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Medieval History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in the Middle Ages.
Beowulf Quiz
Beowulf Quiz Here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of the poem Beowulf and its history. Don't
What Did People Wear in the Middle Ages?
What did people wear in the Middle Ages? Find out in this introduction.
The Black Death: Causes and Symptoms
A graphic description of Black Death symptoms and causes of the disease.
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.
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.
The Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
How To Avoid the Plague
a simple how-to on staying alive during the black death
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
Exciting Find in Medieval Underwear
A discovery in Austria shows that medieval women may have had more advanced undergarments than previously believed.
Richard the Lionheart: The Warrior Poet
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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 as well as its construction, and offers suggested reading.
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.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
The Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
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.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
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.
What Peasants and Laborers Wore in the Middle...
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
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.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
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.
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.
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.
The Art and (proto)Science of Alchemy
A mixture of science, philosophy and mysticism, medieval alchemy was a precursor to chemistry, and medieval alchemists accomplished some important scientific advances.
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.
The Dream of the Rood - Earliest English Dream...
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.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
Medieval History General Knowledge Quiz III Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned
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.
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Directory
Frequently asked questions about finding information at the Medieval History site.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
The Papal States
In the Middle Ages, the papacy owned land. Not just a nice corner lot with a three-bedroom cottage and a shed, either. They owned lots and lots of land. How much land? And how did they come to control it? Find out in this introduction.
The Nika Revolt: Violent Uprising in Medieval...
The Nika Revolt was a devastating riot that took place in early medieval Constantinople, in the Eastern Roman Empire.
The People's Crusade
The People's Crusade was a popular movement of crusaders who did not wait for the official leaders of the expedition but took off for the Holy Land early, unprepared and inexperienced.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
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.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
Peter the Hermit
Also known as known as Cucu Peter, Little Peter or Peter of Amiens, Peter the Hermit preached Crusade in the wake of Urban's speech at Clermont.
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 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.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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Harun Al-Rashid - Abbasid Caliph
The fifth Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid and his fabulous court at Baghdad are immortalized in The Thousand and One Nights.
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.
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.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
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.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Young Henry
Portrait of Henry as a child by an unknown artist. Page 4.
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.
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
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
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
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
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 Holy Land
The onetime Roman province of Palestine would prove to be a holy land for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Thomas Wolsey
Portrait of Cardinal Wolsey at Christ Church by an unknown artist. Page 7.
The History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
Couples From Medieval & Renaissance History...
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Augustine founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury.
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.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
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
Charlemagne Quiz
The Charlemagne Quiz Charlemagne Study Guide     Here are ten questions to test your knowledge of the
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.
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.
Four Evangelist Symbols
Public-domain images of the Four Evangelist Symbols from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 7.
It Happened in '14 Quiz
You know what happened in 2014. But what about 1514? 1214? Test yourself with this challenging quiz.
King Henry IV of England
When his cousin Richard II was on the throne, Henry led a conspiracy against him, and years later, he usurped the throne from him. Why would he do such a thing? He had his reasons...
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
Germany - The Thirty Years' War - The Peace of...
Online text of the History of Germany; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Sixteen: The Thirty Years' War: The Peace of Westphalia.
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a notable military leader and the national hero of Spain.
Justinian Quotes
Excerpts from the Code of Justinian and quotations that have been attributed to the Byzantine emperor.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
Young Catherine of Aragon
Portrait of Catherine of Aragon about the time she came to England, by Michel Sittow. Page 5.
The Medieval Child, Part 4: The Playful Years
The fourth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 4 examines play, chores, socialization, and discipline for youngsters of ages four to twelve.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
Joan of Arc on the Web: Primary Sources
Useful websites about this historical figure of the Middle Ages, from your About.com Guide
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.
Love Blossoms
How Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie de Champagne sponsored and encouraged the Courtly Love literary movement.
Decorated Initial
Public-domain image of a Decorated Initial from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 3.
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.
Defining the Knight
Definition of Medieval knights, their armor, roles, and duties
The Code of Justinian
The Code of Justinian was an important law code issued under the sponsorship of Emperor Justinian I.
King Francis I of France
King Francis I of France is considered France's first Renaissance King.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Four
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 4 Those Barbarians were everywhere after Rome fell, including
Types of Fowl
The birds that were cooked and consumed by people in the Middle Ages.
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 - Political Map of Europe in 1346
A map of Europe depicting the political boundaries of Europe in 1346, just before the Black Death reached the continent, by your guide.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
Post-Roman Britain Quiz
Post-Roman Britain Quiz How well do you know early British history? Test your knowledge with these ten
Incipit to Mark
Public-domain image of the Incipit to Mark from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 8.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of England - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict England throughout the Middle Ages.
The Hospitallers - Monastic Knights
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.
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
put-description-here.: quiz test black death fourteenth century test your knowledge plague
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Five
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 5 Ten years before his death, the prophet Muhammad led a hijrah
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.
Germany - The Protestant Reformation - The...
Online text of the History of Germany; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Twelve: The Protestant Reformation: The Peace of Augsburg.
Madonna and Child
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 6.
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
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.
The Great Mortality, Part 1
What was the Black Death, and why should we study it?
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
Emperor Justinian I
One of the most important emperors in Byzantine history, Justinian would reign for nearly 40 years, sponsoring an important law code, surviving a plague and the Nika Revolt, acquiring considerable territory and initiating an extensive building program.
Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew
Public-domain images of the Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 4.
Book of Hours
A book of hours was a prayer book containing appropriate prayers for specific hours of the day, days of the week, months, and seasons. Books of hours were usually beautifully illuminated, and some of the more notable ones are among the finest works of medieval art in existence.
Bad, Bad Theodahad
There's no getting around it: Theodahad was a pretty bad guy, and his crimes would ultimately lead to an invasion of Italy by the Byzantines. How did that come about? Read this Who's Who Profile and see.
Constantine the Great
What is a fourth-century Roman emperor doing at a Medieval History site? See the important actions he took that would have effects reaching far into the Middle Ages.
Portrait of John
Public-domain image of the Portrait of John from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 5.
Otto the Great - Holy Roman Emperor
Emperor Otto the Great consolidated the German Reich and made significant advances for secular influence in papal politics.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
Henry in His Prime
Portrait of Henry at about age 40 by Joos van Cleeve. Page 10.
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.
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.
Byzantine Emperor Justinian I
Arguably the most important Byzantine emperor in history, Justinian would reorganize the imperial administration, sponsor an influential code of law, initiate a massive building program and acquire considerable territory in what had once been the old Roman Empire.
Reeve
The position of reeve was usually filled by one of the villeins of the manor.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of the Holy Roman Empire...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.
Types of Meat
The types of animals that provided meat to cooks in the Middle Ages, including cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits.
India - Historical Setting - The Mughal Era -...
Online text of the History of India; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Fourteen: The Mughal Era - The Coming of the Europeans.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Six
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 6 In the eighth century, Charlemagne built an empire that
The Medieval Child, Part 6: Teens at Work and...
The sixth in a series of articles exploring the status and daily life of children in the Middle Ages, Part 6 examines the work options of adolescents and recreational activities.
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