PictureColumbian Exchange
     After Christopher Columbus sailed the Atlantic and reached a new land, people desired to trade with the natives. People brought corn, tomatoes, and potatoes to Europe. Along with that, Europeans brought things like cattle, wheat, and coffee beans to the new world. This cultural diffusion is the Columbian Exchange. Also around this time, people began exploring other new things for religious purposes, wealth, and pride. This is also known as the Three Gs, or God, gold, and glory.
      The Columbian Exchange affected society in many ways, given that nearly all meals that we eat today use ingredients from the Old and New Worlds. Most foods that we consider European (pizza of Italy) or American (hamburgers of the U.S.) wouldn't have been around without the ideas and items of other countries. This exchange also spread new religious ideas from European missionaries. People also started forming plantations of these new crops. This led to the enslavement of natives and West Africans. Slavery was a method of working plantations until the late 1800s. 
      Exploration was and still is an important part of society. Because of the Islamic beliefs of many West Africans, the people of this region would travel to Mecca on a religious Hajj. This is an example of exploring for God, which would give people a new understanding of different lands. People also explore for gold and other riches. This is shown when Europeans traveled to West Africa to obtain gold and salt. People would also travel for glory in this time. The result of exploration could be anything from nations gaining new land, conquering tribes, obtaining riches, pride of getting somewhere, or religious benefits.
     Exploration's positive impacts on the world include finding the New World, getting new items like corn to trade with, and learning new religious ideas. One of the major negative impacts is starting plantations that led to the enslavement of natives in the New World.

Columbian Exchange exports/location map
 
Monk named Martin Luther took a pilgrimage to Rome
Bought an indulgence for his grandma
Saw the poor people spending money
To get deceased straight out of purgatory

A man shows up, who can it be?
Pope Leo X, with gold and greed
Catholics around that are trying to say
It’s all about the church; not the way you pray

Because the Monks in Wittenberg will always reform
Tetzel comes with indulgences, but they’re just forms
People only live life to go to heaven
Things get out of hand and become protestant

John T (Tetzel) in the place, while we give him the stage
Selling indulgences, he is a disgrace
Martin had 95 problems that he wrote
The printing press spread his works all over Europe

Church deems his writings as heresy
The Diet of Worms is where he pleas
Don’t beg me to recant my teachings
They let him go as Martin fleas

Chorus

Fredrick the Wise captures and kidnaps Martin
Little does he know that it’s for protection
Then Martin Luther translates the bible
Into German for the common people

When he’s released he sees the reformation
What it’s become, which is Protestantism
He hates the violence changed from Catholic derivation
Now Protestantism is a major world religion
 
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The following account is a historical analysis provided by Alternian historian, Sollux Captor, in the year 2031.

     I'm currently studying the journals of my ancestors from all different time periods. We have kept an ongoing book writing about our everyday life which dates back to Ancient Greece. Today, I'm studying the Renaissance period and how it affects life today. 
     The Renaissance, French for rebirth, was a great turning point for new ideas and ethics on life. In the Medieval Era, people only cared about survival. But after the church lost power after the Crusades, Black Death, and several other events, people started caring about different things. At the invention of the printing press, people started making books which encouraged learning. Marco Polo discussed his travels on the Silk Road which got people thinking about new cultural ideas. Trade with the Chinese, the desire for luxuries, cultural diffusion, and the church losing power all lead to a new mindset - humanism. People started to value human life and they wanted to enjoy it while it lasted. They studied arts, humanities, math, and science. Their curiosity drived them into the next day of discovery of new ideas. A middle class developed at the paying of the merchants in major Italian trade ports. 
     Because of the invention of the printing press, people started communicating ideas quicker. They had the desire to learn new material and how to read. People learned new arts and sciences that they could build on, and because of this, people could continuing building up on ideas. This spread of ideas relates to radios in the 1900s, the Internet in the early 2000s, and LTE today. Another idea in the Renaissance that carries out into today is humanism. Because of things like the black death, people started to want to enjoy their life while it lasted as opposed to just surviving. They dug deeper into fields like science, math, arts, and humanities. Some people like Da Vinci were almost experts in all of these subjects. This led to a lot of innovation in the world. Today, we are still focusing on human ideas and we live life to enjoy it.
     Since nearly all the ideas of the Renaissance are carried out into today, are we living in a modern Renaissance? I would say so. Because of our outlook on enjoying life, how we spread ideas, our endless curiosity to learn, the usage of perspective realistic art, and the ways we trade, we really are living like they would in the Renaissance.

 
The purpose of this video is to show how the social life of someone in the middle ages isn't too different from our world now. I use Jay-Z as a tool to get you thinking about how we actually relate to those in the middle ages, but also to incorporate humor so this five-minute video isn't too boring. 

REFLECTIONS:
     For the Middle Age Project, I created an iMovie showing the social life of a knight in the middle ages using a modern day rapper as a tool to get the viewer to think about how this relates to our life today. Towards the end of this project, I discuss enduring impacts. I chose this because I am interested in the daily life of other cultures and time periods and how that compares and contrasts to the world we live in today. This project was submitted on time.
     I liked how I had the option to work independently. I also liked how I could choose what I did, what I was interested in, and how I could work the best with the information that I've gathered. I was able to work with iMovie well because I've had experience with it in the past. I disliked that we weren't graded on our work or what we learned, but that we were graded on a reflection sheet. I had some minor audio issues with Garage Band when recording the audio because I hadn't worked with that software before enough times to know how everything works.
     I learned that I'm interested in international cultural studies as opposed to government or military because I enjoy comparing my daily life to that of another to see what is better and/or different. This also reinforced my thoughts that I prefer to work independently, and I also do tend to procrastinate. I also learned that I work best when I can choose the method of my work.
     The technology that I used helped me gather information (from different data bases), organize it (with Microsoft Word), and present it (iMovie). I used YouTube to put the videos in a format compatible with Weebly, the website which I published my findings on. I also used Garage Band to record the audio for the project.
 
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The Black Plague
June 13th in the year of our Lord, 1349
     The black death is spreading to my manor! People are getting buboes on their lymph nodes and dying everywhere! I've kept myself locked in the keep until this awful plague ends.
     The Mongols, during the Siege of Caffa, spread the black death through warfare. Some victims escaped and docked in Sicily, which quickly spread here. It must've seemed like a good weapon at the time, but now it's causing too much destruction. Some fleas on rats with this disease are scampering about Europe. The thought of rats scare most of the people on the manor.
     A messenger told me that the king's manor caught the black death. If he dies, the system could collapse. Even if he survives, we don't have enough peasants to farm on the manor. The nobles and knights aren't holding up well either. Come to think of it, neither is the church. They can't help the victims of God's torture. Some flagellants ran around town whipping themselves begging for forgiveness. Some are mad at God for spreading this. Some even blame me, the lord of the manor.
     Some are scared of death like I am. Others choose to run away from their manor, but that just spreads the plague. Others choose to live life with limited chance of survival, doing the most fun (but risky) things. This ethic is changing the artwork to something new called death macabre, showing that everyone dies and we're all equal. 
     If I catch this agonizing plague, this will almost surely be my last journal entry. In that case, I plan for my son or grandson to take over. 
      Frightfully yours,
      Sire Bartholomew Umfrey of Grantstown

The video above shows the science of Yersinia pestis and how it affects humans, then and now.
 
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Crusader Map
May 20th in the year of our Lord, 1000
     The Christians won the crusade! Though there were several Christians, Muslims, and even some Jews killed, we now control the holy land. I was accompanied in battle with the rest of the Knights' Templar. All who died are going to heaven because God wills it. Several of my peasants died in the People's Crusade through Bosphorus, but now the war is over! 
     This was ruled by Count Raymond of Toulouse, Godfrey of Bullion, Baldwin, Robert (son of William the Conqueror), Bohemond, and Tancred. They led us to victory. Pope Urban isn't alive to hear the news, but he would be proud. The crusade was our way of getting the holy lands back.
May 26th in the year of our Lord, 1193
     After 70 years of control, the Christians banned access to the Dome of the Rock. The Muslims struck back and reclaimed their holy land. We just lost the third crusade against Saladin. King Richard of England, Augustus of France, and Barbarossa of Germany joined us in siege at the lake of Galilee. This was funded by the money robbed from Jews, raising of taxes, and sold lands. Eventually, we did form a truce to allow Christian access to Jerusalem. 
     Because of the land sold, the feudal system that we all know is on its first step to crash. Some nobles are gaining far too much power, along with some kings who have little nobles still in their system. There is still hostility between our religions. On the upside, I've learned about many new cultures. Trade has expanded. I can predict further change in the near future.

 
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Ballista
April 20th In the year of our Lord, 1482
     My castle is under attack! Other knights from our kingdom helped defend our castle. Archers in unison fired at the first wave of infantry. Longbows from inside the walls fired over in attempt to hit other enemies with crossbows. Because we don't have a moat, ladders were set up along the walls. Some of the climbing hostiles were shot through neighboring arrow loops. The hostiles who reached the top of the walls carried great swords, falchions, longswords, and broadswords. Some managed to push these ladders down using wooden poles. Other archers ducked behind pavise shields as they advanced towards the walls.
     A battering ram came towards our walls at a slow pace. The archers ducked behind merlons and shot through embrasures at the crowd. I had a buckler and scimitar prepared to strike hand-at-hand if these enemies did succeed in their breaching. Fortunately, we disarmed them.
     A couple of brave knights ran out of the walls to dismantle the trebuchets, catapults, and even a ballista. A belfry advanced to the walls to throw some hostiles over the walls. Luckily, we held the enemies in their tower holding them back using battle axes and war-hammers. We easily succeeded in crushing their quarterstaffs. 
     The hostiles continued to come at the walls, though none seemed to be tunneling. We used Greek fire and flaming arrows out of murder holes to engulf them in flames. This held them off for the rest of the night. More could come tomorrow, but it's too early to know. 

 
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Thumb bone of St. Thomas
April 9th In the year of our Lord, 1482.
     I came back from Canterbury today. I saw the relics of Saint Thomas. It was a bone encased in glass with a lion's head on one end. The stained glass there was beautiful. I also saw some mosaics on the ground. Statues of religious figures and gargoyles lined the building.
     In other news, the monks started working on my illuminated manuscript today. It's a copy of the bible just like my father used to own. It is going to be full of vibrant colors unlike the darker, flat paintings found at church. In common, they will all be about religion and telling stories of Jesus. After all, it is rare to see a painting or drawing that isn't. I'm excited to get this because it is a rare opportunity for someone below the nobility class to receive an illuminated manuscript.
     I read more pages of Tiberius' journal. He talked about art showing depth and looking like real people. This strikes me as weird because it seems impossible to make a flat object have depth. He also talked about people drawing buildings and people in them. This is weird because every painting here is of religious figures.

Music in the middle ages was created using trumpets and flutes. String instruments like the viol, harp, and fiddle were also plucked along with bells and drums. 
 
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Canterbury Cathedral
April 2 In the year of our Lord, 1482
     Today, in order to get closer to god, I've started my pilgrimage to the Canterbury Cathedral. Hopefully this will help me get into heaven. I've read all about this journey in the book Canterbury Tales. Apparently, it only takes three to five days. 
     I'm excited to see the beautiful rose windows and bell towers. I'm also eager to observe how flying buttresses and vaults counteract with each other to hold up the walls. The stained glass windows and gargoyles that I've read about seem amazing.
     Because religion is a big part of my life, I've been baptized (the first step to commitment and discipleship); reconciliated (conversion, confession, and celebration); and confirmed (mature christian commitment). I'm excited to see the relics of St. Thomas Beckett. 
     The church was a big part of my life. I had to pay tithes to support the church. The chivalry code was highly influenced by Catholicism. The pope has a higher say in government decisions than I do. Going on a pilgrimage was an ideal way to express my thanks to the church.
     To learn more about cathedrals, click here.