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"Step Into The Captivating World Of Medieval Times. Delve Into The History Of Castles, Knights, Weapons, And More. Uncover The Lives Of People From The Middle Ages Through Captivating Images, Books, Film, And Fascinating Facts. Experience The Enchantment Of Medieval Times History."

Medieval People

Medieval People

Learn about medieval rulers who controlled medieval society, Medieval nobility helped the king control peasants and commoners Read more about the Medieval People >>

Medieval Castles

Medieval Castles Roof Tops

Medieval Castles were a European innovation that originated in the 9th and 10th centuries...   Read more about the Medieval Castles >>

Medieval Weapons

The Sword was more than just a Weapon it was Symbolically tied to the Whole Concept of  Knighthood Read more about the Medieval Weapons >>

Medieval Armour | Shields

Medieval Armor and Shields

Discover the Armour and Shields of the formidable 'Medieval Knight - *The Great Mounted Warrior Read more about the Medieval Armour | Shields >>

Medieval Music

Medieval Music Medieval Lute

Discover medieval musicians like the Troubadours

Read more about the Medieval Music >>

Medieval Times History

Discover the early, high, and late medieval periods Read more about the Medieval Times History >>

Medieval Art

Medieval Art

Discover Romanesque Art *Illuminated Manuscripts and Much More   Read more about the Medieval Art >>

Medieval Europe

Medieval Europe

Learn about the history of continental Medieval Europe in Medieval times... Read more about the Medieval Europe >>

Medieval Kings

Medieval Kings

Famous Medieval Kings of England and Europe Read more about the Medieval Kings >>

The Crusades

The Crusades

The most famous Crusades of medieval times were the first four crusades to the Holylands.   Read more about the The Crusades >>

Medieval Architecture

Medieval Architecture

Medieval architecture had distinctive architectural characteristics and designs Read more about the Medieval Architecture >>

Medieval Period – 1000 years of Intriguing History!

The medieval period lasted for around 1000 years and is broken up into the early, high and late medieval periods. Read more about the Medieval Period – 1000 years of Intriguing History! >>


Medieval Chronicles | Medieval Times

Feudal System ‘Feudalism’ *Kings *Nobles *Knights *Peasants

The feudal system and the lord-vassal relationship between Kings *Nobles *Knights as well as an understanding of the Lord *Manor *Peasant system are key concepts in understanding how medieval society worked.

Medieval people were organized into a  feudal system where the wealthiest in society also tended to be the most important and powerful people who made all the rules.

A king would grant use of the vast areas of his land to high-ranking nobles such as a Duke (Vassal) in return for his loyalty, protection, raising of armies, and collecting taxes. This was the key concept behind feudalism, the person who provided the service for the higher status overlord was known as a vassal.

Feudalism The Feudal Pyramid Image

Feudalism in Europe image showing the Hierarchy of the Feudal system

Royalty Kings *Queens *Prince *Princess

Royalty *Kings *Queens *Prince and *Princess were very powerful positions in the feudal system and commonly had the most power. Early Kings commonly owned smaller ‘kingdoms’  than later kings who could control an entire country.

a medieval king queen prince and princess stoo

Nobility *Duke *Earl *Viscount *Baron

Under royalty such as Kings was the nobility, the highest-ranking noble was commonly a Duke.

Kings granted the use of large areas of land know as a ‘Fief or Fiefdom’  to nobles in return for their loyalty and service such as providing soldiers or an entire army.

*A ‘fief’ is an estate of land commonly a manor estate in medieval times, held on the condition of feudal service provided *usually military service* called a ‘fee’

Medieval Manor Estate in Medieval Period

A noble promised to serve and obey a king in a ceremony that was called ‘paying homage’.

Higher-ranking Nobles divided the huge areas of land granted to them by the king into smaller plots, the use of this land was then granted to lower-ranking Nobles, this included Knights.

Medieval Nobility Medieval Barons Costumes William Cecil Lord Burghley


Knights were highly trained and skilled armored warriors who commonly fought in the armies provided by the nobility for the king.

Knights spent their lives training for war from a young age in a structured system in which they were trained as *pageboys *Squires and eventually knighted in a dubbing ceremony.

crusader knights armour


Peasants usually worked on the manor estate fields for a lord (Noble). The majority of people in medieval times were in the peasant class and the most common peasant was the ‘Serf’ who commonly plowed the fields and harvested the crops grown.

Medieval Peasants Baking

Religion *Pope *Bishop *Priest *Monks *Nuns

A Medieval Pope

Religion also played a very important role in medieval society and there were many very powerful Popes during the medieval period c.476 – 1500.


Pope, cardinal and bishop. Supreme catholic priests in cassocks.

Medieval Popes are commonly identified with the Crusades that took place between 1095 – 1291

crusader knight

Following the pope, in order of rank were Bishops, Priests, Monks, Nuns


Medieval Nuns in Church Portal

Throughout medieval times, the Church had central importance in Europe and the Pope enjoyed the authority equal to rulers. During the early medieval times, this authority was even higher than rulers, considering that Europe was in a fragmented state.

Medieval Bishop

However, during the middle and late medieval times, various disputes arose between the rulers and the Pope, in addition to schisms within religion itself, resulting in a gradual decline in the authority of the Church.

Feudalism according to Google Search

Feudal System Cartoon

Feudal System Cartoon that gives information on how the Feudal system worked

Medieval Vassals postion in the Feudal system


Medieval Royalty *Kings *Queens *Prince *Princess

Medieval King

A medieval king was the figurehead of the state during medieval times. The authority of a medieval king was relatively less during the early medieval times because of the influence of the Church and the authority of the Pope.

However, as the early medieval times gave way to middle medieval times, the authority of the medieval king continued to increase and he held absolute power over its subjects.

Famous King Alfred The Great Medieval Kings Illustration

In early medieval times, kings ruled smaller ‘kingdoms’ such as ‘King Offa’ a powerful king in early Anglo-Saxon England and ruler of Mercia *Died in 796.

Over time kings became more dominant and ruled greater areas until they eventually became kings of entire countries.

William the Conqueror was such a king, that he took control of England after the battle of Hastings in 1066.

William The Conqueror Medieval Kings Norman King Portrait Painting

Medieval Queen

During medieval times, the status of a medieval queen was important in that she was considered one of the closest confidants of the king.

As such, a medieval queen had access to all the secrets of the kingdom and exerted her influence to safeguard the interests of the king.

Her free time would generally be spent in the company of other ladies and maids.

medieval queen medieval royalty

Medieval Prince

A Prince is a male member of a monarch’s current or previous family. The title of Prince is also classed as being a noble title *often highest and is commonly a hereditary title.

A prince can be a  male ruler of a kingdom in some circumstances.

The title of a medieval prince is a very general one and could be used to signify various kinds of rules.

Thus a medieval prince could be the son of the ruling monarch or a monarch of a certain area within a kingdom himself, although in the latter case the area was generally not large.

The king could also make the medieval prince responsible for a certain area within his kingdom.

Medieval Prince Clothing Doublet Don Carlos Spanien

Medieval Princess

During medieval times, the life of a medieval princess was not detached from the turbulent political affairs of the time.

Instead, more often than not, the princess actively participated in the politics and the affairs of the state.

Sometimes a princess would be wedded to the royal family of another country as part of a mutual treaty. Among other things, charity was one of the most important activities for a medieval princess.

medieval princess clothing

Nobility *Royal Vassals

Medieval society was defined by structures and everything was predetermined even before birth. People in the Middle Ages remained in the class they were born and raised in.

Out of the need to preserve Noble bloodlines and maintain the wealth and social standing of elite families, however, a set of strict succession and inheritance rules were imposed on and governed Medieval Nobility.

Though Nobles stood at the top of the feudal class system, just below the king and his royal vassals, there was hierarchy even within their own class.

Medieval Nobility and Medieval Nobles

Duke *Earl *Viscount *Baron

The peerage of England differed greatly from that of France and Prussia. While England stuck to the five classes Duke and Duchess

  1. Marquess and Marchioness
  2. Earl and Countess
  3. Viscount
  4. Viscountess
  5. Baron and Baroness

France and Prussia luxuriously pursued other titles, adding more layers to the already complicated hierarchy of nobilities.

Medieval Nobility Medieval Barons Costumes William Cecil Lord Burghley

Nobility *Baron William Burghley

Vassals  *King – Nobility – Knight Relationship

Vassals were important individuals who swore fealty and allegiance to a monarch or noble. The terms and conditions of the lord-vassal relationship were governed by the feudal system.

In exchange for their loyalty and protection, vassals commonly received portions of land otherwise known as fiefs.

fief land lord manor

There were two types of vassal *an upper group of powerful and influential nobles personally connected to the crown  and a lower group of landless knights obliged to serve the peerage for the sake of resources.

Medieval Knights Weapons Swords

A Knight could be a Vassal

What is a vassal

Vassal Summary

Within the medieval feudal system, a Vassal was usually a high-ranking noble who provided a service ‘commonly military services’ such as a standing army ready to fight for the king, in return the king would allow the noble to use huge areas of his land, this area of land was called a fief.

The noble would then become a vassal of the king, commonly a personal ceremony would take place in which the lord would pledge his homage and fealty to the King in his new role as his Vassal.

Image of a Medieval Vassal or Lord in Medieval Times

In turn, these high-ranking nobles would commonly grant the use of smaller parts of this land to lower-ranking nobles in return for services rendered, these lower-ranking nobles would be classed as being vassals of the higher-ranking nobles.

In turn, Knights were often given land by higher-ranking nobility and provided military services, however Knights were often without land and fought for other rewards such as coins, silver, gold, and other valuables items.

Medieval Knight Definition

A fief (Latin: feudum) was a key element of the feudal system (Feudalism) in which an overlord granted heritable property rights to his vassal, the Vassal held this property commonly ‘land’ in what was called fealty (fee)

This was a formal acknowledgment of loyalty to a lord – in return for a form of feudal allegiance and service (fee)

The lands held were commonly known as fiefs or fiefdoms.

fief land lord manor

Knights *Squires *Chivalry *Warfare

In the high, and late medieval periods, the exact role of the medieval knight became well established and more connected with

bigstock Detail Knight Armor 46044733

Medieval Knights were well placed in the Feudal system, they were usually bodyguards or mercenary fighters for wealthy nobility, lords, and Kings and often received landholdings for their military services.

Knights were commonly granted parts of conquered lands which was divided up or they would have been paid in coins, precious metals or given some other rewards.

Battle of Bosworth Military

Knights could sometimes be described as vassals within the Feudal system a Vassal was a ‘Land Holder’ a person who had land given to them in return for military services, loyalty, and allegiance.

Medieval Vassal Medieval Men Clothing

Medieval Knights were the warriors who fought for the King in order to defend his lands. Potential Knighthood candidates used to start their training at the age of seven years old at this time they were known as ‘Page Boys’.

Medieval Squire & Knight

Squires Served Knights

Page Boys became Squires around the age of fourteen years, during this time their development became more intense, training with weapons, they would participate in fighting on horseback.

A squire would eventually become a full-blown Knight around the age of twenty-one if he passed all his tasks! He gained the title of knight at a “dubbing” ceremony.

Medieval Squire becoming a Knight

A squire pronounced knight in a dubbing ceremony

Medieval Peasants *Serfs  *Freemen *Slaves

During medieval times, there were several classes of laborers. Some of them owned small amounts of land which they tilled and earned their living from.

This class was often called cottagers or smallholders. A very important class of laborers was called medieval serfs who were included in the category of lesser laborers and farmers.

Medieval Peasants Clothes

The majority of the medieval population were in the peasantry class ‘the lower classes and in that class of the population, the medieval serf was the most common peasant.

The Serf had some rights but was tied to the land of the lord on the manor estate upon which they worked and as such could be sold with the land to new owners.

Medieval Manor Estate in Medieval Period

The Fields and Buildings are listed in this image of a Medieval Manor Estate

Serfs in the main worked on the manor estate of a Lord and their main duties were working in the fields, with the cultivation of crops and plowing being an important duties.

Serfdom - medieval Serfs

Serfdom was the system in medieval Europe in which people classed as ‘tenant farmers’ were tied to a hereditary plot of land that they worked upon for both their lord and also could create food of their own upon which to feed themselves.

In Medieval times poor people such as serfs and other peasants had very harsh lives, they had to work very hard in order to earn their livelihood! People of the peasants class included serfs and slaves.

They worked in the fields and lived in small communities called manor estates. Even lower than a serf was the medieval slave who had no land to work or any rights.

Medieval Peasants & Medieval Reeve

Medieval Peasants under the watch of a medieval Reeve

The medieval manors were ruled by the local lords and the serfs could not leave the area without the lord’s approval.

Whereas other servants in the peasant class may have worked in the lord’s house and did chores such as cooking, laundering, cleaning, and other household chores.

Feudal Manor

Feudal Manor System *Feudalism

Medieval Clergy

Medieval times clergy included Bishops, priests, monks, and nuns. The Pope was the head of the Church and as such was one of the most important people in medieval society.

Pope Urban II  c.1035 – 1099 was a powerful Pope who initiated the Crusades *Holy War and was the ruler of the Papal States in 1088.

Pope Urban ll Famous Medieval Popes

Medieval priests provided spiritual guidance to medieval people and organized religious ceremonies in local churches, whereas monks and nuns used to give up ordinary lives and settled in monasteries and convents, devoting their lives to helping poor people.

Medieval Clergy

Medieval Times Weapons

Different kinds of weapons were used in medieval times which ranged from simple tools, which could be controlled with a single hand to very complex and sophisticated devices.

weapon collection medieval

Medieval times weapons included swords, blunt or cleaving weapons, spears, pole axes, ranged weapons, siege weapons, and weapons used in fortifications such as castles and city walls.

Bastard swords Long Handle Extra Grip

There were different kinds of swords in the middle ages such as Arming Swords, Broadswords, Claymore, Falchion, Katana, Longswords, Sabres, and Ulfberhts.

Axes & Clubbing Weapons

  • Battle Axes
  • Lochaber – Poleaxe
  • Clubs
  • Flails
  • Maces
  • Flanged Maces
  • Pernach *type of Flanged Maces
  • Short Staff Hammers
  • Morning stars
  • Bec de Corbin *type of polearm & Warhammer
  • Bludgeon (Mace Weapon)
  • Horseman pick *type of Warhammer

viking weapons crossed

Polearm Weapons

  • Bardiche * European polearm weapon *1400 – 1700
  • Bec de Corbin *type of polearm and war hammer
  • Bill *Billhook – European polearm weapon similar to a halberd
  • Glaive * European polearm weapon
  • Halberd – European polearm weapon 1400- 1600
  • Guisarmes *polearm weapon 1000 – 1400
  • Lances *Spear
  • Lucerne – European polearm weapon – 1500
  • Military forks – European polearm weapon 1500 – 1900
  • Pikes – European polearm *very long shaft
  • Swordstaffs – Scandinavian polearm
  • Warhammer (Maul) *The Long war hammer was a pole weapon
Warhammers Maul and Short War Hammers

Warhammers were invented to counter the plate armor that was introduced in later medieval times

Two Knights clash in joust

Two knights using swords instead of jousting sticks

Ranged Weapons

The most famous among medieval ranged weapons was the ‘English Longbow’.

English longbowmen Battle of Agincourt

English longbowmen fire a series of arrows on the enemy at the battle of Agincourt

English enemy fire their arrow bolts at French Enemy

English longbowmen fire their arrows at the enemy

Ranged weapons also included:

    • Crossbows
    • Arbalest
    • Ballista
    • Repeating crossbows
Crossbow Parts

Different sections of the crossbow are labeled in this image

Other commonly known types of ranged weapons used in medieval times were

  • Slings
  • Throwing spears
  • Shurikens Chakrams
  • Hand cannons
  • Muskets
  • Culverins
Trebuchet Siege Weapon

The Image gives you an idea of the size of a Trebuchet Siege Weapon

Siege Weapons


Mangonel Siege Weapon

Mangonel Siege Weapons outside castle grounds used to attack medieval castle walls

Medieval Times  – Armour & Shields

During medieval times the most important items for a Knight were his armour and shield. These were the items that helped a knight to survive on the battlefield.

Armour and shields were very expensive and only medieval knights could afford to wear them because they were able to regain their cost through pillage during war times.

Knights Armor Parts

knights armor parts

Armour was used to gain body protection from various weapons of warfare which could be encountered on the battlefield. A knight’s armor was composed of a complex series of garments, chain mail, and iron plates.


In the middle ages, there were two prominent types of armor, chain mail which was flexible and composed of thousands of metal rings, and plate armor.

Prior to the development of suits of armor, combinations of padded garments and chain mail were widely used.

Coif chainmail for the head and neck

The coif was a specific type of chainmail armor that was used in medieval warfare to protect the head and necks of knights

Medieval shields were another form of protection that was used by the knights in medieval times.

Throughout the middle ages, the design of shields varied according to the requirement of the battlefield, but normally shields were in the form of a protective covering or structure.

Heater Shield

Knights Templar Heater Shield

Medieval shield designs changed with the passage of time as different types of body protection and weapons evolved with new ideas and technology being introduced.

Shields were usually in a circular or oval form. Commonly used shields of the medieval knight were, Heater, Buckler shield, and Targe shields.

Buckler Shield

Medieval Times Battles & Wars

There were many extraordinary battles during the middle ages one of the most famous medieval wars was called “the hundred years war” although it actually lasted 116 Years!

Medieval Footsoldiers Battle of Crecy

Medieval Footsoldiers longbowmen in the Battle of Crecy

Famous Medieval Battles & Wars List

Battle of Hastings 1066

The Battle Of Hastings in 1066

As the medieval period progressed there were dramatic changes in not only the warfare tactics used but the advancement of weapons and armor  – usually the most dominant armies had the most advanced weapons, armor, and best-trained knights.

Although battles and wars in medieval times were full of violence and were bloodthirsty affairs, they also led to developments of better warfare technology, weaponry, and armor as well as progression in both offensive and defensive strategies and structures.

A Trebuchet Catapult Siege Attack on a Castle

New types of warfare that developed during the Middle Ages ranged from basic field battles to advanced siege warfare.

These advancements led to the introduction of more advanced weapons such as crossbows and finally gunpowder weapons which changed ‘Medieval Warfare’ completely.

These wars and battles also had a great impact on the overall economies of medieval Europe and the culture and social life of the common man.

Medieval Gunpowder Weapons

Medieval Gunpowder Weapons

Medieval Times Clothing

The Medieval times brought many changes to the lives of the people because it was an era in which the clothing of the people was revolutionized.

The tailoring industry was born in medieval times when fashion was introduced and adopted by common medieval people.

Clothing of Medieval People

Types of costumes worn by musicians and other medieval people.

During medieval times new changes and fashion trends were introduced in the clothing of both men and women by introducing new diversified outfits, fabrics, and styles that not only provided comfort to medieval people but also fulfilled their dire need to get rid of their old rough and shapeless clothes.

Anglo-Saxon Costumes

The clothes are worn by Anglo-Saxon people in different medieval periods.

Similarly, the medieval clothing and outfits of women of medieval times were sophisticated, stylish, and classy.

Examples of Late Medieval Clothing

The Houppelande was a dress with a unique and unusual design that became popular in Europe during the late medieval period.

Medieval times clothing was highly dominated by the upper class of medieval times and a peasant woman’s dress would be simple, itchy, rough, and scratchy in contrast to the luxurious clothing worn by medieval royals and nobility.

Medieval Clothing - Medieval Tudor Clothes

Medieval Clothing Medieval Tudor Clothes Family of Henry VIII 1545

The wardrobe of a medieval peasant woman included a free-fitting long gown and a linen wrap to cover the hair. Married women wore tight-fitting caps and nets over their hair while other women wore veils over their hair.

The common medieval people would wear simple dresses but also tended to adopt new trends and medieval fashions to get warmth and comfort from what they wore.

The quality of clothes and their attire truly depended on their social standing. Even in the modern world, certain styles are inspired by Medieval times clothing.

medieval peasant clothes

Medieval Knights

Medieval Knights’ history can be traced all the way back to around the year 800

Medieval Knights Weapons Swords

A Medieval knights weapon of choice was the Medieval Swords

In this era of medieval warfare, a medieval knight’s role was dominant because of their strength, influence, and power, indeed a medieval knight can be thought of as the battle tank of his day, able to take out a large number of foot soldiers on his own.

Full Suit of Plate Armour

A full suit of knights plate armor, advanced armor for a knight.

In Medieval times it was not easy to become a Knight and most came from families of the nobility – one could earn the title by either fighting bravely on the battlefield or by becoming an apprentice to a knight – a pageboy and then a Squire – and by earning the title through years of devotion and hard work.

Medieval Squire & Knight

A medieval Squire was taken under the wing of a medieval knight

Medieval knights were heavily armored soldiers. Although gaining Knighthood was an arduous task, one of the main advantages of becoming a medieval knight was the respect they gained from people in exchange for their esteemed courage and devotion

They also received loot and rewards from their battles and were quite wealthy and respected members of medieval society.

Code of Chivalry document

The Code of Chivalry for Knights in medieval times

According to the code of conduct normally known as Chivalry a medieval Knight was not only bound to serve and defend his lord, but also his people, his castle, and his motherland.

The Knight was expected not only to be brave and fearless but also courteous and generous.

One of the most famous knights in medieval times history was the Knight Sir Lancelot, who was the good friend of the legendary King Arthur and part of a famous group of legendary knights known as “The Knights of the Round Table”.

King Arthur Knights Round Table

King Arthur and the Knights of the round table

In the later Medieval Times, Medieval Knights became less important because of a change in warfare tactics and the introduction of new weapons such as longbows and ‘gunpowder weapons’ which could penetrate a knight’s armor

Nobility & Knights – Hierarchy

Nobleman and Knights were also very important people in medieval times and it was important for Kings/Queens to have a good relationship with them as they often needed to be defended from enemies by the armies that the nobleman controlled.

Medieval Nobility and Medieval Nobles

Knights were important allies in the brutal medieval world, especially in times of war, in return for their services a Knight would be granted land and or payment, noblemen and knights always gave their allegiance to the king for these things.

The nobility was expected to be productive and contribute to the medieval system, they provided the soldiers that would fight for the King and also made sure that backup equipment for the king’s armies such as clothes and weapons were always available.



Medieval Times Castles

The UK and Europe are home to thousands of castles once inhabited by lords, knights, and nobles. The Castles of the United Kingdom have a lot of secret tales to tell.

Most of these castles have survived the test of time, exuding the brilliant fragrance of history from bloody battles and political conspiracies to ghosts and family heirlooms.

Bodiam Castle Castles in England

Here are a few examples of  Famous UK castles:

Windsor, Edinburgh, Leeds, and Caernarfon Castle are all famous UK castles that have survived the ages as living legacies of a bygone era.

Windsor Castle, as home to Britain’s monarchs, is regarded as one of England’s most popular castles with Hampton Court and Leeds not too far behind in reputation.

Medieval Castle Medieval Windsor Castle

The English Medieval Castle Windsor castle is a famous medieval castle

Edinburgh castle’s fame is augmented by the presence of the crown jewels and, together with Stirling Castle, has a place in the famous list in Scotland and in all of the UK.

Edinburgh Castle Finest Castles in Scotland 1

Other famous UK castles are St. Michael’s Mount, Warwick Castle, and the Tower of London just to name a few.

Warwick Castle Castles in England

St. Michael’s Mount is situated on a rocky island just a little ways off from the South of London. A 12th-century Benedictine monastery stands on a nearby hill where people make a pilgrimage each year.


St. Michael’s Mount

Warwick Castle, on one hand, showcases a beautiful interior and is usually the setting for most Medieval throwback festivities such as jousts, morality plays, and the like.

The Tower of London is an imposing structure that has stood for more than a thousand years. Much like Edinburgh Castle, it protects and safeguards the English crown jewels at present.

The castle used to be a famous executioner’s den and torture chamber. Three queens, including Henry the VIII’s second wife, was beheaded here.

Tower London England Castles in England

UK castles do not only exemplify great architecture and impressive engineering. They have also contributed to British culture, encouraging today’s generation to explore the past and learn from it.

Medieval Times Music

The medieval times had so much to offer in terms of their rich and sophisticated music

Medieval Music was obviously part of the world civilizations for hundreds of years, the only difference was that medieval music was regulated by the church.

Sacred and secular compositions of the music were most dominant because of the involvement of the Catholic Church in the middle ages.

Medieval Music calligraphy parchment scores
The Catholic Church was the main contributor to music and art because most of the musicians were trained in the church and they were financially strong enough to buy papers where music was initially written down.

The whole concept of medieval music included music, instruments, poetry, and art. During the Medieval Times, the following were the best-known medieval musicians who were also poets and storytellers.

      • Troubadours
      • Trouveres
      • Minstrels

The importance of Medieval music in medieval times can be judged by looking at medieval art such as medieval paintings; one can clearly see Angels playing organs, harps, shawms, and trumpets among other medieval instruments.


Minstrels and Troubadours Berlin

One of the most important aspects of medieval music was the written-down notations and composer attributions that were introduced for the first time. Medieval times contain two types of medieval music

One was called “monophonic music” also known as “Plainchant” or “Gregorian Chant”. This was the music of the Christian church and contained single-line melodies that we sang by medieval monks.

Georgian Chant Medieval Songs

Georgian Chant Medieval Songs

Surviving monophonic scripts include:

      • Musica Enchiriadis
      • Winchester Troper
      • Codex Calixtinus of Santiago de Compostela.

The second type was called “polyphonic music” which contained multiple melodic lines sung and played simultaneously.

Medieval Vielle Instrument

The Medieval Vielle instrument was very similar to the violin of today

Medieval music also had an important role in the theater and army, but it was initially introduced for the learning and education of young people.

The Lyre and the Aulos were commonly used medieval instruments in medieval times.

Medieval Times Torture

There were many torture devices in medieval times that were used for different punishments and were granted for different crimes.

Medieval Castle Dungeon Victim

Medieval Castle Dungeon door

The brazen bull torture device was a Greek device used to torture criminals to death by heating them alive. It was one of the most gruesome methods of executing criminals during medieval times.

Brazen Bull Torture

Then there were also such torture devices as the thumbscrew which was supposedly a Russian device and had three upright metal bars between which thumbs were placed and a screw was used to press the wooden bar in a downward direction as a result, the victim’s thumb was crushed.

Thumbscrew Torture Device

The Thumbscrew was a tool that was commonly used for purposes of torture in medieval times.

In other Medieval times, torture devices such as the rack were used throughout Europe. The victim was tied down at both ends of the torture rack and then stretched with the help of a mechanical device until the joints were dislocated.

Medieval Rack Torture

Close up image of a medieval torture rack, medieval torture device

The Breaking wheel (also named the Catherine wheel in later medieval times) was also a very nasty middle ages torture device. The victim was tied to the breaking wheel and it was rolled down a rocky hill.

Later a wooden frame was introduced to the wheel so it could move more freely – The breaking wheel could also be set on alight or metal spikes added for additional pain.

Catherine Wheel or breaking wheel Medieval Torture Device

During the Medieval Times victims were also burned at the stake where they were burned to death. Many heretics (nonbelievers of the Christian faith) were burned at the stake.

Witch Being Burned at the Stake

Another Medieval Times torture device was the pillory in which a set of wooden boxes were clasped together to provide holes for the neck and the hands.

These boxes were opened and the victim’s neck and hands were placed inside them. It was mostly used to humiliate the victim.

A Medieval Stocks Torture Device was Used to Humiliate not kill the victim

The scavenger’s daughter and the pear of anguish were some of the other torture devices that were popular and used during medieval times.

Scavengers Daughter

The Scavengers Daughter was a Medieval torture device that crushed its victims

Medieval Swords

The Medieval sword was the weapon of choice in medieval times, knights, in particular, loved their medieval swords!

golden sword one handed knightly sword

Medieval Swords were especially favored by the medieval Knight – during medieval times two types of swords were mostly used.

One was pointed and small with sharp blades and could be controlled by a single hand (the short sword).

Whereas the other type of sword had a rounded end and was long with sharp edges and was controlled with both hands (the long sword).

medieval knights weapons swords

In early medieval times, small-yard-length swords were popular as these types of swords could be controlled with one hand, whilst the other hand was concerned more with holding the shield tightly.

Swords of this period had very sharp and thin edges and were primarily used to cut.

Knights Fight With Bastard Swords

Two Medieval Knights in Close combat fight with Bastard Swords

In the latter part of the medieval period, swords became stouter and more sharply pointed in a way to create more thrust towards the opponent and were better for penetrating the gaps in a knight’s armor.

Improvements were made in the strength of medieval armor reducing the need for a medieval shield, thus large heavier swords became more popular, these massive swords – controlled with both hands could literally cut a person clean in half.

Medieval Sword and Chainmail
There were many different types of Medieval Times Swords. The most famous among these swords were the Falchion sword, which was a one-handed single-edged sword of European origin.

A Fachion Sword

Another type of popular sword in medieval times was the broadsword or the basket-hilted sword, which was primarily used as a military sword.

An example of a Broadsword - Claymore, Basket-hilted and Sabre sword

The Arming sword or ‘Knightly sword’ as it was also known as the most used sword in the high middle ages – The Knightly sword was a single-handed, straight, and double-edged weapon. Its blade was 70 to 80 meters in length.

Medieval Knights Sword Hilt

Medieval Knights Sword, The Hilt of medieval Knights sword

The longsword was popular in the late middle ages and it was controlled with both hands. It was a straight and double-edged sword and the blade’s length was between 85 and 110 cm.

The Claymore sword was the Scottish version of the longsword and was used in the latter part of medieval times.


Medieval Times Food

During medieval times eating habits and the type of food did not change too much over the period.

viking life cooking food

Food of the Peasant Class

In the early part of the medieval period, cereals were probably the most important staples. Poor medieval people such as serfs ate oats, rye, and barley.

They used these ingredients to make bread, gruel, and porridge, whereas the governing class used wheat for this purpose.

The lower classes also used Fava beans and vegetables as supplements for their cereal-based diet.

Medieval Food Spelt
Socially people were divided among different classes in medieval times, hence the refinement of food in the later medieval period also differed among the classes.

xFood of the lower working classes was less refined as it was believed that there was a natural similarity between one’s food and labor.

Food of the Nobility

The nobility ate food through refined cooking, a method that was developed in the late Medieval Times. Long-distance trading of food in medieval times was very expensive because the transportation was very slow and food preservation techniques were not developed, only based on drying, pickling, smoking, and salting.

Due to this reason, the food of the nobility was under foreign influences, whereas the food of poor people was not affected as much, if at all.

Medieval Feast

Medieval Christmas feast in a castle

Food of the Nobility and Royalty

Meat was considered a prestigious food in medieval times and was, therefore, a more expensive food item, it was mainly eaten by the nobility.

Beef was not very common as it required greater investment in land. More common forms of meat were pork, chicken, and domestic fowl.

French Medieval Banquet

15th-century French medieval banquet

Rice was introduced in the latter part of medieval times, whereas potato was introduced in the sixteenth century and was not widely eaten during the medieval period. In medieval time’s foods of the rich and poor were different.

The Northern populations also consumed cod and herrings. Fish was eaten as dried, smoked, or salted and was also popular further inland. Other species of freshwater and saltwater fish were also eaten as part of the food.

Squires Training to become Knights

As part of their training to become medieval knights, Squires would serve food

Medieval Art

After the fall of the Roman Empire, medieval art took shape that was not only different from the artistic heritage of the Roman Empire, but also from the iconic tradition of the early Christian church.

A new artistic legacy was produced when the old sources of art were mixed with the “barbarian” artistic culture of northern Europe.

Pre Romanesque Art Medieval Art codex Aureus Sankt Emmeram

Medieval times art can be seen as a mixture of the classical, early Christian, and Barbarian art.  Historians have divided medieval times art into different groups based on styles and periods

Different medieval art styles  include:

Christian Art in Medieval Times Altar Piece in Gold medieval art

In medieval times art was produced in almost all types of mediums at that time. The most prominent of these styles were sculptures, metal works, stained glass, fresco wall paintings, mosaics, tapestry, and work in precious metals or textiles.

In the earlier Middle Ages, decorative arts were more famous and highly valued as compared to medieval paintings. Decorative arts were also classed as “minor arts” and included work such as metalwork, enamel, ivory carving, and embroidery using precious metals.

Byzantine Paintings

Another notable thing about medieval art was the realistic depiction of the objects. After the end of the Medieval period, the Renaissance rejected medieval art and termed it “Gothic” art and a product of the “dark ages”.

Medieval Kings

During medieval times medieval kings were one of the most important and powerful people in medieval society.

Alfred the Great Famous Anglo Saxon Kings 1

A special religious ceremony commonly known as a “coronation” was arranged in which the new king was crowned by a Pope or a Bishop of the Christian church. To indicate the king’s right to rule, they were often consecrated with holy oil.

In medieval times, kings were chosen in different ways. One of the common ways was to choose a successor from the king’s own bloodline commonly known as hereditary succession.

Medieval kings came to power because of an assassination or by forcefully conquering lands through an invasion.

King Alfred The Great Medieval Kings Illustration

Being crowned king was not an easy task, a king had to manage the whole kingdom during later medieval periods when the kingdoms were not divided by smaller tribes.

Moreover, kings had to spend a lot of time making sure that their courts, lords, etc. remained loyal to them.

Medieval times produced both good and bad Kings. Some Kings were much more generous to their people and others brought shame to their land and people.

Medieval Kings Crown

The medieval Crown was the ultimate part of a medieval king’s clothing

Generous kings allowed peasants to live on their lands with low taxes and used their tax money wisely for the betterment of society and the kingdom.

On the other hand, a cruel king either sent the peasants to the dungeons or put them to death if they broke the rules placed upon them.

Medieval kings usually wore fancy clothes to show off their wealth and status and had a very luxurious lifestyle. Jesters and troubadours would amuse and entertain them in the medieval castles.

Jesters Costumes

A medieval Jester distinctive hat was called the “fools hat”

At that time the king was a lawmaker and everyone was bound to obey him because of his power which was supported by the nobles and lords loyal to him.

Legendary Kings and Knights

King Arthur was a legendary figure in early medieval times but was he even a real person? he is believed to have won no less than twelve battles in the 5th century and is considered by many to be the greatest king of England.

King Arthur Famous Medieval Knight

King Arthur was the legendary Famous Medieval Knight from early medieval times

William the Conqueror (1028-1087) defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and brought his form of feudalism to these lands which changed the course of our history.

King William The Conqueror Portrait

King William The Conqueror Portrait

Richard, the Lionheart (1157-1195) was the favorite son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and a central figure of the third crusades which lasted hundreds of years as the Christians tried to recapture the holy lands and the city of Jerusalem from the Muslim Turks.

Richard The Lionheart and the Crusades

Richard, I aka. Richard The Lionheart is ready for battle during the crusades

Medieval Crusades

During medieval times military expeditions were very common and known as the crusades.

The crusades were a series of Holy wars launched by the Christians against the Muslims who were in control of Jerusalem at various times during the medieval period.

crusader knight on horse

Crusades were normally launched to take control of any area or to achieve a specific goal. The first crusade was launched by the Christian Pope to reclaim the Holy lands from the Muslim conquerors.

The expedition was successful and the Christians captured Jerusalem in 1095. After the victory, the Christians set up several Latin Christian states.

During medieval times a total of nine crusades were initiated after different intervals of time. The first four crusades were known as the Principal Crusades and were the most important and historically discussed amongst historians.

Map of 2nd Crusade

Map of the lands around the time of 2nd crusade

The remaining four Crusades were called the Minor Crusades, including a less significant expedition called the Children’s crusade which was started by a French child and ended in total disaster for all the children involved.

In medieval times every crusade was fought between Christians and the Muslims to conquer the Holy city of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem had significant importance for both of the religions at that time and the prime goal of Christians was to release the Holy Land from the Saracens.

Third Crusades Map

A map that shows the conflicts and forces of the third crusades

This was the era in which the Crusades and the Orders of Religious Knights including the Knights Templar, the Teutonic Knights, and the Hospitallers became famous because of their power, strength, fight-to-the-death attitude, and battlefield skills.

Knights Templar - Knights of the Crusades

Knights Templar – Knights of the Crusades

The crusades not only provoked the voyages of discovery, but they also affected the wealth and power of the Catholic Church along with their social effects on the common people of medieval Europe.

To summarize this fact it is clear that all of the crusades failed to achieve their defined goals permanently, however, the influence that they had created extended over more lands than just the Holy Land.

templar events crusades

Medieval Architecture

Medieval times architecture can be broadly divided into three different types that are religious architecture, military architecture, and civic architecture, whereas into three different styles Pre-Romanesque architecture, Romanesque architecture, and Gothic architecture.

Gothic Architecture Vaulted Ceiling

Gothic Architecture Magnificent High Vaulted Ceiling

Religious architecture – The Latin cross plan developed over the years with its primary model of a Roman basilica. The basic architecture included a nave, the altar stands to the east, and transepts.

Justinian I commissioned the cathedrals in the Byzantine style of domes with a Greek cross that resembled a plus sign.

Byzantine Architecture St Michael Archangel Church Roman Byzantine style

In this type of architecture, the sanctuary was on the east side of the church and it also contained an altar.

Castles and fortified walls were mostly of the non-religious types of medieval times architecture. These buildings were designed in a fashion to assist defending soldiers like crossbowmen.

Medieval Castle Parts Harlech Castle

Medieval Castles Parts Harlech Castle with castle parts indicated

Castle windows that were designed for archers called arrow slits or arrow loops were added into the design of the castle, walls were crenelated and Gatehouses, murder holes, and battlements were placed in areas of the castle that were vulnerable to attack.

Dean Castle Medieval Castle Gatehouse

The civic architecture was either of the military or religious types and included town halls, manor houses, bridges, and also residential houses.

Medieval times architecture can be divided into Pre-Romanesque, Early Christian, Romanesque architecture, Russian church architecture, and Norse Architecture, including Ottonian, Merovingian, Asturian, and Carolingian.

The Palatine Chapel in Aachen Ceiling

The Carolingian architecture was recognizable by its use of classic architecture features such as basilica and classical columns.

Early medieval architecture was religious and secular as well. The palace of Santa María del Naranco in pre-Romanesque Spain is an example of such architecture.

The Romanesque style of Medieval architecture included the style of architecture of buildings that were mostly constructed in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Exterior-Romanesque Architecture Church

The exterior of a Romanesque Architecture style Church from medieval times

After Roman Imperial architecture, the Romanesque style was the first pan-European style.

Romanesque Architecture Interior Arches

In the Romanesque style of architecture round or slightly pointed arches were used along with barrel vaults, and cruciform piers that supported these vaults. The gothic style of medieval architecture also emerged during the 11th and 12th centuries.

The most first example of such a style of architecture was the 12th-century abbey church of Saint-Denis in Saint-Denis near Paris.

Cathedrals were taller and because of competition and the prestige of image and power, new churches/cathedrals were built as high as possible.

Italian Medieval Cathedral

Stunning medieval Italian Gothic Cathedral

 Medieval Timeline

The medieval times are also commonly known as the middle ages and began around c. 476 as the Roman Empire collapsed.

The medieval period lasted approximately one thousand years up until late into the 15th century, it came to an end with the beginning of the great renaissance period around c.1492.

fall of rome

Anglo Saxon Period c.410-1100 *Migration *Angles *Saxons *Jutes

The Anglo Saxons were are Germanic tribes called the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes  from Denmark and Northern Germany who settled in England from around c.400

Anglo Saxon Timeline

Viking Age  *c.750 – 1100  *Raiders *Looters *Longboats *Traders

The Vikings were tribes from the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Viking Longboats viking raids with sail 1

At home, Vikings were mainly peaceful farmers, during the periods of c.800 – 1100 the Vikings raided all along the coast of European countries, bringing terror across lands they looted, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

viking warrior berserker

The Danes ruled a large part of Northern and Eastern England from the 9th to the 11th century until the Normans conquered these areas, this was known as Danelaw. The Normans were in fact also descendants of the Vikings.

Norman Period (Reign) c. 1066 – 1154 *Conquest *Feudalism *Duke of Normandy

There were some truly remarkable events that changed the course of history during medieval times such as the Norman conquest, Feudalism, the signing of the Magna Carta, and the Black Death to name a few.

Norman Knights

The image shows the weaponry, shields, and horses used by medieval Norman knights

The House of Plantagenet 1154 – 1485 (Cadet Branches House of Lancaster 1399 – 1461 * House of York 1461 – 1485)

Plantagenent 1

The House of Plantagenet ruled England after the reign of the Normans from 1154.

Plantagenet rule came to an end at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 in which the Yorkist king Richard III was killed, they were succeeded by the Tudor Dynasty.


Battle of Bosworth

House of Plantagenet Cadet Branches

*House of Lancaster 1399 – 1461

*House of York 1461 – 1485

  • From 1399 a cadet breakaway branch of the Royal house of Plantagenet ruled England called the House of Lancaster. (Red Rose)
  • In 1461 another breakaway cadet branch of the Royal house of Plantagenets was formed called the House of York. (White Rose)
Wars of the roses emblems

White Rose York – Red Rose Lancaster

The House of York and Lancaster became rivals and became involved in a power struggle with one another in the remaining years of Plantagenet rule.

What Does Cadet Branch Mean?

This term is used to describe a ruler’s younger sons who were called (cadets) So basically, these breakaway family members started a family feud over control of the Plantagenet kingdom.

Who were the Plantagenets?

The Plantagenets were a very powerful family from the Anjou region of France.

Who was the First Plantagenet King?

Henry II was the First Plantagenet King on the English throne from 1154


King Henry II First Plantagenet King

Who was the Last Plantagenet King?

Richard III was the last Plantagenet king (House of York) – he was killed in the Battle of Bosworth.


King Richard III *England’s Last Plantagenet King

Were the Plantagenet Good Rulers?

The Plantagenets were very powerful rulers and there were many major events during their rule, they had good and bad points during their 331-year reign.

Plantagenet Rule *Good

  • Creation and signing of the Magna Carta one the most important documents in English history
  • Introduced a sophisticated justice system
  • Creation of a distinctly English national identity
  • Creation of the English language as the primary language

King John Signs the Magna Carta in 1215

Plantagenet Rule *Bad

  • The Plantagenets Started the 100 years war with France
  • Plantagenets were defeated in the Hundred Years’ war with France
  • During their reign, there were economic and political problems that led to social unrest and many Revolts
  • High taxation was introduced throughout the Kingdom
  • Freedom was restricted during their reign *Which led to the creation of the Magna Carta

Hundred Years War Battle of Crécy 1346

End of the Plantagenet Rule

The warring factions of the Plantagenet Cadet branches of the House of York and Lancaster for overall control led to a 10-year war called the War of the Roses in which there were many battles across England.


Battle of Tewkesbury *War of the Roses

Why was it called the War of the Roses?

The House of York was represented by a white rose the House of Lancaster a red rose, this led to the term ‘war of the Roses’.

Wars of the roses emblems

Who Won the War of the Roses

The War of the Roses led to the destruction of both houses and the Plantagenet dynasty, the last Plantagenet ruler Richard III was killed during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Wars of The Roses King Richard

What Happened Next?

The end of the Plantagenet dynasty created a new dynasty called the Tudors

Henry VII (January 1457 – 1509) was the King of England and Lord of Ireland and the first King of the Tudor Dynasty, his reign lasted from 1485 until his death in 1509.

Henry Tudor

First Tudor King Henry VII *Reigned from 1485.

The Tudors centralised their power which gave them more control, the English Renaissance followed, this was the creation of early modern Britain.

So what happened to the Plantagenets?

In reality, the same families ruled but with more control as Henry VII the first Tudor King was from the House of Lancaster, he later married Elizabeth of York.

Elizabeth of York Medieval Queens

Elizabeth of York

Tudor Period 1485 – 1603 *Post Medieval Period


Tudor Dynasty Badge

The Royal Badge of the Tudor Dynasty

Medieval Knights Lords and Feudalism

This diagram shows the connection between medieval Knights and Lords in the Feudal system

A Medieval Kings is Crowned

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