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.

5
votes
4answers
901 views

Why were the Franks so successful in projecting power?

Per Byzantine sources the Franks were, as late as 550, a relatively minor Germanic Tribe living in Gaul. Yet within 300 years Frankish Tribes had basically set the foundation for every major Pre-...
7
votes
3answers
431 views

Under European feudalism, were the distribution of armies (vassals and fiefdoms) based on a coherent idea?

The context is High Medieval, (c. 1001—1300). The concept of feudalism is as understood in Europe. I'm not looking for an answer to cover all European empires or dynasties during this period -- which ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

What do we know about the character of William Adelin, son of Henry I?

The chronicler Henry of Huntington doesn't have much good to say about William Adelin (or the Atheling). What about other chroniclers of the time?
20
votes
9answers
5k views

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

I know that in towns and cities there might be libraries built, but is it possible or likely that peasants can have access to it as well? I've heard that every village has an least a monastery or ...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

Regional Customs for Leaving a King's Presence

Maimonides, in his Laws of Prayer (Mishne Torah, Hilkhot Tefillah 5:11) provides an analogy for a prayer-related Jewish custom, whereby one concludes his Amidah by bowing first to his left and then to ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What was the death toll during the Inquisition?

I'm researching about the death toll during the Inquisition, I'm particularly interested in what happened from 12th to the 15th century but not exclusively to this period. One part of this question ...
6
votes
3answers
304 views

Early counterparts of scholarly journals

If I'm not mistaken, universities in Europe originated in the middle ages. Today, the way of making new discoveries known to the learned community is publication in scholarly journals, or more ...
6
votes
2answers
397 views

Are there equivalents of the Domesday Book for other (French or German) duchies?

Is the Domesday Book a one-off census in the wake of the Norman conquest? One can imagine that William wanted an accurate feudal picture of his new kingdom but was it the norm? Did other dukes and ...
4
votes
1answer
238 views

Was a Žaltys a real snake?

The Wikipedia article on Žaltys says (in its entirety): A žaltys is a household spirit in the Lithuanian mythology. As sacred animal of the sun goddess Saulė, it is a guardian of the home and a ...
3
votes
2answers
569 views

Were wealthy people and royals of medieval time able to distinguish real diamond/pearl/gold from fake?

Were wealthy people and royals of medieval time able to distinguish real diamond/pearl/gold from fake? or did they rely on jewelers?
3
votes
2answers
543 views

Settling legal disputes in high medieval Europe?

In a medieval village, my understanding is that disputes (of a legal nature, as we view them today) could be settled in the manor court. But what about in urban centers? If two people living in a town ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Agincourt - Where was the Earl of Suffolk (de la Pole)?

The English army at Agincourt was divided (largely) into three positions: Henry V in the center, then Camoys and the Duke of York on the sides. One of the most famous English casualties of the battle ...
23
votes
4answers
9k views

Why didn't cheese spoil when it was given as rations to soldiers?

I've come across many mentions of cheese when talking about rations for soldiers and those who would be hiking for long stretches of time. What kind of cheese would we be talking about? I'm mainly ...
2
votes
0answers
245 views

What kinds of clothes were made at home by average medieval women and what kinds were bought?

I am aware that the medieval period is long and there may have been differences amongst countries. I don't know how much I must specify my question. So, if necessary to choose a time and place, please ...
9
votes
1answer
444 views

Did any European monarch execute their sister or other direct female relative?

In my search, I found examples of kings/queens having their wives and brothers executed, but I cannot seem to locate any example for sisters, mothers, and fathers.
0
votes
1answer
144 views

Gathering of water before modern cleansing methods [closed]

Sorry if this is a stupid question but i simply could not get my head around it. Before modern day cleansing of salt water to produce drinkable water how was this gathered? especially in areas that ...
5
votes
2answers
234 views

How did John Duns Scotus live in England during the Scottish Wars of Independence?

Apologies, this might be a very niche question, but I recently discovered that the theologian John Duns Scotus - a Scotsman, unsurprisingly - lived in England in the late 1200s/early 1300s - during ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Physics of a heavy cavalry charge?

Can someone explain a heavy cavalry charge? A bunch of 500kg animals smashes into a dense crowd of men at speed of 40km/h. This simply cannot end good for neither side. Let's say the charge fails. The ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

What did women wear during the Rashidun era?

What did women wear during the Rashidun caliphate?
3
votes
1answer
266 views

What is the earliest reference to King Arthur being raised by Sir Ector?

Thomas Malory's book "Le Morte D'Arthur" is the most famous account of King Arthur's life. It begins with the story of how Arthur's father Uther Pendragon desired Igrayne, the wife of the Duke of ...
61
votes
6answers
14k views

Was England called England in the days of King Arthur?

King Arthur is a legendary king who is said to have ruled Britain in the early days of post-Roman Britain. Now Thomas Malory's famous novel "La Morte D'Arthur" puts the following inscription on the ...
29
votes
5answers
9k views

How prevalent were recreational drugs in the ancient world?

A recent discussion about the Queen Mab Speech in Romeo and Juliet, prompted us to wonder whether Mercutio was on drugs. Which then led to the question of how prevalent recreational drugs where ...
2
votes
1answer
300 views

Do any sources confirm this quote from Pope Urban II's speech at the Council of Clermont?

according to chronicle of Robert the Monk, Pope Urban II said - ... this land which you inhabit, shut in on all sides by the seas and surrounded by the mountain peaks, is too narrow for your ...
1
vote
1answer
248 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 here (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 as a farman ...
1
vote
2answers
333 views

Alfred the Great's illness

Alfred the Great was ill with (possibly) Crohn's disease. Despite this he managed to wage war very successfully. Is there any possibility he could have know of the benefits of taking Frankincense? He ...
5
votes
1answer
606 views

Where did 15th century English serfs live?

If you were a serf working the land on a Manor in England in 1400s, where would you live? Would you and your family live separately from other serfs (on your plot of land) or would your house be ...
4
votes
0answers
202 views

Did the idea of motion illusion exist in medieval or islamic art?

Motion illusion by colors is like in the given picture My inquiry is about the implementation of the heavy use of colors to form patterns and designs on the walls in medieval Christian and Islamic ...
4
votes
2answers
502 views

What is the strongest alcoholic drink that existed during the Middle Ages in Europe?

What is the strongest alcoholic drink that was drank within the European nations during the Middle Ages (5th to the 15th century)?
2
votes
1answer
335 views

Hunting in Armour in Medieval Europe?

Someone has told me that all nobility, when they hunted animals, it is in armour. They are further convinced that depictions of normally clothes hunters, are either not nobles, or they are wearing ...
7
votes
3answers
746 views

Did ancient or medieval warriors “substitute” in and out of combat?

This question arose in the role-playing games SE Some claim that in archery, horse archery, or hand-to-hand combat, a warrior could function effectively for at most 2-3 minutes. Therefore, frontline ...
23
votes
1answer
580 views

Do any churches continue to display length measures?

In 864, Charles the Bald issued what is today known as the Edict of Pistres. One of his demands was that copies of the standards of measurements (e.g. versions of a foot) were to be displayed on the ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

The name of a symbolic group of historical christian figures that appear on cathedrals and other imagery around Europe

I know Charlemagne, Alfred the great and Constantine are some of the members of a symbolic small order of leaders who each embody fundamental principals of virtue and chivalry. In this group there is ...
8
votes
1answer
139 views

Henry I. (the Fowler): What kind of contact to hostages was seen as appropriate?

Early 929 Henry I., King of East Frankia, took the Hevelli chieftain Tugumir hostage. As far as is known, the sister of Tugumir went with him into captivity. In the same year she gave birth to Wilhelm,...
9
votes
1answer
946 views

Which king was this?

I believe he was a French king who ruled shortly before the Renaissance, but I'm probably wrong. The story goes like this: A knowledgeable courtier reported to the king that there was in his kingdom ...
1
vote
2answers
328 views

Why is neither side of the warhammer blunt?

I have seen a lot in medieval reconstrunctions like this, that the side opposite to the spike is not flat, but have cross notches (sometimes very pronounced, like in the example). Does anyone know ...
6
votes
1answer
618 views

How popular was Arabic in Syria before Islamic conquest?

Before the Islamic conquest of Syria and the whole Levant how popular was the Arabic language there? Are there any resources show what is the percent of Arab in that region as well?
7
votes
1answer
211 views

Were Archimedes screws used in pre-modern times in the far east?

Screw pumps or Archimedes screws were used by the Romans in mine dewatering. They were possibly used in ancient Babylon (a few hundred years before Archimedes) to irrigate the famous hanging gardens. ...
8
votes
3answers
632 views

Did the fortunes in the Hundred Years' War depend largely on the weather?

In the Hundred Years' War, the French had more numerous and heavily armed troops, while the English had fewer, more lightly armed (with longbows and less armor) troops that had the advantage of being ...
9
votes
1answer
368 views

How did the crusaders “know” that they found the Holy Blood?

The Basilica of the Holy Blood, a church in Bruges, claims they hold the Holy Blood and the main thesis is that it was brought to Bruges by the Second Crusade. Note that in 1964, Nicolas Huyghebaert ...
3
votes
0answers
204 views

Difference between a Bardiche and a Voulge?

After having some interaction with some media involving medieval warfare, I noticed that a Voulge and a Bardiche are very similar in design and (possibly) purpose. I haven't done a full historical ...
5
votes
1answer
341 views

Who would attend a coronation in medieval France?

A coronation event is an event where one would be crowned to be sovereign to a certain land. This was often a significant event, as it is today with event such as the American Inauguration. But who ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Were alchemists respected in Europe? [closed]

What was the general altitude towards alchemists? Were they respected? Who funding them?
4
votes
2answers
540 views

How much of a effect did linguistic relativism play in ancient Europe?

In linguistics we have a concept known as 'language relativism'. It's the idea that since languages change with time, and that they can share features with each other, the borders between them can be ...
5
votes
2answers
301 views

How much of what we know about ancient philosophers comes from oral literature?

Have any orally-transmitted myths survived​ throughout the centuries in such a form that we could identify any of the ancient philosophers of Classical Greece and Rome in them? I'm interested in ...
9
votes
2answers
434 views

Did Charlemagne save Latin literature?

Kenneth Clark states his opinion in Civilisation that nearly all Latin literature still extant today was saved thanks to Charlemagne, who instructed his kingdom's copyists to work on non-Christian ...
6
votes
1answer
215 views

Is there any evidence of improved sanitation in the years following the Black Death?

I've been reading up on the Black Death and surprisingly have not found any evidence of improved sanitation in the years immediately following the event. Was there any improvement? Were people aware ...
35
votes
9answers
11k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
961 views

Were “hitmen” a real historical occupation?

The trained killer-for-hire is a fairly standard trope in all kinds of media about courtly intrigue. That way, the king's life can be in danger basically all the time. But did these people actually ...
1
vote
3answers
225 views

What was the status of travelling perfomers in the Middle Ages (specifically, 13th century Germany)?

I had previously thought that medieval travelling performers were regarded as being of a low social class, not for respectable people to associate with, but upon researching it I found out that many ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...