Saturday, May 31, 2008

Getting Medieval

If there is one subject about which I know little, it is Medieval history. For some reason, those of us who were lucky enough to have Fr. Boudreaux for Latin at Jesuit didn't have to take Western Civilization sophomore year. I suppose the thinking was that Latin was enough "civilization" for one year.

In an effort to understand more about the "Middle Ages," I have tried several tactics to prepare.

I went to the public library to check out some books. It turns out they don't have a book on Medieval history, per se. I did get a book called Europe: Century by Century; it's ok, but it assumes I know much more than I do.

I contacted some publishing houses to order some sample textbooks. I ordered on from Houghton-Mifflin and one from Pearson. They are designed for middle school kids, but there are a lot of gaps where even I have questions. Hopefully, these books will reveal a vast repository of books in their bibliographies. Hopefully.

I also ordered a few books online from I haven't looked at them since they appear to be college textbooks, and college textbooks intimidate me. One is a sourcebook and the other is something like "The History of the Middle Ages" translated from the French.

Many of the girls and women I know are fascinated by this time period and read books all about Elizabethan court and intrigues in Medieval palaces. Much of my knowledge on this subject comes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Here is my take on Medieval history (names and such are beyond me at this point):

Trade Routes
Byantium (Justinian and Theodora)
The Rise of the Church and Eastern vs. Western
Charlemagne (Holy Roman Empire?)
Huns and Goths and Visigoths (oh my) and Vandals
Rise of Islam (Mohammed, Mecca, five pillars)
Feudalism (Lords, Counts, Dukes, barons and baronesses(whoo!) and kings and queens galore. Oh yeah, and serfs.)
Vikings again!!
Turks (but not Caicos:))
Vikings (Surprise!)
Franks and Normans (I tend to like people with these names. Is that a coincidence?)

I of course leave out Persia, India, China, Japan, the Americas, and Africa. Apparently, nothing of interest was occurring in these places. (This is highly sarcastic.)

So that's that. I think I am ready to get teaching!

Update: So I have been waking up at night with the odd feeling that I had forgotten something here. I did. The Crusades. How could I mention Islam and the Church and not mention that. Oh well.

1 comment:

Age said...

you forgot about popes and anti-popes! I took a medievil history class in college. i think i remember enjoying it.

Have fun teaching it!