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130 votes
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Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

There's a lot in the question that seems to be assuming modern knowledge that Columbus most likely did not possess. There is no good evidence the Iberian maritime community in the late 15th century ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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43 votes

Why did really old paintings use such bizarre, unnatural perspective/proportions?

It sounds like you are talking about the transition from Romanesque/Gothic painting styles to Renaissance styles. This is a big topic in Art History (or at least was when I took it back in the '80's). ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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32 votes
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Why was the standoff on the Ugra river the end of the Tatar-Mongol yoke in Russia?

It's precisely because Akhmat Khan retreated. The Mongolian yoke over Russia was underpinned by their ability to compel obedience (i.e. tribute) through the force of arms. Akhmat Khan's retreat ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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28 votes

Why did really old paintings use such bizarre, unnatural perspective/proportions?

Anything other than photo-realism makes you 'angry and confused'? That's sad. You're missing out on enjoying a whole lot of good stuff! Early pictorial art was often allegorical rather than strictly ...
Laurence's user avatar
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25 votes
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What was the Hundred Years' War called at the time?

19th CENTURY HISTORIANS The term Hundred Years' War originated in the early 19th century. The Hundred Years War has become the established name for the Anglo-French conflicts that happened ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
22 votes

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

Let's suppose that Columbus knew about Greenland. European colonies in Greenland were abandoned by that time. Therefore sailing there was actually useless, because it would be impossible to get ...
Santiago's user avatar
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22 votes

Why did really old paintings use such bizarre, unnatural perspective/proportions?

There's been some perspective around for a long time. Look at this ceiling, from "The Vergilius Vaticanus" dated around 400 C.E. And here's a Chinese painting from around 1000 CE showing a ...
mjt's user avatar
  • 321
18 votes

Were beaches red with lobsters upon arrival of Columbus?

Adding to what @Alex said "typical" lobsters (i.e., the lobsters that humans eat and the ones that turn red when you cook them) don't even extend as far south as Hispaniola. They are a cold-...
user2352714's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

Why did the negotiations between Henry V of England and France fail?

Short answer The two accounts cited in your question are not so much contradictory as very short versions of what was a lengthy series of negotiations over many months. The 1360 Treaty of Bretigny, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
13 votes

In the coat of arms of Georg von Frundsberg, where does the ostrich come from?

The arrangement of separate coats of arms on a single shield or other field is called marshalling in English heraldry. It is common to display the coats of arms of a married couple by dividing the ...
MAGolding's user avatar
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12 votes

Why was the standoff on the Ugra river the end of the Tatar-Mongol yoke in Russia?

Its fairly simple: There was an arrangement where the Russian Rulers were paying tribute to the Golden Horde since the days of Genghis Khan. This is the international equivalent of "protection money". ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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11 votes

Pre-columbus, what tools did Native Americans use to shave their heads and faces?

Like the modern Chinese, most Native Americans did not grow much facial hair to begin with. What sparse facial hair did grow was typically plucked out as soon as it appeared, according to accounts ...
rancho's user avatar
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10 votes

What was the Hundred Years' War called at the time?

The Medieval ages, and in turn the 100 years war, was a politically a different beast than war as we are used to it in the modern era. During both world wars we see a declaration by majors powers ...
Gavin Gnaster's user avatar
10 votes
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Teaching of Mathematics in Italy and in Germany in the fifteenth century

tl;dr This is not a real story but an illustrative description, probably invented in the 1930s. The first Indo-Arabian numerals came to Europe in the 10th century. They had a hard time at first. In ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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9 votes

Were there ever any libraries in medieval villages?

Medieval times span ten centuries and a continent. An English village in 1400 would be far from a Norwegian village in 500. That makes generalizations difficult. Here I'm thinking of the 11th or 12th ...
o.m.'s user avatar
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9 votes

Are there factors which caused the printing revolution to begin in Europe in 1450 and not some other place some other time?

A modern misconception was that Gutenberg invented printing; this was not the case. Woodblock printing was a craft over a thousand years old when he came about. Another misconception was that ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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7 votes

Pre-columbus, what tools did Native Americans use to shave their heads and faces?

The advantages of a steel blade are 1) it's possible to make the blade arbitrarily large, 2) it's easy to sharpen the edge, and 3) steel holds that edge longer during use. For something like a sword ...
Mark's user avatar
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7 votes

Why did the negotiations between Henry V of England and France fail?

Biographies of both Mowat and Kingsford are in agreement that the final round of envoys to Paris, in spring 1415, negotiated in apparent good faith and were willing to relent on Henry's claim to the ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
6 votes

Were Shakespeare's plays written for "high culture" or "entertain the bawdy masses" during his time?

Shakespeare wrote for popular and aristocratic audiences both. Like other theater companies of the era, Richard Burbage's company (of which Shakespeare was a part) depended upon patronage by members ...
bgvaughan's user avatar
  • 211
6 votes
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Did the fortunes in the Hundred Years' War depend largely on the weather?

The answer to both questions is yes. To quote specific examples, the French won major battles after "bad", or rainy, weather at the Battle of Saint-Omer and the Battle of Cocherel. The English won the ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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6 votes
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Does any copy exist of the Papal bull which authorized the Spanish Inquisition?

William Thomas Walsh's Characters of the Inquisition (1940) ch. 5 ("Torquemada") fn. 10 gives this as the citation for the Latin text: For the complete Latin text of this Bull, see the Boletín de ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 2,289
6 votes

Teaching of Mathematics in Italy and in Germany in the fifteenth century

A German merchant of the fifteenth century asked an eminent professor where he should send his son for a good business education. It is clear that this story is made up by the author for ...
Alex's user avatar
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5 votes

What was the name for the region before it was "the Balkans"?

From the Ottoman POV, though, the area was Rumelia; the name derived from Rûm (Roman) in reference to the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantine Empire, which had previously controlled the area....
SJuan76's user avatar
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5 votes

Why didn't King Ferdinand take over Portugal during the Spanish Reconquista?

The great reason is that after Granada fell, France was the great danger. Spain needed alliances to defy the big European kingdom. France´s king wanted to conquer Italy. The Kingdom of Naples was ...
Basque_Spaniards's user avatar
5 votes

Why did Columbus cross the mid-Atlantic instead of exploring from Greenland?

The question seems to be based on something of a false premise. Although the great circle routes from Europe to north American cities do often pass close to or over Greenland, Columbus was starting ...
David Richerby's user avatar
5 votes

Regarding the Columbian exchange, why did the ecological factors surrounding the re-connecting of the continents favor the Old World?

As was mentioned in the comments, Guns, Germs, and Steel explains this. Essentially, the Old World had a lot of very good animals and plants that could be domesticated. Domestication led to settled ...
SPavel's user avatar
  • 11.2k
5 votes

How long did the battle of Bosworth last?

More than two hours, or about 2 hours, seems to be the accepted estimated duration of the battle. There is little doubt that the battle was decided before midday, though the pursuit of the remnants ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
5 votes

How long did the battle of Bosworth last?

For many, 22 August 1485 remains one of the key dates in British history. Yet what exactly took place in the early hours of the morning (the battle was over by noon) still remains tantalisingly ...
MCW's user avatar
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