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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Does anyone know of a good source on French folk customs?

I have been looking into French culture and was wondering if anyone knows of a book or collection of documents, etc... That contain prayers, customs, etc... That the French practiced. Kinda like a ...
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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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How did William the Conqueror consolidate his military victory?

Seems to me once you have won the war, your troubles are just beginning. You've got a small number of men few that can speak the local language. How do you go about putting your men in charge, ...
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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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Is this medieval picture of hanging 5 royals showing an historical event?

I was reading up on medieval hanging and came across this picture. It shows five royals (kings? princes?) being hanged from trees, but the articles I read don't mention any royal hangings. I had a ...
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Who were the social elites of the European middle ages?

I have recently been reading into the European Middle Ages, where one of the challenges is the limited sources available. I have often seen seen this described as a source bias towards the elite ...
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What was the aftermath of a battle in the Middle Ages? How did wounded soldiers proceed?

The Red Cross was founded by 1859 over these circumstances: Until the middle of the 19th century, there were no organized and/or well-established army nursing systems for casualties and no safe and ...
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What does “two ells within the selvages” mean in the Magna Carta?

Clause 35 of the Magna Carta defines some standard weights and measures to be used throughout the realm. The first part is straightforward: the standard weight/mass used for wine, ale and corn is the ...
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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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How would you address a merchant in the High Middle Ages?

If you were to address a powerful and affluent noble with a wide monopoly over trade in the 11th-13th centuries, what would you call them? (Assuming you are of lesser rank to them) Would it be Sir, ...
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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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How effective was medieval horse armor?

Medieval longbows seem now to have been only marginally effective against armoured knights of early fifteenth century although Henry Fifth was wounded in the face at Shrewsbury in 1403 with a limited ...
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Did medieval stores have names?

Re-posting this question of mine from the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange: I know it's common for shops and stores to be named in D&D and other fantasy settings, but how common was that practice in ...
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How did medieval serfs obtain their iron goods?

Serfs were farmers who paid taxes in agricultural produce and subsisted on the remainder. As I understand it, they (unlike freeholders) did not sell their produce or manufactured goods for personal ...
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In what way were Renaissance battles like chess matches?

I have been reading Ross King's Brunelleschi's Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence. Although the book is well documented, it has an astonishing passage for which the author provides no ...
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How were the beds in which privileged man in medieval Europe slept? [closed]

I think it is correct to say that for all medieval Europe time the basic peasant, worker bed was a cold stone floor or at most a mattress made out of straw. I wonder how and on top of what powerful ...
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Did the Buyids emerge as allies of the Abbasid Caliphate?

The Buyid dynasty were Shia sympathizers. However, I might have read somewhere that the Buyids came to power as allies of the Abbasids. This would have been as an anti Tabaristan or anti Ziyarid ...
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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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Were the arches on medieval bridges large enough to permit river traffic? [closed]

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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Where is the sword used to execute Queen Anne Boleyn?

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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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Why the belt or strap in some plate armor and some other armor exposed in the middle front side?

(the belt or strap locate at the middle side of the breastplate or the plackart) Won't the belt become easy target to be cut or to be worn out? Making the armor prone to break up or unable to cover ...
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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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What was the relation of Barons to Counts/Dukes/Earls in England during the medieval ages? [closed]

Barons from what I gather, were under direct obligation to the king. What was the position of counts or dukes? Was their position that of viceroy? As in the barons in the area under the county/duchy ...

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