Let us start with the basics...

...and answer an unasked question: "What is considered to be the Medieval time period?"

My personal rule of thumb has been to define it as the period between the fall of Rome in 476 AD, when the Emperor Romulus Augustus of the Western Roman Empire was deposed by Odoacer, and the start of the English Renaissance with the ascension of King Henry the VIIIth to the throne in 1509. However, it must be noted that while generally accepted as the one most popular definition, the dates have been disputed among academics for centuries, with some arguing that the fall of Rome did not occur until the death of Julius Nepos, the legitimate emperor recognized by the East Roman Empire, who continued to live in Salona, Dalmatia until he was assassinated in 480 AD, and others who argue that the end of the time period was the death of Prince Arthur, Henry's older brother, in 1502, which allowed Henry to assume the mantle of Prince of Wales.

Vayshe's picture

Petitioner

im not much at all for history, but im curious as to why a difference of about 11 years would be considered significant when defining a 1000 year period of history.

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

It's the apparent need for those in Academia to debate every little detail. This is fostered by the mantra, "Publish or perish", to those without tenure. A comment here, a suggestion there, published in the proper journal or presentation paper is often the difference between tenure at a decent career and the need to search for new employment. Let us just say that I, for one, am happily now beyond that point in my career, with no need (or want) to continue as a "Professor Emeritus"...

MeiLin's picture

Most High

They argue about a lot less than that.

manoki's picture

Supplicant

office space, or who gets to decide what courses undergraduates should be required to take.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

or what courses satisfy a pre-set requirement category.

or who should get tenure.

Or whose turn it is to buy coffee.

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

... and much more, like parking spaces, cafeteria menus, and other important subjects. (Grin!)

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

What was the focus of your research? (Europe, I imagine? A given time period? A specific country or three?)

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

My personal research centered on the English-Welsh conflicts at the time of Edward III of England. My interests, however, span the entire period, and include such diverse subjects as communication, music, craftwork, Guild trades, monetary systems, and individual genealogies of the various royal families of northern Europe, as well as the other niceties (or lack thereof) between the different classes.

Paisleigh's picture

Devotee

As a jewelry & metals student I like the idea of including all sorts of designs and styles into my work. I'm now curious as to what were the jewelry styles of this time ^-^
EDIT Also curious about the true styles of clothing at the time (as in- are the way styles and what not are represented in fiction books/films set in that time realistic), as well as the music and dance of the times ^-^

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

Your best bet for information on period jewelry styles and clothing are museums and paintings done during the period you wish to research, with the caveat that sometimes painters tended to embellish the small details in ways that would have made them impractical. I can say with moderate assurance that Celtic knotwork figured prominently as decorative motif, even into present day. As for music and dance, the folk dances of any region tend to have long histories, often stretching back to the pre-Roman era in parts of the world.

V's picture

Embodiment

Speaking of that, I found a metalworking site recently that inspired me to bookmark it for later ponderings or possibly even a visit, given its proximity to me. You might find it interesting.

http://vagabondjewelry.net/

A couple things about it really struck me. One, the chutzpah of the artist and the way she makes jewelry that's tough enough to survive. Two, the simple beauty of her work. Three, the way she pours her heart into every piece--the names and writeups accompanying each piece really adds a lot to the presentation. I like both her work and the way she presents it.

Nye's picture

Supplicant

I just got a pendant from her... "Sinner" I like it muchly.

ZestyJester's picture

how would one do research on music that old? i mean lyrics don't sound like they would be too hard to come across, but melodies? is there actually written sheet music that old that's survived?
just me being curious Biggrin

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

Yes, there IS 'sheet music' available, often online and free, in the form of illuminated manuscripts -- or actually, pages torn from ancient books and sold as such. (Sigh!) one such example can be found at http://www.gorbysmusic.com/manuscript.asp

TheFerret's picture

Devotee

because i have books behind books behind books right now...

What year was it that Rome pulled the troops out of britain (since that date gets used by some, too)?

You know, just to add to the date confusion.

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

That was an ongoing process, that actually started about mid-third century AD and lasted until late 6th century -- Full Roman troops were gradually supplanted by Celti-Roman children who were supposed to be Roman citizens, then by third and fourth and fifth generations who were loyal to Rome and its Emperors. Rome had at least a token presence in Britain and Gaul well past the (arguable) fall of Rome.

Clare-Dragonfly's picture

Supplicant

Is there technically a "medieval period" outside of Europe? It's so defined by Western events (since we're talking about Rome and England here) and Christianity. I know that in the same period there were knights in Japan with a very similar system to the feudal system, but I'm sure there weren't any parallels in the Americas, and I don't really know much history outside of those. (Shameful, I know.)

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

There ARE parallels in various cultures to the European Medieval Period, though they did not necessarily occur during the same span of time -- Your example of Japan would include the Shogun as similar to Knighthood, and both India and China were definitely Feudal in its historical context. However, these parallels are, at best, superficial, since events that shaped the European Continent had few (if any) exact correspondences to events in other countries.

Firesong's picture

Petitioner

I thought the Renaissance started a few decades earlier, in Italy? Or are you only considering the British Isles? Would you say that Columbus' [re-]discovery of the Americas occurred during the Middle Ages?

rdehwyll's picture

Devotee

As I mentioned earlier, my academic focus was (and is) on Wales during the reign of King Edward III of England. You do, however bring up a valid point -- the Renaissance started at different times in different areas of Europe. My comments about the era of the Middle Ages encompass the extremes of the period.

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