The Middle Ages are some of the most fascinating years in history. It’s a shame, that they get breezed over so much in high school and college history classes. They were known for knights and chivalry, trebuchets and castles, the Magna Carta and the Hundred Years War.
Also, let’s not forget the Black Death that was kind of important. But the middle Ages also featured some crazy things that you won’t cover in your everyday world history class. How many of these crazy facts about the Middle Ages do you already know?.
The “Dark Ages” Weren’t Dark After All
For some reason, the Middle Ages have this persistent reputation of being a dark time in world history. If you lived through the Hundred Years War and the Black Death you might not think you’re living in the golden age of world history, but it’s a shame that reputation has persisted.
The Middle Ages were actually really exciting times for science and education. There were some pretty impressive thinkers in the Middle Ages like the Venerable Bede, Roger Bacon, Fibonacci, Thomas Aquinas, and William of Ockham. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
If not, you’ve definitely heard of the University of Paris, Oxford University and Cambridge University. They all have one thing in common, they were born in the Middle Ages. Probably, it wasn’t dark after all.
Team Sports Were Way More Exciting
Sports were just better in the Middle Ages and that’s a fact, You don’t believe it? Do you know about Mob Football?. Yes, It is as glorious as it sounds. Here’s how it worked. You and a few dozen (or hundred) of your closest friends and neighbors would challenge the village down the street to a friendly little match.
The goal is simple, get the ball back to your village’s church porch by any means necessary. There were no limits on the number of participants and only two rules: no murder and no manslaughter. As you probably guessed, there were quite a few broken bones and accidental deaths.
It turns out that the rulers don’t exactly like villages fighting (almost) to the death over a ball. King Philip VI of France banned football in 1331 and King Edward III of England banned it in 1363, yet the sport remained popular for a couple centuries during the Middle Ages. Eventually, it would calm down a bit and organize into sports like soccer, rugby, and American Football.
Roman Numerals Are Cool Until they Weren’t
Next time you scratch your head trying to figure out when Super Bowl XLVIII happened you should send a little shoutout to the medieval travelers who brought Arabic Numerals to Europe. Hindu-Arabic numerals first popped up in India sometime between the 1st and 4th centuries.
By the 830s Arabic mathematicians adopted the system and spread it across the Middle East and into northern Africa. After studying in northern Africa, Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci brought the Hindu-Arabic number system back to Europe in 1202 with his book Liber Abaci.
European academics bought into the system pretty quickly and by the 15th century, Arabic numerals had almost completely replaced Roman numerals for everyday use.
There’s No Privacy On Bedrooms
There are so many interesting facts in the Middle Ages that will probably shock you like this one. Back in that time, we cannot deny the fact that the Middle Ages was a strange time. In this period, beds can be seen by visitors in different places inside the house. Typically, beds were placed beside windows so whenever someone passing by they can see you sleeping.
So maybe now you lighten up your mind after reading this. The Middle Ages is not so boring after all. If we can build a time machine and have a chance to go back in that period, probably, this one is most epic experience in our life.