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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
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.
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.
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.
The Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
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.
Defining the Middle Ages
The Middle Ages are often broken into three sub-eras: Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.
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.
What Was Underwear Like in Medieval Times?
What men and women wore under their clothing in the Middle Ages.
El Cid - National Hero of Spain
El Cid - National Hero of Spain - Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar
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.
How To Avoid the Plague
a simple how-to on staying alive during the black death
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 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.
Renaissance Love Poems
English love poems of the Renaissance era by six poets.
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.
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
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.
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
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.
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.
Charlemagne - King of the Franks and Lombards
Charlemagne consolidated a large portion of Europe under his rule, promoted learning, and instituted innovative administrative concepts.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
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 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.
Frequently Asked Questions about Our Directory
Frequently asked questions about finding information at the Medieval History site.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of the Middle Ages.
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.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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The Beowulf Story, Page Two
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. 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.
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.
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 History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
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.
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 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 Medieval Atlas
Find the map you need or explore some fascinating pieces of the past.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question One
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 1 There are no precise, incontrovertible dates to define the
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.
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.
European Peasant Dress
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
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.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
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.
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.
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 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 Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Two
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 2 The western portion of the empire may have fallen, but the
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.
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.
Weddings & Hygiene
Whether or not brides bathed more than once a year, and why they carried flowers at their weddings. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
King Francis I of France
King Francis I of France is considered France's first Renaissance King.
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.
Chateau Gaillard
A look at the extraordinary fortress of Chateau Gaillard, constructed by Richard the Lionheart.
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II launched the Crusade Movement with his call to arms at the Council of Clermont.
The Nika Revolt
The Nika Revolt was a devastating riot that took place in early medieval Constantinople, in the Eastern Roman Empire.
Abbasids
The Abbasids were a Muslim dynasty.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
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 Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
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 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 Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Four
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 4 Those Barbarians were everywhere after Rome fell, including
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
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
Pope Julius II - Who's Who in Medieval History
Basic information and useful websites about Pope Julius II.
The Beowulf Story, Page Three
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf. Page 3.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
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.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
Terms Used in Beowulf
Explanations of unusual terms used in the Beowulf poem.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Britain - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of the British Isles during the Middle Ages.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
General Knowledge Quiz - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz Here are ten questions on a variety of topics from the Middle Ages. How well do
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.
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.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Six
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 6 In the eighth century, Charlemagne built an empire that
Harold Godwinson - King Harold II of England
King Harold Godwinson was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Nine
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 9 In the tenth century, Otto, King of Germany, was crowned
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
Harald Bluetooth - the real king they named the...
Harald is credited with unifying Denmark under one rule.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question Ten
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 10 Historians divide up the Middle Ages into three sub-eras.
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.
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.
Quotations by Saint Jerome
From the prolific writings of Saint Jerome come insights into spirituality and everyday life.
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.
Modern English Translations of Beowulf
A selection of modern English translations of the Old English Epic, Beowulf, including verse and prose versions.
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 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 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 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.
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.
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci is the navigator and explorer for whom two continents are named.
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.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
Lead Cups
Medieval people did not drink from lead cups. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
King Richard I of England
King Richard I of England was known as Lionheart for his courage and prowess on the battlefield.
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.
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Frequently Asked Medieval History Questions
Frequently asked questions about medieval history, from your About.com Guide
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 - Maps of England - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict England throughout the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
The Forgotten Empire
After Rome fell, Byzantium lasted another thousand years. A brief look at a forgotten empire.
The Bad Old Days - Tomatoes
Why tomatoes were sometimes considered poisonous in the late Middle Ages. 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.
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
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.
General Knowledge Quiz III - Medieval History
Medieval History General Knowledge Quiz III Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned
Dante Alighieri - Poet - Philosopher -...
Dante Alighieri is often considered the finest poet of the Middle Ages.
Young Henry
Portrait of Henry as a child by an unknown artist. Page 4.
Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in what would become the Vulgate edition. He was a hermit, a priest, and a teacher, and he wrote voluminously on many theological topics.
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.
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.
Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
Medieval Christmas Traditions
Christmas traditions that began or evolved during the Middle Ages.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
Goliards
The Goliards were wandering scholars devoted to adventure and the good life. The Goliards produced the earliest known preserved examples of secular music.
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.
Gildas
As the author of a treatise on The Ruin of Britain, Gildas may be considered the first British historian.
Anglo-Saxons
Who the Anglo-Saxon people were, where they lived, and where they came from.
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.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of the Holy Roman Empire...
An index of maps that depict all or portions of the Holy Roman Empire during 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.
Renaissance Poetry: William Shakespeare
A poem from the Renaissance era by William Shakespeare, from your Mining Co. Guide
Emperor Justinian I
Justinian was one of the most important emperors in Byzantine history.
Pope Gregory I
Gregory's influence was paramount in shaping the early medieval papacy. A monk, theologian, and Doctor of the Church, he has even been credited with originating Gregorian Chant.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
Silk
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
Alfred the Great
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Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
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.
Christopher Columbus in Print
Biographies of Christopher Columbus, historical background, primary and secondary sources, and books for younger readers.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
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