46 votes
Accepted

Did Pope Urban II issue the papal bull "terra nullius" in 1095?

It seems likely this is a historical myth. According to WikiPedia's list of Papal Bulls*, Urban II did issue a bull that year, but it had to do with who was allowed to excommunicate the ruler of the ...
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  • 110k
39 votes
Accepted

Was Richard I's imprisonment by Leopold of Austria justified?

The Middle Ages was not particularly known for being a civil and orderly period. Leopold V had no authority of any kind to arrest Richard I. He did it simply because he wanted to, and could. The ...
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  • 96.2k
36 votes

Why was the knitting needle or the distaff a symbol to show contempt in the Middle Ages?

Knitting needles and distaves are tools stereotypically associated with women, specifically being tools used for kitting and making yarn. The term "distaff" as well has a secondary meaning ...
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  • 3,526
34 votes

Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

Yes, there were -- and vice versa. There were European (Christian knights) operating as mercenaries for Muslim rulers as well as Muslim knights/mercenaries in Christian courts. Farfanes - Christian ...
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  • 6,235
32 votes
Accepted

Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

Short Answer Yes. Christian knights fought for Muslim rulers as mercenaries, the best known example being El Cid. They also fought with Muslim rulers as allies. This happened both before the crusades ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Why was the knitting needle or the distaff a symbol to show contempt in the Middle Ages?

Basically, they were perceived as representing women's work. This reason is clearly stated clear the main surviving Third Crusade narrative in Latin, Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi. ...
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27 votes

Is today's Old City of Jerusalem the Jerusalem of the Crusades' period?

Yes. Quite closely resembling: See that structure in the South-East? The temple mount? That's were the Knights Templar took their name from. This is almost a fixed point in time. ...
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  • 77.2k
27 votes
Accepted

Did Saladin speak any European languages?

Short Answer Saladin is believed to have spoken Kurdish, Turkish and Arabic. When communicating with crusaders, he needed an interpreter unless he was speaking to a crusader who knew Arabic (and there ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Why did Baldwin of Boulogne proclaim Edessa a County, not a Kingdom?

This may sound unintuitive, but a new kingdom could not be trivially proclaimed. Calling yourself a king has very little meaning if it isn't recognised by anyone else. For maximum acceptance by your ...
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  • 96.2k
18 votes

Why didn't "Europe" support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?

There was a certain amount of natural antagonism between the west and the Byzantines. Part of this was religious: They belonged to different sects of Christianity, and thus often viewed each other as ...
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  • 110k
15 votes

Where did the Crusaders go after 1291?

It appears that the crusaders were eventually pushed back onto Cyprus, which continued to have Frankish rulers for another three centuries. The Knights Hospitaller also moved on to Rhodes for about ...
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  • 110k
14 votes
Accepted

Why did the later Crusades seemingly focus more on naval traversal?

Politics, collaboration and trust dictated the routes of the armies to the Holy Land during the crusades. Each crusade is different from the others, with different participants, different nations, ...
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  • 1,335
13 votes

Why didn't "Europe" support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?

Please keep in mind that the IVth Crusade mentioned in the first answer has resulted in taking of Constantinople by mostly Venician troops in 1204. This has resulted in a long-lasting civil war ...
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  • 131
12 votes

Why didn't the European Christians take back Constantinopole?

There was no "good" time for Europeans to take back Constantinople. As late as 1683, the Ottomans had the upper hand, besieging Vienna. Up to that point, Europe was more concerned about defending ...
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  • 103k
12 votes

Did Pope Urban II issue the papal bull "terra nullius" in 1095?

Short answer Pope Urban II issued no such bull for the First Crusade. The source which first made this claim, possibly Pramod K. Nayar, in 'The Postcolonial Studies Dictionary', appears to have ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Baldwin IV, the Leper King

How leprosy was considered in the Middle-Ages is an interesting story, because it evolved quite rapidly at the end of the 12th century, but differently depending on the place, and Baldwin IV was used ...
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11 votes

Were there any rewards for going on a crusade aside from being forgiven for one's biblical sins?

There were indeed other incentives offered by both Church and State to individuals joining the crusades. What was offered was more often in the form of assurances of protection for the status and ...
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  • 34.2k
10 votes

What does the following picture represent in historical context?

The original painting is apparently depicting the fall of Constantinople in the 4th crusade in 1204 AD. I'm pretty certain that this is what the meme image is using it for (haven't been able to find ...
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  • 3,165
10 votes
Accepted

What are the origins of this pendant?

Might be a more recent origin. Lot 485: Antique Turkmenistan Silver Ornaments Tribal Jewelry. (3) Sold: Log in to view, Palmyra Heritage Gallery, December 9, 2018, New York, NY, US Description: ...
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  • 77.2k
10 votes
Accepted

What were women doing at the Battle of Dorylaeum during the First Crusade?

SHORT ANSWERS The Presence of Noble Ladies: The First Crusade included a large number of pilgrims, many of whom were women (including female relatives of nobles). Concerning their presence at the ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Why is Hungary geographically important to travel between Europe and the Middle East?

(original image by Wikimedia Commons user San Jose) If you look at a topographic map of Europe, the reason should be self-evident: the easiest land route from northern/western Europe passes through ...
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  • 8,464
9 votes
Accepted

Please outline how Philip II gained Normandy from the Third Crusade

TL; DR The Short Version There were two agreements: Richard's lands were under the protection of the church until he returned from Crusade. (Standard operating procedure while kings and lords were ...
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  • 76.4k
9 votes

Jerusalem 1187: How would Saladin's army have laid siege to the walls?

A contemporary account of the siege states: The cruelest of tyrants [Saladin] also arrayed up to ten thousand armed knights with bows and lances on horseback, so that if the men of the city ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Anthropophagy perpetrated by crusaders?

That 14th century passage of Richard eating Saracens is fictitious, for reasons @T.E.D. has gone into. Richard Coer de Lyon is a romance, not history. In this story, King Richard first became a ...
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  • 96.2k
8 votes
Accepted

What was the military makeup of the Baltic tribes/Lithuania from 1200 to 1500 AD?

Introduction I'm going to split the time period you asked about into two (1200 to 1385 and 1385 to 1500 with the latter having more English sources available). This is, perhaps, not a very clever way ...
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  • 10.5k
8 votes

Was there the idea of "peaceful Crusades"?

Christendom had got too many bad news for centuries. Muslim conquest, dhimmitude, lost territories, persecuted churches. Arabia Petra, Levant, Jerusalem, Syria, North Africa, Sicily, Crete, Spain, all ...
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  • 3,832
7 votes

The crusades against the Moors

Maybe you are confusing situations: Currently, the idea of "Reconquista" is just held to talk about the chronological and geographical frame, but the idea of a "managed" process to ...
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  • 12.1k
7 votes

Where did the Crusaders go after 1291?

Quoted from "The Civilization of the Middle Ages" by Norman F. Cantor: "Indeed, Acre never fell to the Moslems. In 1291 the French knights who garrisoned it decided that their homeland had ...
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  • 2,499
7 votes
Accepted

Why did Stephen II of Blois (father of King Stephen of England) abandon the First Crusade in 1098 knowing how much he would lose by doing so?

Stephen of Bloch "deserted" the First Crusade at a critical time in the Siege of Antioch. It's true that the Crusaders had beaten off two relief expeditions and were about to capture the city. But ...
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  • 103k
6 votes

How did Medieval armies survive the use of mail armor in the deserts of the Middle East?

Mail is actually a heatsink: it draws the heat out of you. The same principle is employed in the construction of computers. In hot weather mail makes you cooler. Indeed, the first people to use mail ...
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