For part one see here
At the end of the week it was our plan to dress up and conduct our own Council at Clermont. Each of the children would have a chance to recite some of Urban’s speech either verbatim or in their own words. The whole event would be full of propaganda, one of the most persuasive methods known to man bar torture! (and we weren’t going there!). A poster had already been designed and created to display on the day and we had leaflets in the making to hand out as scrolls. We had looked into the techniques used for transmitting propaganda messages and tried to apply those which could have conceivably be used all those years ago. The techniques we used were:
- Repetition of an idea, using a poster, leaflets and the actual speech to ensure the message is heard or seen, and often.
- Attack of one’s opponents – this is particularly prevalent in Robert the Monk’s speech
- Using the Pope as a figure of authority and the associated power, through the words he spoke and replicating them where ever possible
- Using an aspect of fear (in this case the use of heaven verses hell)
- Ensuring success as ‘God is on our side’, this gives participants a feeling of ‘inevitable victory’
- ‘Dictat’ whereby only one course of action is presented as a viable option
PREPARING FOR THE COUNCIL
The first thing for the children to do was to familiarise themselves with the two speeches (Robert the Monk and Fulcher of Chartres). They watched the interpretations of the speeches on YouTube. I then asked them to highlight the following in different colours:
1. how often God is mentioned
2. how often the (perceived) Muslim’s misdemeanours are mentioned
3. the persuasive devices / words used
It was this week I had decided to have the first historical discussions of the term with the goal of getting the children to think. For our needs this discussion would be based on the concept of propaganda, which is powerful persuasion at best and coercion at worse. I jotted down some questions in the early hours of a very wakeful night (I still can’t decide whether insomnia is a blessing or a curse). I added bits and pieces to it the next day so I apologise if it is untidy looking – welcome to the world of Claire!
Next we made a poster, attempting to re-use the pope’s words and the imagery he had created in his speech:
And finally we made leaflets which we sealed with a wax seal into scrolls to be handed out at the event. Using a free word leaflet template we downsized a photo of our poster, looked up some more Latin to use as a head line and wrote a leaflet calling the knights of God to fight for their Holy lands (the children between them dictated to me what they wanted to say, whilst I typed- the whole process took less than an hour). I printed it out onto parchment paper in black and white:
The children tried to squeeze as much propaganda inside the scroll as humanly possible, using many ideas planted by Urban. This leaflet was then rolled up and we used a medieval wax stub and seal (which we bought at the Battle of Hastings re-enactment last year) to create a scroll which could then be handed out at Council:
On our final day the children dressed up, one as a pope and the others as knights. Here they are during our very own Council of Clermont:
Whilst I didn’t go into a huge amount of depth and the children weren’t required to memorize any of the speech (which I had considered), I think we did fairly well given we only spent one week on topic. I am trying to learn a lesson from last year and move through topics more swiftly; this has meant setting myself time limits for each topic we tackle. Urg! I hate time restraints!!