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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Are there any records of Foreign investments or Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in history from pre-medieval or medieval period?

A foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country. If we look at the articles about the ...
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Are there a records of the cost of Medieval war reparations? [on hold]

I have come across some actual numbers for individual war reparations, e.g. this or that medieval city-state had to pay N amount of gold to this or that other state, for war reparations after losing X ...
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Were the arches on medieval bridges large enough to permit river traffic? [on hold]

I’ve been looking through the Civitates Orbis Terrarum to get a sense of the way Medieval cities and their surroundings were organized, but there are some questions I haven’t been able to answer about ...
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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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What specific training did members of medieval military orders get?

What were the dominant martial and clerical themes to the training of knights in medieval military orders? Were there specific fighting or training techniques, or weapons, adopted to meet religious ...
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What was the military makeup of the Baltic tribes/Lithuania from 1200 to 1500 AD?

There is quite a lot written on the Teutonic Order and its military, but I'm having a harder time finding any good English sources on the military of one of its chief foes, Lithuania and the other ...
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Were women banned from entering the castle of Trakai?

According to legend, Vytautas the Great banned women from entering the Trakai Island Castle under penalty of death. I read it in Russian, it is called "The Horse of knyaz Vytautas". The plot is ...
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What was the Hospitaller gonfalon like in the 12th and 13th centuries?

The Templar Order had a gonfalon (a military standard of a specific type) of black and white called the beauseant (I have come to prefer the spelling most common in the book I first took it from ...
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When did the Knights Templar dissolve and why?

The Knights Templar were a medieval chivalric organization within the Roman Catholic Church. When did they dissolve, and what ultimately led to the dissolution of the Templars?
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Where is the sword used in Queen Anne Boleyn's execution?

If a 'skilled' (with sword) executioner was summoned from Calais, did he bring his own 'equipment' and, if so, is there record of him & it there? Was the sword seized when Francis, Duke of Guise ...
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What are the seven levels of knowledge? [closed]

My teacher said that in the medieval Germany they had seven level about the knowledges one man had, for example, a child and a university student must be different, so they had a different level. i ...
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After the fall of the Roman Empire, where did their armor go? Was it used by any dark ages forces?

It is my understanding that the plate armor manufactured in the time after the fall of Rome was far inferior to anything that the Romans used in their legions. (Of course, if I am wrong on any of this ...
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How were de jure lands determined during the Middle Ages in Western Europe?

I was continuing my research on the strained relationship of France and England during the Middle-Ages. As I was reading up on Philip II Augustus of France in Wikipedia I stumbled upon this: The ...
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How close would a peasant from middle ages England ever come to interacting with the king?

Presuming we have a peasant who works on land owned by a "common" lord (sorry, here I don't know the terminology. I mean a landowner who is not a royal), how close would that person ever get to ...
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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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Identify two Medieval Indian coins

Can someone help me identifying these two old coins found in India? They are made of copper. They are very thick and weigh around 10 grams. Both the coins have a diameter of 1.5cm and thickness of 0....
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Where was the Barberini psalter created?

Would you know where the Barberini psalter was created? I have checked the on-line sources and cannot find the answer (maybe I have overlooked it?) It was created in the 11th century. The obvious ...
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Why was silage only invented in the 19th Century?

For thousands of years in the Northern climates mankind had to slaughter a large proportion of their livestock due to a shortage of winter fodder. What prevented mankind from using silage/haylage ...
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What did a tournament sword made of whale bone (baleen) look like?

I accidentally found this information from the Wikipedia page Boiled leather: The word cuirass for a breastplate indicates that these were originally made of leather.[11] In the Late Middle Ages, ...
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How effective are rope helmets as protection?

I accidentally found this in some 15th century painting in "The Arrest of Christ" in the "Karlsruher Passion" from Master of the Karlsruhe Passion (Hans Hirtz?) "The Disrobing of Christ" and after ...
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Why was the battle of Bouvines that incredible?

I've been looking on some history books, history of the Plantagenets (who were part of this) and history of the Capetians, and I don't see why it was such a shock that Phillip II won the battle of ...
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Was there a semi-professional soldiering class in Early Middle Ages Europe?

We're all familiar with the basic setup of feudal society: a large class of peasants supporting a small martial-administrative class of knights. In the event of a big war, peasants get handed some ...
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Did Pope Urban II issue the papal bull “terra nullius” in 1095?

Countless sources claim that the origin of the term terra nullius is from a papal bull issued by Pope Urban II in 1095 called "Terra nullius". Here are a two: Pramod K. Nayar, The Postcolonial ...
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Where can I find information about “stone power” / lapidaire?

While doing some research about Middle-Ages jewelry, where stones comes from and the economy around it, I found a website mentioning this book and mention beliefs in some magical properties of ...
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What drugs were used in England during the High Middle Ages?

It's well known that alcohol was brewed and drunk throughout the Middle ages in England, but I wonder what is known from archaeological evidence and contemporary sources about what other drugs were ...
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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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How were noblewomen named/titled in Medieval France, c. 11th century?

I was reading through some articles on Wikipedia and long story short I ended up reading about 11th century dukes of France. I noticed that a lot of their wives had names such as, e.g. Adelaide of ...
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Are there any writings by blinded and/or exiled Byzantine emperors?

Several Byzantine Emperors were deposed and subsequently blinded and/or exiled by their successors. Are there any extant texts authored by any of these deposed emperors?
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How were large monetary transactions conducted in medieval Europe?

Recently, I have read in the news about a large hoard of Norman coins in England being found. Apparently, all of these coins were silver pennies. And then it occurred to me that small silver coins ...
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When the Swiss Guard was formed, was the height requirement 174 cm (5' 8 1/2")?

The current minimum height required for the Swiss Guard at the Vatican is 5'8 1/2" or 174 cm (Swiss Guard requirements). Has that always been the case? I remember reading years ago that the minimum ...
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How did medieval manors handle population growth? Was there room for more fields to be ploughed?

Most villeins were bound to the manor and not allowed to move elsewhere. But what happened when the population grew? The size of the manor remained the same didn't it, so how did they keep up with the ...
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How many barons were there in feudal 10th century France?

Around AD 1000, the king was technically owner of all of France but the land was 'leased' to his vassals: dukes, counts, lower barons, and these in turn leased it to lower barons and knights. What I ...
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How were medieval castles built in swamps or marshes without draining them?

By this, I mean a castle built without terraforming or draining the swamp; a castle that was built while keeping the swamp intact. Inspired by Monty Python Since apparently, castles built in marshes ...
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How was the black death spread? [closed]

When discussing the black plague, many historians believe it to be the bubonic plague transmitted by fleas on rats. I was wondering if there are any competing theories to what caused this mass death.
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What is the history of the university asylum law?

I fear this question may be rather broad and I would like help to narrow it down. Currently a debate is ongoing in Greece regarding the law preventing police from stepping into university campuses. ...
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Did the pope try to suppress the number zero?

Is there any evidence indicating that the Pope attempted to suppress the number zero? In an editorial review, Rob Lightner claims that "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea", by Charles Seife, ...
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Are there any medieval records of girls with large clitorises misidentified (and subsequently raised) as boys?

Several years ago, I read a piece of trivia in a popular science magazine1, which said pretty much exactly: In the Middle Ages there were many cases where a newborn girl was born with a clitoris ...
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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 ...
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Was Richard I's imprisonment by Leopold of Austria justified?

I read in Wikipedia and Britannica about Richard I of England regarding his imprisonment and I was perplexed by the fact that a sovereign monarch, and a crusader at that, could be imprisoned by a ...
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What should I call bands of armed men in the Middle Ages?

I am writing a fiction short story roughly based off medieval times in Europe. In it I have a group of men who live in a castle and fight for the castle's lord. (They mainly protect the surrounding ...
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Which arm was the shield held in?

I'm asking a question elsewhere and I'm sure I've heard some historical text to back this up as well as sound reasoning: you want your strongest arm to stop yourself from getting killed by using a ...
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How did commoners in late medieval to early modern Europe learn to read?

Literacy in the early Middle Ages was very low, but as I recall, by the time of Reformation quite a lot of commoners could read. Even if they were not very good in reading and writing, by the 17th ...
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Were war horses unable to graze naturally in grass fields and so needed to be feed manually with exclusive type of hay?

I found this trivia in a historical strategy game (the game name will be kept secret) and so I want to know the credibility of it. It states that war horse (i mean destrier or other type of european ...
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Why did Al-Andalus become cosmopolitan?

I have been watching some BBC documentaries on the history of Spain recently. 'Blood and Gold: The Making of Spain with Simon Sebag Montefiore', and 'The Art of Spain' (Episode 1: The Moorish South). ...
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Did every medieval village in Europe have a manor, castle, or other type of lord's residence?

I know that some villages were the sole and only property of certain minor lords or knights. Such villages surely had a manor (or even a castle) where the lord lives. On the other hand, many lords ...
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Where was the ruling seat of East Francia located under Henry the Fowler?

It seems safe to assume that Bavaria wasn't an option as Arnulf the Bad controlled this area throughout Henry's reign. The only possible candidates that I can find are Memleben (where Henry died) or ...
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Is there a source for Medieval army composition and tactics across cultures?

It's mostly a source question, because the topic is too large to be covered by simple questions and answers, so im sorry if i posted this in the wrong place. I'm trying to research on the ...
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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 ...
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When did the Roman Empire fall according to contemporaries?

The Roman Empire divided itself into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire headquartered in Constantinople and the Western Roman Empire headquartered in Rome. The city of Rome itself fell in the year ...
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To what extent was Christianity responsible for the dark ages of Western Europe?

Some sources assert that Christianity caused the dark ages of Western Europe. But actually, to what extent Christianity was actually responsible for the dark ages of Western Europe? I know this can ...