Ayyubids

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The Mediterranean and West Asia

By |2018-04-25T23:50:37+00:00September 14th, 2017|West Asia|

Map of West Asia One common theme in the history of West Asia has been the conflict between land-oriented people and sea-oriented people. Often there is a group of people living in West Asia who are mostly land-oriented. These people don't sail boats much, or swim. They think of their kingdom as covering a certain piece of [...]

Jews in the Islamic Empire

By |2018-04-08T01:10:57+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The synagogue where Maimonides worked in Cairo, Egypt (1100s AD) The Arabs first began to attack the Roman Empire in the 630s AD. At first, the Jews were quite enthusiastic about the idea of getting rid of their Christian persecutors. We don't really know whether the Jews actually helped the Arabs to conquer Israel and Syria. But many Roman [...]

Francis of Assisi – Medieval Europe

By |2018-10-02T06:59:07+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Francis of Assisi gives his father back his clothes (Giotto, in Assisi) Who was Francis of Assisi? By 1200 AD, the Catholic Church was very powerful. Bishops and popes were often rich men. They cared more about getting rich collecting tithes than they did about praying or helping poor people. What is a bishop? What is the pope? History of [...]

Sixth Crusade – Medieval History

By |2017-08-03T15:08:20+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Soon after the failure of the Fifth Crusade, Frederick II, the Holy Roman Emperor, decided he would try his luck on Crusade, since he hadn't been allowed to go on the last one. Frederick marched on Acre, in Syria. Acre was under the control of the Islamic Mamluks. But not everyone [...]

Fourth Crusade – the sack of Constantinople

By |2018-04-24T09:08:57+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

In 1200 AD, Pope Innocent began to ask the rulers of Europe to participate in a fourth crusade, again attempting to take Jerusalem away from the Ayyubids who ruled there. Saladin had died in 1193 AD, and the Crusaders thought his successors were weaker and would be easier to beat. This time they would try something different. Instead of coming down from the north, [...]

Fifth Crusade – Medieval history

By |2017-08-03T11:29:17+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

The siege of Damietta In 1216 AD, Pope Honorius III succeeded in getting some more Europeans to agree to try again to conquer Jerusalem from the Ayyubids. This time, the Pope would be in charge instead of European kings. Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire wanted to come along, but the Pope said no, this crusade was for the [...]

Third Crusade – Medieval history

By |2018-04-11T09:09:27+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Saladin (Salah al-din) When the Mamluk general Imad-ed-din Zangi died, he was succeeded by his son Nureddin, who added Damascus to the land his father had gathered together. And after Nureddin died in 1174 AD, a strong Kurdish general named Salah al-din (called Saladin in the West) took over. Salah al-din soon conquered Egypt from the Fatimids, and then he was [...]

Eleanor of Aquitaine – Queen of France and England

By |2018-04-12T00:08:02+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Eleanor of Aquitaine (Cloisters Museum, New York City) Eleanor of Aquitaine was fifteen years old in 1137 AD, and not yet married, when her father, the Duke of Aquitaine, died suddenly. Eleanor had no brothers, so she inherited her father's duchy, which included most of southern France. Coin minted when Eleanor was ruling [...]

Comneni Dynasty – Byzantine history

By |2018-04-12T00:08:00+00:00August 1st, 2017|History, Medieval|

Alexios I Comneni, the Byzantine emperor (1081 AD) TheBattle of Manzikert in 1071 was the end of Basil's Armenian Dynasty. The Byzantines had lost Armenia to Alp Arslan and the Seljuk Turks, and Alp Arslan took the Roman Emperor prisoner. So a new dynasty took over the Byzantine Empire, the Comneni. Alexios Comneni succeeded in reconquering part [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]