The history of the Middle Ages is studied using numerous historical sources: architectural landmarks, material monuments, written historical sources, ethnographic sources, etc. The preserved architectural monuments seem to transfer us to the distant past. And today in many cities of Europe you can see old churches and cathedrals, castles and fortress walls, as well as entire neighborhoods where once lived the nobility, merchants, traders, craftsmen. City streets were able to save their medieval names.
Preserved and silent witnesses of the Middle Ages are material monuments: various tools, different types of weapons, coins and seals, knight armor and jewelry, paintings and statues. They are traditionally kept in museums. Here things fall, usually in two ways: they are either found during excavations by archaeologists, or by heirs from family collections.
Perhaps the most important are written historical sources. A lot of them died during wars, fires, natural disasters. The
survivors are preserved mainly in the archives, as well as in churches, monasteries, in private collections. Medieval documents are scrupulously studied by historians, publish them, comment on, try to popularize. Among the written sources, it is extremely important to record the laws and orders of kings, princes, popes, bishops, as well as various court decisions, craft and university statutes, descriptions of estates, facts of their sale, donation or transfer to inheritance.
Important and interesting information about the Middle Ages also contains chronicles, which in Kievan Rus called the chronicles. The chroniclers kept records of current events day after day, year after year. It could be a chronicle that covered the life of the whole country, a separate city or a monastery. Some gifted chroniclers did not simply record the facts, but tried to present their vision of an event.
Contemporary folklore records will tell you a lot about – retelling, legends, fairy tales, legends, which at first were only oral. These texts are usually called epic. The inner world of a man of the Middle Ages is best displayed
in works of art. We have reached individual poetic collections, novels and novels, whose characters are ordinary people with their joys, experiences, and gods, rulers, legendary personalities.
Folk culture and way of life are helped to study ethnographic sources. After all, the echo of the Middle Ages is also in folk festivals, numerous rituals, children’s games, clothes or household items. Ethnographic materials are also contained in the records of eyewitnesses and travelers.
Hence, since the Middle Ages, many sources have come down to us. However, their processing requires extraordinary accuracy and weight. For a deep knowledge of the age, one must take into account the evidence of different sources, only in this way one can feel its spirit.
Information on the Middle Ages is collected, compared, systematized and generalized by medieval scholars.
One of the outstanding medievalists was the French historian Mark Blok. He studied the world of feelings of a medieval man, his religious ideas, etc. Mark Blok believed that historians should study the life of a person in society, in time and space. His work “Feudal Society”, written in 1939 1940., and is still a model of a deep interpretation of Western European feudalism of the IX-XIV centuries.
In the “World History”, the outstanding Ukrainian scholar Ivan Kripyakevich paid close attention to the history of the Middle Ages. This work was prepared as the fourth volume of the “Historical Library”, published in the 30s of the XX century. in Lviv. “World History” Ivan Kripyakevich developed the terminological tradition of domestic historical science, had many illustrations.