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Historical Climatology- The Roman Empire


A video by Michael McCormick, Harvard University that discusses the link between science, history and climate change. The lecture discusses the history of Rome and Medieval Europe through the use of archaeological tools, genetics and computer science. It highlights some drastic climatic events that led to changes within the Roman Empire. Additionally, the lecture discusses the challenges that medieval societies faced in understanding, responding to, adapting to and mitigating environmental events.

Students will learn the role of Historical Studies in understanding impacts of climate change on the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe. They will also learn about the techniques developed and used by historians and climate scientists to study historical climate from a thousand years ago. Additionally, students will learn about the major historical climate crises.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What is historical climatology?
  2. Discuss the 4 phases of the climate during the Roman Empire
  3. How does history inform current climate action?
About Tool
Tool Name Connecting Roman and Medieval Climate and Historical Change
Discipline Humanities, Social Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline History, Historical Climatology, Archaeology, Anthropology, Roman Empire, Medieval Europe
Climate Topic Climate and Society
Type of tool Video (1 hr) 
Grade Level Undergraduate, Graduate
Location Global, Europe
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Yale University
Hosted at YouTube
Access Online
Computer Skills Basic


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