LORD OF A MEDIEVAL CASTLE
The lord of a castle was the most important person in the surrounding area. The lord would ensure that rents were paid and that his knights remained loyal and ready to defend his lands.The estate steward carried out most of these tasks on behalf of the lord. He issued orders to bailiffs who were responsible for collecting rents and fines. The lord also acted as a judge and settled local disputes, handing out punishments and fines to those who broke the law or disobeyed his rules.
The lord hosted large banquets in the great hall to entertain visiting lords or the king of the land. The lord and the nobles ate well. Most meals contained meat and a variety of vegetables. At banquets, there was a great choice of food, especially for those that sat at the top table with the lord and lady of the castle. Exotic dishes such as swan and peacock could be served. The bad smell of meat which had been stored and salted for too long was disguised by adding spices to the meat. Sometimes the meat was dyed in order to make it look more appetising.
Other guests sat at long tables. The more important people sat at the top tables and the less important ones sat towards the bottom of the hall. Only those at the top table had their food served to them on platters, while the others had their food served on trenchers.
Hunting was one of the most popular pastimes of the lord. It was also a way for providing food for the castle. Animals such as deer, wild boar and foxes were hunted on horseback. Sometimes hunting was carried out on foot or by using birds of prey such as eagles, falcons or hawks.
The lord owned a large amount of land and had lots of knights and foot soldiers to protect him. The castle was built of local limestone and granite and the main building was called the keep. The walls were extremely thick and the building was about five storeys high.
There was an outer wall surrounded by a moat and a drawbridge was used for security. There was also a special spiked gate called a portcullis which could be lowered across the gate during an attack. Attacking a castle was very dangerous. A siege could be conducted to ensure victory, but otherwise they could surround the castle and use battering rams to try break through the castle gate. Rope ladders and special siege towers were used to scale the castle walls.Sometimes, tunnels were dug beneath the foundations of the wall in an effort to force its collapse.
They had their own well inside the courtyard and kept supplies of extra food in the basement of the main building in case of a siege, where supplies would be cut off from entering the castle. The main living area for the lord and his family was on the top floor of the castle. They also had a private chapel and to get to their living area they had to use the very narrow spiral stairs.
A MONK IN EARLY CHRISTIAN IRELAND
My name is John and I am a monk. I live in a monastery in Ireland. The monk who is in charge of the monastery is called an abbott. As monks, we wear a simple white tunic and over this, a cape and a hood. All of our clothes are made from coarse, undyed wool.
Every monk lives in his own special room, called a beehive hut. I spend most of my time in my hut, praying to God and studying The Bible and The Gospels. These books are extremely expensive to produce and sometimes, I work at copying such books in a room named a scriptorium. The writing is done on either parchment or vellum. Parchment is made from very thin sheepskin and vellum is made from calfskin. I write using a quill made from a goose feather and the ink we use is made from herbs, plants and stones. We get these materials from the farms around the monastery.
Other monks work as stone masons, building high crosses. These crosses are used to mark graves or are placed in the centre of a monastic settlement. Others work as metal workers. They make beautiful silver chalices, decorated with coloured stone and gold wire. They sometimes use filigree work,which is twisting and weaving gold wire.
The monastery is completely self-sufficient, meaning we keep farms around the monastery. We grow crops and keep animals , only eating what we need. At dinner and prayer time, a bell on top of the round tower rings out. If the monastery is about to be attacked, the bell rings as a warning. We take all of our manuscripts and gold and silver objects with us to the tower. The door is about three metres from the ground and is reached by a ladder. This ladder is removed once we are all inside.
There are very strict rules within the monastery: Pray daily, fast daily, study daily and work daily.
In the monastery, there are many different facilities. There is an oratory (A small rectangular church), where we pray. We eat meals in the refectory. As our monastery is large, we have a guest-house too. It is set apart from our quarters and close to the entrance.
SLAVE IN ANCIENT ROME
Slavery was an extremely important part of life in Ancient Rome. Within the empire, millions of slaves worked for the rich. They had no rights and were completely at the mercy of their owners. While some had kind owners, others were very badly treated. Some were subjected to hard manual labour in quarries and salt mines. This led to death at a very young age.
People became slaves in many different ways. While some were captured in battle, others were bought and sold by traders who caught them from faraway lands. Many criminals were sentenced to a life of slavery as punishment for a serious offence. Others were simply born to slave parents.
Lives of slaves varied greatly. Many Greek scholars were bought as tutors for rich children. Some slaves were more expensive than others, as price depended on how strong they were and how young they were. Some were selected as gladiators and while this offered better treatment during training, most died before being granted freedom.
It was quite common for an owner to state in their will that their slave should be freed after their death. To mark the freedom of a slave, a manumission ceremony was held. The slave was touched with a stick called a vindicta and wore a straw cap called a cap of liberty as a sign of their freedom.
FACTORY OWNER DURING THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION : ROBERT OWEN
Robert Owen was born in Wales in 1771. His father was a saddler and ironmonger and Owen left school at the age of nine to become an apprentice draper (a trainee cloth seller). He settled in Manchester and from 1790 onwards, he became a successful businessman. At age 19, he became the manager of a cotton mill. This meant he was in charge of 500 workers. His factory produced the best cotton in all of Britain. However, in 1795 he became the owner and one of the partners of the Chorlton Twist Company in Manchester.
In 1799, Owen married Caroline Dale and moved to New Lanark in Scotland. They went on to have seven children, and the oldest was born in 1801.
Owen had been appalled by the conditions of workers in Manchester and was determined to improve things for workers in New Lanark. He built new houses for Scottish workers and taught them how to look after them. These houses were supplied with clean water and this led to improvements in health amongst the workers. This meant the workers in New Lanark did not face diseases like cholera or TB as the workers in Manchester did. Good quality food was sold to the workers at a cheap price. Strict limits were placed on the sale of alcohol. Alcoholism had become a huge problem among poor people at the time, leading to an even lower quality of life in the population.
Robert Owen also set up multiple infant schools around the country to educate poor children. He was the first man in Britain to encourage education among the poor.
Although New Lanark was an incredible success, his ideas about how factories should be run were not widely accepted by the other factory owners of the Industrial Revolution. He died in 1858 and it was not until the 20th Century that many of his ideas about the fair treatment of workers became accepted.
NAMED LEADER DURING A VOYAGE OF EXPLORATION: CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa in 1451, where he learned the art of sailing on the Mediterranean in his youth. Later on, he began to study navigation and Atlantic sailing in Portugal.
Columbus strongly believed that the earth was round and was adamant to prove this. He thought he could make the trip from Europe to Asia safer by avoiding Africa and instead sailing West. He estimated that this journey would take only 3 weeks and miscalculated the distance between Europe and Asia.
After being rejected for funding from the leaders of Portugal, Columbus went to their enemy, Spain and persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to sponsor him. He was given three ships; the Niña, the Pinta (These two ships were caravels. A caravel was a clinker-built ship with lateen sails) and the Santa-Maria. The Santa Maria was a nao, a more advanced and bigger type of ship. The Santa-Maria was led by Columbus and the others were led by the Pinzón brothers.
The voyage began on the 3rd August 1492. The three ships first sailed from the port of Palos to the Canary Islands, where they took on supplies of fresh water and food. In September 1492, they sailed out into the Atlantic.
The sailors became disheartened when they did not reach Asia after the estimated three weeks. Many were beginning to get scurvy (A disease which affects the skin and gums. It is caused by a lack of vitamin C.) and wanted to turn back. While Columbus was keeping a close eye on the distance travelled, he kept two log-books. One was used to deceive the sailors and contained false information regarding their location. The other one had the true information written in it.
On 12 October 1492, land was sighted. They arrived off the coast and named the island San Salvador, claiming it for Spain and for God. While they thought they had arrived at India, they were actually 10,000 miles away from India.
He spent the next three months exploring the area we now know as The Caribbean and named the natives ‘Indians.’ He discovered Cuba and Hispaniola at the Indies. He returned to Spain in March 1495, bringing with him native goods and native ‘Indians’ to prove his discoveries to the spanish.
Columbus returned to America three more times in search of the cities of Asia, and still refused to accept he had discovered a completely new continent. He was named Governor of the lands he discovered but was accused of cruelty to the natives. He was proved innocent of the cruelty but grew to be disappointed and bitter. He died in 1506, unable to accept that he had not reached Asia. (By refusing to accept that he had discovered a new continent, the lands were not named after him. It was instead named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian mapmaker who proved Columbus had discovered a new continent.)
A NAMED RELIGIOUS REFORMER AT THE TIME OF THE REFORMATION: MARTIN LUTHER
Martin Luther was born in 1483 in Saxony, Germany. His father was a wealthy and ambitious copper miner who wanted Martin Luther to study law. Martin, however, was a very religious man so instead he joined the Augustinian order and trained to be a priest. He became a teacher at the University Of Wittenberg. Luther was a deeply troubled man and saw himself as a sinner. He worried about going to hell and studied the bible to find a way for sinners to get to heaven. The answer he found was ‘Justification by Faith Alone.’ He believed the only way to get to heaven was to possess a genuine faith and belief in God. He believed that buying indulgences from the church could not make it easier to get into heaven. This opposition to the Church's teaching on the indulgences caused a clash with the Pope.
In 1517, Pope Leo X issued an indulgence to raise money for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Pope said that anyone who donated money to his collection would have their sins forgiven. A Dominican friar named John Tetzel was sent to Germany to sell the indulgence for the Pope. Martin Luther thought this was terrible as he believed the Pope was taking advantage of the fears and faith of the uneducated poor. Luther was appalled and was determined to protest against what he saw as a sinful act. He wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz.
This letter was ignored by the archbishop, so he wrote down 95 Theses and nailed them to the door of a church at Wittenberg Castle. They objected to the idea that money could buy salvation and objected to the building of churches like St. Peter’s in the first place. These ideas were then translated into German so the general people could read them.
Luther was told to recant his criticism of the pope. Luther refused to take back his criticism. In 1519 he debated with the pope’s representative, John Eck. In 1520, Leo X sent out an official papal bull called Exurge Domini, warning Luther to back down. Luther burned the letter and was then excommunicated from the Church.
In an attempt to solve the conflict and crisis, Charles V, the Emperor of Germany called a Diet of all German princes at a town called Worms. Luther was declared an outlaw by the Edict of the Worms. Frederick, Elector of Saxony brought Luther to his castle at Wartburg, where he was protected from his enemies.
During his time at this castle, Luther outlined his beliefs.
He kept his belief in Justification By Faith Alone
He believed priests should be allowed to marry
He thought the bible and all religious services should be in the vernacular tongue.
Luther rejected all sacraments except for Communion and Baptism, as they were the only ones mentioned in the bible
Indulgences were a sin and a lie
Luther believed in consubstantiation
After many years of tension and argument, Germany was eventually plunged into a War Of Religion in 1545. The war ended in 1555 with the Treaty Of Augsburg. This treaty agreed each prince had the right to choose the religion of his people. This treaty was a compromise.
AN ARCHAEOLOGIST ON A DIG
Once a site has been identified, archaeologists seal off the area from the general public to ensure no damage is caused to the site and that artefacts are not stolen or removed. The site is then prepared for a dig. This is a slow and painstaking job.
At first, the topsoil is removed. Then the site is divided into different squares. A site grid is drawn, with each square in the grid given a number and a letter. Any finds are clearly labelled on the grid.
The trowel is the main tool used for excavation. Small amounts of earth are removed at a time. The earth is then placed in a sieve in order to separate the soil from the stones and any object that may have been dug up. Everything is examined carefully to see if they have been shaped or if they belong to a broken piece of pottery or jewellery. All objects are then cleaned with a small brush - sometimes toothbrushes are used. Photographic scales are placed next to large objects in order to measure the size of the object. The object is then photographed before being removed from the site. All finds are placed in separate polythene bags and a label giving the details of where it was found is attached to the bag.
Once the objects are removed from the site, archaeologists will use many different kinds of experts to help them discover more about these finds. A process known as Carbon-14 dating is used to tell the age of an object. All living things contain a chemical called carbon-14 . When a plant or animal dies, the amount of this chemical decreases, allowing archaeologists to work out its age. Carbon dating is accurate up to 50,000 years
Archaeologists can also learn lots about a particular period by studying tree rings. This type of investigation is called dendrochronology. Each ring represents a year of the tree’s growth and varies in thickness depending on good or bad seasons. Tree rings which are wide apart suggest that weather was warm and reasonably well and that growth was good. Tree rings which were very close together signify there was a drought.
A NEOLITHIC FARMER
Neolithic farmers depended less on hunting and gathering. Instead they grew crops and kept animals. They led a more settled life and did not move from place to place as the first settlers did. Evidence gathered by archaeologists at the Céide Fields in County Mayo suggests that they divided land into separate fields, surrounded by stone walls.
The Neolithic farmers were more skilled and made better tools than the earlier settlers. Tools were made from polished stone, which was stronger and sharper.
They cut down trees with stone axes, removed them and then prepared the land for crops or grazing by using mattocks or wooden ploughs to turn the soil. They grew wheat and barley. They placed a small amount of grain at a time in a hollow in a large stone and used a smaller round stone known as a quern to grind it.
The farmers made clothes from animal skin and sheep's wool. The art of spinning and weaving developed. Dyes made from plants were used to add colour to the wool.
As they were settled people, the Neolithic farmers built stronger and longer-lasting houses than the earlier settlers. Their farms were usually situated on a higher ground because the soil was lighter and easier to plough. Houses were made from wood, stone or a mixture of both, depending on what materials were available locally. The houses were usually rectangular in shape and much larger than those of the earlier settlers. The walls of the house were built by placing thick posts in the ground and weaving branches in between them. This is known as wattle. Daub, a mixture of mud and straw, was then plastered onto the wattle to keep out the wind and the rain. The roof was made from straw or rushes.
Cooking was done around a fireplace in the middle of the floor inside the house. A small hole in the roof acted as a chimney. Food was stored in pots made from clay