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Daniel in the lion’s den – Bible stories

By | 2017-08-23T22:27:51+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Daniel in the lion's den, from the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, 359 AD in Rome In the Bible story, Daniel was one of the Jews who was in captivity in Babylon during the reign of the Neo-Babylonian kings, in the 600s BC. Like the earlier Joseph (and many other characters in stories), Daniel was able to interpret people's dreams [...]

Sixth Crusade – Medieval History

By | 2017-08-03T15:08:20+00:00 August 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 [...]

Seventh Crusade – Louis IX and Baybars

By | 2017-08-03T15:02:32+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Louis IX (Saint Louis) The Seventh Crusade was not started by any Pope, but by King Louis IX of France, who became known later as Saint Louis because of his great devotion to the Christian God. The year after the Mamluks captured Jerusalem from the Europeans in 1244 AD, Louis announced his Crusade (in 1245). His mother, Blanche of Castile, thought [...]

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, [...]

Second Crusade – Medieval history

By | 2017-08-03T10:15:53+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval, West Asia|

Castle of Edessa After the First Crusade in 1096 AD set up Christian kingdoms all along the coast of Israel and Lebanon, of course the Fatimid caliphs who had ruled that area before were very upset. Melisende and her son Baldwin By 1144, a Mamluk general, Imad-ed-din Zangi, had managed to unite enough Turks and Arabs in his army to attack [...]

First Crusade – Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-02T21:16:48+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

A Viking ship Throughout the 1000s AD, Viking mercenary soldiers, some coming down the Volga river through Russia, and others sailing around through the Straits of Gibraltar, had been fighting for the Byzantine Empire. Many of these men fought along the Mediterranean coast of West Asia, so they knew that this was a very rich area, and that the Abbasid [...]

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 [...]

Capetians – French History – Middle Ages

By | 2017-08-02T16:49:46+00:00 August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Monogram of Hugh Capet (980s AD) When the Carolingians died out in 987 AD, the lords of France met to choose a new king. They chose a man named Hugh Capet (hyoo ka-PAY). Hugh Capet was picked for being weak, so the lords could do whatever they wanted and the king wouldn't be able to do anything [...]

The Mamluks – Medieval Islamic history

By | 2017-12-28T16:13:46+00:00 July 25th, 2017|History, Islam|

Mamluks: A Mamluk inn for merchants in Cairo Mamluks were enslaved soldiers The Mamluks were originally enslaved bodyguards of the Abbasid caliphs of the Islamic Empire (the word "mamluk" just means "slave" in Arabic). Starting around 850 AD, the Abbasid caliphs captured or bought young boys who were not Muslims as slaves. The caliphs brought the boys up to be Sunni Muslim soldiers [...]