THE "MIDDLE" CENTURIES OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
FROM BYZANTIUM TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
AN INTERNET BOOK ON THE MEDIEVAL/RENAISSANCE/REFORMATION
PART I: ROME'S FALL TO THE EVE OF THE
THE EARLY AND/OR
THE DARK DAYS
The Barbarians are
THE EMERGING WORLD
OF LORDS -
A STRUGGLE FOR
SAINTS, SINNERS, MONKS, CATHEDRALS,
CHAPELS, CHURCHES, GOTHIC,
GARGOYLES, THE CRUSADES
BAD THINGS HAPPEN
TO GOOD PEOPLE
THE PLAGUE, INQUISITION AND HERESIES,
A FEW WARS AND THE
TO PART II AND
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS ON THE
MIDDLE CENTURIES HERE
PART II: SECOND WEB PAGE
THE AGE OF DISCOVERY
LIFE AND TIMES
THE 18TH CENTURY:
AND/ OR THE "DARK" DAYS
"THE BARBARIANS ARE COMING - AND THE
"In the aftermath of the Fall of the Western Roman
Empire, a new era began in Europe and the Mediterranean world. The ancient
certainties of the Pax Romana lay in ruins and while the eastern emperors,
ruling from Constantinople, kept the light of Roman civilisation burning, in
the west that light flickered and almost... almost, went out. And so began
the period of European history known as the Dark Ages, when out of the ruins
of the Western Empire grew a number of new successor kingdoms, ruled over by
the barbarian, usually Germanic, peoples who inherited it. For the
barbarians, this new settlement was the culmination of a period of defeat,
migration and conquest know as the Volkerwanderung - the 'Wandering of the
TRANSFORMATION OF ROMAN WORLD: ROLE OF THE
NORSE AND GERMANIC PEOPLES
- Did Barbarians call
- Nobody ever called themselves barbarians. It is not
that sort of word. It is a word used about other people. It was used by
the ancient Greeks to describe non-Greek people whose language they could
not understand. The Romans adopted the Greek word and used it to label
(and usually libel) the peoples who surrounded their own world. . . .The
Roman interpretation became the only one that counted, and the peoples
whom they called Barbarians became for ever branded €” and, of course
,babararianis has become a byword for the very opposite of everything that
we consider civilised. The Erroneous Myth?: The Barbarians brought only
chaos and ignorance, until the renaissance rekindled the fires of Roman
learning and art.
- Who Were The Vikings?
- "In Norse, viking means
piracy, and for centuries, ever since Viking raiders savagely attacked
England's Lindisfarne monastery in A.D. 793 -- the Vikings have seemed to
have been little more than blue-eyed barbarians in horned helmets. But
archeological investigations of Viking sites
stretching from Russia to Newfoundland have revealed a more human (if not
altogether humane) side to the Viking character. Interview with NOVA
and the curator of exhibit on Vikings at the Smithsonian." Explore a
Viking village. Secrets of Norse ships, diaspora. Write
your name in Runes. Build Tree-Ring timeline. Nova.
- The Peoples of the Dark Ages
- Comprehensive site
examining origins of various tribes of Dark
Ages and their battle for the remnants of the collapsing
- The Dark Ages
- The period of history
between the decline of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance known as the
"Dark Ages" are an era of superstition, war, and death. For nearly a
thousand years the rulers of various tribes across Europe and Asia arrive
and decline as fast as a passing storm, but mold the structure of nations
- The Dark Ages :
Defining the Darkness
- "Its definition depends on who is defining it.
Indeed, modern historians no longer use the term because of its negative
connotation. Generally, the Dark Ages referred to the period of time
ushered in by the fall of the Western Roman
They called it
"the second Rome." A great city astride Europe and Asia and its vast
empire which would preserve Greco-Roman culture and transmit it to the West,
when Rome itself lay in barbarian hands. It became the center of the
trading world and the focus of Christianity. Constantinople held the
historic function "as the outpost of Europe against the invading hordes of
Asia. Under the shelter of that defense of its eastern gateway,
western Europe could refashion its own life; and it is hardly an
exaggeration to say that the civilization of western Europe is a by-product
of the will of the Byzantine Empire to survive."
- Byzantine Studies Page
- One of the best Byzantine
Studies pages. A Gateway. Listen to Byzantine music. Byzantine Culture.
"Byzantium is the name given to both the state and the culture of the
Eastern Roman Empire in the middle ages. Both the state and the
inhabitants always called themselves Roman, as did most of their
neighbors. Western Europeans, who had their own Roman Empire called them
Orientals or Greeks... The composite nature of Byzantium. It was, without
any doubt, the continuation of the Roman state, and until the seventh
century, preserved the basic structures of Late Roman Mediterranean civic
culture: - a large multi-ethnic Christian state, based on a network of
urban centers, and defended by a mobile specialized army. Byzantine civilization constitutes a major world
culture. Because of its unique position as the medieval continuation of
the Roman State, it has tended to be dismissed by classicists and ignored
by Western medievalists. Its internal elite culture was archaicizing and
perhaps pessimistic. But as the centrally located culture, and by far the
most stable state, of the Medieval period, Byzantium is of major interest
both in itself, and because the development and late history of Western
European, Slavic and Islamic cultures are not comprehensible without
taking it into consideration.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art - Byzantium: Faith
and Power, 1261-1557
- Major, remarkable exhibition.
- Ancient Byzantine Civilization - Home Reviewed Resources
for Students and the Curious
- "The most powerful
periods of the Byzantium Empire were years that were stagnant in terms
of advancement of thought, but were highly active in terms of religion.
It should not be forgotten, however, that it was this highly detailed
embroidery of the Middle Ages that was to pave the way for the
Renaissance. The struggle between two very great religions, Islam and
Christianity, was to lead to the development of Islamic civilization on
the one hand, and Byzantine civilization on the other."
THE EMERGING WORLD OF LORDS AND
- The Chivalry Code
- Chivalry, Knights and the
- The Knights
- Who were
they? : "A monastic military order formed at the end of the
First Crusade to protect pilgrims traveling on route from Europe to the
recently captured city of Jerusalem. Within a couple of decades the
group became an order with the backing of both the Pope and the
collective European monarchies. . . Within two centuries they had become
powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. Feared as warriors,
respected for their piety and sought out for their wealth, there is no
doubt that the Knights Templar were the key players of the monastic
fighting orders. it. "
- The Steps of
- Knights of the Roundtable!
"Charlemagne revived the political and cultural
life of Europe, which had collapsed after the fall of the West Roman Empire
in the A.D. 400's. His activities laid the foundation of the European
civilization that arose during the later Middle Ages." .
- "Coronation of
Charlemagne as emperor goes beyond the conflict between Church and state.
It is a symbolic event, a convenient point to gather some separate
threads." Nice, simple list format follows Charlemagne's life and ruling
aspects. Explains cultural significance of various events. Good background
and future references. Audio soundbites. And who was he? Charlemagne
(742-814), or Charles the Great, was the most famous ruler of the Middle
Ages and a key figure in European history. He conquered much of western
Europe and united it under a great empire.
- Charlemagne - Summary
- Carolingian empire
began when rivals were engaged elsewhere. Describes the character of the
Carolingian Regime with limitations and solutions. Charlemagne recreated
the power, prestige, and culture of the Western Roman Empire. Consequences
of Charlemagne's coronation became one of most important forces in
- Carolingians and After
- Rise of Carolingian
Dynasty and Papal support. Charlemagne's reign consumed with wars in
which he was usually victorious. Most important - the conquest of the
Saxons and the Lombards bringing much of Germany and Italy into the
circles of Holy Roman Empire and medieval civilization. Carolingian
Decline and Division of the Empire to Louis the Pious.
- The Charlemagne Map
- Charlemagne - Charles the Great, King of the Franks
and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
- "He was so moderate in
the use of wine and all sorts of drink that he rarely allowed himself more
than three cups in the course of a meal. In summer after the midday meal,
he would eat some fruit, drain a single cup, put off his clothes and
shoes, just as he did for the night, and rest for two or three hours." Life of Charlemagne, written by Charlemagne's
traveling companion and monk, Einhard. First-hand diary account adds more
of a "personal touch" to the understanding of Charlemagne. Humorous
"stream of consciousness" commentary by Einhard. Timelines, maps, story
behind the "Song of Roland." Here Quote Page!
Feudalism was the dominant form of political
organization in medieval Europe. It was a hierarchical system of social
relationships wherein a noble lord granted land
known as a fief to a free man, who in turn swore
fealty to the lord as his vassal and agreed to
provide military and other services. A vassal could also be a lord, granting
portions of the land he held to other free vassals; this was known as
"subinfeudation," and often led all the way up to the king. The land granted
to each vassal was inhabited by serfs who worked the land for him, providing
him with income to support his military endeavors; in turn, the vassal would
protect the serfs from attack and invasion.
- The "F" Word
- The Common
definition."Feudalism was the dominant form of political organization in
medieval Europe. It was a hierarchical system of social relationships
wherein a noble lord granted land known as a fief to a free man, who in
turn swore fealty to the lord as his vassal and agreed to provide military
and other services. A vassal could also be a lord, granting portions of
the land he held to other free vassals; this was known as
"subinfeudation," and often led all the way up to the king. The land
granted to each vassal was inhabited by serfs who worked the land for him,
providing him with income to support his military endeavors; in turn, the
vassal would protect the serfs from attack and invasion. Feudalism arose
at a time when central governments were weak or nonexistent in Europe, and
kings used the system to exert control over their subjects and secure
military strength throughout their lands. In the absence of a strong
monarchy and rule of law, the feudal relationship between the lord and his
vassal was the glue that held medieval society together."
But what if none of this is
true? Good examination. "The problem? Virtually none of it is accurate. Feudalism was not the "dominant" form of
political organization in medieval Europe. There was no "hierarchical system" of
lords and vassals engaged in a structured agreement to provide military
defense. There was no "subinfeudation"
leading up to the king. The arrangement whereby serfs worked land
for a lord in return for protection, known as manorialism or seignorialism, was not part of a "feudal system."
Monarchies of the early Middle Ages may have had their challenges and
their weaknesses, but kings did not use feudalism to exert control over their subjects,
and the feudal relationship was not the "glue that held medieval society together." In
short, feudalism as described above never existed in Medieval Europe." READ
ON IN THE ARTICLE.
- Feudalism and Feudal
- "Feudalism is a method of
government, and a way of securing the forces necessary to preserve that
method of government. It is also an extreme form of decentralization.
There many centers of power. Power does not reside at a center, or at the
top, even though there a pyramidal structure in theory, with the emperor
at the top and the simple knight at the bottom. In other words, feudalism
is rather more complex than it appears to be on paper." "In the
Middle Ages, networks of personal agreements formed the basis of the
political, economic and social systems. How these agreements developed and
how they were utilised during the early Middle Ages are currently topics
of scholarly debate. Nevertheless, by the late Middle Ages, the
terminology and concepts that are implied in the designation of a feudal
society had been defined by the legal profession."
- The Middle Ages: Feudal Life
- "In this "feudal" system, the king awarded land grants
or "fiefs" to his most important nobles, his barons, and his bishops, in
return for their contribution of soldiers for the king's armies. At the
lowest echelon of society were the peasants, also called "serfs" or
"villeins." In exchange for living and working on his land, known as the
"demesne," the lord offered his peasants protection."
- Feudalism and the Military Elite
- "Feudalism - a
situation where there is no dominant political power or effective central
leadership - no state or empire. Local leaders control political
decisions, command the military power, have the controlling economic power
and even dominate in the cultural realm. In a feudal society, power is
treated as private possession; there is no effective state. Feudalism is a
military based society. In feudal Europe, military might was the primary
basis of power. The dominant leaders based their top status on their
ability to command this military elite. The very culture of Europe during
this period was military in nature - a warrior code. The glue that
holds the society together is not a written law or formal bureaucratic
system . Nor is there a formal economic system; this collapses in the
absence of central political control. Instead, a number of complex social
relationships tie the society together. A world where oaths and
obligations, vows and promises and established expectations and customs
provide the only stability possible. Loyalty to others and fulfilling
one's oaths are the most important values in a feudal society. If these
ties break down - anarchy."
- Feudal Terminology - Feudalism was NOT a term
used in the Middle Ages!
- Over 130 feudal terms
providing an essential resource to undergraduate students. Feudalism, the
system of government based on ownership of land as it was practiced in
Europe in the Middle Ages. Terms relating to the ebb and flow of daily
feudal life, reflecting its poverty and brutality. Entries expose with
luminous clarity the structure of power in European Society during the
medieval era. Comprehensive reference for academics, intellectuals and
students. Includes explanations of words and phrases where meanings have
changed or lost through time. Valuable online companion.
- Medieval Sourcebook: Crisis?
Collapse? Recovery? Feudalism?
- Short piece regarding the
term feudalism and what it is supposed to mean. Historians are recently
challenging the modern popular usage of the term as well as the meaning
that 20th century professional medievalists have come to give it. Rather
interesting on how we look back and try to explain our history.
Range of original sources.
- The Feudal System
- The Feudal System was
introduced to England following the invasion and conquest of the country
by William I (The Conqueror). The system had been used in France by the
Normans from the time they first settled there in about 900AD. It was a
simple, but effective system, where all land was owned by the King. One
quarter was kept by the King as his personal property, some was given to
the church and the rest was leased out under strict controls." Good
basic summaryand great organization charts.
"What is a castle? A castle is a properly fortified
military residence. Why were castles built? Initially, they were designed
and built to hold down conquered territory. They also served to intimidate
and strike fear into the local peoples, were places of refuge, and places
for the lords to live. They were also impressive symbols of the power and
wealth of their owners."
- Castle and Siege Terminology
- English definitions for
over 70 entries pertaining to Medieval castles and siege terminology.
Univ. Mississippi's Department of English clear and comprehensive
reference. Covers terms commonly used in undergraduate studies of Medieval
history. Includes explanations of words and phrases where meanings have
changed or lost through time.
- What Was it Like to Live in a Castle!
- A hard life.
" Hardships were plenty, and even the wealthiest
individuals often found themselves living in less than adequate quarters.
There was no central heating, except for the central hearth or fireplace,
which had to be tended to be efficient. Of course, that heat was usually
saved for the lord and his family. Servants, soldiers, and others made due
with tiny lamps and shivered a lot in the cold medieval
nights. Even during the warmest months of the year, the
castle retained a cool dampness and all residents spent as much time as
possible enjoying the outdoors. Oftentimes, members wrapped blankets
around themselves to keep warm while at work. Baths were taken in
transportable wooden tubs, so that the summer sun could warm the water and
- Castles of Britain -
Castles Learning Center
- "What is a castle? A
castle is a properly fortified military residence. Why were castles built?
Initially, they were designed and built to hold down conquered territory.
They also served to intimidate and strike fear into the local peoples,
were places of refuge, and places for the lords to live. They were also
impressive symbols of the power and wealth of their owners." Special
castle learning-center, all the major castles and information on them in
Britain. About Castles, Birds Eye Views, Building a Castle, Drawings,
Dungeons, Food, Furnishings, Gatehouses, Images, King Edward l, Kitchens ,
Knights, License, Life in a Castle, Medieval Jobs, Parts of a Castle,
- Castles of Germany
- "The castles which are
today such an unmistakable feature of the Rhein landscape date back to the
Middle Ages. Their founders were feudal overlords, who, so far from
cherishing any romantic notions, built them with one simple aim in mind:
to protect their lands from marauders and predatory neighbors. They chose
mountain-tops as strategically ideal situations based on the warlike
function for which they were built and the back-breaking labour of the
feudal serfs." Roadtrip journal of castles from Cologne to Mainz. Maps,
timelines, histories, photos, art. Interactive map of Heidelberg's
castle. Castles of Wales and Castles of Scotland
- Castles on the
- Search and tour
individual Castles from around the world - from Austria to Yugoslavia.
Palaces and Great Homes, Abbeys and Churches, Abbeys and Churches, Castles
for Kids, books, glossary, myths and legends from Arthur to Robin Hood.
For a castle or palace to stay in, you can click to info.
- The English Medieval Castle - Tight Summary and
Background From Britannia
Castles - Medieval Fortresses of Great Britain
- "When William the
Conqueror and his Norman army successfully invaded England in 1066 A.D.,
they were viewed by the local English population as aliens. The Norman
occupation however, was destined to last for centuries and would waste no
time in introducing the English people to feudalism. A key instrument in
the enforcement of the new feudal system was the castle. Before 1066 most
English fortifications followed the lines of the old Roman works and the
Saxon burghs. These public projects had formerly offered general
protection to whole villages and towns. The new order called for heavily
fortified private strong points which would intimidate the local civilians
into a more passive role." Photographs, explanation of old Norman castles
at York, Edinburgh, Windsor, and the Tower of London.
- Well organized with
topics on castles in every respect. Interworkings, design, structure,
rooms, uses, and the seige. Also medieval society with excellent
descriptions on each class and profession. Society, people, way of
Castle - The great German castle.
A STRUGGLE FOR GOD, MAN, AND
SOULS - THE EARLY CHURCH
SAINTS, SINNERS, MONKS AND THEIR MISSIONS
THE MONASTAIC REALM. The collapse of the Roman Empire
led to a period of instability and invasions. Both the Frankish Merovingian
dynasty (486-751) and the Carolingians (751-987) were unable to bring more
than spasmodic periods of political calm. Throughout this turbulent period,
the Church provided an element of continuity. As centres for Christian
scholars and artists, the monasteries helped to restore the values of the
ancient world. They also developed farming and viticulture and some became
extremly powerful, dominating the country economically as well as
- Safe Haven -
- "Saint Augustine was one
of the foremost philosopher-theologians of early Christianity and the
leading figure in the church of North Africa. He had a profound influence
on the subsequent development of Western thought and culture, and shaped
the themes and defined the problems that have characterized the Western
tradition of Christian theology." Informative account of Augustine's life
and his search for a reasonable and plausible religion of which to live
by. It wasn't until the age of 32 that Augustine finally "...converted to
Christianity and devoted the rest of his life to the pursuit of truth."
His many works and teachings.
- Writings of Saint Augustine
- "Give me chastity and
continence, but not just now." Quotations, letters, Christian Doctrine.
Some links may be a little stubborn - but as Saint Augustine would say,
"Patience is the companion of wisdom."
- St. Benedict and his
- "One man whose simple
genius remains undimmed to this day: Benedict of Nursia. Not only was he
considered the father of Western monks, but he has been called the
Co-Patron of Europe, along with Sts. Cyril and Methodius. For the simple
reason that, through the influence of his spiritual sons and daughters,
Western civilization was nurtured and largely preserved. In fact much of
Europe's Christian roots were planted directly or indirectly through the
work of the Benedictines, the black monks of legend who named a religious
order after their muse." Synopsis of life of St. Benedict. Links to "Rule
of St. Benedict" and "The Spirit of
Benedictine Life" providing commentaries on the expectations of those called to the monastic life.
- St. Jerome
- "Jerome (Eusebius
Hieronymus), c.347-420, was a Father of the Church and Doctor of the
Church, whose great work was the translation of the Bible into Latin, the
edition known as the Vulgate (see Bible)." "Jerome was by several accounts a rather
bad-tempered, prickly and unpleasant person, who was also unsuccessful
when he tried the life of a monk. However, his reputation for disciplined
holiness and biblical scholarship has survived over 1,500 years and should
be of encouragement to those of us aware of our own unpleasant personal
traits and habits. Heaven is populated not with the perfect, but with
ordinary people who have tried their best to love God and serve
- Medieval Monasticism
- I do not usually
include another history course in this Book in detail. But this
one is close to brilliant, by Dr. Deborah Vess of Georgia College and
University. "Forms of religious life in the medieval west, the
major contributions of medieval monasticism to medieval and modern
culture, and of the major texts which governed medieval monastic life,
expressed its fundamental values, and which inform us about patronage
and the relationship of the monasteries to the secular world. A
journey together into the desert, and through the lives and sayings of
the desert hermits to explore the origins of monasticism; from
there, we shall explore the legacy of Benedictine, Cluniac, and
Cistercian monasticism, and the new orders of the Central Middle Ages.
How European culture was formed and developed out of the
peregrinations of such monastics as St. Boniface, St. Columba, and St.
Columbanus. The great medievalist Jean Leclerq once described monastic
culture, 'as the love of learning and the desire for God,' and
we shall explore the legacy of learning which grew out of the
monasteries, as well as the impact of the Benedictine motto "Ora et
Labora" on the economic, social, and political life of Europe."
- "The Medieval
monastery was established during the Middle Ages. The first type of
Medieval monastery adhered to the Benedictine Rule, established by St.
Benedict in 529AD. Different orders of monks were also established
during the Middle Ages. The major orders of Medieval monks were the
Benedictines, the Cistercians and the Carthusians. These monastic orders
differed mainly in the details of their religious observation and
how strictly they applied their rules. In the twelfth century four
hundred and eighteen monasteries were founded in England; in the next
century, only about a third as many. In the fourteenth, only
twenty-three monasteries were founded in England."
- Monasticism in Medieval
- "The term "monasticism"
(monachos, a solitary person) describes a way of life chosen by
religious men or women who retreat from society for the pursuit of
spiritual salvation. Though monasteries were landowners from their
inception, in the tenth century they began to acquire substantial gifts
of cash, precious liturgical objects, land, and livestock. Monasteries,
in turn, provided a haven from the world for pious men and women, as
well as for social outcasts in need of assistance. One of the major
contributions of the monastic members was their achievement in
scholarship, providing instrumental books about hymnography,
hagiography, and theology. Monastic centers encouraged a fiercely
intellectual environment, requiring literacy of brothers and sisters and
creating major libraries." Important site.
- Early Medieval
- "The monks became the
heroes of early medieval Europe for a number of reasons. They had
clearly dedicated their lives to the devotion of God. Their lives served
as examples for others. They also provided a sense of security in a
world that always seemed on the brink of tumult and catastrophe. They
founded an organization, the monastery, which allowed them to live
communally -- some monks worked the earth, some copied and illuminated
manuscripts, while still others read and studied. And, of course,
because of their asceticism, the monks became the vehicles of economic
and cultural change -- they helped teach medieval Europe to save and
invest for the future. Of course, what the monks and their monasteries
meant for Europe in, say, 800, meant something vastly different more
than 700 years later when the Christian humanist, Erasmus, could write
of the monks that "they are so detested that it is considered bad luck
if one crosses your path."
- Regia Anglorum - Monastic Life in Anglo-Saxon
- "Monasteries were places where men could go and
devote their entire life to God. Most of their waking hours were
governed by a set of rules, laid down by St Benedict in the sixth
century. Since the latin for a rule is 'regula', they are usually known
as 'regular clergy'. In contrast, the priests were called 'secular
clergy', from the latin 'saecularis', meaning 'of the world' - in other words, they
were not shut up in a monastery all the time. Monastic life was
not easy. The Rule of Saint Benedict really does account for every hour
of a monk's life, with prayer and work. The work the monks initially had
to do was first in the field, or building the monastery, but later the
monks began the important task of copying and translating manuscripts.
Their life was supposed to be spent entirely inside the monastery, with
little contact with the outside world, as the following extract from the
Rule shows: 'When brethren return from a journey, they should lie
prostrate on the floor of the oratory and ask for the prayers of all for
any faults that may have overtaken them on their journey, such as the
sight or hearing of an evil thing or idle chatter.'"
- Medieval Monks
- How to become a monk,
life in the dining room, the chapel, the scriptorium. See also
"LIFE" HERE. and also Here.
- Life in a Medieval
- "Monastic life was
generally one of hard physical work, scholarship and prayer. Some orders
encouraged the presence of "lay brothers", monks who did most of the
physical labour in the fields and workshops of the monastery so that the
full-fledged monks could concentrate on prayer and learning. The day of a
monk or nun, in theory at least, was regulated by regular prayer services
in the abbey church. These services took place every three hours, day and
night. When the services were over, monks would be occupied with all the
tasks associated with maintaining a self-sustaining community. Abbeys grew
their own food, did all their own building, and in some cases, grew quite
prosperous doing so. Fountains Abbey and Rievaulx, both in Yorkshire, grew
to be enormously wealthy, largely on the basais of raising sheep and
selling the wool. Throughout the Dark Ages and Medieval period the
monasteries were practically the only repository of scholarship and
learning. The monks were by far the best educated mermbers of society -
often they were the only educated members of society. Monasteries acted as
libraries for ancient manuscripts, and many monks were occupied with
laboriously copying sacred texts."
CATHEDRALS, CHAPELS, CHURCHES, THE GOTHIC,
- A Brief History and Introduction to Westminster
- Architectural masterpiece
of the 13th-16th C., Westminster Abbey is home to innumerable tombs of
English Kings, Queens and other famous persons. Every coronation since
1066, the Abbey is a living part of English history. Take virtual tour,
visit shrine of Edward the Confessor and the Henry VII chapel. If you're
interested in cathedrals, site is important.
- Churches in Brussels
- Part of the Belgium
Travel Network, includes photos/descriptions of three of Brussel's
magnificent Middle Age Cathedrals.
Then and Now
- "What are these fantastic
monsters doing in the cloisters under the very eyes of the brothers as
they read? What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, strange savage
lions and monsters?"-- St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Interesting compilation
of black/white photographs of gargoyles, brief description of pagan roots,
symbolic meaning and function in medieval architecture.
- Gothic Dreams
- Immersive exploration of
gothic architecture. Part of wonderful Earthlore Exploration series.
On-line photographic galleries, cathedral profiles and detailed cathedral
design section will floor you (pun intended). Truly astounding, inspiring
- St. John the Divine - NYC -
Pilgrimage to the Middle Ages
- The world's largest
gothic cathedral - and in NYC! Take the excellent tour.
- A Walk Around Winchester Cathedral
- Quality photos illustrate
well written descriptions of history of Winchester - once England's
capital - and the famous 800 year old cathedral. So well conceived it
- Welcome to the Virtual Sistine Chapel
- Michelangelo Buonarroti
commissioned by Pope Julius II della Rovere in 1508 to repaint the ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel completing his work between 1508 and 1512. Clear,
crisp graphics of Michelangelo's exquisite artwork make up for the busy
wallpaper. You could not get a better view if you were standing in the
Sistine Chapel itself.
"Western Europe's most ambitious common
enterprise and its most conspicuous failure was the attempt to bring
together all mankind in Christian unity under the leadership of the pope.
The most intense part of this enterprise and the one that enlisted the most
widespread support in Europe from all levels of society was the Crusades.
The Crusades in the narrow sense of the expeditions to conquer and hold the
Holy Land for the West began at the end of the eleventh century and lasted
throughout the remainder of the medieval period. "
- The Crusades 1
- "In a more inclusive
sense, the Crusades include several other important contributing factors:
The reconquest of Spain and Sicily from he Moslems; * The extension of the
Christian frontier in the Baltic region to take in Lithuanians, Estonians,
Prussians and Finns; * Christian missions to convert the Mongols and other
Eastern peoples; * Concurrent with the Crusades was the effort to convert
or eliminate the Jews within Europe that led ultimately to their expulsion
from many parts of the West. "The Crusades inspired the most dedicated
valor, the most bloodthirsty cruelty, and the greediest vandalism of
medieval men. They offered the fullest opportunity for combined
fulfillment of Germanic heroic aspirations and Christian ideals of
brotherhood and self-sacrifice."
- The Crusades 2
- "The Crusades were a
series of campaigns against Islam and against heretics and troublemakers
in Europe itself. They were lead by kings, princes, knights and papal
legates as well as by shepherd and hermits on unique occasions. They were
not always under direct control of the Church, a fact which caused much
distress to a number of Popes. Different motives influenced those who
journeyed to the Holy Land, and they were not always religious ones. The
Church offered many incentives to encourage men to take the Cross. These
included remission from sins, protection for the Crusaders' families,
freedom from law suits and exemption from interest on loans authorized by
Crusades, then, were more than just campaigns in a Holy War against Islam.
Religious fervour was not the only motive and the actual Crusades rarely
went according to plan. The initial idea of fighting for Christ's
birth-right gave way to combatting heretical Christians, pagans and "evil"
rulers. The sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade has been
considered by many scholars the ultimate deviation from the original
Crusading ideal. The failure of every Crusade after the First, the
frequent degenerations into debauchery and drinking by members of the
armies, emphasizes the abyss between the ideal and the reality of the
Crusading movement. The inability to inspire commitment and establish a
strong unified leadership or the strategy to defeat the Saracens on their
own land, plagued each Crusade, dooming them to failure. Had those who
organized them learned from previous mistakes, the result might have been
- Childrens Crusade of
- "The survival of the
Crusading spirit during the century is further shown by the extraordinary
movement in 1212 which is known as the Children's Crusade.This expedition
which, of course, was not a Crusade at all in the strict sense of the term
attracted thousands of children and young adults from northern
France and western Germany to its banners. The "Crusade" was preached in
France by a peasant boy named Stephen from a village near Vendome. In
Germany, a boy named Nicholas from Cologne started the movement . The
sorry business was summarized by a chronicler" on this site.
- History of the
Crusades - One Person's Point of
- "Rather" aggressively
strong analysis. "Notwithstanding their final overthrow, the
Crusades hold a very important place in the history of the world.
Essentially the work of the popes, these Holy Wars first of all helped to
strengthen pontifical authority; they afforded the popes an opportunity to
interfere in the wars between Christian princes, while the temporal and
spiritual privileges which they conferred upon crusaders virtually made
the latter their subjects. At the same time this was the principal reason
why so many civil rulers refused to join the Crusades. It must be said
that the advantages thus acquired by the popes were for the common safety
of Christendom. From the outset the Crusades were defensive wars and
checked the advance of the Mohammedans who, for two centuries,
concentrated their forces in a struggle against the Christian settlements
in Syria; hence Europe is largely indebted to the Crusades for the
maintenance of its independence. Besides, the Crusades brought about
results of which the popes had never dreamed, and which were perhaps the
most, important of all. "
- Chronology of the
Crusades and the Rise of Islam
- Crusades in simple terms.
Although somewhat simplistic, the crisp facts can be a helpful summary and
- Female Heroes: The
Women Left Behind
- "The effect of the
Crusades on women left behind to fend for themselves was dramatic. The
absence of a husband, son or guardian could be as long as 10 years. Then
there were the men who never returned. It is reported that in the second
and third crusades perhaps 500,000 were lost, a significant drain on the
male Christian population."
- Medieval Sourcebook- Crusades
- Over a hundred links
organized in chronological order take reader through all the crusades,
orders, with access to translations of key speeches and documents.
Emphasize the period encompassed by the first four crusades, but includes
comprehensive information encompassing the entire segment of history.
- Siege and Capture of
- First hand accounts.
Nasty, nasty stuff.
- Story of the First
- "The First Crusade began
on November 27, 1095, with a proclamation from Pope Urban II delivered to
clergy and lay folk who had gathered in a field in Clermont, central
France. His topic: an appeal for help that he had received from the
Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I Comnenus."
- Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
- Fascinating (and massive)
52-part account of history covering the years 1 through 1154 AD from the
point of view of the Anglo-Saxons. This is the COMPLETE TEXT. And
here: The Anglo Saxon
- Brief History of Anglo Saxon
- After the Roman Empire
crumbled, before the Norman Conquest, Anglo Saxon culture flourished in
England. Depth of Anglo Saxon influence on subsequent English culture.
Battle of Hastings
- "The fight for Senlac
Ridge on October 14th 1066 is probably the only battle date that most
Englishmen can be expected to remember. Nearly a thousand years after the
event, the memory of the resounding defeat of the last native Saxon King
and his army rings down the centuries. But why did the battle take place?
Why did William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, think that he had a claim
to the English throne in the first place. Or was it just an adventure; an
enormous gamble that paid off and changed the course of world history in
the course of an autumn day?"
- Battle of Hastings: An Account of the
Battle That Altered World History
- "To gain a clear
understanding of why the Battle of Hastings occurred, you should be aware
of the political and cultural histories of England and Normandy before the
battle, the intertwined relationships of England and Normandy, the
relationship of the English royalty to the Norman dukes, and, lastly, the
principal personalities: Harold Godwinson, Duke William, and Edward the
Confessor. Armed with this knowledge, it will be very apparent why the
battle occurred and why it was inevitable in the context of history, as
history developed." Full-service site.
- Battle of Hastings
- "Story of the Battle of
Hastings that was fought on the 14th October 1066. An event so
significant, it totally changed the course of English history. To speak
about this battle without recourse to the events that led up to it would
be an injustice to the people of this island who have fought and died for
her. What makes this event so important to the English is the fact that it
was the last time any foreign power was to conquer her. Without doubt, a
lesson was learnt that became etched into this island race for ever."
- Quintessential British
site. Messy and hard to use but a catalog of great Web links. Articles,
essays on castles, kings, popes, Wales, abbots, archibishops, British
monarchs, cathedrals, King Arthur, documents.
- Britannia's Narrative History of Britain
- The Anglo-Saxon Period, The Arthurian Period , Medieval Britain , From Reformation to Restoration and - The Age of Empire - First Rate Terse Historical
- Britannica Sources of British
- Repository of links to an
incredible array of English historical source documents. St. Patrick's
actual Confession, in his own hand; actual Magna Carta; laws of William
the Conquerer. Eyewitness accounts of battles, rebellions, heroes and
villains. Compelling reading. Humanizes history. "Britannia brings you the
rich documentary history of England and Wales, so that you can begin to
appreciate the foundation on which the present nation stands...Significant
charters, histories, chronicles, accounts, laws and summonses."
- Magna Carta
- With the Magna Carta,
King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates
within the rule of law. Read about this "charter of ancient liberties
guaranteed by a king to his subjects." Translation of the 1297 version of
- Sub-Roman Britain: An Introduction
- ORB Online Essay by
Christopher Snyder. Britannia in the fifth and six centuries.
- William the Conqueror
- "Reigned 1066-1087. Duke
of Normandy 1035-1087. Invaded England defeated and killed his rival
Harold at the Battle of Hastings and became King. The Norman conquest of
England was completed by 1072 aided by the establishment of feudalism
under which his followers were granted land in return for pledges of
service and loyalty."
- Back to Basics--A Series for
- "Background, major
events, and principal players associated with that period of English
history - the Wars of the Roses, the fall of the House of Lancaster and
rise of the House of York, the Royal Bastards, and the life, times,
and reign of Richard III.
- Not Guilty--Again!
- " Three Justices of the
U.S. Supreme Court find Richard III Not Guilty Following Mock Trial Oral
Argument Held at the U.S. Supreme Court...On June 4, 1997, the Lawyers'
Committee for the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C. sponsored a mock
trial before three Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and a large number
of members of the Washington, D.C. Bar. Following oral arguments, Chief
Justice William H. Rehnquist and Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg
and Stephen G. Breyer, in a 3-0 decision, ruled that the prosecution had
not met the burden of proof that 'it was more likely than not that the
Princes in the Tower had been murdered; that the bones found in 1674 in
the Tower were those of the Princes; and that Richard III had and that
Richard III had ordered or was complicitous in their deaths." The
defense lawyers put on a good show. The result? Go and
- Richard III - Brief Biography.
- "Four months into
his reign he crushed a rebellion led by his former assistant Henry
Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, who sought the installation of Henry
Tudor, a diluted Lancaster, to the throne. The rebellion was crushed,
but Tudor gathered troops and attacked Richard's forces on August 22,
1485, at the battle of Bosworth Field. The last major battle of the Wars
of the Roses, Bosworth Field became the death place of Richard III.
Historians have been noticeably unkind to Richard, based on purely
circumstantial evidence; Shakespeare portrays him as a complete monster
in his play, Richard III. One thing is for certain, however: Richard's
defeat and the cessation of the Wars of the Roses allowed the stability
England required to heal, consolidate, and push into the modern
- Richard III Society
- Thanks mainly to
Shakespeare, England's Richard III (1452-1485), is known as the wicked,
hunchbacked uncle who murdered his way to the throne. Site attempts to
resurrect his reputation by exploring the events that surrounded his
turbulent life. Uniquely English historic revisionism. Fun and
surprisingly informative. Have an open mind and you'll be surprised at
- . Nessie on the Net
first and official Loch Ness Monster Site." Includes webcam which updates
every 120 seconds showing "the most famous monster hunting location of
Urquhart Castle." Also includes video streams of eyewitness interviews as
well as a "search Nessie' search engine.
Monarchs of England
- Britannia Web biographies
of the men and women who have ruled Britain since 802 AD. Listed by royal
house, excellent articles contain genealogies, maps and links to
prehistoric period and Roman period, Anglo-Saxons, Arthur, Medieval
Britain, Reformation, myths and legends.
- Did you know ...that the
population in Tudor England was over 4 million people in 1599? ...what
"government by seal" means? ...what the 5 types of mental diseases were in
the early Tudor medical opinion? ...where Sir Walter Raleigh's head was
kept for 29 years - after his execution in 1618? Simply click and go - the
answers are at your fingertips.
- Great jump-off point to
learn about Tudor and Stuart periods. The Tudor period "begins when Henry
Tudor, a Lancastrian, defeated King Richard 111 at the battle of Bosworth
Field in 1485 ending the War of the Roses." Monarchs, Protestant church
beginnings, Bloody Mary, Spanish Armada, Elizabethan Age, Mary Queen of
Scots, Civil War, The Restoration. Link to complete works of Shakespeare.
- The Housewife's Rich
Cabinet: Remedies, Recipes, and Helpful Hints
- "Have you ever
wondered how Shakespeare's contemporaries dealt with toothaches and other
ills, with cleaning their houses and clothing, and preserving food? If so,
come explore the contents of The Housewife's Rich
Cabinet : her medicines, perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning solutions,
pest controls, and preserving hints, as they are recorded in 90 books and
manuscripts of the 16th through the 18th century now on display in the
Library's Great Hall." Check this "helpful" place.
- "Tudor Food and Drink varied according to status and
wealth. In the early Middle Ages period meat was a sign of wealth. But as
the population rose in Tudor England so did the improved agricultural
techniques and inventions. The Tudor era also saw the introductions of
different food from the New World, and continued to be influenced by the
foods imported from the Far East, just it had during the earlier period of
the Crusades. The Tudor era saw the expanded use of sugar. Increased
cultivation of fruit trees and bee hives in England was also seen during
the Tudor era increasing the range of foods available. The section and era covering Tudor Food includes
sections on food in the Tudor times, food in Tudor England, Tudor food
recipes and Tudor food for a banquet or
- Tudor History
- A full range of "material," and good stuff on
"Culturally and socially, the Tudor period saw many changes. The Tudor
court played a prominent part in the cultural Renaissance taking place in
Europe, nurturing all-round individuals such as William Shakespeare,
Edmund Spenser and Cardinal Wolsey. The Tudor period also saw the
turbulence of two changes of official religion, resulting in the martyrdom
of many innocent believers of both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
The fear of Roman Catholicism induced by the Reformation was to last for
several centuries and to play an influential role in the history of the
Succession." And then the Tudor Monarchs. Then to a BBC summary of Henry VIII.
BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD
- The Black Death - Eyewitness Account
- The Black Death of 1348
- Effects the plague had
on politics, culture, art, and economy. Brings to life the horror that
came with the plague. "The sensible thing to do when the plague struck
was to get out of town, for people expected the plague would remain
local. Aristocrats could do this because they had estates in the
countryside. The poor, of course, had nowhere to go, so they remained
and died." "The bubonic plague did not go away. It still exists,
everywhere in the world. It is quite common among rodent
populations--rats, of course, but squirrels, rabbits and skunks as well.
. . .The plague is still very much with us."
- "The Black Death serves
as a convenient divider between the central and the late Middle Ages. The
changes between the two periods are numerous; they include the
introduction of gunpowder, increased importance of cities, economic and
demographic crises, political dislocation and realignment, and powerful
new currents in culture and religion. Overall, the later Middle Ages are
usually characterized as a period of crisis and trouble. The portrait
should not be painted unrelievedly bleak, but the tone is accurate enough
and echoes voices from the era itself.
- The Black Death did not
cause the crisis, for evidence of the changes can be seen well before
1347. But the plague exacerbated problems and added new ones, and the tone
of crisis is graver in the second half than in the first half of the
century. Standing at the century's mid-point, the plague serves as a
Plague A.K.A "Black Death"
- How black death was
transmitted, its symptoms, statistics, and medieval superstitutions
treatments. Also the MACARONI GAME that gives an experience in the
transmission of the bubuonic plague. (Good teaching tool for presentations
and good resource for reports.) "About
25% of the population of Europe was killed in the 14th century. That's 25
million people - more than the total
population of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Maryland, and Delaware combined. Disease killed three times more people
than died in WWI. Before the 1300's, the Plague had been absent from
Europe for almost 1000 years. After that time, Plague epidemics occurred
almost regularly for 200 years. The Plague changed people's attitudes
about life, created new superstitions, and became engrained in folklore in
- Church's Involvement in the Bubonic Plague
- "The Middle Ages marked a
time of strong religious convictions, and it was during the Bubonic Plague
that anger toward the Roman Catholic Church and the persecution of Jews
intensified. The church played an important role in the lives of the
people of the 13th and 14th Centuries, and it was forced to intervene when
Christians demanded help." Maps of routes by which the plague was spread.
- Jewish History Sourcebook:
The Black Plague and the Jews, 1348-1349
- How and why the
Christians blamed the Jews for occurrence and spread of the Black Death.
"Reported that the leaders in the Jewish metropolis of Toledo had
initiated a plot and that one of the conspirators was a Rabbi." How some
Jews were forced to confess, tortured, and killed.
- "Plagues devastated
Elizabethan England. They were a constant threat to the people and the
land. The most devastating to England was the bubonic plague. London was
afflicted over a dozen times during the 1500's. he bubonic plague
originated in Central Asia, where it killed 25 million people before it
made its way into Constantinople in 1347. From there it spread to
Mediterranean ports such as Naples and Venice. Trade ships from these
Mediterranean ports spread plague to the inhabitants of southern France and Italy. It had spread to Paris by June of
1348, and London was in the grips of plague several months later. By 1350,
all of Europe had been hit by plague. From this time to the mid 1600's,
the disease was seen in England."
- Did you know that
Elizabeth I, for example, had strict standards and guidelines enforced in
order to protect herself and her court from contracting the plague virus.
No one from London was allowed into Windsor Castle. Anyone trying to get
in was immediately hanged. "
- Plague and Public Health in
- Physicians, writers,
poets, and chroniclers wrote about how the plague might have started and
how it was affecting the population of Europe. Certain individuals were
persecuted because it was believed that they infected the population with
the Black Death. To gain a better perspective of the plague, look at all
types of facets, science, religion, politics, and economics during that
time. Good stepping stone in exploring the many faces of the Black
- Plague-Proof Yourself and
- GREAT GUIDE! List
of "helpful" recommendations. One typical suggestion:
"Go forth barefoot in sackcloth sprinkled with ashes. Weep, pray,
tear at your hair, carry candles and relics. Sometimes decorate yourself
with ropes around your neck or beat yourself with whips."
- Yersinia pestis
- Bubonic plague has had a
major impact on the history of the world. The plague has killed over 50
million people over the centuries. Scientific overview with microscopic
pictures of Yersinia pestis and its manifestations,human symptions(warning
graphic). Even thought it was small it had the power to almost exterminate
the western world. .
INQUISITION AND HERESIES
- Historical Overview
- After the Roman Church
had consolidated its power in the early Middle Ages, heretics came to be
regarded as enemies of society. The crime of
heresy was defined as a deliberate denial of an article of truth of the
Catholic faith, and a public and obstinate
persistence in that alleged error. At this time, there was a sense of
Christian unity among townspeople and rulers alike, and most of them agreed with the Church that
heretics seemed to threated society itself.
- Brief History of the Inquisition
- Full-scale summary by
categories. "The Inquisition was one of the great blights in the history
of Christianity. No other institution in the history of the Christian
Church was so horrible, so unjust,
so...un-Christian." Theological foundations, targets, inquisitors,
- Catholics, Heretics
- "Members of
different religions have generally regarded each other, at the best, as
different but also, very often, as enemies. . . The people who
deviated from one religion, those that we know as heretics in general,
have been most of the time in History the object of repression. The main
religions have not hesitated to use the secular forces to eliminate what
they saw as their worst enemies, those coming from within and trying to
change the system and put in doubt the leadership in place."
- And who were the enemies?
The Cathars, "members of a
definitely heretic sect - destroyed by the Church. The Templars, a true Catholic Order,
"accused of heresy, probably without any real reason ," and suppressed.
- The Galileo Project.
Click on Christianity to reach the Inquisition. Informative
background on how the Catholic Church's permanent institution known as the
Inquisition was in charge of eradicating heretics. How through the
centuries the Church has dealt with the heretics. How the inquisition
evolved through the centuries.
- The Spanish
- The use of torture is not
confined to the Dark Ages or to any religious sect or
- The Malleus Maleficarum
- "Published in 1486, the
Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches) was the most popular handbook
for Witch hunters during the great Witch craze of the 16th and 17th
centuries. Indeed, until Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress began circulating in
1678, only the Bible sold better! Written by two German friars, Jacob
Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer who were prosecutors of heretics in the
Rhineland and Northern Germany. Although their own behaviour inspired
protests to the Pope, in 1484 the recently elected Pope Innocent VIII
endorsed their activities.
- The Malleus Maleficarum
gave theological approval to every grotesque superstition concerning
diabolism and Witches, and resulted in the torture and death of thousands
of innocent people - particularly Women. The book addressed such questions
as 'Why is it that Women are cheifly addicted to evil superstitions?", and
concluded that "All Witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in Women
insatiable...wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts, they
consort even with devils.'"
- The Medieval Inquisition
- "Established in the early
thirteenth century to combat widespread popular heresy, the Inquisition
and its tribunals identified, prosecuted and punished heretics and their
supporters. Seen as a symbol of religious and political intolerance
against the Protestants, Jews, Catholic heretics and the political order
of the Knights of the Templar. Presents the circumstances of the Medieval
Inquisition and revisits the horror of the Church inquisition actions. While the church was accountable
for the deaths of many, the townspeople also manipulated the Inquisition
to their own advantage. "When
medieval people used the word 'inquisition,' they were referring to a
judicial technique, not an organization. There was, in fact, no such thing
as 'the Inquisition' in the sense of an impersonal organization with a
chain of command. Instead there were 'inquisitors of heretical depravity,'
individuals assigned by the pope to inquire into heresy in specific areas.
They were called such because they applied a judicial technique known as
inquisitio, which could be translated as 'inquiry' or 'inquest.' "
MEDIEVAL/MIDDLE AGES WORLD
- The Camelot
- "Life in the middle ages
was much, much harder than it is now. By 1200 AD life was more settled,
but it was certainly not peaceful. Wars, crusades and peasant revolts.
Plague, starvation, and great contrasts in living standards between rich
and poor. Trade flourished and towns grew and prospered. New industries
set up and luxury goods reached Europe from the far corners of the world.
Skilled craftsmen built magnificent castles and cathedrals.
Thousands of medieval buildings still standing, and many everyday
objects. Medieval people wrote books and letters about important
- Marginality and Community in Medieval Europe - One of
THE Most Important Essays and ESSENTIAL
- From the
Introduction: "From a scientific perspective marginality is
understood as deviance from the norm. For our purposes this is a good
foundational definition, but ultimately it falls short of expressing the
myriad of issues confronted in the context of exploring marginality in
Medieval Europe. In an effort to create a more suitable definition it may
be more efficacious for us to work backwards, from the particulars to the
abstract. By beginning with the groups which we have studied as
representative of marginality in medieval society and examining the
characteristics they possess--either in common or individually--we may
thus arrive at a working definition of what it meant to be marginal in the
Middle Ages.The groups which informed our study include: Heretics, Jews, Homosexuals, Prostitutes, Lepers, and Witches. (Naturally an argument could be made for
the expansion of this list). In general we discovered that the above
listed groups displayed evidence of precarious positioning with regard to
indications of status. In other words medieval Jews, heretics,
homosexuals, prostitutes, lepers, and witches were vunerable socially,
politically, economically, and legally. Moreover, they tended to be
associated with rootlessness or wandering."
- Defining the Middle Ages
- When did it start and end? There is no
consensus among historians! Read on.
- What's the Deal with the Dark Ages?
- "The Dark Ages refer to the early medieval period of
European history that began with the fall of the Roman
Empire. Specifically, the term refers to the time
(476-800) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West; or,
more generally, to the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked
by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. Not
much is known about this time period, other than the "frequent warfare"
bit. Indeed, there was fighting and plundering galore during the Dark
Ages, as dozens of roaming barbarian hordes (Goths, Huns, Vandals, Franks,
etc.) competed for land and riches."
Not-so-Dark Middle Ages
- â€œDarkness, famine,
poverty and sickness are amongst the more popular words to describe the
high middle ages. In a certain way this is true, but like all eras even
the high middle ages had its ups and downs. There most certainly was
corruption, civil war, famine and poverty but on the other hand the 13th
and 14th centuries brought innovation and progress.
- The Bad Old Days - GREAT FUN
- Modern myths, hoaxes
about the Middle Ages.
- The Medieval History Starter Quiz - TAKE IT!
- Here's your chance to
see how much you know?
- The Middle Ages Net
- The Middle Ages stretched
roughly from the fifth century to the fifteenth century. It began with the
collapse of the Roman Empire and although Roman customs continued for a
while, it was soon replaced by a system of running society called
feudalism. Good areas of life in Middle Ages.
- Medival Europe - But
the faculty got tired of doing it so site is dead. But I leave the
- KEY SITE WITH RANGE OF
OFFERINGS. "For several hundred years, from about the first to
around the fifth century AD, Rome was the greatest power on Earth, ruling
Britain and the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. However, in
northern Europe, there were fierce tribes that were only held at bay by
the Romans. Around 400 AD, the Roman Empire began to weaken and the
northern tribes swept across the continent of Europe and plundered the
city of Rome. The Roman Empire collapsed and was gradually replaced by
many small kingdoms ruled by a strong warrior.
For many years, Europe was without
the luxuries and riches that had marked the height of Rome. Many centuries
later, a new interest in learning would mark the beginning of the
Renaissance. The thousand years between is called the Middle Ages or the
Medieval period. This period began and ended for different countries at
different times across Europe. It also affected different areas of the
continent in different ways. The northern tribes did not stamp out
learning completely, only momentarily set it back.
The Catholic Church was already a powerful institution at the end
of the Roman Empire and it continued to be the unifying force between the
many small kingdoms that would become Europe. The Church salvaged much
from the ruins of the ancient world and became one of the centers of
learning during the Middle Ages. The people of the Middle Ages had a rich
culture and produced many advances in art, literature, science, and
medicine and paved the way for the ideas that would become the beginning
of the Renaissance.
begin your journey into the Middle Ages, try to picture a world with far
fewer people, where no one moved away from their hometown, and life moved
at a slower pace. There was no electricity, no water from faucets, no
television, and no cars. Imagine such a world to begin your journey into a
land that was filled with real knights, castles, lords, and ladies."
- The End of the Middle Ages
- Good tutorial.
Economy, Feudal Institutions, New Monarchies, Holy Roman Empire,
Italy's City-States, Eastern Europe, Ottoman Turks, The Church,
Literature, Intellectual Life, Visual Arts, Music.
- Anonimalle Chronicle
- Acccount of Peasants'
Revolt of 1381
- Fifteenth Century Life
- "Many casual students of
history today and most students of past generations thought of the
fifteenth century in English history as a time when English folk had
forgotten what was good for them politically, religiously, legally, and in
most other ways. Such a viewpoint has become increasingly less tenable as
researchers delve more deeply and with greater sensitivity into what was
truly taking place in fifteenth-century England." 15th century life -
cuisine, falconry, power and influence of medieval women.
- Life in the Middle Ages World
- Series of short essays
by gifted resource students from Kyerene de las Brisas Elementary School.
Many of the essays are illustrated by the children.
- Medieval Life - NET
- "Daily life during the
Middle Ages is sometimes hard to fathom. Pop culture loves to focus on
exciting medieval moments-heroic knights charging into battle; romantic
liaisons between royalty and commoner; breakthroughs and discoveries made.
But life for your average person during the Dark Ages was very routine,
and activities revolved around an agrarian calendar." Education,
clothing, bathing, games, music, commerce, festivals, city and village."
- Feudal Life
- Good summaries. Then move on to great "bits" on
the range of "life" issues.
- Life in the Middle Ages
- JUST GREAT! "What was life really like in the Middle Ages? The
life of all the classes was dominated by the feudal system - feudalism.
What was Village life like during the middle ages? Life in a manor and the
Lord of the Manor during the Middle Ages. The life of women during the
Middle Ages - peasants, lords, princess and Kings. The jobs and
occupations dictated the quality of life during the Middle Ages and the
medicine, entertainment and guilds of the Middle ages. Life in
Ages also include an entertainment section providing the History, Facts
and Information about the sports and games played during the time of
Middle Ages. These subjects covered include Entertainment, Games, Gaming and Gambling,
Bull Baiting, Hunting and Hawking during the period of Middle Ages.
When did Medieval people of the Middle Ages find time for entertainment,
sports and leisure - the section covering religious festivals answers this
question. The History, Facts and
information about Life in the Middle Ages History have been provided
in this section."
- Tales of the Middle Ages!!!
- "True stories, Fables, and Anecdotes from the Middle
Ages." Great stuff. Start with this idea: "Contrary to popular legend, medieval man loved baths.
People probably bathed more than they did in the 19th century, says the
great medievalist Lynn Thorndike. Some castles had a special room beside
the kitchen where the ladies might bathe sociably in parties. Hot water,
sometimes with perfume or rose leaves, was brought to the lord in the
bedchamber and poured into a tub shaped like a half-barrel and containing
a stool, so that the occupant could sit and soak long. In the cities there
were public baths, or "stews" for the populace."
- Medieval Life
- Wide-ranging survey of
daily, domestic medieval life. Most informative sections discuss
Contraceptive Methods, Rape in the Middle Ages, Manners. Eleanor of
Aquitaine, iron working, witchcraft documents, prostitution, recipes,
sexual development, the School of Trotula, famuli, marriage, love, beer.
Many interesting brief vignettes.
- The Medieval Manor
- " Manorialism is the other
side of the feudal coin. You could say that the economic base of feudalism
was manorial agriculture. The reason for this is to be found in the
climate and the topography. Agricultural techniques were quite different
in northern Europe from Mediterranean lands. It is no surprise that
feudalism and manorialism never really developed in the south of Europe.
In the north you could sow grain both in fall and the spring. so the work
could be more evenly distributed during the course of the year. Because
the land was much more fertile in the north you could have larger farms in
the north than you could in the south. . . range of interesting stuff such
as the The Moldboard Plow, as distinguished from the scratch plow, created
a revolution in agriculture. It makes deep furrows and thus provides the
necessary drainage for early use of the land. The moldboard plow was
invented in Germany probably long before the invasions of the fourth and
fifth centuries. It came into gradual use in Merovingian and Carolingian
times in the area between the Rhine and the Elbe rivers. In the Romanized
areas of southwestern Europe there were certain social obstacles to
adoption of the moldboard plow. In these regions formerly a part of the
Roman Empire, Roman conceptions of private property in land and slaves
prevented the development of private farming. .Also few individual farmers
could own the necessary number of draught animals to pull this heavy
plow." Get the rest of this story!
- Manorial Glossary
- Over 144 terms defining
ideas and principles of manorialism in the Middle Ages. Univ. Mississippi
Department of English authored this comprehensive reference for academics,
intellectuals and students. Indispensable reference tool for the study and
understanding of manorialism. Includes explanations of words and phrases
where meanings have changed or lost through time.
- The Psalter Map
- "Although tiny, it
contains a wealth of information." Helps us to understand how Medievals
thought of the world surrounding them.
- Good Medieval Images and Medieval Macabre and Woodcuts - Collections of Art
- From Miracles to Medicine - The Medieval Miracles of
- Medieval Health
- Very Important Site.
ignorance reigned during the Middle Ages, a time when characters we now
consider to be simply from fairy tales; pixies, trolls, hobgoblins and so
on, were thought to truly exist. Health was controlled by the stars, and
affliction was a sign of impurity of the soul-a curse from God.
- Disease was a constant
concern, as was infection from injuries. Hygiene was not always a priority
and medieval diets were lacking in vital nutrition. Barbers doubled as
surgeons, and a good bleeding was often the cure prescribed.
- Medieval science
progressed slowly, and treatments for the sick were quite often out of
reach, especially for the poor. But little by little, doctors were
learning information that led to better cures, and understandings of how
diseases were transmitted. Hospitals began to be constructed, and schools
established for those wishing to practice medicine. Superstition remained,
and medieval science certainly did not have all the answers. Information
lost from the burning of the library at Alexandria by Christian zealots
was slowly being rediscovered."Click on to Doctors, Medicine, Diseases.
- Ailments and Cures of Medieval Women
- " During the Middle Ages, cures for many common
ailments were both realistic and far-fetched to the point of
absurdity." Take a look at a medieval birthing chair for
- A History of Western Medicine and Surgery
- "One must wonder at the
people and methods used in medicine in the Middle Ages. Their drives for
health, long life, and freedom from pain seem much like our own
motivations today, but their approaches and ideas on medicine and life in
general were completely different. Let us look at our history of medicine,
how it affected the people and ideas of the times and how it was affected
- Mythical Plants of the Middle Ages
- "Civilizations as early
as the Chaldean in southwestern Asia were among the first to have a belief
in plants that never existed, and the practice continued well beyond the
Middle Ages and the Renaissance."
- Museum of London: Exhibitions: Bedlam
- The infamous Bethlem
Royal Hospital of London was recognised as the world's first and
oldest institution to provide care for the mentally ill. The
Hospital became famous and notorious for the brutal ill-treatment meted
out to the mentally ill. Take a look!
TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE, TRANSPORTATION,
- Technology During the Middle Ages
- Although the Middle Ages is known as a backward
period in history, many inventions greatly changed the lives of the
European people. Good list.
- Population Estimates
- Some interesting guesses..
- Medieval Technology Pages
- "The terms
"astronomie" and "astrologie" are more or less interchangeable; it was
understood that the astrological condition of the skies affects the
weather and influences the seasons and times for planting and harvesting
(hence even today the Old Farmer's Almanac provides detailed astrological
information for the benefit of those whose labors may be affected by the
- The Astrolabe - An
Instrument With A Past and a Future
- "The astrolabe is a
very ancient astronomical computer for solving problems relating to time
and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky."
- Medieval Science
- " During the Middle Ages, the best scientists and doctors were
not in Europe, but in the Islamic Empire to the south and east. Most of the
science and medicine that people were doing in Europe was learning from Islamic scientists and doctors. The Crusades, by sending a lot of Europeans to go
live in West Asia for a while, helped to spread Islamic
science to Europe."
- Medieval Transportation - Pictures of
- Population Estimates - Approximate Population for
Parts of Europe
- Peasant Houses - THE Best Article
- " It seems clear that
peasants did not live with their animals out of choice, but rather because
structures like the long house were the economic solution to a problem.
More prosperous peasants built separate barns for their animals, placing
the barn at right angles to the house to emphasize the distinction."
- Medieval Houses
- "The only Medieval houses that survive today are those
of the wealthy. They have survived because they were made of stone."
Look at the reconstruction of peasant homes.
- Medieval Towns and Villages -
The Ideal Site
- Plus how to construct
one, what to look for. Also on site, info about farming, the manor,
food, clothing, houses. Simple but
- Medieval English Towns - Historical
- Fortified Manors
- Wharram Percy - The Lost Medieval Village
- Castle Privies!
- A privy is a medieval name for latrine. Take a
- Fortifications, and Buildings
- Town wall, pesant's
house, great hall, kitchen, towers, prison
- What Was It Really Like to Live int he Middle
Ages - GREAT SITE - Keep Clicking
- Read on, even to garbage and
FAIRS, GAMES, MUSIC
- A History of
- "Nice job of placing each
game within its historical context, and it covers a very wide range of
- Medieval Music - Try Your Luck
As A Medieval Musician
- Listen to the sound
of a medieval instrument and then try to determine which instrument, from
those pictured, made that sound.
SOCIAL LIFE, WORK, AND CULTURE - AND THE
- Footwear of the Middle Ages
- "By far what we know
about shoes and shoemaking in the Middle Ages is surpassed by what we
don't know. When it comes down to making any of the designs in this work,
remember that all we have to work from are illustrations, which may only
be artistic interpretations; and those shoes that have been excavated
archaeologically, which at best represent slender visions into the
techniques of manufacture, and highly limited examples of styles. It is as
if someone was trying to reconstruct 20th C. shoe styles and manufacture
techniques from photographs and ads in GQ and Vogue, and a large pile of
half-rotten Tennis Shoes and one or two Cowboy Boots." - Enormous site!
Tons of info on the Medieval shoe. Lots of graphics.
- Le Poulet Gauche: A
Guide to 16th Century France
- Guide to daily life in
16th century France. Created by a group dedicated to the recreation of the
Middle Ages and Renaissance, Le Poulet Gauche is an actual tavern in
France! Includes pages on history and politics, society and culture,
tavern life, entertainment, as well as everyday life. Beautiful images and
- Medieval Jobs
- "One would expect the
Middle Ages to have been a simple time, with few truly distinctive
occupations, save the lord of the manor, his knights, his household, and
the peasants. But, the complexity of the medieval working world is
startling. Yes, the above are typical occupations of the age, but within
these broad classifications we can define an incredible array of other
occupations. True, medieval jobs were not all fulfilling or
stepping stones to success and status, as we envision the knight's
position in the lord's court but ..........." Read up on what folks
actually did all day. And Medieval Occupations.
- "Harbored in the palace
latrine was the world's first flushing "water closet" or toilet, with a
wooden seat and a small reservoir of water. The device, however, was
lost for thousands of years amid the rubble of
flood and decay. Not until the 16th Century would Sir John Harington
invent a "washout" closet anew, similar in principle. And it would take still another 200 years
before another Englishman, Alexander Cumming, would patent the forerunner
of the toilet used today. The luminous names
of Doulton, Wedgwood, Shanks, and Twyford would follow." Informative
to say the least.
ECONOMICS, TRADE, FARMING, LAW AND CRIME
- Medieval Farming
- Farms were much smaller then and the peasants who
worked the land did not own the land they worked on. This belonged to the
lord of the manor. In this sense, peasants were simply tenants who worked
a strip of land or maybe several strips. Hence why farming was called
strip farming in Medieval times. This reliance on the local lord of the
manor was all part of the feudal system. A peasant family was
unlikely to be able to own that most valuable of farming animals â€“ an
ox. An ox or horse was known as a 'beast of burden' as it could do a great
deal of work that people would have found impossible to do. A team of oxen
at ploughing time was vital and a village might club together to buy one
or two and then use them on a rota basis. In fact, villagers frequently
helped one another to ensure the vital farming work got done. This was
especially true at ploughing time, seeding time and harvesting.
- Farming in the Middle Ages - How it Really Worked
- Tales of Justice and Vengeance in the Medieval
- "All raise issues that
currently resonate in radical legal scholarship."
- The Clauses of the Magna Carta
- Women and the Rules of Law
- "It happens that the
examination of what women can or cannot do is an excellent index for
evaluating late twelfth century law as such. For dower, think about the
appropriateness of the various jurisdictions and the demands of loyalty."
- Medieval Economics
- Medieval Law and Order
- Law and order was very harsh in Medieval England. Those in
charge of law and order believed that people would only learn how to
behave properly if they feared what would happen to them if they broke the
law. Even the â€˜smallestâ€™ offences had serious punishments. The
authorities feared the poor simply because there were many more poor than
rich and any revolt could be potentially damaging - as the Peasants Revolt of 1381 proved.
- Medieval Trade Units
Prevention, Punishment Before 1450 - Good National Archives Site
- Were the Middle Ages lawless and violent? Who
was responsible for crime prevention in Medieval England? What were the
purposes of punishments given by courts in the Middle Ages?
FOOD, DRINK, COOKERY
- Food and
Drink - Great Place to Start
Ale and Brewing in the Medieval Times (Medieval/Renaissance Brewing Homepage)
- If you're an Ale drinker
or simply interested in its history, this site provides it all. Ale... the
drink of choice in England throughout the medieval period. "Since ale was
basic to the diet of ordinary people, each household required a large and
steady supply; a household of five people might require about 1 1/4
gallons a day, or about 8 3/4 gallons a week." Virtually everyone drank
ale for nutritional purposes. Mead was another alcoholic beverage made by
the fermentation of honey and water. By varying the proportions of honey
and water and the point at which fermentation is stopped, a wide variety
of types can be produced ranging from a very dry and light, to sweet and
heavy-bodied.Until the late middle ages meads were highly popular
beverages. The guilds controlled all aspects of the trade and productionof
ale, mead and only toward the end of the 16th-century wines. Recipes,
articles, newsletters, biographies, and even a mailing list for Ale
- A Boke of Gode Cookery
- "Medieval cooking was
not, as is so easily assumed today, a dubious practice that produced
inedible dishes filled with strange spices and dangerous ingredients.
Medieval cooks used many of the same type of foodstuffs that are in use
today, in addition to forms of food preparation that would be familar to
any of us. The dishes and recipes they prepared were neither inedible nor
dangerous, but extremely delicious and tasty products that employed the
finest meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables . . . Then as now, mankind
knew what tasted good, and the sauces, stews, pies, roasts, and soups that
satisfied the 14th c. family are just as wholesome and enjoyable today."
Awesome, award-winning page with Medieval and other historical [unusual]
recipes. Especially good because recipes have been adapted for modern
times. Everything from beverages to desserts. Explains Four Humour food
philosophy. Chaucerian relations to foods with a glossary of where foods
are found in The Canterbury Tales."
- Cooking Glossary
- Savory selection of over
70 entries pertaining to Medieval cooking and food preparation. Provides
insight into medieval food practices. Includes enticing descriptions of
herbs, spices and other Medieval delicacies.
- Dining in State: A High Cuisine Guide
- Wonderful site.
Information obtained from actual Middle Ages cook books! Interesting and
thoughtful, contains insights as to how each class ate, how food was
obtained, prepared, and served. Order of courses served in the king's
presence. Medieval etiquette, with such taboos as scratching your head at
- Food in the Castle
- "Eating was one of the
castle dweller's most popular pastimes, for not only did food provide
needed sustenance, it was a means of entertainment. In particular, the
banquet was used to impress a lord's guests with his generosity and his
wealth. Robert Dudley's 19-day festival of fun and feasting in honor of
Queen Elizabeth is perhaps the most notorious of all, and the masses of
food consumed are staggering by our modern, weight-conscious standard."
Drink and Cookery in Medieval Society
- "The Food Heritage Press
is your first stop on the internet for scholarly works on food and
culinary topics during the Middle Ages." Online bookseller with links to
pages on medieval cooking. Virtual handbook of food taken from Platina's
- Medieval/Renaissance Food
- "How to Pig Out With 130
of Your Closest Friends; Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Halving Feast Costs;
Camping Without a Cooler; and A Hitchhiker's Guide to Ancient Cookery" --
where else would you find information like this?? From the Renaissance
Food Bibliography to a variety of articles and publications of this era.
Also includes individual recipes.
MEN, MARRIAGE, CHILDREN IN THE MIDDLE
- The Enduring Popularity of Courtly Love
- "Lauded by nobility and
idolized by troubadours, the ideal of "pure" love (which included strongly
self-deprecating behavior and servitude by a man for a distant,
unattainable woman) was a driving force throughout high period of medieval
love literature. From 1100 to 1300, the language of lady love prevailed in
the courts of England and Europe. " Read about this interesting "concept
of romantic love rising to a higher plane and transforming the life of the
giver for the sake of the receiver." And then this good info for Backgrounds of Romance - Courtly
- Love, Romance, Marriage and Women - in Medieval
- Great series, work and
play, games, fun. Not all was gloomy. Start with PART ONE and continue from there.
- Dominion and Domination of the Gentler Sex: The Lives
of Medeval Women - SPECIAL SITE
- "They were wives and
writers, lovers and soldiers, mothers and midwives, scientists and
traders. The day-to-day lives of medieval women of all classes and
callings are often glossed over in modern history courses in favor of
sequences of events. Not so here. This is the CITY OF WOMEN." Highlights
the roles, so often invisible, of medieval women. "So how much DO you know
about medieval women? Take the quiz and find out.
VISIT THE CITY Take a tour to examine the roles --
predictable and unexpected -- of medieval women. Inside a medieval walled
city, . . . noisy and smelly. . . Streets were pitch-black at night and
watchmen and thieves patrolled the streets."
DISTAFF SIDE: "Women and the circumstances of birth, childhood, marriage,
and death. "
- THE MARKETPLACE and THE
ARMORY: "Women were invaluable to medieval economics. Focus on women in
businesses of all sizes. AND Medieval women were soldiers long before the
WAACs. Whether as defenders, commanders, or mercenaries, women made their
mark on medieval warfare."
- THREADNEEDLE STREET and
THE APOTHECARY: "The fashion center of the City of Women. Here you can see
fashion hits from the 11th to the 14th Centuries as well as the latest
from the 15th. Information on medicine, science, and witchcraft.
- THE ARTS: "From famous
writers to nameless actors, many contributors to the medieval art scene
were women, who created literature, music, theatre, dance, and visual
- BIOGRAPHIES: "General
information about the lives of medieval women in various occupations"
- Joan of Arc
(Jeanne d'Arc) Archive
- "Joan of Arc Archive is an online collection of
information, both general and scholarly, concerning Joan of Arc [Jehanne
d'Arc or Darc in medieval French]; includingbiographies, trial excerpts
and commentary, letters and other documents. English translations
and transcriptions of the original languages provided."
- Hundred Years War: Joan of Arc and the Siege of
- "In the marketplace within the gray walls of Rouen,
Normandy, on May 30, 1431, in the shadows of the cathedral and guild
shops, a harsh spectacle held the attention of the populace. A 19-year-old
peasant girl was to be burned at the stake. A sign declared her
â€˜Jehanne, called la Pucelle, liar, pernicious, seducer of the people,
diviner, superstitious, blasphemer of God, presumptuous, misbelieving the
faith of Jesus Christ, braggart, idolater, cruel, dissolute, invoker of
devils, apostate, schismatic and heretic.â€™ To many in the crowd,
however, she was the innocent would-be rescuer of France from a century of
English invaders. Unwittingly, the English were bestowing upon her a
martyrdom that would haunt them for the rest of their numbered days on
Joan of Arc's Trials
- Full range of trials and testimony and documents.
- Gendercide Watch: European Witch-Hunts
- "For three
centuries of early modern European history, diverse societies were
consumed by a panic over alleged witches in their midst. Witch-hunts,
especially in Central Europe, resulted in the trial, torture, and
execution of tens of thousands of victims, about three-quarters of whom
were women. Arguably, neither before nor since have adult European women
been selectively targeted for such largescale atrocities."
- Witchcraft Craze History
- How many died?
- The Decline of Witch Trials
- "In 1684, Alice Molland
was sent to the gallows in Exeter and became the last witch to be executed
in England. Scotland closed its account with Janet Horne in 1722 while
trials wound down across Europe. However, it would not be until 1782 that
the last witch to be legally executed met her fate at Glarus in
Switzerland. But by the late 17th century witch trials were already
reasonably rare occurrences even in the same localities where, in the
earlier part of that century, the greatest hunts had taken place. . .
Witch trials only became common during the Renaissance and the fiercest
hunts took place in the 1620s and 1630s in German speaking areas. Contrary
to popular belief, they were not a phenomenon of the Middle Ages. Although
magical belief and practice were just as common during this earlier
period, they did not often lead to trials, let alone executions.
- Medieval and Renaissance Marriage: Theory and
- "General overview of
Christian wedding customs in Western Europe during the Middle Ages and
- Art Slides of Women Artists
- Medieval Women
- The attitude toward
women in medieval times, particularly held by the Church, was that they
were inferior to men. Generally, women were taught that they should be
meek and obedient to their fathers and husbands. In reality, medieval
women had a lot of responsibility and were not at all inferior to men in
terms of daily effort. Most worked and did not stay at home. Many toiled
alongside their families in the fields, and some were employed in
workshops or were trades-women.
- ANGLO-SAXON WOMEN: MORE THAN
- " As Christine Fell,
author of Women in Anglo-Saxon England, astutely points out, we cannot
assume that Anglo- Saxon England was a uniform, unchanging society from
its inception in the fifth century to its demise in 1066. The laws of
different time periods and areas varied greatly, and nowhere is this more
true than in the case of laws pertaining to women. Yet laws concerning the
rights of women were in existence from the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon
period, and it is on the basis of these sometimes widely varying laws that
we know something about the status of women in Anglo-Saxon England."
- Brothels, Baths and Babes -
Prostitution in the Byzantine Holy Land
- Free prostitution,
institutionalized prostitution, brothels, regulation, actresses, the poor,
recruiting, syphillis, sin, contraception. " As a result of a chain of
false logic, sexual repression dictated by the Church Fathers led to
eroticism per se at the hands of prostitutes. Whilst controlled
procreative sexuality was kept harnessed at home, pleasure blossomed
amongst the harlots. The Midrash Genesis Rabbah (23.2) explained that at
the time of the Great Flood, a man used to marry two women, one to bear
him children, and another for sexual intercourse only. The latter took a
'cup of roots' to render herself sterile and was accustomed to keep
company with him dressed like a mistress. Is this not reminiscent of
Apollodoros' triad amputated of the pallake - the concubine? Had values
therefore not changed despite the advent of Judaeo-Christian
In fact, values had changed, but in this particular
context for the worse. Frankness had given way to prudish dishonesty
displayed both by Rabbinic Judaism and Patristic Christianity. Such
puritanism is surely to blame for the proliferation of Byzantine
prostitution and in its trail the increase in numbers of abandoned
children. The bad faith shared by Augustine and Jerome on the matter of
prostitution encouraged prostitution in exactly the same way that the
Victorian brothel was, according to Michel Foucault, the offshoot of
bourgeois puritanism." Excellent article.
- The Life and Works of Hildegard von Bingen
- Rich and exuberant, the
life of Hildegard von Bingen, the eminent 12th century scholar. The power
of her presence permeates each web page. Visionary, mystic, poet, musician
naturalist, healer, theologian - the Rhineland nun. Genuine renaissance
woman long before there was a renaissance. Hildegard's immense
contributions included books, herbal cures, poetry as well as innovative
- Convents in the Middle
- Brief article.
- Homosexuality in the Viking Age
- "The Viking Age shows
clearly that the Vikings had words (and therefore mental constructs and
concepts) of same-sex activity. However since the needs of
agricultural/pastoral living require reproduction not only to work the
farm but also to provide support for the parent in old age, it was
expected that no matter what one's affectional preferences were that each
individual would marry and reproduce." How was homosexuality viewed in the
Viking Age? Norse terminology, laws, cultural practices of homosexual
acts, lesbianism, literature regarding Norse insults, pre- and post
Christian attitudes, "manliness" hierarchies.
- Isabella d' Este (1473-1539, Patroness)
- True heroine of the
Renaissance. Brief introduction to vibrant and alluring Isabella d' Este.
Isabella's accomplishments as a musician expressed through her utilization
of the writings of Plato and Aristotle to shape her musical knowledge and
composition. These preferences may have contributed to the creation
of the viola Artist sketch of Isabella.
- MANTOVA Isabella d' Este
- Renaissance women were to
marry properly, be a proper wife to their husbands and provide proper male
heirs. Many of these renaissance women were not refined or cultured, but
Isabella d'Este was not one of these women. Brief narrative regarding
Isabella and her patronage of the arts, including her impact on poets,
artists and musicians. Promotion of her many new ideas regarding the
traditional role of women are among her significant accomplishments.
- Margery Kempe (ca.1373-1438)
- One of the earliest
autobiographies in English literature was that of Margery Kempe, religious
mystic. Daughter of a mayor of Lynn, she married John Kempe in 1393 and
bore 14 children before beginning a series of
pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome, Germany, and Spain in 1414. Illiterate,
she dictated her autobiography to scribes. "Famous" for her hysterical
crying during church services and her contemporary use of language to
describe her ecstatic and intimate visions. Quite a character! Life, book
exerpts, articles, resources. Good music!
- Medieval and Renaissance Weddings - Extensive,
- Notions of Gender in the
Middle Ages: Myth vs. Reality
- "What was the predominant
image of women and women's place in medieval society? A rather sexist or
misogynistic view--by twentieth century standards of course--was prevalent
among learned clerics. The writings of the theologian Thomas Aquinas
typify this view. But although the religious of Europe's abbeys and
universities dominate the written record of the period, Thomistic sexism
was not the only view of women's proper role." Fascinating research
study: " Any 20th century ideas of wholesale female oppression in
the middle ages are relativist "myths" which serve to glamorize the modern
period rather than describe historical reality."
- Women Artists in the Middle Ages
- Good list. Although there
were many significant women artists in the MA, "Much of the works
completed by Medieval women have not even been descovered yet. Because of
their name changes due to marriage and the delilberate disappearance of
their signatures on works by pompous men, much of their recognition goes
unclaimed. This is such a shame. Because of such barriers, finding
information on women artists in the Middle Ages can be quite a task. They
did not even achieve major international reputations until the
mid-sixteenth century." Here are Slides. And here is
another good summary.
- Women Knights in the Middle
- "Were there women knights
in the Middle Ages? Initially I thought not, but further research yielded
surprising answers. There were two ways anyone could be a knight: by
holding land under a knight's fee, or by being made a knight or inducted
into an order of knighthood. There are examples of both cases for
A FEW WARS AND THE
- The Hundred Years' War History Page
- Images of kings and Dukes
involved. Hostility between France and England erupted in 1337 when
Edward III of England refused homage to France
which sparked messy feud between England and France for 100 years.
- Timeline for the Hundred Years War
- The Hundred Years'
- Overview. "The Hundred Years War,
lasting from 1337 until 1453, was a defining time for the history of both
England and France. The war started in May 1337 when King Philip VI of
France attempted to confiscate the English territories in the duchy of
Aquitaine (located in Southwestern France). It ended in July 1453 when the
French finally expelled the English from the continent (except for
Calais). The Hundred Years War was a series of chevauchees (plundering
raids), sieges and naval battles interspersed with truces and uneasy peace."
Economic considerations, political ties and
claims, and military considerations. Causes, results.
- Medieval Life and the Hundred Years War - More Than You Ever
Wanted to Know
- The Maid
- From the BBC.
Detailed biography of Joan of Arc. Brief background of the situation for
France. Joan's voices, her inspiration and help in the fight for Orleans,
her condemnation and burning as a witch, and her sainting and memory.
- Medieval Sourcebook: Jean
Froissart: On The Hundred Years War (1337-1453)
- Translation of an
original source. Excerpts from The Chronicles of
Froissart describing the Battle of Crecy, the Battle of Poitiers, and
the sacking of the city of Limoges.
- The Grey Company Trebuchet
- Remarkable historic
Trebuchet illustrations, specific photos and details on how to build one.
All anyone would want to know about a Trebuchet.
- Siege Engines
- Shows how a trebuchet
works, with details on the sling release. Great "scale model of a
trebuchet - a medieval siege engine. The real size of these things is
stunning - 30 feet high at the "shoulder" - and full size replicas are
capable of hurling pianos."
- How to Make Maile Armour
- The English Longbow
- "The longbow is a
weapon that revolutionized Medieval combat. In the hands of skilled
archers, hundreds of thousands of arrows could rain down on an opposing
force with severe consequences. In many battles, archer armies that were
outnumbered by as much as 8 to 1 accomplished kill ratios of 1000's to 1.
Yes, thousands of the enemy dead per one dead archer. Such was the case at
the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The longbow helped bind England together
throughout most of the Middle Ages. The history and stories of the longbow
are rich and wonderful. So draw back your desk chair and loose yourself
into the realm of the longbow."
POPES, SCHISMS, INQUISITIONS
- The Avignon Papacy
- Could there be two popes
at the same time? YES! Site examines underlying events leading to the
relocation of the popes' residence to Avignon (1305-1378) and the Great Schism (1378-1417) that follows.
- The Avignon Papacy 1305-1378
- How did the popes end up in Avignon and how did they
finally get back to Rome?
- The Beginning of the
- The Church as the key to
the integration of cultures and the dominant institution during the Middle
Ages. Church assumes many political responsibilities giving more power to
Popes, Bishops, and church leaders. Out of the growth of the church came
two new institutions for the forwarding of learning and knowledge: the
monastery and the cathedral. Feudalism, the political and military system.
Manoralism, the economic foundation for feudalism.
- Innocent III and the Great
- "The reign of Innocent
III as Pontiff in Western Christendom, and the tragedy of the great schism
between Eastern and Western Christians as a lasting consequence of the
- Citta - A Tour of the Vatican
City - Important Christendom Site
- Gender and the Medieval Beguines
- "The Beguines of northern
Europe have been called the first women's movement in Christian history.
This group of religiously dedicated laywomen, who took no permanent vows,
followed no prescribed rule, supported themselves by manual labor,
interacted with the "world," and remained celibate, flourished in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries - a time when the Church had defined
two legitimate roles for pious women: cloistered nun and keepers at home.
With their freedom of movement, economic independence and spiritual
creativity, the Beguines carved out an unusually expansive - and
controversial - niche for female religious expression."
- Generals of the Society
- "On July 2, 1558, they
elected Diego Lainez as the second General of the Society." Reveals
history regarding Ignatius's successor. To witness Jesuit politics in
action, here it is.
- Society of Jesus: What is it?
- "A religious order
founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola. Designated by him "The Company of Jesus"
to indicate its true leader and its soldier spirit, the title was
Latinized into "Societas Jesu" in the Bull of Paul III approving its
formation and the first formula of its Institute ("Regimini militantis
ecclesia", 27 Sept., 1540). The term "Jesuit" (of fifteenth-century
origin, meaning one who used too frequently or appropriated the name of
Jesus), was first applied to the society in reproach (1544-52), and was
never employed by its founder, though members and friends of the society
in time accepted the name in its good sense. "
- INQUISITION AND HERESIES - SEE INQUISTION UNDER "BAD
LEADERS - MYTH AND
EUROPEAN ROYALS AND THEIR DESTINIES
Alexander Palace Time Machine
- Alexander Palace, home of
the last Tsar. Tour the Palace Parade Rooms, rooms of Nickolas II, Rooms
of Aleksandra, childrens rooms, palace treasures, Faberge, the palace
today, history of the characters in the story.
- Faberge Eggs
- Not your average Easter
egg! A cool site offering fantastic images of the infamous "Faberge Eggs."
Easter eggs, the age-old symbol of "Resurrection" and "New Life"
took on a whole new meaning with the introduction of the first of 49 - the
Imperial Easter Egg. Faberge, the acclaimed "Master by the Goldsmiths in
France, was the most famous court jeweler in history - primarily to the
Tsars Alexander III and Nikolai II of Russia. The eggs were lavished of
design, workmanship, and mechanism... "each
with mechanical devices (inside) which would puzzle the skills of a most
expert watchmaker," containing a series of "surprises wrought in gold and
platinum, precious gems and enamel." Truly amazing depiction of
these beautiful eggs with good resolution. You can even send your own
personal "Faberge" e-post card! Worth the effort - even if the Sponsor can
be annoying at times!
- Joan's Favourite
- Descriptions of the lives
of various royals, focusing primarily on absurdity, tragedy, scandal, and
blood relations. Favourite books, novels, and magazines about royalty as
- The Official British Monarch
Page - Formal, official Web Site.
- The Unofficial British
Royalty Family Page
- Seems to have
everything! News, links to articles with news
about the British Royal
- family, line of
succession to the British Throne, chat facility, links to other royalty
pages, speeches by British royalty, royal celebrations, geneology.
- Victoria's Dark Secrets
- We particularly liked "The Bad Blood of the Hannovers," and "The Bleeding Sickness," the latter which details
the scourge of hemophelia passed through Europe. "The marriage of
Victoria and Albert marked the beginning of hemophilia in the British
royal line that would eventually infect most of the royal houses of
Europe, earning the title of "the royal disease."
BYZANTIUM TO THE AGE OF ABSOLUTISM
- Early Medieval Art
- Excellent array.
- A Medieval Mystery: Can You Decode the Dark
Secrets of this Cartoon?
- It is a cartoon
from 1233 during the reign of King Henry III. It's a detailed,
complex cartoon and it is a bit of a mystery.
York Carver Museum
- Gothic & medieval art & sculpture
- Gothic Painting
- Informative Page from the Web Museum, Paris
- Devoted to collecting, storing and distributing
digital images of Medieval manuscripts ( D is for Digital). Great.
- Web Gallery of Art
- Virtual museum and searchable database of European
painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance
- Early Medieval Art
- Go to Middle Ages
General. Wonderful array.
- Images of
Medieval Art and Architecture
- Click away and enjoy.
- The Art of the Book in the Middle Ages
illustrations. "Before the invention of mechanical printing, books
were handmade objects, treasured as works of art and as symbols of
enduring knowledge. Indeed, in the Middle Ages, the book becomes an
attribute of God. Every stage in the creation of a medieval book required
intensive labor, sometimes involving the collaboration of entire
workshops. Parchment for the pages had to be made from the dried hides of
animals, cut to size and sewn into quires; inks had to be mixed, pens
prepared, and the pages ruled for lettering. A scribe copied the text from
an established edition, and artists might then embellish it with
illustrations, decorated initials, and ornament in the margins. The most
lavish medieval books were bound in covers set with enamels, jewels, and
- Illumination in the Late Middle Ages
- Amazing: "Prior
to the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg around 1450-1455, the
process of producing and multiplying copies of books was strictly manual
and performed by skilled craftsmen : the scribe calligraphed the text and
various artists or specialized artisans decorated the manuscript. The two
essential phases of writing and illuminating were preceded by a number of
preliminary steps : the preparation of the parchment (the most common
material then in use, though it was rivaled in the late Middle Ages by
paper, a less expensive option) ; the cutting of the sheet into double
leaves or bifolia which were then folded to
the desired format ; the gathering of a number of these double leaves into
a quire (the most common type was the quaternio, a gathering of four double leaves) ;
and the ruling of the leaf (with drypoint or ink) to calibrate the writing
surface. A final step, after the manuscript had been copied and
illustrated, consisted of joining the quires together within a protective
cover or binding. Books took time to produce and the end product was
invariably costly. Sales and distribution were handled by a bookseller or
stationer, who from the late thirteenth century onward played a vital role
in book production."
- Important Glossary of
Medieval Art and Architecture
- Medieval Art
- Artists, Painting,
Illumination, Stained Glass, Sculpture, Tapestries, Cartography, Images.
Possibly the best overall Medieval Art site with significant links.
For the art lover, days could be spent here.
- Literature and the Middle Time
- " Somewhere between the
fall of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance there was a middle time. . .
. ." Special essay. "Addresses time as a conceptual and
historical problem, in literary, religious, and practical terms. Valuable
information on the origins of French literature, how the Middle Ages got
its name, theological and everyday measurements of time, and the
relationships of myth and fiction to genealogy in the founding of
aristocratic families and feudal dynasties....."
- Anthology of Middle English
- Wonderful anthologyy
including Essays, Articles, Medieval Plays and Lyrics. Includes literary
works and brief biographies of Chaucer, Gawain, Langland, Norwich, Kempe,
Malory, and Everyman. A treasure of medieval literature. Introductions
accompanied by medieval music that set the mood for perusing these
- Canterbury Tales
- "The Middle English
Collection at the Electronic Text Center." Text-based. Downloadable
Chaucerian works in Old English. Features "The Canterbury Tales." Links to
Online Library and Middle English text search engine. Allows word/phrase
searching. Other Middle English authors' works. Links to classic
humanities texts in twelve languages. Illustrations, maps, images,
art. Parts restricted to U of VA students - alternative public links
- Canterbury Tales
Project - Major Research Site
- Brilliant insight into
medieval life, the "Decameron" by Bocaccio is a collection of 100
wonderfully human stories shared in 10 days by 10 people escaping the
plague in 14th C. Florence. Contemporaneous maps and societal descriptions place the stories in clear historical
context. High quality literary site.
- EAWC Essay: Literature and
the Middle Time
- Helpful essay addressing the time between the fall of the
Roman Empire and the Renaissance, when the French language was born. How
the Middle Ages got its name. Origins of French literature. "The
Renaissance invented the Middle Ages in order to define itself; the
Enlightenment perpetuated them in order to admire itself; and the
Romantics revived them in order to escape from themselves. In their widest
ramifications 'the Middle Ages' thus constitute one of the most prevalent
cultural myths of the modern world.
Planets and Their Children. A Blockbook of Medieval Popular
- 15th C. Europe believed
strongly in the influence of planets. "Blockbooks," printed entirely from
wood blocks, were the paperback of the masses. Authentic images combined
with illuminating translations give the viewer real taste of medieval
SOURCES, TIMELINES, MANUSCRIPTS, BOOKS
- Hill Monastic Manuscript
- One of most comprehensive
sites in world of medieval and renaissance sources. Global information network for organized access to
Web resources in medieval studies. Medieval texts, current research.
Reference point for all medieval studies.
- HyperHistory On-Line
- Fantasic site for those
who need to learn through visualization. Excellent time-line from 100-1900
and historical maps with clickable links to important information on
events of the period. Recomend printing time-line and keeping it
- Malaspina Great Books Home
- Medieval Sourcebook
- Extensive sourcebook for
students, faculty, scholars, just plain fascinated folks. A section of the
Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies.
Sources are meant to take the place of expensive published sourcebooks
students often required to buy. Fairly short classroom sized extracts, and
the full documents. Hard to find any area not fully documented.
- NetSERF - The Internet
Connection for Medieval Resources
- Remarkable site.
Over 1000 links sorted by catagory and presented in outline format.
Research center and the wonderful "random medieval site" button.
- ORB: Online Medieval and
- Academic site, "written
and maintained by medieval scholars for the benefit of their fellow
instructors and serious students. All articles judged by at least two peer
reviewers. Encyclopedia of original essays, medieval sourcebook, syllabi,
- MOVIES! -
Middle Ages, Renaissance, Dark Ages
- The Middle Ages, Chivalry and Knighthood
- Medieval Sites on the Web
ON TO MEDIEVAL PART II
From the Reformation and Forward to the 19th
REFORMATION /COUNTER REFORMATION
THE AGE OF
THE 18TH CENTURY:
AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT
UPDATED REGULARLY - 2011-2013
Thanks for joining me.
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