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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1answer
179 views

Is there any estimate for expected life of 'ordinary' or 'poor' people in middle ages after surviving infancy?

I tried to do my own research on this and according to paper I found: Life expectancy at birth was a brief 25 years during the Roman Empire, it reached 33 years by the Middle Ages and raised up to 55 ...
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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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What social changes did the fall of the Western Roman empire bring to the region? [closed]

What social changes did the fall of the Western Roman empire bring to the region? Was the fall of Rome better for the development of Western Europe and the non-rich man? I’ve been trying to find out ...
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During the Middle Ages, how many people could fishing feed?

I known fishing was pretty popular in the middle-age. But I don't know how many people could be fed by a single fisher? I'd like to know it mostly for river fishing but I'm also interested by sea ...
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Why didn't the steppe bow spread further?

So, this question was triggered by my reading Stephen Turnbull's book on the Gempei War, when he says that he thinks that the yumi, or Japanese longbow, had an effective range of 10 meters against ...
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Was Leo II of Armenia poisoned?

Leo II, also known as Leon II or Levon II, became the King of Armenian Cilicia from 1269/70 and was a vassal of the Mongols. Five of his 16 children by his highly regarded wife Keran (who later ...
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1answer
374 views

Which texts/works were lost due to the Mongol invasions of Baghdad?

Which texts/works were lost due to the Mongol invasions of Baghdad? Baghdad was a center for learning and there seems to be an immense literature loss during the sack of that city, just like the ...
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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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How likely was an enlisted man to have fought at both Falkirk and Bannockburn?

A heroic Scottish song begins, "Scots who have with Wallace bled, Scots whom Bruce has often led..." William Wallace's most famous battle was Falkirk (1298). Robert Bruce's was Bannockburn (...
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Under primogenture in 12th century France, if the eldest son predeceases his father, did the grandson or an younger son inherit?

Okay so I'm not sure how to word this eloquently, I'm sorry, but please bear with me. Let's say that a lord, eg. a Duke had two sons. The older one got married, had a male heir, and then died while ...
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335 views

Why was Jesus depicted so differently in medieval Madonnas?

We can expect a portrait of Jesus, from either the Roman or the medieval eras, to look something approximating this: (6th century Byzantine depiction sourced from Wikimedia Commons) However, in ...
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When were weapons banned at the Thing assemblies in Norway?

First the attendants of the assemblies used the clashing of their swords and shields as an expression of their agreement, but later on weapons at the Thing assemblies were banned and the meaning of &...
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Why did the Mongols destroy the library during the siege of Baghdad in 1258?

For all what we know the Mongolian Empire was not simply a collection of brainless brutes, but they had intense knowledge of their opponents: descriptions, maps, information about the technology, ...
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Did medieval Mongol horse archers have deformed arms like English bowmen?

Did medieval Mongol horse archers have deformed arms like English bowmen? And were there other archer inside or outside of Europe in ancient times who suffered the same deformity like English archers? ...
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When Louis I of Hungary died in 1382, why did Polish lords choose Jadwiga instead of Mary as the monarch?

I am looking at a particular moment in Polish history when Louis I of Hungary died in 1382. Although the Hungarian throne was inherited by his daughter Mary, local power brokers back in Poland did not ...
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What were medieval era miscarriage and stillborn rates?

I am looking for information on the rates of miscarriages and stillbirths around 1400-1500 in the nobility of England and Spain. I would also like to know the mortality rates in childbirth.
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How did 15th century royals identify themselves in England/Spain?

I'm studying the customs of medieval Europe to gather information for a novel I'm writing and a question has arisen about how the nobles, especially the royal family, identified themselves. Did they ...
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1answer
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Were medieval city states like Venice and Milan feudal? [closed]

I know they had lots of powerful factions and families, but Venice, for instance, was a republic, no? And Rome was a theocracy. If they were feudal, how did their respective governments work in a ...
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What is known about the Tings in 10th century Norway?

There is quite a lot known about the Icelandic assemblies, but what about the Norwegian ones? Were Gulating, Borgarting, Eidsivating and Frostating also held in summer? Can we assume, that the ...
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Where can I find a historic recipe for red cherry-onion jam?

A while back, I had duck with red cherry-onion jam at a medieval restaurant. Allegedly, it was a historic recipe, originally prepared in 1445 for the wedding of one of René d’Anjou’s daughters. Does ...
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How did Muslim traders raise investments given Islam's prohibition of usury?

During early caliphate era (7th-13th century), Muslim traders dominated trade in Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean (see here and here for example). I think Islam's prohibition of interest or usury ...
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How did (riverine) toll castles operate?

Toll Castle A toll castle (WP) was a castle built either on a river, lake, or road intended to guard that trade route: Such castles were usually placed at strategic locations, such as border ...
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What was the life expectancy in medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
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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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Are there any sources supporting the claim that Jews were less affected by epidemics?

There is a common thread that Jews historically suffered less from epidemics because of Jewish ritual requirements of cleanliness. E.g., Wikipedia - Perceived Jewish immunity has 3 weakly supporting ...
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851 views

Did men and women feast together in 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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How were taxes collected for traveling merchants in the middle ages?

I've done research on taxation in the middle ages. I found this answer particularly helpful. (What was the average percentage of taxes in Europe during the Middle Ages?). It mentions that merchants ...
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1answer
208 views

How was Enguerrand VII de Coucy able to keep his allegiance to both king of England and France during the Hundrend Years War?

I was trying to do some research on the subject of feudal contracts. I found some example contracts here. This contains two contracts and one oath of fealty which as I understand it is part of the ...
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645 views

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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What was the purpose of rounded sills in Medieval castles?

At the Saranta Kolones Castle, or Forty Columns Castle, in Paphos, Cyprus, there are several door (gate?) sills which are rounded in the direction of travel, i.e. the edges of the sill that are ...
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Where did Medieval Europe's gold come from?

Medieval Europe processed copious amounts of gold into religious artifacts, jewelry and of course gold coins, as evidenced by the large number of those that survive to this day. Given that today, no ...
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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 ...
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How did smaller feudal vassal realms survive a war or raid?

Say you're a knight or baron or just generally a landowner who swears fealty to a much more higher title than you. One day a war breaks out between a rival realm or raiders from a more tribal-like one ...
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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 ...
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2answers
607 views

What was the population of late Pre-Islamic Arabia and the population of Arabic speakers before Islam?

The Arab tribes were spread out widely, and the land of Arabia was not as viable to live on as the Fertile Crescent, so I would expect the population to be lower. But, how much in an estimated range ...
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Do the edges of the CK3 map reflect real discontinuities in the medieval world?

Crusader Kings III was released a week or so ago, mostly to critical acclaim. I, too, have played the new release, and enjoyed it thoroughly. However, the while the new map is significantly better ...
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Why didn't Japan expand into Ezo?

Throughout the first millenium of Japanese history (and before that even) the Japanese rather steadily expanded up Honshu. Once they had taken the whole of Honshu however they seemed largely to stop. ...
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What is the source for the Middle age tale, “Falling off a church and surviving by falling on someone”?

I'm looking for the original story of a tale I've been told years ago back in high school by my history teacher. A worker in France was working on a church and lost his balance and fell. He landed on ...
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545 views

What is the best book to learn about medicine in medieval times? (research for a novel)

I am writing a novel where the main character is a healer in medieval times / a low-technology environment. Most of his work would involve field medicine, or treating people generally as a village ...
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1answer
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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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What percentage of Jews were in “finance” (money-lenders) throughout Middle Ages?

The stereotypical image of a Jew in Middle Ages (and the portrayal of them) was of course "the money-lender". From Ivanhoe's Isaac of York, to Shakespeare's Shylock, to "Проклятый жид, ...
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What did European people of the 5th century AD eat during spring and what was the availability?

It is commonly believed that winter during that age was a period of starvation, with very limited means of procuring food. If the above is true, what did the commoners (peasants, serfs, etc) have to ...
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What is known about the possibility of a “real King Arthur”?

I once saw a documentary that discussed a discovered possible "round table" but wondered how "pie in the sky" this possibility was as well as just how much/how little evidence ...
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What's the meaning of a knight fighting a snail in medieval book illustrations?

Someone sent me this really weird picture of a medieval illustration. It depicted a knight fighting a snail, and was basically a viral snarky commentary about how weird medieval ideas were. I tried ...
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Have there been any significant developments in the “Norman Controversy” on the origin of the Kievan Rus? [closed]

I've been reading Riasanovsky's "A History of Russia" (2nd edition, so fairly out of date), and it comes out strongly against the Norman theory. Today though, most sources seem to lean ...
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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 ...
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Was frequent bathing for personal hygiene in medieval Europe common or not?

The usual narrative: No bathing There is a frequently debunked claim that medieval Europeans did not bathe. Occasionally, the claim is connected to pandemics of the era and extended to the idea that ...
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Did slaves have slaves?

Was there anywhere in history where the enslaved were able to enslave others? Was there a slave hierarchy? I read the slavery wikipedia entry, it mentions that in various cultures people retained ...
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1answer
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Why were (are) food tasters human?

In the TV series The Borgias, there were people who tasted food or drink for others (e.g., the Pope, the Queen, the King) just in case it would be poisoned. Looking this up on Wikipedia, I find that ...
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In the Middle Ages - 18th century, how long would it take for a blacksmith forge a regular farming scythe to a war scythe?

Whenever I look up how long it took for a blacksmith to certain tools or weapons, I just get information on forging swords. Let's say a peasant is trying to make his scythe efficient for self-defense ...

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