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History of Christianity – World Religions

By | 2018-04-09T23:07:26+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Religion, Romans|

One of the earliest images of Jesus, from St. Callisto catacomb in Rome (ca. 250 AD) Around the time of the beginning of the Roman Empire, a new religion began among the Jews living in Israel: Christianity. People seem to have felt that these new governments - these big empires - needed bigger, more organized religions to stand up [...]

St. Benedict – Christianity – History of Religion

By | 2017-08-21T17:33:57+00:00 August 21st, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Egyptian caves where early monks and nuns lived In the 500s AD, Benedict was the founder of a new Christian movement toward monasticism: living as monks or nuns. Already in the 300s, especially in Egypt, men and women had been going off by themselves into the desert, away from people, to live a life of prayer, devoted entirely to [...]

French Revolution – History of France

By | 2017-08-05T15:03:13+00:00 August 5th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

French women revolutionaries march on the king's palace at Versailles All through the 1700s, Enlightenment philosophers in France had been figuring out new ways of thinking about the world. Little by little they rejected religion and inherited power. They invented the idea that people should use logic and reason to make choices, that people - both [...]

Francis of Assisi – Medieval Europe

By | 2017-08-04T11:34:35+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Francis gives his father back his clothes (Giotto, in Assisi) By 1200 AD, the Catholic Church was very powerful. Bishops and popes were often rich men. They cared more about getting rich collecting tithes than they did about praying or helping poor people. Then in 1205, a young man named Francis, from the town of Assisi in northern Italy, had a [...]

Christian monks – Medieval Europe – What is a monk?

By | 2018-04-21T13:19:58+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Christian monks: A monk getting tonsured What is a monk? Sometimes when a little boy seemed especially smart, his parents would take him to a monastery and leave him there to be taken care of by the monks and educated, and when he grew up he would become a monk. One example is Thomas [...]

Medieval School – Europe

By | 2018-04-11T09:19:36+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Medieval, People|

Clerks in the Manessa Codex (1300 AD) In medieval Europe, even fewer kids went to school than in the Roman Empire. People were poorer, and kids had to work in the fields weeding and harvesting and taking care of pigs and chickens. Most people never learned to read or write. Richer people often home-schooled their children, especially girls and children [...]

Saladin Tax – Medieval Europe

By | 2018-04-24T08:11:08+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Economy, Medieval|

Sherwood Forest, where Robin Hood lived In the Early Middle Ages, most people did not pay any money taxes to the king. Instead, they gave chickens, honey, or work days to their own lord. Then in turn their lord passed on services to the king - if the king could make him do it. But in order to [...]

Westminster Abbey – London

By | 2017-07-31T10:53:24+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Westminster Abbey western facade (front) Westminster Abbey is a large church in the Gothic style in London, England. Edward the Confessor built an abbey here in 1050 AD, in the Romanesque style. (An abbey is a place for monks or nuns to live and pray) William the Conqueror was crowned in the Abbey. And since his time all English kings and queens have also been crowned [...]

Romanesque Architecture – Medieval Europe

By | 2018-04-10T22:48:55+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Façade of Pisa's Duomo We call this kind of building Romanesque because it is a little like Roman architecture, with its columns and round arches. But people built Romanesque buildings around 1000-1200 AD instead of during the Roman Empire. The fall of the Roman Empire, about 500 AD, made everybody in the empire poorer than they were before. But the people [...]

What is a misericorde? Middle Ages

By | 2017-07-31T05:40:32+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

A misericorde in a church In the Middle Ages, priests and monks sang in their church choirs just as people do today. Sometimes they had to sing for hours, standing up. Their legs would get very tired. But they weren't supposed to sit down. Misericorde from Walcourt, Belgium (1500s AD) So the monks built folding wooden [...]