Updated March 2015
THE MIDDLE AGES FROM A-Z
The Middle Ages lasted from the 5th through the 15th century throughout the world.
Sometimes it is called Midieval Times.
Facts about the Middle Ages for each letter of the alphabet
Click on highlighted word for more information.
A IS FOR AFRICA, ARCHITECTURE, ART, ASIA, & AUSTRALIA
B IS FOR BELLS & BLACK DEATH
AFRICA remained a mystery to the rest of the world during the Middle Ages, but many civilizations flourished there. At various times, some African societies equalled or surpassed European nations in culture, education, and wealth.
There were several styles of
ARCHITECTURE in Europe during the Middle Ages.
Gothic architecture flourished during the high and late medieval period. The
Orient had several styles of architecture. The architecture of the
Middle East came from many traditions.
ART in the Middle Ages included
stained glass, and
Icons were called "The Windows of Heaven".
Byzantine Art was the name given to the art in very early Middle Ages. The
Dark Ages Art were followed by the
Medieval Art ending with
During the Middle Ages,
ASIA had far surpassed the West in the development of warfare, communication, and science. Ceramics and porcelain production flourished in Vietnam.
During the Middle Ages,
AUSTRALIA was inhabited by
C IS FOR CASTLES, CATHEDRALS, CLOTHING, & CRUSADES
The origin of
BELLS is unknown, but they were used throughout the world during the Middle ages. During this time the use of bells was steeped in superstition.
In the 14th century, many people around the world were devastated by the bubonic plague - The
BLACK DEATH. The people in Eastern Europe had little contact with other people so it did not reach them. Another illness was
Dancing Mania also known as St. Vitus Dance. There were many
health problems during the Middle Ages and medical knowledge was limited.
Herbs were often used to treat medical conditions.
D IS FOR DARK AGES
CASTLES were built throughout the world during the Middle Ages.
Windsor Castle is said to be the oldest and largest castle in the world.
Burg Eltz Castle is one of the best perserved medieval castles in Europe.
CATHEDRALS were an important part of the Middle Ages. Unique
stave churches were built. The name derives from the buildings' structure of post and lintel construction, a type of timber framing where the load-bearing posts are called stafr in Old Norse and stav in modern Norwegian. Most of the surviving stave churches are in Norway.
During the Middle Ages, all of the
CLOTHING was made by hand. The traditional
Japanese kimono evolved during the Middle Ages. The
spinning wheel evolved from ancient times and was greatly improved during the Middle Ages. There were several types of
shoes and different methods for making them.
During the Middle Ages, the
CRUSADES were an attempt to regain the Holy Land.
DARK AGES describes the early Middle Ages in Europe, but they were anything but dark in other parts of the world. During this time, the
Mayans were the most technologically advanced people on earth and devised an elaborate calendar, built great cities, produced beautiful art, and charted stars and planets. The Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa studied and improved on the works of the ancient Greeks. Civilization flourished in sub-Saharan Africa, China, and India.
E IS FOR EASTERN EUROPE, EMPIRES, & EUROPE
F IS FOR FAIRS, FOOD, & FEUDALISM
G IS FOR GAMES, & GUILDS
FAIRS were some of the most colorful events in the Middle Ages. They were held once a year but lasted weeks and sometimes months. Some were
Champagne Fairs held in France consisted of 6 fairs spaced throughout the year.
Renaissance Fairs & Festivals are held throughout the United States.
FOOD in the Middle Ages changed less across Europe than they did in the briefer early modern period that followed. Food in
Central Asia consisted mostly of meat and milk
Fish was an important part of the diet in the Middle Ages.
Tomatoes were first cultivated in South America. Only the rich used eating
Much of the Orient used
fork came to Europe from Italy.
There was a variety of
sweets during the Middle Ages. Special food was prepared for
holidays and feasts.
FEUDALISM was a new type of government in Europe, Japan, & China during the Middle Ages.
H IS FOR HERALDRY, HORSES, & HUNDRED YEARS' WAR
A wide variety of
GAMES were played during the Middle Ages. The game of
golf is believed to have started in Scotland. The game of
chess during the Middle ages was popular among the nobility.
Games during the Middle Ages were often centered around particular times of the year. Many types of
toys were available during the Middle ages and were similar to what we have today.
Guilds were established in Europe by working men of particular trades.
HERALDRY began in the early Middle Ages of Europe to help the knights and foot soldiers identify each other during battle.
HORSES were used for warfare, tournaments, farming, and transportation during the Middle Ages.
HUNDRED Years' War was the name given to the campaign and battles between the French and English from 1337 to 1453.
I IS FOR INDIA, INQUISITION, ISLAMIC WORLD, & INVENTIONS
J IS FOR JESTERS, JOUST, & JUGGLERS
The Middle Ages in
India was a time of great change.
The INQUISITION was a judicial process for the apprehension and trial of heretics.
INVENTIONS were made throughout the world during the Middle Ages. The invention of the
printing press was the greatest invention of all time.
Technology during the Middle Ages was often practical and used natural resources.
ISLAMIC WORLD had a great influence in the areas of science and learning during the Middle Ages and brought the
arabic numerals to Europe.
K IS FOR KINGDOMS & KNIGHTS
L IS FOR LANGUAGE, LEGENDS, & LITERATURE
JESTERS in European courts provided physical comedy and had their own type of
Asian Jesters were men of wisdom.
During the Middle Ages, a
JOUST was a clash between 2 knights who tried to unhorse each other.
JUGGLERS in the Middle Ages went by several different names and provided entertainment. Many jugglers used
M IS FOR MAIL, MIDDLE EAST, MONEY, & MUSIC
Each area of the world had its own
LANGUAGE during the Middle Ages. The
English language developed during this time. During the Renaissance there were certain forms of
speech. Latin was the official language in Western Europe.
LEGENDS and myths were a blend of fact and fiction. They included
Pegasus, fairies, and
gargoyles. One of the best known legends is about
Camelot. The Chinese had many
Legends and Tales. There were many
mythical plants in the Medieval World.
The Middle Ages saw the beginnings of a rebirth in
LITERATURE. This was a very important time in the
history of books. Many women were philosphers and writers. The
Book of Kells was written during the Middle Ages.
N IS FOR NORTH AMERICA
O IS FOR ORIENT
MAIL in the Middle Ages was a type of strong flexible armour - not a means of communication. Communications were accomplished by hand-delivering messages.
MIDDLE EAST had many independent states during the Middle Ages.
During the Middle Ages,
MONEY consisted of metal coins and varied from place to place. The value of the coin depended on which type of metal it was made from. The most valuable coins were gold then silver, and then copper. A
Bill of Exchange was often used as money. Pictures of
Comets called "hairy stars" were often used on coins.
MUSIC was the ancestor of most later western music. Musicians and minstrels in the middle ages played their music from memory. A
minstrel was a professional entertainer who sang songs that told a story. Music outside the church was not written down and did not survive. During the Middle Ages, the
organ developed into three different types of instruments. Listen to the
sounds of some Midieval instruments.
P IS FOR PACIFIC ISLANDS, PILGRIMAGE, & POPULATION
ORIENT had great civilizations during the Middle Ages. The
Silk Road linked the Orient with the Roman Empire and influenced the culture of
China, Central Asia, and the West.
Marco Polo is probably the most famous Westerner who traveled on the Silk Road. The traditional Chinese theater was a singing and dancing performance.
Soap was probably invented in the Orient and brought to the West early in the Middle Ages.
Q IS FOR QUEENS & QUIZZES
R IS FOR RELIGION, RENAISSANCE, & RUSSIA
During the Middle Ages, the
PACIFIC ISLANDS were settled by Polynesians and included New Zealand, the islands off the coast of Chile, and the Hawaiian Islands.
PILGRIMAGE during the Middle Ages included traveling to a sacred place often to cure ills. St. James was called "The Field of Stars" and was a place of worship for Medieval pilgrims. Bringing home a souvenier was an important part of a pilgrimage. Fa-hsien was one of China's greatest pilgrims.
Pilgrims who were unable to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem went to a pilgrimage site and walked a
POPULATION of the Middle Agees is difficult to determine. An area was often determined by its climate, economy, and available land. Many of the people in Medievel Europe were considered
S IS FOR SOUTH AMERICA & SPORTS
Christian RELIGION was the only religion in Europe.
India was home to several religions. The Islam Religion originated in Arabia during the Middle Ages. Religion was an important part of
RENAISSANCE Era began towards the end of the Middle Ages and was a time of changes in cultural and intellectual life.
Art became more true to life.
At one time RUSIA was called
Through the Middle Ages it had contact with both European and Asia cultures, making it uniquely its own.
T IS FOR TRAVEL & TROUBADOURS
SOUTH AMERICA had several independent civilizations during the Middle Ages. The best known was the
There were several types of
SPORTS during the Middle Ages. Most of them sports were intended to increase the fighting skills of men.
tournament was a sport only for nobles but many people watched.
Fishing was a popular and a variety of methods was used.
U IS FOR UNIVERSITIES
V IS FOR VIKINGS & VOYAGES
TRAVEL throughout the Medieval World was slow, uncomfortable, and usually dangerous. A two-wheeled cart was often the mode of transportation.
TROUBADOURS were poets and minstrels and often nobles who composed poems and songs and performed them for their courts.
W IS FOR WESTERN EUROPE, WINDMILLS, & WOMEN
Vikings were men from Scandinavia who became seamen and warriors. They raided and colonized wide areas of Europe during the Middle Ages.
The VOYAGES of
Henry the Navigator began the great age of exploration.
Marco Polo wrote about his travels to the Orient. The voyages of
Christopher Columbus opened the door to the New World.
X IS FOR XMAS
Y IS FOR YEAR 1000 - Y1K
WESTERN EUROPE began to experience great change at the end of the fourteenth century.
Several types of
WINDMILLS were used during the Middle Ages, and thousands of
watermills were built cross Europe.
WOMEN in the Middle Ages had a variety of roles. More info about
women in the Middle Ages.
Z IS FOR ZOOS
Y1K caused concern during the Middle Ages. The
Year 1000 was a time of change, and there were prophets of doom about
THANK YOU to the people who provided information and links for this webpage.
Before there were Zoos, a collections of animals in the Medieval World was called a
Under Medieval law, animals could be tried and sentenced for crimes, just as though they were people.
Cats were not common pets in the Middle Ages. Zoos helped to keep records of the exploration of the new world.