Life in a Christian Monastery, ca. 585
"When he was dead his body was not placed with the bodies of the brethren, but a grave was dug in the dung pit, and his body was flung down into it. . . " Crime and punishment in a medieval monastery: the monastery's Abbott provides insight into the monastic life.
The Vikings Discover America, ca. 1000
"There was no want of salmon either in the river or in the lake." Five hundred years before Columbus, the Vikings discover a New World.
Invasion of England, 1066
The Norman conquest of Anglo-Saxon England described through the images of the 900 year-old Bayeux Tapestry.
Anarchy in 12th Century England
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle paints a sobering picture of life in 12th century England that contrasts strikingly with Hollywood's image of the Middle Ages.
The Murder Of Thomas Becket, 1170
The killing of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Was King Henry II behind it?
The Crusaders Capture Jerusalem, 1099
The assault and capture of the Christian "Navel of the World"
Richard The Lionheart Massacres The Saracens, 1191
Atrocity during the 3rd Crusade.
Battling the Saracens, 1250
“I gave him a thrust with my lance just under the arm-pits and struck him dead.” A knight describes combat in the Seventh Crusade.
Kublai Khan In Battle, 1287
Marco Polo describes the battle between the great Khan and a rival.
A Medieval Murder, 1300
“The said Reymund struck her with his foot under the navel so that she fell.” The Sheriff of London investigates a murder.
The Black Death, 1348
"No doctor's advice, no medicine could overcome or alleviate this disease." The deadly Plague invades Florence, Italy.
The Flagellants Attempt to Repel the Black Death, 1349
"Each had in his right hand a scourge with three tails." Religious zealots of the Middle Ages resort to extreme measures in an attempt to thwart the onslaught of the Plague.
The Battle of Agincourt, 1415
"...their horses stumbled among the stakes, and they were
speedily slain by the archers." England's Henry V and his out-numbered army defeat the French.
The Sack of Constantinople, 1453
"Nothing will ever equal the horror of this harrowing and terrible spectacle."The destruction of the last vestige of the Roman Empire.
Columbus Discovers America, 1492
The "Admiral" describes the first sight of land and landing on the shores of the "New World."
America Sends Syphilis to Europe, 1493
"This distemper. . .has made such havoc that it deserves to be mentioned as a fatal calamity." The New World's revenge: the returning crews of Columbus抯 voyage bring a new disease to Europe.
The Death of Pope Alexander VI, 1503
"One of the men took out a dagger and threatened to cut Cardinal Casanova's throat and to throw him out of the window unless he handed over the keys to all the pope's treasure." The death of the last of the Borgia Popes.
Michelangelo Paints the Sistine Chapel
"While he was painting, Pope Julius often wanted to go and inspect the work. . ." His enemies thought the attempt to paint the chapel's ceiling would be the sculptor's downfall.
The Death of Magellan, 1521
The first circumnavigator of the world is attacked by natives in the Philippines.
The Spanish Massacre the French in Florida, 1565
The religious violence of the Reformation reaches the shores of America.
Brought Before the Inquisition, 1573 •
"Do you know the reasons why you have been called here?" The Inquisition summons a Venetian painter to defend his art.
An Audience with Queen Mary I, 1557
"She is of short stature, well made, thin and delicate, and moderately pretty..." The Venetian Ambassador reports on his meeting with England's "Bloody Mary."
The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1587
"Please help me mount this. This is the last request I shall make of you." An eyewitness account of the death of the "star-crossed" Queen.
Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England
A contemporary description of crime and punishment in Shakespeare's time.
Torture in the Tower of London, 1597
"We went to the torture room in a kind of procession, the attendants walking ahead with lighted candles." A victim describes his experience in the tower of London.
An Audience with Queen Elizabeth, 1597
"As for her face... it is long and thin, and her teeth
are very yellow and unequal." The French Ambassador gives an "up close and personal" description
of the Queen.