56 votes
Accepted

In what way were Renaissance battles like chess matches?

The claim comes from Machiavelli, and, for example, this site criticizes it. In this case, Machiavelli was arguing in favor of training militias instead of using mercenary forces. A similar case is ...
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  • 1,817
36 votes
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Was Islam really responsible for the Italian Renaissance?

"Islam influence"? "Italian Renaissance was caused by Islamic influence?" Of course these statements are incorrect. There was some influence of SCIENCE which was cultivated by ...
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  • 37.5k
32 votes

Was Islam really responsible for the Italian Renaissance?

The two claims are not incompatible. There was certainly a very large Islamic influence on the Italian Renaissance. Many classical texts are largely known to us through transmission via the Islamic ...
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  • 17.9k
30 votes
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Why didn't the Roman maniple make a comeback in the Renaissance?

Although the two formations look similar, the pike square was developed in a very different tactical environment than the phalanx. The phalanx and the maniple were developed in an environment where ...
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  • 8,464
28 votes
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Did Magellan's log show a lost day?

The first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world was the Nao Victoria. It was originally part of Magellan's fleet. All of the other ships (the Trinidad, the San Antonio, Concepción and the ...
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  • 3,587
25 votes
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Hiring professionals to transcribe historical documents

The short answer is yes. The detail will depend on where in the world you are based. In the UK, for example, we have the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. Their website ...
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  • 76.4k
16 votes
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Did any Moors accompany Hernando de Soto in his exploration of Mississippi?

I understand that there are four surviving accounts of de Soto's expedition. Three of those accounts were written by survivors: Rodrigo Rangel or Ranjel, who was de Soto’s personal secretary; Luys ...
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  • 76.4k
14 votes
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Why was William Tyndale burnt at the stake?

The trivial answer is he was executed for being a Protestant. The deeper answer is we aren't quite sure, but he had gained some powerful enemies. There was a lengthy list of charges read at his trial....
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  • 110k
12 votes

In the Medieval period, how long would an average swordsmith need to forge an average sword?

In medieval Europe it took a standard blacksmith about a week to make a decent average steel longsword. If they were making something for their lord or king they would often spend as much as 6 months ...
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12 votes
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How were the borders of the Holy Roman Empire established?

The Holy Roman Empire, as an "empire", did not have a territory of its own. It must be understood in the context of feudalism: a number of princes/kings/bishops/whatever were tied, through sworn ...
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11 votes

What happened to all the scholars and scientists of Western Rome during the barbarian invasions?

There is no analogy in this respect between the fall of the Western empire and the Eastern one. Decline of ancient scholarship happened before the main barbarian invasions, in both East and West. When ...
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  • 37.5k
11 votes
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Were "hitmen" a real historical occupation?

Many famous people in history died of allegedly natural causes and were suspected of being poisoned. Thus there are many people in history who might have been assassinated by poison if poisoning is ...
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  • 17.4k
10 votes
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Why are most late medieval fencing manuals German?

Honestly I do not have the complete historic reference for this, but the Germans were one of the first groups of people to actually print manuals for fencing. Johannes Liechtenauer was a famous ...
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10 votes

How did the Medici originally get into finance?

Cosimo di Medici inherited a thriving "banking" business from his father Giovanni, who was the "Fred Trump" of the family, with Cosimo being like the current President of the United States. Most ...
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  • 103k
10 votes
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Why was Polish king Sigismund II Augustus' coronation held when his father Sigismund I was still alive?

The practice of a king having his son crowned during his lifetime was not uncommon; two well-known examples are Henry the Young King, son of Henry II of England, and Philip II Augustus, son of Louis ...
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10 votes

Did any Moors accompany Hernando de Soto in his exploration of Mississippi?

The entire image in question can be seen here. Under the image is a numbered scene describing the images individuals. The person in question is listed as Moorish Servant. A little more research into ...
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  • 34.2k
9 votes

Where was the cultural inheritance of the Greco/Roman world/antiquity preserved?

It would be interesting to make a list of principal ancient texts and how each of them reached us. And make a statistics. (Perhaps someone knows such a list?) Many of the texts that I know exist in ...
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  • 37.5k
9 votes

How were the borders of the Holy Roman Empire established?

You have confused the very real changes that occurred to the borders over the 170 years from roughly 1520 to 1700 with the concept that the borders were vague throughout that time. That span of years ...
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9 votes

Why didn't early modern Christians object to pagan symbolism in art?

Not a specialist, but my understanding is there were multiple competing trends at work since Christianity has been a thing. As an answer, I'd stress that the introduction of christianity itself was ...
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9 votes

Why didn't early modern Christians object to pagan symbolism in art?

I had a copy of 'Os Lusiadas' (the epic poem written by the Portuguese Camões), with a preface written by a contemporary (XVI century) bishop. I do not remember the exact words, by the general idea ...
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  • 3,842
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 ...
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9 votes
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Why was Columbus not aware of the existence of America?

Simply, the Greenland settlement those discoveries were centered on died out before the Printing Press. The last anyone heard from it for sure was 1410, and Gutenberg started working on his press in ...
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  • 110k
9 votes
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How could a man be made a bishop of a place while not having received major orders?

The whole scoop is covered well in JSTOR's The Catholic Revival in Osnabruck and Minden, 1591-16511. Long story short: It was the Prince Bishopric of Osnabruck, which while including the spiritual ...
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8 votes
Accepted

What language was spoken between Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian I

They likely spoke a combination of German and French. It's not entirely clear what they were speaking while teaching their respective mother tongues to each other - most likely Latin, maybe Flemish, ...
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8 votes
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Prior to 1790, before dentist chairs, did dentists put the patient's head between their knees?

Unfortunately, the source you cite doesn't give any references, but a similar description is also given in Avoiding the Tooth-Pullers: Dental Hygiene, Eighteenth-Century Style, which cites Dr. Johnson’...
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8 votes
Accepted

Were medieval and renaissance era jesters commonly disabled?

So there is actually a difference in Medieval and Renaissance times, between a Jester and a Fool. Jesters were typically known for their witticisms and wordplay - essentially their ability to work ...
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