When did Christmas originate? How did the pagans and Romans celebrate it? What were festive celebrations like in the Middle Ages? And what was a “first footer”? These questions and more answered in the latest episode of Medieval! this year!
Vikings. Or Northmen, Pagans, Foreigners, Rus. These and many names were given to the people who came to be one of the greatest nuisances to Europe after the Barbaric invasion and the great crisis that ended the Roman Empire. They were so feared that the Church even declared that the apocalypse was near and the Vikings were, in fact, the soldiers of the antichrist.
Norsemen came from the Danish and Scandinavian peninsula, as well as other Northern regions, and they were fierce and efficient warriors, well equipped and well trained. They specialized in the art of raiding. They were so incredibly adept to this tactic and their name, “Vikings”, was probably derived from this.
It was one of the greatest deeds in the history of the Roman Empire – the glorious but brief restoration of the Western Roman provinces, the capture of Rome, and the series of month-long sieges in order to take back major Italian cities. From 535 to 554 AD, the Byzantines and Ostrogoths fought furiously over the peninsula. By the last year of the war, the Byzantines are able to conquer the majority of Italy, but their territorial holdings will soon come under attack by the cruel Langobards later in the century.
Of the many religions prominent in the Middle Ages, just one came to both threaten Christianity on a massive scale and bestow remarkable technological and cultural advances upon Europe. It was Islam, the faith of the Middle East, the driving religion behind one of the most mighty communities in all of history, and the one rival which Christianity just could not overcome. From the 7th century onwards, it would come to triumph over the deserts, cities and rivers of North Africa and Asia Minor.
The Franks were fierce, intelligent and skilled in warfare. In this episode, find out how the Kingdom of the Franks expanded throughout France under their leader, King Clovis, and how he established the foundations for the greatest Christian kingdom in Western Europe.
Maces, or as they were otherwise known, bludgeons, became extremely popular in the Middle Ages in Eastern Europe, where the poorer soldiers could arm themselves cheaply with an easy-to-produce weapon with deadly potential.
The sheer fighting skill and discipline of the Templars depended on complete obedience to instructions, and it was the duty of any of these Knights to carry out the commander’s orders to the best of his ability. No matter the circumstance, the Templars would always have to act like fighting machines that would follow blunt commands.
We’ve seen it all, in movies, books, exaggerated but unhistoric illustrations and oftentimes our imaginations. But the question is, did swordsmen ever really pull a sword from a back scabbard, and how practical would it have been to carry your weapon out of your view – and potentially out of your reach?
The 13 unlucky ways you could be put to death for your crimes in the Dark Ages. These include medieval ways of public and private execution, and certainly some of the most painful and brutal methods in history.
The longbow, a devastatingly powerful long range weapon, was highly popular with English armies in the Middle Ages, although it was the Welsh who designed such a practical and deadly device. English Kings brought it into common use following defeated attacks on Wales.
Following his ascending to the throne in 1413, Henry V planned to assert his dominance over the French and possibly take the throne. As they had been engaging in smaller scales skirmishes on the English coast as well as supporting their enemies – including Scotland – Henry decided to transport his army of around 12,000 men from Southampton to Normandy (Northern France).
What do we have to look forward to this December? Here I’ve compiled a list of posts which I’ve either planned to start or have already begun researching. I hope you find something that you are interested in!
Welcome, Knight Errant! I see you want to be talked through the steps in the process of forging your own medieval sword! We won’t be making no flimsy wooden swords here – grab your swordsmith and we can get to work blacksmithing a new weapon!
After the Black Death utterly wrecked the country, destroying somewhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the population, medieval life in England would never be the same again. Society had been torn about in two ways – life and death. The suffered losses meant that work force had dropped considerably, leaving less peasants to work the land. Although the dreadful disease crippled all walks of people, there was an advantage for the survivors; more power had been placed into their hands.
Poll taxes were levied so that the Royal Treasury wouldn’t run out