Category: MEDIEVAL

Long-Lost Burial Site of Harald Bluetooth, Legendary Christian King of Vikings, Found in Polish Village

Map of Europe + Drawing of Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson + Stone with red writing

The burial site for the Viking king whose name inspired that of modern Bluetooth wireless technology has likely been uncovered in the Polish village of…

Winged Hussars: The Rise and Fall of Europe’s ‘Angels of Death’

Drawing of the winged hussars during a charge

For two centuries, the elaborate winged uniforms and menacing battle tactics of the Polish hussars dominated the battlefield. Coming across the winged hussars must have…

From the Scythians to Russia: The Use of Scorched Earth Tactics in War

US Air Force helicopter spraying Agent Orange over the jungle

Scorched earth tactics have been used nearly as long as armies have conducted military campaigns. While the practice is less common in modern times, it…

Lethal Weapons: 5 of the Most Effective Man-Killing Tools in History

Crusades

Weapons are simply an extension of the capabilities of the human body. In practice, though, they have been extremely expensive and complex, with quite literally…

These 4 Weapons Created For Combat Were Cheap But Ingenious Game Changers

Sometimes, no matter how tactically adept a military force may be, if an opponent suddenly shows up with a particularly advanced or capable weapon, it…

16th Century Rocket Cats: Brilliant Warfare Tactic Or Terrible Idea?

The Medieval era is known for its unique takes on just about everything. From strange hygiene habits to medical practices, it was certainly a different…

Swiss Pikemen: The Most Fearsome Medieval Mercenaries

Swiss pikemen against German Landsknechts

One of the most formidable military infantries from the Middle Ages was the Swiss pikemen. Despite being a small contingent with little in the way…

Weird Ways To End A Siege — Some Strange Strategies

The storming of the fortress of Stampace in Pisa, 1568-1571. Artist: Vasari, Giorgio

The constant battle between defenses and breaking those defenses has raged throughout the history of humanity. Today, the war is mostly over, with offensive weapons…

Igor Of Kiev: The Mysterious Prince

Igor I of Kiev ruled from AD 913 until his death in AD 945. Although he had a relatively long reign, many aspects of his…

1410 Battle of Grunwald Sword Unearthed In Poland

A sword, metal pieces of a scabbard, a knight’s belt, and two knives, estimated to be from the battle of the time of the Battle…

Part Time Viking Stabs Girlfriend While Practising Battle Moves!

Viking fun? Benover, near Yalding is a picturesque low-lying village South West of the town of Maidstone in Kent, South East England. Once a proud…

Prague Revamp Reveals Jewish Gravestones Used as Cobblestones

Redevelopment work being undertaken in Prague has revealed a gruesome secret. Many of the paving stones that have been listed have been found to have…

Police Swoop on a ‘Suspicious’ Medieval Swordsman…He Was Doing Daily Exercise

Police were called to a park at Hendre Lake in St. Mellons, Cardiff, Wales, UK. They had received a disturbing report of a medieval swordsman…

History Hack – Fantastic Podcasts Beating Lockdown Blues

Timing, as they say is everything. With everyone currently at home under confinement there has never been a better time to launch a series of…

The Maid of Orléans : How Joan of Arc defeated the English

An old prophecy said that a virgin from the people would save France after a queen from abroad would nearly destroy the kingdom. This young…

The Elite Scottish Warriors who Helped Joan of Arc

The English eventually forced their way across the bridge but were met and outflanked by the larger force. The Duke of Clarence was killed, and…

The English Longbow: Machine Gun Of The Medieval Era

The heavy war arrows used by English longbowmen were able to penetrate leather and cloth armor, iron plate armor, and even some types of steel…

When 5,000 British Archers Defeated Over 30,000 French Knights

Despite the numbers discrepancy, the English combined tactics and superior training to turn what could have been disaster into a resounding and humiliating victory. The…

Was History’s Greatest Ever Military Leader an Unknown Korean Admiral?

Yi had never commanded a navy before, but went on to win 11 naval battles in the first four months of the war. Admiral Yi…

What Was It That Made Mongol Warriors So Unstoppable?

To make the most of what a horse can offer in military terms, a cavalryman has to be an excellent rider. Genghis Khan and his…

When 500 Knights Defeated 40,000 Soldiers From the Ottoman Empire: The Siege of Malta

The assault on the fort failed as defenders used chain shot to destroy the Ottoman siege tower and other siege weapons. Voltaire once said “Nothing…

The Bloody Siege of Rhodes: The Ottomans & Their Unstoppable Empire

Suleiman offered the defenders a deal. They could either surrender, and he would give them food and let them go, or they could continue fighting…

The Impregnable City Walls of Constantinople Finally Fell To a 21-year-old Sultan.

Christian Oord

“Be satisfied with the booty and the captives; the buildings and city belong to me.” Those were the words spoken by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II…

The Order Of The Assassins: Medieval Masters Of Asymmetric Warfare.

Jay Hemmings

Drugs were an integral part of the brainwashing process that the Assassins supposedly used to train young men to become single-minded, fanatical killers. Everyone today…

The Guardians of Scotland & The English Aggressors

Succession Crisis and English Intervention In 1290, Scotland was in crisis. King Alexander III had passed away unexpectedly after falling off his horse and had…

Genghis Khan: A Visionary Leader or a Brutal Conqueror?

Genghis Khan also encouraged philosophers, mathematicians, scientists and artists from all over the empire to meet and work together. Genghis Khan is one of the…

Web of Intrigue: How a Spider Helped With Scottish Independence

It is here, the tales tell us, that Robert came into contact with a spider, and the future of Scotland was shaped. Robert I, commonly…

The Not So Noblewoman Who Turned Pirate

Her small fleet of three ships flew a bloody red banner and struck terror into the heart of the French fleet. The image many people…

A Long Horizon: From The Normandy Beaches to the Byzantine Empire

Norman knights continued their pillaging of Italian and papal lands. Through victory, conquest, determination, and opportunity, the Normans traveled far to be leaders and kings…

The Auld Alliance -Scotland The Brave

The Scottish took full advantage of this situation. By the end of the year they had retaken almost all of their land and even raided…

The Sack Of Baghdad In 1258 – One Of The Bloodiest Days In Human History

Jay Hemmings

When we think of the darkest, most bloody days of human history, our minds inevitably turn to the horrors of modern warfare. We think of…

Tiny Lithuania Was Once a Superpower of Europe

For many years now, the small Baltic country of Lithuania has been known as a breeding ground for some of the world’s best basketball players.…

Tamerlane Wiped Out Perhaps 17 Million People With Just Fire & Swords

Generally, people who study history don’t like to compare horrors. By engaging in debates about which war was the most costly, which epidemic killed the…

Outlaws and Outcasts Led by a Former Slave Overthrow a Dynasty

Medieval China is a fascinating period to study. Most people think of the large and influential dynasties, and even many scholars don’t know a great…

Death & Marriage in Civil War: John Marshal Gains Power in Medieval England

Civil wars contain challenges on a number of levels. The often tortuous family trees of medieval monarchs combined with many ambitious minor officials who hardly…

Aggressive warrior emperor from China’s less well known period of disunion

This true story details the actions of an aggressive warrior emperor from China’s less well known period of disunion. This was the largest time frame…

What Happened To Prisoners Of War In Medieval England – There Was Good Money To Be Made

In medieval times, war in Europe could be a complicated business involving allegiances and family interests that could span the entire continent. Up until late…

The Mystery of Medieval Weapons & Armor – Where Did It All Go?

The Fantastic Find The Battle of Visby in 1361 was not a particularly important battle in history. An army of Danes led by their king,…

The Spanish Mercenaries Were Outnumbered 500-1, The Battle of Cajamarca, 1532

Most military commanders will think twice about an attack unless they have an advantage in numbers over the enemy. However, in 1532 a Spanish conquistador…

The Battle of the Velbazhd (1330) Signaled the Beginning of Serbian Expansion

The Battle of Velbazhd was fought between the Kingdom of Serbia under Stefan Uroš III, known as Stefan Dečanski, and the Bulgarian Empire under Michael…

The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh: The Last Pitched Battle Between England & Scotland

On September 10, 1547, the national armies of England and Scotland fought in a pitched battle at Pinkie Cleugh. Though no one knew it at the…

The Battle of Flodden: The Largest Battle Fought Between England and Scotland

Andrew Knighton

Until their unification in the 17th century, England and Scotland had a long history of war against each other. The greatest battle of these conflicts…

The Battle of Bosworth Field: How Richard III Lost His Kingdom & His Life

The Battle of Bosworth Field was fought on the 22nd of August 1485 outside the small town of Market Bosworth, England. It was one of…

Pedro de Lara: From Powerful To Penniless

A man in the midst of a mid-life crisis is not a pretty sight. His mood can trigger all kinds of ill-advised behavior and foolish…

Defying His King: How The Battle Of Arsuf Was Won

Defying a king is no way to win medals, approval, or an invitation to court. Under certain kings of England, defiance could lead to time…

The First Gunslinger: The Lone Gunman at Orleans

At the Siege of Orleans in 1429, in yet another brutal phase of the Hundred Year’s War, the English suffered a major blow to their…

Super Weapons That Ended the Reign of Knights

It is without a doubt that weapons, since time immemorial, have the most effective tools in winning wars. In the Medieval Ages, the strength of…

The Bloodiest Battle Ever Fought on English Soil: The Battle of Towton

Fought on the 29th of March 1461, the Battle of Towton was the bloodiest battle ever fought in England. In a single day, thousands of…

Rebel to Hero – Wallace at Stirling Bridge

The Battle of Stirling Bridge took place on September 11, 1297, during the Wars of Scottish Independence which were fought in the last years of…

Ancient Map Shifted the Balance of World Power

In the early 16th century, European nations sought out information collected and recorded on nautical maps. This made coastlines, harbors, and rivers into resources, and these…

Badgers Unearth Medieval Anglo-Saxon Warrior Burial Site

A United States military veteran discovered the shallow grave of a sixth-century Saxon soldier at Salisbury Plain in England, not too far from Stonehenge. Buried with…

Butcher Cumberland & the Last Highland Charge – Battle of Culloden

The Jacobite uprising emerged with the purpose of returning James II of England and VII of Scotland to the throne. From 1688 the Jacobite’s provoked…

Normans in Sicily: A Surprise Find for Archaeologists near Palermo

Archaeologists live for the kind of surprise uncovered recently near a medieval church in Sicily. The remains of 10 skeletons were found near the Church…

No Games of Thrones – The Real War of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses were fought between two branches of the Plantagenet family: the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The name…

The Battle of Hastings: The Last Successful Invasion of England

The Battle of Hastings was a turning point in English history. It decided the fate of the English monarchy and shaped the country’s language, laws,…

Hadrian’s Wall of Denmark – Dannevirke Defensive Complex

Beginning in the later part of what historians know as the “Nordic Iron Age,” the pagan Danes built massive lines of fortifications along their border…

Mammoth Revolution You Never Heard Of – The German Peasants’ War of 1524-5

In 1524, a revolt broke out in Germany. Peasants rose up in a war that showed the religious and social tensions that would tear Europe…

Mongol Tactics Learned from the Great Sun Tzu – Speed, Deception and Intel

The strategic genius of Genghis Khan is immortalized in history. The writings of Sun Tzu have established sound military principles that have transcended time and…

Legendary One-Eyed Jan Zizka: Undefeated Leader in the Hussite Revolution

Jan Zizka was a talented and successful military tactician as well as a statesman without equal. He led the Hussites in the turbulent 14th century…

The Amazing and Forgotten Victory at Molodi

The Molodinskaya Battle (or the Battle of Molodi) is a major battle that took place from July 29 to August 2, 1572, near the village…

King Edward I and The English Conquest Of Wales

The Normans had aimed and conquered Welsh lands since the Conquest in 1066, and the Anglo-Welsh border, known as the Marches, became violent and lawless…

For Serious Gamers – Hnefatafl: The Viking Board Game that Was More than Just a Game

In 13th Century Iceland, the saga of Hervőr and Heidrek abounded with tales of dwarves, magical curses, swords, and a contest consisting of riddles.  Fans…

Legendary Viking Battle – Svolda and King Olaf

Fought in the summer of 1000 on the western Baltic Sea, the battle of Svolda is without doubt among the major historical battles that shaped…

Baltic Crusaders – Pagans Defeat Christian Knights at the Battle of Saule

By 1200 Christianity was the dominant religious force throughout almost all of Europe; however, one group of pagans, in the last stronghold of their beliefs,…

Sohei: The Warrior Monks of Medieval Japan

The modern view of Buddhism is one of a peaceful, highly spiritual faith, where the devotee sets out upon the path to enlightenment through meditation…

Birth of the Black Plague: The Mongol Siege on Caffa

In 1345, the city of Caffa was razed by a vicious pandemic, in what would, centuries later, be recognized as the first use of biological…

The Last Great Viking Invasion: Battles of Fulford and Stamford Bridge

1066 is the most famous year in English history. Led by Duke William, the Normans conquered the country, forever changing its laws and culture. But…

The Tragic Children’s Crusade of 1212 – Tens of Thousands Answered the Call

The Children’s Crusade of 1212 is known to have been a disaster, but much about this curious event in history is still mystery. There is…

From Vikings to Armadas – Evolution of the Royal Navy

Great Britain, the island England shares with Scotland and Wales, is only 88,792 square miles in area — just barely larger than the state of…

Clash of the 3 Viking Kingdoms – The Battle of Helgea

With the conquest of England in 1016, and his recognition as the king of Denmark in 1018, Cnute the Great had, with his hand of…

Romans & Vikings: 3 Fantastic Books from Haynes – Review by M. Barnes

Printed books are making a comeback as people get bored with tablets and their lack of the substance only achieved with ink and paper.  I’m…

Holy Roman Empress? – Maria Theresa’s Fight for Her Empire

In October of 1740, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, died. Charles had spent most of his life at war, first over the succession to the…

Crusades – More Peace than War?

Typically, it can be said that the winners get to determine how history is told. In the case of the Crusades, however, that hasn’t been…

Iron Age Fort in Scotland Reveals Origins

For over one hundred years excavation work has been in progress on an ancient fort that was built on a small peninsula jutting out toward…

Global Warming Research Yields Shipwrecks and Ancient City

The intention behind the Black Sea Maritime Archaeological Project (MAP) was not to trawl the Black Sea in search of ancient ships, but that’s exactly…

Battle Of Levounion – Breathing New Life for the Byzantines

In 1091 the Byzantine Empire appeared to be falling apart after a series of weak emperors and military defeats in nearly every corner of its…

Battle of Stamford Bridge – The Victory that Lost England for the Anglo-Saxons

Following the death of King Edward the Confessor, the throne of England became a trophy coveted by several contenders across north-western Europe. This occasion would…

500 Year Old 2-Handed Sword Found in Norwegian Lake

Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest freshwater lake has given up a five-hundred-year-old sword.  While many treasure hunters use metal detectors, MiroBaricic and Knut-Erik Gylder of Norway…

The Battle of Lepanto – Holy War or Economics?

The Battle of Lepanto is noted as being the last significant battle between Christianity and Islam.   It is said to have drawn a great dividing…

The rebellion of Mary Tudor – she was joined by more than 15,000 men

On July 6, 1553, Edward VI, King of England, lay dead, but only a few people knew about it. The powerful Duke of Northumberland was…

The Remarkable History of the Original Assassins

The first group of assassins to be found in the historical record is that of the Hashshashin who operated in Persia, Syria, and Turkey, eventually spreading…

The Stubborn 3 Year Siege of Smolensk

The Time of Troubles is one of the most difficult periods in the history of Russia.  It was an era marked by a grave state…

Lagartha the Shield Maiden – Legend or Reality?

History is like a game of telephone. It is recorded and transmitted to the future by whatever form of communication is available to the historian,…

The Stirrup: Genghis Khan’s Deadliest Weapon

Though most of us have never given such an unremarkable, humdrum object a second thought, the humble stirrup, used by horse riders for much of…

Subatai – the Dog of War & The Mongol’s Most Accomplished General

Every legend has roots in historical fact, and there are few characters whose legendary feats and accomplishments can match those of the famed Mongol warlord…

Finding Historical Treasure May Get New Rules on Britain’s Battlefields

Metal detecting in England has become a popular pastime.  With history to be found under almost any footstep in parts of England, there are many…

The Knights Hospitaller and the Great Siege of Malta

In 1530, the Knights Hospitaller were given control of the island of Malta. 35 years later, in 1565, the Ottoman Empire invaded the island. The…

Russia’s 1st Naval Victory – Defeating Sweden at the Battle of Gangut

The Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) pitted two great warrior leaders against one another for over 20 years – Peter I of Russia and…

Once the Greatest Army in Europe – The Black Army of Hungary

In the latter half of the 15th century, there was a superpower in Europe. It wasn’t France, and it wasn’t England. Spain would not rise…

Sappers And Siege Engines – Ivan The Terrible Conquers The city Of Kazan

The army had been in place under the city walls for weeks. Ivan the Fourth, Tsar of all the Russians, accompanied his force in the…

Bedford Castle In Early England Is Now Completely Gone, But A Game-Changing Medieval Siege Took Place There In 1224

Civil wars and revolts were common in medieval England. Without elections to decide between opposing leaders and policies, violence became the answer. As in modern…

These Twelve Battles Were Defining Moments In The History Of The Crusades

The Crusades, Christian Europe’s attempt to drive back other nations and religions, were among the most ambitious and badly thought out campaigns in military history.…

The Rules Of Chivalry Were So Important In Medieval Society, But Breaking The Rules Was Almost As Important

In the Middle Ages, chivalry was more than just a name for polite behavior. It was a set of rules meant to limit the actions…

Death In Single Combat Outside The Castle Walls – The Queen’s Consort Reaches The End His Life

Pedro de Lara was bored. His had lived a full life, a life of personal pride and skill at arms, of politics, wine and of…

The Night Attack – Vlad The Impaler Ambushes The Ottoman Sultan

Mehmet II, known as Mehmet the Conqueror, was one of the greatest military commanders of his day. The Ottoman Empire under his rule was vast,…

Civil Wars That Shaped Medieval England

Medieval England was a warlike place – so much so that the cliché of an Englishmen abroad was that of a violent thug. Though their…

What Happened To Prisoners Of War In Medieval England

Every medieval English monarch had to decide how to deal with prisoners of war. Ruling over territory that sometimes ran from the highlands of Scotland…

Wargames From Medieval Tournaments

The heart of the high medieval army was its knights and men-at-arms, heavily armoured soldiers from wealthy backgrounds who often fought from horseback. Using lances…

7 Ways English Lords Fought Against Welsh Raiders

Throughout the 13th century, there was conflict in the border region between England and Wales. This area, known as the Welsh March, contained both English…

Samurai, Ninja, Ronin, And More – Seven Different Warrior Classes Of Feudal Japan

Feudal Japan is remembered as the era of the samurai. Like the knights of feudal Europe, they were the expensively equipped warrior aristocracy. They were,…