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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.
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.
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 Beowulf Story
A description of the events that transpire in the Old English Epic poem, Beowulf.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
What Peasants and Laborers Wore in the Middle...
Undergarments, overgarments, accessories and everyday clothes for members of the medieval working class.
Harold Godwinson
Harold's defeat by the Norman invader William the Conqueror, who started a new dynasty, made him the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.
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.
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.
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.
How To Avoid the Plague
Traveling back in time to the 14th century? Make sure you know how to avoid the deadly plague.
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.
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.
Richard the Lionheart
A biography of King Richard I of England, known as Richard the Lionheart.
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
Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Augustine founded the Christian Church in southern England and became the first archbishop of Canterbury.
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.
The Black Death Comes to Europe, 1347
Map of the route the Black Death took to arrive in Europe in 1347. Page 3.
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.
Primary Characters in Beowulf
Brief descriptions of the most significant figures of the Beowulf poem.
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 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 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.
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.
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 History of Algebra
Get a rundown about the origins of Algebra from this article that originally appeared in a 1911 encyclopedia.
Post-Roman Britain Quiz
Post-Roman Britain Quiz How well do you know early British history? Test your knowledge with these ten
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.
Porridge
Medieval peasant pottage and the peas porridge rhyme. 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 Medieval History Starter Quiz
A quick and easy quiz for newcomers to the Middle Ages.
Origins of Plague
Map of the possible origins of the 14th-century plague and the route it took to Europe. Page 2.
Silk Production and Trade in Medieval Times
The use of silk in the Middle Ages.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charlemagne Quotes
Words of wisdom attributed to the great Frankish king.
Famous Medieval Couples
A survey of some of the most famous -- and not-so-famous -- couples in Medieval and Renaissance history and fiction.
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.
What Made Charles So Great?
An introduction to the life of Charlemagne and his impact on European history.
Giotto di Bondone - Father of the Renaissance
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Chains
When ancient society evolved into medieval society, slavery didn't disappear.
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 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.
Petrarch - Founder of Renaissance Humanism -...
One of the most influential poets of the Middle Ages, Petrarch is generally considered the founder of Renaissance Humanism.
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 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.
Baron
In the Middle Ages, there was no specific rank associated with the term Baron.
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.
Wool
The sources of wool, types of wool, and uses of wool in medieval Europe.
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
Images from the Book of Kells
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
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 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.
Types of Fowl
The birds that were cooked and consumed by people in the Middle Ages.
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.
Powerful Pontiff Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was one of the most powerful and influential popes of 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 Dead
Measures against getting buried alive that were never taken. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax
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 Hagia Sophia
A cathedral was only one of the incarnations of the Hagia Sophia.
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.
Saxons
Who the Saxons were, when and where they thrived, and what happened to them.
Beowulf, Page Two
It is probable that there are few readers of Beowulf who have not felt that the general impression produced by it is that of a bewildering chaos. Page 2.
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.
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.
Decorated Initial
Public-domain image of a Decorated Initial from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 3.
The Chaucer Quiz
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Medieval Clip Art
A collection of medieval-themed clip art, including shields, swords, knights and ladies, created by your Guide.
The Bad Old Days
A popular net hoax purports to provide facts about the Middle Ages that explain the origins of phrases and customs. Your Guide offers contrary evidence for your perusal.
A Swift Strike
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death from January to June, 1348. Page 4.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Types of Meat
The types of animals that provided meat to cooks in the Middle Ages, including cows, goats, sheep, pigs and rabbits.
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.
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.
Bailiff
There are several different uses of the term Bailiff in the Middle Ages.
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.
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 Medieval Child, Part 5: The Learning Years,...
Learning a trade and the life of apprentices in medieval times. Page 3.
Young King Henry VIII
Portrait of Henry VIII in early manhood by an unknown artist. Page 6.
The Diabolical Black Death Quiz
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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.
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 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.
Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew
Public-domain images of the Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 4.
The Dark Age Quiz
A relatively easy quiz about the Early Middle Ages.
Europe on the Eve of Plague
A map depicting the political boundaries of nations in Europe in the year 1346, from your Guide.
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 Atlas - Maps of Constantinople -...
A selection of maps depicting Constantinople in Medieval times.
Madonna and Child
Public-domain images from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 6.
Sumptuary Laws - Laws that attempted to keep...
The origins and history of sumptuary laws and the motives for passing them in the Middle Ages.
Young Henry
Portrait of Henry as a child by an unknown artist. Page 4.
Hildegard of Bingen Quotes
Quotations written by German abbess, composer and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.
A Medieval Love Story
Peter Abelard and his student, Heloise, engaged in a true-life romance in the 12th-century.
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.
Portrait of Matthew
A richly-textured depiction of the evangelist in a particularly well-preserved portrait. Page 9.
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.
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
Medieval History Quizzes
Quizzes about medieval topics.: writers quiz terminology quiz history quizzes castle terminology early middle ages
The Bad Old Days - 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.
Heptarchy
The term heptarchy should really refer to seven individual rulers of one country, but historically, it has another meaning.
Canon Table
Public-domain image of a Canon Table from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site.
Types of Fish & Seafood
The water creatures that were caught, preserved, traded and eaten in medieval times.
General Knowledge Quiz II - Medieval History
General Knowledge Quiz II This mixed bag of general questions about the Middle Ages will test your knowledge
Portrait of John
Public-domain image of the Portrait of John from the Book of Kells, free for your use, here at the Medieval History site. Page 5.
Medieval Atlas - Maps of England - Medieval...
An index of maps that depict England throughout the Middle Ages.
The Medieval Child, Part 6: Teens at Work and...
The circumstances of medieval youths who worked as servants or laborers throughout their adolescence. Page 2.
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 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.
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.
The Forgotten Empire
After Rome fell, Byzantium lasted another thousand years. A brief look at a forgotten empire.
John Ball
John Ball was an English priest who took a prominent part in the peasant revolt.
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.
1349
Map of the spread of the Black Death in Europe in the year 1349, by your Guide. Page 8.
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.
Best Realistic Medieval Films
Your Guide's choice of ten films that effectively blend realism and good storytelling in a medieval setting.
Top 7 Books about Daily Life in Medieval Times
While the details of day-to-day existence varied substantially from place to place and century to century, a general understanding of the basic facts of medieval life can be gleaned from these useful and enjoyable books.
The Hoax
The hoax in question, with associated links leading to specific information refuting the bogus assertions.
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.
An Insidious Spread
A map depicting the spread of the Black Death in Europe from July to December, 1348. Page 7.
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.
Manor
The medieval manor was an agricultural estate, and more.
Clothing of Late Antiquity
Fabrics and styles of clothing worn in early Europe.
Tomatoes & Pewter Plates
Why tomatoes were sometimes considered poisonous in the late Middle Ages. Part of our refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days email hoax.
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.
Pope Alexander VI
Pope Alexander VI - Rodrigo Borgia - is the most famously corrupt pope in history.
The Dark Age Quiz - Question One
The Dark Age Quiz Question 1 The term "Dark Ages," while still in use to some degree, has fallen out
Renaissance Poetry: Christopher Marlowe
A poem from the Renaissance era by Christopher Marlowe, from your Mining Co. Guide
Saint Dominic Quotations
Quotes attributed to the austere-living saint.
The Medieval History Starter Quiz - Question...
The Medieval History Starter Quiz Question 3 After the Roman Empire collapsed in the west, many Barbarian
Lead Cups
Medieval people did not drink from lead cups. Part of your Guide's refutation of the infamous Bad Old Days net hoax.
Renaissance Poetry: William Shakespeare
A poem from the Renaissance era by William Shakespeare, from your Mining Co. Guide
Top 10 General Crusades History Books
Books that focus on the Crusades in general, and are not limited to a single Crusade.
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.
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.
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