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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.
Exciting Find in Medieval Underwear
A discovery in Austria shows that medieval women may have had more advanced undergarments than previously believed.
What Did People Wear in the Middle Ages?
What did people wear in the Middle Ages? Find out in this introduction.
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.
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.
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: Causes and Symptoms
A graphic description of Black Death symptoms and causes of the disease.
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.
Medieval
An explanation of the origin and history of the term medieval.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
What You Need to Know About the Crusades
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What Peasants and Laborers Wore in the Middle...
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
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.
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.
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.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
The national hero of Spain, El Cid displayed remarkable military ability in his conquest of Valencia, and after his death he became the subject of many legends, stories, and poems.
Richard the Lionheart
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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 Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
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.
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.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
Joan of Arc Picture Gallery
Manuscript images, statues, post-medieval portraits and other images associated with Joan of Arc, the Maid of Lorraine.
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 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.
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 Chaucer Quiz
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Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Augustine founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
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
How To Avoid the Plague
Traveling back in time to the 14th century? Make sure you know how to avoid the deadly plague.
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.
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.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
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.
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.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
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.
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.
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.
Before the Black Death, There Was the...
Centuries before the horrific Black Death, a virulent epidemic of plague struck Byzantium, Persia, and parts of southern Europe, shaking the empire and affecting it for decades.
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 Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
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 Bad Old Days - 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.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
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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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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
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 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.
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.
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.
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
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
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
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.
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts. This profile of the emperor offers quick facts about the emperor and a concise biography. Part of the Who's Who in Medieval History resource.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
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.
Harald Bluetooth - King of Denmark and Norway
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule. He also allowed the spread of Christianity through much of his territory, and at one point had control of Norway.
Review of 'The Black Death: A Personal History'...
Your Guide's review of The Black Death - A Personal History, John Hatcher's social history of the devastating plague in 14th century England.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
The Hagia Sophia
A cathedral was only one of the incarnations of the Hagia Sophia.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
The Great Mortality, Part 1
Statistics concerning the death tolls of the Black Death of 14th-century Europe. Page 2.
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
Saint Dominic Quotations
Quotes attributed to the austere-living saint.
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 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.
The Forgotten Empire
After Rome fell, Byzantium lasted another thousand years. A brief look at a forgotten empire.
Did Medieval Brides Really Smell Bad?
Whether or not brides bathed more than once a year, and why they carried flowers at their weddings. Part of our refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days email hoax.
Types of Fish & Seafood
The water creatures that were caught, preserved, traded and eaten in medieval times.
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 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.
Types of Fowl
The birds that were cooked and consumed by people in the Middle Ages.
Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
A fairly tough quiz to test your general knowledge of the Middle Ages.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
Hildegard of Bingen Quotes
Quotations written by German abbess, composer and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.
Types of Meat
The types of animals that provided meat to cooks in the Middle Ages, including cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits.
A New Religion: The Founders of Christianity,...
Christianity was based on the belief in Jesus of Nazareth, but its founding would not have been as successful were it not for the work of Paul. Page 2.
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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Saint Francis of Assisi - Patron Saint of Italy
Saint Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan Order of friars and set forth the Franciscan Rule.
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.
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 Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Two
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 2 The western portion of the empire may have fallen, but the
Map of Europe in 476
This map displaying the general distribution of peoples and early kingdoms in Europe in 476 C.E. was created by your Guide.
Best Realistic Medieval Films
Your Guide's choice of ten films that effectively blend realism and good storytelling in a medieval setting.
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.
Silk Production and Trade in Medieval Times
The use of silk in 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.
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
Top 6 Books about Medieval Knights
An accurate picture of the medieval knight is not easy to draw. Here are books that succeed in separating fact from fantasy and in providing a fairly clear look at the historical knight of the Middle Ages.
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
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.
Top 10 General Crusades History Books
Books that focus on the Crusades in general, and are not limited to a single Crusade.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
Clothing of Late Antiquity
Fabrics and styles of clothing worn in early Europe.
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 Myth of Rotten Meat
Did medieval people regularly use spices to disguise the taste of rotten meat? A medieval myth exploded by your Guide.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
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.
Concise Biography of El Cid
The subject of many legends, stories and poems, El Cid was nevertheless a real historical individual. He has been painted both as a chivalrous knight and a freebooter, depending on who's doing the painting. But whatever else he was, El Cid was a remarkable military leader whose achievements still command respect.
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.
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
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.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Scandinavia - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of Scandinavia, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland during the Middle Ages.
Saint Thomas Aquinas - Scholastic Philosopher
Saint Thomas Aquinas was the foremost medieval Scholasticist and created a synthesis of the general western philosophies of his time.
July 22 in Medieval History
On July 22, 1099, Godfrey of Bouillon was elected to rule Jerusalem. What else happened on this date in Medieval History?
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
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.
What role did Bishops play in the history of...
Bishops performed priestly and administrative duties, and they played an important role in the development of the medieval Christian Church.
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
Canon Table
Public-domain image of a Canon Table from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
The Medieval Child, Part 4: The Playful Years,...
Corporal punishment as used to discipline children, and what happened when beatings got out of hand. Page 3.
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.
Lead Cups
Medieval people did not drink from lead cups. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Who -- or what -- was a Bogomil?
A Bogomil was a member of a heretical sect that originated in Bulgaria in the tenth century.
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.
Medieval History Quizzes
Quizzes about medieval topics.: writers quiz terminology quiz history quizzes castle terminology early middle ages
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
Renaissance Poetry: William Shakespeare
A poem from the Renaissance era by William Shakespeare, from your Mining Co. Guide
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Six
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 6 In the eighth century, Charlemagne built an empire that
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 Diabolical Black Death Quiz - Question Two
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz Question 2 The particular epidemic of the fourteenth century originated
Post-Roman Britain - An Introduction
The 200 years following the official withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain are the least well-documented in the recorded history of the British Isles.
Castel Sant'Angelo
The castle of Sant'Angelo in Rome, Italy, was built in the second century C.E. and would play an interesting role in the Middle Ages.
Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
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 - Sixteenth Century Maps -...
Maps of political boundaries as they stood in the sixteenth century.
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