Category Archives: Uncategorized

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers (the Palace of) Versailles.


V

Versailles

E. H. GombrichIn 1643 King Louis XIV ascended the throne of France. He was then four years old and still holds the world record for the length of his reign. He ruled until 1715: that is, for seventy-two years. To Louis, kingship was no mere accident of birth. It was as if he had been given the leading role in a play which he would have to perform for the rest of his life. No one before or since has ever learnt that role so well, or played it with such dignity and ceremony to the end.

Life revolved around court and was staged in the most magnificent palaces anyone had ever seen. For palaces were Louis XIV’s great passion.’

To dress like the king, to carry one’s cane as he did, to wear one’s hat as he did, to sit and move as he did, was the aim of all men at court. And that of the women was to please him. They wore lace collars and ample, rustling robes made of the richest fabrics and were adorned with precious jewels. Life revolved around court and was staged in the most magnificent palaces anyone had ever seen. For palaces were Louis XIV’s great passion. He had one called Versailles built for himself outside Paris. It was almost as big as a town, with an infinite number of rooms covered in gold and damask, and crystal chandeliers, mirrors in their thousands, and furniture that was all gilded curves, upholstered in velvets and silks. The walls were hung with splendid paintings where people could see Louis in many guises. There is one that shows him dressed as Apollo, receiving homage from all the peoples of Europe. Grander still than the palace was its park. Everything about it was magnificent, elaborate and theatrical. No tree might grow as it pleased, no bush retain its natural form. Everything green was clipped, trimmed and shaped into walls of green foliage, curved hedges, vast lawns and spiralling flowerbeds, avenues and circuses, set with statues, lakes and fountains.

Just think what such a palace and such a way of life must have cost! The king had two hundred servants for himself alone, and that was only the start of it. But Louis XIV had clever ministers, mainly men of humble origin chosen for their outstanding ability. These men were all experts at extracting money from the country. They kept tight control of foreign trade and encouraged France’s own crafts and industry as much as they could. But the true cost fell on the peasants, who were burdened with crippling taxes and duties of all kinds. And while at court people ate off gold and silver dishes, piled high with the choicest delicacies, the peasants ate scraps and weeds.

Free Resources to Learn More about the Palace of Versailles and Louis XIV

BBC Shadow of the Sun King

2 episodes – Professor Julian Swann

BBC History

Louis XIV (1638-1715)

Livescience.com

The Palace of Versailles—Facts and History

Google Arts and Culture

11 secrets from the Palace of Versailles

Khan Academy

Château de Versailles 

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Versailles appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers the United States of America.


U

United States of America

E. H. GombrichEnglish trading posts which had grown into coastal cities on America’s eastern seaboard had declared their independence from England in 1776 in order to found a confederation of free states. British and Spanish settlers had meanwhile pressed on towards the west, fighting Indian tribes as they went. You must have read books about cowboys and Indians, so you’ll know what it was like. How farmers built log cabins and cleared the dense forest and how they fought. How cowboys looked after enormous herds of cattle and how the Wild West was settled by adventurers and gold diggers. New states sprang up everywhere on land taken from the tribes, although, as you can imagine, not much of that land had been cultivated. But the states were all very different from each other. Those in southern, tropical regions lived off great plantations where cotton or sugar cane was cultivated on a gigantic scale. The settlers owned vast tracts of land and the work was done by negro slaves bought in Africa. They were very badly treated. 

Further north it was different. It is less hot and the climate is more like our own. So there you found farms and towns, not unlike those the British emigrants had left behind them, only on a much larger scale. They didn’t need slaves because it was easier and cheaper to do the work themselves. And so the townsfolk of the northern states, who were mostly pious Christians, thought it shameful that the Confederation, founded in accordance with the principles of human rights, should keep slaves as people had in pagan antiquity. The southern states explained that they needed negro slaves because without them they would be ruined. No white man, they said, could endure working in such heat and, in any case, negroes weren’t born to be free . . . and so on and so forth. In 1820 a compromise was reached. The states which lay to the south of an agreed line would keep slaves, those to the north would not.

In the long run, however, the shame of an economy based on slave labour was intolerable. And yet it seemed that little could be done. The southern states, with their huge plantations, were far stronger and richer than the northern farm lands and were determined not to give in at any cost. But they met their match in President Abraham Lincoln. He was a man with no ordinary destiny. He grew up as a simple farm boy in the backwoods, fought in 1832 in a war against an Indian chief called Black Hawk, and became the postmaster of a small town. There in his spare time he studied law, before becoming a lawyer and a member of parliament. As such he fought against slavery and made himself thoroughly hated by the plantation owners of the southern states. Despite this, he was elected president in 1861. The southern states immediately declared themselves independent of the United States, and founded their own Confederation of slave states.

Seventy-five thousand volunteers made themselves available to Lincoln straight away. Despite this, the outlook was very bad for the northerners. Britain, which had abolished and condemned slave labour in its own colonies for several decades, was nevertheless supporting the slave states. There was a frightful and bloody civil war. Yet, in the end, the northerners’ bravery and tenacity prevailed, and in 1865 Lincoln was able to enter the capital of the southern states to the cheers of liberated slaves. Eleven days later, while at the theatre, he was murdered by a southerner. But his work was done. The reunited, free, United States of America soon became the richest and most powerful country in the world. And it even seems to manage without slaves.

Free Resources to Learn More about the United States of America

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 

A wide range of resources for parents and teachers…

On Abraham Lincoln

On the American Civil War 

On slavery in the United States 

On the abolitionist movement 

Gettysburg National Military Park

The pivotal battle of the Civil War 

Massachusetts Historical Society

The story of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first military unit consisting of black soldiers to be raised in the North during the Civil War. 

BBC Bitesize 

USA (1850-1880) 

Abraham Lincoln and slavery in the USA (video) 

BBC Teach

American Civil War – Andrew Marr (video) 

BBC History

Abraham Lincoln

BBC Sunday Feature

The American Civil War – Dr Adam Smith

Khan Academy

The Civil War era (1844-1877)

Ducksters.com

The Civil War, for younger students

The Yale Blog

A Little History of….Independence Day

James West Davidson on A Little History of the United States

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: the United States of America appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers Tools.


T

Tools

E. H. Gombrich: At the time when real history begins people already had all the things we have today: clothes, houses and tools, ploughs to plough with, grains to make bread with, cows for milking, sheep for shearing, dogs for hunting and for company, bows and arrows for shooting and helmets and shields for protection. Yet with all of these things there must have been a first time. Someone must have made the discovery. Isn’t it an amazing thought that, one day, a prehistoric man – or a woman – must have realised that meat from wild animals was easier to chew if it was first held over a fire and roasted? And that one day someone discovered how to make fire? Do you realise what that actually means? Can you do it? Not with matches, because they didn’t exist. But by rubbing two sticks together until they become so hot that in the end they catch fire. Have a go and then you’ll see how hard it is!

Tools must have been invented by someone too. The earliest ones were probably just sticks and stones. But soon stones were being shaped and sharpened. We have found lots of these shaped stones in the ground. And because of these stone tools we call this time the Stone Age. But people didn’t yet know how to build houses. Not a pleasant thought, since at that time it was often intensely cold – at certain periods far colder than today. Winters were longer and summers shorter. Snow lay deep throughout the year, not only on mountain tops, but down in the valleys as well, and glaciers, which were immense in those days, spread far out into the plains. This is why we say that the Stone Age began before the last Ice Age had ended. Prehistoric people must have suffered dreadfully from the cold, and if they came across a cave where they could shelter from the freezing winds, how happy they must have been! For this reason they are also known as ‘cavemen’, although they may not have actually lived in caves.

Free Resources to Learn More about Tools

BBC Bitesize (KS2) 

How did Stone Age hunter-gatherers live? 

New Stone Age (video) 

Who were the first farmers? 

Stone Age farming and homes – Raksha Dave (video) 

BBC In Our Time

Stone Age Europe (two episodes) 

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Stone Age tools—and links to more information on Stone Age life 

History.com

Six major breakthroughs in hunter-gatherer tools

Livescience.com

17 Key Milestones in Paleolithic Life

The Leakey Foundation

Modern people making stone age tools—and what imaging their brains tells us about the evolution of human intelligence 

Ancient History Encylopedia

More information on Stone Age tools

The School Run

The Stone Age

Khan Academy

Our earliest technology?

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Tools appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers the Second World War.


S

The Second World War

E. H. Gombrich: Adolf Hitler had been a soldier in the First World War. He was a brilliant popular orator and drew huge crowds. He knew there was no better way to incite a mob to action than to give them a scapegoat, someone they could blame for their suffering, and he found one in the Jews.

Schoolchildren are often intolerant. Look how easily they make fun of their teacher if they see him wearing something unfashionable that the class finds amusing, and once respect is lost all hell breaks loose. And if a fellow student is different in some minor way – in the colour of their skin or hair, or the way they speak or eat – they too can become victims of hateful teasing and tormenting which they just have to put up with. Of course, not all young people are equally cruel or heartless. But no one wants to be a spoil-sport, so in one way or another most of them join in the fun, until they hardly recognise themselves.

Unfortunately grown-ups don’t behave any better. Especially when they have nothing else to do or are having a hard time – or, sometimes, when they just think they are having a hard time. They band together with other real or supposed companions in misfortune and take to the streets, marching in step and parroting mindless slogans, filled with their own importance. I myself saw Hitler’s brown-shirt supporters beating up Jewish students at Vienna University, and when I was writing this book, Hitler had already seized power in Germany. It seemed only a matter of time before the Austrian government would also fall, so I was lucky to be invited to England just in time, before Hitler’s troops marched into Austria in March 1938. After that, as in Germany, anyone who greeted someone with a simple ‘Good morning’ and not a ‘Heil Hitler!’ was taking a very grave risk.

Hitler believed in the power of propaganda, a faith which seemed justified when the successes of the first two years of the war exceeded even his wildest expectations. Poland, Denmark and Norway, Holland and Belgium, France, large parts of Russia and the Balkans were overrun, and only Britain, that little island on the edge of Europe, still held out. And even that resistance could surely not last long, for, to the sound of trumpet fanfares, the German radio ceaselessly proclaimed how many ships carrying supplies and armaments intended for the British had been sunk by their U-boats. 

But when, without any declaration of war, in December 1941, the Japanese attacked the American fleet at anchor in Pearl Harbor and virtually destroyed it, and Hitler took it upon himself to declare war on the United States, and when, in the autumn of 1942, the German troops were beaten back in North Africa and defeated by the Russians in January 1943 outside Stalingrad, and when the German air force – the Luftwaffe – proved powerless to prevent the Allies’ devastating bombardments of German towns, it became clear that it takes more than fine words and fanfares to win a war.

I am reluctant to talk about the monstrous crime that was committed during the Second World War – after all, this book is intended for young readers who should not have to read about such things. But children grow up too, and they too must learn from history how easy it is for human beings to be transformed into inhuman beings through incitement and intolerance. And so it came about that, in the last years of the Second World War, the Jewish inhabitants of every country in Europe under German occupation – millions of men, women and children – were driven from their home countries. Most were put on trains and sent eastwards, where they were murdered.

The impact of technology was demonstrated in the Second World War, when the almost inexhaustible reserves of the American arms industry, which benefited both Britain and Russia, made the outcome inevitable. Despite the desperate resistance put up by the German soldiers, the British and Americans were able to land on the French coast of Normandy in the summer of 1944 and drive the Germans back. At the same time the Russians were pursuing a by now unresisting German army and, in April, they finally reached Berlin, where Hitler took his own life. 

However, with the defeat of Germany the World War was still not over, for the Japanese, who had meanwhile conquered large parts of Asia, were far from defeated. And because no end was in sight, the Americans brought out an entirely new weapon: the atomic bomb. In August 1945, the Japanese towns of Hiroshima and Nagasaki became the first victims of an unimaginable catastrophe, and Japan was finally defeated.

Free Resources to Learn More about the Second World War

BBC Bitesize (KS3)

World War Two

BBC Bitesize (GCSE)

World War Two 

Who was to blame for World War Two?

World War Two and Germany 1939-1945

BBC History

World War Two: Summary Outline of Key Events – Bruce Robinson 

World War Two (multiple resources) 

BBC Teach

World War Two with Dan Snow (video) 

Hitler’s Rise to Power – Andrew Marr (video) 

World War Two (videos) 

BBC In Our Time

Hitler in History 

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

A rich assortment of essays, video, images, primary sources, and lesson plans relating to America in World War II (note: currently available for free for parents and guardians of K-12 students; usually $25 for a year’s subscription) 

History.com

A wide collection of articles and videos on the Second World War, the Holocaust, and other related topics 

 Khan Academy

World War Two (multiple resources) 

The Yale Blog

Second World War blogposts

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: the Second World War appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers the Roman Empire.


R

The Roman Empire

E. H. Gombrich: It would never have occurred to the Romans to do what Alexander the Great had done. They had no wish to turn the lands they conquered into a single, vast empire in which everyone was treated equally. Certainly not. All the lands the Roman legions conquered – and their conquests came thick and fast – became Roman provinces, their towns occupied by Roman troops and Roman officials. These occupiers looked down on the native inhabitants, even when they were Phoenicians, Jews and Greeks – all peoples of very ancient culture. In the eyes of the Romans they were good for just one thing: paying up. They were subject to crushing taxes and had to keep sending grain to Rome – as much and as often as possible.

Provided they did so, they were left more or less in peace. They could practise their own religion and speak their own language, and in many ways they benefited from all the good things the Romans brought, such as roads. Many of these, splendidly paved, led out from Rome across the plains and over distant mountain passes to remote and inaccessible parts of the empire. It must be said that the Romans didn’t build these roads out of consideration for the people living there. On the contrary, their aim was to send news and troops to all parts of the empire in the shortest possible time. The Romans were superb engineers.

Most impressive of all their works were their magnificent aqueducts. These brought water from distant mountains and carried it down through valleys and into the towns – clear, fresh water to fill innumerable fountains and bathhouses – so that Rome’s provincial officials could enjoy all the comforts they were used to having at home.

A Roman citizen living abroad always retained his separate status, for he lived according to Roman law. Wherever he happened to be in that vast empire, he could turn to a Roman official and say: ‘I am a citizen of Rome! ’These words had the effect of a magic formula. If until then no one had paid him much attention, everyone would instantly become polite and obliging.

In those days, however, the true rulers of the world were the Roman soldiers. It was they who held the gigantic empire together, suppressing revolts where necessary and ferociously punishing all who dared oppose them. Courageous, experienced and ambitious, they conquered a new land – to the north, to the south or to the east – almost every decade. People who saw the tight columns of well-drilled soldiers, marching slowly in their metal-plated tunics, with their shields and javelins, their slings and swords and their catapults for hurling rocks and arrows, knew that it was useless to resist. War was their favourite pastime. After each victory they returned in triumph to Rome, led by their generals, with all their captives and their loot. To the sound of trumpets they would march past the cheering crowds, through gates of honour and triumphal arches. Above their heads they held pictures and placards, like billboards to advertise their victories. The general would stand tall in his chariot, a crown of laurel on his head and wearing the sacred cape worn by the statue of Jupiter, God of Gods, in his temple. Like a second Jupiter, he would climb the steep path to the Capitol, the citadel of Rome. And there in the temple, high above the city, he would make his solemn sacrifice of thanksgiving to that god, while below him the leaders of the vanquished were put to death.

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about the Roman Empire

BBC Bitesize (KS1)

The Roman Empire class clips (videos)

BBC Bitesize (KS2)

Roman Empire

Roman Britain

BBC Bitesize (KS3)

The Roman Empire

BBC Meet the Romans with Mary Beard

All Roads Lead to Rome (video)

BBC History

Rome’s Pivotal Emperors – Pat Southern

The Fall of the Roman Republic – Mary Beard

Romanisation: The Process of Becoming Roman – Dr Neil Faulkner

Romans (multiple resources)

BBC In Our Time

Ancient Rome (multiple episodes)

The School Run

Roman Britain and the Roman Empire

Khan Academy

Multiple resources

FutureLearn

Rome: A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City

Health and Wellbeing in the Ancient World

Know the Romans

Ancient Rome

The Yale Blog

Guy de la Bedoyere on The Real Lives of Roman Britain

Praetorian by Guy de la Bedoyere – an extract

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: the Roman Empire appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers queen Elizabeth I.


Q

Queen Elizabeth I

E. H. GombrichIn England, Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of King Henry VIII, was on the throne. Elizabeth was very clever, strong-willed and determined, but she was also vain and cruel. She was determined to defend England against the many Catholics still present in the country whom she persecuted relentlessly.

‘Elizabeth was very clever, strong-willed and determined, but she was also vain and cruel.’

Her cousin, Mary Stuart, the Catholic queen of Scotland, was a woman of great beauty and charm, and she, too, believed she had a right to the English throne. Elizabeth had her imprisoned and executed. Elizabeth also helped the Protestant burghers of the Low Countries in their war against Philip of Spain. Philip was furious. He resolved to conquer England for Catholicism or destroy it.

At immense cost he raised a huge fleet of 130 great sailing ships with around two thousand cannon, and more than twenty thousand men. It takes no time to read, but just try to imagine 130 sailing ships at sea. This was the Invincible Armada. When it set sail from Spain in 1588, loaded with heavy cannon and weaponry and food and supplies for six months, it seemed inconceivable that England’s small island might ever succeed in resisting such a mighty force. However, the heavily laden warships were cumbersome and hard to manoeuvre. The English avoided confrontation and darted in and out in their nimbler vessels, attacking the Spanish ships. One night they launched fireships into the midst of the Spanish fleet, creating panic and confusion and sending them in all directions. Many ships drifted along the English coast and went down in severe gales. Barely half the Armada reached home and not one ship succeeded in landing on an English shore. Philip betrayed no sign of his disappointment. It is said that he greeted the commander of the fleet warmly and thanked him, saying: ‘After all, I sent you to fight men, not the wind and waves.’

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about Queen Elizabeth I

BBC Bitesize (KS1)

Who was Queen Elizabeth I?

BBC Bitesize (KS3)

Elizabeth I

BBC Bitesize (GCSE)

Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I class clips (videos)

BBC In Our Time

The Death of Elizabeth I

BBC Great Lives

Elizabeth I – Esther Rantzen

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Queen Elizabeth I appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers Pyramids.


P

Pyramids

E. H. Gombrich: One king ruled over all the Egyptians, and the first to do so was King Menes. Do you remember – perhaps from Bible stories – what those kings of Egypt were called? They were called pharaohs. A pharaoh was immensely powerful. He lived in a great stone palace with massive pillars and many courtyards, and his word was law. All the people of Egypt had to toil for him if he so decreed. And sometimes he did.

One such pharaoh was King Cheops, who lived in about 2500 BC. He summoned all his subjects to help construct his tomb. He wanted a building like a mountain, and he got it. You can still see it today. It’s the Great Pyramid of Cheops. You may have seen pictures of it, but you still won’t be able to imagine how big it is. A cathedral would fit comfortably inside. Clambering up its huge stone blocks is like scaling a mountain peak. And yet it was human beings who piled those gigantic stones on top of each other. They had no machines in those days – rollers and pulleys at most. They had to pull and shove every single block by hand. Just think of it, in the heat of Africa! In this way, it seems, for thirty years, some hundred thousand people toiled for the pharaoh, whenever they weren’t working in the fields. And when they grew tired, the king’s overseer was sure to drive them on with his hippopotamus-skin whip, as they dragged and heaved those immense loads, all for their king’s tomb.

Perhaps you’re wondering why the pharaoh should want to build such a gigantic tomb? It was all part of his religion. The Egyptians believed in many gods. Some had ruled over them as kings long ago – or at least, that’s what they thought – and among these were Osiris and his consort, Isis. The sun god, Amon, was a special god. The Kingdom of the Dead had its own god, Anubis, and he had a jackal’s head. Each pharaoh, they believed, was a son of the sun god, which explains why they feared him so much and obeyed all his commands. In honour of their gods they chiselled majestic stone statues, as tall as a five-storey house, and built temples as big as towns. In front of the temples they set tall pointed stones, cut from a single block of granite.

The most important part of the Egyptians’ strange religion was their belief that, although a man’s soul left his body when he died, for some reason the soul went on needing that body, and would suffer if it crumbled into dust. So they invented a very ingenious way of preserving the bodies of the dead. They rubbed them with ointments and the juices of certain plants, and bandaged them with long strips of cloth, so that they wouldn’t decay. A body preserved in this manner is called a mummy. And today, after thousands of years, these mummies are still intact. A mummy was placed in a coffin made of wood, the wooden coffin in one of stone, and the stone one buried, not in the earth, but in a tomb that was chiselled out of the rock. If you were rich and powerful like King Cheops, ‘Son of the Sun’, a whole stone mountain would be made for your tomb. Deep inside, the mummy would be safe – or so they thought! But the mighty king’s efforts were in vain: his pyramid is empty.

But the mummies of other kings and those of many ancient Egyptians have been found undisturbed in their tombs. A tomb was intended to be a dwelling for the soul when it returned to visit its body. For this reason they put in food and furniture and clothes, and there are lots of paintings on the walls showing scenes from the life of the departed. His portrait was there too, to make sure that when his soul came on a visit it wouldn’t go to the wrong tomb. Thanks to the great stone statues, and the wonderfully bright and vivid wall paintings, we have a very good idea of what life in ancient Egypt was like.

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about Pyramids

BBC Bitesize (KS2)

Building the Pyramids (videos)

Ancient Egyptian Beliefs and the Construction of the Pyramids (video)

Ancient Egypt

BBC History

Pyramid Challenge (game)

Development of Pyramids Gallery – Dr Joyce Tyldesley

Egyptian Top Ten Gallery – Michael Wood

A Short History of Pyramidology – Kevin Jackson

Building the Great Pyramid – Dr Ian Shaw

The Great Pyramid: Gateway to Eternity – Dr Aidan Dodson

BBC In Our Time

Ancient Egypt (multiple episodes)

BBC History Extra

5 facts about the Great Pyramid of Giza

BBC The Forum

Secrets of the Great Pyramid – Rajan Datar

The School Run

Egyptian Life and Culture

Khan Academy

The Great Pyramids of Giza

Children’s University of Manchester

Ancient Egypt – Professor Rosalie David

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Pyramids appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers the Olympic Games.


O

Olympic Games

E. H. Gombrich: Ancient Greece had no one king or administration in common. Instead, each city was a kingdom in itself. But one thing united the Greeks: their religion and their sport. And I say ‘one thing’ because, strangely enough, sport and religion weren’t two separate things – they were closely connected. For instance, in honour of Zeus, the Father of the Gods, great sporting contests were held every four years in his sanctuary at Olympia. As well as large temples there was a stadium at Olympia, and all the Greeks – the Dorians, Ionians, Spartans and Athenians – came there to show how well they could run, throw the discus and the javelin, fight hand to hand and race chariots.

To be victorious at Olympia was the greatest honour in a man’s life. The prize was no more than a simple garland made from sprigs of wild olive, but what fame for the winners: the greatest poets sang their praises, the greatest sculptors carved their statues to stand for ever in Olympia. They were shown in their chariots, throwing the discus, or rubbing oil into their bodies before the fight. Victory statues like these can still be seen today – there may even be one in your local museum.

Since the Olympic Games took place once every four years, and were attended by all the Greeks, they provided everyone with a convenient way to measure time. This was gradually adopted throughout Greece. Just as we say BC meaning ‘Before the birth of Christ’ or AD for after the birth of Christ (Anno Domini which means the year of our Lord in Latin),the Greeks would say: ‘At the time of this or that Olympiad’. The first Olympiad was in 776BC. Can you work out when the tenth would have been? But don’t forget! They only happened every four years.

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about the Olympic Games

BBC Bitesize (KS2)

How did the Olympic Games begin?

BBC History

The Olympics: Ancient versus Modern – Dr Stephen Instone

Ancient Greek Olympics Gallery – Judith Swaddling

The Khan Academy

Olympic Games

The Children’s University of Manchester

The Ancient Olympics (game)

The Yale Blog

Neil Faulkner’s series of blogposts to support his book A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: the Olympic Games appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers Napoleon.


N

Napoleon

E. H. GombrichNear Italy there is an island, mountainous, sunny and poor, called Corsica. On that island there lived a lawyer, together with his wife and their eight children. His name was Buonaparte. At the time when his second son, Napoleon, was born, in 1769, the island had just been sold to France by the Genoese. This did not go down well with the Corsicans and there were many battles with the French governors.

‘I already knew instinctively that my will could triumph over the will of others, and that anything I wanted could be mine.’

The young Napoleon was to become an officer, so his father sent him, at the age of ten, to a military school in France. He was poor – his father could barely support him, and this made him withdrawn and unhappy and he didn’t play with his fellow students. ‘I sought out a corner of the school,’ he was to say later, ‘where I could sit and dream to my heart’s content. When my companions tried to take over my corner, I defended it with all my might. I already knew instinctively that my will could triumph over the will of others, and that anything I wanted could be mine.’

He learnt a lot and had a wonderful memory. At seventeen he became a second lieutenant in the French army, and it was there that he was given the nickname ‘the little corporal’, because he was so short. He almost starved. He read widely and missed nothing. When the Revolution broke out three years later in 1789, Corsica wanted to free itself from French rule. Napoleon returned home to fight the French. But he was soon back in Paris, for, as he wrote in a letter at the time, ‘only in Paris can one do anything.’ He was right. In Paris he did succeed in doing something. It so happened that one of Napoleon’s fellow countrymen was serving as a senior officer in an army sent by the revolutionaries to crush resistance in the provincial town of Toulon. He took the twenty-five-year-old lieutenant with him, and didn’t regret it. Napoleon gave such sound advice, on where to place the cannons and where to aim them, that the city was quickly taken. For this he was made a general.

In 1796 Napoleon was given command of a small army sent to Italy to spread the ideas of the French Revolution. Within a few weeks of the start of the campaign he was able to write in a letter of command to his troops: ‘Soldiers! In fourteen days you have won six victories, captured twenty-one banners and fifty-five pieces of cannon. You have won battles without cannon, crossed rivers without bridges, marched great distances without boots, slept in the open without brandy and often without bread. I rejoice that each of you, upon returning home, will be able to say with pride: I too was of that army that conquered Italy!’ And, true to his words, it wasn’t long before his army had conquered the whole of northern Italy and made it a republic along the lines of France or Belgium.

Then he turned north towards Austria, because the emperor had attacked him in Italy. He demanded that the emperor cede to France all the parts of Germany that lay to the west of the Rhine. After that he returned to Paris. But in Paris there was nothing for him to do. So Napoleon took an army to Egypt. Like Alexander the Great, he wanted to conquer the whole of the Orient. He defeated the Egyptian armies in a great battle beside the pyramids in 1798, and on other occasions too, for no one was better than he at fighting battles on dry land.

When plague broke out among his troops and news came that the government in Paris was in disarray, Napoleon abandoned his soldiers and secretly took ship for France. There he received a hero’s welcome. Everyone hoped that the famous general would prove as capable at home as he had been in hostile lands. Encouraged by their support, in 1799 he boldly turned his guns on the seat of government in Paris. His grenadiers threw the elected representatives of the people out of the council chambers, and he assumed supreme command. Following the example of ancient Rome, he proclaimed himself consul.

He was idolized by his soldiers and all of France worshipped him because he had brought the country glory and conquests. They made him consul for life. But this still did not satisfy Napoleon. In 1804 he proclaimed himself emperor. Emperor of the French!

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about Napoleon

At the time of publication, these resources were free to use (some for a limited time only, during the COVID-19 pandemic).

BBC History

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821)

BBC Napoleon: The Man and the Myths

5 episodes – Andrew Roberts

BBC In Our Time

Napoleon and Wellington

Napoleon’s Retreat from Moscow

Khan Academy

Napoleon and the War of the Fourth Coalition (video)

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Napoleon appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.

As an aid to students, teachers and parents dealing with the challenges of home learning, we have constructed an A–Z of the World taken from E. H. Gombrich’s, A Little History of the World. Day by day, we will be sharing a bite size introduction to a historical figure, event or period – using Gombrich’s magical words – along with links to free resources, so that readers of all ages can discover more. Today, Gombrich covers Marie Antoinette.


M

Marie Antoinette

E. H. Gombrich: Marie Antoinette was a very young girl, barely fourteen years old, when she became the wife of the future king of France. And, of course, she thought everything was as it should be. She threw herself delightedly into all the fairy-tale masked balls and operas, she acted in plays, she was an enchanting shepherdess and thought life in the French royal palaces was altogether wonderful.

‘Things cannot go on like this, there will be a terrible revolution if you do not do something to prevent it.’

Nevertheless, her elder brother, the emperor Joseph II, and her mother repeatedly warned her to live simply and to avoid stirring up resentment amongst the poor with foolish extravagance and frivolity. In 1777, the emperor Joseph wrote her a long and serious letter saying: ‘Things cannot go on like this, there will be a terrible revolution if you do not do something to prevent it.’

Yet things did go on like that, for twelve more years. And the revolution when it came, was all the more terrible for it. In 1793 King Louis XVI was brought before the People’s Tribunal and condemned to death. Soon afterwards Marie Antoinette was beheaded. In dying they both displayed more dignity and greatness than they had during their lives.

Discover more A-Z blogposts here.

Free Resources to Learn More about Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution

At the time of publication, these resources were free to use (some for a limited time only, during the COVID-19 pandemic).

BBC History Extra

The life and death of Marie Antoinette: everything you need to know

BBC In Our Time

Marie Antoinette

The French Revolution’s Region of Terror

The French Revolution’s Legacy

BBC Bitesize (KS3)

The French Revolution

Execution by guillotine, 1792 (video)

BBC Bitesize (GSCE)

The fight for female rights in the French Revolution – Dr. Amanda Foreman (video)

BBC Teach (KS3/GCSE)

The French Revolution – Andrew Marr (video)

BBC Curriculum Bites

The French Revolution (videos)

Khan Academy

French Revolution (video)

The Yale Blog

Fashion Victims: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette

This page provides access to a list of free online resources. It is not intended to endorse any particular resource.


A Little History of the World

All the descriptions in this A-Z are taken from E. H. Gombrich’s A Little History of the World.

Philip Pullman described the book as, “A brilliant piece of narrative, splendidly organised, told with an energy and confidence that are enormously attractive, and suffused with all the humanity and generosity of spirit that Gombrich’s thousands of admirers came to cherish during his long and richly productive life. It’s a wonderful surprise: irresistible, in fact.”

Discover More

Following in the footsteps of E. H. Gombrich’s worldwide bestseller A Little History of the World, the books in our Little Histories series explore the history of the world’s most remarkable people, events and ideas. With engaging personal insights, our authors will take you on a whistle-stop journey from ancient times to the present – exploring all of life’s big subjects from archaeology to science. Other Little Histories available include, Philosophy, Economics, Science, Literature, Language, Religion and Poetry. More details about the whole series can be found on the Little Histories website.

Stay connected with the latest developments in the Little Histories series by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Or sign up to our mailing list to discover more!

The post An A-Z of the World – E. H. Gombrich on: Marie Antoinette appeared first on Yale University Press London Blog.