On to Unit 2: The Book of the Lion

posted Nov 2, 2012, 8:29 AM by Jason Brunken
Hello! Well, we are finished with eight weeks of class already and are starting our next unit and book tomorrow. Excited? Hard to believe how fast the year is going.

For this unit, we are reading and learning about the Crusades. The Crusades happened during a time in history known has the Middle Ages. Some people call this time period the Dark Ages, but it was only "dark" in Europe. While the sciences, arts, mathematics, engineering, and literature of Europe was taking a break, in the Muslim world (and other parts of the world like China) things were going just fine. In fact, most historians agree that it was the Muslim world (the Middle East and North Africa) and not Europe that was the dominate and most influential place in the world at this time. Hard to believe, right?

The Crusades are a chapter in this history where heavily armed men called knights made a religious journey to the sacred city of Jerusalem (where Christians believe Jesus died for their sins and Muslims believe Mohammed ascended into heaven) and did some fighting and plundering along the way. These Crusades were ordered by the Pope, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church because, most historians agree, the Seljuk Turks who controlled Jerusalem did not allow Christians to visit it. There were many Crusades, but only four large and important ones.

We will not be learning everything about the Crusades, but we will be looking about how life was for a knight and squire who went on a Crusade and discuss why knights chose to do this. We will also be discussing the theme of how religious fanaticism can be very dangerous. Our for this unit is The Book of the Lion by Michael Cadnum. It is a very well-written novel about a boy who gets in trouble and is forced to go on the Third Crusade with a knight. It is a very real look at how many of the Crusades played out.

Happy reading! To learn more about the crusades, watch the video below.

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