Visual History of the World




From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
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The Art of Asia
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Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
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Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
First Empires
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The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
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The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Middle Ages

5th - 15th century


The upheaval that accompanied the migration of European peoples of late antiquity shattered the power of the Roman Empire and consequently the entire political order of Europe. Although Germanic kingdoms replaced Rome, the culture of late antiquity, especially Christianity, continued to have an effect and defined the early Middle Ages. Concurrent to the developments in the Christian West, in Arabia the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century founded Islam, a new religion with immense political and military effectiveness. Within a very short time, great Islamic empires developed from the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb to India and Central Asia, with centers such as Cordoba, Cairo, Baghdad, and Samarkand.

The Cathedral Notre Dame de Reims, built in the 1 3th—14th century in the Gothic style; the cathedral served for many centuries as the location for the ceremonial coronation of the French king.

The Cathedral of Reims, by Domenico Quaglio



The Crusades



The Crusades Map



The History of the Crusades illustrations by Gustave Dore


The Sultana Chegger-Eddour and the Emir Saif-Eddin
After being offered the hand of Sultana Chegger-Eddour,
the Emir Saif-Eddin is horrified at finding the sultana’s dead husband lying at her feet. 

A celestial light
A celestial light illuminates the unburied bodies of the soldiers who died at Sefed. 
The Cruelties of Bibars
Bibars revels in describing this ruthless butchering of Christian knights at Antioch. 
The captives
After the capture of Antioch, Bibars sells the women and children as slaves.

The departure from Aigues-Mortes
The Crusaders, led by King Charles of Anjou and St. Louis, set out to convert the Emir of Tunis.

The soldiers mourn St. Louis
After the death of St. Louis on August 25, 1270, the French soldiers mourn their dynamic leader.

Funeral procession for St. Louis
Marching back from Tunis with the remains of St. Louis, the somber French warriors form a funeral procession.

Assassination of Henry of Germany
Henry d’Allemagne is attacked and murdered by Simon and Guy de Montfort at the foot of the church altar.

Attempted assassination of Edward III
Attacked in his bed, Edward III of England struggles to turn the weapon on
his assailant and succeeds in killing the Muslim.

The dishonorable truce

Concerned with gaining authority over the Mamelukes,
Kalaun agrees to conclude a truce with the Franks of Ptolemais.


Invocation to Muhammad
Kalaun’s son Khālil and his emirs gather in the chapel,
invoking their prophet for help in fighting the Christians.

Sansuti shows maps of the East to Pope John XXII
Sanuti presents maps of Egypt and the Holy Land to Pope John XXII
and advises the pope to support another crusade.

The veteran Crusader recounts his tales
A veteran recounts his tales of the Crusades to an attentive audience of women and children.

Constantine Palaeologus harangues the defenders of Constantinople
The garrison leaders of Constantinople listen to the emperor’s
encouraging speech with a bleak premonition.

Muhammad II before Constantinople
Sultan Muhammad II lunges into the sea on horseback after the Ottomans are weakened.

The Ottomans in Hungary
Forty days after advancing into Belgrade, the Ottoman Turks are
defeated by the Christians on August 6, 1456.

The taxes of war
Pope Sixtus IV supports a levy to raise money for the crusade and builds 24 new galleys.

The Crusaders cross Mount Taurus
On Mount Taurus, the Crusaders climb down the narrow path with
difficulty after losing their horses down the steep ravine.

The Crusaders’ worst enemy
Beset by famine and a shortage of water, the Christians lack the strength to fight.

The battle of Lepanto
Don John of Austria leads the Christians to an overwhelming victory
over the Ottomans in the naval battle of Lepanto (October 7, 1571)

Departing for war

The symbol of Christ on the cross comforts the families of the Crusaders as they depart for the Crusades.


The order of chivalry
The monastic orders of knighthood, the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitalers,
produced soldiers sworn to uphold the Christian ideal.

Return from war
A returning horseman observes several women and children in prayer.

The Christian army in the mountains of Judea
Vernturing through a narrow valley in the mountains of Judea,
the Christian army battles exhaustion and stifling heat.

Last rites
A dying soldier seeks forgiveness for his sins.

The Crusaders witness an extraordinary event on their sacred journey.

The battle of Arsuf
In Arsuf, Saladin organizes a raid against the Crusaders, and his army is suppressed within one day.

Troubadors sing the glory of the Crusades
Heroic knights and chivalry are immortalized in song by troubadors.



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