Two-minute tales from history, myth and fiction, accompanied by word games, grammar games and writing practice, all based on traditional school textbooks.

A to Z Index

‘Filioque’
two-part story
Music: Georgy Vasilyevich Sviridov; Matthew Locke
It started as an honest mistake, became a diplomatic standoff, and brought down an Empire.

IN 587, a provincial Synod in Toledo recited the Creed approved by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and declared that the Holy Spirit proceeds ‘from the Father and the Son’. Apparently, the bishops quite genuinely thought this was the Creed as used in the East, for they repeated Chalcedon’s declaration that the Creed must never be altered.

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Six Posts
The Spy
two-part story
Music: Edward Elgar
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.

ON his way home to Paros after a long-anticipated visit to Mount Athos, a young monk named Constantine Zervakos decided he had enough time before his ship left Thessalonica to nip into the Turkish-controlled city and visit the church of St Demetrius.

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The Crimean War
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
It was the first war to be covered by embedded correspondents, and the public did not like what they read.

ON 31st May, 1853, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia dispatched troops to Moldavia and Wallachia, long a matter of dispute with the Ottoman Empire, ostensibly to bolster Orthodox Christians there.

After the Russians sank Turkish ships at Sinope on the Black Sea, Britain, Austria and France, fearing Russian expansion into the West, declared war on 28th March, 1854.

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St Ahmed
two-part story
Music: Alexei Fyodorovich Lvov; Maxim Berezovsky
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.

AHMED was a curator of the library in seventeenth-century Constantinople. He had two Russian slave women, one a beautiful young girl whom he kept at home, and the other an older lady he allowed to go to church.

When she returned, Ahmed noticed, the two women would be closeted together for a time, and afterwards a delightful fragrance would hang around the younger one.

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The Fall of Constantinople
two-part story
Music: William Herschel; George Frideric Handel
Hospitality and sympathy, but no help - the Byzantine Emperor learns a bitter lesson about western diplomacy.

FROM 1399 to 1403, the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II toured Europe, drumming up support for the defence of Constantinople from the growing threat of the Turks. He even visited London, where Henry IV treated him to a Christmas joust.

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Florence Nightingale
two-part story
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Florence used her logical mind and society connections to save thousands of lives in the Crimean War.

AFTER reading distressing newspaper accounts of servicemen wounded in the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale, who at that time ran a women’s clinic in London, confided her frustrations to Sidney Herbert at the War Office.

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The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.

ONE day in 1705, the nuns of a convent on Kefalonia heard that pirates were toiling up the hill, intent on rape and plunder. So they hurried to their chapel, where they kept a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.

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All Posts
Tagged Ottoman Empire (7 posts)
page 1
1 ‘Filioque’
It started as an honest mistake, became a diplomatic standoff, and brought down an Empire.
2 St Ahmed
A Turkish official was itching to know the secret behind a Russian slave girl’s personal charm.
3 The Spy
In 1910, Constantine Zervakos, a young monk from the Greek island of Paros, found himself charged with espionage.
4 Florence Nightingale
Florence used her logical mind and society connections to save thousands of lives in the Crimean War.
5 The Fall of Constantinople
Hospitality and sympathy, but no help - the Byzantine Emperor learns a bitter lesson about western diplomacy.
6 The Crimean War
It was the first war to be covered by embedded correspondents, and the public did not like what they read.
page 2
7 The Sacred Snakes of Kefalonia
Once a year, regular as clockwork, the little snakes slither into the convent for a Feast of the Virgin Mary.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Visit. Side. Well.

JB Cramer was one of the finest pianists of his day, though his reverence for Mozart made his own music more popular in the drawing room than the concert hall.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley says that the pinnacle of political achievement is the government not of others, but of ourselves.
By John Keats
(1795-1821)
Poet John Keats speaks of the beauties of Autumn, her colours, her sounds and her rich harvest.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
Poet Percy Shelley calls on November’s sister months to watch by the graveside of the dead Year.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Dene’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Do you know ‘raised stitching on a cricket ball’ (4 letters), and ‘a 1901 Kipling novel’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with SWORD and finish with PEACE.
Do you know ‘situation of a golf ball’ (3 letters), and ‘the capital of the State of New York’ (6 letters)?
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
A word-making and word-searching game with a dash of strategy to it.
top topics
History (379)
Fiction (82)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles (Letters Game) Games with Words

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic