_______ November 10, 2016 ________

Story of the World II:  Chpt 10

~~~~ Frankly, More History! ~~~~

I may be going out on a leaf, today.  ((<< That’s punny.  You just don’t know it, yet.  You’ll see.))

So this week we’ve gone back across the east (and Middle East), and we’re taking a look at the warring kingdoms just above the (now failing) Roman Empire.  We’re seeing a King emerge on the barbaric scene, a king who is bringing the warring kingdoms of Ancient Gaul together.  His name is King Clovis.  Clovis’ father was The Merovingian – and in case you didn’t see my blog’s name (AnnaMATRIX), this is the point where I geek a little.

I wouldn’t show *ANY* kids this movie, but in case you’re interested, ‘The Matrix: Reloaded‘ has the Merovingian on it.  And yes, he’s very, very French.  And yes, he’s very, very powerful.  The Merovingian is a bit of a myth, in and outside of the movie.  Some historians and legend-writers say that he’s the son of a Gallic sea god.  In researching the underlying symbolism of the movie a decade or more ago, I learned that the Merovingian is – in other circles – thought to be the secret love child of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, who was secreted away to Europe after the Crucifixion.

From what I’ve read, this ‘lineage’ of the Savior is pretty serious stuff to some of the people in Europe.  I’ve even read about it being the actual roots of the very secret society, the Masons, and have even seen papers claiming that this ‘lineage’ is what was behind the Crusades – putting the rightful ‘King’ of Israel back on his throne!  I don’t know much more than the stories, and decided I don’t want to dig any further into it, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind, especially when we look at this chapter.

The barbaric tribes of Europe aren’t so barbaric, now that they’ve adopted the culture and knowledge of the Romans.  Clovis, one of the leaders, sees how Rome became a powerful empire, and decides to unite (by conquering) the other kingdoms around him.  He doesn’t do well… but then according to legend, something happens in the middle of a battle.  According to ‘Story of the World’, he prays to his Christian wife’s God, and his prayers are answered.  According to Wikipedia, God takes it upon Himself to step in, and miraculously turns the crescent shapes on Clovis’ shields to fleur-de-lis, as a sign that he is the ‘chosen’ victor (and this fits very well with the Merovingian theorists, about this lineage being special to God.  Interesting, right?!)

Here’s where I go off with a little hypothesis of my own.  According to the story, Clovis united Gaul by way of three things:  ONE religion for all, ONE capitol city for all (Paris), and ONE law for all.  Three things, to unite all of the people.  Take a look at the fleur-de-lis.  Three leaves, united together.  (You could also take this in the direction of the Trinity, if you wish.  I’m not of that bent, but your mileage may vary.)

I wondered if this symbol of ‘France’ (<< named so by the Frankish king, Clovis) might have stemmed from the very period of time that Clovis ruled.  So I went looking, and here’s what I found:

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coat of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context… The French or Franks, before entering Gaul itself, lived for a long time around the river named Leie in the Flanders. Nowadays, this river is still bordered with an exceptional number of irises —as many plants grow for centuries in the same places—: these irises have yellow flowers, which is not a typical feature of lilies but fleurs-de-lis. It was thus understandable that our kings, having to choose a symbolic image for what later became a coat of arms, set their minds on the iris, a flower that was common around their homes, and is also as beautiful as it was remarkable. They called it, in short, the fleur-de-lis, instead of the flower of the river of lis.  There is a fanciful legend about Clovis which links the yellow flag explicitly with the French coat of arms.

By the late 13th century, an allegorical poem by Guillaume de Nangis (d. 1300), written at the abbey of Joyenval at Chambourcy, relates how the golden lilies on an azure ground were miraculously substituted for the crescents on Clovis’ shield, a projection into the past of contemporary images of heraldry. Through this propagandist connection to Clovis, the fleur-de-lis has been taken in retrospect to symbolize all the Christian Frankish kings, most notably Charlemagne.

The fleur-de-lis’ symbolic origins with French monarchs may stem from the baptismal lily used in the crowning of King Clovis I. The French monarchy possibly adopted the Fleur-de-lis for their royal coat of arms as a symbol of purity to commemorate the conversion of Clovis I,[23] and a reminder of the Fleur-de-lis ampulla that held the oil used to anoint the king. So, the fleur-de-lis stood as a symbol of the king’s divinely approved right to rule. The thus “anointed” Kings of France later maintained that their authority was directly from God. A legend enhances the mystique of royalty by informing us that a vial of oil—the Holy Ampulla—descended from Heaven to anoint and sanctify Clovis as King,[24] descending directly on Clovis or perhaps brought by a dove to Saint Remigius.

Holy wOw, that’s a lot of tying it back to Clovis.  I wonder why ‘Story of the World’ didn’t mention it?  Because we see fleur-de-lis all over the place, even today!  It’s something kids can relate to.  And naturally, it’s the direction I went with our craft!

First I should mention that we printed and put these maps in our Book of Centuries.  They’re well done.  I put stuff in our Book of Centuries often and don’t mention it, here.  The gallery of links is at the top of the page, if you want it.

Second, we watched this video.  It was short and a little violent for me (It says TV-PG on the History Channel), but it brought the scene home:  http://www.history.com/middle-ages/videos/dark-ages-the-franks—clovis-part-i

Then for the craft.  First I was thinking of using the Taco Bell trays we have and letting the kids glue Perler beads or those glass planter beads in it, to make a Fleur-de-Lis picture, something like this.  (It could also be done with buttons – which are harder to procure – or pennies).  But afterwards, what do you do with it?  Y’know?

Then I thought about string art in the shape of a Fleur-de-lis.  I’ve been wanting to do string art.  But it’s… not pretty, and not something we would display… and datta LOT of nails, and smashed fingers, and where would we get the wood, and… mmmmnno.  It’s an idea you may run with, if you like [aka if you have ONE child who’s 14 or something].  But I’m starting to want things we can either use or want to display.

So my next idea was to get wire and make a pendant in the shape of a fleur-de-lis.  If you like making jewelry, you may already have the supplies on hand.  But I don’t have the wire, and wasn’t especially fond of the look, and… mmmmnnno.  I’ll share the tutorial for you, but it’s not something we decided to do.

I went to bed on it, and as I was laying there, I started incorporating ideas. I like string art, but I have more yarn. Yarn art? We haven’t done that in years – some of the kids never have. But I like the wearable part.   And the kids are really into Ranger’s Apprentice, right now.  This would be SO up their alley…!   So… how about yarn art brooches? YES!!! Yes, that’s exactly it!

Start with printing off fleur-de-lis in the size that you’d like.  There’s a template picture here (click the graphic).  I printed ours at about three inches wide, and it was a little small.  Cut out the shape and have the kids trace it on cardboard.  They may need help cutting the shape out, depending on how thick your cardboard is.  Cereal boxes might bend too easily… but heavy corrugated might be too much.  Maybe more like a pizza take-out box, likely.

Next pull out your yarn scraps and little leftover balls, and the Elmer’s glue.  When we did this, we found that 100% cotton works FAR, FAR better than synthetic.  Synthetic wouldn’t stay on the cardboard, and was a mess.  The cotton worked perfectly… just hadda read the sleeves to see which were good.  Have the kids use the yarn to fill in the space, keeping it close and covering the surface.  Toothpicks help push the yarn around in the glue.

Then secure a safety pin to the back of the cardboard with sturdy tape.  The kids can use it to fasten towels, blankets, or bed-sheets into capes for their games.  (Or if you’re kids are like mine and are no fixated on getting vests for their Junior Ranger badges, this is another badge to add.)  It’s an easy project made with leftovers that will (hopefully!) look really great in the end.

NoTe:  This did NOT end up being a good craft day for us.  Our character study this week is ‘patience’, and this one brought out the EXACT opposite in the kids.  Partly it was my fault – we didn’t know about yarns being different, and I’d printed our template too small.  But man…!  We had some severe behavioral difficulties… so I’m not going to post what happened, today.  It was ugly.  Tomorrow I’ve told them we’re going to print them bigger, use cotton thread, and we’re doing it again.  Yes, again.  And we’re going to do a slower, more careful, more PATIENT job of it… with a good attitude.  We’ll post pictures after that.  But wOw… there was some fit-throwing over this, and it was not acceptable behavior.  Still… I have to have a blog post for the day, and… it’s going to be an incomplete one, until we try again on the morrow.

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