The Middle Ages: Holy Relics, Robert the Devil & More

If you were ever wondering about those old rules that come to bite you in the future , it is interesting to find out that the ancient feudal system of land ownership actually lasted until 2000. People were still expected (but probably had no clue about) to allow allowed “feudal superiors” to keep on having the rights over “vassals” who owned the homes they built on land. This was still in the books in Scotland until it became abolished not too long ago.

Did you know that Gerbert of Aurillac, who later became Pope Sylvester II from 999 to 1003 tried to bring to light Arabic numerals to the people of Christian Europe? At the time, it would have been easier for the people to get the hand of this numeric system, yet a couple of centuries passed before this became a reality. Pope Sylvester II was also known as the best Latin scholar of his time. As a young man, he traveled to Muslim Spain to learn more about philosophy and mathematics. The education that he absorbed under the guidance of his Arabic teachers elevated his intellect so high that when he returned home, some believed that he possessed power associated with black magic and sorcery.

During the 11th century, Robert the Devil, who was the father of William the Conqueror, began to tell people that opals gave him powers of magic that were evil. His mother also believed that her son was born to the Devil, who was able to make life easier for his mother because of his precious opal stone.

If you are looking for an interesting war tactic that was used in the past, consider what took place during the third Crusade. Richard the Lion-Hearted was able to capture the city of Acre, but not because his men fought long and hard, but because they tossed 100 beehives over the walls of a barricade that their enemies were hiding behind. It didn’t take long for the people inside of the fortress to surrender.

If you think ripping the clothes off of a musician giving a concert is bad, consider the importance of relics that belonged to holy people and saints. During the Middle Ages, the value of such objects were so great that when Elisabeth of Thuringia (a rather holy woman) passed away in 1231, a group of people actually dismembered her body and took them home as holy relics.

The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II was a medieval ruler who didn’t hide his atheist beliefs. He used Muslim mercenaries to fight his battles with the pope and welcomed Jews and Muslims at his court to share company with Christians.

When it comes to the Cathedral of Notre Dame found in Amiens, it was constructed during the Middle Ages and wound up covering 8,500 square yards. The entire structure took 137 years to finally complete and after the work was done, every single person in city, which were about 10,000 individuals was able to attend the same service.