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Medieval Europe: Empires, kingdoms and rulers

By 364 AD, the Roman Empire had been definitively split into two separate states: The Eastern Roman Empire, and the Western Roman Empire. The Western Empire soon collapsed under the weight of barbarians, and Europe was plunged into the Medieval era. Under "barbarian" rule, "civilization" decreased dramatically, with only the church remaining as one of the few institutions for civilization. However, this period was crucial to western history because moden western nations directly trace their roots to kingdoms of this time period. The crusading times beginning at around 1100 AD gave root for significant change. Europe became more centralized and activity with foreigners brought back learning to western Europe. By the 1400s, Western Europe had fully recovered politically and culturally. With the advantages of syncretism, European technology and knowledge in the next period skyrocketed to take the lead in the world.

Battle of Hastings

The Battle of Hastings[a] was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. It took place approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, East Sussex, and was a decisive Norman victory.

The background to the battle was the death of the childless King Edward the Confessor in January 1066, which set up a succession struggle between several claimants to his throne. Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward's death, but faced invasions by William, his own brother Tostig and the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (Harold III of Norway). Hardrada and Tostig defeated a hastily gathered army of Englishmen at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September 1066, and were in turn defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge five days later. More...

The Battle of Hastings 1066 AD

Norman conquest of England

The Bayeux Tapestry

Here you can read the tale told by the Bayeux Tapestry -

The story of William the Conqueror and Harold, Earl of Wessex, the men who led the Norman and Saxon armies in 1066. William's defeat of Harold at the Battle of Hastings ensured the success of the Norman invasion of England...

The Victorian replica of the Tapestry is housed in its own gallery at Reading Museum,

where it can be viewed for FREE during the Museum opening hours

Notable Middle Ages Battles

There are a number of key battles and campaigns during the Middle Ages. These include:

The Battle of Hastings

The Crusades

The Barons War

The Hundred Years War

The Wars of the Roses

These battles, although bloody, led to key developments in technology, weaponry s well as advancements in both defensive and offensive structures and weaponry, changes to law and much more. More...

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