middle ages

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

On November 23, 1221, Spanish King and astronomer Alfonso X of Castile was born, who encouraged the preparation of revised planetary tables. These “Alfonsine Tables” a revision and improvement of the Ptolemaic tables, were the best available during the Middle Ages. “Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” – Alfonso X, after studying Ptolemy’s treatise on astronomy.[10] Alfonso…
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Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

On October 25, 732 AD, the Battle of Tours and Poitiers between the united Frankish and Burgundian forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel, against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-General of al-Andalus, ended the Islamic expansion era in Europe. It is argued among historians that Charles Martel’s victory was one of the most important events in European or even world history. The…
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Widukind of Corvey and his Saxon Chronicles

Approximately around 925, medieval Saxon chronicler Widukind of Corvey was born. His three-volume Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres is an important chronicle of 10th-century Germany during the rule of the Ottonian dynasty. Widukind’s Life Possibly Widukind was a descendant of the Saxon Duke Widukind, the opponent of Charlemagne, because of the similarity of names.[1] Widukind entered the Benedictine monastery Corvey before 942, still under Abbot Volkmar I. According to older…
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Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

Life and Legend of Frederick Barbarossa

On June 10, 1190, Frederick I, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and better known as Frederick Barbarossa passed away. He died by drowning in the river Saleph during the Third Crusade. He got the name Barbarossa from the northern Italian cities he attempted to rule: Barbarossa means “red beard” in Italian; in German, he was known as ‘Kaiser Rotbart‘, which has the same meaning. There was a time, when every German…
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Saint Anselm of Canterbury – Father of Scholasticism

Saint Anselm of Canterbury – Father of Scholasticism

Probably on April 21, 1109, Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher and theologian of the Catholic Church Anselm of Canterbury passed away. He was canonized, is often considered the founder of scholasticism and is the main representative of early scholasticism. Since 1720 he has carried the honorary title “Father of the Church”. “Ergo domine…credimus te esse aliquid quo nihil maius cogitari possit.” (Therefore, lord…we believe that you are something than which nothing greater can…
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The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

On April 4, 636, Saint Isidore of Seville, Archbishop of Seville, passed away. He is referred to as “the last scholar of the ancient world. In his encyclopaedia Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX he compiled the knowledge of antiquity still existing in the west of the Mediterranean around 600, combined it with patristics and made it available to his time. Isidor was one of the most widely read authors of the Middle…
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Ulugh Beg – the Mongolian Astronomer Prince

Ulugh Beg – the Mongolian Astronomer Prince

On March 22, 1394, Mongolian astronomer, mathematician and sultan Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh, better known as Ulugh Beg was (probably) born. Although the only important Mongol scientist, he was the greatest astronomer of his time. Pursuing this interest he built an observatory at Samarkand. In his observations he discovered a number of errors in the computations of the 2nd-century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy, whose figures were still being used. “Religions scatter like…
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Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

On 24 February 1304, Muslim Berber Moroccan scholar, and explorer Ibn Battuta was born. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, India and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. “I arrived at…
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The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

The Encyclopaedia of Rabanus Maurus

On February 4, 856, Frankish Benedictine monk, theologian, poet, encyclopedist and military writer Rabanus Maurus Magnentius passed away. He was the author of the encyclopaedia De rerum naturis (“On the Natures of Things“). He also wrote treatises on education and grammar and commentaries on the Bible. He was one of the most prominent teachers and writers of the Carolingian age, and was called “Praeceptor Germaniae,” or “the teacher of Germany.” How Rabanus…
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Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

Giotto di Bondone – Making a Decisive Brake with the prevalent Style

On January 8, 1337, Italian painter and architect Giotto di Bondone passed away. He is regarded as the decisive pioneer of the Italian Renaissance (Rinascimento). Geniuses are Born as such Sources indicate that Giotto grew up in Florence as the son of the blacksmith Bondone. Most experts believe that Giotto was his real name. Others think that it is a short form of Ambrogio (Ambrogiotto) or Angelo (Angiolotto). His life is attested…
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