This week: Halloween and St. Crispin's Day answers questions history/science facts

Welcome to!

Projects and Pages for late October:

jack'o'lanterns on stairs

HALLOWEEN: Read about the history of Halloween, or the history of pumpkins. For homemade scary costume ideas, how about dressing up as Medusa, the Minotaur, the Hydra, the Mayan Corn God, the Chinese god Kuan-Ti, or the African gods Anubis or Bes?

WOMEN'S ASSAULT STORIES: A collection of stories about men beating up women, from Persephone to Iphigeneia to Antigone, Europa to Cassandra and the other Trojan Women, to the Parthian romance of Vis and Ramin, the Arabian Nights, or Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale.

CYRUS THE GREAT: October 29, 539 BC: The Persian - Iranian - king Cyrus the Great enters Babylon in Iraq, cementing his power over all of West Asia in the world's first big empire. He lets the Jews go back to Israel, ending the Babylonian Captivity, and proclaims freedom of religion for Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists - everybody.

Shakespeare's St. Crispin's Day speech

BATTLE OF THE MILVIAN BRIDGE: October 28, 312 AD - The Roman emperor Constantine defeats Maxentius and takes control of Rome. Immediately afterwards, he starts to officially encourage Christianity.

BATTLE OF AGINCOURT: October 25, 1415 AD: The British under their young king Henry V beat the French in the Battle of Agincourt, on St. Crispin's Day. (Shakespeare's version makes the battle memorable.)This was part of the Hundred Years' War. Even though the British won this battle, in the end the French won the war and pushed the British out of what is now France.

MARTIN LUTHER: October 31, 1517 AD - The Christian priest Martin Luther starts the Protestant Reformation by sending his ideas - the 91 Theses - to the Archbishop of Mainz.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: Make a costume, carve a pumpkin, bob for apples, make popcorn, and go Trick-or-Treating!

(Want more like this? Email us to sign up for' email newsletter!)

New page this week:

statue of a seated woman holding a little boy
Agnes of Poitou

AGNES: In the continuing series of women who ruled but you've never heard of them, we've added Agnes of Poitou, who ruled the Holy Roman Empire for six years in the 1000s AD (as regent for her baby son Henry IV). As Empress, Agnes fought the Pope for the right to name bishops, and she made deals with Poland to keep the peace. See also: Agnes' daughter Judith of Poland, and Henry IV's enemy Matilda of Canossa, women who held a lot of power in the next generation.

New discoveries this week:

WETLANDS: It looks like early people in the Levant - what's now Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan - settled down in villages thanks not so much to wheat and barley, but more to wetlands and the reeds and water plants that grew there. That would be the same strategy that Chinook people used in the Pacific Northwest, continuing the earlier reliance on stable, water-based foods like shellfish and seaweed.

CANAANITE REVOLT: Looks like there's a longer history of revolt in Israel than we had thought - about 1100 BC, Canaanites revolted against New Kingdom Egyptian rule - followed in the 600s BC by the Jewish revolt against the Babylonians, in the 100s BC by the Maccabee revolt against the Seleucids, in the 70s AD by the Jewish revolt against the Romans, and in the 100s AD by *another* Jewish revolt. No wonder Hadrian forced the Jews out of Israel....

HISTORY OF PENCILS: An interesting article about the history of pencils - for more, check out' articles on carbon, charcoal, paper, and diamonds.

CENTRAL ASIAN RATTLE: In Russia, just north of Kazakhstan, they've found a child's rattle in the shape of the head of a bear cub from about 3000-2000 BC, in the Bronze Age. The rattle is baked clay; inside are probably small stones - and it still works!

Help support! is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

Seasonal food of the week:

PUMPKINS: Halloween is a great time to eat winter squash, finally ripe and in season! Pumpkins themselves aren't really good to eat; they're too watery. Instead, roast butternut squash. Try roasting squash with fennel, or make squash soup, or squash souffles with homemade cranberry sauce. Squash risotto is great too, and it's vegan! Or use sweet potatoes to make sweet potato pie. For snacks at your Halloween party, popcorn is perfect.

Also check out our seasonal and budget recipes at

Or, view an extensive range of science and history based educational and learning toys by visiting now.

(Want more like this? Email us to sign up for' email newsletter!)

Thank you to for their support!

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

Help support! (formerly "History for Kids") is entirely supported by your generous donations and by our sponsors. Most donors give about $10. Can you give $10 today to keep this site running? Or give $50 to sponsor a page?

For the US election, check out' page on the Constitution. From the Revolution on, people have fought for the right to vote. In the 1800s, Andrew Jackson got poor white men the vote; the Civil War and Lincoln brought the vote to African-American men. In the 1900s, women got the vote, and Martin Luther King Jr. fought to force white people to actually let black people vote.