Sunday, September 24, 2006

Week of Sept 25: Europe & Arabia / TE Lawrence, WWI and Arab independence

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Lawrence of Arabia is an award-winning, classic and true story of the early 1900's and the conflict between Arabs and Europeans (and, by extension, America). The story centers on the adventures of an unusual British scholar-soldier, T.E. Lawrence.

In class:
* complete MidEast nations powerpoints
* Tues map quiz on the Arabian peninsula. Deadline for 5 Pillars of Islam project.
* Thurs open notes quiz on SW Asia and Lawrence.
* viewing the movie, which is rather long, and using my guide to the characters and plot.

First installment of the Lawrence bio - from

Thomas E. Lawrence: British archaeological scholar, adventurer, military strategist, and the writer of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1927), an ambitious work, which combines a detailed account of the Arab revolt against the Turks and the author's own spiritual autobiography. T.E. Lawrence's (1888-1935) enigmatic personality still fascinates biographers and his legend has survived many attempts to discredit his achievements.

T.E. Lawrence was better known in his lifetime as 'Lawrence of Arabia' because of the dashing role he played in helping the Arabs against the Turks during World War I. At 31 Lawrence was an international celebrity but, embittered by his country's Middle East policies, he chose a life of obscurity and died at the age of 46 after a motorcycle accident.

Lawrence was born in Tremadoc, Caernarvonshire, Wales, the illegitimate son of Thomas Chapman. His father left his wife, who had refused to allow a divorce. He set up a new home with Sarah Junner, a woman who had been governess in his household. Lawrence was the third son of this union.

By the age of four Lawrence started to read books and newspapers. He was educated at Oxford High School and subsequently won a Welsh scholarship to Jesus College, Oxford. In the summer of 1909 he began a walking tour in Syria, Palestine, and parts of Turkey.

By September he had covered some 1,100 miles. Lawrence visited 36 crusader castles, made careful notes and then wrote a thesis on 'The Influence of the Crusades on European Military Architecture - to the End of the XIIth Century". In 1910 Lawrence obtained a first class degree in history and was awarded a research fellowship for travel by Magdalen College.

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