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Roman empire – ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-03T18:11:37+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|History, Romans|

The Roman emperor Augustus As the Romans were conquering the whole Mediterranean, the rich men who were running the government got richer and richer - very very rich. They began fighting each other to rule the new empire. By 30 BC one man - Augustus - was ruling the Roman Empire. After Augustus died, his relatives inherited his throne. [...]

Constantine – Roman emperor – Later Roman Empire

By | 2017-09-03T11:23:08+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|History, Romans|

The Roman emperor Constantine - the first Christian emperor Diocletian's Tetrarchy worked pretty well for about 20 years, but then it broke down. In 306 AD one of the Emperors, Constantius, died. He was supposed to be succeeded by his assistant, Severus. But Constantius had a son, whose name was Constantine. When Constantius died, Constantine was not [...]

Who were the Nestorians? History of Christianity

By | 2017-08-22T17:18:53+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Religion, Romans|

A Nestorian cross on a tombstone from Kazakhstan (1300s AD) In 428 AD, when Pulcheria and Eudocia were running the Roman Empire, a bishop named Nestorius became the Patriarch of Constantinople. That's like being the Pope but for people in the Eastern Empire. Nestorius didn't like the idea that Jesus was both a man and a god at the same time. Nestorius thought [...]

Constantine becomes a Christian – History of religion

By | 2017-08-21T18:30:12+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Religion, Romans|

The Roman emperor Constantine - the first Christian emperor In 312 AD, the Great Persecution was still going on in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire (though not really in the West). But then Constantine became a Roman Emperor. He had had a vision which made him convert to Christianity. As soon as he won the Battle of [...]

Anna Comnena’s Alexiad – Byzantine literature

By | 2017-08-03T21:02:22+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Anna Comnena, author of the Alexiad Anna Comnena was born a princess in 1083 AD, the oldest child of the Byzantine emperor Alexios. She was named for her grandmother, the powerful empress Anna, who ruled the Empire whenever Alexios was away fighting wars. This Anna raised her granddaughter, little Anna, with the hope that she would [...]

Venice in the Late Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-03T15:27:39+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Bronze horses of St. Mark's, Venice In 1204 AD, Venice agreed to help European soldiers on the Fourth Crusade. They would use their great navy to get the Crusaders to Egypt. But in exchange, the Venetians got the Crusaders to fight for them against the Roman Emperors in Constantinople, even though that had nothing to do with the Crusade. The Crusaders ended up [...]

Fourth Crusade – the sack of Constantinople

By | 2017-08-03T11:39:06+00:00 August 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, [...]

Eleanor of Aquitaine – Queen of France and England

By | 2017-08-02T17:20:54+00:00 August 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 [...]

Vikings – Early Medieval Scandinavia

By | 2017-10-14T22:52:14+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

A Viking ship The Vikings were Indo-European people from Scandinavia (modern Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Around the 400s AD the Vikings started to make frequent raids by boat into Europe. They even went into the Mediterranean Sea and raided Sicily and southern Italy. The Vikings started to attack the Atlantic coast of southern France around 400 AD, and also the eastern coast of England. Ulfberht steel [...]

The Avars – Early Middle Ages

By | 2018-03-21T15:11:55+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Grasslands of Central Asia - the steppe homeland of the Avars Ruled by the Rouran The Avars were a mostly Turkic group of people. We first hear of them living in Central Asia under the rule of the Rouran, in the 400s AD. The Chinese, who lived to their south-east, called the Avars the Juan-Juan. Like other Central [...]