Famous People of the Middle Ages

Famous people from the middle ages range from kings and queens, artists and writers, lords and nobles, merchants and clergymen. Here are some of the most notable figures of the medieval times:

Marco Polo

Marco Polo was born in the year 1254 and died in 1324. It is not clear where he was born but it is generally recognized that he was born in the Venice Republic. His father was an influential merchant who traveled around the world. When Marco Polo was aged seventeen years, he travelled with his father and uncle through the greater parts of Asia including China, Persia and the Holy Land. His father and uncle met the Kublai Khan, who was the Emperor of Cathay (now China) and were given influential positions in the monarchy.

At the age the age of 21, Marco Polo was hired as an envoy to the Chinese monarchy and was later promoted to a governor. After many years, he returned to Venice where he was imprisoned in a Genoese prison. While in prison, he dictated his travel expeditions as a foreign envoy to a skillful writer and prison mate. These manuscripts were compiled into the famous book “The Travels of Marco Polo.”

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc, who was given the nickname “The Maiden of Orleans” was born 1412 and died 30 May 1431). She is a nationally respected figure in the Roman Catholic Church, in France and in most of the Western world. She was born to a peasant family in the eastern part of France and she commandeered the French army into vital victories in the course of the Hundred Years War. Joan of Arc made claims the she received divine guidance and this put her into a lot of problems as she was accused by some Church authorities as lacking subordination to the Church.

The Burgundies captured her after France’s victories in the Hundred Years War and took her to England, for money.  The Bishop of Beauvais put her on trial and at just 19 years of age, she was executed for being a heretic. Twenty-five year later, it was declared that she was innocent and she posthumously gained the status of a martyr.

Richard I Of England-The Lionheart

Richard I of England, also known as the Lionheart, was born 8 September 1157 and died 6 April 1199. He took over the throne as King of England from July 6 1189 until the time he died. Richard I also ruled in several other capacities as the Duke of Normandy, Duke of Gascony, Duke of Aquitaine, Lord of Cyprus, and Overlord of Brittany. He gained the name Lionheart because of his military achievement as a fearless warrior and military man.

When he was just sixteen years, he was already in charge of an army and was able to overcome rebellions aimed towards King Henry II, his father.  Richard I continues to be an evoked figure in France and England due to his pious determination to lead his army into numerous victories. One of his prominent battles was that fought against Saladin in the Third Crusade. He spent most of his time not in England but in France.

Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was born in 1225 and died on 7 March 1274. He was an Italian priest with Dominican origins and served the Roman Catholic Church. He was a popular and powerful theologian and philosopher and earned himself titles such as Doctor Universalis, Doctor Communis and the Angelic Doctor.

He was a pioneer in the theological and philosophical field of natural theology and as such is recognized as the Father of Thomism. His works have had a great influence on the Western theology and philosophy especially in the subjects of metaphysics, political theory and ethics. Some of his works include Summa Contra and Sumna Theologica. 

King Lois IX

Louis IX of France was born 25 April 1214 and died 25 August 1270. He reigned as king from 1226 until the time he died. Louis IX was born in Poissy close to Paris, to Blanche of Castile and Louis VIII. He was a descendant of Hugh Capet from the eighth generation and became part of the House of Capet. 

King Louis IX is the only King of France who was canonized and as such, there are plenty of sites and monuments that are named after him. These include the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia located in the United Sates and the city of San Louis Potosi based in Mexico. This king also served as part of the Order of the Holy Trinity and Captives as a tertiary.

Eleanor of Aquintaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine was born either 1122 or 1124 and died on 1 April 1204. She was one of the richest women across Western Europe. She was the Duchess of Aquitaine and the queen consort of England and France. Additionally she was a patron for people such as Bernart de Ventadorn and Wace.  Eleanor took after her father as the Countess of Poitiers and the Duchess of Aquitaine when she was fifteen years.

She married Louis VII three years after her succession. She took part in the Second Crusade that was deemed as a failure and soon after this phase of the Crusade, she asked to annul her marriage. Pope Eugene III turned down her request. However, her marriage was annulled after the birth of her daughter. Then, she immediately married the Duke of Normandy Henry Plantaget who later became king of England.


Dante was born in Florence Italy and although the precise date of his birth is largely unknown, historians generally accept that he was born around 1265. Dante is known as one of the famous people from the Middle Ages due to his works.

He was not only a writer of prose but also a theorist, political thought pioneer and philosopher in morality and ethics. One of his most popular works includes Commedia, which is a large poetic manuscript. Commedia has set precedence in the global literature and it is one of the most quoted pieces of work in modern day poetry.

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