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Visit Italy with kids! Sights to see

By |2018-04-25T10:19:37+00:00September 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval, Romans|

Leaning Tower of Pisa Visiting Italy with kids is a blast, because many Italians are very friendly to other people's children and everyone will always be talking to your kids, helping you out, making them laugh, and generally helping you have a good time. Don't be too suspicious - relax and enjoy the [...]

What is baptism? – History of Christianity

By |2018-04-24T15:45:39+00:00August 21st, 2017|History, Religion, Romans|

Torchlight parade (this one is actually in India) Even before the time of Jesus, many mystery religions of the ancient Mediterranean had some sort of ceremony that people had to do in order to join the cult. Some of these, like the Eleusinian mysteries, involved dipping yourself in water to wash away your past life, and to show that [...]

Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince – Florence

By |2018-04-08T11:14:28+00:00August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Niccolo Machiavelli Around 1500 AD, Machiavelli was working for the government in the city-state of Florence. Florence was smack in the middle of the Renaissance, which meant that everybody in Florence was thinking and talking about how cool ancient Rome was. After the Medicis tortured him and pushed him out of power in 1513, Machiavelli began writing books [...]

Peter Paul Rubens – European art history

By |2017-08-04T15:40:52+00:00August 4th, 2017|Art, Modern Europe|

Rubens (self-portrait), 1620 AD Peter Paul Rubens was born in Germany in 1577. At that time, the Holy Roman Emperors were weak and there were a bunch of civil wars going on. His father, who was a lawyer, was also a Calvinist - a Protestant. The family fled to Cologne before Rubens was born, because of fighting between [...]

Raphael – Biography – Renaissance art

By |2018-04-23T09:44:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Art, Modern Europe|

Raphael's early selfie as a teenager Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci were the four greatest painters of the Renaissance in Italy. Raphael was born in 1483, when Michelangelo was eight years old and Leonardo was already grown up; Titian was a little younger. With their new Chinese compasses, the first European ships were just beginning to sail south to Congo and Angola. Columbus reached the Caribbean when Raphael was nine [...]

Michelangelo – Renaissance art

By |2018-04-21T13:20:49+00:00August 4th, 2017|Art, Modern Europe|

The artist Michelangelo's David Not long after Leonardo da Vinci started working, in 1475 AD, a new artist was born in northern Italy. His name was Michelangelo. Michelangelo's family said they were descended from the powerful Matilda of Canossa, but Michelangelo's father was a banker in Florence. He also owned a small marble quarry, where the small [...]

Leonardo da Vinci Biography – Science and Art

By |2018-09-05T14:17:10+00:00August 4th, 2017|Art, Modern Europe|

Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist - a self-portrait Leonardo was home-schooled Leonardo da Vinci was born near Florence, in Italy, in 1452 AD. His father was a clerk, and his parents weren't married. Until he was five, Leonardo lived with his mother. Then he moved to his father's house, where he was home-schooled in Latin and math. What [...]

Thomas Aquinas – Dominican monk

By |2018-04-24T09:23:15+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Philosophy|

Naples, with Mount Vesuvius in the background Like Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas was a great thinke who tried to figure out the relationship between science and religion. But unlike Ibn Rushd and Maimonides, Aquinas was a Christian. Thomas Aquinas was born in southern Italy, at his father's castle, in 1224 or 1225 AD. It was just after the death of Francis [...]

Dante Alighieri – Inferno – Middle Ages

By |2018-10-02T07:17:25+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Dante Alighieri, painted by Giotto about 1320 AD Dante wrote in Italian, not Latin Since the time of the Romans, writers who lived in Italy had always written in Latin. Virgil wrote in Latin, Ovid wrote in Latin, and Gregory the Great and St. Benedict wrote in Latin. Thomas Aquinas wrote in Latin. Who was St. Benedict? Who was Thomas Aquinas? More Middle Ages articles [...]

Boccaccio – Decameron – Medieval literature

By |2018-04-24T09:23:18+00:00August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Florence, Italy Most of the people who knew how to write in the early Middle Ages were monks. So most of them wrote about serious things like God and Heaven and Hell. Even writers who weren't monks, like Dante, usually wrote about Christian ideas. But Boccaccio was different. Boccaccio wrote about real people and their real lives. Some [...]