15 Facts We Just Learned About The Medieval Era That Made Us Say 'Whoa'

List Rules
Vote up the medieval facts you learned when you were "today years old."

There's no shortage of interesting facts about the Middle Ages, and that's perhaps nowhere more evident than in the Today I Learned subreddit, where countless history buffs share the medieval facts they just learned.

While myths about the Middle Ages abound, the truth about the era is far more intriguing. From the weird thing medieval armies used as ammo, to the history behind a "baker's dozen," and so much more, the facts about the medieval era found here are so riveting, it's a wonder we're just now learning about them.


  • 1
    3,426 VOTES

    Medieval Miners Thought The Element Cobalt Was The Work Of Goblins

    From Redditor u/Yorkshire_Bjorn:

    TIL that the element Cobalt gets its name from a trickster goblin of German folklore, the kobold, because when medieval miners discovered it and tried to smelt it thinking it was silver, it released toxic gasses they believed to be the goblin playing a trick on them.

    Source

  • 2
    4,296 VOTES

    How Quickly Meat Rots When Left Out Indicates How Clean The Air Is

    From Redditor u/LilSmore

    TIL when the medieval scholar Rhazes was tasked with choosing the location of a new hospital in Baghdad, he hung meat at points around the city, and chose the location where it rotted the slowest.

    Source

  • 3
    3,325 VOTES

    The Medieval Era Had Its Own Version Of 'The Purge'

    From Redditor u/bort-thrillho:

    TIL of the 'Ill Week' - a kind of late medieval version of the Purge. When Elizabeth I died there was a popular belief that the laws of a kingdom were suspended between the death of a sovereign and the proclamation of the successor.

    Source

  • 4
    4,674 VOTES

    A Moment Is Actually A Set Amount Of Time

    From Redditor u/AReallyBadChemist

    TIL A moment was a medieval measurement of time and corresponded to 90 seconds.

    Source