Year 8 HaSS Research The Middle Ages!

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Year 8 HaSS Research The Middle Ages!

25 September 2019


During this term our Year 8 students, immersed in the study of Medieval Europe, were provided with the opportunity to complete an Inquiry Task whereby they researched significant people of the Middle Ages.  Following their research students were to write a response as to who would win the prestigious Duncraig Senior High School’s Most Significant Person of the Middle Ages Award.  Below are five commendable examples of the work the Year 8 students completed:


Duncraig Senior High School ‘Most Significant Person In The Middle Ages’ Award

During the Middle Ages, many people proved their significance through their achievements. Three of these individuals have proved to stand out above the rest. These people include Christine de Pizan (c. 1364-1430), Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) and Joan of Arc (c. 1412-1431); but what was so significant about them? Firstly, Christine de Pizan, a gifted author who wrote many incredible pieces of writing, her books still being published in today’s era. It is also said she was the first person to stand up as an advocate for women’s rights through ideas and messages communicated through her books. Next, Eleanor of Aquitaine, a young woman forced into marriage and life as a monarch at the young age of fifteen. Eleanor eventually rose up to become one of the strongest leaders to rule during the Medieval period, showing determination and dedication. The final candidate for this award is none other than Joan of Arc. Joan was a humble peasant girl devoted to her religion. Through her strength, resilience and bravery, she proved to become a great warrior, still admired by many today. Throughout this article, the feats and achievements of these three women will be discussed, and the worthiest individual is to be revealed, as the winner of the DSHS ‘Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages’ Award.

Christine de Pizan grew up with her father, residing in the palace of King Charles V of France. During her childhood, Christine was immersed in an educational atmosphere, with access to libraries and resources. Her father was supportive of her passion for learning and even encouraged his daughter to have an education. Christine married at the age of fifteen, yet after tragedy struck with the death of her husband, she was forced to find a way of providing an income for herself and family. Christine could have easily remarried, as most other women at the time would have done, but she wished to support herself. So, she took to writing. Thanks to her education, Christine had attained great knowledge of literature and started out writing poetry. Christine became aware of the lack of respect women of the time were treated with. She noticed how this was reflected in literature; women were portrayed with a false sense of dishonour. Christine wanted to change this. Living in a male dominated society, it was difficult for females to have a voice, so she shifted over from poetry and began to write stories designed to empower women. Christine impacted people of the time by giving them hope. It was her desire to give back to the women what society was trying to take from them. Today, her vision lives on. Christine was a true advocate for the rights of equality and an inspiration to generations of the past, present and future.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was a girl born to the wealthy Duke of Aquitaine, growing up surrounded by the luxuries of a noble lifestyle. However, at the age of fifteen, the entirety of her father’s wealth was left in her hands after his death. Eleanor became one of the most sought-after brides of the time and it was hastily arranged for her to wed Louis VII of France. Shortly after their marriage, Louis’ father unexpectedly passed away, leaving Eleanor and her new husband to take his place. One of Eleanor’s most impressive achievements was the fact that she ruled over both France and England for a total of 65 years. Her significance is also proven by many other feats, such as her participation in the Second Crusade and involvement (aiding her sons) in a plot against her second husband, Henry II. Eleanor was said to be a very powerful leader, who vowed to keep her kingdom free of peril. This woman’s legacy was strong, with many people today still admiring her headstrong attitude and resilience.

Joan of Arc was born into a French peasant family. Growing up, she learned the values, morals and teachings of the Catholic Church and was brought up faithful to her religion. Joan was devoted to Catholicism. At a young age, she began to experience obscure visions and started to hear voices, trying to communicate with her. At first, Joan was frightened, but overtime, she figured out the reason behind these strange experiences, claiming God was sending her messages. God was urging her to help save her nation from the English during the Hundred Years War. At the age of sixteen, Joan decided to seek out the company of King Charles II to inform him of her desire to aid France in its return to glory. He allowed her to lead an army into battle. Joan fought valiantly, displaying much courage. Upon her return, Joan was offered praise and admiration. The fact that she rose up from being a poor, peasant girl, at a time with a strict feudal system and few rights for women, to become a brave warrior truly proves her significance. At the age of 19, Joan was executed, charged of committing heresy; yet this did not define her. Many to this day still look up to her bravery and the way she strived to achieve her goals.

The strength, courage and determination shown by these medieval women is extraordinary; yet one individual must be awarded as being the most significant for her time period. The winner of this award is Christine de Pizan. Christine wished to have impact on treatment of women in the Middle Ages, bringing it to attention that men held superiority. Her vision was to create a better future for women and earn them the rights they deserved. Her many books and pieces of writing helped to convey that message of equality. While she may not have ruled over a country, or participated in battles, this woman’s desire to make a change for the greater good, is truly inspirational. Christine has taught us to fight for what we believe in and know that if we work hard, we can make a difference.

By Lavender Meek


Duncraig Senior High School ‘Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages’ Award!

The Duncraig Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages finalists are; Marco Polo, William Wallace and Charlemagne.  Let’s have a look at what these momentous people of the Middle Ages did in their time and ours.  We will look at how they were inspired at a young age and how that set them to qualify in The Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages award.

Marco Polo, Italian Explorer and Merchant.

Marco Polo was born in Venice in 1254. He had a very hard childhood with his mother’s death from an early age and his dad and uncle going on a long-term trading expedition. Marco Polo didn’t see his father until he was 15 and he was inspired by his travels to Asia, so two years later he set out to explore the East. He met with Genghis Khan’s grandson Kublai and he set up many trade routes in Mongolia and other parts of Asia with Europe like the renowned Silk Road. This opened Asia to the world. He spent 24 years in Asia then back to Venice when two years later he was imprisoned for fighting against the rival state of Genoa. There he met with a famous romance writer Rustichello of Pisa, together they made a book called ‘Il Millione’ or what is now called ‘The Travels of Marco Polo’. The chronicle contained all his details about his trip to Asia and was the most-popular and best-selling travel book in history so far. The original book has been lost but it has been translated into different languages. It was the first detailed description of the Eastern landscape and people and it inspired merchants, traders and explorers to trade all around the world. He opened the major trade routes of today and we continue to read his book to get a sense of life in Asia then and as an explorer.

Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor.

Charlemagne or Charles the Great (c. 742-814) was a well-respected leader who loved the arts and was a family man. He knew the importance of education in his empire and he put massive funds towards it. He was the founder of the Carolingian Empire and renaissance. This was a cultural revival that brought back culture and religion to the people of his time. Amongst other things Charlemagne is known for is his devotion to Christianity. He went on dozens of military campaigns and sent missionaries across Europe. He fought the Saxons and the Moors to convert them to Christianity.  He was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 in Rome.  Charles the Great wanted a revived and united Europe which has been said to have inspired Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte to create a united Europe. He was the first emperor to have ruled all Western Europe which was very significant. Without the works of Charlemagne with his campaigns and love of the arts Europe would have been a very different place.

William Wallace, Scottish Rebel.

Sir William Wallace (c. 1270-1305) had a reason to fight for freedom and revenge from a young age. His father was a small landowner that had been killed by English Soldiers. Soon after William and 30 other men took revenge on the knight and soldiers held responsible. He was now an enemy of the English, the king but was now a local military leader for Scotland. After the English King, King Edward I forced the Scottish king, King John Balliol to abdicate the throne, William Wallace knew the oppression that was going to come so he started his rebellious campaign against the English with an army of Scottish by his side. He burned northern English towns and cities killing the sheriff and soldiers with no mercy. William Wallace won the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 where the Scottish were outnumbered greatly but he won due to his battle strategies. This made him more confident and the English hated him more. Next it was the turn of the English and the king ordered a surprise attack on the Scottish when they weren’t killing thousands of Scots and some of the Scottish leaders but William Wallace somehow escaped. Soon after he was seen and captured in an English city in 1305 and was put to his death by being hung, drawn and quartered for high treason against the English. His life wasn’t a useless sacrifice as the Scottish reclaimed their independence only a few years after his death. It is a classic tale in Scotland, he has encouraged independence movements and been the subject of movies like ‘Braveheart’ and other documentaries outlining his life.


Out of our three finalists the Winner is: Charlemagne!

For his amazing contributions to the arts and culture of his time.

He founded the Carolingian Renaissance from the 8th to 9th Century which revived the culture of the people increasing literature, writing, architecture and the arts.His military campaigns that expanded his empire and converted Europe to Christianity.

His picture of a united Europe inspired leaders like Napoleon and Hitler and those creating the EU as well as everyday people trying to unite their own special groups.

Charlemagne’s rule was inspiring and historically significant as he ruled all Western Europe as Emperor and he never did anything out of revenge but for his own values and beliefs. He affected everyone in and around his empire and not just a few groups of people but thousands of individuals for the better and that is why he is the winner of:

Duncraig SHS Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages Award for 2019!

By Orion Stewart



Charlemagne is the deserving winner of the Duncraig SHS Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages Award 2019. He was an intelligent and very significant Frankish king who lived in the middle ages. He had a great memory and was well educated. He is notable because he ruled most of mainland Europe and created a handful of important features of our lives that we still use today.

Little is known about Charlemagne’s childhood. He was born on April 2nd c. 742CE in either modern day Belgium or Germany and passed away most likely from famine or illness on January 28th 814CE in modern day Germany. He was born an illegitimate child to his mother, Bertrada of Laon, and his father, Pepin III (The Short). He also had a younger brother, Carloman, whom he later ruled with when their father died in 768CE.

Throughout Charlemagne’s life, he showed a great passion for the education of all people. Charlemagne himself spoke fluent Latin and Greek and once stated, ‘To speak another language is to have another soul.’ He also ordered that his children and grandchildren be well taught and he pushed for everyone, nobles to peasants, to have the same fate. Charlemagne encouraged arts, music, culture and education throughout his reign.

Charlemagne conquered a great deal of European land. He led more than 50 battles in person and took over various places including modern day Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Netherlands and Denmark just to name a few. He was King of the Franks and King of the Lombards and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo in 800CE. He converted all his people to Christianity and ruled with Pope Adrian for approximately 25 years before ruling with Pope Leo. Charlemagne was a fierce warrior and influential king in medieval Europe.

Charlemagne created various systems that are still used today. We already know that he was a great believer of education for all people, but he also started a coin method and a lettering/ alphabet system, as well as a government structure which are all similarly used today. The coin method made trading easier so that barter wasn’t used unfairly and is still practiced today. The lettering system was used as a way for all people to communicate and understand each other. Although it may be different, we still use the idea today with our alphabet. The government structure was the creation of a jury voting to come up with laws and decisions. The courts and parliaments use a similar system today. Overall, Charlemagne was the one to start the coin, alphabet and government processes used by many countries today.

Charlemagne has been an inspiration for other influential people throughout history. Two of these people are Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler. They both had visions of ruling a unified Europe which is identical to Charlemagne’s idea. Although not as well known, Charlemagne was involved in the killing of many people which would clarify why Napoleon and Hitler were inspired by him yet didn’t exactly follow in his footsteps. The fact that these two men were provoked by Charlemagne’s leadership shows he was a successful ruler and a great inspiration despite being destructive.

By Emilee Woods


The Significance of Charlemagne

Charlemagne, also known as the “Father of Europe” deserves the winner of the Duncraig SHS most significant person in the middles ages award 2019 for his contributions he made at this time including the development of a version of the alphabet used today, being founder of the Holy Roman Empire as well as the encouragement of arts and education through medieval Europe.

Charlemagne was born on April 2, 242, his exact birthplace is unknown however historians have suggested Liege (Belgium) or Aachen (Germany). Son of Bertrada of Laon and Pepin the Short, Charlemagne grew up in a royal family. Little is known about his childhood and education, at an early age however being son of Pepin the short, ruler of the Coalingian empire and the golden ages of the franks, Charlemagne would be assumed to have practical training for leadership by participating in the political, social and military activates associated with his father’s court. From his early years it is shown that Charlemagne was a great believer of Christianity. “He cherished with the greatest fervor and devotion the principles of the Christian religion, which had been instilled into him from infancy.” – Einhard (Life of Charles the Great)

As the founder of the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne made an incredible impact on those living throughout the 800s. He spent much of his time as ruler converting people to Christianity. Charlemagne had a close relationship with the church, at this time within Europe, conflict was spread over religious beliefs; Charlemagne and pope Adrien saw this as a way to unite Europe. The relationship between the two leaders worked a 25-year period. As pope, Adrian instructed priests and Catholics to obey Charlemagne, such as pay taxes and follow the law. In return Charlemagne, as ruler, instructed his people to listen to the pope about everything spiritual, one of these being how to live a good life and go to heaven. This structure of society worked throughout Adrian’s death in 795 CE. The relationship between the pope and Charlemagne shows us today the impact of those living in the 800 he had.

Contributions towards Charlemagne society include the encouragement of arts and education, throughout Europe. This greatly impacted the lives of people living in this era, from peasants to nobles. Charlemagne made it his duty to spread education to everyone possible. “he was very active in aiding the poor and in that generosity.” These words are written from Einhard, nobleman, diplomat and advisor in Charlemagne’s service. Einhard also stated that “the king spent much time and labour with him studying rhetoric, dialectic and especially astronomy.” These statements from Einhard’s perspective inform us of Charlemagne’s qualities of being a generous and highly educated leader. Charlemagne greatly impacted those living throughout his role as leader.

Charlemagne has continued to impact todays life creating a new way of payment throughout his reign. As ruler Charlemagne would regularly collect taxes from nobles, then known as counter living off his land. In payment he created a new form of taxes. This new form of currency spread throughout Europe and the idea was supported and loved by everyone. This contribution to the society living through the 800 has continued today.

This significant individual is worthy of receiving the DSHS Most Significant Person in the Middle Ages Award in his memory for the contributions, important events and qualities he held, greatly impacting the lives of those living then and the effects of today.

By Tianna Fryer


The Life of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus, the most eligible recipient for the DSHS Most Significant Person award. In the medieval times, Christopher Columbus was an adventurous navigator, he sailed the Atlantic Ocean discovering new land for Europe to conquer. Christopher Columbus was a significant individual in his era as people generally believed that the world was flat, he did not and set out on his voyages to prove this point. In this article, you will be learning all about his journeys as a navigator, his family life, his childhood, why he is so important in the modern-day also some of his quotes. Enjoy the journey and let yourself be transported to the middle ages.

On a small island in Italy called Genoa, a baby was born in the year 1451. His name was Christopher Columbus, also known as Christoforo Colombo in Italian, Cristóbal Colón in Spanish and Christovão Colom in Portuguese. He grew up always having a lust for the sea and adventure. Christopher was born into a middle-class family, his mother Susanna Fontarossa stayed at home and took care of her four children, Bartholemew, Giacomo, Biachinetta, Giovanni and Christopher Columbus. Susanna was married to Domenico Colombo, who worked as a middle-class weaver and a shopkeeper. Christopher later got married to Filipa Moniz Perestrelo in 1479 (aged 28).

Christopher had a very full and adventurous life which all started when he was just a young boy. He went to Prince Henry’s School of Navigation although he was mainly self-taught by reading. He was supporting himself at a very young age by selling maps and charts on the street, this was all until he got his first job on a ship as a messenger at just 14 years old (1465). In 1470, aged 19, he played an extremely important role on a Genoese sailing ship and helped to conquer Naples. 3 years later (aged 22) he got a job as an apprentice. He had a belief that the world was not flat hence the quote “You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” In 1492 he was sponsored by the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to find lands across the Atlantic Ocean to the west.

Christopher Columbus changed many people’s lives, he made lots of contributions to his society in the middle ages. It was hard at the time to get a crew together as people thought the earth was flat and that they would fall off the end of the world. He made a trip from Spain going across the Atlantic Ocean, first stopping off in the Canary Islands, hoping to find a direct route to Asia. When he made landfall on an island in 1492, which we now know as the Bahamas. He was the first European to see these islands. He thought he had found a passage to India, hence, the name of the group of islands as we now know as the West Indies. He made three further journeys accompanied by his brother Bartholomew (the mapmaker). Mapping the coasts of south of America and Central America. He never actually landed off the coast of North America. At the time there were Vikings on North America's land although there was no documentation of it. This was the beginning of the Spanish colonization in the new world. He named an island called Hispaniola, now known as the Dominican Republic.

Christopher Columbus has changed life as we know it today, he was the beginning of the new world, a quote from Christopher Columbus was “The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” If it wasn’t for Christopher, we may not have found new lands for Europe to conquer. He started seven Spanish colonisations in the new world. He crafted the life which we live in today. He later died of congestive heart failure on the 20th of May 1506 aged 54. Although he was born Italian, his final resting place is in Seville, Spain, and is classed as a national historical hero of Spain.

By Josie Crane