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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 [...]

Medieval math in Europe

By |2017-08-04T13:22:07+00:00August 4th, 2017|Math, Medieval|

Math was a very exciting subject to be working on during the Middle Ages in Europe. Little by little, math experts in Europe were learning from Islamic math experts about what we call Arabic numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) (though the numbers came originally from India). Leaning Tower of Pisa (built while Fibonacci was a child) The first of these experts was Adelard [...]

Medieval universities in Europe

By |2017-08-04T09:21:20+00:00August 4th, 2017|Medieval|

Medieval university With the fall of Rome, the universities of northern Europe closed too. The end of Mediterranean trade meant that nobody could afford to get an advanced education anymore. In Europe, there were only small schools run by the Catholic church. Or independent scholars gave public lectures and tutored private students. Or there [...]

Late medieval Italy – Guelfs and Ghibellines

By |2018-09-27T12:27:25+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Constance of Sicily (late 1100s AD) North Italy's republics All through the later middle ages, Northern Italy was still divided into lots of small independent city-states. The most important city-states were Milan, Florence, Genoa, Pisa, Siena, and Venice. Florence and the Medici The port of Genoa Venice and the Ottomans But the Holy Roman Emperors often attacked these city-states and tried [...]

High Middle Ages – European history

By |2018-04-12T00:08:13+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Devils torture the damned in Hell (Abbey of Moissac, about 1050 AD) The Seljuks destabilize Europe's neighbors In 1071 AD, the Byzantine Empire lost most of Anatolia (modern Turkey) to the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert. About the same time, the Abbasids lost control of pieces of the Islamic Empire as well. The Seljuks took over the East, and [...]

Republic of Genoa – Medieval Italy

By |2018-05-07T12:11:06+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Medieval drawing of the city of Genoa, Italy (1493) Genoa in the Early Middle Ages Around 900 AD, the Holy Roman Empire began to lose control of Italy, and Genoa was among the Italian cities that got their independence about this time. Genoa became one of the first medieval cities where citizens won some political rights. Genoa's [...]

Republic of Florence – Medieval Italy

By |2018-04-24T09:23:14+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Romanesque baptistery in Florence, Italy When the last of the Carolingian Holy Roman Emperors died in 924 AD, northern Italy - including Florence and nearby Genoa - fell under the power of the Counts of Canossa: first Boniface III, then his daughter Matilda. Florence did very well under their rule: in 1059, Florence was able to rebuild its Christian baptistery in a beautiful Romanesque style. [...]

Matilda of Canossa – Medieval Europe

By |2018-05-07T11:39:05+00:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Matilda of Canossa (Vatican Museum) Northern Italy around 1000 AD By 1000 AD, the invading Lombards had married local rich men and women of Italy and mixed their families together. A few rich families - part Lombard and part Roman - ruled most of northern Italy as small independent countries. Supposedly these countries were part of the Holy Roman [...]

Toulouse – St. Sernin – Romanesque

By |2018-04-15T16:50:51+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Church of St. Sernin, Toulouse, France In 1080 AD, the church of St. Sernin in Toulouse was a busy place. Charlemagne had given the church some saints' relics, and many people stopped to pray there when they were on pilgrimage to St. Jacques de Compostela in Spain. But the little old church, built in the 300s AD under Roman rule, was too [...]