Timeline of Events in the Middle Ages
122 Roman forces begin building Hadrian's Wall, a barrier intended to protect Roman citizens from Picts, or native Scots, on the isle of Britain. The wall is a sign that the Roman Empire has ceased to expand and will begin to shrink in coming years.
135 Banished from Jerusalem by the Romans, Jews begin to spread throughout the Mediterranean.
180 The death of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius marks the end of the "Pax Romana," or Roman peace. Years of instability follow, and although Rome recovers numerous times, this is the beginning of Rome's three-century decline.
220 The Han dynasty of China comes to an end, plunging the country into three centuries of turmoil.
c. 300 Mayan culture enters the Classic Period, which lasts until 925, during which time the Maya undertake the vast majority of their most important building projects.
300s Buddhism, which originated in India, begins to take hold in China.
312 Roman emperor Constantine converts to Christianity. As a result, the empire that once persecuted Christians will embrace their religion and eventually will begin to persecute other religions.
325 Constantine calls the Council of...
(The entire section is 5156 words.)
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Words to Know
- Age of Exploration:
- The period from about 1450 to about 1750, when European explorers conducted their most significant voyages and travels around the world.
- A semi-scientific discipline that holds that through the application of certain chemical processes, ordinary metals can be turned into gold.
- A type of mathematics used to determine the value of unknown quantities where these can be related to known numbers.
- A type of narrative, popular throughout the Middle Ages, in which characters represent ideas.
- Breakdown of political order.
- An earlier person in one's line of parentage, usually more distant in time than a grandparent.
- Hatred of, or discrimination against, Jews.
- A priest proclaimed pope by one group or another, but not officially recognized by the church.
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Research and Activity Ideas
The following list of research and activity ideas is intended to offer suggestions for complementing social studies and history curricula, to trigger additional ideas for enhancing learning, and to suggest cross-disciplinary projects for library and classroom use.
- Obtain a list of movies about the medieval period. Sources include the Medieval Sourcebook Web site, "Medieval History at the Movies" (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/medfilms.html) or Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever, published by Visible Ink Press, 2001. Watch several movies about the era and discuss them. How accurately do they portray events in the Middle Ages?
- One of the signs of Europe's recovery during the 1100s was the emergence of international fairs at Champagne and in Flanders. Hold a class "fair," with each student assigned to bring in an item for "sale." What do students learn about one another by doing business together?
- Divide into two groups, representing the people of Europe and those of the Middle East. The Europeans are preparing to go on a crusade to seize the Holy Land from the Muslims to place it under Christian control. Debate this issue, considering it from as many viewpoints as possible. Is a crusade justified according to the Christian religion? What is the justification for Muslim control of the Holy Land? How could a crusade be avoided?...
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Where to Learn More
The following list focuses on works written for readers of middle school or high school age. Books aimed at adult readers have been included when they are especially important in providing information or analysis that would otherwise be unavailable, or because they have become classics.
Asimov, Isaac. The Dark Ages. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1968.
Davidson, Basil. African Kingdoms. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1978.
Dijkstra, Henk, editor. History of the Ancient and Medieval World, Volume 8: Christianity and Islam. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1996.
Dijkstra, Henk, editor. History of the Ancient and Medieval World, Volume 9: The Middle Ages. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1996.
Dijkstra, Henk, editor. History of the Ancient and Medieval World, Volume 10: Medieval Politics and Life. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1996.
Dijkstra, Henk, editor. History of the Ancient and Medieval World, Volume 11: Empires of the Ancient World. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1996.
Durant, Will. The Age of Faith. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1950.
Durant, Will. Our Oriental Heritage. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954....
(The entire section is 420 words.)