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Quatr.us Study Guides Projects and Articles for mid March:
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: A first woman President in the United States? Sure, but even in the Middle Ages women ruled many countries: Julia Mamaea pointed the way in the 200s AD. In the 400s, Pulcheria and Eudoxia controlled the Roman Empire. In the 500s, Ingundis helped convert Spain to Catholicism. In the 600s, Brunhilde ruled France, and the Empress Wu ruled China. In 800 AD, Irene ruled the Byzantine Empire, and in the 900s Theophano ruled the Holy Roman Empire (basically Germany). Matilda of Canossa was the big power of the 1000s AD. The 1100s brought Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the 1200s Eleanor’s granddaughter, Blanche of Castile, and the Mongol leader Toregene. The 1300s brought Joan of Arc and Yolande of Aragon, Margaret of Anjou, and, in the 1400s, Anne of France. Watch this space next week for the great women rulers of the 1500s!
NOWRUZ: This week is the celebration of the Iranian, Zoroastrian holiday of Nowruz. Nowruz celebrates the coming of spring. People have been celebrating Nowruz since the beginning of the Persian Empire, about 500 BC, but it probably comes from an even earlier New Year’s celebration from ancient Mesopotamia, described in the Enuma Elish. For Nowruz, people went trick-or-treating and gave presents, including candy and decorated eggs.
FIRST DAY OF SPRING: Check out our explanations of why the seasons change, and our pages about the various spring New Year holidays, from Chinese Qingming festival, to Iranian Nowruz, Jewish Passover, and Christian Easter. Plus, the long and fascinating history of Easter eggs!
This week in history:
ELIZABETH I: March 24th, 1603: Elizabeth I, the Queen of England, dies after a long and successful reign.
History Gifts – what to get with your Amazon gift card!
For Women’s History Month, check out Angela Davis’ Freedom is a Constant Struggle. Or read our favorite: how Rosa Parks and Jo Ann Robinson started the Montgomery Bus Boycott in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance–A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (2011). Also check out this biography of Sojourner Truth for only $14.50, or better yet, read the book she wrote herself for $10.30. Or this biography of Ida B. Wells, a black woman who worked on the same issues in the next generation. For a look into the future, try Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Some stories to explain Nowruz: Norooz A Celebration of Spring! The Persian New Year ($13.95) and The New Year’s Goldfish: A Nowruz Story (only $8.99!). For more about the Comanche, check out S.C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon ($6.63), about Quanah Parker and the end of Comanche power. And it’s still Women’s History Month! Check out Nancy Goldstone’s The Rival Queens: Catherine de’ Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom (only $2.99 on Kindle!), or Toni Patel’s Chand Bibi – The Fearless Queen for $11.90.
New articles this week:
We’ve been working on the Parthian and Sassanian empires in Iraq and Iran: check it out!
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New discoveries this week:
MIDDLE STONE AGE TRADE: At the very beginning of the existence of modern humans, 350,000 years ago, people were already trading to get obsidian from fifty miles away. They were also using wooden handles on their stone tools, and apparently using ocher to show cultural things: face paint? grave markings? We don’t know yet.
EARLY AFRICAN FARMING: People were farming local grains in the Sahara, in what is now southern Libya, by around 8000 BC. That’s pretty soon after the beginning of farming in West Asia. And apparently they were also making cheese. (The Sahara was wetter then than it is now.)
SOUTH AMERICAN FRUIT: People carried different kinds of fruit across South America and Central America, and selected for the kinds of fruit that people liked, starting about 10,000 BC. The fruits people ate, like custard apples, squashes, and cashews, travelled further and became more widespread than fruits people didn’t eat.
Seasonal food of the week:
NOWRUZ: As part of your Nowruz celebrations, you could start with crackers and boniet, a spread made with parsley and anchovies. Then make pistachio soup or roasted chickpeas. For the main course, maybe chicken with clementines and fennel, or eggplant and ground lamb? Falafel would also be appropriate, or these sweet and sour meatballs. For something even sweeter, try this lamb tagine with root vegetables and dried fruit. And for dessert, this make-ahead creme caramel?