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Medieval History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What to Know About the Epic Poem Beowulf
Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in the English language and the earliest piece of vernacular European literature.
Beowulf Quiz
Beowulf Quiz Here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of the poem Beowulf and its history. Don't
The Black Death: Causes and Symptoms
A graphic description of Black Death symptoms and causes of the disease.
What Did People Wear in the Middle Ages?
What did people wear in the Middle Ages? Find out in this introduction.
Everything You Need to Know About the Black Death
A quick introduction to the horrific plague of the 14th century known as the Black Death, with links to further resources, here at the Medieval History site.
The Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
What You Need to Know About the Crusades
A simple introduction to Crusades history, offering a rundown of the basics of the significant religious wars of the Middle Ages.
The Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
When Were the Middle Ages?
When did the Middle Ages start and end? A look at some of the many different ways this much-misunderstood era is defined.
The Dream of the Rood
The Old English lyric The Dream of the Rood is the earliest English dream poem to be found in written form. The Dream of the Rood was first discovered on the Ruthwell Cross.
Medieval
An explanation of the origin and history of the term medieval.
The Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is a stunningly beautiful manuscript from the early Middle Ages containing the Four Gospels. This introduction provides information about the origins and history of the book, its construction, and a modern reconstruction, and offers suggested reading.
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Directory
Frequently asked questions about finding information at the Medieval History site.
Richard the Lionheart: The Warrior Poet
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
What Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in the Middle Ages.
The Avignon Papacy
The Avignon Papacy was the period in the 14th century when the popes lived in and operated out of Avignon, France, instead of their traditional home in Rome
Abu Bakr - The First Muslim Caliph
Abu Bakr was the closest friend and companion of Muhammad and the first Muslim caliph. He was one of the first men to convert to Islam, and was chosen by the Prophet as his companion on the hijrah to Medina.
Beowulf
The epic of Beowulf, the most precious relic of Old English, and, indeed, of all early Germanic literature, has come down to us in a single MS.
How To Avoid the Plague
a simple how-to on staying alive during the black death
Medieval Food Preservation
Keeping food edible for months and even years during the Middle Ages. Page one: drying foods, preserving foods with salt, and smoking meat and fish.
King Louis IX of France
A straightforward narrative of the life and reign King Louis IX, also Saint Louis.
European Peasant Dress
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
The Dead
Measures against getting buried alive that were never taken. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
B.C. (Before Christ)
The initials B.C. stand for Before Christ, the counterpart to A.D. and part of the dating system used in the Middle Ages. A definition from your Guide.
The Problem With Feudalism - the F-Word
Feudalism was once considered the prevailing social system of medieval Europe. But most medievalists have serious problems with both the term and the concept it describes.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
Everything You Need to Know About Charlemagne
This study guide offers general information to help you learn about Charlemagne. Here are some important facts about Charlemagne's birth and family, conquests and campaigns, administration, cultural impact and legacy.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
The complete text of the Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt. A public-domain document online here at the Medieval History site.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
The Medieval Child, Part 1: Introduction
The first in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part I examines the concept of childhood, the importance of children, and the question of affection in the medieval family.
The Beowulf Story, Page Two
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 2.
The Medieval Child, Part 3: Surviving Infancy
The third in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 3 examines life for the infant and a child's chances of survival.
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of All of Europe -...
An index of continental maps of Europe and maps that depict portions of Europe during the Middle Ages.
Germany - The Protestant Reformation - Martin...
Online text of the History of Germany; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Ten: The Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther.
Anglo-Saxons
Who the Anglo-Saxon people were, where they lived, and where they came from.
Harald Bluetooth - the real king they named the...
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule.
The Knights Templar: Warrior Monks
A concise introduction to the origins, expansion, organization and downfall of the Templars, the warrior monks who defended pilgrims in the Holy Land.
Medieval Food Preservation, Page Two
Keeping food edible for months and even years during the Middle Ages, page two: pickling, confits, fermenting, freezing and cooling. Page 2.
The Medieval Child, Part 3: Surviving Infancy,...
The dangers of medieval childhood, estimated death rates, and the attitudes of medieval parents towards the loss of a child. Page 2.
Floors
Dirt floors and the use of straw in the Middle Ages. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Charlemagne Study Guide - Timeline
This study guide offers general information to help you learn about Charlemagne. The timeline of Charlemagne's life provides a chronological listing of significant events in the Frankish king's life and reign.
The Spread of the Black Death through Europe
A series of maps by your guide depicting how the dreaded 14th-century plague spread through Europe
The Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
Manufacturing Cloth from Wool
How a wide variety of wool cloth was manufactured in the Middle Ages, from sorting the wool to the finishing stages.
Alchemy in the Middle Ages
An introduction to the proto-science of alchemy, its origins and history, the goals and achievements of medieval alchemists, its disreputable associations, and some recommended reading from your Guide.
A.D. (Anno Domini)
The initials A.D. stand for Anno Domini, which was part of the dating system used in the Middle Ages. A definition from your Guide.
C.E. (Common Era)
The initials C.E. stand for Common Era, a relatively new nomenclature for our current, most common dating system. A definition from your Guide.
Donatello - Master of Renaissance Sculpture
Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi, called Donatello, was one of the foremost sculptors of the Italian Renaissance. He was a master of both marble and bronze, and had an extensive knowledge of ancient sculpture.
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus made a historic voyage in 1492, searching for a westward route to the treasures of the east and instead encountering a new world.
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Vlad Dracula
The 15th-century Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Dracula, was known for his fierce defense of his homeland against the Turks and for his brutality.
Spain - Historical Setting - The Golden Age -...
Online text of the History of Spain; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Six: The Golden Age - Ferdinand and Isabella
The History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
The Medieval Child, Part 2: Entry into the...
The second in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 2 examines childbirth and baptism.
Before the Black Death, There Was the...
A quick introduction to the deadly plague of the Justinian's reign, with links to further resources, here at the Medieval History site.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
The Papal States
The Papal States were territories in central Italy that were directly governed by the papacy. Also know as the Republic of Saint Peter and Church States.
Medieval Clothing by Region and Period
Medieval clothing varied according to the time frame as well as the region. Here are some societies (and segments of society) whose clothing styles are especially evocative of their cultures.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
Harun al-Rashid
Harun al-Rashid was the fifth Abbasid caliph. He and his fabulous court at Baghdad are immortalized in The Thousand and One Nights
King Louis IX Quotes
Many of Louis' words have come down to us through his friend and biographer, Jean de Joinville.
Explorer Erik the Red
His exile from Iceland was only the beginning of his greatest adventure.
King William I of England - William the Conqueror
Basic information and useful websites about William the Conqueror.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
Frankish King Clovis, the First Merovingian
Clovis was the founder of the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish kings, and became a Catholic instead of an Arian Christian.
Raphael Sanzio - Extraordinary Renaissance Artist
Raphael Sanzio is considered by many to have produced some of the world's most beautiful paintings. .
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years
The fifth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 5 examines education during adolescence.
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci is the navigator and explorer for whom two continents are named.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
Medieval Atlas - Maps of England - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict England throughout the Middle Ages.
The Knights Hospitaller - Defenders of Sick and...
The Hospitallers were a monastic brotherhood of knights who both tended to ill and injured pilgrims and took up arms to protect them on their way to the Holy Land.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
The Beowulf Story, Page Three
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 3.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Britain - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of the British Isles during the Middle Ages.
Top 8 Books about the History of the Templars
Your Guide's choices for the best books that offer factual historical information about the Templar Knights, the warrior monks of the Crusades.
Who's Who in Medieval History
A resource to help you find information on the web and off about significant individuals from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
Court of Star Chamber
The Court of Star Chamber evolved from the medieval English king's council as a supplement to common-law courts, but though it served swift justice, it was subject to abuses.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
Medieval History General Knowledge Quiz III Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned
Margaret Paston
An ordinary individual of medieval England whose surviving letters display resilience, ingenuity and fortitude.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
Giovanni Boccaccio - Poet - Scholar - Diplomat
Giovanni Boccaccio was a poet, scholar and diplomat whose work helped raise literature in the vernacular to the respectability of classical texts.
Baths
Medieval man liked to bathe, and babies were never thrown out with the bathwater. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
Best General Histories of the Medieval Era
A general reference of the Middle Ages is a must-have for medieval history buffs and students alike. Each of these introductory works provides a sound starting point for what you need to know about this much-misunderstood time.
Leif Ericsson
A profile of Leif Ericsson, the Scandinavian explorer who visited North America around the year 1000. Leif also governed Greenland and was a devout convert to Christianity.
The Lombards
The Lombards established a kingdom in Northern Italy.
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine was the first wife of Henry VIII of England. Her refusal to go quietly when Henry sought to annul their marriage and the political connections that bolstered her position played a significant role in Henry's break with the Catholic Church.
Muslim Hero Saladin
Salah Ad-din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, or Saladin, was the most famous Muslim hero and a consummate military tactician. His capture of Jerusalem from the Crusaders prompted Christian forces to initiate The Third Crusade.
The Spread of the Black Death through Italy
A map depicting the Spread of the Black Death through Italy in the 14th century, by your Guide. Page 5.
Baldwin IV
The problems of the reign of Baldwin IV. may be said to have been two - his sister Sibylla and the fiery Raynald of Chatillon.
Abu Zayd 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun
A straightforward biography of Ibn Khaldun.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Iberia - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of Spain, Portugal, or the entire Iberian peninsula through the Middle Ages.
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
The Medieval Child, Part 1: Introduction, Page...
Were children held in any value in medieval society? Was there any affection in the medieval household? A brief introduction from your Guide. Page 2.
Canopy Beds
The real development of canopy beds in medieval Europe. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
Weddings & Hygiene
Whether or not brides bathed more than once a year, and why they carried flowers at their weddings. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
The Bad Old Days - Tomatoes
Why tomatoes were sometimes considered poisonous in the late Middle Ages. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Iraq - Historical Setting - World War I and the...
Online text of the History of Iraq; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit.
The Black Death Spreads through France
A map of the routes taken by the Black Death through France in the 14th century, by your Guide. Page 6.
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
Constantine the Great
Constantine the Great was the first Roman emperor to profess Christianity. Constantine's support of the religion would help transform it into the institution it would remain through the Middle Ages.
Donatello Sculpture Gallery
A selection of sculptures and carvings by the master of Renaissance sculpture, Donatello.
King Henry IV of England
King Henry IV of England usurped the English crown from Richard II, beginning the Lancastrian dynasty and planting the seeds of the Wars of the Roses.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
The Medieval Child
An index to our series of articles about childhood in the Middle Ages.
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a notable military leader and the national hero of Spain.
Free Online Jigsaw Puzzles
A collection of free jigsaw puzzles for you to solve online, right here at the Medieval History site.
Bishop
Bishops performed administrative duties as well as the duties of a priest.
Tithe
A tithe was a donation to the church.
King Philip IV of France
Philip the Fair is well known for his troubles with the papacy.
Best Realistic Medieval Films
Your Guide's choice of ten films that effectively blend realism and good storytelling in a medieval setting.
Charlemagne Study Guide - Biography
This study guide offers general information to help you learn about Charlemagne. This overview is an introductory biography of the important Frankish king.
Medieval Atlas - Fourteenth Century Maps -...
Maps of political boundaries as they stood in the fourteenth century.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
Dante Alighieri - Poet - Philosopher -...
Dante Alighieri is often considered the finest poet of the Middle Ages.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Two
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 2 The western portion of the empire may have fallen, but the
King Henry VII of England
Henry Tudor became King Henry VII of England after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was frugal, cautious and, when it came to threats to the throne, ruthless.
Medieval History Quizzes
Quizzes about medieval topics.: writers quiz terminology quiz history quizzes castle terminology early middle ages
Hildegard of Bingen Quotes
Quotations written by German abbess, composer and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.
Godfrey of Bouillon - Crusader
Though he'd never shown any particular devotion to the Church, Godfrey of Bouillon answered the call to Crusade and became one of the First Crusade's most powerful leaders. He was also tall, blond and handsome.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Canute the Great
Canute was. Medieval History.
Terms Used in Beowulf
Explanations of unusual terms used in the Beowulf poem.
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
Joan of Arc on the Web: Primary Sources
Useful websites about this historical figure of the Middle Ages, from your About.com Guide
Types of Fowl
The birds that were cooked and consumed by people in the Middle Ages.
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