Friday, November 22, 2013

King Alfred the Great

  Lesson 40 Essay

       Alfred the Great was one of the most notable kings of England's history. He ruled England from the 871-899. He was the the only English monarch to be called “the Great”.
        Alfred, at the age of four, was anointed to be king by the Pope in Rome. This was a strange act, seeing as Alfred had three older brother who were eligible for the crown. But, over time, each of his brothers were crowned as king and died shortly after. After this, Alfred became king.
        The reign of Alfred took off on a shaky start as the Danes were invading Wessex at the time. Even though the Danes were very strong, King Alfred eventually beat them. The Danish king, Gurthrum, was converted to Christianity at the peace treaty that Alfred proposed. This conversion to strengthened the ties between the two territories. In 866, Alfred the Great marched into London and reclaimed it from the Danish control. This reclaiming of London further unified Southern England.
        When Alfred wasn't fighting, he was busy reorganizing the military and setting up a fleet of longships, similar to the ships the Vikings used. Alfred also spent a lot of his life working on better education for his people. His greatest achievement as king was reviving education as a crucial part of English culture. He sought to have every young man in the country educated, regardless of their station.
        Throughout his life, Alfred dealt with much sickness, and he died in the year 899. His son, Edward, succeeded him on the throne.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Theme of Treasure Island

 Lesson 35 Essay
      The book Treasure Island is a great story. There's pirates, parrots, treasure maps with black Xs. And, a theme.
        I think the theme of Treasure Island is: Be wary of the company you keep. In the book, Jim Hawkins finds himself amidst some very bad people who try to kill him.
        Also, another theme I think could fit in the story is: Money. Those bad people that Jim is traveling with are seeking the great amount of treasure marked on the map. They go so far as to kill most of the crew, just to get what they want.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Canute the Great

  Lesson 35 Essay

       Canute the Great lived during the Viking times. Unlike previous Vikings before him, Canute wasn't Anglo-Saxon. He was born to a Scandinavian prince and was the grandson of the first Scandinavian king to accept Christianity.
       Canute's older brother, Harald, was the crown prince and became king of Denmark in 1014. Knowing that he wouldn't become king for a while, Canute set out for England to make a name for himself. He sailed in ships full of soldiers. Canute fought numerous battles against England's king, Edmund Ironside, with Vikings from all over Scandinavia. Canute eventually forced Edmund to work out a peace treaty with him after he besieged London. This treaty stated that Canute would become king after Edmund died, which conveniently happened just three weeks after.
        To further strengthen his claim to the throne, Canute married Emma of Normandy. Wary of being overthrown, he killed any Saxon who had any claim to the throne. He named his son Harthacnut, as the the designated heir. When Harald died, Canute moved back to Denmark to assume kingship there. Canute was now king of England and Denmark. He attended the coronation of Conrad II as Holy Roman Emperor in Rome.
        Kings who appeared to be on good terms with God often had happy, prosperous reigns during this time. Canute strove to reconcile himself with the church and his people after his harsh invasion.
        When he got back from Rome, Canute decided to conquer Norway and crown himself king of Norway. However, he was overthrown after imposing taxes there. Canute died in England in 1035, and was buried in Winchester. His son continued to rule the kingdom until his own death in 1042. The combined kingdoms, England, Denmark, and Norway, over which Canute ruled, returned to their former rulers.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Wulf the Saxon: A Review

 Lesson 30 Essay

        The book Wulf the Saxon, by G.A. Henty, is a great piece of literature. Let's take a review of this story
        It begins with a boy named Wulf. He is a Saxon thane in the service of Harold. In the first chapter, Wulf crashes into a young man named Walter Fitz-Urse. Walter, a Norman freeman in service to the bishop, demands an apology. Wulf gives his apology, but, when Walter doesn't accept it, Wulf exclaims that he wished all the Normans were out of England. Harold punishes Wulf for being rude by banishing him to his lands for a while.
        Osgod, Wulf's man, accompanies him. Leof, Wulf's teacher, teaches Wulf about keeping his lands and people in good condition. He is taught how to throw an axe and to fight. Wulf grows to be a strong man and wise battle planner. It is a year before Wulf is called back to court. Sometime after Wulf's return, Harold is captured by Duke William and held captive. Wulf is able to get back to England and free Harold with the help of a friend named Guy de Burg. Wulf starts suspecting that his old adversary, Walter Fitz-Urse is plotting to kill Harold so William could become king instead. He sends one of Osgod's friends to watch Walter. Wulf's suspicions come true as he sees Walter sneak up to Harold's room at night. There is a fight and Walter dies.
        Battles continue to happen after this, and these such battles eventually lead up to the Battle of Hastings. (This is a very important and very true battle in history.) Off in another mini battle, Osgod loses his arm. Wulf tells him to stop fighting and wait until he's needed. 
      Harold, who is king by now, is shot with an arrow and is killed. Wulf and Beorn are about to be killed as well when the Lord de Burg jumps in front of them. He pleads for their life, and in exchange William will become king. William agrees and he is made king. Wulf, Osgod, and Beorn are made prisoners and are put in the care of the de Burgs. Once the Lord de Burg has them under his roof, he tells Wulf that he can marry his daughter, Agnes. Wulf accepts the offer, and they get married and have a son. But after this, sadly, Wulf attends the burial of Guy de Burg. Guy had been badly injured at a previous raid on Harold's camp, and had never recovered fully.
        This book is indeed very sad, but also has a very good look on Saxon and Norman culture and lifestyle.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Life of Charles Martel

  Lesson 30 Essay

       Charles Martel was born the son of Pepin of Heristal, the Mayor of the Palace of France. This position of “mayor” serves as the active ruler, while the “king” is more of a figurehead. Pepin was a very cruel mayor and he abused his power. When he died in 714, Pepin's wife tried to take the position of mayor for herself, even going so far as to hide away Pepin's illegitimate heir son, Charles.
        Charles escaped from his mother and began organizing support from the nobles of the kingdom. Charles was called to be the army's leader when a rogue band of Franks attacked the kingdom. 
      However, even though Charles led a magnificent battle, his army was outnumbered and Charles wisely withdrew the army. This loss turned out to be the only defeat of his military career. Charles retaliated on his enemies later on at the Battle of Amblive.
        He won the Battle of Amblive by using three tactics that would become his trademarks:
 -Appearing where his enemies least expected

 -Attacking where his enemies least expected

  -Attacking how his enemies least expected
        After winning this battle, Charles took over government of France. He never claimed the title of king, but instead served in the position of mayor of the palace for the rest of his life. Charles showed mercy to the people who imprisoned him. From the years 718 to 728, Charles had many victories, gained the loyalty of surrounding nations, and conquered part of Southern Germany. In 731 he began preparing to battle the Muslims who
invaded Iberia and conquered the Visigoths there.
        The Battle of Tours: The Muslims had already taken Iberia, and so they invaded France. In 732, Charles staged a surprise attack on the Muslims. The Battle of Tours lasted seven days of skirmishing, before the Muslims were eventually beaten back by the well trained and equipped Frankish army. It was this hammering of the Muslims and repelling them, that gave Charles the name “Martel”, or Charles the Hammer. This battle is credited as saving Christendom from Arab/Muslim conquest. Although the Muslims had been previously conquering unchecked, this defeat kept them from expanding.
        Charles Martel died in 741, leaving behind a legacy that grew in his son, Pepin the Short and his grandson, Charlemagne.