Medici, Italian Renaissance’s Banking Family, Produced Four Popes and Two Queens of France

Traditional accounts of the Italian Renaissance portray the Borjias as corrupt and evil religious leaders, and the Medici as heroic financiers and philanthropists of stunningly beautiful art and architecture as well as fair-minded popes. I've already pointed out the reasons that popular portrayals of the Borjias, particularly the popular TV series, exaggerate their deviance. Two … Continue reading Medici, Italian Renaissance’s Banking Family, Produced Four Popes and Two Queens of France

11 Broadway Musicals That Illuminate History

One unusual way to learn history is through music. Broadway musicals illuminate the past in ways that dry textbooks cannot. Examples: "Something's Rotten" -- a musical comedy about the English Renaissance, how Shakespeare stole with impunity from other writers and poets (no copyright laws).  Here are two numbers: "Welcome to the Renaissance" and "Black Death." … Continue reading 11 Broadway Musicals That Illuminate History

‘Jamestown’ TV Series: Silly, Or Gripping Period Drama?

A friend recommends the PBS series "Jamestown" which ran from 2017 to 2019. "Life was tough in 1619, especially if you were a woman traded to be married. But that doesn't mean you can't fight back..." It is available from PBS and from numerous streaming services. It received mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. British and Irish … Continue reading ‘Jamestown’ TV Series: Silly, Or Gripping Period Drama?

Dramatic Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, As Illustrated In Six Videos

Historic Royal Palaces: "A handsome courtier, celebrated explorer, favourite of Elizabeth I and scholar of poetry, history and science, Sir Walter Raleigh was also one of the most famous prisoners to be held at the Tower of London. Yeoman Warder Gary Burridge tells us more…" Who was Sir Walter Raleigh and what did he had … Continue reading Dramatic Life of Sir Walter Raleigh, As Illustrated In Six Videos

8 Things You May Not Know About the French Guillotine

The execution device once dubbed the “National Razor” of France was inspired by the Halifax Guibbet in England and the Scottish Maiden in the 1500s. It was actually considered humane because it was a relatively quick form of capital punishment without enduring torture. https://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-guillotine Public beheadings continued in France until 1939, weren't completely outlawed until … Continue reading 8 Things You May Not Know About the French Guillotine

Enlightenment Thinkers Ushered in Age of Reason

The Englishman John Locke, founder of liberalism; the Scotsman Adam Smith (founder of capitalism); the Frenchmen Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, founders of natural rights; the German Kant, founder of individual ethics -- are all discussed by John Green in this 15-minute Crash Course European History lecture on the Enlightenment. Transcript. Sources: Hunt, Lynn et al. Making … Continue reading Enlightenment Thinkers Ushered in Age of Reason

Why You’d Never Survive Life in the Middle Ages

Grunge: "If you believe what Hollywood tells you, then life during the Middle Ages might seem romantic and glamorous - chock-full of noble knights on noble steeds, beautiful ladies with pointy hats, chivalry, honor, and, if you're lucky, a dragon or two. "Sadly, the truth is that life in the Middle Ages was about as … Continue reading Why You’d Never Survive Life in the Middle Ages

1600s-1700s in Russia: Czar Peter the Great Opens Window to the West; Rise of Prussia

John Green of Crash Course European History posted: "In eastern Europe, in the 17th century a couple of "great powers" were coming into their own. The vast empire of Russia was modernizing under Peter the Great, and the relatively tiny state of Prussia was evolving as well. Russia (and Tsar Peter) reformed many aspects of … Continue reading 1600s-1700s in Russia: Czar Peter the Great Opens Window to the West; Rise of Prussia

1600s in Eastern Europe, Ottoman Empire, Russia: Consolidation

While the focus in Crash Course European History has "been on Western Europe so far, there has also been a lot going on in Eastern Europe, which we'll be looking at today. The Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania, The Ottoman Empire, and Russia were all competing at the eastern end of the continent/landmass of Europe during the … Continue reading 1600s in Eastern Europe, Ottoman Empire, Russia: Consolidation

Dutch Golden Age of the 1600s Dominated European Trade, Science, Military, & Gave The World Magnificent Art

The Dutch Golden Age spanned mostly the 1600s. Its trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The Dutch Empire evolved into the modern kingdom of the Netherlands after 1815. John Green of Crash Course European History observes that "while the English were falling apart a little, with their civil war and their … Continue reading Dutch Golden Age of the 1600s Dominated European Trade, Science, Military, & Gave The World Magnificent Art