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Medieval History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
The Black Death: Causes and Symptoms
A graphic description of Black Death symptoms and causes of the disease.
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.
What Did People Wear in the Middle Ages?
What did people wear in the Middle Ages? Find out in this introduction.
The Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
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.
Richard the Lionheart: The Warrior Poet
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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.
Beowulf Quiz
Beowulf Quiz Here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of the poem Beowulf and its history. Don't
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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
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
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.
March 22 in Medieval History
On this date in 1312, the Order of the Templars was suppressed by the pope. About a hundred years later, Joan of Arc did something interesting.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
What Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in the Middle Ages.
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.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
What Peasants and Laborers Wore in the Middle...
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
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 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 Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
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.
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.
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.
King Richard III of England - Who's Who in...
Basic information and useful websites about King Richard III of England.
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.
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 Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
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.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
Harald Bluetooth - the real king they named the...
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule.
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.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
The Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
The Reburial of Richard III
On Thursday, March 26, the remains of what is believed to be King Richard III of England were interred at Leicester Cathedral.
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.
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.
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
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
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great 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.
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 History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and later England, was arguably the most powerful woman of High Medieval Europe.
A Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
Muslim Hero Saladin
Salah Ad-din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub, or Saladin, was the most famous Muslim hero and a consummate military tactician. His capture of Jerusalem from the Crusaders prompted Christian forces to initiate The Third Crusade.
Charlemagne Quiz
The Charlemagne Quiz Charlemagne Study Guide     Here are ten questions to test your knowledge of the
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
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.
Pope Benedict IX
Pope Benedict IX resigned willingly -- for a price. Then he came back.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
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.
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.
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
Defining the Knight
Definition of Medieval knights, their armor, roles, and duties
The Great Mortality, Part 1
What was the Black Death, and why should we study it?
Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Augustine founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury.
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.
The Holy Land
The onetime Roman province of Palestine would prove to be a holy land for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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Quiz of the Day for January 29 - Knights...
The Quiz of the Day for January 29 is about the Knights Templar.
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.
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.
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
John Ball
John Ball was an English priest who took a prominent part in the peasant revolt.
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.
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.
King Richard III of England
Usurper and murderer or misunderstood leader of conscience? Richard III is probably the most controversial British monarch of the Middle Ages.
Canute the Great
Canute conquered large parts of England, taking the crown in Denmark and Norway, and built a formidable -- if short-lived -- empire.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
The Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
The History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
King Egbert of Wessex
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A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
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.
The Medieval Child
An index to our series of articles about childhood in the Middle Ages.
The Chaucer Quiz
Shell for testing HTML code and text.: geoffrey chaucer quiz script quick quiz script src text javascript
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
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.
Dark Legacy
How centuries of war in the name of Christianity began with one man's ambition.
Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
Knight Life Table of Contents
An index to the issues of Knight Life, our series about the daily life of the medieval knight.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
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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.
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.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
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 History Starter Quiz - Question Two
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 2 The western portion of the empire may have fallen, but the
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
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.
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 History Quizzes
Quizzes about medieval topics.: writers quiz terminology quiz history quizzes castle terminology early middle ages
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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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.
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 Dark Age Quiz
A relatively easy quiz about the Early Middle Ages.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
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.
Villein
Villeins were usually free peasants, but they owed service to their lord and suffered many restrictions.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
Rollo the Walker
Known for founding the duchy of Normandy in France, Rollo is said to have been so tall he could not ride a horse without dragging his feet on the ground; and so he became known as Rollo the Walker.
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 Treaty of Verdun
The division of the Carolingian Empire made under the terms of this treaty would foreshadow future nations of Europe.
The Slandered King
History is often written by those in power. A few facts about your guide's favorite medieval monarch.
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.
Introducing Knight Life
Introducing a semi-regular feature about the medieval knight.
Bishop
Bishops performed administrative duties as well as the duties of a priest.
Joan of Arc on the Web: Primary Sources
Useful websites about this historical figure of the Middle Ages, from your About.com Guide
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
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.
Alcuin of York
He was the foremost scholar of the Carolingian Renaissance, making important reforms in the Catholic liturgy, bringing Anglo-Saxon traditions of humanism into Europe, writing histories and poetry, and serving as the head of Charlemagne's Palace School at Aachen
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
Conflagration: The Peasants Revolt
The circumstances that led to England's Peasants' Revolt in the spring of 1381.
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.
Top 10 General Crusades History Books
Books that focus on the Crusades in general, and are not limited to a single Crusade.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Four
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 4 Those Barbarians were everywhere after Rome fell, including
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.
Louis the Pious
As the son of Charlemagne, Louis became king of Aquitaine when he was only three years old. He was the only designated heir to survive his father, and he showed some of the old king's verve and tenacity.
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.
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.
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.
Ethiopia - Historical Setting - Oromo...
Online text of the History of Ethiopia; public domain document that you may copy, download, print and distribute as you see fit. Page Nine: Oromo Migrations and Their Impact.
Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
Sheriff
The Sheriff was the chief administrative and judicial officer of a shire.
Iraq: Historical Setting - Glossary
The text of The Description of Wales by Geraldus Cambrensis online.
Renaissance Poetry: William Shakespeare
A poem from the Renaissance era by William Shakespeare, from your Mining Co. Guide
Saint Patrick
One of the patron saints of Ireland, Saint Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle.

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