The Medieval period of history lasted from 476 AD until around the beginning the 15th century. It started when the Western Roman Empire ended and merged into the Renaissance and Age of Discovery. The Medieval period is also known as the Middle Ages as it is right in the middle of the three traditional divisions of Western medieval history.
Medieval History itself is divided into three periods, which were Early Medieval History, High Medieval History and the Late Medieval History. The Early Middle Ages were widely characterized by invasions as it marked the end of the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, great population growth was experienced during the High Medieval period between 1000 and 1347. This population growth then declined at the beginning of 14th century due to war, famine and plagues. These periods of medieval history are also referred to as the Early, High and Late Middle Ages.
Generally medieval history was violent and dark. There were cultural and economic deterioration, as well as intellectual darkness which followed the fall of the Roman Empire up to the rise of the Italian Renaissance.
Emblems and the medieval Coat of Arms was introduced as a system to identify individuals, knights and important families in medieval times. It was a Heralds job to keep detailed information on families emblems and Coats of Arms. Read more about the Coat of Arms >>
The Domesday Book recorded all the assets of medieval people, it was instigated by William the Conqueror who wanted to know in detail what land and wealth the people of England owned. Read more about the Domesday Book >>
The Feudal system controlled most of Europe in medieval times and was brought to England by the French Normans. The Feudal system was efficient but unfair as a countries lands were taken away by the ruling class. Read more about the Feudal System >>
Greensleeves is a very popular English folk song and tune which was composed sometime during the 16th century, it is believed the song was created by King Henry VIII Read more about the Greensleeves >>
The Magna Carta was introduced in 1215, it was demanded by Barons who were unhappy with the unfair taxes and treatment they received from King John. The Magna Carta was the first steps towards a democracy. Read more about the Magna Carta >>
The peasants revolt was caused by unfair taxes and a new poll tax that was introduced by John Gaunt the king of England. Peasants marched on London led by Wat Tyler the peasant leader who was eventually killed. Read more about the Peasants Revolt >>
After the fall of the Roman Empire, there was no single government that united all the people of Europe in this period of medieval history. The church became the most powerful institution in the history of medieval Europe, royals and other leaders aligned themselves with the church for protection.
Christianity flourished in most of Europe. Catholicism in the Latin West brought new life views to the people. It was during this time when the Roman Empire was fragmented into smaller political entities.
In 800 CE a Frankish King named Charlemagne was the Emperor of the Romans, he was the first after the fall of the Roman Empire. Laws were formed with the help of the church and the people were made to pay taxes and give tithes to the church. Later on, the Kings of these smaller entities, led soldiers who were then called Knights. These knights help the Kings and Lords collect taxes. Noblemen also engaged in trade, while the Church helped the rest of Medieval Europe build schools, universities and hospitals.
Medieval History of England
Englands economy was in pieces following the fall of the Roman Empire in this medieval period of history of England. Many English towns were abandoned. It was then when new entities emerged and competed with other kingdoms for power. The Anglo-Saxons was one of the richest artistic cultures that flourished in the history of medieval England. However, it was later on converted to Christianity in the 7th century.
One of the biggest battles in English medieval periods of history was the attack of the Vikings in the 8th century. This lasted for decades and has gave birth to Wessex, the most powerful kingdom in England that established the English identity during the middle ages. Another attempt to seize power from England happened in the 11th century. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by Danish entities to conquer England. However, England has already established a powerful, centralized state with strong military defence and robust economy. Nevertheless, England was struck by the Great Famine and Black Death in the 14th century which brought chaos and social unrest among its people, as well as fights among English noble families.
History of Medieval People
Apart from invasions, wars, violence and social unrest that marked the history of medieval people, most of the people during this period of medieval history were involved in complicated relationships. A lot of the people were still slaves to Lords and Kings although slavery was clearly slowly dying out.
During this medieval period of history of people, mortality rates were also high. Infant mortality rate was highest during this period. Most of the people during the middle ages die young primarily due to sickness. Some who managed to grow and become adults also died from wars or plagues.
There was no established educational system during the medieval period of history which only meant that only a few people could read and write. Only the kids from richer families were sent to school. Most children worked in the fields with their parents or took care of the younger siblings.
Medieval Times Castles History
Medieval castles were dominant during the 10th to 17th centuries of medieval castle period of history. The earliest medieval castles in history were built during the 900s. They were built in Normandy and were usually large mounds. The lands were excavated to form a ditch and were often filled with water to form moats. Most motte and bailey castles had towers on top of the mound and a wooden palisade.
Castles during this period of medieval castle history were crucial to the spread of feudalism. Kings and nobles also used them to control the feudal system. According to historians, when King William I crossed to England, he established his power with series of castles which he built across the country.
This was how Normans dominated the lands in Europe during the medieval period of castle history. Aside from castles, they also built courts, store houses and homes for the kings and noblemen. However, when the crusades period started, Crusaders helped bring forth the end of building castles as the kings means to dominate a country.
Medieval Food History
The people of the medieval period usually made their own food and this was the case throughout most of the medieval history of food. This was not because there were no food shops. As a matter of fact, there were shops where people could buy food, spices and other commodities. However, most of these speciality shops were located in towns and most of the people during the middle ages were peasants who lived in villages.
Peasants probably made up more than half of the population of the Medieval Period. Most them provided for themselves by working in farm lands. They dedicated their lives by working throughout the farming season.
Bread was the most common food eaten in the history of medieval food in Medieval England, by both peasants and nobles. Even then, there was a clear distinction between bread served to the Lords and those eaten by the peasants. Bread for the rich people were made of wheat flour grown from lands that received generous amounts of fertilizers. However, bread eaten by peasants were mostly made of rye and barley as they could not afford to buy fertilizers to grow wheat in their lands.
Medieval Times History of Art
Medieval arts were classified by historians into several periods and styles. Among the most common ones in the history of art in medieval times was the Early Christian, Migration Period, Byzantine, Insular, Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque and Gothic arts. One of the most artistic cultures was the Anglo-Saxon that also had its own distinctive style. Medieval arts in history were produced using various media.
To this date, the ones that survived the Dark Ages included sculptures, manuscripts, stained glass artworks, metalworks and some mosaics. Decorative arts such as metal, ivory, enamel arts as well as embroidery were called minor arts. These kinds of arts were given more value than paintings and sculptures during this medieval history period of art. Most of these arts grew out of the artistic practices of the Roman Empire.
Most of the pieces were inspired by traditions of the Early Christian Church. Other artistic pieces were derived from barbarian cultures, which showcased the historical interplay between early Christian and barbarian arts. However, medieval arts ended with the recovery of the values of classical art during the Renaissance period.