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Science and the gods – History of Science

By | 2017-09-06T12:54:33+00:00 September 6th, 2017|History|

The Egyptian god Bes Gods are part of people's desire to know how the world works. It's one of the ways that people explain how the world works. People say that God or the gods make this happen. Or you could say that the gods are a way of talking about complicated things that happen. Maybe they're [...]

Ancient philosophy: ethics, fate, and science

By | 2017-08-16T15:14:40+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Philosophy|

Weighing the souls of the dead Philosophy means the love of wisdom. But what does that mean? It's hard to separate philosophy from religion. And it's also hard to draw a line between philosophy and science and mathematics. All of these are parts of people's search to make order out of nature. They're a way of [...]

Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince – Florence

By | 2017-08-07T08:34:15+00:00 August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Niccolo Machiavelli Around 1500 AD, Machiavelli was working for the government in the city-state of Florence. Florence was smack in the middle of the Renaissance, which meant that everybody in Florence was thinking and talking about how cool ancient Rome was. After the Medicis tortured him and pushed him out of power in 1513, Machiavelli began writing books [...]

Thomas Hobbes – European philosophy

By | 2017-08-07T08:13:16+00:00 August 7th, 2017|Modern Europe, Philosophy|

Thomas Hobbes, a European philosopher Thomas Hobbes (yes, he's the one that Calvin named his tiger after) lived in England, about fifty years after Calvin and about the same time as Descartes. While Hobbes' sister was kept at home, as a man Hobbes got to go to college at Oxford and read Thucydides, Aristotle, and other ancient authors. After [...]

European writing – books, poetry, Bibles

By | 2017-08-06T08:37:30+00:00 August 6th, 2017|History, Modern Europe|

Reproduction of a press from Gutenberg's time The invention of the European printing press with moveable type in northern Europe in the late 1400s AD was no accident: publishers had set out to find a way to create a lot of books cheaply, because there was a new market for the books. More and more European families [...]

Raphael – Biography – Renaissance art

By | 2017-08-04T14:52:13+00:00 August 4th, 2017|Art, Modern Europe|

Raphael's early selfie as a teenager Raphael, Titian, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci were the four greatest painters of the Renaissance in Italy. Raphael was born in 1483, when Michelangelo was eight years old and Leonardo was already grown up; Titian was a little younger. With their new Chinese compasses, the first European ships were just beginning to sail south to Congo and Angola. Columbus reached the Caribbean when Raphael was nine [...]

Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-08-17T15:21:26+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Al Tusi's diagram of linear motion from circular motion In the Early Middle Ages, before the formation of the Islamic Empire, Buddhists ran the world's biggest universities. One was in India, at Nalanda. Another was in what is now Pakistan, at Taxila. In Egypt, the University of Alexandria was still an important center of learning, too. Most serious scholars went to [...]

Al Ghazali – Medieval Islamic science

By | 2017-07-27T07:47:47+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Islam, Science|

Tomb of the scholar Qabus, Gurgan, Iran (built about 1010 AD) Al Ghazali was born in northern Persia in 1058 AD, under the rule of the Seljuks. His father followed Sufism. But he died when Al Ghazali was still a boy. One of his father's friends took al Ghazali and his brother in. When Al Ghazali [...]

What is Nirvana? Indian religion

By | 2017-07-21T11:29:52+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Wheel of Life (Konark Sun temple, Odisha, India, 1200s AD) About 300 BC, Hindu people in India began to feel that they didn't like the idea of being reincarnated over and over again forever. Instead, they wondered what it would be like to be free from greed, money, work and slavery. People thought maybe it would be better to [...]