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Middle Ages Memory Poem

nova mama

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I wrote this to help us remember the history we learned last year, before starting SOTW3. There aren't too many dates in the poem itself, but I've included them in parentheses for reference. DCs have memorized three stanzas so far. I'm still tweaking it, but it's pretty done.



The Middle Ages began after the fall Rome.

In castles and in manors, rich nobles found their homes.

Poor peasants lived on farms and did not read or write.

The Ages were called Dark till the Renaissance brought light.


The Eastern Roman Empire was called Byzantine.

(527-567) Justinian made new laws; some nice, and some were mean.

In monasteries, monks made pretty books with quills;

(598) The Archbishop of Canterbury is remembered still.


(541-604) Yangdi of China built a Grand Canal;

The emperor’s taxes made the Sui final.

(566-635) Li Yuan brought a Golden Age of silk, pearls, and jade;

During the Tang dynasty, gunpowder was made.


(500-800) Invaders came to Europe, they were called barbarians:

Angles, Saxons, Celts, Visigoths, and Huns.

The Celts stayed in England, Ireland, Scotland, and in Wales.

(~800) Charlemagne resisted the Vikings who sailed


Down from Scandinavia in flat bottom boats.

(~814) But from the weaker sons the Vikings did coax

The land in western England, which became Normandy.

(878) Alfred the Great defeated Guthorn at Salisbury.


(1013) Then Sweyn Forkbeard beat Ethelred the Unready.

The years of Edward’s reign numbered up to twenty.

With no sons, Ed picked Harold to be the king.

In 1066, William won the Battle of Hastings.


(1189) Richard was a brave king with a heart like a lion.

(1199) After he died, the king was his brother John Lackland.

The nobles hated the taxes that John made them pay.

(1215) The Magna Carta says the king can’t have his way.


The pope told the crusaders to fight against Islam.

In 1099, they broke the walls of Jerusalem.

Eight more times, they fought until 1272.

But they did not succeed again in what they tried to do.


(1211) Genghis Khan’s Mongol home was cold and in the mountains.

He invaded China; and they were very frightened.

(1264) Grandson Kublai started the Yuan Dynasty.

Japan was safe thanks to winds called kamikaze.


The daimyo of that land were like the English lords.

The samurai protected them with curved katana swords.

Marco Polo went to China to explore with dad.

Kublai impressed the Polos with the riches that he had.


In western Africa were more stories to be told.

(700-1200) The kingdom of Ghana prospered trading salt and also gold.

(1307-1327) Mansa Musa went to Mecca; he was king of Mali.

(1340-1591) Timbuktu was in the even larger kingdom Songhay.


(1290) England and (1182) France expelled the Jews, but they could go to Spain.

(1340s) After the Plague took many lives, Europe was not the same.

But France and England kept on fighting when the Plague was over.

They fought so long, we call it the Hundred Years’ War.


(1455) Gutenberg’s invention brought books to many hands.

Explorers from Europe searched for new lands.

(1492) Columbus looked for spices, but he landed in the West.

(1558) England’s greatest queen was named Elizabeth.


Though Dark, the Middle Ages brought us many famous folks,

(1609) Like Galileo, who made a brand new telescope.

Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets are read up to this day.

The Middle Ages were special in their own medieval way.

Edited by nova mama
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