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Posted: January 14, 2015

The Origins of Humans The Great Debate is between the two opposing sides that argue over the origins of our existence and whether it is because of Evolution, a result of scientific happenings or the Creation argument where there is a supreme being, God, that created the heavens and the earth.  ." It's the emotion-packed question of "Origins “why, how, and where did everything come from? The Big Bang Theory is the accepted source of Origins among the majority of Evolutionists, and is taught in our public schools. However, it is argued by Creationists that the Big Bang does not explain many things. Both Creationists and Evolutionists agree that if evolution is at all possible, there needs to be an excessive, if not an unlimited amount of time. For much of the 20th century, it was thought evolutionists had all the time they needed. If the earth ever looked too young for certain evolutionary developments to have occurred, the age of the earth was pushed back in the textbooks. In 1905, the earth was declared to be two billion years old. By 1970, the earth was determined to be 3.5 billion years old, and by the 1990's, the earth had become 4.6 billion years old. Is that a long enough time to allow the evolutionary model to take place? The debate by Creationists is that even following this timeline there isn’t time for this evolutionary process to allow what currently exists to have taken place, therefore God or a creator must have been involved. The Stone Age We call this period the Stone Age because most of the artifacts found from this time are made of stone.  Humans who lived in the Stone Age are generally classified into a group called Homo.  Homo was divided into two successive and overlapping species – Home Erectus and Home Sapiens.  The Stone Age is believed to have occurred from 2 million BCE to 5000 BCE. Homo Sapiens About 40,000 years ago, modern humans moved into Europe armed with the skills to make clothing, and better shelters. 19th century scientists named these newcomers Cro-Magnon people after the French rock shelter where three anatomically modern skeletons were discovered in 1868. Cro-Magnons were Homo Sapiens who evolved in Africa and who slowly pushed their way into Europe.  They developed the ability to endure colder climates, even those as cold as Iceland and Greenland.       For thousands of years, there was no significant change in the cultural development of the human species. However, about 35000 years ago, remarkable technological, artistic and cultural advances occurred.  These developments are often called the “Great Leap Forward”. One of the most significant developments was social organization. People started living in small groups or bands and they started to live in the same location for extended periods of time. They created homes to protect themselves against the elements by digging shallow pits and covered them with tree brush or hides.  They sometimes camped under rock ledges but rarely in caves as it was cold and dark and smoke from fires would linger and fill the lungs of the occupants and sting their eyes. Mostly during the stone age, caves would have been used during emergencies, such as storms, or seeking protection from large animals. Neanderthals (an extinct member of the Homo Genus found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia) were quite social.  They organized groups to hunt large prey.  Evidence suggests they took care of the weak and sick within their community, and they buried their dead. They were the first to have a sense of religion.  They certainly had greater mental resources then their earlier human ancestors and perhaps a capacity for abstract thought. Cro-Magnons also lived in communities and survived through interaction.  Like Neanderthals, they found that cooperation with others improved their chances of survival. There is evidence that their settlements had housing for up to 40 or 50 individuals. The earliest tools were choppers.  Choppers were stones that were chipped on only one side.  Over time they developed a high level of expertise in tool-making, using a variety of items, including stone, bone, horns, ivory and wood. Why do you think Cro-Magnons survived and Neanderthals didn’t? Theories on the fate of the Neanderthals include an inability to cope with climate change, competitive exclusion or even genocide by anatomically modern humans.  Hybridization could have been the result, where they were absorbed into the Cro-Magnon population. Use of Fire Evidence shows that Neanderthals had fire to keep them warm.  Some cave floors where remains have been found consist almost entirely of compressed layers of ash, many meters thick.   •       First, fire allowed humans to spread farther into colder temperature regions of Europe and Asia.  As they began to cook their food - a much faster process than eating it raw – they had more time to pursue other activities. •       Finally stone age humans used fire for defense.  They threw burning sticks at animals to drive them away from people’s shelters. The Neolithic Age •       During the Neolithic Age, people changed from being hunters and gatherers to being food producers. We call this transformation the Neolithic revolution.  Most scholars believe that Middle Eastern people were the first to discover that they could plant seed from wild grain.   •       During the same period, the Stone Age people began to domesticate animals such as dogs, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats as another ready source of food. Perhaps hunters built fences to close in a heard of wild animal.  After killing one animal, they may have caged and saved the rest for later.  As captured animals slowly lost their fear of people, they became domesticated. The change to a food producing economy had a big impact on the lives of humans.  The advent of agriculture increased the food supply, making it possible for larger groups of people to live together in one area.  Permanent communities or villages began to develop.  The earliest known village is Jericho, which archaeologists date back to 8000 BCE. •       Archaeologists have discovered that the Neolithic residents of one community lived in houses of sun dried bricks with flat roofs made of mud covered reeds.  People of the Neolithic Age also learned how to make baskets, and how to weave cloth. These activities gave rise to a new group of craftspeople or artisans such as potters, jewelers, metal workers, carpenters, and weavers. In turn, these artisans helped to promote the development of trade in other areas as they became interested in exchanging their wares for food supplies.  Trade led to new methods of transportation as Neolithic people began to think about better ways to transport their wares.      Civilization •       The word civilization comes from the Latin word Civis, which means citizen or someone who lives in a city.  By 5000 BCE, the effects of the Neolithic revolution had led to what we can describe as the earliest civilizations. •       Agriculture allowed those conditions that we consider to be characteristics of the earliest civilizations. Middle Eastern Civilization – 3500 BCE – 395 CE •       Historians know that two of the world’s first great civilizations developed along mighty river systems in Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt at roughly the same time.  Mesopotamia dates from about 3500 BCE and ancient Egypt from about 3100 BCE. The Mesopotamians drew their source of life from the Tigris- Euphrates river system in Asia, and the Egyptians from the Nile River in Africa.  The availability of a constant food supply freed labor for other pursuits, and led to the development of thriving cities, magnificent temples, and powerful empires. The Cradle of Civilization The Tigris – Euphrates valley of present day Iraq lay the ancient Sumerian city state of Ur.  Between 1924 and 1934, an archaeological team conducted excavations that uncovered the ancient ruins. In one incredible discovery, was found the tomb of Queen Shub-Ad.  They found the remains of more than 60 female skeletons. Clothing remnants and jewels indicated the likelihood that they had been women of the court. Also found nearby were the remains of soldiers with their spears, a harpist clutching his harp, and oxen still harnessed to wagons.  The hands of most skeletons were raised to their mouths.  Little clay cups were scattered on the floor of the tomb. It is speculated that all were given poison so the Queen did not have to go to the afterlife alone. The discovery also reveals an important aspect of Mesopotamian culture – a profound belief in an afterlife, and a desire to take some earthly belongings to the world after death. The Mesopotamia people of the region made many important contributions that other civilizations in the ancient world would build upon.  Today we consider Mesopotamia as “cradle of civilization”. Ancient Mesopotamia lay in what we know today as Iraq, northern Syria and part of southern Turkey. The ancient Greeks were the first to call the region Mesopotamia.  The Greek word “meso” means middle and “potamos” means river – thus it was, “the land between the rivers”. Four main peoples dominated Mesopotamia in turn: the Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians and the Chaldeans.    From 2112 BCE to 2094 BCE, Sumerian culture reached its peak,  The Sumerians developed the first known form of writing called “cuneiform”, made significant advances in scientific knowledge, created a vital mythology, and produced the first written literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh, which tells of a legendary Sumerian king who ruled Uruk around 2600 BCE, is the oldest known piece of literature in the world.  All these developments had a major influence on the later peoples of Mesopotamia. Although Ur finally fell captive   to the Elamites from the east in approximately 2004 BCE, the Babylonians and the Assyrians adopted and spread many aspects of Sumerian culture. Babylonians The decline of Sumer led to a shift in power northward, first to Babylonia and then to Assyria.  The Babylonian period began when Semitic nomads from the west, the Armorites, established their kingdom at the city of Babylon. The city reached the height of its power during the time of the First Dynasty (ruling family), which lasted about 300 years.   The most significant ruler during this time was King Hammurabi (1792 BCE – 1750 BCE), who created one of the world’s first written codes of law.  By conquering all of Sumer, areas to the north and lands to the east and west, Hammurrabi is also credited with establishing the empire of Babylonia. Babylonians were great traders, their ships reached the distant shores of India and Africa, and their caravans traveled far into Persia and Asia Minor.  The goods and ideas exchanged on these expeditions enriched both the Babylonians’ culture and the cultures of those they met.         When Hammurabi died he was succeeded by a series of weak kings who had difficulty holding the empire together.  They were overpower by a couple of different Indo-European tribes until the powerful Assyrians took control of the area. Assyrians The Assyrians took their name from their chief city Ashur, located on the banks of the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia.  It was an important trading center on the east – west caravan routes between Mesopotamia and the surrounding lands.  With economic influence, the Assyrians gained political influence as well. Having been under the control of Babylon, the Assyrians had absorbed Sumerian culture.  Through a long series of wars and conquests, the Assyrians came to dominate all of Mesopotamia. The Assyrians were among the fiercest and most warlike people in the region, known for committing wartime atrocities against unarmed civilians and treating conquered armies with cruelty.  Between 1100 BCE and 600 BCE, Assyrian power spread throughout western Asia.  Their efforts extended Assyrian influence west to the Mediterranean Sea and Egypt, south to Babylon, north to Syria, and east to Persia. Several factors were the reason for their military success, but it was mostly because Assyrian kings viewed professional armies as essential to successful conquest, and so they created large, skilled armies that were well organized into units of foot soldiers, charioteers, cavalry and archers.  Military officers were trained on combat strategies.  One additional benefit presented itself, when the Assyrians had also learned the secret of making iron from the Hittites, and they used that knowledge to make arrows and lances of superior quality. Through this time each Assyrian king treated all peoples, both civilian and military, with great cruelty.  Among all this, the Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, also showed a keen interest in both science and mathematics.  He constructed a garden and zoo at his palace. Stocked from all parts of his empire, and established a library containing over 22,000 clay tablets that showed all this information. At the peak of its power, the Assyrian empire spilled over the bounds of Mesopotamia, and a single ruler had great difficulty holding it together.  As a result the Assyrians began to experience serious attacks on their borders.  Shortly after the death of Ashurbanipal, the Babylonians and the foreign Medes united to overthrow Assyria.  Once so powerful, the Assyrians were overthrown in 612 BCE and were either killed or assimilated and their empire disappeared. After the collapse of the Assyrian empire Babylon once again became an important center in Mesopotamia.  The city had been prominent in the time of Hammurabi and had also prospered again in the 200 years before the collapse of Assyria.  During this period, it was ruled by the Chaldeans, a Semitic people who had settled in the fertile area of southern Babylonia near the Persian Gulf at 1000 BCE. The Chaldean king, Nebushadnezzar, transformed Babylon into one of the most beautiful cities of the world. He was noted as a warrior king.  He conquered Judah, captured and destroyed Jerusalem, and took many Jews back to Babylon as prisoners and only stopped his conquest of Egypt when he heard of his father’s death.  It should however be noted that he fought fewer battles that Assyrian kings and should likely be remembered as a great builder rather than as a warrior. Like many empires of Mesopotamia, the Chaldean empire fell to invaders.  By 549 BCE, were challenged by a new alliance of the Medes and the Persian King Cyrus.  The city itself was spared, but the Persians became the new rulers of the growing international world.  One of the achievements of Babylon has to be the Hanging Gardens, often considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. •       Conduct research and explain what the Hanging Gardens were and list the other things that made up the “Seven Wonder of the Ancient World”. The Assyrians agreed with a strong government but took a different approach.  In Assyria, religious leaders had less political power than in Sumer. Temples, palaces and monuments in Assyria were built for the use of the king, not for the honor of a particular god, yet the Assyrian king was bound by religious customs.  The Assyrian kings were among the most powerful leaders in all of Mesopotamia.  Since they eventually ruled an empire that stretched from the Persian Gulf to the Nile River, their far-reaching authority was almost a necessity.

Posted: January 14, 2015

Ancient Egypt Geography of Ancient Egypt The ancient Egyptians thought of Egypt as being divided into two types of land, the 'black land' and the 'red land'. The 'black land' was the fertile land on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used this land for growing their crops. This was the only land in ancient Egypt that could be farmed because a layer of rich, black silt was deposited there every year after the Nile flooded. The 'red land' was the barren desert that protected Egypt on two sides. These deserts separated ancient Egypt from neighboring countries and invading armies. They also provided the ancient Egyptians with a source for precious metals and semi-precious stones.   Look at this map and notice where the cities in ancient Egypt were located. Ancient Egyptian civilization developed in the delta and valley regions of the Nile River, isolated and protected by vast deserts on either side. This fertile strip along the Nile was never more than 12 miles wide. Rich agricultural and mineral resources along with protection provided by the desert allowed a long-lasting civilization to develop in Egypt. Ancient Egypt: Pre Dynastic Period (3100 BCE  - 2650 BCE) The first and earliest portion of ancient Egyptian civilization was called the Pre dynastic period, when the separate kingdoms Upper and Lower Egypt were united for the first time. The late Neolithic period in Egypt began in the sixth millennium (6000 BCE), and ended with the unification of Egypt in 3100 BCE, which marked the start of the historical Pre dynastic period in Egypt. Memphis becomes the capital of the united Egypt, the first nation state in the world.  Hieroglyphics are developed and irrigation systems are first developed. The inhabitants of Egypt first lived in settlements during the Pre dynastic period. Cemeteries were located in the low desert near the settlements. Finds from settlements and cemeteries suggest that the north and south of the country were culturally distinct. The burials of this time were simple pit graves, in which the dead person was laid in a crouched position. The bodies were naturally dried by the hot sand. In later burials, the bodies were sometimes wrapped in mats. Sometimes the person's head and limbs were bound with cloth. The objects placed in burials, such as items of jewellery, slate palettes and pots are the main sources of information about this time. Ancient Egypt – Old Kingdom (2650 BCE – 2134 BCE) While the unification of Egypt was the single most important event in Egyptian history, it was a long and drawn-out affair. Although Narmer is credited with unifying the country, all the kings of the first two dynasties had to fight constant wars against considerable opponents all along the Nile. Egypt had, meanwhile, prospered and grown beyond everyone's wildest dreams. Agricultural production had been revolutionized by the building of massive irrigation projects; trade had ballooned to super-human proportions; the population had grown large. Suddenly Egypt found itself wealthy; the country literally exploded with creativity for the next several generations. This period, the Old Kingdom, was the richest and most creative period in Egyptian history. All the pyramids were built at this time; the growth in population and wealth allowed the kings to dedicate vast amounts of labor and materials to these monuments to themselves. Pharaohs are seen as living gods at this time and Egypt is divided into provinces, with each headed by a governor. During this time Memphis falls into neglect and hieroglyphics improve. During this time the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the Great Pyramid at Giza were both built. It was also during this time that government began to regulate farming and trade. Ancient Egypt – Middle Kingdom (2040 BCE – 1640 BCE) The Middle Kingdom is the period in the history of Ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the 11th Dynasty to the end of the 14th Dynasty, although some historians include the 13th and 14th dynasties in a later period. The period comprises two phases, the 11th Dynasty, which ruled from Thebes and the 12th Dynasty onwards which was centered around el-Lisht. During this time pharaohs are threatened by the independence of local governers. Luxor (which would later become Thebes) gains prominence. Luxor has frequently been characterized as the "world's greatest open air museum", as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city. At this time Egypt recruits a standing army as Asians seize control of the delta region. Foreign culture influences increase when trade is promoted with Palestine and Syria and renewed interests in learning take place, which allows literature to flourish and workshops begin to produce fine crafts.  At this time horse drawn chariots, copper arrowheads and daggers, curved-blade swords, and compound bow first appeared. Ancient Egypt – New Kingdom (1550 BCE – 1070 BCE) The New Kingdom includes the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties.  This family began a period of unprecedented success in international affairs for Egypt. There was a succession of extraordinary and able kings and queens who laid the foundations of a strong Egypt and a prosperous economy. During this era you had the magnificent Amenhotep III, so began an artistic revolution. Nefertiti began a religious revolution - the concept of one god. Finally there was Tutankhamen (King Tut) who is famous in our modern age. During the 19th Dynasty Seti I's reign was a time of considerable prosperity. He restored countless monuments. His temple at Abydos exhibits some of the finest carved wall reliefs. His son Rameses II is the major figure of the dynasty and rules as the empire of Egypt begins to crumble under pressure from Hittites. During this time the Hittites had become a dominant Asiatic power. An uneasy balance of power developed between the two kingdoms, which was punctuated by wars and treaties. Hatshepsut becomes a powerful female pharaoh (1479 BCE – 1457 BCE). She also promotes the arts in Egypt. Tutankhamen also restores the old religion of Egypt. Ancient Egypt – Late Dynastic Period (1070 BCE – 332 BCE) During this period a struggle for royal power sets in among priests and nobles in Egypt. At this time the region would see the Persian dominance in Egypt in 525 BCE. The Late Dynastic Period starts with the Assyrian conquest of Thebes in 664, and Egypt became an Assyrian province. A new capital was established in the north. This would be the last great period referred to as Pharonic Period.  Although a province subject to a foreign state, it was still marked by cultural and technological advances. The canal built between the Nile and the Red Sea is an indicator of this. A second period starts with the Persian invasion in 525. A period of 150 years of Persian influence and weak rulers. Ancient Egypt – Greek Period (332 BCE – 48 BCE) Alexander the Great of Macedonia takes control of Egypt in 332 BCE.  The Ptolemaic Period starts with the fall of the Persian Empire to Alexander the Great in 332. Before his death 9 years later, Alexander had divided his empire between his Macedonian generals.  Alexandria becomes the most brilliant metropolis of the Greek speaking world. Ptolemy became the ruler of Egypt, and this would mean that Egypt regained its independence. Cleopatra VII becomes the last Ptolemy to rule Egypt in 51 BCE. Ancient Egypt – Roman Period (48 BCE – 395 CE) The Roman Period starts with the military defeat to Rome at the Battle of Actium. Cleopatra VII forms an alliance with Julius Caesar in 48BCE.  Egypt now became a Roman province, but Egyptian culture would survive. The temples at Dendera and Esna belong to this period.  In the 1st century CE, Christianity was introduced to Egypt, and would come to replace Ancient Egyptian religion, although the latter would have permanent influence on Christianity. Cleopatra VII forms an alliance with Mark Anthony in 41 BCE, but Mark Anthony is defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.  Cleopatra VII is believed to have committed suicide in 30 BCE.  From this point on Egypt is ruled as territory of the Roman Empire.
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Posted: January 14, 2015

Ancient Greece The Greeks, also known as Hellenes, are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. The great poet Homer, whose works date from about 700 BCE, created some of the earliest Greek writings.  His poems tell of people who lived in Greece 500 years before his time.  The Greeks passed these stories down by word of mouth. The great poet Homer, whose works date from about 700 BCE, created some of the earliest Greek writings.  His poems tell of people who lived in Greece 500 years before his time.  The Greeks passed these stories down by word of mouth. In the famous poem Iliad, Homer writes about the legendary Trojan War in which Achilles, a Greek hero, fought a great duel with Hector, the son of the king of Troy.  This, and other poems, inspired the Greek people by telling them of great deeds in their history, by praising heroic values like courage, glory and valour. Not only do these poems represent some of the great literature of the period, but they also give us a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Greek society which is important for many reasons but probably none more so than being the birthplace of democracy. Land and Sea In the southeastern corner of Europe, between modern Greece and Turkey, lies the Aegean Sea. This island-filled arm of the Mediterranean was the heart of ancient Greece.  Most people lived less than 70 km from its shores.  Unlike the river valley cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia, Greek civilization was oriented to the sea. More than 2000 islands dot the Aegean, what is left of a submerged mountain system.  While some islands were rocky and infertile, others had rich soils ideal for farming.  The earliest Aegean civilization began on one of these fertile islands- Crete, and spread to other island and eventually Greek mainland. Greeks could not cultivate even 1/5 of this territory, and prized the small amount of fertile land highly.  The only land suitable for farming – fig vines and olives thrived in the mild, wet winters and dry summers. The people also grew grain crops, such as barley, and put sheep and goats out to graze on the higher ground. Like the sea, the mountains had a significant effect on the development of the ancient Greek world.  While they made Greece a very difficult territory to conquer by land, they also acted as natural partitions among the Greek communities on the plains.  Ancient Greece became a collection of separate, fiercely independent city-states, often at war with one another. The Minoans The earliest center of civilization associated with ancient Greece was located on the island of Crete.  Here, a Bronze Age society flourished for over 1000 years, reaching its peak between 2000 BCE and 1450 BCE.  This was the Minoan civilization named after the legendary ruler, King Minos. King Minos of Crete dominated a large part of the Aegean with his powerful navy.  In 1900 CE a British archaeologist discovered the palace of King Minos.  The palace discovered was like a huge maze, with over 800 interconnecting rooms grouped around a large central courtyard.  While construction of the palace likely began in 2000 BCE it was  enlarged and rebuilt several times. The palace included several architectural innovations well advanced for the time.  The Minoans built light wells or shafts in some rooms to create a brighter, more open atmosphere.  They piped water into the palace, incorporated flush toilets and baths in the living quarters and constructed advanced draining systems.  Indoor plumbing such as this did not become common again for 3600 years. Artifacts uncovered in the palace suggest that the Minoans worshipped a mother goddess or goddess of fertility, who often appeared with snakes.  As no battle scenes appeared on the walls and few weapons were found, historians believe that the Minoans were a peaceful people, more preoccupied with nature and life than war. Sometime around 1450 BCE, most of the palace was destroyed, but historians are uncertain why.  Some suggest a massive volcanic eruption.  This theory is also linked with the legend of the lost city of Atlantis.  The truth is more likely that invaders from mainland Greece probably destroyed the palace. Mycenaeans Mycenaean Greece (1600 BCE –1100 BCE) is a cultural period of Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in southern Greece. The last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, it is the historical setting of much ancient Greek literature and myth, including the poems of Homer. Quite unlike the Minoans, whose society benefited from trade, the Mycenaeans advanced through conquest. Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a.  Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans extended their control to Crete, center of the Minoan civilization. Not only did the Mycenaeans defeat the Minoans, but according to later Hellenic legend they defeated Troy. Mycenaean kings ruled over their territory from fortified palaces and gained much wealth through trade and piracy. Beginning in the 12th century BCE there was a decline, likely a combination of civil wars, outside invasion, drought and disease.  All Mycenaean centers collapsed except Athens.  What would follow would be the Dark Ages. Architecture Architecture was extinct in Greece from the end of the Mycenaean period (about 1200 BCE) until the 7th century (700 BCE), when urban life finally recovered to a point where public buildings could be undertaken. But since most Greek buildings in the Early Classical period was made of wood or mud-brick, nothing remains of them except a few ground-plans, and there are almost no written sources on early architecture or descriptions of buildings. Most of our knowledge of Greek architecture comes from the few surviving buildings of the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, since Roman architecture heavily copied Greek. This means that there is a strong bias towards temples, the only buildings which survive in any number. The standard format of Greek public buildings is well known from surviving examples such as the Parthenon, and even more so from Roman buildings built partly on the Greek model, such as the Pantheon in Rome. The building was usually either a cube or a rectangle made from limestone, of which Greece had lots, and which was cut into large blocks and dressed. Marble was an expensive building material in Greece: high quality marble came only from Attica and from a few islands and its transportation in large blocks was difficult. It was used mainly for sculptural decoration, not structurally, except in the very grandest buildings of the Classical period such as the Parthenon. There were two main styles of Greek architecture, the Doric and the Ionic. These names were used by the Greeks themselves, and reflected their belief that the styles descended from the Dorian and Ionian Greeks of the Dark Ages, but this is unlikely to be true. The Doric style was used in mainland Greece and spread from there to the Greek colonies in Italy. The Doric style was more formal while the Ionic more relaxed and decorative. Most of the best known surviving Greek buildings, such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, are Doric. The Parthenon: The Parthenon is the remains of a temple to the Greek goddess Athena, the patron goddess of the ancient City of Athens. The Parthenon is a temple located on the Acropolis, a hill overlooking the city of Athens, Greece. The Parthenon was designed by Phidias, a famous sculptor, at the behest of a Greek politician credited with the founding of the city of Athens and with stimulating the so-called "Golden Age of Greece". Many treasures would have been displayed in the building, but the glory of the Parthenon was the gigantic statue of Athena designed by Phidias and made out of chryselephantine (elephant ivory) and gold. Work on the building began in 447 BCE and continued until 438 BCE; some of the decorations were completed later. It was built over the site of an earlier temple which is sometimes called the Pre-Parthenon. Experts differ on the size of the Parthenon because of variations in the way it is measured, and due to damage to the structure. One common measurement is 111 feet by 228 feet, or 30.9 meters by 69.5 meters. The Parthenon survived the ravages of time pretty well, serving as a church and then a mosque, until finally it was used as a munitions depot during the Turkish Occupation of Greece. In 1687, during a battle with the Venetians, an explosion tore through the building and caused much of the damage seen today. There was also a damaging fire in ancient times. Hippocrates: Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician in Classical Athens, and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the father of Western medicine in recognition of his lasting contributions to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields that it had traditionally been associated with philosophy among others, thus establishing medicine as a profession. Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally and not as a result of superstition, and Gods. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras of allying philosophy and medicine. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Indeed there is not a single mention of a mystical illness in the entirety of the Hippocratic Corpus. However, Hippocrates did work with many convictions that were based on what is now known to be incorrect anatomy and physiology. Alexander the Great: Alexander III the Great, the King of Macedonia and conqueror of the Persian Empire is considered one of the greatest military geniuses of all times. He was inspiration for later conquerors such as Hannibal the Carthaginian, the Romans- Pompey and Caesar, and Napoleon.  Alexander was born in 356 BC in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia. He was son of Philip II. He spent his childhood watching his father transform Macedonia into a great military power, winning victory after victory on the battlefields throughout the Balkans.  When he was 13, Philip hired the Greek philosopher Aristotle to be Alexander’s personal tutor.  During the next three years Aristotle gave Alexander training in rhetoric and literature and stimulated his interest in science, medicine, and philosophy, all of which became of importance in Alexander’s later life. In 338 BC, Philip gave his son a commanding post among the senior generals as the Macedonian army invaded Greece. At the Battle of Chaeronea the Greeks were defeated and Alexander displayed his bravery by destroying the elite Greek force, the Theban Secret Band. Some ancient historians recorded that the Macedonians won the battle thanks to his bravery. After his fathers’ death he ascended on the Macedonian throne, Alexander quickly disposed of all of his domestic enemies by ordering their execution.  But soon he had to act outside Macedonia.  Philip’s death caused series of rebellions among the conquered nations and Greeks saw a chance for independence.  Alexander acted swiftly.  As soon as he restored Macedonian rule in northern Greece, he marched into southern Greece.  His speed surprised the Greeks and by the end of the summer 336 BC they had no other choice but to acknowledge his authority.     Alexander's Empire at its height We will probably never know the truth, of Alexander's mysterious death, even though new theories are still coming out. Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king and the great conqueror, died at the age of 33, on June 10, 323 BC. Three days earlier, on the 7th of June, 323 BC, the Macedonians were allowed to file past their leader for the last time before he finally succumbed to the illness. Alexander died without designating a successor. His death created much instability and the Macedonian Empire will eventually cease to exist. The Trojan War: The war was fought between the Greeks and Trojans with their allies, upon the city of Troy, on Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The war lasted for ten years and it has been traditionally dated from 1194 to 1184 BC. The first nine years of the war consisted of both war in Troy and war against the neighboring regions. The Greeks realized that Troy was being supplied by its neighboring kingdoms, so Greeks were sent to defeat these areas. As well as destroying Trojan economy, these battles let the Greeks gather a large amount of resources and other spoils of war. The Greeks won many important battles and the Trojan hero Hector fell. However, the Greeks could not break down the walls of Troy. The Trojan Horse: Still seeking to gain entrance into Troy, Odysseus ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were to be hollow so that soldiers could hide within it. Once the statue had been built a number of the Greek warriors, along with Odysseus, climbed inside. The rest of the Greek fleet sailed away, so as to deceive the Trojans. One man, Sinon, was left behind. When the Trojans came to marvel at the huge creation, Sinon pretended to be angry with the Greeks, stating that they had deserted him. He assured the Trojans that the wooden horse was safe and would bring luck to the Trojans. The Trojans celebrated what they thought was their victory, and dragged the wooden horse into Troy. That night, after most of Troy was asleep or in a drunken stupor, Sinon let the Greek warriors out from the horse, and they slaughtered the Trojans. 2nd Persian War:   Darius leader of the Persian Empire, and leader of the Persians during the 1st Persian War was unsuccessful in defeating the Greeks due to underestimating the waters during storm season.  As a result the Persians lost many ships and had to retreat for a second effort. However Darius had died in 485 BC before he could launch another assault on Greece, so it was his son Xerxes that set out to complete his fathers’ ambition of conquering Greece. Instead of sending his fleet out to sea he instructed his men to dig a canal through Athos, which took three years to complete. This was because he feared his fleet sustaining damage should another storm arise. Xerxes plan was to go over land to get to Northern Greece, with his fleet providing protection. Sicily was invaded at the same time by Xerxes to stop them from providing the Greeks with any help.  Most of the Greek city states met in Corinth to work out a common defense. It was agreed that there would be a combined army and navy which would be under Spartan command, but with the Athenian leader at the time, providing the strategy. Though all of the men were fine soldiers, they were hugely outnumbered by the Persians. This time though, the numbers were even more against them. Leonidas, the Spartan King, led the army to a pass which is known today as Lamia. This pass was the main passage into central Greece from the north. The plan was to trap the Persian army in this bottle-neck, where the fact they were vastly outnumbered would have little influence on the outcome. This went according to plan, until a traitor showed the Persian army a way over the mountains. Inevitability, the Greeks were forced to retreat along with their fleet which was stationed just off Euboea ,the island of Evia, but Leonides, along with about 300 troops remained and fought for two days until before they were all killed. Perisia now controlled northern Greece, and were able to march down into Athens and take control over the whole of Greece. It had been predicted that Athens would soon be taken over by the Persians so it was ordered that the women and children of Athens be evacuated to the island of Salamis, while the men were sent to sea to join with the Athenian fleet. When the Persians did reach Athens, they destroyed it and burnt it down to the ground. Had they not evacuated the city, it would have been disastrous. The only hope of defeating the Persians was by the Athenian fleet. They however decided against a battle in the open sea. By sending out a fake message, the Persian fleet was enticed into the small strait of Salamis.  This would be the beginning of the end for the Persians. The Battle of Salamis:   The Battle of Salamis, was a naval battle fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the  Empire of Persia in September 480 BC in the straits between the mainland of Greece and Salamis, an island near Athens. It marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece. Although heavily outnumbered, the Greek Allies were persuaded by the Athenian general to bring the Persian fleet to battle again, in the hope that a victory would prevent naval operations against the Peloponessus. The Persian king Xerxes was also anxious for a decisive battle. As a result the Persian navy sailed into the Straits of Salamis and tried to block both entrances. In the cramped conditions of the Straits the great Persian numbers were an active hindrance, as ships struggled to maneuver and became disorganized. Seizing the opportunity, the Greek fleet formed in line and scored a decisive victory, sinking or capturing at least 200 Persian ships. As a result Xerxes retreated to Asia with much of his army, leaving Mardonius to complete the conquest of Greece. However, the following year, the remainder of the Persian army was decisively beaten at the Battle of Plataea and the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. Afterwards the Persian made no more attempts to conquer the Greek mainland. These battles of Salamis and Plataea thus mark a turning point in the course of the Greco-Persian wars as a whole; from then onward, the Greeks would take the offensive. A number of historians believe that a Persian victory would have hamstrung the development of Ancient Greece, and by extension 'western civilization, and has led them to claim that Salamis is one of the most significant battles in human history. Greek Gods:   The Olympian gods were the main and strongest gods in Ancient Greek, ruling mankind and majestically living in Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. Greek myths always refer to the twelve Gods of Olympus, but in total there were fourteen Olympian Gods in Ancient Greece.   Aphrodite - The sensual goddess of Love and Beauty Apollo - The youthful god of the Sun and the Music Ares - The fierce god of War Artemis - The wild goddess of the Hunt Athena - The sophisticated goddess of Wisdom and Arts Hades - The gloomy god of the Underworld Hermes - The cunning god of the Trade Demeter - The natural goddess of the Harvest Hera - The mature goddess of the Family Poseidon - The moody god of the Seas Zeus - The heavenly King of the Gods and ruler of mankind Hephaestus - The ill-favored god of Metallurgy Hestia - The calm goddess of the Hearth Dionysus - The joyful god of the Wine The Dark Ages of Ancient Greece: The Dark Ages lasted from 1100 BC until 800 BC, or relatively to the time of Hellenic or Classical Greece. During this time the culture of Greece dwindled. Little is known of how many cultural elements were lost during the Dark Ages, but characteristic of the Dark Age, is the gradual decimation of any urbanized culture on the Greek mainland. In addition, many of the elements left from Mycenaean culture were destroyed, and writing, which had been so important during the Mycenaean, was not practiced. The great trading empire which had begun with the Minoans and was inherited by the Mycenaean's, was destroyed in the Dark Ages. Trade with Asia Minor, the Middle East, and Egypt stopped entirely. Artistic elements of the time portray simple geometrical designs and patterns. During the Dorian invasions, which occurred continually on mainland Greece and down through the Peloponnese, entire villages were abandoned, and migrations occurred toward the islands of the Aegean. Dorian rule in many cities and villages was of either two types. The first type consisted of the Dorians entering a city and assimilating themselves into it. The second type, as in the case of Sparta and Argos, created an upper caste or class which consisted exclusively of themselves, leaving the lower caste entirely made of native citizens--a life of serfdom. What followed the initial invasion and rule of the Dorians and the Greek civil war, (within the years of 1200BC to 750BC) was a shift in lifestyle, centered around a moderately sedentary agricultural lifestyle. However, though Greek civilization had hit its lowest point, the idle time of 450 years allowed the Greeks to rediscover urbanized culture, which in turn created the tales and cultures of Greece as they are classically and popularly known. Birth of Democracy:   Today, when we do something as simple as vote, we are taking part in one of history's great experiments in government--democracy. But our freedoms might not have been possible without the world's first democratic experiment, in ancient Athens. Greek civilization began to develop about 2000 BCE  on the Balkan Peninsula and the western edge of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). By the 6th century B.C., the governments of most Greek city-states were oligarchies (a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small segment of society distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or military control). Power was held by a small group of aristocrats, or members of important families. But something else was stirring in Athens. Made wealthy through trade and powerful by its navy, Athens had become one of the leading city-states. Now Athenians began to want more: laws to make them secure and a direct role in the governing of their city. Greece has its own democratic Founding Fathers. One of the first was an Athenian official named Solon. In 594 B.C., Solon formed a new code of laws for the city. The code defined citizens by class, spelling out the rights and duties of each. Even before the Athenians established a democracy, the Council of 400 played a central role in the government of Athens. Solon, the Athenian legal reformer of the 6th century established a Council of 400 citizens, 100 from each of the four traditional tribes and gave authority as “guardian of the laws”. Solon’s Council existed as a check on the power of the people.   Athenian democracy was established as a result of continuous reorganizations. The name comes from demos-people and kratos-power, so litarally power of the people. Apart from many smaller changes, it was mainly based on the opportunity for all citizens over 20 to take part in governing the country. Athenian democracy also had weak sides, like limited possibility of taking part in the Assembly of Citizens for people living outside Athens. Peasants, especially during harvest, could not take part in voting because of distance they would have to cover to vote. Solution of this problem was delegating a representative from each village who would take care of interests of food producers.   Eventually Athens would fall to invaders but the principles would survive and re-emerge at a later date.  Lucky for us they did.   The 1st Olympics:   The Olympic Games were a series of athletic competitions held for representatives of various city-states of Ancient Greece held in honor of Zeus. The exact origins of the Games are shrouded in myth and legend but records indicate that they began in 776 BC in Olympia in Greece. They were celebrated until 393 AD when they were suppressed by Roman Emperor Theodosius I as part of the campaign to impose Christianity as a state religion. The Games were usually held every four years, or Olympiad, as the unit of time came to be known. During a celebration of the Games, an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their countries to the Games in safety. The prizes for the victors were olive wreaths or crowns.   The Games became a political tool used by city-states to assert dominance over their rivals. Politicians would announce political alliances at the Games, and in times of war, priests would offer sacrifices to the gods for victory. The Games were also used to help spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean. The Olympics also featured religious celebrations and artistic competitions. A great statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world was erected in Olympia to preside over the Games.   The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete. As long as they met the entrance criteria, athletes from any country or city-state were allowed to participate. The Games were always held at Olympia rather than alternating to different locations as is the tradition with the modern Olympic Games. There is one major commonality between the ancient and modern Games, the victorious athletes are honored, and praised.   Aristotle Plato, Socrates:   Socrates lived from 470 to 399. He is most admired for his quiet irony in undermining conventional ideas. He was Plato’s teacher. Plato lived from 428 to 348. He is famous for creating the notion that ideas rule the world. He was Aristotle’s teacher. Alexander the lived from 384 to 322. Aristotle is best remembered for setting the basis to logics as a method. He taught Alexander the Great.
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Medieval Europe   The Dark Ages   The collapse of the Roman Empire in the year 476 AD, brought about relentless invasions by barbarian tribes.  This brought about an end of the Roman era, a magnificent civilization that lasted for almost 1000 years.   This started a new period in Europe called the Dark Ages.  Roman cities and roads fell into ruin and all the advances of the previous civilization were lost.  The only thing that survived was Christianity. State persecution ceased in the 4th century when Emperor Constantine I issued an edict of toleration in 313 CE (AD). In 380 AD, Emperor Theodosius I enacted a law establishing Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire. From at least the 4th century, Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization.   Much of what is currently Great Britain was ruled by Rome where it was known as the province of Britannia.    Britannia became the northern most outpost of Rome’s vast empire.    As time went on the Roman Empire was increasingly attacked by outsiders whom the Romans called barbarians (Latin for foreigner).  Most of these barbarians came from the northern regions of Europe.  They were poor farmers organized into tribes by warrior chieftains.   In 410 AD Rome itself was plundered by the Visigoths.  The capital lay in ruins and the emperor sent word that he could no longer provide protection for Britannia.  This would lead to the end of Britannia.   The Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain in 410 CE and they were basically made up of four tribes, the Angles, the Saxons, the Jutes and finally the Frisians.  These four tribes have been lumped together into a group called the Anglo-Saxons.   The Anglo-Saxon Chieftains set up separate kingdoms of villages, using techniques and materials from their homelands.    The culturally advanced, well-ordered Roman world was completely replaced by the Anglo-Saxons.   The Anglo Saxons had their own religion and because they hated anything Roman, they did not accept the Christian religion right away.  Christianity did not become popular in Britain until the 6th century.  First the King of Kent converted and then one by one the other 6 kingdoms also converted.  Christianity would become the religion of most of Europe.   A group of sea-roving Scandinavian warriors called Vikings began attacking and taking land in Europe.  By 878 so many Vikings had come to Britain that one half of the Anglo-Saxon lands were under Dane law.  By 911 the Vikings were given a huge piece of land by the French to stop them from continuously attacking.  The Vikings named this land Normandy after themselves- men from the North.   In 1066 CE Duke William of Normandy invaded England and defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings.  William became king of England and started a new period in English history.  He gave vast amounts of manors to his subjects.  They in turn began to build castles and churches all over the place.  A great change had occurred, the dark ages of Anglo-Saxon rule were over and a new era the High Middle Ages began, not only in England but all of Europe.   The Feudal System    The feudal system became the way manors were distributed and the heart of social organization of the Dark Ages.  The king was at the top of the feudal system, and in theory owned all manors.  The king however would distribute manors to high lords (dukes and earls) so that they would stay allies.  In return each lord would provide knights to the king.  The high lords in return would give manors out to lesser lords in return for loyalty and knights. These lesser lords may then give a manor to a knight in order to gain his loyalty.  Knights general only owned one manor.   King - was in complete control under the Feudal System. He owned all the land in the country and decided who he would lease land to. He therefore only allowed those men he could trust to lease land from him. However, before they were given any land they had to swear an oath to remain faithful to the King at all times. The men who leased land from the King were known as Lords, they were wealthy, powerful and had complete control of the land they leased from the King.     Lords – leased land from the King which was known as a manor. They were known as the Lord of the Manor and were in complete control of this land. They established their own system of justice, minted their own money and set their own taxes. In return for the land they had been given by the King, the Lords had to serve on the royal council, pay rent and provide the King with Knights for military service when he demanded it. The Lords kept as much of their land as they wished for their own use, then divided the rest among their Knights. Lords were very rich. Knights - were given land by a Lords in return for military service when demanded by the King. They also had to protect the Lord and his family, as well as the Manor, from attack. The Knights kept as much of the land as they wished for their own personal use and distributed the rest to serfs. Although not as rich as the Lords, Knights were quite wealthy. Serfs - were given land by Knights. They had to provide the Knight with free labor, food and service whenever it was demanded. Serfs had no rights. They weren’t considered slaves cause they couldn’t be bought and sold but other than that there wasn’t much of a difference. They were not allowed to leave the Manor and had to ask their Lord's permission before they could marry. Serfs were poor.    Black Death The Black Death was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. It is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by a bacterium. Thought to have started in China, it travelled along the Silk Road and had reached Europe by 1346. From there it was probably carried by Oriental rat fleas, residing on the black rats that were regular passengers on merchant ships. It spread wildly throughout the Mediterrian and Europe. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% – 60% of Europe's population, in some cases wiping out entire villages and families,  reducing the the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. This has been seen as creating a series of religious, social and economic upheavals which had profound effects on the course of European history. It took 150 years for Europe's population to recover. The plague returned at various times, killing more people, until it left Europe in the 19th century. Because the plague killed so many of the poor population, wealthy land owners were forced to pay the remaining workers what they asked, in terms of wages. This meant that for the first time in history, many, formerly of the peasant population, now had a chance to live a better life. The term bubonic plague is derived from the Greek word bubo, meaning "swollen gland". Swollen lymph nodes especially occur in the armpit and groin in persons suffering from bubonic plague. Bubonic plague was often used synonymously for plague, but it does in fact refer specifically to an infection that enters through the skin and travels through the lymph nodes, as is often seen in flea-borne infections. In humans, the bubonic plague kills about two out of three infected patients in 2–6 days without treatment. The Black Death that swept through Europe in the 14th century and killed an estimated 75 million people and possibly as many as 200 million by the time is left Europe.   The Black Death experience tended to weaken the authority of the church and the power of the church to intercede on their behalf. As more and more people died church officials and clergy had recommended prayer, and contributions to lessen god's punishment. As time went on prayer proved quite ineffective. Many people died including those that were seen by those around them as the good, the innocent right along with those who might be seen as less so. The Church lost many people, but the institution became richer through bequests. It also grew richer by charging more money for its services, such as saying mass for the dead. Less-educated priests were shuffled into jobs where more learned men had died. The failure of the clergy to help the suffering during the plague, combined with its obvious wealth and the incompetence of its priests, caused resentment among the people. Critics grew vocal, and the seeds of the Reformation were sown. The Crusades (Holy Wars) The Crusades were a series of holy wars between the Christians and the Saracens, all Non-Christians including Arabs, Turks and Moors, this was primarily the Muslims.  It involved all of Europe, basically fighting together to regain control of the holy land and in particular the Holy city of Jerusalem. At the time the Saracens called all Europeans “Franks”. The term crusade means “cross.” The uniform of the Christian soldiers had a cross across their chest. Since the 2nd century, Christians would make the difficult pilgrimage from Europe to the “Holy Land”, to Jerusalem and other holy cities where Jesus had preached.  The Muslims and Arabs had conquered this area, called Palestine in the 7th century, but had generally tolerated this practice until a group of hard-line Muslims took Palestine and closed it off the Christians.  They also threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire. So Pope Urban II called upon the kingdoms of the west to prepare for a crusade. So began the 1st Crusade. Despite being poorly armed and trained they were surprisingly successful and managed to capture the Holy Land of Palestine and the Holy City of Jerusalem in 1099.  This would be the only victory for the Christians. The 2nd Crusade was launched approx. 50 years later when the Muslims fought to retake the Holy land.  They had some success but were unable to complete the task. The 3rd Crusade, and the most significant saw three kings of Europe unite against the great Saracen leader Saladin after he had successfully captured Jerusalem in 1187.  This crusade is best known as it involved Richard the Lionheart, the English king who appears in the Robin Hood legend. Both sides fight valiantly but neither side could win and both sides called a truce in 1192, which allowed the Christians to continue their pilgrimage to Jerusalem without persecution. The fourth began in 1302 but never even made it to the Holy land and only made it to the city if Venice and was actually used to capture Constantinople.  The Christian church gained much prestige from the success of the 1st and 3rd Crusade but they were greatly criticized for corruption in the 4th Crusade.  This in addition to a number of other factors led to the decline of the Christian church. The biggest impact of the Crusades was that Kings became more powerful, as many lords and knights, who might have challenged the kings were killed during the Crusades. One benefit was the travel east opened the eyes of Europeans to the riches of the east, including cotton, spices, sugar and perfumes.  Trade would now be renewed. However this interaction with the east was not all good. Excommunication, Heretics /Inquisition To ensure Christians followed church teachings, the Roman Catholic Church set up a special court in the 12th century to deal with a serious offence called Heresy. This was anyone held different beliefs from those of the church or who questioned church doctrine. The special court was called the Inquisition.   In extreme cases those found guilty were put to death by burning them at the stake.  This was considered justified to prevent the evil ideas of heresy from spreading to other people. The inquisitorial trial generally favored the prosecution (the Church). Confessing 'in full' was the best hope of receiving a lighter punishment - but with little hope of escaping at least some punishment. And a 'full' confession was one which implicated others, including other family members. It was acceptable to take testimony from criminals, persons of bad reputation, excommunicated people, and convicted heretics. The inquisitor could keep a defendant in prison for years before the trial to obtain new information, and could return them to prison if he felt that the witness had not fully confessed. Despite the seeming unfairness of the procedures, the inquisitors did provide some rights to the defendant. At the beginning of the trial, defendants were invited to name those who had "mortal hatred" against them. If the accusers were among those named, the defendant was set free and the charges dismissed; the accusers would face life imprisonment. Among the possible punishments were a long pilgrimage for first offenders, wearing a yellow cross for life, confiscation of property, banishment, public recantation, or long-term imprisonment. Burning at the stake was only for the most serious cases, including repeat offenders and unrepentant heretics. Execution was done not by the Church, which was forbidden to kill, but by secular officials. The Hundred Year’ War Since the Norman Conquest, England and France had never been the best of friends.  England still controlled lands on the continent which France wanted to reclaim.  The two sided also engaged in bitter trade disputes.  France attempted to disrupt England’s wine trade with Gascony as well as well as it’ thriving wool trade with Flanders.   Fed up with this, the English king Edward III laid claim to the French throne, based on the fact that his mother was the sister of three former French monarchs. In 1337, the English attached France.  What came to be known as the Hundred Years; War was actually a series of conflicts that lasted from 1337 to 1453.  In the early years the English easily defeated the French, due to better strategy and an effective new weapon, the longbow.   Later in the war, cannons, loaded with gunpowder were used.  Gunpowder, a Chinese invention was probably introduced during the Crusades.  Early cannon were quite primitive, but they signaled the beginning of a new kind of warfare and the end of the feudal knights.   The king of France was captured in 1360 and was forced to sign a treaty turning over 1/3 of all French territory to the English. However over the next 50 years, the French won back much of their land through small scale fighting.  As a result, the English resumed major campaigns in the early 15th century and appeared close to a final victory. In 1428 they were laying siege to Orleans, when a significant turn of events took place.  A 17 year old peasant girl emerged to save the day for France, her name was Joan of Arc.   Joan of Arc Joan of Arc went to Charles, the heir to the French throne, she claimed to have received a message from God in the form of a dream, telling her to save France.  She asked Charles for command of the army at Orleans and he reluctantly agreed.  Dressed in full armour and mounted on a horse, Joan led the French to victory over the English.  When Charles was crowned king of France, Joan stood at his side.   Joan led other battles, but Orleans was her only victory. In 1430, she was captured by the people of Burgundy, allies of the English.  Fearful of Joan’s influence, the English tried her for witchcraft and burned her at the stake in 1431.  Unfortunately for the English, Joan’s death made her a martyr in the eyes of the French people.  By 1453 the French recaptured almost all of their territory.     The End of Feudalism The Hundred Years’ War had important consequences for both France and England.  Their victory united the French with a sense of collective pride, which benefitted the monarchy, and during the rebuilding the king assumed greater power, eventually leading to complete control over government.    The English, weakened internally by the long years of war, now faced a civil war on it’s own soil.  Two noble families, the House of York and House of Lancaster.  They fought each other in a 30 year conflict called the war of the Roses.  It was called this because the York’s emblem was a white rose, while the that of Lancaster’s was a red rose.   In 1485, Henry VII of Lancaster defeated the king of York, but took a York noblewoman as his queen.  Thus united, the two families formed a strong new dynasty, the Tutors.  As happened in France, the monarchy in England grew stronger, but it shared responsibility for governing the country with an important new body called parliament.    This signaled a break from the long-established feudal system.  With a strong centralized government in control, people switched their allegiance form local lords to the monarchy itself.  This really would be the beginning of the development of nations.   At the same time two other strong symbols of the Middle Ages, the fortified castle and the armored knight on horseback were being eroded by such military innovations as gunpowder and the longbow. Europe was changing.
Ancient History 10 – Rome  Test Review  The Italian Peninsula is known today as the country of Italy….the bootThe city of Rome developed on the banks of the Tiber River.The Appenines is a mountain range that runs the length of the Italian peninsula.  It has also acted as a natural defense similar to the AlpsPlebeians are member of the common or lower classPatricians are members of the noble or upper classThe last king to rule Rome before the Roman Republic was of Etruscan decent.The three main rivers in the Italian Peninsula were the Arno, Po and TiberHannibal was the son of Hamelcar and brother of Hasdrubal.Military units of approx. 5000 soldiers were knows as a legionThe Punic Wars were between Rome and CarthageThe Battle of Zama would be Hannibal’s only defeatThe word “arena” comes from the Latin word for “sand”Spartacus was a slave that led a rebellion against the Roman Republic. Hannibal crossed the Alps and surprised the Romans on their own land. Many of the ideas of Gods and Goddesses came from Greek culture Jupiter - He was the master of the gods and the main god of the Romans. Juno - She was the wife of Jupiter, the goddess of women and fertility. Mars - He was the god of war, the strongest and most fearsome god, except for Jupiter.Venus - She was the goddess of love and beauty.Neptune - He was the powerful god of the sea. Vulcan - He was the blacksmith of the gods and a god of the underworld. He was the god of blacksmiths and volcanoes.Diana - She was the goddess of hunting and a goddess of the moon.Mercury - He was the messenger of the gods. The wings on his helmet and sandals allowed him to travel very quickly to wherever a god might send him. He was the god of travelers and tradesmen.  Augustus -  (31 BCE – 14 CE) 1st Emperor of Rome, ruled for 45 years, established the Praetorian Guard, responsible for Pax Romana, was Caesar’s nephew, defeated Mark Anthony for control of Rome.Tiberus  -  (14 – 37 CE) was unpopular because he tried to be economical and spent little money on public games. He became Octavian's stepson at the age of four when his mother married Octavian. Near the end of his rein Tiberius became recluse, ruling by letter. Apparently depressed, he made no provisions for succession.Caligula - Caligula “Little Boots” or Gaius (37 – 41CE) – He is described as a noble and moderate ruler during the first two years of his rule but later on was spiteful and even insane. He blatantly offended the Senate by behavior such as having his favorite horse named as consul. He was eventually assassinated by a member of the Praetorian Guard.   Claudius - (41 to 54 AD) – He was the first emperor to be born outside Italy. Afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age. Claudius' infirmity probably saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius' and Caligula's reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula's assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.Nero -  (54 – 68CE) - Nero was fair-haired, with weak blue eyes, a fat neck, a pot belly and a body which smelt and was covered with spots. He also considered liberal ideas, such as ending the killing of gladiators and condemned criminals in public spectacles. In fact, Nero came across as a very humane ruler at first. In the end he murdered his wife and mother. And tried to burn Rome to the ground while he played a violin.  Triumverate –  The rule of three, included Julius Caesar Ides of March – March 15, the day Caesar was assassinated  The Rubicon River – Returning armies had to stop here, lay down their weapons and ask permission to enter the city of Rome The Mob – The poor people of Rome who would protest  Brutus and Cassius – The two generals who led the assassination of Caesar.   Aquaducts - The great and highly advanced Roman waterway system, running water, indoor plumbing and sewer system carrying away disease from the population of the city. Some of these ancient structures are still in use today. The aqueducts were built of stone, brick and the special volcanic cement. Most of the Roman waterway system ran below ground. Channels through rock, or dug below the surface carried water where it was convenient and possible. Of the approximately 260 miles in the aqueduct system, only 30 miles consisted of the mammoth arched structures. 11 separate aqueducts supplied the city of Rome and were built over a span of 500 years. Roman Roads - Roman roads were constructed to be immune to floods and other environmental hazards. Many roads built by the Romans are still in use today.  Most of the higher quality roads were composed of five layers. The bottom layer was one inch thick and made of mortar. Above this were four strata of masonry (brick).  It was one foot thick, and was made of stones bound together by cement or clay. Above that, there were the rudens, which were made of ten inches of rammed concrete. The next layer was made of twelve to eighteen inches of successively laid and rolled layers of concrete.  Roman Baths - The public baths were very popular in ancient Rome and were a busy, noisy and lively meeting place for the Romans. Ancient Rome had hundreds of these baths where Roman citizens could bathe, have their hair cut, exercise in the gymnasium, read at the bath's library, and even grab a snack. The ancient Romans would have had to pay an admission charge to enter the baths, but the entry fee to the baths was low so even the poor could visit. Roman men and Roman women would try to visit the baths at least once every day. Only the very biggest of the Public Baths had facilities for men and women. Most of the baths operated separate hours. Children were not allowed to use the baths. By the way, the Ancient Romans did not use soap! Instead they rubbed oil into their skin and then scraped it off with a metal scraper, this removed the dirt, dead skin and sweat from their bodies and left them clean. Hypocausts - The hypocaust is one of the most ancient forms of a central heating system.  A hypocaust is both a primary system and a secondary system, as it creates heat and distributes it as well. The main use for hypocausts was found in the large public bathhouses.  A hypocaust was composed of a raised floor (typically about two feet), supported by columns or pedestals of stone every few feet, with the space below left open.  A furnace, composed of a continuously burning fire, created heat, which was then allowed to flow through the space below the raised floor, thus heating the floor and rest of the room.  Once cooled, the air escaped through flues in the wall and out of vents in the roof.  The furnace takes up a fair amount of space, so it was usually located in a separate room.  The flues were built directly into the walls so they did not take up useful space. The main disadvantage of the hypocaust system was the fumes created by the fire in the furnace easily crept out of the holding space below the false floor and into the main space.  Another disadvantage with this system is the possibility of the fire becoming unmanageable and getting out of control.  A stone or concrete building may survive, but the occupants may not.Praetorian Guard - Augustus established a unit called the Praetorian Guard.  Composed of nine cohorts of 500 men each, it acted basically as a body guard for the emperor and his family.  Members of the guard were given special treatment by the emperor, serving only 16 years and receiving three times the pay of regular legionary soldiers.  EssaysCarthage pre – 1st Punic War The 1st Punic War ends in 241 BC (after 23 years) with Rome’s victory and control of Sicily. The war was primarily a sea battle.The 2nd Punic War began in 218 BC and ended in 202 BC, again with a Roman victory.  This war would produce one of the most famous battles of all time, seeing an invading Carthage army, led by Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, come over the Alps by land with an army that included 60 elephants.The 3rd Punic War would be little more than a three year invasion of Carthage from 149 – 146 BC, where Carthage was crushed and burned to the ground never to return.Hannibal - (248–182 BCE), was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician who is credited as being one of the most talented commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal.2nd Punic War - The overland - journey to ItalyCarthage began amassing troops in modern day Spain, an act that Rome were aware of, but continued to observe from afar.  Soon the Romans became aware of an alliance between Carthage and the Celts of the Po River valley in Northern Italy. The latter were amassing forces to invade Italy, presumably with Carthaginian backing. Thus, the Romans preemptively invaded the Po region in 225 BC. A Carthaginian general was assassinated around the same time (221 BC), bringing Hannibal to the fore. It seems that, having apparently dealt with the threat of a Gaulo-Carthaginian invasion of Italy (and perhaps with the original Carthaginian commander killed), the Romans lulled themselves into a false sense of security. Thus, Hannibal took the Romans by surprise a mere two years later in 218 BC.Hannibal departed New Carthage in late spring of 218 BC He fought his way through the northern tribes to the Pyrenees, subduing the tribes through clever mountain tactics and stubborn fighting. Hannibal reportedly entered Gaul with 40,000 foot soldiers and 12,000 horsemen.Hannibal's army numbered 40,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 60 war elephants, and so began his trek crossing the Alps.   After 15 days he was through and now in the Po valley.  During the crossing of the Alps, Hannibal had lost half of his infantry, 2000 cavalry and 40 elephants.Despite the losses he still defeated the Roman troops at the Trebia River, which opened a route to central Italy. In the spring of 216 BC, Hannibal took the initiative and seized the large supply depot at Cannae. By capturing Cannae, Hannibal had placed himself between the Romans and their crucial source of supply.  The Battle of Cannae and victory by Hannibal would later be the reason for Rome’s total destruction of Carthage during the 3rd Punic War. As a result of this victory, many parts of Italy joined Hannibal's cause, but not the number Hannibal was hoping for. Instead of heading to Rome and finishing it off, Hannibal, for some unknown reason set off and continued to make his way through other parts of Italy.   Hannibal was hoping for reinforcement from his brother Hasdrubal, who had his own army of 33,000 troops, but the Romans found out and cut them off in defeat, also killing Hannibal’s brother.To add to Hannibal’s stress, they took Hasdrubal’s severed head and threw it into Hannibal’s camp.  Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years, but a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced Hannibal to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. Scipio studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and finally defeated Rome's nemesis at Zama having previously driven Hasdrubal, Hannibal's brother, out of Spain.Carthage once again had to surrender to the Romans.  After the war Hannibal enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. However, Hannibal's reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During his exile, he acted as military adviser to another army fighting against Rome. After they met defeat and were forced to accept Rome's terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in Armenia. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans. Before his capture he poisoned himself.Now with the end of the Punic Wars, and the 100 years that followed Rome had secured a large amount of territory in the Mediterranean region.  One of the biggest conquests would be of Macedonia and the Middle East. Many of their conflicts would come not only from outside foes but also from within. The story of Julius CaesarThe existence of powerful and popular generals brought about the Triumvirate. The rule of three men consisted of three powerful generals working to rule Rome and keep an eye on each of the other two.  They consisted of Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar.This worked short term until Crassus was killed in battle and Pompey became increasingly concerned with Caesar’s motives. Following the murder of Caesar, the assassins fell into disarray.  Caesar’s leading supporters, Mark Anthony and Octavian, Caesar’s nephew, gathered forces to avenge the murders.  With their combined troops, they executed more than 2000 enemies in Rome and defeated the army of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi in Greece in 42 BCE.  They both committed suicide following the defeat.Octavian and Mark Anthony then decided to divide the Roman world, with each of them ruling a region, Octavian recognized that this plan was only temporary – eventually there would be more conflict.  He therefore began to prepare for battle, while Mark Anthony was preoccupied with Cleopatra in Egypt.When the two leaders finally confronted each other at Actium in 31 BCE, the naval forces of Octavian defeated Anthony and his army.  From this Octavian became the first emperor of Rome, assuming complete power.He was given the title of Augustus, which meant the “highest one”.  Although the Romans didn’t know it at the time, his rule marked the end of the 500-year old republic – and the beginning of the Roman Empire.   The ColiseumThe Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was commissioned in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian. It was completed by his son, Titus, in 80, with later improvements by Domitian.The Coliseum is located just east of the Roman Forum and was built to a practical design, with its 80 arched entrances allowing easy access to 55,000 spectators, who were seated according to rank. The Coliseum is huge, an ellipse 188m long and 156 wide. Originally 240 masts were attached to stone corbels on the 4th level.  Vespesian ordered the Coliseum to be built on the site of Nero's palace, to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. His aim was to gain popularity by staging deadly combats of gladiators and wild animal fights for public viewing. Massacre was on a huge scale: at inaugural games in AD 80, over 9,000 wild animals were killed. Emperors used the Coliseum to entertain the public with free games. Those games were a symbol of prestige and power and they were a way for an emperor to increase his popularity. Games were held for a whole day or even several days in a row. Commodus was the only emperor to fight in the Coliseum of Rome, which he did many times. He killed but was never killed. His matches were rigged by selecting opponents who were under-armed, poorly skilled or physically impaired from previous fights.  Construction of the Coliseum took between 8 and 10 years to fully compete.

Posted: September 13, 2012

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