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Medieval Europe Web Sites

BBC: Middle Ages 
This extensive BBC offering presents the Middle Ages as a period of “massive social change, burgeoning nationalism, international conflict, terrible natural disaster, climate change, rebellion, resistance and renaissance.” The site is essentially a series of extended essays by various academics accompanied by related images.There are seven main sections: Overview; Henry II; John and Richard; Hundred Years War, The Black Death, Richard II, House of Lancaster and York; and Art & Architecture. A useful introduction to the period, though lacking in user interactivity.

British Library: Illuminated Manuscripts
This section of the British Library presents over 3,000 images from key manuscripts of the 8th to 15th centuries. Many are associated with particular places or regions across the British Isles. There is a curator introduction and personal highlights from the collection, including The Meeting Of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere and The opening of St Luke’s Gospel in the Lindisfarne Gospels. Each manuscipt is accompanied by a brief introduction and can be view as zoomable Flash file and a printable image. You can also search the collection.

Mostly Medieval: Exploring the Middle Ages 
This web site provides information on diverse topics such as myths and legends, religion, and medicine in Britain during the Middle Ages. The main sections are Ballads, Beasties, Book of Days, God and War, and Heraldry. Additonal sections include a travelogue through northern England and southern Scotland, a download area for desktop wallpaper, backgrounds, letters, avatars, and a list of books for all ages. The Ballads section includes a synopsis of all historical ballads and the “Book of Days” explores holy days and celebrations throughout the months. Most sections provide an introduction to their respective topics. Little interactivity, but an informative and interesting introduction to medieval life in Britain.

The Decameron Web
The Decameron Web is an interactive project by Brown University designed for college and high school teachers that prompts investigation and discussion of the Decameron texts – stories of people escaping Florence at the time of The Plague. The site provides a wealth of information on the literary, historical and cultural context of the Decameron. Along with the text and related translations, annotations and commentaries, there are bibliographies, essays, maps, and visual and audio materials. The Pedagogy sections offers several related activities for teachers and students.

British Library: The Unveiling of Britain
Through this British Library collection visitors can see how Britain’s “shape and contours” were uncovered by the world between 800 and 1600. Included is a curator introduction with personal highlights from the collection, including Anglo-Saxon Mappa Mundi. The ‘Anglo-Saxon’ map sets out the boundaries of some Saxon kingdoms and identifies refuges of ancient Britons in Wales, Cumberland, Brittany and Cornwall. Each manuscipt is accompanied by a brief introduction and can be view as zoomable Flash file and a printable image. You can also search the collection.

Early British Kingdoms
This informative web site presents the history of the Celtic nations emerging in Britain after the withdrawal of the Romans in the ‘Dark Ages’. Main sections include Kingdoms, Royalty, Arthur, Architecture, Saints, and Adversaries. Content includes introductory and background articles on kingdoms and related topics. There is also an ‘EBK for Kids’ area with topic outlines and kid-friendly clip art. This section — and the web site as a whole — provides much useful information, though lacks interactivity. Earlybritishkingdoms.com also has two sister-sites: Royal Berkshire History and May Family History.

Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga
This Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History site was created around an exhibit commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the Viking landing in the New World. Besides a cool Flash-generated introduction, the site contains extensive documentation on the contents of the exhibit, as well as a Virtual Viking Voyage – a multimedia feature including 3D animations of ship building, runes and sagas, video interviews with leading experts in the field, and detailed histories of Viking settlements and journeys from Scandinavia to Newfoundland.

The Gutenberg Bible at the Ranson Center
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin has created an engaging site about the Bible and the printing process. Of special note is the “Anatomy of a Page” section where varied pages in the Gutenberg Bible are explored and explained.

BBC History: The Norman Conquest
Take a look at events both before and after the Norman Conquest. This BBC site offers background, articles, multimedia, a chat forum, and more. Includes a Battle of Hastings game where users try different tactics available to William of Normandy and Harold Godwinson.

The Bayeux Tapestry
This enthusiast web site contains color images of the tapestry as well as explanatory text. The full Bayeux Tapestry presentation consists of 35 parts with Latin – English translations. There is a separate section relating to the construction and history of the tapestry.

Wars of Independence
This BBC website includes an overview of Anglo-Scottish conflict plus detailed biographies of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. It also discusses the Declaration of Arbroath, the most famous document in Scottish history.

Introduction to Medieval Seals
In the Middle Ages seals were employed to assert the authenticity of a document and also showed how rulers wanted to be seen by their subjects. At this website the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame presents an interesting collection of medieval seals that visitors can browse by century or country of origin. Most of them are of French origin, though there are also German, Swedish, and Low Countries seals. A helpful introduction puts the seals in historical context.

The Camelot Project: Arthurian Legends
The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester aims to make available a database of Arthurian texts, images, bibliographies, and other information. The Main Menu lists Arthurian characters, symbols, and sites and a sub-menu leads to basic information, texts, images, and a bibliography about a particular subject. There is also a simple search engine at your disposal. There are also links to related resources and projects.

Battle of Hastings 1066
This mammoth enthusiast website contains 950,000 words and over 300 graphics, images, and pictures related to the Battle of Hastings. The design is dated, but the contents are well organized under headings such as: Why did the Battle Happen?, The Build up to the Battle, Harold’s Battle Force, William’s Battle Force, The Battle, The Aftermath, and Norman Rule After 1066.

Secrets of the Norman Invasion
This web site contains many articles on the landing of the Normans in England and provides several Domesday Maps that relate to the area where the Normans landed in 1066. It grew out of an enthusiast’s desire to know exactly where the Normans landed prior to the Battle of Hastings. Along with the maps are images and analyses of the Bayeux tapestry, arial surveys, and many misc. articles.

This is an interesting introduction to Scandinavian life during the Viking Age. Major topics include Daily Life, Martial Arts, Shipbuilding, Language, Literature, Myths and Religion. The website essentially a series of clear and well-illustrated essays. With interesting subtopics like “Honor, Dueling, and Drengskapr,” and Viking grooming practices, you’re bound to learn something new about these feared European invaders.

The Unicorn Tapestries 
The Unicorn Tapestries is a series of tapestries from 1495–1505 that depict a group of noblemen and hunters in pursuit of a unicorn. (They may have been commissioned by Anne of Brittany to celebrate her marriage to Charles VIII, King of France.) This web sites from the Metropolitan Museum of Art enables visitors to zoom in on the tapestries and provides the story of the hunt of the Unicorn. It also provides much information on various aspect of the tapestries.

The Gothic Ivory Project 
The Gothic Ivories Project from the Courtauld Institute of Art is an online database of ivory sculptures made in Western Europe ca. 1200-ca. 1530. There is an advanced search option and each entry is accompanied by at least one image, so you’ll get a sense of the varied ways ivory was used to create beautiful objects. You can also zoom in and elarge the images. Mind you, registration is required to access more advanced features of the site.

Rose & Chess 
This web site from the University of Chicago explores two popular medieval texts — one a courtly romance, the other a treatise on medieval society. Along with full-color versions of Le Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose) and Le Jeu des échecs moralisé (The Moralized Game of Chess) — which you can zoom in and out — there are brief essays that provide visitors with an understanding of the manuscripts’ historical origins and production.

Heritage: Civilization and the Jews
This impressive site on Jewish civilisation features an interactive timeline, primary sources, lesson plans, teacher sources, images, and more. The link will take you directly to “The Crucible of Europe: 732-1492” section and an exploration of Jews in medieval Europe. There are three interactive presentations: Origins of Yiddish, Hostility Towards Jews, and A Family Saga. Visitors will learn about an increase in anti-Jewish legislation during the Middle Ages and how Jews throughout Christian Europe were often forced to wear special badges on their clothing.

Castles of Britain
This commercial service also offers much educational information, including an extensive castle photo gallery, castle trivia, information on myths, legends, and ghosts, and research tips.

Voices of the Powerless: Norman Conquest in York
This BBC site follows a long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, in which Melvyn Bragg explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at six critical moments across the last 1,000 years. This audio-episode deals with the decade following the conquest of the north of England and the notherners suffering from the retribution which William’s men inflicted – the so-called harrying of the north, which began in 1069.

Voices of the Powerless: The Peasant’s Revolt
This audio-episode deals with the Peasants’ Revolt that began in the Essex village of Fobbing in May 1381. Supported by men from nearby villages, the rebellion had begun.

Chronicon is an free online journal of medieval history, with a focus on Irish history, published by the History Department at Ireland’s University College, Cork. There are online volumes from 1997 to 2008 in PDF format.

Grands Sites Archeologiques (Great Archeology Sites)
This web site from the French government presents 15 significant archaeological sites or topics from prehistory to the Middle Ages, with most located in France. Though written in French, many have English translations. Sections of note include an exploration of Saint-Denis, a major medieval town; a virtual pilgrim’s tour of the Abbey of St. Germaine in Auxerre; and the life of chavliers in a 10th-century agricultural settlement on the shores of Lake Paladru. There are also a few interactive games, such as a map exploration of Saint-Denis.

Creating French Culture: Path to Royal Absolutism
Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (via the Library of Congress) traces the political and cultural history of France from Charlemagne to Charles de Gaulle through more than 200 “treasures” from the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The choice of items “was dictated as much by their historical importance as by their artistic value in the hope that they will provide insight into, and spark curiosity about, the complex history of the United States’ oldest ally.” The Monarchs and Monasteries: (late 8th — late 15th centuries) section explores knowledge and power in Medieval France via sixteen primary source objects. Among the lovely illuminated manuscripts are prayer books and royal chronicles.

Tudor Encyclopedia
The Tudor Encyclopedia is a collection of articles on the Tudor period. As well as 60 biographies, there are many other articles, including those on: the Battle of Bosworth, Act of Union, Agriculture and Enclosures, Anglicans and Puritans, The Babington Plot, Catholics and Protestants, Elizabethan Theatre, Elizabeth and Marriage, Henry VIII and the Pope, Kett Rebellion, Poverty in Tudor England, The Protestant Reformation, Pilgrimage of Grace, The Ridolfi Plot, The Spanish Armada, Sports and Pastimes, The Throckmorton Plot, Tobacco in Tudor England, Tudor Artists, Tudor Heretics, Tudor Monasteries, Tudor Parliaments, Tudor Wales, and the Tyndale Bible.

Bibliotequa Ambrosia
This scholarly work-in-progress from the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy and the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame catalogues some 12,000 drawings by European artists who were active from the fourteenth through nineteenth centuries. There are currently more than 8000 descriptions of drawings in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and the project database includes scanned images of the drawings. There are aslo instructions and tips on how to use the database search form.

Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank
The Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank from Rutgers University provides access to data on European currency exchange and commodities prices from the 13th through the 18th centuries. There are five large data sets, three pertaining to currency exchanges and two pertaining to prices. Even if familiar with medieval European currencies, it behooves visitors to read the introduction before conducting a search of its extensive records.

The Murthy Hours
The Murthy Hours was written and illuminated in Paris in the 1280s and is was one of the most richly decorated manuscripts in medieval Scotland. Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland you can view every page of the document in full-colour and read an accompanying background essay.

Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia
This encyclopedia-style resource concentrates on British history from the medieval era on. Contains overviews, essays, images, on topics such as Medieval World and British History.

Medieval England
This History Learning web site features a series of essays on dozens of Medieval era topics, including the Battle of Hastings, the Bayeux Tapestry, castles, feudalism, the lifestyle of the medieval peasant, the Domesday Book, the medieval church, the Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Crusades, and much more. Useful general introduction, but obtrusive advertisements are a distraction.

Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities and more

National Archives: Medieval History 1066 – 1485
This offering from the UK National Archives provides educational resources and activities aimed at students in Key Stages 1 through 5. Major topics include the Domesday Book, an important historical resource from the time of William the Conqueror. It also leads to National Archives images, including the Magna Charta, Treaty of Calais chest, Caxton’s Page (first printed page in England), and others. There are also three lessons:

What was Chertsey like in the Middle Ages?
Maps provided by the UK National Archives help students learn about Chertsey, an old medieval town that is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

A Medieval Mystery
This link is to a PDF document from the UK National Archives. It details an exercise whereby students decode a cartoon that reveals attitudes towards Jews in medieval England in the13th century.

What can we learn about England in the 11th century?
In this lesson students examine the Domesday Book, the oldest government record held in The National Archives, and answer a series of related questions.

Activehistory.co.uk: Lessons, Activities, Games, and Quizzes
Activehistory.co.uk has a series of lessons and activities that are organized by subject and time period. They are for Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, GCSE, and A Level students and teachers. This is a subscription-based service, but one many teachers is worth the expense.

Mr. Donn’s Ancient History Page
Don Donn of the Corkran (Maryland) Middle School provides a complete unit with 17 daily lesson plans and unit test for sixth graders. There are also links to multiple K12 lesson plans and activities.

BBC: British History Timeline
This interactive British history timeline covers hundreds of events from the Neolithic to the present day.

BBC History Games: Anglo Saxon Coins
Find out more about Anglo-Saxon money by taking a closer look at the coins and the stories behind them. When you think you know enough, test yourself by playing ‘Coins’ and see if you can make money talk.

BBC History Games: Battle of Hastings
Play the game to re-enact the Battle of Hastings, which took place on 14 October, 1066.

BBC History: Battle of Hastings Video
A History of Britain — Simon Schama’s acclaimed series spans 15 programmes, chronicling a nation’s tale from the Iron Age to the present day. Play a clip from ‘Conquest!’ – episode 2: The Battle of Hastings.

BBC History: Black Death Video
A History of Britain — Simon Schama’s acclaimed series spans 15 programmes, chronicling a nation’s tale from the Iron Age to the present day. Play a clip from ‘King Death’ – episode 5: The Black Death sweeps through Britain, claiming 300 victims a day in London alone.

BBC History: Kings and Queens Through Time
In this animated timeline you put the kings and queens of England, and later the United Kingdom, in their proper place. There are four periods to explore. The Plantagenets and the Houses of Lancaster and York are featured in the first period, the Tudors and Stuarts in the second, and the House of Hanover in the third. The timeline concludes with the Windsors.

BBC History: The Changing British Population Animation
Play the animation and track how key events in British history have affected the size of the British population.

BBC History: Norman Buildings Gallery
Part of the Norman Conquest exhibition.

BBC History: Build a Medieval Arch animation
Play the animation to find out how medieval masons built cathedral arches – without the benefits of modern technology.

Norman Conquest School Site
This site has worksheets, quizzes, and activities for the students.

The Normans “Fling the Teacher” Game
Answer questions correctly to fling the teacher! Activehistory.co.uk

GCSE History Pages
Main features of this site include interactive tests and quizzes, revision tips, practice GCSE exam papers with mark-schemes for self assessment, revision notes and structured lessons.

Course Models: Medieval Europe
Part of the California History-Social Science content standards and annotated course which include: background information, focus questions, pupil activities and handouts, assessment, and references to books, articles, web sites, literature, audio-video programs, and historic site. Grade 7.

The Medieval Arms Race
A PBS Nova site, it describes and illustrates some of the major weapons and strategies used in what became a medieval arms race. Clear, easy to follow, and appropriate for young students.

Destroy the Castle
This Nova Science challenges students to engineer a trebuchet that can knock down a castle wall. Fun and engaging.

Life in a Castle
This Nova Science interview Professor Richard Holmes, a British military historian talks about everyday life in a medieval English castle.

The Black Plague
Before going as a traveler on one of several journeys, starting either as a Pilgrim or as aTrader/Voyager, you will need to research the plague. The plague was spread by these trading and pilgrim routes, as travelers went from town to town. Find out about the plague during modern times and during the Middle Ages. Use your journal to keep track of what you find out along the way. SCORE activity for middle schoolers.

This website provides an overview of pilgrimages to special holy places called shrines.

Jousting Game
Jousts were carefully organized events and in this tudorbritain.org simulation students get the chance to take part in a joust.

A Medieval Cartoon
Unravel the meaning of this 1233 medieval cartoon. From the National Archives Learning Curve. Key Stage 3.

BBC History: Ages of Treasure Timeline
From the Palaeolithic to the Norman Conquest, explore British archaeological sites and treasures from the past, then test yourself on the eras and events in the Ages of Treasure game.

Was Richard II Mad?
In this National Archives podcast Terry Jones,( ‘Python’, historian, broadcaster, actor, director and comedian) attempts to rescue Richard II’s reputation and expose the turbulent world of 14th century politics.

Two Crowns, One King: Henry V and the Treaty of Troyes
In this National Archives podcast explores whether the signing of the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 was Henry V’s greatest victory.

BBC History: Blood of the Vikings Video
In Blood of the Vikings, Julian Richards investigates Viking Britain using archaeological evidence and the latest genetics research

BBC History Trail: Church and State
Discover how the Palace of Westminster and churches throughout the country can be read to reveal the history of Britain.

AP European History Web Links and Primary Source Documents
Historyteacher.net offers 1000s of links to great web sites and primary source documents. Just pick a topic and go to that page where you will find a large number of links that can be used for research and study. You will also be directed to in-depth, detail-linked class assignments on several topics.

Mr. Dowling’s Electronic Passport: Middle Ages
Mr. Dowling’s Electronic Passport helps kids browse the world in his virtual classroom. He introduces you to many civilizations with clear explanations, engaging graphics for kids, and “cool links”. His study guides, homework assignments, and exams are free and available for you to print or to edit.

Web Guide for AP World History
The Web Guide for AP World History includes some 500 web links that are categorized and annotated to compliment the AP World History course. The Web Guide is organized into the five sections of the AP World History course: Foundations, 1000-1450, 1450-1750, 1750-1914, and 1914-present. The thematic and analytical sections that are presented follow the structure of the AP World History course. Visitors must register through the College Board.

Brief Review in Global History and Geography: Document Based Essays and Practice Tests
PH@School’s Brief Review in Global History and Geography Web site provides multiple-choice questions from actual Regents exams. You can also practice your test-taking skills on document-based essay questions (DBQs), with the option of e-mailing answers directly to your teacher for review.