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English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

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The United States of the Ionian Islands
Music: Nikolaos Mantzaros
The British liberated the Ionian islands from Napoleon, then gave them fifty happy years and the game of cricket.

AFTER the Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and much of Greece in 1453, the Ionian Islands were lucky. Most were under Venetian control, and flourished as part of a trading bloc which brought prosperity and respected local culture.

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The Third Siege of Missolonghi
Music: Gioachino Rossini
The cruelty of the Ottoman Turks so shocked Europe that the tide of opinion turned against them.

FROM 15th April, 1825, to 10th April the following year, the city of Missolonghi near Corinth in Greece was subjected to a pitiless siege by the ruling Ottoman Empire.

It was the third siege suffered by the town, and the most devastating.

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Richard Church
Music: John Field
The headstrong Irish boy became part of the Greek resistance movement that won independence in 1832.

AT sixteen, Richard Church ran away from home in Cork and enlisted in the British Army. Later, he made a name for himself in the liberation of the Ionian Islands from Napoleon in 1809, and stayed on, as commanding officer of two new Greek regiments in British pay.

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Demetrius the Diver
two-part story
Music: Muzio Clementi
A survivor of the infamous massacre of Chios in 1821 goes to Marseilles, but discovers he has not entirely left the Turks behind.
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

IN the port of Marseilles lived a poor Greek named Demetrius Omeros, who scraped together a living by diving for stray francs and copper sous. He had appeared in the city shortly after the massacre of Chios, but except for this and for living frugally on melon, bread and sour wine, little else was known of him.

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‘Hail, Liberty!’
Music: Edward Elgar
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

WE knew thee of old,
Oh divinely restored,
By the light of thine eyes
And the light of thy Sword.

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The Greeks, the Governor and the Potatoes
Music: Frederic Chopin
John Kapodistrias had an instinct for how a long-oppressed people might think.

SIR Walter Raleigh is said to have introduced potatoes to Elizabethan England, and Antoine-Augustin Parmentier is synonymous with their cultivation in 18th century France. In the case of Greece, the credit must go to John Kapodistrias, the country’s first Head of State following the revolution of 1821.

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Byron and Hercules
Music: Traditional Greek Song (arr. piano and voice)
Lord Byron could not have hoped for a better omen in his support for the oppressed people of Greece.

IN 1815, the poet Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke in Seaham Hall, County Durham.

In that same year, and in that same town, a small trading ship was launched, named Hercules after the legendary Greek hero.

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All Posts
Tagged Greek War of Independence (7 posts)
page 1
1 The United States of the Ionian Islands
The British liberated the Ionian islands from Napoleon, then gave them fifty happy years and the game of cricket.
2 Demetrius the Diver
Based on an article by Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
A survivor of the infamous massacre of Chios in 1821 goes to Marseilles, but discovers he has not entirely left the Turks behind.
3 The Greeks, the Governor and the Potatoes
John Kapodistrias had an instinct for how a long-oppressed people might think.
4 Richard Church
The headstrong Irish boy became part of the Greek resistance movement that won independence in 1832.
5 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
6 Byron and Hercules
Lord Byron could not have hoped for a better omen in his support for the oppressed people of Greece.
page 2
7 The Third Siege of Missolonghi
The cruelty of the Ottoman Turks so shocked Europe that the tide of opinion turned against them.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Verb or Noun?

Use each of the words below once as a noun and once as a verb:

Share. Trade. Class.

The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone explains that a truly ‘exceptional nation’ respects the equality and rights of all nations.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
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 ‘Icy’
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 ‘a town like Bath’ (3 letters), and ‘deteriorate’ (6 letters)?
Do you know ‘brainy fellow’ (7 letters), and ‘drink’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with DOOR and finish with STEP.
Divide one number by another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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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: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic