Edward Plantagenet (Edward I) was King of England between 1272 and 1307. He helped his father put down the barons’ rebellions, and took part in a crusade to the Holy Land. His father died while he was travelling home, and on his return he was crowned king. As king he conquered Wales and began a war with Scotland, expelled all Jews from England, reformed laws, and permanently established Parliament. Modern historians are divided as to whether he was a good king or not, but his subjects regarded him as the medieval ideal of a soldier king and man of faith. He is also known as Edward Longshanks (due to his great height) and the Hammer of the Scots.
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city founded in 667 BC. It was besieged and taken by Rome in 196 AD and rebuilt by the emperor Septimius Severus. In 330 AD the Roman Emperor (and first Christian Emperor) Constantine I built an imperial residence there, modelling it on Rome as the new capital of the Empire. After his death the city took his name, becoming Constantinople. When the Roman Empire split, Constantinople remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire). Constantinople was a very powerful city, sitting on the route between Europe and Asia, and controlling the passage from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. It was a centre of art, learning and culture for hundreds of years. In 1453, the city was besieged and captured by the Ottoman Turks and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Today it is the capital of modern Turkey and is called Istanbul.