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What is iconoclasm? History of Christianity

By | 2017-08-22T09:24:42+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Icon of St. Nicholas (Russia) By the early 700s AD, the Roman Empire had seen four hundred years of religious arguments about what or who Jesus Christ was. The Arians believed that Christ was all god. The Catholics believed that Christ was entirely and inseparably both god and man. And people had fought over every possible combination of thoughts in [...]

Pope Gregory the Great – Early medieval Christianity

By | 2017-08-22T09:28:40+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Pope Gregory the Great writing, carved near Strasbourg, about 875 AD. That's under Charlemagne's grandchildren. The Holy Spirit (in the form of a dove) sits on his shoulder and dictates to him. The elephant ivory is probably from Kenya. (Now in Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum) Gregory was Pope in Rome beginning in 590 AD. That's just after [...]

What is a bishop? Christianity – Religion

By | 2017-08-21T17:56:08+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

A bishop from medieval Iceland (in the form of a chess piece). Now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York A bishop was a man who was in charge of the Christians of a certain city. All big cities in the ancient Roman Empire and Sassanian Empire and medieval Europe had bishops. The earliest bishops appeared soon after the crucifixion of Jesus, about [...]

St. Benedict – Christianity – History of Religion

By | 2017-08-21T17:33:57+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Egyptian caves where early monks and nuns lived In the 500s AD, Benedict was the founder of a new Christian movement toward monasticism: living as monks or nuns. Already in the 300s, especially in Egypt, men and women had been going off by themselves into the desert, away from people, to live a life of prayer, devoted entirely to [...]

Challenges and disabilities in the ancient world

By | 2017-08-16T00:19:17+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Medieval, Romans, Science|

(Bosch, the Ship of Fools) In the ancient and medieval worlds, many more people were physically and mentally challenged than there are in the United States, or practically anywhere, today. There were no operations to fix club feet, or cleft palates, or heart murmurs. There were no antidepressants or antipsychotics for people who heard [...]

Northern France with kids!

By | 2017-08-15T23:53:15+00:00 August 15th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Amiens labyrinth In northern France, drive first from Paris to Bayeux to see the Bayeux Tapestry. There are good audioguides for both adults and kids. Going through all the panels of the tapestry is as interesting as reading comic strips! If you have time, the next day check out Mont St. Michel. It's a great Romanesque [...]

Europe’s economy in the Renaissance

By | 2017-08-04T22:12:19+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Economy, Medieval|

The Portuguese force Islamic traders to give them access to the Indian port of Goa (1500s AD, Theodore De Bry) In 1500 AD, Europe was still a marginal player in the world economy, which was centered on Central Asia. Europeans sold mostly raw materials - fur, silver, timber, and amber, to Central Asia via the Silk Road. And the Europeans bought [...]

Weapons, war, and armor in medieval Europe

By | 2017-08-04T13:56:30+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, War|

British cannon from the Hundred Years' War (now at Mount St. Michel) Throughout the Middle Ages, nobody in Europe had much money or power. Kings couldn't afford to maintain a standing, professional army the way the Romans had. Instead, when the king wanted to fight a war, he ordered each of his lords [...]

Medieval sailing – Ships in medieval Europe

By | 2017-08-04T13:52:16+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Science|

Caravels, about 1500 AD (Livro das Fortalezas de Duarte Damas) The Early Middle Ages - about 500 AD - brought a major change in Mediterranean ship-building. Instead of putting the planks together to build the outside shell of the ship first, Mediterranean ship-builders began to build the ship's frame first, and then fasten the shell planks to the [...]