Author: Admin

The Song of Roland – Showing the Story of Charlemagne

The anonymous Song of Roland is the most famous Old French epic, or chanson de geste. It was composed c. 1090 but was not committed to writing until nearly 100 years later. The oldest written copy, discovered by Francisque Michel in 1835, survives in Oxford Bodleian MS Digby 23. As all chansons de geste, the Song of Roland was performed aloud in front of an audience by a minstrel (or jongleur). It is unlikely the whole poem was recited in one sitting: It consists in some 4,000 decasyllabic lines, assembled into 291 laisses or verses. Why is this song...

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The History of the Famous Samurai and Its Meaning

The originally Chinese term samurai means “a person who serves in close attendance to nobility.” Its original pronunciation was saburau, which later became saburai. Warriors known as bushi or samurai dominated the Japanese landscape from roughly the sixth century to the end of the 19th century. Samurai literally means “to serve,” which they did with a loyalty, bravery, and honor that have made the samurai one of the best-known icons of Japanese history. Samurai rule ended in 1868 with the arrival of Commodore William Perry and American gunships. The Meiji Restoration of the same year abolished the samurai class...

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Defining the concept of a Holy War From Both Perspectives

Did Christianity had a well-defined concept of a holy war? Unlike Islam, Christianity had no well-defined concept of holy war before the Middle Ages. Christ had no armies at his disposal, nor did his early followers. Only in AD 312, after the conversion to Christianity of the Roman emperor Constantine I (306–337), did the religion come into direct contact with statecraft and warfare. Within a century, Christianity and the Roman Empire were fused tightly together. Christians in government found themselves faced with questions of life and death, war and peace—questions that their religion had not wrestled with before. In the...

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The Advancement of the Late Roman Armor and Its Effectiveness

Soldiers who accompanied Julius Caesar’s march into Gaul in the first century BC were the most superb fighting men of their time. From narrative descriptions and artistic renderings it can be seen that they were protected by a bowl-shaped helmet, which also protected the neck; a large oblong shield, measuring approximately 51 by 25 1/2 inches (130 by 65 centimeters) (the scutum); and a solid bronze breastplate (the lorica). The workmanship of the various armor pieces was often extremely skilled. The helmet and breastplate were made of bronze beaten to shape, while the shield was constructed from layers of...

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The Peak of Islamic Science and Technology During Their Golden Age

Science, technology, and other fields of knowledge developed rapidly during the golden age of Islam from the eighth to the 13th century and beyond. Early Abbasid caliphs embarked on major campaigns seeking scientific and philosophical works from eastern and western worlds. Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Empire, became the center of intellectual and scientifi c activity. The first academy, Bayt al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom) was established by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid and was expanded by his son the caliph al-Ma’mun (d. 833). By the ninth century, Baghdad had become a center of financial power and political prestige...

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