Monday, January 31, 2011

Krak de Chevaliers-Greates of all Crusader Castles

The Krak De Chevaliers (Fortress of the Knights), was the main fortress and headquarters to the religious military order of the Knights Hospitaller.

Located in Modern day Syria, the castle was virtually impregnable. The thick walls, excellent design and strategic location created a near perfect Medieval castle.

From the 11th to the 17th centuries, the Knights Hospitaller were a warrior religious order tasked with defending Christianity, the Holy Lands and the poor & sick.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Castle Defences

Double gatehouse complex of the Tower of London.

The drawbridge was a key defense for the gates of many castles.

The Tower, a mini-castle to strengthen the curtain wall.
Murder Hole

Fighting stairs, defenders could easily strike down while attackers were hindered by the tight curve of the right turning stairs. The hand railing is a modern safety feature.

The Outer Ward where squires learned the skills needed by knights and where knight and Men-at-Arms continued to hone their skills.

The Keep, this was the oldest and safest part of Ludlow Castle(1086).

The Moat, ten centuries ago it was even deeper, nature is slowing refilling this man made defense.

Embrasures and Battlements with arrow loops.

Arrow Loops by the score stud an outer curtain wall of the Tower of London.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Castle-High Point of the Lords Defenses

Ludlow Castle, on the Welsh boarder, looking a little worn as she nears her 1000 birthday. The original rectangular Norman Keep dates to 1086 CE.
Therri crosses the moat, the original drawbridge was replaced with this bridge in the 15th Century.

The massive gateway held a portcullis, three gates and murder holes.

Look out below, any attacker would be faced with defenders shooting arrows from above. Here I am standing on the third floor, there were two more fighting levels in this tower above this floor.

Therri is in the unfortunate position any attacker would have been in after entering the courtyard.

People were shorter in the Middle Ages. The short doorway was also part of the defense works, could an attacker swing a sword while passing through this doorway?
Many gateways had smaller single man doorways built in them for more secure access.

Every castle had a chapel, this is a rare round one built in the 11th century at Ludlow Castle.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Medieval Cathedrals-Built to the Glory of God

Cathedrals of the Middle Ages were massive structures often taking up to a century or more to build. These massive, and expensive, structures represented the dedication to Gods glory that the populous of the community felt. Cathedrals also represented the importance the community held in their country. It was a virtual necessity to have a cathedral if a city was to be considered an important civic center.

Canterbury-10th & 11th Centuries, Canterbury, England

Notre Dame de Paris-12th Century
Notre Dame de Paris

St. Laurence-11th Century, Ludlow, England

Lincoln-12th Century, Lincoln,England

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Empire-New Emperor-Charlemagne

The 1st great empire to be formed out of the wreckage of the Western Roman Empire was welded together under the long reign (768-814 CE) of Charlemagne (Charles the Great).
For more than half a century, Charlemagne lead his armies to victories throughout Western Europe. His extended empire covered territories ranging from Spain to Germany and much of Italy.

The rule of Charlemagne, greatest of the Carolingian kings of the Franks, marked the end of the "Dark Ages" of Western Europe. From his time forward Western Europe began the long advance towards regaining the prominent position in the world that was lost with the Fall of Western Rome in the 5th Century.

In 800 CE, he was anointed Imperator Romanorum (Emperor of the Romans) by Pope Leo III. Charlemagne was the first Emperor to rule in the West since the Fall of Rome. His title signaled a new strength in government and social order in Europe. His promotion of education through new schools began a pattern of growth that would lead to the first great universities of the Middle Ages. Knowledge would now grow, slowly at first, but definitely grow, ending the centuries of loss known as the Dark Ages.

As with so many great leaders, his son and grandchildren could not live up to his legacy and his empire was soon divided into three warring states. But while his empire fell, the rest of Europe passed out of the dark and towards a brighter future.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Illuminated Manuscript

Art and written language blended for the glory of God in the Monasteries of the Dark Ages and Middle ages.
The illumination of the beginning letter of a page or paragraph could be a stylistic design or a picture scene of common sights of the era.

Scenes of work were common, here a women leads a class of geometry a rarity and therefore notable occurrence during this time.

Books were rare and expensive works of knowledge and art.

Most books were of a Religious nature so the themes and stories were often illustrated in rich detail for those that could afford the final product.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Study Guide for Friday 1-14-11

Roman to Dark Ages Study Guide 2011

Be able to draw your coat of arms design.

Be able to define/describe/explain the following:
SPQR, Men-at-Arms, Pax Romana, Samurai,
Silk Road, Feudalism, Seppuku, Kami,
Shinto, Serf, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Civil Service, Katana, Shogun,
Vikings, Zheng He

On the Map of Asia/China be able to locate China, Japan, India, Israel, Russia and ten of the following,: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, East China Sea, India, Indian Ocean, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Pacific Ocean, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South China Sea, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam. The map on page 676 in your book has the correct locations.

Be able to discuss/list/identify five important facts for each of the following:
the Julian Caesars, Roman Months, Ming Dynasty, Weapons & Armor of Knights,
Eastern Roman Empire, Stages of Becoming a Knight, Life Cycle of a Dynasty,
Barbarian Tribes that became Countries, Why Rome Fell, Japan in the Age of Samurai

Be able to list each of the following:
The Lord Class
The Church Hierarchy

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vikings-Terror from the North

"Oh Senior Servo nos ex saevio of Nordic populus" (Oh Lord save us from the rage of the Nordic people). was the prayer uttered by thousands from the 8th to 11th centuries as Viking Raiders slashed their way through Western Europe.

The Viking Longboat was sturdy and shallow draft allowing both long distance ocean sailing and the ability to easily travel the rivers of Europe.
The most fearsome sight in the 8th & 9th centuries-Norsemen raiders swarming ashore bring death and destruction.

By the 1100's the Vikings had conquered and settled much of Europe. Yet as they were never organized under a single ruler their power quickly faded. As with so many other invaders, once the damage was done they settled down and were incorporated into the local cultures adding many of their own ideas and creating a new and in most cases stronger society.