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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644 views

Why didn't the knights of Western Europe drive the Moors out of Granada in 1212 when they invaded Iberia?

In 1212, the knights of the Holy Roman Empire, France, and Spain pushed the Moors far down the Iberian Peninsula... but why didn't they go on and drive the Muslims completely off that peninsula? Did ...
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What did the people of the Middle Ages call their period?

It's clear that Middle Ages is a term from the Renaissance. My question is: What names did scholars use during the Middle Ages for their own period? Well, of course Middle Ages is a single name for ...
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Was rape common in Europe during the Middle Ages?

I recently read an article (in Norwegian) claiming that rape was much less common in the Middle Ages than what is commonly believed and, more specifically, that it was much less common than what is ...
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What are some good books about middle ages plague? [closed]

Could someone recommend some good books on the plague epidemics during the middle ages?
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How was Christmas celebrated in early Byzantium?

I haven't been able to find any information regarding Christmas in Eastern Rome from before the tenth century. Literally any information regarding the celebration of Christmas in the fifth and sixth ...
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Were medieval and renaissance era jesters commonly disabled?

In Hilary Mantel's famous historical fiction Wolf Hall, she implies more than once that the court fools of figures in the era of Henry VIII often had some form of learning difficulty. Indeed in one ...
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To what extent did the medieval European peasantry know their extended family?

It may not be possible to find a definitive answer to this question, as I know the answer to this would have varied from family to family and culture to culture, but I am curious to know to what ...
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1answer
357 views

What is the difference between “seigneurie” and “manor”?

From page 170 of Samuel Clark's State and Status: The Rise of the State and Aristocratic Power in Western Europe: In the Spanish/Austrian Low Countries a change in the ancient coat of arms of a ...
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What is this consistent symbol in the Spanish coat of arms? [closed]

I have been reading Spanish history today, and have noticed a very distinct commonality in the flags and coat of arms for various periods, but I haven't been able to find precise explanations of the ...
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1answer
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How did gong farmers see when cleaning out cesspits?

As in the title, how did gong farmers of medieval(500-1500AD) England, France, etc. see when cleaning out cesspits when their job requires them to work at night with minimal light. Since cesspits are ...
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What was the point of horse armour?

From my knowledge (and please correct me if I'm wrong), horse armour wasn't very thick (0.4mm-1.9mm) according to the paper in the link: How thick was late medieval horse armor? Even without ...
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If the heir to a Kingdom is called Crown Prince, what is the heir to a Duchy called?

Just like the title said. What a heir to a hereditary Duchy is called? (as opposed to someone appointed by a King). I mean a Duchy where the Duke inherited his title to his son/daughter. Since the ...
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What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
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What is an Odalbönder and Heathguard?

I saw and heard these words in a video in my history class last year but my teacher didn't elaborate on what they meant. In the context of the video, it sounded as if they were social positions or ...
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1answer
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Is The King (2019) historically realistic? [closed]

The King (2019) by Netflix is about king Henry V. A few aspects of the movie struck me as either unbelievable, or contradicting what little even I know about history. In no particular order: The ...
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What prevented the Mongolian Empire from expanding into Europe?

The Mongolian Empire reached quite a vast extent according to the map below and leaders such as Genghis Khan seemed to defeat all their enemies consistently. Yet, the empire never extended into Europe,...
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What does the eighth samurai crest / symbol in this picture signify?

I would like to ask you all to explain the meaning of the 8-th symbol in this picture*: I would like to also know what are those symbols? Thank you very much. * Source: http://www.samurai-store.com/...
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Why didn't the Black Death result in favorable results for surviving peasants in China?

The Black Death affected Europe and China alike. In Europe, the Black Death resulted in increased social mobility for the peasants and, as a result, labor-saving innovations were introduced. All ...
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What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
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What are good online sources for historical maps?

I am looking for good online sources for historical maps, specifically the late medieval period (but other periods would be interesting as well). While there are many historical maps out there, few ...
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What did the term “Parage” mean in middle ages Langued'oc?

In the book "Massacre at Montsegur" Zoé Oldenbourg mentioned the term "Parage" that was used in that time in the area: It was the honour of the Occitan nobilty, so humiliated by these Northern ...
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1answer
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How was the Pandidakterion organised?

How was the Pandidakterion organised? Wikipedia:Pandidakterion states that the Pandidakterion lacked 'corporative structure'. I do not understant exactly what the corporative structure is and how was ...
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What caused the turning point in Hundred Years' War?

At school I have learned that the English had upper hand in the war until Joan of Arc convinced the French king to give an army under her command to besiege Orléans and since then, the French forced ...
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Was Frederick II of Hohenstaufen really a medieval Dr. Mengele?

According to legend, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who was intelligent (spoke six languages) and influential, also purportedly used cold-blooded methods to further his "scientific" inquiries. ...
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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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Were Archimedes screws used in pre-modern times in the far east?

Screw pumps or Archimedes screws were used by the Romans in mine dewatering. They were possibly used in ancient Babylon (a few hundred years before Archimedes) to irrigate the famous hanging gardens. ...
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Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

In the book Hattin by John France the following claim is made: The fighting qualities of western knights were widely recognized in the Mediterranean lands, and they were often employed even by ...
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Why was Poland spared from the Black Death?

The featured image of the Wikipedia page for the Black Death is a gif showing the spread of the bubonic plague throughout Europe. There are a few places where the plague never spread to, including the ...
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Who believed the earth was flat?

Christians are sometimes mocked for having once believed the earth was flat. However, the only references I can find are Lactantius in the beginning of the 4th century, and Copernicus, who says ...
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Who would have a good or fair command of Latin in medieval Western Europe?

This answer to this question states Latin was the language of diplomacy in medieval Western Europe, but this does not imply that royalty or nobility themselves knew Latin: it would suffice that a few ...
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Who was the oldest woman to give birth in the Medieval Europe that we know of?

In 1166, Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II of England, gave birth to the future King John when she was at least 42 years old (it is more likely she was 43 or 44). Eleanor of Castile, wife of ...
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Was it possible to “aim for the epaulette boys” during the Middle Ages?

During the American Revolution, American troops were often told to "aim for the epaulette boys,"* that is, to first shoot at officers wearing epaulettes, on the theory that killing an officer would ...
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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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Did healers in medieval Europe use moldy bread in poultices for wounds?

In a Song of Ice and Fire, injured characters are frequently given a poultice made of, amongst other things, moldy bread. We drowned the wound with boiling wine, and closed you up with a poultice ...
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How would a king's servants prove that they are on a task given by the king?

How would servants of kings, lords or so on, prove that they are on some task given by their lord if someone were to question them? I imagine a letter written by a ruler would be enough for those who ...
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Is there a difference between “post-medieval” and “modern”?

Is there a difference between "post-medieval" and "modern"? Many of the items in the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme mention "post-medieval or modern period" and even "post-medieval or early modern ...
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Was there a law forbidding kingdoms in the Holy Roman Empire?

The Holy Roman Empire was founded in 962 when Otto the Great, King of Germany and Italy or Lombardy was crowned Emperor. All Emperors since then were kings of Germany and Italy, and since 1032 kings ...
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How much power and influence could a child monarch have?

As I understand, if a monarch died before his heir reached adulthood, the heir would still become a king or queen regardless of age, but the country would be temporarily governed by a regent. I want ...
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How did Roman law change between Justinian and Basil II?

What were the ways in which Roman law changed between under the rule of Justinian I (with his Corpus Juris Civilis and the rest of his Legal Order) and under the rule of Basil II? I am interested in ...
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How was the vast Khazar fortress of Sarkel destroyed?

I understood that Sarkel was a vast Khazar hilltop limestone-bricks fortress of the type of a fortified town, located in the present-day Rostov Oblast of Russia, on the left bank of the lower Don ...
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What does King Henry III have on his lap in this illustration from a Matthew Paris chronicle?

In Abbreviatio chronicorum Angliae, the chronicler Matthew Paris (d. 1259) included drawings of the Norman and Plantagenet kings up to Henry III. The image below shows from L-R, top-bottom: Henry II, ...
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What actually happened during the elephant duel (Songkram Yutahatti) between King Naresuan of Ayutthaya/Siam and Mingy Swa of Hongsawadee/Burma?

Before we start, I just want to say that I find Thai history and the history of Southeast Asia in general to be extremely fascinating and interesting. I think that it’s just as interesting as Chinese ...
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Were Jews cut off from the Babylonian Geonim?

This is the view that I'm familiar with about the decline of the Geonim: The Mesopotamian Gaon reached the height of its prestige in the 10th century- with Saadia Gaon (d. 945), but the ...
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Were there records kept of French nobility before the invasion of England in 1066?

I can trace my family name (Chance) back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Were any records kept (do they survive?) of French nobility around or before this time? Or is it a known dead end for ...
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Why did Shi'ite Islam split in the 9th century?

UPDATE: There is a low hanging piece of fruit on the Wikipedia page for the Qarmations. I might give the bounty to someone who finds that. ORIGINAL QUESTION: I'm asking about the reasons for the ...
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How did the roots of European knightly culture transfer from ancient Iran to European Middle Ages? [closed]

I have come across a reference in a German guide book on Iran that suggests the roots of knightly culture in European Middle Ages may be found in the Sassanian Empire (224 to 651 AD; translation ...
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How often would monks leave their monasteries in the Middle Ages?

I have been reading about medieval monasteries, and I recently read that monks could sometimes act as village priests. This confused me as I had read that monks couldn't leave their monasteries. Was ...
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Who was the medieval author who addressed readers 1000 years in the future?

I'm trying to remember the author of a quotation, where the author addresses the reader in the far future. It's says something like "if you are reading this in 100 or perhaps 1000 years I hope the ...
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Where does the Kurrent letter-form for E come from?

The old German cursives, both Suetterlin and Kurrent, have several peculiar features compared to modern German cursive handwriting. One is a double-stroke letter-shape for E. Most introductory ...
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How were the Burmese able to sack Ayutthaya when it was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in Asia at the time? [closed]

So I’m “watching” (more like skipping to the interesting scenes) the Thai lakorn/historical drama Sri Ayodhaya and in one episode, this one professor said that Ayutthaya was an incredibly wealthy and ...

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