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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20
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5answers
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What was the point of horse armour?

From my knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong), horse armour wasn't very thick (0.4mm-1.9mm) according to the paper in the link: How thick was late medieval horse armor? Even without ...
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How was the Pandidakterion organised?

How was the Pandidakterion organised? Wikipedia:Pandidakterion states that the Pandidakterion lacked 'corporative structure'. I do not understant exactly what the corporative structure is and how was ...
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What caused the turning point in Hundred Years' War?

At school I have learned that the English had upper hand in the war until Joan of Arc convinced the French king to give an army under her command to besiege Orléans and since then, the French forced ...
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When did European nobility (French) start hosting guests at their courts? [closed]

When did European nobility & royalty (preferably French but I'll accept any Western European kingdom) start having other nobles stay at their courts/chateaus and what were the qualifications ...
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Was Frederick II of Hohenstaufen really a medieval Dr. Mengele?

According to legend, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who was intelligent (spoke six languages) and influential, also purportedly used cold-blooded methods to further his "scientific" inquiries. ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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Is The King (2019) historically realistic?

The King (2019) by Netflix is about king Henry V. A few aspects of the movie struck me as either unbelievable, or contradicting what little even I know about history. In no particular order: The ...
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Why was Poland spared from the Black Death?

The featured image of the Wikipedia page for the Black Death is a gif showing the spread of the bubonic plague throughout Europe. There are a few places where the plague never spread to, including the ...
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Who believed the earth was flat?

Christians are sometimes mocked for having once believed the earth was flat. However, the only references I can find are Lactantius in the beginning of the 4th century, and Copernicus, who says ...
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Who would have a good or fair command of Latin in medieval Western Europe?

This answer to this question states Latin was the language of diplomacy in medieval Western Europe, but this does not imply that royalty or nobility themselves knew Latin: it would suffice that a few ...
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Who was the oldest woman to give birth in the Medieval 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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Was it possible to “aim for the epaulette boys” during the Middle Ages?

During the American Revolution, American troops were often told to "aim for the epaulette boys,"* that is, to first shoot at officers wearing epaulettes, on the theory that killing an officer would ...
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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 ...
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Were medieval and renaissance era jesters commonly disabled?

In Hilary Mantel's famous historical fiction Wolf Hall, she implies more than once that the court fools of figures in the era of Henry VIII often had some form of learning difficulty. Indeed in one ...
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Did healers in medieval Europe use moldy bread in poultices for wounds?

In a Song of Ice and Fire, injured characters are frequently given a poultice made of, amongst other things, moldy bread. We drowned the wound with boiling wine, and closed you up with a poultice ...
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How would a king's servants prove that they are on a task given by the king?

How would servants of kings, lords or so on, prove that they are on some task given by their lord if someone were to question them? I imagine a letter written by a ruler would be enough for those who ...
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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 ...
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Was there a law forbidding kingdoms in the Holy Roman Empire?

The Holy Roman Empire was founded in 962 when Otto the Great, King of Germany and Italy or Lombardy was crowned Emperor. All Emperors since then were kings of Germany and Italy, and since 1032 kings ...
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How much power and influence could a child monarch have?

As I understand, if a monarch died before his heir reached adulthood, the heir would still become a king or queen regardless of age, but the country would be temporarily governed by a regent. I want ...
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What authority did the Catholic Church have over European monarchs from 900–1450?

I recently described the Catholic Church as a superpower during the Middle Ages and was surprised a respected member of the board (LangLangC) objected to that characterization and thought the Catholic ...
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How did Roman law change between Justinian and Basil II?

What were the ways in which Roman law changed between under the rule of Justinian I (with his Corpus Juris Civilis and the rest of his Legal Order) and under the rule of Basil II? I am interested in ...
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How was the vast Khazar fortress of Sarkel destroyed?

I understood that Sarkel was a vast Khazar hilltop limestone-bricks fortress of the type of a fortified town, located in the present-day Rostov Oblast of Russia, on the left bank of the lower Don ...
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What does King Henry III have on his lap in this illustration from a Matthew Paris chronicle?

In Abbreviatio chronicorum Angliae, the chronicler Matthew Paris (d. 1259) included drawings of the Norman and Plantagenet kings up to Henry III. The image below shows from L-R, top-bottom: Henry II, ...
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What actually happened during the elephant duel (Songkram Yutahatti) between King Naresuan of Ayutthaya/Siam and Mingy Swa of Hongsawadee/Burma?

Before we start, I just want to say that I find Thai history and the history of Southeast Asia in general to be extremely fascinating and interesting. I think that it’s just as interesting as Chinese ...
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1answer
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Were Jews cut off from the Babylonian Geonim?

This is the view that I'm familiar with about the decline of the Geonim: The Mesopotamian Gaon reached the height of its prestige in the 10th century- with Saadia Gaon (d. 945), but the ...
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1answer
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Were there records kept of French nobility before the invasion of England in 1066?

I can trace my family name (Chance) back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Were any records kept (do they survive?) of French nobility around or before this time? Or is it a known dead end for ...
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Why did Shi'ite Islam split in the 9th century?

UPDATE: There is a low hanging piece of fruit on the Wikipedia page for the Qarmations. I might give the bounty to someone who finds that. ORIGINAL QUESTION: I'm asking about the reasons for the ...
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How did the roots of European knightly culture transfer from ancient Iran to European Middle Ages? [closed]

I have come across a reference in a German guide book on Iran that suggests the roots of knightly culture in European Middle Ages may be found in the Sassanian Empire (224 to 651 AD; translation ...
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What is this consistent symbol in the Spanish coat of arms? [closed]

I have been reading Spanish history today, and have noticed a very distinct commonality in the flags and coat of arms for various periods, but I haven't been able to find precise explanations of the ...
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How often would monks leave their monasteries in the Middle Ages?

I have been reading about medieval monasteries, and I recently read that monks could sometimes act as village priests. This confused me as I had read that monks couldn't leave their monasteries. Was ...
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Who was the medieval author who addressed readers 1000 years in the future?

I'm trying to remember the author of a quotation, where the author addresses the reader in the far future. It's says something like "if you are reading this in 100 or perhaps 1000 years I hope the ...
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Where does the Kurrent letter-form for E come from?

The old German cursives, both Suetterlin and Kurrent, have several peculiar features compared to modern German cursive handwriting. One is a double-stroke letter-shape for E. Most introductory ...
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How were the Burmese able to sack Ayutthaya when it was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in Asia at the time? [closed]

So I’m “watching” (more like skipping to the interesting scenes) the Thai lakorn/historical drama Sri Ayodhaya and in one episode, this one professor said that Ayutthaya was an incredibly wealthy and ...
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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 are the precursors of the Bayeux Tapestry?

Background from Wikipedia: Bayeux Tapestry is one of a kind, cr. 70 metres long, narrative embroidery depicting the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England, and culminating in the Battle ...
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How common was marriage between nobles and peasants in the Middle Ages?

How common was it during the Middle Ages for European nobility to marry peasants or serfs? I am aware that during the era, the institution of marriage was considered a severely practical matter ...
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Does anyone know of a good source on French folk customs?

I have been looking into French culture and was wondering if anyone knows of a book or collection of documents, etc... That contain prayers, customs, etc... That the French practiced. Kinda like a ...
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Did anyone ever win a kingdom through single combat without a backing army or blood tie to the throne?

I've read of instances where historians suggest that single combat of champions has been used to preempt wholesale slaughter on the battlefield; and I think I've read instances where blood relatives ...
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How kind were the Muslim occupations of North Africa?

I grew up in Egypt and although I was raised in Muslim-majority country, I am atheist now. In history classes we were told a doubtful story: The Muslims would have been kind and merciful invaders ...
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Did men and women feast together in the early medieval East Francia?

I am interested in important feasts of the upper classes (nobility), e.g., Easter or the baptism of important heirs, in the Eastern Frankish kingdom around 900 AD, specifically the Duchy of Saxony. ...
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1answer
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How did William the Conqueror consolidate his military victory?

Seems to me once you have won the war, your troubles are just beginning. You've got a small number of men few that can speak the local language. How do you go about putting your men in charge, ...
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What does “two ells within the selvages” mean in the Magna Carta?

Clause 35 of the Magna Carta defines some standard weights and measures to be used throughout the realm. The first part is straightforward: the standard weight/mass used for wine, ale and corn is the ...
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Is this medieval picture of hanging 5 royals showing an historical event?

I was reading up on medieval hanging and came across this picture. It shows five royals (kings? princes?) being hanged from trees, but the articles I read don't mention any royal hangings. I had a ...
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Who were the social elites of the European middle ages?

I have recently been reading into the European Middle Ages, where one of the challenges is the limited sources available. I have often seen seen this described as a source bias towards the elite ...
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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 was the aftermath of a battle in the middle ages? How did wounded soldiers proceed?

The Red Cross was founded by 1859 over these circumstances: Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and/or well-established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and ...
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Which European monarch of the middle ages died furthest from home?

After a lot of googling on this - and thinking the crusades might provide an answer - the best I've come up with is Louis IX of France who died in Tunis on the 8th crusade. That's 920 miles 'as the ...
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Did horse sacrifice persist in Christian Europe?

While researching the Indo-European horse sacrifice, I happened upon the following claim online: Although the papal ban seems to have greatly reduced the consumption of horseflesh in most of Europe,...

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