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Medieval History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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 Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in the Middle Ages.
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.
Beowulf Quiz
Beowulf Quiz Here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of the poem Beowulf and its history. Don't
The Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
How To Avoid the Plague
Traveling back in time to the 14th century? Make sure you know how to avoid the deadly plague.
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.
Richard the Lionheart: The Warrior Poet
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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.
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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
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.
What Peasants and Laborers Wore in the Middle...
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
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.
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.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
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
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.
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
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
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.
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.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
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.
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 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.
Exciting Find in Medieval Underwear
A discovery in Austria shows that medieval women may have had more advanced undergarments than previously believed.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to 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.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
The Theodosian Code
The Theodosian Code is an important indicator of the continuity of Roman law from the ancient era into the Middle Ages.
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 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.
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.
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.
Joan of Arc on the Web: Primary Sources
Useful websites about this historical figure of the Middle Ages, from your About.com Guide
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
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.
Dark Legacy
How centuries of war in the name of Christianity began with one man's ambition.
Defining the Knight
Definition of Medieval knights, their armor, roles, and duties
The Holy Land
The onetime Roman province of Palestine would prove to be a holy land for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
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.
Who's Who in Medieval History - Index by...
Find a medieval historical figure by his role in society, from your About.com Guide
Top 10 General Crusades History Books
Books that focus on the Crusades in general, and are not limited to a single Crusade.
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.
Alfred the Great
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Splendor in Medieval Africa
A brief introduction to the medieval kingdom of Mali and the splendid African society that flourished there.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Warwick the Kingmaker
Known as the Kingmaker for his role in helping put not one, but two kings on the throne of England, Richard Neville was a powerful English nobleman.
Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Augustine founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
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.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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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 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 History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
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.
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.
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.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
The Chaucer Quiz
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Bishop
Bishops performed administrative duties as well as the duties of a priest.
Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
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.
Alboin, King of the Lombards
He was a savvy political leader and a shrewd military commander, allying with the neighbors of his longtime enemies to take them down, and launching a highly successful invasion of Italy. But he was a really, really bad husband.
Love Blossoms
How Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie de Champagne sponsored and encouraged the Courtly Love literary movement.
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.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
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.
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 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.
Otto the Great
Otto consolidated the German Reich and made significant advances for secular influence in papal politics. His reign is generally considered to be the true beginning of the Holy Roman Empire.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
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 Great Mortality, Part 1
What was the Black Death, and why should we study it?
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.
Introducing Knight Life
Introducing a semi-regular feature about the medieval knight.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
The Medieval Child
An index to our series of articles about childhood in the Middle Ages.
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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King Egbert of Wessex
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Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
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.
Queen Elizabeth I of England
The Virgin Queen. Good Queen Bess. Gloriana. The indomitable Elizabeth I of England ruled for 44 years and left an indelible impression on the history of Britain.
King William I of England - William the Conqueror
Basic information and useful websites about William the Conqueror.
Voices from the Past: Medieval Quotations
A selection of quotations from medieval people.
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.
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.
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.
Renaissance Poetry: Christopher Marlowe
A poem from the Renaissance era by Christopher Marlowe, from your Mining Co. Guide
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.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
John Ball
John Ball was an English priest who took a prominent part in the peasant revolt.
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.
Renaissance Poetry: William Shakespeare
A poem from the Renaissance era by William Shakespeare, from your Mining Co. 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.
Who's Who in Medieval History - Joan of Arc
Basic information and useful websites about Joan of Arc.
The Venerable Bede - Monk - Scholar - Historian
The Venerable Bede was the first English historian. His work had a significant influence on English and European scholarship.
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.
Charlemagne's Pope, Leo III
They wanted to blind him and cut out his tongue, and so they attacked him in the streets of Rome. But Pope Leo III had Charlemagne on his side.
Dante - Poet and Die-Hard Romantic
Dante is often considered the finest poet of the Middle Ages. He also wrote philosophy and political works, served his beloved Florence as a diplomat and fought as a cavalryman.
Villein
Villeins were usually free peasants, but they owed service to their lord and suffered many restrictions.
Chronological List of Medieval Popes
Chronological List of Medieval Popes, hyperlinked to popes in our Who's Who in Medieval History resource, where available.
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.
Boethius - Writer - Philosopher
A consul and advisor to Theodoric, Boethius wrote texts on mathematics and translated works by Aristotle into Latin.
Alfred the Great Quotes
Quotations Written by or Attributed to King Alfred the Great of England
Types of Meat
The types of animals that provided meat to cooks in the Middle Ages, including cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits.
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 Two
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 2 The western portion of the empire may have fallen, but the
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
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
Knight Life Table of Contents
An index to the issues of Knight Life, our series about the daily life of the medieval knight.
Concise Biography of Vlad Dracula
A brief but informative overview of the life of Vlad Dracula, Prince of Wallachia.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
Council of Clermont
An explanation of the Council of Clermont, from your Guide.
Young Henry
Portrait of Henry as a child by an unknown artist. Page 4.
Tithe
A tithe was a donation to the church.

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