Wednesday, 29 April 2020
A musketeer from the time of the Civil War. His main weapon is a matchlock musket. This gun fired a lead bullet weighing about half an ounce. Due to the loose fit of the ball in the barrel the weapon was accurate to only around 80 yards, though the ball could kill a man at anything up to 150 yards. The forked prop in his right hand is a support to take the weight of the weapon when it was fired, these supports were going out of fashion at this date as the guns became lighter. Dangling from his cross belt are a number of pre-packed cartridges containing gunpowder and musket ball. Further ammunition would be kept in a box or chest nearby to be shared out to the men as needed. Rates of fire were slow, around one shot per minute. He therefore has a sword as a secondary weapon to use in hand to hand fighting.
Every year the river Nile flooded. The flood waters spread fertile silt over the fields and deluged them with water. The water was trapped behind dams and in deep pits so that it could be used to water the crops in the dry months that followed. If the floods were not high enough the crops might not grow properly. Nilometers were gauges that measured how much the river rose at flood time.
Each farmer and landowner had their own fields to farm, but canals that carried water from the Nile were shared between various people. There were many disputes between farmers about how much water they could use and who was responsible for keeping the canals in good condition.
Water was lifted out of the canal to be poured on to fields by means of the shaduf. This is still used in Egypt today. It consists of a bucket attached to a long pole which has a heavy weight at one end. The farmer fills the bucket with water. Then he swivels the pole around, balancing the weight of the water with the counterweight. Egyptian Crops
The most important crops grown in ancient Egypt were grain such as wheat and barley. Other crops included grapes, onions, garlic, cucumbers, leeks, cabbages and melons. Cattle, sheep and pigs were also kept for meat or milk.
The Egyptians enjoyed eating meat from wild animals. Birds were hunted by throwing sticks or stones at them, while men with spears hunted hippopotamus in the Nile. Antelopes, gazelles and hares were hunted in the desert areas.
Egyptian houses were built out of bricks made by drying mud in the sun. They had flat roofs and small windows. Most families had only a room or two in their house, but noblemen had much larger houses with a small shrine attached and storerooms for keeping food and drink.
What did a nilometer measure?
Make a Menu
You could design an Egyptian menu for your family dinner.
You will need:
A sheet of paper
Coloured crayons or pencils
Find out what you are going to have for dinner. Now write out the list of foods and decorate it with pictures drawn in the Egyptian style, as seen in this book.
Most Greek stone buildings were constructed using stone dug out of local quarries, but some were faced with more expensive stone such as marble that was hardwearing and looked better.
Stones were cut roughly to the right size and shape at the quarry. They were then moved by boat or by cart to the building site.
Once at the building site, each stone would be carefully carved using bronze or iron tools to precisely the correct shape before being lifted into place.
Stone blocks had small holes in the top where metal hooks could be fitted. The hooks were linked to ropes that ran through pulleys. Teams of slaves hauled on the ropes to lift the stones.
The stone blocks were held in place by bronze hooks and strips, known as cramps. These could be hidden inside the stone so that they could not be seen once the building was finished.
Columns were built up out of a number of circular sections called drums. Each drum had a hole at its centre through which a wooden pole was pushed. Each drum was put into position by being lowered over the top of the pole.
Columns were often built with a bulge at the middle. When seen from a distance a straight column can look thinner at the middle, so making it bulge actually made it look straight.
The statues and sculptures that adorned Greek buildings were carved in a workshop on the building site. Once finished they were lifted into position.
When the main building work was completed, painters went to work. Most of the sculptures and other decorative features were painted in bright shades of red, blue and may even have been gilded.
Architects liked to keep their methods of building a secret so that they alone knew how to build. When he was asked how he had erected the gigantic gate of the Temple of Artemis (see page 152) the architect Chersiphron said “Artemis did it”.