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Royal seal of Henry IV

The end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period (c. AD 650 - c. 1750). During this period, major civilisations around the world came into contact with each other. Social, economic, religious and political beliefs were often challenged and significantly changed, underpinning the shaping of the modern world.
Key inquiry question #1: 
What key beliefs and values emerged and how did they influence societies?
Key inquiry question #2: 
Which significant people, groups and ideas from this period have influenced the world today?

Content summary

The way of life in Medieval Europe (social, cultural, economic and political features) and the roles and relationships of different groups in society (ACDSEH008)


  • describe everday life of men, women and children in Medieval European society
  • identify the roles and relationships of key groups in Medieval Europe society, using a range of sources

Background Notes for Teachers

This is a royal seal used by Henry IV. It used as a stamp or 'seal of approval by the king to show that it was an official document. The seal survived but the document to which it was attached has disappeared. It is dated between 1399 and 1413.

On the rim of the seal you can still see part of an inscription. In full this should read: 'HENRICUS DEI GRATIA REX FRANCIE ET ANGLIE ET DNS HIBERNIE, which translates as 'Henry by the Grace of God King of France and England Lord of Ireland'.

The king is shown on both sides of the seal. On one side he is shown seated in the centre, wearing a crown and holding a sceptre and orb. On the reverse he is shown with armour, helmet, shield and sword and mounted on a charging warhorse.

Student Activities

Questions on the source

Students conduct research on Henry IV of England and how he came to be king of England.

Number of set tasks: 2

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K - 10

A student:

  • HT4-3 describes and assesses the motives and actions of past individuals and groups in the context of past societies
  • HT4-5 identifies the meaning, purpose and context of historical sources


Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • read and understand historical texts
  • use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS206, ACHHS149)

Analysis and use of sources

  • locate, select and use information from a range of sources as evidence (ACHHS210, ACHHS153)
  • draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources (ACHHS211, ACHHS154)

Perspectives and interpretations

  • identify and describe different perspectives of participants in a particular historical context (ACHHS212, ACHHS155)


  • identify and locate a range of relevant sources, using ICT and other methods (ACHHS208, ACHHS151)

Explanation and communication

  • develop historical texts, particularly explanations and historical arguments that use evidence from a range of sources (ACHHS213, ACHHS156)
  • Significance: the importance of an event, development, group or individual and their impact on their times or later periods

Learning across the curriculum

  • Information and communication technology capability
  • Literacy
  • Difference and diversity