Where do our knowledge of the Middle Ages come from?

The Middle Ages is closer to us in time than antiquity, and therefore there are more historical sources left from it.

In particular, many buildings, tools, weapons, works of art, etc., have been preserved from the Middle Ages. Some of them were discovered by archaeologists during excavations, some of them carefully preserved by descendants as a memory of their ancestors. Even more preserved are written testimonies, which make for the historian a special value. Now they are in special repositories – Archives. Many of them have already been published in books and magazines to make them more accessible to researchers. Medieval written sources are predominantly Latin-speaking. Among them there are a lot of economic documents and records of laws on which people lived in the Middle Ages.

Written sources do not always truthfully cover events, therefore historians are cautious, critical of their content.

Many valuable reports contain medieval historical tales, Chronicles,

“lives” of saints, church sermons, letters, biographies, genealogies, “histories”, government documents, scientific and fiction, etc. Such sources are called narrative. The memory of the past was preserved by medieval legends about gods, rulers and heroes, as well as fairy tales, proverbs, riddles, etc.

We draw knowledge of the Middle Ages also from folk customs and rituals, which preserved the memory of antiquity. In peasant weddings, children’s games, holidays, dresses and ornaments, household items, the researcher finds evidence of the world of a medieval man. Medieval coins, seals, coats of arms, etc. tell a lot of interesting things. Scientists believe that the more diverse historical sources, the fuller and more truthful it is possible to recreate the past of mankind.

Historical sources are everything that more or less truthfully reports historical events and people’s lives.

Archive is an institution in which old documents are stored and studied.

Chronicles are works in which the course of historical events is described successively, in chronological order.

“Stories” – stories about important historical events, whose witnesses or contemporaries were the authors themselves.

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Where do our knowledge of the Middle Ages come from?