The Middle Ages began in the year 476 A.D. and ended around 1300 with the beginning of the Renaissance. The Middle Ages, also called the Medieval Period, began just after the fall of Rome and it dominated the European continent through the early 14th century. The Middle Ages filled a time period between the ending of a great reign and the beginning of a new era characterized by revitalization and cultural growth.
The primary residents of European castles during the Middle Ages were the lord and lady of the realm. These might be royalty or simply the liege lords of the district where the castle was built.
Medieval knights were the professional warrior class of Europe, responsible for defending their feudal lord's territory from rival lords and keeping the local serfdom in line with the lord's rule. Knights were frequently members of the noble class, with the title inherited through the father, but it was also a title granted as a reward for chivalrous deeds. In the late medieval period, noble and warrior classes became more static.
A number of superstitious and pseudo-scientific beliefs arose around the causes of the spread of the bubonic plague, known to historians as the Black Death, and people ended up barricading themselves from society, flagellating one another with whips, and enacting several other stratagems to try to keep from contracting the disease.
The exact number of people who died during the construction of the Great Wall of China is unknown; however, it is estimated that up to 1,000,000 people lost their lives. Over 2000 years ago, Emperor Qin commanded the original construction of the Great Wall of China.
The term known as the Middle Ages is synonymous with the Dark Ages for several reasons as the period between 500-1500 A.D. included political turmoil, social unrest and the spread of disease. The Middle Ages brought great change to Europe in many respects, including social mobility, politics and the way of life. Some changes proved beneficial, but the time period experienced negative effects from the change too.
The medieval period encompasses the fifth to 14th or 15th centuries. Historians date this period from the collapse of the Roman Empire until the dawn of the Renaissance.
Negative effects of the Crusades included the repeated defeats of the Christian armies, the slaughter of innocents and the looting of Constantinople. The destruction of Constantinople severed any hope of mending the East-West schism in Christianity, and this event left the Byzantine Empire vulnerable to the Ottoman Empire.
During the Viking Age, between the seventh and 11th centuries, Norse traders, raiders and colonists established a presence in countries as far apart as modern-day Canada and Iran. The Vikings emerged mostly from coastal communities in Norway, Denmark and Sweden to explore, and eventually settle in, most European and Mediterranean countries. They established colonies in North America and maintained a presence in Greenland that lasted nearly 500 years.
Angkor Wat, located in what today is Cambodia, was built as a temple in honor of the Hindu god Vishnu, the supreme god of the Vaisenavites. The name "Angkor Wat" means "temple city."
The Zhou Dynasty, also spelled "Chou," was the longest dynasty in the history of China. Though exact dates are unknown, scholars and archaeologists place the Zhou Dynasty reign from about 1046 B.C. to 256 B.C.
The roles of a king during Medieval Europe included land ownership, warfare leadership and lawmaker. A king allowed knights, barons and lords to live on his land, as long as they provided armies of men to fight wars. When kings fought neighboring kingdoms, he led his men into battle. Kings were supreme rulers of their lands, and they meted out justice as they saw fit.
The Vikings invented the longboat during the Vikings Age from 800 to 1100 A.D. This type of ship helped them travel the oceans to reach France, England, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Vinland and the Middle East. Thus, they became a dominant force in European medieval trade, politics and warfare.
Marco Polo and his family traveled through Asia to bring a letter from the Pope, Christian scholars and oil from the lamp at the Holy Sepulchre to Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan was the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. As merchants, they also conducted business along the way.
Galileo is famous for many things but is probably best known for discovering Jupiter's four moons. The moons around Jupiter are called "Gallilean moons."
The crusades were ultimately won in the East by the Muslims when the Bahri Mamluks conquered Acre in 1291. While crusades were mounted even after this point, political witch-hunts mounted against the Knights Templar by King Philip IV of France made further major crusades in the Levant impractical.
The Crusades were a series of holy wars fueled by two major causes: the Pope's desire to expand the Holy Roman Empire and the reclamation of the Holy Land. In the 11th century, Christians and Muslims were at odds over the ownership of Jerusalem, a holy site for both Christianity and Islam.
A female emperor is properly termed an empress or an empress regnant. Emperors and empresses reign over empires and are generally conceded to outrank kings. Reigning empresses rarely conquer their own territories but instead inherit from a husband or father.
Mansa Musa assumed the position of ruler of Mali during the 14th century, and later embarked on a journey to Mecca, becoming the first African ruler to do so. Mansa Musa was born in 1280 A.D., and died in 1337. His life achievements included promoting the Muslim religion, and supporting unprecedented growth of the arts and education.
Knights performed military services for lords within a kingdom. Clergymen during the Crusades established a moral code in which a knight must also protect churches, women, orphans and the weak.
King Charles VI of France was prone to bouts of insanity where, among other things, he didn’t recognize his family or thought he was made of glass. Modern doctors think he may have suffered from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.