Saxon Culture

Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.

In my 7th grade English class, I have been reading a book called Wulf the Saxon, by G.A. Henty. It’s all about the Norman invasion of England. This week for my writing assignment, I need to write about the culture of the Anglo-Saxon people.

The Anglo-Saxon people started out as a bunch of Germanic tribes that settled in the part of Europe that is now England.  The tribes eventually united and grew into a country with a King, and different Earldoms and Earls ruling over them.  In each earldom, there were the people that lived in them that were free men that were farmers, or some other occupation such as a metal worker or something like that.

There were not a lot of trained, paid soldiers, so when a  war started, all the farmers and people were called from their homes, farms, and businesses to fight. This made them weaker than their opponents because their men would leave to get back to their farms and occupations as soon as their required time in service was up.  This left the king relatively helpless at times because he had practically no army.

The Saxons were pagan, believing in what seems like thousands of different gods, but eventually, some catholic missionaries came and converted most of England.  King Alfred helped spread the popularity of Catholicism also.  The Saxons had cities and villages and monasteries and convents and everything.

Over time, England began to adopt more and more civilized ideas and things, to become one of the most powerful country’s in Europe.




Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler was born in Germany, in the year of 1571.  Growing up, Kepler had a great interest in science and astronomy, but unfortunately, he caught smallpox. This weakened his whole body, and especially his eyesight so he couldn’t study the skies like he had before.   Undefeated,  Kepler left for the University, to become a mathematician. During his time studying, he was taught about the heliocentric world view, which was very controversial during that time.  As a side note, having the heliocentric world view meant that you believed that all of the planets revolved around the sun, rather than the popular belief that the planets all revolved around the earth.  Kepler finished his education at the university, and then, at the age of 23, he got the job of teaching mathematics and astronomy in Graz.

When he was 29 years old, Johannes Kepler relocated to Prague to become an associate with the notable Tycho Brahe, who was the Imperial Astronomer for Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Rudolph II.  About a year later, Brahe died unexpectedly, and Kepler became the Imperial Astronomer in his place.  Johannes Kepler died on November 15, in the year of 1630.


Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe was born in Sweden, on December 14th, 1546, to Otte Brahe and Beate Clausedatter Bille.  Tycho was actually a Danish Nobleman.  His parents were very wealthy so they could afford a very good education for him.  At the young age of twelve, the boy went to the University where he studied law and astronomy.  While at the University, Brahe and another student had an argument about something and decided to settle it with a sword duel.  In the struggle, Brahe got part of his nose chopped off. For the rest of his life, he had to live with an ugly prosthetic nose that was made out of brass.  Tycho became the Imperial Astronomer for Emperor Rudolph II and started building a new Observatory.  Then, he met Kepler. They really hit it off!  Brahe was very impressed with Kepler’s ideas and observations and so they started working together on things.  This was actually quite remarkable because, in those days, the scientists weren’t very team-work oriented.  Just a year after they met, Brahe died, and Kepler was appointed to his position.


The Anglo-Spanish War

Odessa O.
Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.
Subject: History

This war is what gave England it’s great naval supremacy.  Spain was determined to take the English throne and return the country to Catholicism, while England was equally determined to keep the throne and also keep the freedom of religion that Elizabeth I had brought when she ascended the throne in 1558.  Philip II of Spain built a fleet of 130 huge ships especially to attack England. It was called the Armada, which in Spanish, means Navy.

Mary Tudor had died, and her half-sister Elizabeth had been crowned queen. But, Mary had married Philip II, the king of Spain.  So, when Mary died in 1558, and Elizabeth became queen, he believed that he should get some of the English throne, or at least Elizabeth’s hand in marriage.  She refused to marry him (in fact, she never got married at all).  So, Philip decided to try to overthrow Elizabeth and take England for himself.

Philip started building a fleet of 130 ships that were huge. Those 130 were so huge that they held 26,000 men.  Elizabeth knew that if the Armada landed in England, they were as good as dead, so under Lord Howard of Effingham and Sir Frances Drake, the English navy met the massive Spanish Armada in the English channel.

The Battle went poorly for the Spaniards. The weather was against them, the English had small ships that could run circles around their huge ones, plus the English Channel wasn’t super wide, so it was a lot easier for the English navy to maneuver and get around.  To top it off, the English sent a few fire-ships over that lit a bunch of Spain’s fleet on fire.  The Armada was so crippled that it returned to Spain without even landing on English Ground.

The Anglo-Spanish war didn’t officially end until 1604 when King James (who became king after Elizabeth I died) instituted the treaty of London that ended the war.

John Cabot

John Cabot was an Italian explorer, who explored for  England.  He headed up two explorations. The first voyage turned out well. Cabot and his crew landed on Newfoundland. The second voyage, though, ended in disaster.

Cabot was born in 1450, in Venice.  His father was a spice merchant.  When he was a boy, he would go to the docks and talk to the Italian sailors.  He learned a lot about navigation and sailing from them.  Cabot got married when he was twenty-four years old and had three sons.

John Cabot moved to England in 1488, because of financial troubles. There were rumors going around that he was being chased by the people he owed money to, so he figured he should just leave the country.  He decided that he wanted to go exploring.  His timing was just right. England was seeing a lot of the countries around them going into other countries and establishing colonies. They wanted to get in on the game now. So, King Henry IV commissioned him to go to the new world, and claim some of it for England.

In 1497, Cabot left the port with 18 men, and one ship called The Matthew.  Fifty days later, they landed on what is now Newfoundland. Like other explorers before him, Cabot thought that he was in Asia. He returned to England, and then he was sent on another exploration.  This time, he left the port with 300 men and five ships. This second exploration ended quite strangely.  The whole 300 man crew and all five ships mysteriously disappeared.

Nobody knows what happened to John Cabot and his second exploration, but he is credited with being the first European man to set foot on the mainland of North America since Leif Erickson and the Vikings.