Medieval

Home » Medieval

Roger Bacon – Medieval science

By | 2017-08-04T13:48:55+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Roger Bacon's diagram of a human eye Roger Bacon was born in England maybe about 1210 AD. It was late in the reign of King John. (That's the one in Robin Hood.) England was just beginning to get richer from raising and selling high quality wool cloth on the Silk Road. In addition, a warmer climate - the Medieval Warm period - was making [...]

Medieval math in Europe

By | 2017-08-04T13:22:07+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Math, Medieval|

Math was a very exciting subject to be working on during the Middle Ages in Europe. Little by little, math experts in Europe were learning from Islamic math experts about what we call Arabic numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) (though the numbers came originally from India). Leaning Tower of Pisa (built while Fibonacci was a child) The first of these experts was Adelard [...]

Medieval astronomy in Europe

By | 2017-08-04T13:14:22+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Astrolabe in Hebrew, probably from Spain (1300s AD) In the early Middle Ages, most people in Europe were too poor to have much time for astronomy. But some people were still interested in the stars. Astrologers tried to predict the future. Monks wanted to figure out the right day to celebrate Easter, or the right times for prayers. And a few [...]

Medieval science in Europe

By | 2017-08-04T12:44:28+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Italian pharmacy jar, about 1400 AD (Metropolitan Museum, New York) During the Middle Ages, the best scientists and doctors weren't in Europe. They were in the Islamic Empire to the south and east. Most of the science and medicine that people were doing in Europe was learning from Islamic scientists and doctors. Trade across the Mediterranean helped [...]

Tithes – medieval Church taxes

By | 2017-08-04T11:55:35+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Medieval tithe barn (Germany) In the Middle Ages, the Catholic church in Europe collected a tax of its own, separate from the kings' taxes, which was called a tithe. Tithe means "one-tenth", because people were supposed to give the Church one-tenth of all the income they earned. The priests and bishops kept the tithes in tithe barns like this one. You had [...]

What is a pilgrimage? Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-04T11:53:32+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Chartres on the horizon In the Middle Ages, many people - both men and women - went on short or long pilgrimages. A pilgrimage is a trip you take to a famous religious place. Christians, Jews, and Muslims went on pilgrimages. Most people walked, and others rode horses or went in carts. The people in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are a group of [...]

Medieval religions in Europe

By | 2017-08-04T11:43:23+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Mary window at Chartres Cathedral People think of the Middle Ages as a very religious period, when the Christian Church was the most important institution and everybody prayed all the time. Certainly this is the time when Europeans built their the great cathedrals. And it's also when the Church opened the great universities at Paris, Tubingen, Cambridge, and [...]

Francis of Assisi – Medieval Europe

By | 2017-08-04T11:34:35+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Francis gives his father back his clothes (Giotto, in Assisi) By 1200 AD, the Catholic Church was very powerful. Bishops and popes were often rich men. They cared more about getting rich collecting tithes than they did about praying or helping poor people. Then in 1205, a young man named Francis, from the town of Assisi in northern Italy, had a [...]

Christmas in medieval Europe

By | 2017-08-04T10:44:00+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Nativity mosaic (St. Maria in Trastevere, Rome ca. 1300 AD) Beginning about 300 AD, people began to think that December 25th was the day when Jesus was born. So they celebrated that day as Christmas. Probably this was mainly because there was already an important Roman holiday at this time - Saturnalia. Christian bishops were eager to replace [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Medieval philosophy

By | 2017-08-04T10:09:31+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

A book in Thomas Aquinas' handwriting For many years before Thomas Aquinas was born, men like Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushdin the Abbasid Empire had been reading the Quran, and reading Aristotle, and trying to find ways to get these two important books to agree with each other. They were trying to explain how the universe worked in a way that honored [...]