Sicily

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First Punic War – Carthage and Rome

By |2018-04-25T10:04:35-07:00September 3rd, 2017|History, Romans|

Sicily seen from space (the tip of Italy is on the right) (Most of what we know about this war comes from either Polybius or Livy): By 274 BC, the Romans had taken over all of Italy. Then a Greek city that was NOT in Italy asked the Romans to help it out in a war. This city was in Sicily, [...]

Late medieval Italy – Guelfs and Ghibellines

By |2018-09-27T12:27:25-07:00August 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 [...]

Eighth Crusade – Medieval Europe

By |2017-08-03T11:08:24-07:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Louis IX sailing to Tunis with the Eighth Crusade (1270 AD) When Blanche of Castile died, her son Louis IX of France had to spend some time at home in France getting things organized. But then Louis' youngest brother Charles encouraged him to try another Crusade. The Seventh Crusade, which Louis led, had ended in failure in 1254 AD, [...]

Third Crusade – Medieval history

By |2018-04-11T09:09:27-07:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Saladin (Salah al-din) When the Mamluk general Imad-ed-din Zangi died, he was succeeded by his son Nureddin, who added Damascus to the land his father had gathered together. And after Nureddin died in 1174 AD, a strong Kurdish general named Salah al-din (called Saladin in the West) took over. Salah al-din soon conquered Egypt from the Fatimids, and then he was [...]

Italy in the High Middle Ages

By |2018-04-21T13:20:50-07:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Matilda of Canossa (ca. 1100 AD) By about 900 AD, the Holy Roman Emperors started to lose power over Northern Italy. The Counts of Canossa controlled most of Northern Italy: Florence, Pisa, Siena, Genoa. Around the year 1000 AD, a new city called Venice, in Northern Italy near Greece, became very rich by trading along the Silk Road. Venice was supposedly under the [...]

Early Medieval Italy

By |2018-04-15T16:50:54-07:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Lombard shield boss (to make spears slide off it) (Metropolitan Museum, New York) In 774 AD, Charlemagne conquered northern Italy from the Lombards. Soon after that Charlemagne got the Pope to name him the Holy Roman Emperor. For the next three hundred years, northern Italy was in the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor. That is, it belonged [...]

Eleanor of Aquitaine – Queen of France and England

By |2018-04-12T00:08:02-07:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Eleanor of Aquitaine (Cloisters Museum, New York City) Eleanor of Aquitaine was fifteen years old in 1137 AD, and not yet married, when her father, the Duke of Aquitaine, died suddenly. Eleanor had no brothers, so she inherited her father's duchy, which included most of southern France. Coin minted when Eleanor was ruling [...]

Vikings – Early Medieval Scandinavia

By |2018-04-24T08:19:15-07:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

A Viking ship. Viking trade took the Vikings all over the world.  Who were the Vikings? The Vikings were Indo-European people from Scandinavia (modern Denmark, Norway and Sweden). Around the 400s AD the Vikings started to make frequent raids by boat into Europe. They even went into the Mediterranean Sea and raided Sicily and southern Italy. The Vikings started to attack the Atlantic coast [...]

Nicephorus and Leo – Byzantine history

By |2018-04-15T16:50:55-07:00August 2nd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Maybe the skull cup was something like this? Nicephorus deposed the Empress Irene in 802 AD and made himself emperor. He refused to pay tribute to the Islamic caliph, and therefore lost still more Roman territory to the Abbasids. On the other hand, he fought successfully for Greece against the Slavs and Bulgars, and negotiated with Charlemagne to recognize his claim to the [...]

Who was Pythagoras? Greek Mathematics

By |2018-10-01T10:46:35-07:00July 18th, 2017|Greeks, Math|

Near where Pythagoras lived: Doric temple at Paestum, Italy Who was Pythagoras? Pythagoras lived in the 500s BC. He was one of the first Greek mathematical thinkers that we know about, after Thales. Who was Thales? All about Greek mathematics Lots of articles about ancient Greece Pythagoras spent most of his life in the Greek colonies in [...]