earl Harold Godwinson as his successor on his deathbed in January 1066. I googled "did Edward the Confessor name Harold his heir?" and got ...
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Do we have any idea what people in the Middle Ages (or before them) thought the far future was going to be like? [closed]

We know what people in the 20th century thought the 21st century was going to be like, but do we have any sources or documentation or books that attempt to describe the future (preferably the one we'...
4
votes
2answers
251 views

How was financial profit viewed in Medieval Europe?

What was the attitude of people in Medieval Europe towards earning money, making a profit etc. I know that in some places Jews were well established as merchants because, from the point of the view of ...
10
votes
1answer
540 views

Can anyone explain why the Scottish flag on this map from 1504 has a red cross on a white background?

The section of the map below is from a nautical chart by the Portuguese cartographer Pedro Reinel (c.1462 – c.1542). On it, Scotland is shown with a red St. Andrew's Cross on a white background. Upon ...
4
votes
2answers
423 views

What was the composition of European Medievel armies?

What was the class make up of Western European armies of the middle ages? Most cliches are telling us that there was usually an elite force of nobles, as knights, a bunch of peasant levies and ...
1
vote
0answers
370 views

Was Arabic the “Lingua Franca” of the Middle Ages? [closed]

Before I am criticized for sounding too "subjective", "opinionated" or "etymological", take a look at this question: "Was Arabic the "Lingua Franca" of the Middle Ages? If you look at the linguistic ...
2
votes
2answers
268 views

How was Galileo's approach to mathematics different than Descartes's approach?

According to Galileo "the world is written in the language of mathematics," and a natural philosopher must learn to read it. How did this approach differ from Descartes' notion of a mathematical ...
16
votes
2answers
536 views

What is the meaning of a glove on the tail of monsters in illuminated manuscripts?

I've seen several images from illuminated manuscripts depicting odd-looking creatures with gloves showing two raised fingers on their tails: What is the meaning if this device?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the “Brakteaten” medieval monetary system?

I am reading "Interest and inflation free money" by Margrit Kennedy. I have only found this book online (here). It is not in my local libraries or bookshops. The author states (page 39 of pdf): “...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Are there any records of Charlemagne's baptismal (ie. Christian) name?

Just like the title states, I am curious if Charlemagne took on a baptismal name.
9
votes
1answer
247 views

Are there any ideas as to what the English landscape was like before the arrival of the Angles?

I am not sure if this question is within the guidelines (it may be), but I am curious as to this: In North America, for instance, it is often said it was heavily forested and that a squirrel could get ...
10
votes
2answers
821 views

In Europe, why were there few portraits showing a real likeness of the subject before the 15th century?

According to the Wikipedia page on portrait painting in the middle ages, it was not until after 1350 that portraits ‘became clear likenesses’. This seems to be confirmed, for England at least, by the ...
5
votes
1answer
118 views

Many Questions Regarding the Principality of Theodoros

I think I've made a pretty decent list of Princes of Theodoros. However I'm still not quite sure about alot of them. Here is my list. Demetrios 1340 to 1370 (rough) Basil 1370 (rough) to 1380 (...
21
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
351 views

Why did Stephen II of Blois (father of King Stephen of England) abandon the First Crusade in 1098 knowing how much he would lose by doing so?

Having taken the crusader’s vow and raised an army of thousands, why did Stephen II of Blois forsake the enormous prestige associated with crusading and risk shame and accusations of cowardice by ...
6
votes
1answer
449 views

What was Pope Innocent III's response to the Children's crusade led by Stephan of Cloyes?

In 1212, two groups involving children embarked on crusades to the Holy Land. They are generally lumped together and known as the Children's Cruade. They were not true crusades in the sense that the ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Did monasteries hold land and collect rent in medieval Europe?

In Ken Follett's series of books about the fictional town of Kingsbridge, the monastery essentially acts as lord over the surrounding area. They collect rent on lands they own, hear cases between the ...
12
votes
2answers
725 views

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 ...
34
votes
2answers
7k views

‘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 ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

In the book Hattin by John France the following claim is made: The fighting qualities of western knights were widely recognized in the Mediterranean lands, and they were often employed even by ...
3
votes
0answers
77 views

Were there any surveys done in the middle ages of England and Wales for the areas not covered by the Domesday book?

The Wikipedia page on the Domesday Book (completed in 1086) states that the City of London, Winchester, Westmorland, Cumberland, Northumberland, the County Palatine of Durham and some other areas / ...
9
votes
1answer
710 views

What crops were part of the medieval spring harvest?

I am listening to a lecture series and the professor mentioned a "spring harvest" starting in mid to late March. I think this is a mistake - the winter crops were not harvested until the Summer - but ...
56
votes
11answers
15k 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 - ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

Aside from Saint Francis of Assisi, were there other famous figures-(distant or near) who walked along the Camino Del Santiago in Northern Spain?

The Camino Del Santiago/"Road of Saint James" has been a popular destination for peripatetic and religious pilgrims since the 800's AD/CE-(though it declined in popularity during much the Early Modern ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why is Richard I (The Lion-heart) considered to be a good king and Jean I a bad one?

I've been rereading "The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England" by Dan Jones and there is something I don't get. Richard I is praised for basically everything he did in his reign,...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

What was preventing the populace from progressing in medieval times?

I haven't studied the medieval period in much depth, but some basic research tells me that the general populace after the fall of Rome lost a lot of the technological and artistic advances of the ...
5
votes
3answers
935 views

Is there a difference between “post-medieval” and “modern”?

Is there a difference between "post-medieval" and "modern"? Many of the items in the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme mention "post-medieval or modern period" and even "post-medieval or early modern ...
4
votes
2answers
109 views

What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
6
votes
1answer
851 views

What language was spoken between Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I

As the title states: What language was spoken between Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I. of Habsburg? I could think of three possibilities: Latin, French and German, but am leaning towards German.
-1
votes
2answers
791 views

Why didn't the Christian kingdoms in Hispania participate in the crusades? [closed]

I have read in the history of crusaders that Catholic kingdoms in Europe including England and France and Holy Roman Empire participated in the crusades but not Spain, any clear reason for that? ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How common was it for monasteries to attack other monasteries in the early medieval period in western Europe?

Recently, I saw this passage in M & H. Whittock, ‘The Viking Blitzkrieg’ (referring to Ireland) of the 113 attacks on monasteries between 795 and 820, only twenty-six were carried out by ...
3
votes
1answer
128 views

Why did European alchemists seek metal transmutation in addition to the Elixir Of Life?

From what I understand of European alchemists, they were equally advertised as working towards the transmutation of base metals into noble metals and an Elixir of Life. What confuses me in why they ...