I used to hate history. It was a boring jumble of unrelated dates and isolated incidents completely focused on politics and economics that had no power to capture my imagination and thus could not be remembered. BORING!
Not anymore! Several things came along to wake up my brain and make history something that I not only no longer dislike but I happily spend hours studying it!
Dr. Warren H. Carroll wrote a series of World History texts titled his Christendom Series. His writing turned me from a non-history learner to a person who enjoys the study of history. He made it come alive for me by providing details that are usually left out of most world history texts. These books are written for advanced high school and college. They are wonderful! Each chapter has its own bibliography. Western history is balanced with material about what was happening in other parts of the world at the same time. This places events into a global context. The shorter works read like historical fiction and they focus on shorter periods. Every single book he wrote was worth reading!
Silk Road Project is an online collection of pages about the Silk Road, its history, the routes, the goods transported, and how far it actually ranged and thus the cultures it caused to touch one another. Fabulously interesting! There is curriculum available: here.
Byzantium is the Eastern part of the Roman Empire that lasted 1000 years past the fall of Rome. Fordham University has some marvelous materials online.
Society for Creative Anachronism is a group that studies the middle ages to recreate them “as they ought to have been” and this is fun. While it is a mixed bag of people (including some who are more into fantasy than historical recreation) there are a LOT of people who are family oriented and focus on real history. They study things about the people and how they lived in period which is material generally ignored by history books that cover only political and economic facts. How people actually lived and thought is INTERESTING.
- What did they wear?
- What fabrics and patterns did they use?
- What did their shoes look like?
- What jewelry did they own?
- What designs were common?
- What were the laws?
- What rights did people have?
- What did they eat?
- What tableware did they use?
- How did they cook?
- What did they cook?
- What spices did they use or not use?
- What fruits and vegetables were available and which were not?
- Where did they get their food?
- What goods did they buy?
- What goods did they produce,?
- What educations did they have?
- Who might they have known?
- What religions did they practice?
- What devotionals were common?
- What did they use for money?
- Who issued that money?
- What language or languages did they speak?
Catholicism in History:
- Who were the Saints venerated at that time and place?
- Who were the future Saints who were alive then?
- Who was Pope?
- What were the religious controversies?
- Which religious orders existed?
- What prayers were in common use?
- Did they have the Rosary yet?
- What form did the Rosary take?
- What did Mass look like?