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Who built Great Zimbabwe? Central African history

By |2018-04-13T01:39:20+00:00October 2nd, 2017|Africa, History|

Central Africa in the Middle Ages: Great Zimbabwe Iron comes to Central Africa Besides South Africa, central Africa is the most isolated part of Africa - for many years, the people who lived here saw almost nobody from outside their own area. So it took longer for people in Central Africa to find out [...]

Vikings – Early Medieval Scandinavia

By |2018-04-24T08:19:15+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

A Viking ship. Viking trade took the Vikings all over the world.  Who were the Vikings? 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 [...]

Medieval German art

By |2018-04-10T22:56:55+00:00August 1st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

Evangelists on an ivory plaque, Cologne(?), ca. 1000 AD (Now in Metropolitan Museum, New York) At first, German art after the fall of Rome was a lot like Visigothic or Merovingian art. People call German art made after the 900s AD "Ottonian" after the German emperors who were ruling at that time. Because these Otto emperors thought of themselves as being Holy Roman [...]

Byzantine art history: Iconoclasm

By |2018-04-10T22:49:22+00:00July 31st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

Artemis, carved in ivory in Constantinople (now in the Cluny museum, Paris) The art of Rome continued in an unbroken tradition from the days of the Republic down to the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 AD, for more than a thousand years after the fall of the western part of the Roman Empire in the early 400s AD. But we [...]

Sinbad the Sailor – Arabian Nights

By |2017-07-26T09:40:30+00:00July 26th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

An island turned out to be a whale Sinbad was (as Sheherazade told the story) a trader from Baghdad. He sailed his trading ships all around the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, carrying cotton cloth and gold and cinnamon and sugar and rugs and steel from one place to another. But he [...]

Animals of ancient and medieval India

By |2018-04-18T23:55:59+00:00July 20th, 2017|Environment, History, India|

A white cow Cattle were probably the most important animals in India for people. Indian people did not eat cows, because Hindus thought of cows as sacred. But people used cows to pull carts, and for plowing fields, and also used cows' milk to make yogurt. Water buffalo People in India also got a lot [...]

Ancient Indian economy

By |2018-04-23T14:47:03+00:00July 20th, 2017|Economy, India|

Ancient India trade: Indian herbal medicines Most people in ancient India, as in other parts of Asia and Europe at this time, were farmers. In India, farmers mainly grew wheat and rice, and cotton for cloth. They grew opium for medicine too. On the coast, people produced salt in big evaporation flats, and in Sri Lanka they dove for pearls. Indian traders shipped teak wood to [...]

Spices and cotton: Mughal Indian economy

By |2018-04-23T14:30:47+00:00July 19th, 2017|Economy, India|

Japanese painting of Portuguese bringing Indian cargo to Japan (1500s AD) Under the Mughal Empire, India continued to make a lot of money by trading things back and forth between East Africa and West Asia to their west, and South-East Asia and China to their east. Mostly Indian traders sold medicine and  pepper and cinnamon and other spices to West Asia. They sold glass beads and cotton cloth to [...]

The Parthenon blows up – Greek architecture

By |2018-04-22T10:26:24+00:00July 2nd, 2017|Architecture, Greeks|

A model of the gold and ivory statue of Athena inside the Parthenon Inside the Parthenon, the great sculptor Pheidias carved a huge statue of Athena made out of gold and ivory (chryselephantine). (The statue isn't there anymore; it was melted down to get the gold eventually. This is an artist's idea of [...]

Soap carving – Native American project

By |2018-04-07T17:05:20+00:00June 11th, 2017|Art, Crafts, Native American|

Inuit walrus ivory carving (1800s AD) Do you want to carve your own small sculptures, the way Inuit artists did? Inuit artists carved animal bones, but it will be easier for you to start out by carving soap. Get a bar of soap from the store - Ivory soap is good because it [...]