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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.
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.
Beowulf Quiz
Beowulf Quiz Here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of the poem Beowulf and its history. Don't
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: 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.
Exciting Find in Medieval Underwear
A discovery in Austria shows that medieval women may have had more advanced undergarments than previously believed.
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 Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
The Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
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.
Richard the Lionheart: The Warrior Poet
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
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.
Medieval
An explanation of the origin and history of the term medieval.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
How To Avoid the Plague
a simple how-to on staying alive during the black death
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.
The True Cross
The True Cross was reputed to be wood from the cross on which Jesus had been crucified.
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.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Directory
Frequently asked questions about finding information at the Medieval History site.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Britain - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of the British Isles during the Middle Ages.
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.
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
European Peasant Dress
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
The Beowulf Story, Page Two
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 2.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
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.
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
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.
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.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
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.
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
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
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
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.
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.
Hildegard of Bingen Quotes
Quotations written by German abbess, composer and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
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.
Young Henry
Portrait of Henry as a child by an unknown artist. Page 4.
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 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.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
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.
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
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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The Beowulf Story, Page Three
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 3.
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.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
Donatello Sculpture Gallery
A selection of sculptures and carvings by the master of Renaissance sculpture, Donatello.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
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.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
Modern English Translations of Beowulf
A selection of modern English translations of the Old English Epic, Beowulf, including verse and prose versions.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Abbasids
The Abbasids were a Muslim dynasty.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
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
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.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
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.
Harold Godwinson - King Harold II of England
King Harold Godwinson was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
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.
Terms Used in Beowulf
Explanations of unusual terms used in the Beowulf poem.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
Anglo-Saxons
Who the Anglo-Saxon people were, where they lived, and where they came from.
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.
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 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.
Harald Bluetooth - the real king they named the...
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule.
Leif Ericsson - Leif the Lucky
Leif the Lucky displayed the Viking spirit of adventure when he sailed off to explore what lay west of Greenland about a thousand years ago, undoubtedly making it to North America.
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.
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.
Charlemagne Quiz
The Charlemagne Quiz Charlemagne Study Guide     Here are ten questions to test your knowledge of the
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of England - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict England throughout the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
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.
Madonna and Child
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 6.
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.
The Chaucer Quiz
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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.
The Great Mortality
What was the Black Death, and why should we study it?
Raphael Sanzio - Extraordinary Renaissance Artist
Raphael Sanzio is considered by many to have produced some of the world's most beautiful paintings. .
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.
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.
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 Great Mortality, Part 3
Life in Europe after the plague and the ultimate changes wrought by the Black Death
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.
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.
King William I of England - William the Conqueror
Basic information and useful websites about William the Conqueror.
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.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Four
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 4 Those Barbarians were everywhere after Rome fell, including
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.
Pope Julius II - Who's Who in Medieval History
Basic information and useful websites about Pope Julius II.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
Medieval History General Knowledge Quiz III Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned
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.
Christ Enthroned
Public-domain image of Christ Enthroned from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 2.
Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
The History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
Thomas Wolsey
Portrait of Cardinal Wolsey at Christ Church by an unknown artist. Page 7.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
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.
Athelstan - First King of All England
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Alchemy
In the narrow sense of the word, alchemy is the pretended art of making gold and silver, but in its wider and truer significance it stands for the chemistry of the middle ages.
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a notable military leader and the national hero of Spain.
Explorer Erik the Red
His exile from Iceland was only the beginning of his greatest adventure.
Why Bother with Beowulf?
Medieval literature provides a gateway to our past.
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
The Nika Revolt
The Nika Revolt was a devastating riot that took place in early medieval Constantinople, in the Eastern Roman Empire.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Six
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 6 In the eighth century, Charlemagne built an empire that
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
King Francis I of France
King Francis I of France is considered France's first Renaissance King.
The Truth of Arthur
Was he a real historical figure or just a myth? Can we ever know? An introduction to the historicity of King Arthur.
A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
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 Diabolical Black Death Quiz - Question 1
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