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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43
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4answers
11k views

Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?

Before the invention of the semaphore and the telegraph, a message couldn't travel faster than the speed of a horse (or maybe a messenger pigeon or something along those lines - still pretty slow). ...
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2answers
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Did people shoot from both sides of the bow in medieval times?

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 ...
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Are there historical statistics about the number of market towns?

As a way to understand changes in the middle ages, I want to know the development of market towns. Particularly, I am looking for the increase in their number, organised by country and period (e.g. ...
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183 views

Why didn't the Black Death made the peasants more desperate and more accepting of exploitation? [closed]

The Black Death is said to have made labor more expensive and the peasants free. But why hasn't the opposite happened?
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Was the Bundesbrief a forgery?

Steinberg (2015, Why Switzerland?) writes: The famous Bundesbrief of 1291 is one of many ‘Fälschungen’ – forgeries which carbon-dating has shown to be from a later period. But briefly googling, it ...
9
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1answer
356 views

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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Are there 15th or 16th century English sources that exemplify Empress Matilda as an impediment to having a Queen Regnant?

I'm reading Alison Weir's 'Elizabeth of York', and she makes claims as to why Elizabeth of York couldn't succeed to the throne after Richard III which are not supported by evidence. Legally, there ...
7
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1answer
172 views

How would an early Medieval German market have looked?

I am trying to find sources on how a medieval German market would have looked. Any artwork (painting, wood carving, wood print) would be perfect, but even just a description would already be great. My ...
7
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2answers
950 views

How popular was Arabic in Syria before Islamic conquest?

Before the Islamic conquest of Syria and the whole Levant, how popular was the Arabic language there? Are there any resources show what the percentage of Arabic in that region is as well?
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3answers
359 views

How expensive were castles? And how were the costs distributed?

In, Castles, Battles, Bombs: How Economics Explained Military History, I came across this passage : "The cost lay mostly in direct labor cost, as most labor had to be paid. (In contrast, raw material ...
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2answers
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Did Aurangzeb issue a farman promising 4 Rs for all males that convert and 2 Rs for females?

I found a reference to this farman here (first link) But I can't find the source of the author (or if its authentic). Is it from an akhbar or from a biography of Aurangzeb? Its mentioned as a farman ...
7
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1answer
287 views

When and how did classical mythology subjects start to appear in art in medieval/Renaissance Europe?

All early medieval Europe art objects I am aware of are either about the Christian subjects or about the history (chronicles etc.). Classical mythology was obviously known in Europe before, see e.g. ...
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1answer
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How frequently did monasteries attack other monasteries in Early Medieval Western Europe?

Recently, I saw this passage in M & H. Whittock, ‘The Viking Blitzkrieg’ (referring to Ireland) of the 113 attacks on monasteries between 795 and 820, only twenty-six were carried out by ...
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How did the Hansa organize river trade in the 14th and 15th centuries?

How did the Hansa accommodate the transition from sea to river trade along a trade route? Would river travel have been controlled by one group of people, e.g., Guild of the River Oder Merchants? Would ...
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1answer
136 views

Were eastern weapons ever seen in medieval Europe and western weapons ever seen in medieval Asia? [closed]

Like could some trader in medieval France be selling a katana or urumi amongst his wares that he obtained in his travels? Could a merchant in Japan have a zweihander or flamberge in his collection?
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1answer
578 views

What were the required conditions to be accepted by a university in Medieval times?

What were the conditions to be fulfilled for a free man in the (LATE) Medieval ages, to be accepted by a university as a student?
7
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1answer
179 views

Are there thirteenth century sources linking the Fifth Crusade to the Book Of Daniel?

Are there any thirteenth century sources (Christian, Islamic, or Jewish) linking (the timing of) the fifth crusade to a possibly self-fulfilling prophecy1 from (the eighth chapter2 of) the Book of ...
13
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2answers
901 views

Did Hungarian Army ever use crescent banners?

I was reading about Battle of Mohi between Mongol Empire and Kingdom of Hungary. The Wikipedia contains this artistic depiction of the battle: The cavalry on left hand looks like Mongols while ...
5
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2answers
2k views

What was used for writing in 15th century Europe?

What sort of pens/quills would be used? Would paper, cover and bindings be readily available?
10
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4answers
732 views

Are there equivalents of the Domesday Book for other (French or German) duchies?

Is the Domesday Book a one-off census in the wake of the Norman conquest? One can imagine that William wanted an accurate feudal picture of his new kingdom but was it the norm? Did other dukes and ...
5
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1answer
160 views

How were cities administered in the early Byzantine Empire?

First of all, I would just like to note that I am not looking for an answer concerning Constantinople, but rather how other cities were governed (e.g. Thessaloniki, Adrianapole, Nicaea, Smyrna, ...
34
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4answers
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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 ...
34
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2answers
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How did cities operate in medieval times?

Modern fiction is often filled with fantasy versions of the Middle Ages, from Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, and everything in between, but how did the reality of this trope operate? There ...
4
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1answer
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What was the composition of Medieval European armies?

What was the class make up of Western European armies of the Middle Ages? Most cliches tell us that there was usually an elite force of nobles, as knights, a bunch of peasant levies, and sometimes ...
5
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1answer
2k views

How thick was Late Medieval horse armor?

Is it known how thick Late Medieval horse plate armor (for field of battle) was? Was it as thick as its rider's armor? Good horses were expensive and valuable, especially during a battle, so it ...
5
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1answer
164 views

What did the English people during the Peasants' Revolt know about the Ciompi Revolt?

The Ciompi revolt started in Florence in June 1378 and the Peasants' Revolt started in England in May 1381, just three years later. Did the news about Ciompi Revolt reach England in three years? Did ...
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Do these depictions of hunt in medieval Catholic churches have the same symbolic meaning? If not, what is it?

I have come across 3 depictions of a hunt in Catholic churches. The first two are tiles that were on the floors of an English abbey and a church not far from Reims, France; I could not find any ...
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2answers
188 views

How would “distraint of knighthood” law in medieval England fit with the fact that all knights must be of noble birth?

I've read recently about “distraint of knighthood” law in medieval England started by Henry III but I found it very strange indeed. This law forced all rich people who has 40 £ or more to be knighted ...
6
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1answer
190 views

How did philosophical and scientific knowledge in Christian Europe in 1085 compare to the body of knowledge contained in the library of Toledo?

In 1085, Moorish Toledo was conquered by Alfonso VI. According to prof. Robert Sapolsky (he is a primatologist and neurobiologist, but usually all information he gives is very reliable), at the time ...
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2answers
901 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
77 views

What percentage of the population were serfs by region/year?

Where can I find statistics on the percentage of the population that were serfs, ideally broken down by country/region and by year? Even very rough estimates would be helpful, but unfortunately I've ...
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4answers
595 views

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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0answers
102 views

How historically accurate Is this replica “15th century hand and a half” sword?

Sorry, not a plug, but this sword at this shop called The Medieval Store has a 15th century hand and a half sword and I am curious the historical significance of it. What makes it 15th century? Can ...
31
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4answers
9k views

Were there any travel restrictions during the Black Death pandemic?

From the Wikipedia article Black Death: The Black Death, also known as the Pestilence, Great Bubonic Plague, the Great Plague or the Plague, or less commonly the Great Mortality or the Black Plague,...
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3answers
4k views

Who was the English Knight Templar holding command in the Mongol Army?

Excerpt from Great Captains Unveiled (1927), by B. H. Liddell Hart: After this holocaust, Hungary was occupied without further fighting. An organised administration was set up, and the land ...
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4answers
335 views

What was the point of hanging in “hanging, drawing, and quartering”?

As I understand it, “hanging, drawing, and quartering” was specifically designed in order to be torturous and frightening. Certainly drawing (whether referring to dragging by a horse, or ...
16
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3answers
8k views

What motivated Germanic tribes to accept Christianity?

I have read histories that tell of St. Boniface and other Anglo-Saxon and Irish monks working in the Rhine valley among Germanic tribes converting them to Christianity. I understand that this work ...
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0answers
39 views

How did private property work in medieval France?

Were you required to purchase a land deed to get permission from the ruler of the area, or could you build wherever you wanted? If the latter is how it worked throughout Europe for the most part, I ...
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5answers
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Where did the Crusaders go after 1291?

With most historians saying the Crusades stopped in 1291, and the disappearance of the Crusader states (Outremer), I'm left to wonder: what happened to the Europeans who had built a life there? Did ...
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1answer
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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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305 views

Anthropophagy perpetrated by crusaders?

King Tafur's men reportedly ate human flesh during the first crusade. The same was said of King Richard and his men during the second crusade: King Richard shall warrant There is no flesh so ...
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2answers
539 views

Were warhorses unable to graze in grass fields and thus needed to be manually fed an exclusive type of hay?

I found this trivia in a historical strategy game (whose name shall not be disclosed) and I want to know its credibility. It is stated that warhorses — say, destriers or other types of European ...
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1answer
202 views

Any information about what William Marshall (Guillaume le Marechal) did in the Holy Land?

William Marshall, Knight, Earl, Justiciar and Regent was an extremely important person in British History. His history is well recorded except for one period of his life when he went to the Holy Land ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
303 views

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 ...
4
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2answers
382 views

What are the historical equivalents of cooperative storytelling like modern role-playing games?

I understand the direct history of RPGs mostly coming from Dungeons and Dragons, which had grown out of the combat game Chainmail, but I am wondering if there were any close equivalents in older ...
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2answers
1k views

Who were the first “businessmen” to rival the kings throughout the world? [closed]

The merchants seem to have existed for as long as human history. But when did they begin to "take over" the kings? By that I mean, by the time of the "tycoons" like the Oil and Train people of the ...
24
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1answer
12k views

What were birthdays like in Medieval times?

I considered putting this question on Worldbuilding SE, but decided it would be better suited here, as it is about history. I am doing some research for a fantasy medieval novel, and I was wondering ...
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2answers
619 views

Did ancient or medieval people know about underground rivers/lakes?

If they did, did they utilize them for farming? If so, how would they?
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1answer
644 views

Were groups (or 'companies') of dogs used to attack enemy armies in medieval battles?

In Dogs in warfare and The Dogs of War, a number of examples are given where dogs were used in battle in ancient times. Polyaenus, in ‘Stratagems’, also gives a clear example (late 7th century BC): ...

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