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The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages comprise the period in European history that began with the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE and lasted until the dawn of the Renaissance in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century. This interval of time saw the development of the Gothic style of art and architecture, flying buttresses and all. It was also the era of the Crusades and of papal monarchy, and it was during this period that the idea of Europe as a distinct cultural unit emerged.

The Middle Ages Encyclopedia Articles

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Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which survived for a thousand years after the western half had crumbled into various feudal kingdoms and which finally fell to Ottoman Turkish onslaughts in 1453. The very name Byzantine illustrates the misconceptions to which the empire’s...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
The Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child (centre), Justinian (left) holding a model of the Hagia Sophia, and Constantine (right) holding a model of the city of Constantinople; mosaic from the Hagia Sophia, 9th century.
Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition, (1478–1834), judicial institution ostensibly established to combat heresy in Spain. In practice, the Spanish Inquisition served to consolidate power in the monarchy of the newly unified Spanish kingdom, but it achieved that end through infamously brutal methods. The medieval...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
Spanish Inquisition
Magna Carta
Magna Carta, charter of English liberties granted by King John on June 15, 1215, under threat of civil war and reissued, with alterations, in 1216, 1217, and 1225. By declaring the sovereign to be subject to the rule of law and documenting the liberties held by “free men,” the Magna Carta provided...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
Opening of the preamble to Magna Carta of 1215; in the British Library (Cotton MS Augustus II 106).
Battle of Agincourt
Battle of Agincourt, (October 25, 1415), decisive battle in the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) that resulted in the victory of the English over the French. The English army, led by King Henry V, famously achieved victory in spite of the numerical superiority of its opponent. The battle repeated...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
Agincourt, Battle of
St. Joan of Arc
St. Joan of Arc, ; canonized May 16, 1920; feast day May 30; French national holiday, second Sunday in May), national heroine of France, a peasant girl who, believing that she was acting under divine guidance, led the French army in a momentous victory at Orléans that repulsed an English attempt to...
Biography
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: painting of Joan of Arc
Charlemagne
Charlemagne, king of the Franks (768–814), king of the Lombards (774–814), and first emperor (800–814) of the Romans and of what was later called the Holy Roman Empire. Around the time of the birth of Charlemagne—conventionally held to be 742 but likely to be 747 or 748—his father, Pippin III (the...
Biography
Dürer, Albrecht: portrait of Charlemagne
Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople, (May 29, 1453), conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire. The dwindling Byzantine Empire came to an end when the Ottomans breached Constantinople’s ancient land wall after besieging the city for 55 days. Mehmed surrounded Constantinople from land...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
The Byzantine Empire.
Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years’ War, intermittent struggle between England and France in the 14th–15th century over a series of disputes, including the question of the legitimate succession to the French crown. The struggle involved several generations of English and French claimants to the crown and actually...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
Hundred Years' War; Crécy, Battle of
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire, the varying complex of lands in western and central Europe ruled over first by Frankish and then by German kings for 10 centuries (800–1806). (For histories of the territories governed at various times by the empire, see France; Germany; Italy.) The precise term Sacrum Romanum...
Encyclopedia / The Middle Ages
Orb of the Holy Roman Empire, 12th century; in the Hofburg treasury, Vienna.

The Middle Ages Encyclopedia Articles

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