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History of iron and blacksmithing – from iron to steel

By |2018-04-07T17:04:34+00:00September 7th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

History of iron: a Greek black-figure vase showing a blacksmith at work (Athens, about 550 BC) Why do people use iron? The history of iron doesn't start until much later than bronze. Iron is harder to form into metal than copper or bronze, because it needs a much hotter fire and a more complicated process. But if [...]

Weapons, war, and armor in medieval Europe

By |2017-08-04T13:56:30+00:00August 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 [...]

Greek hoplites and democracy – Classical Greece

By |2018-05-30T23:35:45+00:00July 19th, 2017|Greeks, War|

Greek hoplites and democracy - a Corinthian helmet from the 600s BC Hoplites needed armor When the Greek city-states turned to this new hoplite way of fighting, it meant that each man had to have the right armor. Nobody could fight without a shield, and a helmet, and all that. So you could only be a [...]

War and battle in ancient Egypt

By |2018-11-12T13:50:53+00:00June 19th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, War|

Victims of civil war in ancient Egypt. They're bound with ropes and have their heads cut off and placed between their legs. (from the Narmer palette, about 3000 BC) Civil wars in ancient Egypt Because it is surrounded by deserts like the Land of Oz, Egypt is pretty hard to invade. So a [...]

Making Roman weapons – Ancient Rome project

By |2017-06-11T16:50:21+00:00June 11th, 2017|Crafts, Romans, War|

Roman helmet, from the kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland, Oregon Although the Romans did many other things besides fight battles, certainly one of their greatest achievements was the world's first really professional, paid army. Roman soldiers conquered most of Europe and all around the edges of the Mediterranean Sea, and held onto it [...]

Making chainmail – Medieval Europe project

By |2017-06-11T12:43:51+00:00June 11th, 2017|Crafts, Medieval, War|

A suit of medieval plate armor In the Middle Ages men and women who fought in battles generally wore chain mail, which was both lighter and cheaper (because it was easier to make) than plate armor. Chain mail shirt (reproduction) In fact, chain mail is so easy to make that you [...]

Hosting a medieval tournament – an activity

By |2017-06-11T10:29:10+00:00June 11th, 2017|Games, Medieval, War|

Modern-day re-enactors having a tournament Tournaments were a common form of entertainment in the Middle Ages. A group of knights came together at the castle of some powerful duke or king, and they would spend the day fighting each other for prizes, sometimes one against one, and sometimes in teams. Tournaments took the [...]