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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140 views

How long did it take to make a woolen sweater?

In premodern times, in temperate or colder climates, clothing was orders of magnitude more expensive than today and textile production made up a large percentage of total economic activity. I'm ...
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What became of the Richard III infidelity surprise?

Back when Richard III of England's grave was discovered, a paper published in Nature Communications reported that while his identity was confirmed through a direct-female descendent of his sister, Y-...
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Was there and if so what was a northern silk road route from Khazaria to China?

From the reading I had done in various sources through the years, I understood that possible silk road routes from Khazaria to China were: Northern: Atil - Tashkent - Dunhuang - Chang'an Central: ...
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Is the depiction of the Stirling Castle Knight historically accurate?

For some reason BBC depicted him with a shaved head. I was wondering if it is historically accurate for a 700 year old English nobleman to have a shaved head?
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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 ...
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Did Thomas Aquinas's correspondent James of Tonengo become bishop of Vercelli?

Thomas Aquinas wrote the long letter/short treatise De Sortibus at the request of his friend James / Jacobus / Giacomo of Tonengo. James was a candidate to be bishop of Vercelli (Northwest Italy) but ...
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How did medieval peasants decide where to build their houses?

When a person moved out of their parents' house, they needed a house. How was it decided where this house would be located? For example, did they just pick the next available spot on a path? Were ...
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Did Saladin speak any European languages?

As the leader of a large coalition force I'm aware he was multilingual, speaking at least Kurdish and Arabic (one site added Turkish) but a European language seems like a longshot. If he did speak one,...
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How many people lived in a medium sized European villiage around the year 800?

My question is, how many people lived in a medium sized European village (like Germany) in the year 800. And how many people would have walked on the streets in a daily routine?
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How was reconnaissance performed in medieval warfare?

During the middle ages reconnaissance played at least a minor part in a tactician's plans. As evidenced by this question Irish Hobelars would be used to scout ahead in terrain that was too difficult ...
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When did “killing” become wrong in society? [closed]

It occurred to me that in many medieval settings, people getting killed is just a part of life. If you angered a feudal lord or noble, they could cut off your hands or kill you and no one bats an eye. ...
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Were titles in the British Peerage ever connected to land grants, and if so, when did they stop being connected to land?

I have been trying to understand the peerage systems of Britain as of late, and I have a number of questions. Let's assume we're in the middle ages. A baron-in-chief, Thomas Smith, holds a number of ...
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Have any palimpsests been found in medieval Icelandic (saga) literature?

Old Norse mythology and history are mostly known through Icelandic medieval parchements. Have those been found to include palimpsests, like medieval parchement in Europe has?
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How is the term “medieval” used to describe non-European civilizations and cultures?

I have done a quick Bing search, and the term refers to the Middle Ages, a time period in Western European history. It has the alternative meaning of "very old-fashioned or primitive". Yet, ...
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Is the use of flamethrower style naval weapons depicted in this game accurate?

In the popular strategy game Age of Empires 2, one key naval unit is the so-called Fire Ship. Fire ships in the game use a siphon to launch a continuous stream of fire projectiles on the enemy. ...
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In a medieval city how large a market was needed relative to population? [closed]

In a large medieval city fed by the agricultural product of the area, plus imports such as grains, spices, fish, etc. and also serving as a regional hub for the exchange of trade goods, what ...
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Is there art or written evidence of crescent shaped arrows being used for bird-hunting in Medieval Europe?

I have heard it said that crescent arrows were used for hunting birds in medieval Europe. I could not find any art or literary evidence for it, though. The art I found for bird hunting generally ...
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How did plague affect military management in 17th century North Africa?

I’m doing some research on Morocco’s history during the early 17th century, and more specifically the chaos leading to the fall of the Saadians Dynasty. One of the main causes, if not the main, is the ...
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How were drawbridges and portcullises used tactically?

How were drawbridges and portcullises used tactically? I was recently asked why medieval castles would have both a drawbridge and a portcullis. After giving an explanation, I realized that it was just ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Which English king voided noble land claims after a certain date?

If my memory holds, a medieval English king ruled that noble lands were falsely held and should be returned to the crown. Parliament, of course, rejected this seizure. King and parliament compromised ...
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Did 12th century French nobles really sleep in the great hall of the castle? [closed]

I've been on so many sites and each one seems to tell a different story. Some say that nobles had their own bedrooms (evidenced by the fact that castles had bedrooms) but I have also seen people say ...
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What criteria are used to determine the popularity of Medieval European rulers?

It is relatively common to see certain monarchs described as "popular" while others are "unpopular". It confounds me as to what specific evidence has been used to determine this, ...
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How common or acceptable was it for a female yeoman or peasant in 14th century Germany to move around alone?

My query is specifically about an early teenage yeoman's daughter in what is modern day Saxony-Anhalt region in Germany. My period is the turn of the 14th Century. From my reading in medieval ...
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Is there a Welsh or Irish equivalent to the Declaration of Arbroath or Magna Carta?

Are there any pre-modern documents (or were there any, if they didn't survive) in Welsh or Irish history, which are broadly equivalent in intention and purpose to the Declaration of Arbroath or the ...
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Why did so many Saxons emigrate to England?

I read some interesting DNA research recently showing that vikings left little or no DNA traces in the population of present day UK but Saxons on the other hand left a huge imprint. It amazes me that ...
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How did the layout of a Medieval European village typically change as it grew into a town?

Some of the research I've done so far WordlbuidingSE: How did the layout of a village change over time? This question was too broad, it's now more specific: It is not about settlements that were ...
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Are there historical texts in England querying where Roman structures came from?

I watched a film recently called King Arthur, showing London post Rome (guessing set in Middle Ages with modern-ish buildings but still with some Roman buildings / walls showing. It got me thinking: ...
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Were the 1400s-1600s really not part of the “Middle Ages”? [closed]

I read something confusing on Wikipedia and an answer on Stack Exchange today: No terrestrial globes from Antiquity or the Middle Ages have survived. Then two paragraphs later: The earliest extant ...
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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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How many barons did Magna Carta apply to? [closed]

How many barons had their rights improved by Magna Carta when it was signed in 1215? And how did this number evolve later? The supervising council consisted of 25 barons, but I presume more barons ...

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