The Topic:
Medieval Times

Easier - The medieval period in history was between the 5th and 15th centuries. Also called the Middle Ages, it was a time of change in Western Europe. It began with the fall of the Roman Empire to invading German tribes. Western Europe broke into many separate kingdoms. Trade collapsed, people made their living from the land, and the feudal system began. The early Middle Ages are called the "Dark Ages" because the learning and culture of ancient Greece and Rome almost disappeared. The medieval period ended when the Renaissance swept across Europe.
Harder - The medieval period, also known as the Middle Ages, was the era between ancient and modern times. Before medieval times, all of western Europe was part of the Roman Empire. Exact dates for the beginning and end of these eras do not exist. Rather the fall of the Roman Empire happened over a period of several hundred years as the Roman Empire weakened and Germanic tribes from the Scandinavian regions were able to conquer, eventually leading to a new way of life.
Compared to the citizenry of Ancient Rome, most Germans were uneducated. They were a rough-looking people clothed in animal skins and coarse linen. Called barbarians, these fierce people lived in tribes governed by a chief. They lived mainly by hunting and employing a crude level of farming. Their laws were based on tribal customs and superstition rather than a strong system of laws. They were fierce and bold warriors, battling with spears, clubs, and shields.
The barbarian invasions destroyed most of the European trade. The stone road system that was developed to connect prosperous cities of the Roman Empire was abandoned. Communication slowed; money almost went completely out of use. By the ninth century AD, most of western Europe was carved into large manor estates ruled by landlords. Most people became poor peasants who worked the land. Some towns were completely abandoned and disappeared as the people moved to the countryside. Each manor was supported almost entirely by the production of its inhabitants. Most of the state and city schools closed and education and cultural activities ceased. Few people could read or write and the developments of ancient literature, architecture, painting, and sculpture were forgotten.
Medieval life eventually combined the ways of Germanic people with practices of ancient Rome and Greece, but was also influenced by the Muslims of Spain and the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire of southeastern Europe. Some adopted elements of their Roman neighbors, accepting Christianity as their religion, farming the land, and trading with merchants. The church became the single great force that bound Europe together during this feudal period.
Internet Medieval Sourcebook by P. Halsall
This huge site contains information on various time periods and medieval topics.
Other Comprehensive Websites:
2) Medieval Europe from Exploring Ancient World Cultures at University of Evansville
3) Medieval Europe by E.L. Knox
4) Medieval World by N.B. Mautz from Development of Western Civilization
5) WWW Medieval Resources (Literature and culture) by D.W. Mosser at Virginia Tech
6) WWW Virtual Library: History Index of Medieval Europe from Michigan State University
Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies by D. Everhart and M. Irvine from Georgetown University
This is a standard starting point for medieval studies on the Internet.
Other Starting Point Sites:
2) Medieval Studies from Stanford University Libraries
3) NetSERF by A.C. Harbin
Middle Ages from the eMuseum at Minnesota State University at Mankato
Take a journey into medieval times on guided tours offered by a knight, a merchant, a nun, and a peasant.
Related Websites About Life in Medieval Times:
2) Grantchester: A Medieval Village
3) Medieval England - Daily Life in Medieval Towns
4) Middle Ages
5) Middle Ages
6) Middle Ages from Annenberg/CPB
7) Medieval English Towns
The Online Resource Book for Medieval Studies (ORB) is a cooperative effort on the part of scholars across the Internet to establish an online textbook source for medieval studies on the Web.
You may also want to visit these related websites: (1) Renaissance, (2) Vikings, (3) Explorers, and (4) Castles - - also from eduScapes 42eXplore.
After visiting several of the websites, complete one or more of the following projects.
Make Chain Mail Armor. Are you the kind of person that has several hours of free-time available each day? Then consider becoming an Apprentice Armorer! Visit the Apprentice Armorer's Illustrated Handbook For Making Mail and get step-by-step instructions.
Create Some Window Art. Follow the procedures found at Quick and Fun, Easy to Make-Paper Stained Glass by L. Seiler to make a paper stained glass project.
Complete A Medieval WebQuest. Adapt or follow the procedures found at one of the following webQuest sites.
1) Account of My Days: Coming of Age in Medieval England (Grades 6-8)
2) Castle Builder (Grade 7) by L.M. Ricchiuti
3) Medieval Times (Grades 4-6) by J. Horton
4) Medieval WebQuest by K. Yelito
5) Medieval WebQuest (Grades 3-5)
Make Your Own Coat of Arms. First learn about shields, knights and heraldry at (1) Heraldry, (2) Heraldry (pdf document) from Active History, (3) Meanings Behind the Symbols from Fleur-de-lis Designs, (4) Heraldry Game from Owl & Mouse Educational Software and the other related websites. Next, you can download free software to make your own shields at Shields, Knights and Heraldry.
Unravel A Cartoon Mystery. Visit the Medieval Cartoon website and see if you can decipher the meaning of the detailed 1233 cartoon.
Practice Medieval Medicine. First, learn about Medieval medical practices at sites like (1) Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and (2) Health from Annenberg/CPB. Then try your hand at Medieval medicine at Medieval M.D from Annenberg/CPB.
Websites By Kids For Kids
Dominion and Domination of the Gentle Sex: The Lives of Medieval Women (1997 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
The day-to-day lives of medieval women of all classes and callings are often glossed over in modern history courses in favor of sequences of events. Not so here. This is the '"City of Women."
Harps and Heralds: A Study of Medieval England (2002 ThinkQuest USA)
This website about medieval England covers dragons, knights, unicorns, music, royalty, castles, Robin Hood, medicine and more.
Magnificent Medieval Times (2000 ThinkQuest Junior)
Here you will journey back in time to learn about kings, queens, peasants, castles, knights, and more.
Related ThinkQuest Junior Projects:
2) Medieval Madness (2000)
3) Medieval Realms (2002)
4) Medieval Times (2000)
Medieval Madness (Grade 6)
Welcome all ye lords and ladies of the manor! Enter this site to learn of the time in history we call the "Middle Ages."
Medieval Times from Elanora Heights Primary School
Here you can read summaries about kings, artists, poets, and other interesting folks from this era, like Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Da Vinci.
Similar Student Project Sites:
2) Life in the Middle Ages (Grades 4-5)
3) Middle Ages
Medieval Warfare (2002 ThinkQuest USA)
This site has information about the different areas of warfare in the medieval times.
World of Castles by P. Hover & D. Olivier (1997 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
If you're interested in buying a castle, or maybe just curious about castles and what it's like to live in one, check out the extensive listing of the world's castles.
Related Websites:
2) Ian's Land of Castles by I. Burns
3) Medieval Castle (2000 ThinkQuest Internet Challenge)
4) Medieval Castles (2001 ThinkQuest Junior Project)
5) Welcome to the Manor: A Guide through Medieval Life (2002)
More Websites
Angelcynn: Anglo-Saxon Living History 400-900 AD
This group seeks to recreate all aspects of life in the period; food, crafts, warfare, pastimes, in fact everything that made up the life of these first English people.
Related Websites:
2) Anglo-Saxon Culture
3) Regia Anglorum: Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Norman and British Living History
Art of the Middle Ages by C. Witcombe
Here you find an extensive collection of web-links covering art of the Medieval period.
Battle of Hastings 1066
This site site offers a fascinating view of how the confluence of cultures shaped a nation; an in-depth look at Angles, Saxons, and Jutes and their roles in the history of England.
Beyond Legend: Arthur Reconsidered by C.A. Richmond from The Concord Review
Written from the assumption that King Arthur did indeed exist, this paper endeavors to examine this 'fictional' character's historicity, using the available resources to prove the thesis.
Boke of Gode Cookery
Each historically accurate recipe is written in both Middle English and contemporary English, and each includes modifications for the modern kitchen. The only hard part will be deciding between Dragontail and Lardy Jacks & Johnny Boys.
Related Sites:
2) Medieval and Anglo Saxon Recipes
3) Medieval European Recipes Collection from J.A. Newbury
4) Medieval/Renaissance Food Homepage from Society for Creative Anachronism
Castles on the Web
Castles on the Web offers castle links, castle photos, castle site of the day, castles for kids, free castle web pages and more!
Other Castle Resources:
2) Castle Learning Center
3) Castles of Wales
4) Castles - Medieval
5) Kids' Castle
6) Life in a Medieval Castle
Decameron Web
In its hundred stories, shared in ten days by ten young people escaping the Plague in mid-14th-century Florence, this medieval book combines sheer entertainment with a meaningful humanistic message.
Doomesday Book
The Domesday book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).
Footwear of the Middle Ages by I.M. Carlson
This site provides a detailed description of shoes worn during the Middle Ages.
Glossary for Medieval Art and Architecture
Here you can get definitions and illustrations of words like sarcophagus, atrium, and jamb. Hear their pronunciations too!
Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Instruments (Musical instruments)
This website provides sounds, pictures, and descriptions of instruments used during these time periods.
Related Website:
2) Instruments of Música Antigua
Heraldry on the Internet
Designed to help conduct heraldry searches, this site provides information on coat of arms and contains clip art. There are links to arm and armor, flags, and other medieval resources.
Related Website:
2) Heraldry Origins - The Origins and Meaning of Heraldry by J.C. Wolf
Images of Medieval Art and Architecture by A. Stones
The purpose of this site is to promote education and research in Medieval art and architecture.
Invasion of England, 1066, an EyeWitness Account from Ibis Communications, Inc.
King Edward of England (called "The Confessor" because of his construction of Westminster Abbey) died on January 5, 1066, after a reign of 23 years. Leaving no heirs, Edward's passing ignited a three-way rivalry for the crown that culminated in the Battle of Hastings and the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon rule of England.
Other EyeWitness Accounts from Ibis Communications, Inc.:
2) Crusaders Capture Jerusalem, 1099
3) Murder of Thomas Becket, 1170
4) Richard The Lionheart Massacres The Saracens, 1191
5) Kublai Khan In Battle, 1287
6) Black Death, 1348
Knighthood, Chivalry & Tournament Resource Library
Here is information on swordsmanship, arms and armor, chivalry, etc.
Les Tres Riches Heures Du Duc de Berry
The Tres Riches Heures is the classic example of a medieval book of hours. The pictures in this directory are from the calendar section of the Tres Riches Heures. This was painted some time between 1412 and 1416 and is arguably the most beautiful part of the manuscript; it is certainly the best known, being one of the great art treasures of France.
Luminarium: Anthology of Middle English Literature (1350-1485) by A. Jokinen.
This site provides a starting point for students and enthusiasts of English Literature.
Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Medicine during the Medieval period changed in a number of ways, often for the worse.
Related Website:
2) Health from Annenberg/CPB
Medieval & Renaissance Europe: Primary Historical Documents from Brigham Young University
This centralized site contains links to many valuable and some trivial documents of the Middle Ages. The materials include facsimiles and English translations of religious texts, political agreements, and social commentary -- from the Crusades to the Holy Roman Empire.
Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Page by K.S. Thomas
This site provides an overview of Christian wedding customs in Western Europe during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Medieval Britain Index from Britannia
This index connects to articles on history, biographies, activities, and events of the Middle Ages.
Related Websites:
2) Timeline of Medieval Britain from Britannia
Medieval European Costume Links from The Costumer's Manifesto
Are you interested in how they dressed in Medieval times? This site links to several online resources.
Medieval Manuscript Manual from the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University, Budapest
Learn about the history of books, their function and use, structure and typology, the use of illumination, and more.
Related Websites:
2) Making an Illustrated Cover Illustration by R. Asplund
3) Manuscripts, Books, and Maps: The Printing Press and a Changing World
4) Some Medieval Manuscripts
Medieval Metalwork and Enamels from the National Gallery of Art
This exhibit features features eight works from different centuries. Each of the object types originally served sacred purposes.
Medieval Names Archive
This collection of articles provides authentic names for the medieval and renaissance time periods.
Medieval Science Page by J. McNelis
This site links to resources which deal with aspects of medieval science, both in Western and other cultures.
Medieval Technology by P.J. Gans from New York University
Learn about items of daily life - - information on technological innovation and related subjects in western Europe during the Middle Ages.
Medieval Women: An Interactive Exploration
This interactive presentation conveys what it might have been like to live as a woman in the Middle Ages.
Related Website:
2) Women in the Middle Ages
Medieval Siege from PBS NOVA's Secrets of Lost Empires
Here, experts examine medieval war strategies, weapons, and castle design. See how the devastating giant trebuchet could smash castle walls!
Middle Byzantine Period: The "Second Golden Age" of Byzantium from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
As Western Europe sank into the Dark Ages, the Eastern Empire rose in prominence and splendor.
Old English Pages
Here are annotated links to texts, manuscript images, historical resources, courses and other educational resources relevant to Old English literature.
Online Medieval and Classical Library (OMACL)
Here is a collection of some of the most important literary works of Classical and Medieval civilization.
Outlaws and Highwaymen by G. Spragg
This site draws on street ballads and social commentary, reportage and satire, gossip and high literature, popular anecdotes and criminal biographies in charting the images of the highway robber.
Society for Creative Anachronism
This international organization is dedicated to researching and re-creating pre-17th-century European history. Don't get lost in this huge resource!
Related Website:
2) Sir Clisto Seversword's Tome of Adventure & Knowledge by J.M. Brunette
Thomas Beckett by S. McLetchie
This website is devoted to collecting resources for the study of Thomas Becket and the controversies surrounding him.
Westminster Abbey
An architectural masterpiece of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, Westminster Abbey also presents a unique pageant of British history - the Confessor’s Shrine, the tombs of Kings and Queens, and countless memorials to the famous and the great.
Related Websites:
2) Arches from BBC Online
3) Wells Cathedral
4) Wells Cathedral from BBC Online
Websites For Teachers
Catherine Called Birdie (Grades 6-9) by M. Densmore & J. Nolasco from Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE)
This cyberguide for the Karen Cushman book, Catherine, Called Birdy addresses the girl, Catherine, moving into adolescence and her objections to the many rich suitors arranged by her father. It also focuses on Christianity in the Middle Ages.
Chaucer's Wife of Bath (Grades 9-12) from EDSITEment
This lesson introduces students to one of the most admired characterizations in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the Wife of Bath.
Exploring Arthurian Legend (Grades 9-12) from EDSITEment
The goals of this lesson plan are to examine the historical origins of the Arthurian legend; to investigate how medieval historians and storytellers reflected the concerns of their own times in their treatment of the legend; to gain insight into the use of literature as historical evidence.
Machiavelli’s The Prince (Grades 9-12) from Discovery School
Students examine and evaluate Machiavelli’s controversial enumeration of leadership qualities for a prince.
Medieval Feasts (Grades 3-4) by C. Cox, N. Kessler, K. Helton and S. Hanson from AskERIC . . .
To familiarize students with a social aspect of the Middle Ages, with great feast being the focus of this lesson.
Medieval Law and Order
This worksheet explains Medieval Law and Order by covering trial by ordeal and Henry II's changes to English law.
Related Documents:
2) Church
3) Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages
4) Foul Food in Medieval England . . .
5) How Did the Villagers People Punish . . .
Medieval Times—A Novel Study Using Literature Circles (Grades 6-8) from C·R·E·A·T·E for Mississippi
This cooperative novel study is done in conjunction with a history emphasis on the Middle Ages.
Middle Ages: Twelve Activities Take Students Back in Time! (Grades 4-5) from Education World
Learn how a unit on the Middle Ages inspired great writing; includes a dozen activities for teaching.
Pedagogical Resources from The Labyrinth
This links-page connects to outlines, syllabi, and assignments for courses in Medieval studies.
Times Medieval (Grades K-5) from Discovery School
Knights in shining armor, tales of valor and bravery, magnificent castles rising out of the mist-they're all here in this four-part lesson (Accompanies a TLC video series) that looks at the Age of Chivalry.
Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Medieval Siege from PBS NOVA Online
This lesson designed to accompany the television program has students design a working model of a trebuchet and demonstrate the power of a Class 1 lever.
Middle Ages
central lord
king & queen
"black death"
ancient Rome
knight & knighthood
land grant
Thomas Beckett
Dark Ages
feudal system
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 5/03.