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Thumbnail image of Book of Hours of Marguerite d'Orléans

Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Review
The site promises a look at the relation between image and power, from the time of Charlemagne to the time of Charles de Gaulle.
Title page of the Decameron

Decameron

Source

Giovanni Boccaccio provided the most famous description of what happened during the Black Death in Italy. His report on the behavior of the Florentines after plague entered their city during the spring of 1348 serves as introduction and frame for his collection of 100 tales entitled the Decameron. The epidemic provides the pretext for a group of young men and women to leave Florence... Read More »

Miniature illustration of the Devishirme thumbnail image

Devshirme System

Source

The devshirme system began in the late 14th century. Christian boys were recruited by force to serve the Ottoman government. The boys were generally taken from the Balkan provinces, converted to Islam, and then passed through a series of examinations to determine their intelligence and capabilities. In special palace schools, they learned Arabic, Persian, Turkish, math, calligraphy,... Read More »

Art from the Penn Museum collection called "Ram in the Thicket"

Digital Collections - Penn Museum

Review
The digital collections of the Penn Museum are extensive and easily accessible through their online portal. Its written, visual, and audio sources invite many groups to explore world history by browsing its pieces.
Partial image of a map with a focus on a compass, surrounded by the word 'America'

Discovery and Exploration

Review
The maps in the collection depict many geographical points of view, including the entire globe, specific areas of focus such as America itself, or even of specific coastlines.
Earthenware Mold of a Swaddled Child thumbnail image

Earthenware Mold of a Swaddled Child

Source

The earthenware mold for casting a figurine of an infant was found in Tangyangu China, and is likely dated to between 960 and 1279 CE, during the Song dynasty. The mold measures 3.2 inches long, and belongs to a collection of molds depicting men, women, and animals. The molds were likely used to make tomb figurines that were placed with the dead for burial, a ritual practice that was becoming... Read More »

Thumbnail of Painting of a woman holding flowers and a book

Epistolae: Medieval Women's Latin Letters

Review
Epistolae presumes an already developed understanding among its readers of the medieval context in which these sources were generated.
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Excerpt from Ibn Battuta's Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354

Source

This source comes from the travel book of Ibn Battuta (1304-1369), a Moroccan Berber scholar and explorer. He began his travels with the pilgrimage to Mecca expected of observant Muslims, and then continued on to Persia, down the east coast of Africa to Kilwa on the Swahili Coast, back north through Syria to the Central Asian steppes, then south again to India, where he became an official of... Read More »

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Excerpt from the Memoirs of Ma Huan

Source

This excerpt is from the memoir of Ma Huan (1380-1460), a Chinese Muslim voyager and translator, who accompanied Admiral Zheng He on three of his seven voyages. The excerpt focuses on their time in Calicut (modern day Kozhikode, India) in the 1430s and highlights aspects of their experiences there. In this excerpt Ma Huan describes religious practices of Muslims and Hindus (who he mistakenly... Read More »

Excerpts from the Hadith by A’isha

Excerpts from the Hadith by A’isha

Source

Hadith are reports about what the Prophet Muhammad said or thought. They provide Muslims with a sense of how Muhammad applied the guidelines of the Koran to daily life. They are based on the memories and stories of those who knew the Prophet and were recorded a few generations after his death. Women in the Prophet’s family are acknowledged as legitimate authors of these religious texts, and... Read More »

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