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Roman North Africa – Carthage to Augustine

By | 2018-02-08T23:51:24+00:00 October 3rd, 2017|Africa, History|

Roman North Africa: This is the amphitheater in ancient Carthage where Romans killed Christians during the Decian persecution. Carthage controls the Mediterranean By the 300s BC, the North African port of Carthage was actively engaged in policing the whole Mediterranean. Carthage made treaties, for instance, with the Etruscans in Italy, to protect the Etruscans from [...]

The alphabet replaces cuneiform – West Asian writing

By | 2018-04-07T17:04:54+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

This inscription from Kandahar, in Afghanistan, has Greek writing at the top, translated into Aramaic at the bottom. The Mauryan Indian king Ashoka put it up about 258 BC. When the Assyrian Empire collapsed in the 600s BC, the short-lived Babylonian Empire also used cuneiform writing. But when the Persians took over West Asia in 539 BC [...]

Byzantine Iconoclasm and Iconodules: History of Christianity

By | 2018-05-17T00:21:35+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Medieval, Religion|

Icon of St. Nicholas (Russia) Byzantine iconoclasm By the early 700s AD, the Roman Empire had seen four hundred years of religious arguments about what or who Jesus Christ was. The Arians believed that Christ was all god. The Catholics believed that Christ was entirely and inseparably both god and man. (More about Arianism) And people had fought over every [...]

Dante Alighieri – Inferno – Middle Ages

By | 2018-04-10T22:50:26+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Dante, painted by Giotto about 1320 AD Since the time of the Romans, writers who lived in Italy had always written in Latin. Virgil wrote in Latin, Ovid wrote in Latin, and Gregory the Great and St. Benedict wrote in Latin. But gradually the language people actually spoke had changed, so that by the 1200s AD, when writers wrote in Latin, most people couldn't understand it without a [...]

Medieval art history – Europe

By | 2017-08-01T07:56:10+00:00 August 1st, 2017|Art, Medieval|

A Late Antique ivory carving Roman art, German art, and Islamic art mixed together in Europe in the Early Middle Ages to create a new form, which we call medieval art. Art historians divide medieval art into Early Medieval, Romanesque, and Gothic art. But these types of art looked different in different places, and in the hands of [...]

Giotto in Florence and Assisi

By | 2018-04-15T16:34:28+00:00 August 1st, 2017|History|

St. Francis giving away his cloak, from Assisi, Italy, probably by Giotto Giotto was an Italian painter around 1300 AD. Giotto was originally from Florence. He was born about 1265 AD. As a teenager, he may have been a student of the great painter Cimabue. It's possible that he suffered from dwarfism. When Giotto (jee-OTT-oh) grew up, he [...]

Iron Age art of northern Europe

By | 2017-06-27T00:09:46+00:00 June 27th, 2017|Art, Northern Europe|

Villanovan cremation urn with helmet on top (ca. 900 BC) In the beginning of the Iron Age, about 1000 BC, people in Europe were still reluctant to represent the human form. The Villanovan cremation urns are just clay pots made to hold people's ashes, but they wear helmets as if they were people - [...]

Iron Age buildings of northern Europe

By | 2017-06-26T03:19:15+00:00 June 26th, 2017|Architecture, Northern Europe|

Roman bath building in Trier, in southern Germany, about 300 AD By the time of the Roman Empire, about 1 AD, many people in Northern Europe were living under Roman rule, and their buildings began to look more and more like Roman buildings from other parts of the Roman Empire. At Trier, for [...]

Early African History: fire, farming, Egypt, and the Bantu

By | 2018-04-16T13:05:09+00:00 May 17th, 2017|Africa, History|

Early African history: Pyramids at Giza, Egypt The first modern humans About three and a half million years ago, primates like chimpanzees in Africa started to come down out of the trees and evolve into modern people, walking upright and maybe swimming. The first modern people evolved about two million years ago. At this time, [...]