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Ancient and medieval science

By |2018-04-25T10:30:30+00:00September 6th, 2017|History, Science|

Chinese star chart possibly dating from the 600s AD, during the T'ang Dynasty Science means "knowing" in Latin. It is the process of learning things about the world. People have always wanted to learn more about their world, and they have tried a lot of different ways to find things out. Some of the ways they tried [...]

Challenges and disabilities in the ancient world

By |2018-04-24T11:07:10+00:00August 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 [...]

Who were the Norse gods?

By |2017-06-29T02:10:43+00:00June 29th, 2017|Northern Europe, Religion|

A Viking religious sacrifice (ca. 900 AD, Sweden) From their first appearance in historical literature around 100 BC, the Germans were polytheistic. They believed in many gods, just like the Greeks and the Romans and the Persians and the Indians and other Indo-European people. In fact, the most important German gods are closely [...]

Hildebrandsleid – a tragic story

By |2018-04-21T13:19:56+00:00June 27th, 2017|Literature, Northern Europe|

Pictish battle (Aberlemno, Scotland, ca. 700 AD) The story of Hildebrand is one of the earliest stories written in German. Nobody knows who wrote this story or exactly when, but we think somebody must have written this version about 700 AD. The earliest copy of the story that we still have was written [...]

Ancient Egyptian Food – Eating and drinking in ancient Egypt

By |2018-12-11T11:39:20+00:00June 14th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Food|

Ancient Egyptian food: Actual bread from Egypt's New Kingdom (Vatican Museum, Rome) Ancient Egyptian food: from both Africa and West Asia Because Egypt is in Africa, but very close to West Asia, what people ate in ancient Egypt was midway between African and West Asian food. Wheat, barley, and olive oil all originally came [...]

The Silk Road and Afro-Eurasian trade

By |2018-04-19T10:21:04+00:00June 12th, 2017|Economy, Medieval|

Silk Road trade: Chinese coin of the Han Empress Kuo Empires and the Silk Road Starting in the 500s BC, governments started to come together into empires. Travel got safer. Traders could travel long distances without running into wars. The Sogdians in Central Asia (Afghanistan and Uzbekistan) began to sell horses to the [...]

How to make a compass – China Activities

By |2018-04-18T18:18:12+00:00June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, Science|

Early Chinese compass (reconstruction) Chinese scientists invented the first compasses, around the 200s AD, near the end of the Han Dynasty. These early Chinese compasses were very simple arrangements of an iron needle and a bit of cork, and you can easily make one just like them. On a sunny day, you can begin [...]

How to make Chinese coins – Ancient China project

By |2018-04-18T09:54:00+00:00June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, Economy|

Replica Chinese coins, made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon People in China began to use cowrie shells for money about 1800 BC. But by about 400 BC, they were using bronze coins. Nobody knows whether moneyers in China thought of this idea on their own, or got the idea from West Asia, [...]

Science in ancient and medieval China

By |2018-05-28T00:10:52+00:00June 7th, 2017|China, Science|

Chinese science: a double-action piston box bellows (China) What are some Chinese inventions? Chinese scientists started inventing a lot of new things around 500 BC, during the Warring States period. That might be because of the formation of the first empires and the rise of the Silk Road. (More about the Silk Road) [...]