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Epic of Gilgamesh – Mesopotamian writing

By |2018-04-13T01:43:06+00:00September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu fight the monster Humbaba, on an Assyrian cylinder seal from the 600s BC The real king Gilgamesh The Epic of Gilgamesh is a story about a Sumerian king (Gilgamesh) who seems to have lived around 2500 BC, in Mesopotamia. Story-tellers probably began telling this story not long after he [...]

What is tonsure? Medieval Christianity and hair

By |2018-04-02T21:46:22+00:00August 23rd, 2017|History|

Young tonsured monks at school Tonsure means to cut off someone's hair. Monks and nuns in the Middle Ages generally showed that they were monks by cutting their hair short (when most people wore theirs long).  Christian monks got a special short haircut by shaving a bald spot in the middle of the back of [...]

What is feudalism? Definition of medieval feudalism

By |2018-04-27T09:18:11+00:00August 1st, 2017|Government, Medieval|

Medieval feudalism: Harold swears an oath to William (Bayeux Tapestry, about 1077 AD) What is feudalism? Feudalism is a way to govern a large state when the king is poor and not very powerful, and when there aren't good roads so it is hard to communicate with people who live far away at the other end of [...]

Ancient Indian government

By |2018-04-18T23:56:00+00:00July 20th, 2017|Government, India|

Sanchi Stupa Northern Gateway (ca. 50 BC) Nobody knows what Indian government was like in the Harappan period. Probably they had a king over each city, the way West Asia did at this time. Probably they had some queens, the way Egypt did. But about 1500 BC, there was an Indo-European invasion. Sometime after that, the government seems to have divided [...]

Government of Ancient Greece – Greek democracy and tyranny

By |2018-05-04T15:52:22+00:00July 6th, 2017|Government, Greeks|

Government of ancient Greece: the Mask of Agamemnon, from Mycenae, Greece (1500 BC). Now in Athens Ancient Greece had a lot of different kinds of governments, because there were many different city-states in ancient Greece. (What is a city-state?) Each city-state had their own government. Some had kings, some had elected councils, some [...]

What is a monarchy? Definition of monarchy

By |2018-05-14T11:10:03+00:00June 29th, 2017|Government|

Monarchy definition: Narmer Palette, Ancient Egypt (about 3100 BC) What is a monarchy? A monarchy is a government where one person is in charge. That person can be a king or a queen, but they could also be called a prince or princess, a emperor or empress, a dictator, or many other titles. [...]