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Medieval History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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 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.
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 Did People Wear in the Middle Ages?
What did people wear in the Middle Ages? Find out in this introduction.
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.
How To Avoid the Plague
a simple how-to on staying alive during the black death
Quiz of the Day for February 18 - Avignon...
The Quiz of the Day for February 18 is about the Avignon Papacy.
What Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in 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.
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.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
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.
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.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
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.
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.
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.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
European Peasant Dress
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
The Spread of the Black Death through Europe
A series of maps depicting the routes the disease took during the Black Death of the 14th century.
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.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
Medieval History General Knowledge Quiz III Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned
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.
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
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.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
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.
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.
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 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 Nika Revolt
The Nika Revolt was a devastating riot that took place in early medieval Constantinople, in the Eastern Roman Empire.
The History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
Concise Biography of Vlad Dracula
A brief but informative overview of the life of Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia.
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 History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
The Beowulf Story, Page Two
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. 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.
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.
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.
General Belisarius
Belisarius served his emperor with unstinting loyalty, but he was not so honorably repaid.
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.
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
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
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Directory
Frequently asked questions about finding information at the Medieval History site.
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.
Charlemagne Quiz
The Charlemagne Quiz Charlemagne Study Guide     Here are ten questions to test your knowledge of the
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
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 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.
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.
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 Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
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.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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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.
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.
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 Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
The Beowulf Story, Page Three
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 3.
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.
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
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
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.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
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.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Harald Bluetooth - the real king they named the...
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule.
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.
Otto the Great - Holy Roman Emperor
Emperor Otto the Great consolidated the German Reich and made significant advances for secular influence in papal politics.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
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.
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.
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.
Copernicus
Though he wasn't the first scientist to theorize that the Earth revolved around the sun, Copernicus boldly proposed the idea in the early 16th century -- an act that would have far-reaching effects.
The Forgotten Empire
After Rome fell, Byzantium lasted another thousand years. A brief look at a forgotten empire.
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.
Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
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 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.
Justinian Quotes
Excerpts from the Code of Justinian and quotations that have been attributed to the Byzantine emperor.
Explorer Erik the Red
His exile from Iceland was only the beginning of his greatest adventure.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Four
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 4 Those Barbarians were everywhere after Rome fell, including
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.
Austria - The Thirty Years' War, 1618-48
Online text of the History of Austria; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Ten: The Thirty Years' War, 1618-48,
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Six
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 6 In the eighth century, Charlemagne built an empire that
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.
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.
Tithe
A tithe was a donation to the church.
Saint Benedict of Nursia
Saint Benedict of Nursia founded a dozen monasteries and established the Benedictine Rule for monastic living
Medieval History Quizzes
Quizzes about medieval topics.: writers quiz terminology quiz history quizzes castle terminology early middle ages
Margaret Paston
An ordinary individual of medieval England whose surviving letters display resilience, ingenuity and fortitude.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, 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.
The Holy Land
The onetime Roman province of Palestine would prove to be a holy land for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Splendor in Medieval Africa
A brief introduction to the medieval kingdom of Mali and the splendid African society that flourished there.
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.
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.
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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Alexander Nevsky
Prince of Novgorod and Kiev and Grand Prince of Vladimir, Alexander Nevsky is best known for stopping the advance of the Swedes and the Teutonic Knights into Russia.
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.
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.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
The Chaucer Quiz
Shell for testing HTML code and text.: geoffrey chaucer quiz script quick quiz script src text javascript
Heraldry How-To's
A series of instructions to help you blazon a shield.
A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Nine
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 9 In the tenth century, Otto, King of Germany, was crowned
King Francis I of France
King Francis I of France is considered France's first Renaissance King.
The Treaty of Verdun
The division of the Carolingian Empire made under the terms of this treaty would foreshadow future nations of Europe.
Christopher Columbus in Print
Biographies of Christopher Columbus, historical background, primary and secondary sources, and books for younger readers.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Ten
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 10 Historians divide up the Middle Ages into three sub-eras.
Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus
Alexius founded the Comnenus dynasty of Byzantine emperors and strengthened the empire considerably. But when he asked the pope for help driving the Turks from his territory, he had no idea how events would unfold.
Bishop
Bishops performed administrative duties as well as the duties of a priest.
Dante Alighieri - Poet - Philosopher -...
Dante Alighieri is often considered the finest poet of the Middle Ages.
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci is the navigator and explorer for whom two continents are named.
The Code of Justinian
The Code of Justinian was an important law code issued under the sponsorship of Emperor Justinian I.
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.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
The Great Mortality
What was the Black Death, and why should we study it?
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.
Donatello Sculpture Gallery
A selection of sculptures and carvings by the master of Renaissance sculpture, Donatello.
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