We are continuing on our tour of Ancient Pompeii. This is documentary is called the Riddle of Pompeii, it explores the mystery of Pompeii and it explores the pyroclastic flow. This is another documentary that you can put in your files for a class movie day. It would be a good documentary to show in an earth science class as well. There is an in-depth exploration of a volcanic eruption and what happened when Vesuvius exploded.
Lava has regularly flowed from Vesuvius and its most recent eruption happened in 1944. This eruption was recorded on video. In 1944 only twenty people died. Lava flows do not kill people because they flow slow. So why was the death toll in Pompeii was so high? What made Vesuvius eruption unique in history?
In 1748, excavation in Pompeii began. Digging was easy. Pompeii was buried by pumice instead of lava. Archeologists discovered that skeletons were found in hollows. They decided to pour plaster into those hollows revealing the body. With modern-day scanning, anthropologists are seeing what happened to the people.
Pliny the Younger reported what happened to Pompeii during the eruption of Vesuvius. His uncle, Pliny the Elder went out to try to help the people evacuate. Vesuvius started its eruption at noon and recorded what the volcanic cloud looked like. Based on scientific observations of the pumice that filled the area, the scientists discovered that Pliny’s description was right. In the centuries previous to the major eruption, lava was able to escape. However the volcano got plugged up, and pressure built underneath that plug. Finally, that plug broke and the volcano exploded to deadly consequences for the city of Pompeii.
One theory is that the people in Pompeii survived the initial pumice fall. People were able to cover their heads to protect them from the pumice. However, people were unaware of the deadly punch Vesuvius was going to pack. Pliny the Elder had figured that Vesuvius was a dormant volcano and had written about Mount Etna, so volcanos were not unfamiliar to the people of Pompeii. Pompeiians were familiar with earthquakes, so they decided to stay put.
Mapping the site demonstrates the reluctance of people to leave their city. They may have gone to check on families or friends but they did not want to leave. A few of the bodies were found with iron house keys. Unfortunately, the rate of pumice falling increased. By the late afternoon, the roofs of the house started to collapse. People started to leave Pompeii. Sadly, not everyone was able to leave.
Everyone had their reasons for staying in Pompeii. A family would leave due to a pregnancy in the family. Another could leave because of a sick family member. A person was in too much pain to leave. DNA is revealing some of the reasons why people would not flee Pompeii.
Pliny the Elder eventually would send out the Navy to help people flee from Pompeii. However, they were driven back. Finally, they were forced to take shelter down the coast. Pliny the Elder would eventually die as a result of Vesuvius. In the meantime, pumice continued to get deeper and deeper. People continued to walk on top of the pumice to escape. Their bodies were found near the surface and these people died by suffocation. Some bodies were found with their mouths open, while others were stretched out as if seeking clean air.
To find out more continue to watch the documentary. In the meantime, keep this documentary in your files to share with a class.
You can access the YouTube video here.
What was Pompeii like before Vesuvius covered it? In this documentary, archaeologists, historians, and scientists are working to discover Pompeii as it has never been discovered before. The Lost World of Pompeii brings together different experts together to try to learn about Pompeii to preserve the city.
Scientists come together to explore how the people died. When the original archaeologists found voids in the pumice they decided to pour plaster in the voids. After they did that, they found that the voids were bodies, the bodies of the victims of Pompeii. Today, those plaster casts of the bodies are being examined to find out who these people were. On top of the study of the bodies, graphic software is being used to fill in the missing features of these people. This helps scientists figure out what they look like. Another group of scientists will take over to discover what these people went through.
Pompeii is also under threat from the tourists, weather, and Mount Vesuvius again. Another threat is the potential explosion of Vesuvius. Technology is being used to scan and document the city to preserve Pompeii virtually. Architects are being brought in to survey and scan the city. These scans will help with the preservation and maintenance of the city. Future generations will also be able to use the scans to see what Pompeii looked like. Most importantly, when pollution and tourists damage the walls of Pompeii these scans will preserve the buildings. They will also be able to plan archaeological expeditions in Pompeii.
Pompeii is still revealing its secrets. Archaeologists are seeing new details in the city with these scans. They are learning new things about the buildings in Pompeii. An assumed gladiator barracks is now being reexamined. Perhaps it is not a barracks for gladiators. Archaeologists are learning how complex the buildings are. It also shows how Pompeii citizens decorated their buildings. Scholars are using scans of charred and preserved papyrus scrolls to see if there were words that were preserved. If someone touched those scrolls, they would crumble to dust. With technology, scholars can virtually unwrap them. Would there be classic works be hidden in those papyrus scrolls? Technology is helping reveal Pompeii’s hidden details.
Wine specialists are learning about the wines the local Pompeiians drank. They are learning what kind of wines they drank. They are also learning how they drank wine. Frescos show how Pompeiians made wine. Wine drinking was not limited to the home, they drank wine in bars. They drank in the evening and played games. Gambling was illegal, but the law was not enforced.
The road network is also being documented as well as the drainage network. The stepping stones show that people used them so they would not get their toga wet. The roads also show how the traffic flowed through the city. Pompeii had a system of traffic control that contained a lot of one-way streets. Pompeii was also laid out in a grid system. It helped people reach the amphitheater.
To learn more about the preservation of Pompeii continue to watch the documentary.
With this documentary, you are not limited to a history class. This would be an excellent show to share with a technology class, especially since they talk about using technology to preserve Pompeii. Technology has undergone major changes in the past decade and students can explore how technology can be used to preserve history. You can also share this with a science classroom as well. How you share this documentary in the classroom is limited by your imagination. You can show the full documentary or show clips of it.
You can access the YouTube Documentary here.
Here is another video to put into your files for the future. This time, we are exploring the history of Ancient Rome. Mary Beard takes us through the life of Caligula. Was he Rome’s cruelest emperor? Why has he gone down into history as Rome’s Biggest Villains?
Caligula’s story starts in Germany, in the Rhine Valley. His father was Germanicus, he was heir to the throne, and his mother was the granddaughter of the first Roman Emperor. Caligula was born Gaius Caesar Germanicus, it sounds like he was the thrasher of the Germans. Caligula traveled through the German lands while his father was on the campaign. He grew up in a war zone. The most intriguing artifact connected to Caligula’s childhood was a pair of boots, the Caggiula. His mother dressed the young Caligula as a miniature soldier. The soldiers around him nicknamed him Caligula or “little boots” or “bootikins.” It was a nickname he would hate.
In 19 AD, Germanicus suddenly died, while Caligula was seven years old. Romans were grief-stricken with the news of Germanicus' death. Germanicus’ death was possibly ordered by the Emperor and the person who poisoned him committed suicide before the trial. The Emperor was not seen as grieving for his nephew’s death. Germanicus was not given a state funeral when his ashes were returned to Rome. The Emperor made sure that every important city knew that he was not responsible for Germanicus’ death. Caligula’s mother felt the Emperor was responsible. Knowing this Caligula’s mother was exiled.
When Caligula was 19, the emperor summoned the boy to his palace at Capri. Why did the Emperor summon Caligula to Capri? Nobody knows. It could be theorized that the Emperor taught Caligula how to be a dictator. During his time, Caligula’s family was under attack. His mother starved to death and his brothers were violently murdered. Caligula would have learned that anyone close to power was in danger of dying. He also learned never to show any emotion.
When the Emperor died the Roman Senate declared Caligula Rome’s third emperor. When he was declared emperor, Caligula had a young cousin murdered as he was seen as an alternative to his reign. His second act as emperor was to put on a play to demonstrate his family connections and his right to rule Rome. He then had his mother’s ashes brought to Rome and buried her next to his father Germanicus. The coins he minted had his image on them and he would scatter coins out to the people. The coins hammered home the message of Caligula’s bloodline. It also hammered home the message that Caligula had the support of the army.
Caligula started many building projects around Rome. He built aqueducts, the imperial palace, an obelisk was shipped from Egypt. Caligula showed off his wealth. However, there were shadows underneath the Emperor’s show. The only people Caligula was his servants’ and the servants played a role in the palace games. They helped Caligula keep control over the empire. The servants did not represent a direct threat to him. Caligula was a man paranoid about security, especially after what happened with his family.
He was right to be worried, there were people after him. One group came from his family because one of them wanted to be emperor. The second group came from ordinary people who wanted to not have an Emperor. These threats would turn him into a monster.
You could always use clips from this documentary in the classroom as there is some discussion that is targeted at an older audience. Mary Beard is a fantastic narrator of Roman history. You can continue to watch this documentary to find out more about Caligula.
You can access the documentary on YouTube here.
Good morning everyone, today I will share another YouTube video perfect for a class on Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome. The video is from the Secrets of the Dead series: Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb. It tells the story of Cleopatra as a historical figure, not focusing on the myth.
Kathleen Martinez leads an expedition to find Cleopatra’s lost tomb. She is a criminal defense lawyer and approaches the search for Cleopatra’s tomb as a potential client. She came up with a new theory as to where Cleopatra was buried. Her search starts in a temple complex known as Taposiris Magna Necropolis. The Taposiris Magna Necropolis was seen as an unfinished temple. The bare walls did not hint at any period in history. These empty walls caused scholars to write off the site. However, Martinez disagrees with that and that it was a functioning temple and that it was the burial site of Cleopatra. She was greeted with skepticism; however, she was undeterred.
Cleopatra was a controversial figure as well as a mystery. Lately, scholars are finding new interpretations of Cleopatra. She is seen as a scholar. She is seen as politically astute. Cleopatra made sure that her people were fed. She is aware of the problems of her kingdom and wants to do something about them. Cleopatra worked to gain allies in Rome. A document cited that Cleopatra wanted to give tax concessions to a Roman. Cleopatra’s death is even poorly documented. The story goes she was poisoned with the bite of an asp. After her death, what happened to her body is unknown.
In the meantime, Kathleen received permission to dig at the site and for eight weeks did not find anything. She was confident that she would find something at the site, but they were disappointed. However, on the final day before the permit was to expire, the team found a hidden shaft. With the discovery of the shaft, they were allowed to continue with the excavation. Would they find more secret shafts? Would one of these shafts contain the tomb of Cleopatra? This shaft was not found by professional archeologists.
As the expedition moved forward, the team discovered fragile tablets. They were from the temple’s foundation. Ptolemy IV laid the original foundation for the temple. This also proved the link between the temple and the Ptolemies. It was a shocking find that shook the archeological community. When the trench was extended they found another building, another temple in the Taposiris Magna complex. It was a temple that was dedicated to the goddess Isis.
Cleopatra, as queen, aligned herself with Isis. She also presented herself as Isis. It was the way she identified herself as Egyptian. Perhaps, Cleopatra decided to be buried in the Taposiris Magna complex because of her identity as Isis. Inside the Isis Temple, the team found coins with Cleopatra’s image on it. Martinez theorized that the temple was still in use during Cleopatra’s reign. The fact that Cleopatra put her image on bronze coins showed that the Queen wanted to be seen by the public. Older rulers put their images on silver coins. Silver coins were used by the rich, but by putting her image on bronze coins, Cleopatra made sure everyone knew her.
Just outside the temple, another shaft was discovered by Kathleen’s team. Kathleen goes underground to explore the shaft discovering two tunnels. There were additional vertical shafts in the tunnel. On top of discovering shafts and passageways, they found pieces of the Isis Temple. Additionally, they also found human remains.
To continue to learn more about Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb, continue to watch the documentary.
You can access the YouTube video here.
You can follow Kathleen Martinez's work here.
Joann Fletcher concludes the series with the fall of Egypt. Wave after wave of invaders tried to conquer Egypt, only to be conquered by Egypt. The decline in the faith in the Pharaohs weakened Egypt greatly. The priests started looting the old royal tombs. Mercenaries, who took orders, were now flexing their muscles to give orders. The Libyans, former mercenaries, took power for themselves.
The Libyans adapted to the Egyptian culture. They ruled over a divided land. Most importantly, they were not Egyptians at heart. This did not unite the Egyptian empire. Egypt was open to invaders. The Kushites invaded Egypt. Seeing the failure of the Libyans to embrace the ancient history of Egypt, the Kushites took a different tact. The Kushites tapped into Egypt’s past and used it to conquer Egypt.
The Kushites rebuilt Egypt and founded the 25th Dynasty. In a way, it was putting things right for the Egyptians. They had the same sense of history as the Egyptians, however fused their own culture with Egyptians. Egyptian gods bore the marks of the Nubian tribal people. The Kushites made an effort to be Egyptians. Their images showed that the Kushite Pharaohs were the sons of Ammon and that they made sacrifices to Egyptian gods.
The Kushites also started building pyramids. They were building these pyramids in their homeland. Eventually, the Kushites built more pyramids than the Egyptians themselves. The Kushite Dynasty eventually fell to a more ruthless power: Assyrians. They sacked Thebes as a demonstration of their power and contempt for the people. The Assyrians were more interested in expanding their power and attempted to stamp out the Egyptian religion.
Then the Egyptian politicians took charge of Egypt and they encouraged Egyptian culture. Mummification was the tool they used to encourage Egyptian culture. There was an explosion of mummifying animals. The death industry was back in Egypt, as it was something that marked the Egyptian Civilization as special. Uncertainty over whether or not they would have Pharaohs to bury soon gave way to a new tradition: mummifying and burying bulls. Bulls became sacred and in a way, they were the physical presence of a Pharoah. During this time, the Pharoah was often absent. Large tomb complexes were buried to house the bulls.
The Persians then came in and trampled over the traditions. The Persian King burned the mummy of the previous Pharoah and slaughtered the sacred bull. It was a powerful demonstration, showing that he was in charge. Any attempts at rebellion were cruelly put down. The Egyptians were little more than servants to the Persians. This changed when Alexander the Great came in and conquered Egypt.
Alexander the Great adopted Egyptian culture and founded the city of Alexandria. He preserved the past and saved the Egyptians from the hated Persians. He marched into Memphis and was crowned as a traditional Pharoah. He even had his name written in hieroglyphs. His image in Luxor shows himself as making sacrifices to Ammon. The key to Alexander’s success was his belief that he was another one of the gods. He then set to work working on his city. Alexandria was established and planned by built him.
The Ptolemys then took over Egypt. Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great’s Generals and probably half-brother. They also had control over the body. They could claim control over Egypt. They moved the capital from Memphis to Alexandria. The Ptolemys’s also tapped into the culture of Egypt. They worshiped the same gods as the Egyptians, dressed like them, and ate like them. Under the Ptolemys Egypt was restored.
To continue to learn more about Ancient Egypt, continue to watch the documentary.
You can access the YouTube Video here.
Joann Fletcher continues to the story of Ancient Egypt. She introduces the audience to Amenhotep III. She views him as the greatest Egyptian Pharoah. The Egyptian civilization had survived its dark ages. The Golden Age of Egypt began. However, all good things come at a price, the priests became even more powerful than the pharaoh and corruption reigned.
Archaeologists are working on uncovering the funerary temple of Amenhotep III. It was the largest funerary temple created by a Pharoah. It was the Temple where the Pharoah could be worshiped for future generations. This temple was to guarantee the immortality of the Pharoah’s soul. Giant statues adorned the temple and the archeologist uncovered a three-meter statue head.
Amenhotep III had the empire firmly in his hand. He had plenty of gold. He used it to make marriages. He used it to send messages. Gold brought Egypt peace. Gold could help the Pharoah in the afterlife as well. Gold allowed the gods to recognize the dead. The gods' skin was made out of gold and by using masks of gold, wealthy Egyptians could demonstrate that they too would be welcomed by the gods.
The Valley of the Kings was established during this time. It was seen as a safe place where the Pharaohs could lie in peace. After the desecration of the ancestors' tombs, the Pharaohs did not want that to happen again. It was also a way for ordinary people to help their Pharoah’s have a peaceful afterlife. The tomb builders carefully surveyed the area.
However, even with the strong religious influence on the Egyptian Civilization, the religious influence hid a threat. Karnack was the largest religious complex in Egypt. It was 250 acres at its height and was Egypt’s religious heart for 2,000 years. This caused the priest’s influence to grow exponentially. The Pharoah expanded Karnack and poured gold into the temple complex. The temple and the priests grew rich as a result. They were set apart from the rest of Egyptian society. They shaved every day, bathed four times a day, wore white linen robes, and took care of their teeth.
Amon was the Egyptian state god and every Pharoah needed to keep him content. The priests took care of the statue of Amon like was a human. Only the Royal Family was aware of the secret rituals that took place in the temple. However, this power of Amon was going to break. Pharoah Akhenaten built a new temple complex for a single god, the Aten. It was unlike the other temples in Karnack, it was a temple made of bricks which meant these buildings be constructed quickly. Akhenaten stamped his control on the Karnack temple, turning Egyptian civilization on its head. When the priest objected to the changes, Karnack was closed and the royal court moved to a different area of Egypt.
In Amarna, Akhenaten and Nefertiti could put their stamp on Egypt in peace. They built the city with the newly seized wealth from the priests. The sun was worshiped every day and to get the blessing from the Aten, the people had to go to the Pharoah. They had to bow and scrape before Pharoah and his wife Nefertiti. After Akhenaten died, religious order was restored. The priests dumped the old burial goods of Akhenaten and Nefertiti were thrown into Tutankhamun's tomb.
Seti took over Egypt kicking off the 19th Dynasty. He completely restored the old gods of Egypt. The images he created in his burial looked back to the golden age. Seti had brought back the days of glory and it was a relief to the ordinary people.
To continue to learn more about Ancient Egypt, continue to watch the documentary
You can access that YouTube video here.
The pyramid building Ancient Egyptian civilization could not last. Ancient Egyptian's confidence was soon shattered. Economic collapse put a pause on the Egyptian Civilization. The Ancient Egyptian people were soon filled with dread as the society collapsed around them. Egpyt was soon thrown into chaos, signifying a new era in Ancient Egypt. The military took over and they ruled by fear and intimidation.
Saqqara not only shows the Egyptian’s confidence in their civilization but also the collapse of that civilization. A funeral causeway reveals the collapse of Ancient Egypt. An image from that causeway shows people suffering from famine. This famine is slowly closing in on Ancient Egypt. The images of plenty were replaced by images of skeletons. Such images were never created before but now reality hit ancient Egyptians in the face. They tried to keep the forces of reality at bay but the images Fletcher refers to were an omen of the future.
The Nile and its flood allowed Ancient Egyptians to thrive. Unfortunately for them, the Nile’s flood ceased. This led to suffering, starvation, and in some cases cannibalism. The Ancient Egyptians believed strongly in their kings. The Pharoah was soon seen to be weak during their time of need. Pharoah Pepi II, in his old age, tried to show off his physical prowess in the Jubilee celebrations. However, the image of a vital Pharoah was shattered.
The Egyptian Dark Ages was an age where its people turned to magic to sort out their problems. They thought that by reaching out to magic, they would be able to control the world. The Egyptians also started writing out curses on pots or wax figures. They would burn the figure or smash the pot to activate the curse. It was informal religious, it showed how suspicious the Eqyptians had gotten. Chaos meant that the Egyptians’ worldview had changed.
A once united Egypt fractured into smaller kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms had a strong warlord leader. These leaders believed themselves above the previous Pharoah. They used the language and the images that the previous Pharaohs used to describe themselves. They were the heroes without a peer. These leaders did what they could to take care of their people: they gave bread, they gave sandals, they gave money. There may have been cases of exaggerations of how bad it was. This helped them claim that they were gods.
However as the power of the warlords grew, more and more conflicts happened. Some warlords created alliances with other warlords or they fought each other. They ended up turning on the remains of the old pharaohs and destroyed the old tombs of the pharaohs in the valley of the Kings. This violation of the old burying places appalled the people. The destruction of the tombs broke the line of history. After the destruction, ordinary Egyptians made atonement, bitterly regretting the tomb destruction.
After this destruction, one warlord decided to unite Egypt. This king would end Egypt’s dark age. The Egyptian Civil War was violent. The bodies of these warriors bore witness to the violence of their death. The Pharoah made sure to bury his warriors in a prominent tomb with great ceremony. After the civil war, the people started to feel safe. The economy was rebuilt. However, the trauma of the civil war remained. Their tombs changed, funerary art reflected the wish for a peaceful afterlife. If the people could not feel secure in the present life, they could feel secure in the afterlife. The Pharoah’s concerned themselves with National Security. They built castles to maintain order and goods between Nubia and Egypt.
To continue to learn more about Ancient Egypt, continue to watch the documentary.
You can access the documentary here.
Good morning! The school year is winding down for many districts around the US. It is not the time to prepare for the next school year...or is it? Well, today I will introduce you to another series that could be brought into the classroom.
Immortal Egypt is a four episodes series on Ancient Egypt presented by Joann Fletcher. The first episode kicks off the series by exploring the origins of Ancient Egypt. Fletcher explores the different stories of Ancient Egypt, weaving them all together with intelligence and humor. She is a historian that should be brought into the classroom. Students will enjoy learning about Ancient Egypt from her.
Fletcher travels to Quarta, Egypt, and discovers the earliest remnants of the Egyptian Civilization. The Quarta cliffs bore witness to the earliest beginnings of Egyptian Civilization. The people who dwelt in Quarta were early hunters and took care of cattle. Quarta was situated in grassland before the climate changed and left it in a desert landscape. Egypt was fed by the rains until the climate changed which meant people moved to settle near large lakes and rivers. Hippos, humans, boats, and cattle images were carved into the cliff walls, a tantalizing clue about what was to come.
The calendar was invented to predict the rains which then led to the earliest forms of religion. People started working together in the community. The cow was important to the ancient people. The cow was a source of milk and meat, eventually, the cow became known as the goddess Hathor. She was one of the earliest deities created. Eventually, the ancient people developed 1000’s of deities. These deities were built on familiar, everyday life. Some of the created deities were created as a way to control the element they were a deity of.
Eventually, due to climate change, the ancient people started to congregate around the Nile River. The Blue and White Nile came together in Sudan to form the bigger Nile River. The annual Nile Flood was an important event to Ancient Egyptians because it became an agricultural civilization. Upper and Lower Egypt started forming at specific points on the Nile River.
The writing was also developed during this time. It was developed as a means of calculating taxes for the Ancient Egyptians. The Rosetta Stone helped archeologists translate the hieroglyphic symbols.
Eventually, Upper and Lower Egypt came into conflict. In 3100 BC, Upper and Lower Egypt were united under one Pharaoh. Namah became the first Pharoah of a united Egypt. Hathor was his protector. He was the template from which all other Pharoah’s took their inspiration from. He had the tie on the beard, had a crown, and took the smitting pose. It made every single Pharoah after Namah copy him, as a way to legitimize their claim to the throne. A list of Kings was put together as another way to provide legitimacy to the current Pharoah’s reign.
Royal burials were developed at this time and the precursor to the Valley of the Kings was found. Originally, when a Pharoah died all their courtiers were killed and buried with the Pharoah. This changed and courtiers were allowed to live. These courtiers would go on and build their elaborate tombs.
To continue to learn about the early beginnings of Ancient Egypt continue to watch this documentary.
Fletcher tells a fascinating story about Ancient Egypt. It is even more than what I originally learned in school. It goes to show that with new discoveries, our interpretation of history changes. Teachers need to use an episode of this fantastic series in the classroom. If there is a substitute teacher in the room, have them pull an episode up on YouTube to show the students. Or you can use clips of this series in a lecture it is up to the teacher. If there is a student project involving Ancient Egypt, then I would point them to this series for more information.
You can access the documentary here.
Good morning Educators! Here is another YouTube Channel for you to use in a classroom or home school setting. New content is posted weekly.
This isn't a straight history channel, however, it does cover historical events. Their tag line is “having a bad day, look at an even worse bad day.” BadDayHQ covers historical disasters. Each episode is well written and well narrated. The creators of the channel did their research into each disaster. The channel covers a variety of topics such as sealing disasters, oil rig blow-ups, and forest fires. On top of the historic content, they have episodes on hunting legends whether it is a myth or sea monsters. There are also top ten videos featuring a variety of accidents or disasters. They also offer French language episodes too. Those would be good episodes to show in a French Language classroom that way students could learn the language better.
Not only do they do historic disasters, but they also look at crimes. They have short episodes on Crime, Cold Cases, and Scams. This channel would be a good channel to show in a forensics class if the school offers that type of class in school.
If you need a quick summary of an event, this is the channel for your classroom. The best thing about this channel is that you are not limited to a history classroom, but you can show these videos in a science classroom as well. Teachers, you should be able to find something to use in the classroom! If you do use this channel in a classroom, be sure to subscribe and be alerted to new content.
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire – This was the deadliest factory fire in US history. On March 25, 1911, a fire spread through the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. There were 146 workers kills, a majority of them women. They died from fire, smoke, or from jumping to their deaths. The doors and windows were locked or nailed shut to prevent workers from leaving early. However, this proved to be deadly.
Great Lakes Storm – In 1913 a “White Hurricane” hit the Great Lakes. Lake Huron was particularly hit hard. This storm killed over 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and caused $5 million in financial losses. Many ships went missing during this storm. The storm was a result of the convergence of two systems. This would be a good episode to show in a science classroom.
Molasses Flood – This is one of the more quirky stories from history. In 1919, a large molasses storage tank burst, and waves of Molasses poured down the streets of Boston. The molasses traveled 35 miles per hour, killing 21 people and injuring 150. For many years the survivors claimed that they could still smell molasses.
Galveston Hurricane – In 1900 Galveston Texas was hit by a devastating hurricane. 6,000-12,000 people were killed and the entire city of Galveston was leveled by the hurricane. It was at the height of vacation season when the hurricane hit. It was the deadliest hurricane in US History. The effects of this hurricane were felt up to New York. This would be a good episode to show in a science classroom.
Coconut Grove – In 1942 this nightclub was the scene of a deadly fire. This fire happened while the United States was involved in World War II. The fire killed 492 people. The building was over capacity and many exits were locked or blocked. This was to prevent people from sneaking off before they paid for their meal, however, this prevented people from escaping from the fire. The aftermath leads to new building safety standards.
Victorian Pharmacy concludes with the pharmacy moving into a new era of understanding. Modern medicine is starting to be birthed. Ruth Goodman kicks off the episode by dressing up in a “woman’s suit.” A “woman’s suit” demonstrated to the customer that they were professionals. Now, the pharmacy is stocking branded products and they did not have to make many products anymore. It could be possible that the pharmacy was an early grocery store.
Photography started to take off in the 1880s and the pharmacy could provide the chemicals that were needed for the hobby. Nick and an herbalist go out and pick herbs for the pharmacy. Ruth cleans the sheep intestine to make condoms and then explores the history of contraception. Although Victorian Contraception was more about protecting the man from STDs, Ruth wants to make the effort to make the condoms. There were female pills available to help women regulate their periods.
Tom explores the history of dentistry and how the pharmacy offered dental service. A dental historian trains Tom up in dentistry. Surgeons often had dentistry as a side hustle. Tom practices pulling and drilling teeth. Nick makes an early forerunner of toothpaste, dental powder. If a person was rich they could afford to take better care of their teeth and they bought tooth powder. A development that happened during the Victorian Period was the invention of the tooth drill and fillings. This was an alternative to pulling teeth. Tom tries out an old drill and concludes that he would have been an over-enthusiastic dentist.
Salicylic acid is discovered during this period. Meadowsweet and Willow Bark have salicylic acid, which kills pain. Nick and a chemist extract salicylic acid from willow bark and meadowsweet. They explore the history of natural remedies as well as the history of extracting the chemicals in those plants. The druggist and pharmacists had to have one foot in the natural world.
To discover more about the Victorian Pharmacy, keep watching the documentary.
The series as a whole is an excellent primer on the development of the pharmacy. You may want to show the whole series in a science classroom or a history classroom. You could even use clips of the series in an agricultural classroom. Or if there are time constraints, show clips of the series to your students as part of a lecture. Teacher, you are only limited by your imagination as to how to use this series in the classroom.
For use in the classroom, just highlight, copy and paste into a Word or Google Document. You can format it how you like. All questions can fit on one page.
You can access the video here.
Victorian Pharmacy Questions
Victorian Pharmacy Answers
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