The castle structure was well known in the Middle Ages, but its origin is older and has precedents in classical Greece. A mere wooden barrier was used as a defensive fence, but the evolution of weaponry and military techniques made this system useless; later on, the solidity of the stone constructions and the height of the walls was relied on.
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Unlike the trebuchet, the ballista is a so-called “spring” gear. Its operation is based on various mechanisms using the action of two levers on torsion springs, consisting of several bundles of twisted fibers. Early versions threw heavy arrows or spherical projectiles, like stones of different sizes.
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In the Europe of the Middle Ages, there was the paradox of universal tolerance on the one hand and conviction regarding prostitution on the other. Although technically a sin (because it revolves around the act of fornication), prostitution was recognized by the Church and other sectors as a ‘necessary evil’. It was accepted as the fact that young men sought sex regardless of their options, therefore prostitution served to protect respectable women from seduction and even rape. In 1358, the Great Council of Venice declared that prostitution is “absolutely indispensable for the world”. Even though it was accepted as a lesser evil, the Church did not hesitate to declare prostitution a “morally wrong practice”, even though St. Augustine proclaimed that “if prostitution of society is expelled, everything is disrupted by passions.”
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Hastings, Bouvines, Agincourt – the Middle Ages seem to be replete with renowned battles; in fact, for a long time, the medieval war has been studied almost exclusively through the shocks recorded at the time. However, it is relatively rare to find battles in the full sense of the word: what predominates are mainly campaigns and sieges, since this is the type of actions that define the war in this period. The fact is that the number of skirmishes, singular battles, and major military clashes far exceeds that of events such as Battles of Hastings and Agincourt in the medieval world.
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The Inquisition was a medieval ecclesiastical court whose purpose was to seek and prosecute heretics. Very hard in its procedures, the Inquisition was defended in the Middle Ages by appealing to biblical practices, which St. Augustine already interpreted as a support for the use of force against heretics.
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The fall of the Roman Empire meant that many of its hygienic practices were soon lost. During the Middle Ages, most people did not have access to safe drinking water, a regular bathroom or a sewage system. Hunger and disease were very common.
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The term ‘monk’ comes from the Latin ‘monachus’ and means ‘someone who lives alone’. The monk was a man who sought to live apart from the world, in order to pursue an ideal of holiness.
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The Black Death was a great epidemic that devastated almost the entire European continent between 1347 and 1351. Also called Bubonic Plague, by the characteristic ‘bubo’ which is nothing other than swollen lymph nodes. This pest belongs to rodents and is transferred from rat to rat through the fleas, and from these to humans through the bites.
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Living in the Middle Ages was not easy and losing one’s life as a young man was very common.
Before the vaccines, antibiotics or even the use of minimal hygiene measures, any disease that would be perfectly treatable today, like the most common infections, in the Middle Ages could be a death sentence. Even a superficial wound could kill you if it became infected, not a few those who lost members or the life product of the gangrene.
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Heraldry was born during the twelfth century and was a language based on symbols. According to the dominant theory, the heraldry would have been born from the need to identify knights, who would not be able to recognize because the helmet would hide their faces.
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