Q – Alexander the Great

Alexander III of Macedon known as Alexander the Great is undefeated in battle and considered one of the most successful military commanders ever.


‘Let us conduct ourselves so that all men wish to be our friends and all fear to be our enemies’

‘There is nothing impossible to him who will try’

‘I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well’

‘Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all’

‘The end and object of conquest is to avoid doing the same thing as the conquered’

‘But truly, If I were not Alexander, I would be Diogenes’

‘I do not steal victory’

‘I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion’

‘Through every generation of the human race there has been a constant war, a war with fear. Those who have the courage to conquer it are made free and those who are conquered by it are made to suffer until they have the courage to defeat it, or death takes them’

‘Bury my body and don’t build any monument. Keep my hands out so the people know the one who won the world had nothing in hand when he died’

‘I would rather live a short life of glory, than a long one of obscurity’

‘On their side more men are standing, on ours more men will fight’


FF – Six Wives of Henry VIII

Catherine of Aragon

Birth: 16 December 1485, Archbishop’s Palace, Alcala de Henares, Castile.

Marriage: Arthur, Prince of Wales in 1501 (Henry VIII’s elder brother)
Widow: 1502

Marriage: Henry VIII, 11 June 1509, Greenwich Palace, Greenwich, London
Coronation: 24 June 1509, Westminster Abbey

Children: Stillborn daughter, 31 January 1510
Henry, Duke of Cornwall, 1 January 1511, died 22 February 1511
Unnamed son, 17 September 1513, died shortly after birth
Stillborn son, 8 January 1515
Mary (future Queen Mary), 18 February 1516
Unnamed daughter, 10 November 1518, died after a few days

Annulment: 23 May 1533, marriage declared invalid by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury
Death: 7 January 1536, Kimbolton Castle, England
Burial: Peterborough Cathedral

Anne Boleyn

Birth: Around 1501

Marriage: Henry VIII, 25 January 1533 while Henry was still married to Catherine of Aragon. The marriage was finally declared valid five days after Henry and Catherine’s annulment on 28 May 1533
Coronation: 1 June 1533, Westminster Abbey

Children: Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth I), 7 September 1533
Son (miscarried) August 1534
Son (miscarried) 29 January 1536

Death: 19 May 1536, Beheaded, Tower of London
Burial: Church of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London

Jane Seymour

Birth: Around 1508

Marriage: Henry VIII, 30 May 1536, Palace of Whitehall, Whitehall, London
Proclamation: 4 June 1536

Children: Edward (future Edward VI), 12 October 1537

Death: 24 October 1537 (after childbirth), Hampton Court Palace, Richmond-upon-Thames
Burial: St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle

Anne of Cleves

Birth: 22 September 1515, Dusseldorf, Germany

Marriage: Henry VIII, 6 January 1540, Palace of Placentia, Greenwich, London
Annulment: 9 July 1540 (non-consummation)

Children: None

Death: 16 July 1557, Chelsea Old Manor, London
Burial: Westminster Abbey

Catherine Howard

Birth: Around 1523, Lambeth, London

Marriage: 28 July 1540, Oatlands Palace, London

Children: None

Death: 13 February 1542, Beheaded, Tower of London
Burial: Church of St Peter ad Vincula

Catherine Parr

Birth: 1512, Blackfriars, London

Marriage: Henry VIII (Catherine’s third husband) 12 July 1543, Hampton Court Palace, Richmond-upon-Thames

Children: None

Widow: 28 January 1547 (Death of Henry VIII)

Marriage: Thomas Seymour (Catherine’s fourth husband), late 1547

Children: Mary, 30 August 1548 (Catherine’s only child)

Death: 5 September 1548 (after childbirth), Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
Burial: St Mary’s Chapel, Sudeley Castle


Treaty of Troyes

Many English kings had tried to establish rights to the French throne, and many had failed, but this was to change following Henry V’s successful military campaign in France.

The Treaty of Troyes was an agreement between Henry V of England and Charles VI of France. It stated that Henry V and any heirs to the English throne would inherit the throne of France on the death of Charles VI. It was signed on 21 May 1420 in the city of Troyes, France.

As part of the treaty an agreement was made for Henry V to marry Catherine of Valois, daughter of the French king, and they married on 2 June 1420. Henry was then made regent of France, and Dauphin Charles was disinherited.

Henry V and Charles VI died within two months of each other in 1422. Henry’s son, now Henry VI was crowned king of France, however Charles disputed this and gaining support he was crowned Charles VII of France.

Following a military victory by Charles VII, the throne was his, however England and France continued to fight over the French throne for many years.

The Franks

The Franks were a Germanic people who lived on the east bank on the lower Rhine River in the Western Roman Empire.

Many individual tribes formed the Franks, related by language and custom, however they still remained individual tribes politically.

As the Western Roman Empire collapsed the Frank tribes united under the Merovingians who themselves were descendants of the Salian tribe.

The Merovingians were to conquer most of Gaul (modern day France) In the 6th Century, greatly increasing their power. In 751, the last Merovingian ruler was deposed and Pippin the Short ascended to power developing the Frankish state into the Carolingian Empire, controlling the majority of Western Europe.

The Carolingian Empire would evolve into France and the Holy Roman Empire.

Pippin the Short died in 768, rule was now equally split between his two sons Charlemagne (Charles the Great) and Carloman. In 771, Charlemagne became sole ruler.

From 772 Charlemagne waged a thirty-year war to extend his rule. He conquered the Saxons, northern Italy, northern Spain, most of Germany, almost all of France, excluding Brittany and all of Austria, converting them to Christianity.

On Christmas Day in 800, Pope Leo II crowned Charlemagne, Emperor of the Romans.

Charlemagne supported the arts and education, creating a school at Aachen in Germany. He also created the Carolingian miniscule, a new standardised writing system, and undertook many economic and religious reforms.

Charlemagne died on 28 January 814 in Aachen, Germany, and is buried there, the capital of his Frankish Empire.

His only surviving son, Louis the Pious became ruler of a united Empire, however following his death in 840 there would be civil war for control between his three sons.

In 843 the Treaty of Verdun was signed, dividing the Empire into three.

Lothair I, the eldest son became ruler of the Central Franks.
Louis the German, second son, became ruler of the East Franks.
Charles the Bald, third son, became ruler of the West Franks.

This was to become the beginning of the end of the Frankish Empire and over time it became the individual European countries that we know today.

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire survived into the Middle Ages, over one thousand years longer than its counterpart the Western Roman Empire which crumbled in 476.

It was a Greek speaking empire that was also heavily influenced by Greek culture.

It was to become known as the most powerful economic, cultural and military force in Europe.

In 306 Emperor Constantine I, came to power and made Byzantium the capital of the Byzantine Empire, it was then renamed Constantinople (modern day Istanbul, Turkey). Christianity was to become the main religion during this period.

During the reign of Justinian I in 527 – 565, the empire was at its largest, reconquering the previously western held territory of North Africa, Italy and Rome; it was at the peak of its wealth and power. It was the largest and most powerful state in Europe.

In 529 Justinian appointed a ten-man commission to revise Roman Law and create a new system of laws and justice known as ‘Corpus Juris Civilis’ or Justinian code. In 534 it was updated and formed the system for most of the Byzantine era. It forms the basis of civil law in many modern states today.

He improved the arts, music and drama. He also undertook a large project of public works including building roads, aqueducts and baths. It was at this time that Justinian oversaw the construction of the Hagia Sophia Church and the rebuilding of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Justinian died on 14 November 565. Although he had been a successful emperor in many respects, he left the Byzantine Empire heavily in debt.

The Byzantine – Sasanian war of 602 – 628 resulted in the Eastern Empire losing its richest provinces, Syria and Egypt to the Arabs.

During the Macedonian Dynasty in the 10th and 11th centuries the empire expanded again, regaining territories it had formerly lost. The two century Macedonian Renaissance started a revival in philosophy and the arts, which finally came to an end in 1071 when large areas of Asia Minor were lost.

The Byzantine Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration. By the 12th Century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city, however during the Fourth Crusade Constantinople was plundered in 1203 and again by Latin crusaders in 1204, resulting in its territories being divided into separate Greek and Latin realms.

The Empire of Nicaea managed to reclaim Constantinople from the Latins in1261, and a short revival took place, however the damage to Constantinople was extensive and high taxes were imposed to pay for repairs to the city, causing resentment in the people.

In 1331 civil war started, which was to last for six years and devastate the empire. The Serbian Empire overran the empire and took control of much of its remaining territory. By the end of the civil war, the Ottomans had defeated the Serbians, and much of the Balkan region was dominated by the Ottomans.

The Ottomans laid siege to Constantinople in 1453 and after two months Constantinople fell. This was the beginning of the end of the Byzantine Empire.

Peasant’s Revolt

Following the Black Death, there was much political instability in England. The people were suffering due to the high taxes placed on them to fund battles abroad.

Due to the Black Death, there was a shortage of workers and this put England under economic pressure.

A law was passed in 1351 ‘The Statute of Labourers’. This law meant that labourers had to continue to work for the same wages they received before the Black Death. They were unable to demand more money even though there was a labour shortage. The law made it a criminal offence to refuse to work and fines were imposed on those that disobeyed these rules.

In 1361, the law was strengthened. Peasant’s could now be branded (mark burned into the skin), to show ownership. Peasant’s could be imprisoned if they did not comply with the law.

The parliament of King Edward III introduced the Poll Tax. Every person over the age of fourteen was required to pay to fund war against France.

When Richard II came to the throne, he introduced another Poll Tax and demanded even more money to fund the wars. He then introduced a third Poll Tax in 1380.

All of the above contributed to the Peasant’s Revolt.

The Peasant’s Revolt started in Essex following the arrival of Member of Parliament, John Bampton. He was sent by the government to interview village officials regarding the collection of taxes as there was a shortfall.

The official from the village of Fobbing, Thomas Baker stated that no more money was available and for this the crown tried to arrest him.

Violence now broke out and the revolt started to grow. John Bampton managed to return to London, however three of his servants were killed.

The rebels marched first to Canterbury and then to London, gaining extra support as they went. They were armed with sticks, battleaxes, swords and bows & arrows. At this time, Wat Tyler emerged as the rebel’s leader.

They first went to Blackheath to listen to a speech by preacher John Ball, and it was at Blackheath that the Bishop of Rochester was sent to negotiate with them. He stated that they should all return to their homes but the rebels rejected this.

As the rebels were marching on London, on 10 June, Richard II travelled by boat from Windsor to the Tower of London for his own safety.

Richard sailed from the Tower of London to Greenwich on 13 June to meet with the rebels, but as Richard refused to come ashore the rebels would not negotiate and this meeting failed.

The rebels advanced into the city later that day, their numbers swelling as Londoners joined the cause.

Many properties were attacked, looted and burned; Fleet Prison was opened and Clerkenwell Priory was destroyed.

The rebels attacked the Savoy Palace, home of John of Gaunt. They rampaged through the palace finally setting the building alight.

On 14 June, the looting, burning and killing continued. Richard left the Tower of London to negotiate with the rebels at Mile End in East London and he agreed to all their demands.

While he was at Mile End, the Tower of London was stormed by the rebels and Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Robert Hales, Lord High Treasurer and John Legge, Tax Collector were taken and beheaded at Tower Hill.

As the king had agreed to their demands many rebels returned home, but the hardcore remained, not believing the king to be sincere.

On 15 June, the king met the rebels again, at Smithfield’s. The rebel leader Wat Tyler was insolent to the king and an argument broke out between him and the royal servants. The Mayor of London, William Walworth stepped forward and stabbed Wat Tyler, then a squire finished him off.

Richard addressed the crowd again and told them that their demands were to be met and he would give clemency to all if they returned to their homes. The revolt had all but ended.

On 30 June Richard ordered the peasants to return to their previous conditions of service. He followed this on 2 July by revoking all agreements made during the revolt, however to keep the peace no further Poll Taxes were imposed.

The Black Death

The Black Death was bacteria ‘Yersinia pestis’ that originated in Asia, spread across Europe and arrived in England in 1348.

It was originally known as ‘The Great Pestilence’ or ‘The Great Mortality’, with it being named The Black Death many years later.

It was caused by fleas on the coats of black rats and was spread across Asia by traders travelling on the Silk Road. It was first reported in Europe in the port city of Kaffa in the Crimea.

The Mongol army led by Jani Beg laid siege to Kaffa in 1347. Beg was suffering from the disease at the time. As many of their army were becoming infected with the disease, the Mongol army threw the infected bodies over the city walls of Kaffa to infect the people within the city confines. Traders in Kaffa, now infected themselves, began to flee the city and this caused the rapid spread of the disease, both overland and by sea.

The Black Death arrived in England on a ship that landed at Melcombe Bay in Weymouth in June 1348.

Within months it had spread to London and in little over the year it had spread over the entire country.

London at the time was the ideal ground for the spread of the disease, with its narrow streets, poor sanitation, sewage flowing in the streets and houses with poor ventilation.

The Plague as it is known has three variations.

Bubonic Plague
When bitten by a black rat, swellings or ‘buboes’ appear at the site of the bite, sometimes growing to as big as an apple or orange; the most common areas being the groin, armpit or neck.

The Bubonic Plague was extremely painful, and it would take many days for a person to die. The bacteria would enter the bloodstream after three or four days and infect the internal organs, resulting in death.

Pneumonic Plague
This was airborne and therefore hard to avoid. It was breathed directly into the lungs and passed from person to person.

Septicaemic Plague
When a person was bitten, the flea bite bacteria would go directly into the bloodstream, causing almost immediate death.

The treatment of the disease was varied, although few survived. The treatment included:

Bloodletting (Bleeding veins on the same side of the body as the buboes had grown).
Sweating (Wrapping the naked body in a blanket soaked in cold water).
Forced Vomiting

The disease was less virulent during the winter months, however it did survive the winter on 1348 – 1349, however by December 1349 the country was finally returning to normal.

Knight’s Templar

The Knights Templar were a Western Christian military order founded after The First Crusade of 1096 to ensure the safety of Christians who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem after it was taken over by the Turks.

In 1099 crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon regained control of Jerusalem from the Turks, leading to the formation of the Knights Templar by Bernard of Clairvaux, French abbot of the Cistercian order.

Its principal members were knights who were easily identifiable by what they wore; a white mantel with a large red cross on it.

As the order was created to protect pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem, many fortifications were built throughout the Holy Land.

The order was officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church around 1129 making it more popular. At this time its membership grew, as did its power.

The knights and general soldiers were the fighting force, however there was also administrative members, mainly priests. These members would manage the order, overseeing the economic framework of Christendom and financial matters, introducing an early form of banking.

To become a member of the order, a knight would undertake a secret initiation ceremony, however this being secret caused distrust of the order to mount.

Pope Clement V was to come under pressure to disband the order, from King Philip IV of France. As Philip IV was heavily in debt to the order, the pressure he mounted on the pope may have been for his own gain and not because of mistrust.

The pope did however take action and many members were arrested, tortured and burned at the stake in 1307.

Pressure on the pope continued and he eventually disbanded the order in 1312.

Magna Carta

Magna Carta Libertatum ‘The Great Charter of the Liberties’, is more commonly known as Magna Carta. It is a peace charter signed by King John of England and his barons forming a series of promises.

The rebel barons presented demands for reform called ‘Articles of the Barons’.

This detailed a proposal for political reform, and the first draft with sixty-three clauses was completed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton.

It promised amongst other things:

Protection of church rights
Protection from illegal imprisonment
Access to swift justice
Limitations on taxation and feudal payments to the crown.

It was agreed and signed on neutral ground at Runnymede, near Windsor, England on 15 June 1215.

Twenty-five barons were created to ensure King John kept to the agreement of the charter.

It is believed to be one of the most important legal documents in history, and is classed as an early form of democracy.

When King John set his seal on Magna Carta, he was agreeing that law applied to everyone and even though he was king, he was not above the law of the land.

Neither King John nor the barons would keep to the conditions of the charter and this led to the First Baron’s War less than three months later.

Domesday Book

The Domesday Book was created by King William I, the Conqueror as a way of him documenting the financial worth of his kingdom.

William ordered the survey in December 1085, to determine the taxes that needed to be paid. He wanted to find out who owned what, how much and what it was worth; then he would decide how much tax was to be paid. It would also show him how much military support, both cash and soldiers that the barons were required to give to the king when needed.

Scribes were sent around the country, protected by armed men and led by a Royal Commissioner. Each commissioner was given a list of standard questions to be answered by the landowner.

The volumes listed the name of the head of the household, the size of the manor and the amount, of livestock held.

The volumes are organised into chapters, showing the manor (fief), the name of the Lord, Bishop or tenant-in-chief of that manor. Some owned more than one manor, often in different parts of the country, therefore there may be more than one entry on the manuscript.

Domesday was originally 2 manuscripts written in Latin containing over 13,000 settlements in England and Wales.

Little Domesday covered Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and Great Domesday covered much of the rest of England and parts of Wales.

Some parts of England were not included, possibly due to their tax-exempt status.

This document was a huge undertaking and took around six months to complete. Nothing of this magnitude was attempted again until the 19th Century.

It is a valuable source today that gives a wonderful insight into Medieval England.