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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Was wool packing a main task for medieval peasants?

In Europe/UK, would a main task for peasants/working classes been to pack wool? And, if so, roughly what dates would this have been please? What did the entire process involve from obtaining the ...
4 votes
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How much iron ore could a medieval miner extract per day?

I am finding really hard to find an answer to this question. There are some numbers available online, but first of all the numbers range quite a lot from different sources, then they are given for a ...
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What's the source that Henry IV was the first post-Norman conquest monarch to speak English as their first language?

Okay; the oft-cited fact that "Henry IV was the first English monarch after 1066 whose first language was English". Now, while I have no doubt it was, what I find puzzling about this is that ...
18 votes
3 answers
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Did courtiers of antiquity hold in their pee or did they have common commodes available in the king/queen's court?

Self-explanatory. Did any royal court in history from ancient to medieval times (of any culture) have a public restroom that people who attended court can use, or were they sort of left to their own ...
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(How) Did criminals in the middle ages get treatment for injuries?

Were criminals in the middle ages able to get treatment for injuries, and if so, how? I mean criminals such as bandits who wouldn't be able to seek whatever medical care was normally available, even ...
8 votes
1 answer
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Where and how were the catapults/trebuchets operators trained?

Practice makes perfect: give someone enough time with a sling, bow or crossbow and after a while he will learn to hit the target - you don't need to know much science, as much of the learning revolves ...
15 votes
8 answers
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How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
19 votes
1 answer
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Are there any medieval manuals relating to castle building?

I'm doing research on the medieval castle, specifically what was required to build one. I'm particularly interested in learning about this from a medieval perspective, so I wondered if there are any ...
19 votes
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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?
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Which calendar numbering system did the Franks use?

I know by researching that Visigoths used the Spanish Era to number years, which is Anno Domini plus 38 years. Now I ask: which was the system that the Frankish people used? I was navigating a lot of ...
23 votes
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Why did Henry III of England give his sons English names, other than naming them after his favourite saints?

Was the decision by King Henry III to give his two sons the very Anglo-Saxon, 'English' names of Edward and Edmund rather than any names of French derivation commented on at the time by contemporaries,...
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When did Kievan Rus' rulers become culturally Slavic?

As the title says, when did the Varangian rulers become culturally more Slavic? I presume that among the elites there was cultural borrowing from Byzantium too, so I am not claiming a Viking-Slavic ...
2 votes
2 answers
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When did the Polovtsy convert to Islam?

Polovtsy is a name used to refer various Turkic tribes living to the East of Kievan Rus. I wonder, at what point did those Turkic peoples become Muslim?
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Why and how were the Mongols able to invade Russia successfully?

From Wikipedia: The campaign was heralded by the Battle of the Kalka River in 1223, which resulted in a Mongol victory over the forces of several Rus' principalities. The Mongols nevertheless ...
32 votes
6 answers
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Where does the name of the country "Belarus" come from?

I've read the German and English Wikipedia on this topic as well as the translated Belarussian version and some sites I googled. They all seem to argue that the 'Rus' part stems from the Region called ...
39 votes
3 answers
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Did medieval peasants work 150 days a year?

The following meme arrived in my inbox. Peasants in the medieval era worked just 150 days a year on average. The church believed it was crucial to keep them content by making frequent required ...
36 votes
9 answers
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At what point was the Byzantine Empire's decline irreversible?

I've heard various arguments that the Byzantines were dealt the mortal wound at Manzikert in 1071 which allowed the Turks to claim most of Anatolia and set the stage for the later sacking of ...
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What are those Russian/Turkic/Mongolian semi-conical felt caps brimmed with fur called?

What are those Russian/Turkic/Mongolian semi-conical felt caps brimmed with fur called? When and from which culture did it originate from, and when and how did it get adopted by the Slavs? Did the ...
12 votes
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What is meant by this medieval reference to combat 'under-ground'?

I was reading The History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London, by William Herbert (1836), and came across an interesting turn of phrase. In a section discussing early guilds predating the ...
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What was the process of early medieval urban development?

Does anybody know of research papers or academic resources that study the full development and growth of medieval cities? I mean, from village stage to city stage. Or maybe cities did not develop that ...
34 votes
4 answers
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How much would 300 pounds (money value) weigh in Medieval England?

I remember reading a Robin Hood story as a child where the Sheriff of Nottingham rode though Sherwood forest, as I remember foolishly going alone, and Robin Hood robbed him of 300 pounds. And I ...
35 votes
2 answers
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How common were marital duels in medieval Europe?

On social media, I came across a post claiming that in medieval Germany spouses could settle a divorce outside of court, civic or religious, through trial by combat! Naturally, I was shocked (the ...
5 votes
2 answers
306 views

Did the Ottomans conquer Poland-Lithuania?

Türk Tarihi | History of Turks claims that the Ottomans took Poland-Lithuania as a vassal in the late 1570s. Where did they get this from? I searched everywhere but I couldn't find anything.
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What was the role of Scotland during the Hundred Years War?

Scotland was the enemy of England, as they had regained their independence. It made sense for them to join hands with the French forces. And I heard something like that in an Extra Credits video. But ...
2 votes
1 answer
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What kind of clothing was worn in Mahgreb states circa the high medieval period?

I'm interested in medieval clothing (I'd focus on the time period from the 9th century onwards) in north Africa especially in the Maghreb states and the other countries that surround the Sahara such ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Where is this map of Scandinavia (Nicolaus Germanus, 1467)

Does anybody recognise this map? Is there a better version online? Update: the map was apparently printed in colour, and one version might be in Warsaw. Could also be available online, but have not ...
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Was any belief about the nature of the soul before birth widespread enough to influence common people's lives?

Medieval (European Christian 5-15th century) theologians used to argue between a few ideas about the origin of the soul (creationism, traducianism & pre-existence). However, was any belief about ...
6 votes
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How prevalent was premarital sex in Late Medieval Christendom?

A few months, I very much enjoyed a playthrough of the video game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, which is set within the borders of what was then the Kingdom of Bohemia during the Western Schism (1378 - ...
1 vote
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How Norse were the Normans when they invaded England in 1066? [closed]

More than 150 years passed between Rollo & his companions settling in Normandy and the Norman invasion of England. How much of their original Norse culture still remained in 1066? What influence ...
23 votes
4 answers
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How did knights who required glasses to see survive on the battlefield?

Googling this has been less than helpful on the history factor, and a quick look at HEMA rules and regulations says it's easier to use fencing masks instead, which isn't what I'm asking. (This was ...
10 votes
2 answers
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Did medieval archers shoot from both sides of the bow?

Most modern archers are taught to shoot with Mediterranean style; that is, putting the arrow on the left side of the bow (if they're right handed) and pulling the string with 3 fingers. Some claim ...
2 votes
1 answer
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How did commoner children address commoner adults in the middle ages?

Imagine a peasant wanting to ask a young lass's parents (also peasants) for their daughter's hand in marriage. How would one go about addressing the woman's father and mother in order to show respect? ...
3 votes
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201 views

What would have been the process of arresting someone in the Middle Ages?

In the High Middle Ages (France, specifically), if someone was suspected of having committed a crime, would that person have been arrested? Would that person have been jailed somewhere until their ...
2 votes
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What language(s) were spoken in 11th century Romania?

Curious to know what languages would've been spoken and used in correspondences during this time, specifically in Transylvania.
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Is Islamic law largely derivative of Catholic canon law? [closed]

My understanding is that Islamic thought got its big boost in the "Al Andalusian paradise", which essentially consisted of the Muslim conquerors having the conquered peoples translate their ...
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Who is 'Chlodebaudo/Chlodebaud' in the Merovingian-era Clovis I genealogy & Charlemagne ancestry, supposedly mentioned in a Salic Law manuscript?

In Henry H. Howorth's The Ethnology of Germany.-Part VI. The Varini, Varangians, and Franks.-Section II (1884), p.228 he writes: We must remember also that in a genealogical table attached to an old ...
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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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
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Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage?

Does anyone know anything about medieval instant pottage? Years ago, I saw this in Terry Jones' Medieval Lives episode 1 ( at 14:00). Jones explains pottage and then says there was an instant type of ...
12 votes
2 answers
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Did medieval people wear collars with a castellated hem?

Many drawings of peasants in the Middle Ages show the men with an oversized collar or short cape with a distinctive castellated margin. Did this really exist, and if so, was the shape dictated by a ...
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1 answer
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What is the association of the 4 playing card suits and the Mamluks?

As I understand it, playing cards made their way to Europe perhaps via China (paper) but most visibly by way of the Mamluks. One legend is the Mamluks and Tibetans defeated the Chinese once in battle ...
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1 answer
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Why were monasteries built in obscure places around Ireland?

I remember reading that monks built many monasteries around very obscure parts of medieval Ireland. Does anyone know why? Is it because they didn't want many people to know/join about their order?
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What was the political organization of small villages and towns in medieval Transylvania by the end of the 15th Century? (Both Saxon and non-Saxon)

I've been trying to find out about the political organization of small villages in medieval Transylvania during the time the region was part of the Hungarian Kingdom (more precisely during the end of ...
4 votes
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In Medieval or early Renaissance times, how could England close its ports to prevent escape?

From time to time I read that in Medieval or early Renaissance times the King/Queen/Privy Council "closed the ports" to prevent someone escaping England. How could this be done effectively? ...
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Are there any examples of two medieval kingdoms trying to unify but eventually failing to do so?

Recently, I started to read about history as a hobby like I used to when I was a kid. I realized that reading about "generic history" does not do it for me anymore. Instead I have some ...
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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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
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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 a lot of them. Here is my list. Demetrios 1340 to 1370 (rough) Basil 1370 (rough) to 1380 (...
14 votes
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Did the Hungarian Army ever use crescent banners?

I was reading about Battle of Mohi between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. Wikipedia contains this artistic depiction of the battle: The cavalry on left hand looks like Mongols while ...
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1 answer
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How exactly did most nobles gain wealth? [closed]

If most peasants in the medieval ages were structurally poor due to relying on subsistence farming; how could most landowning nobles become wealthy, if most taxes were only paid in produce? How could ...
7 votes
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What is the exact meaning of England vs. Britain before/during/after the formation of the Kingdom of England in the Middle Ages?

I have been reading for the past few hours about all the various players in Western/Northern Europe: Celts Gauls Germanic People Anglo Saxons Britons Iberians Aquitani etc. Wikipedia says of the ...
5 votes
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How did the Crusades change medieval Islamic culture?

Background: It's well known that the crusades initiated an east-west contact that led to an exchange between Europe and the Islamic world. Foreign goods, philosophy, sciences, flowed east to west, and ...

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