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The Early Middle Ages Lecture
The Early Middle Ages
Written by: 
The Great Courses
Narrated by: 
Professor Philip Daileader
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The Early Middle Ages Lecture

The Early Middle Ages

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Publisher's Summary

The Early Middle Ages - the years from A.D. 650 to 1000 - were crucial to Europe's future social and political development. These 24 lectures trace a journey from Scandinavia across northern and central Europe to the farthest reaches of the Byzantine and Islamic empires, providing an exciting new look an era often simply called the "Dark Ages."

Given the period's dismal reputation and its temporal remoteness from the 21st century, you'll be surprised to learn about some of the most challenging questions historians have ever had to tackle: Why did the Roman Empire fall? Why did the ancient world give way to the medieval world? Why did Christian monotheism become the dominant religion in Europe? You'll meet some of the era's exciting figures, such as St. Augustine and Justinian, and you'll consider the extent to which the historical realities of King Arthur and Charlemagne match up to the legends that have become attached to their names. You'll also look at the era's effect on the Vikings, the rise of the Carolingians, and the golden age of Islamic rule in Spain.

Professor Daileader also explores the contrasting historical theories offered by two extremely influential historians: Edward Gibbon, the English author of the monumental The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, whose explanations closely followed those of the Roman moralists of the 4th and 5th centuries; and Henri Pirenne, the Belgian thinker who injected a newfound emphasis on social and especially economic factors into the analysis of history.

You'll see why the era belies its reputation as dark and dismal, but you'll come away with a new appreciation for this once-lost era.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Mike 07-03-14
    Mike 07-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing Look at the Transition to the Middle Ages!"
    Any additional comments?

    This was an excellent read! Professor Philip Daileader is an excellent lecturer and scholar and you probably won't be disappointed by anything you get from him.

    This lecture series takes you from the late Roman Empire around the time of Constantine and traces the transition of Europe from late antiquity to the middle ages. You will learn about the collapse of Roman rule in the West, the continuation of the Roman empire in the East through the Byzantine rulers, the Barbarian invasions of Western Europe, the rise of Islam, the emergence of the Carolingian Holy Roman Empire, and the eventual splitting off of that empire into what would become the modern states of France and Germany. He covers all major historical events to about 1000AD.

    If you would like to learn more about how Europe went from a unified Roman empire to the divided and complicated state it is in now, I cannot recommend another resource more highly. You will learn about the foundations of all the modern nation states, including England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This was an invaluable read for me as it helped me connect all of those dots!

    Also, the professor tries to highlight not just political history, but also cultural, economic, religious, and social aspects of history in his overview.

    This is part one of a three part series offered by the Great Courses that will take you through the entire middle ages up to the year 1500. I highly recommend the whole series.

    If you are at all interested in the topic, and enjoy a good read about history, you will not be disappointed! Enjoy!!!

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hellocat Centurion, South Africa 06-23-14
    Hellocat Centurion, South Africa 06-23-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great course, better Professor"

    This period of history can be rather dry for a variety of reasons, but Professor Daileader not only manages to put together a course that is fascinating throughout, but his delivery is excellent. There is even a fair amount of humour, which I almost never find in the Great Courses series.

    Professor Daileader is easily the best orator in the Great Courses series, and second only to Michael C. Drout from the Modern Scholar series.

    Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 03-16-14
    Mary Elizabeth Reynolds SUMMERVILLE, SC, United States 03-16-14 Member Since 2013

    author of Lowcountry Legend's series

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Early Middles"

    I enjoy everything that this professor does, but I do enjoy this time period this best. He has such a good sense of humor and relevance.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gayle Gleichauf 04-01-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    7
    2
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    "recommended"

    The prof had a sense of humor and way with words. Breaks the lessons into coherent building blocks that tell the whole story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 03-31-15
    Ben 03-31-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Excellent story telling."

    Excellent story telling. Lecturer is engaging, funny and brings a sense of modern and approachability to an underrated time period.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    serine 02-14-16
    serine 02-14-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    306
    ratings
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    335
    163
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    "Excellent lecture series"

    Excellent review of how religion, politics, family structure, language, etc changed as humans colonized and conquered Rome, Germany, Spain, and England. This course details the power struggles between families as the grappled for control over empires and kingdoms (did family feuds or outsiders bring them down?). I feel as if I learned more about earlier and later time periods. For me, this filled in some gaps.

    The course itself is really short (12 hours on Audible). Very digestible. No prior knowledge required. Absolutely recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 08-20-15
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 08-20-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome history lesson"

    This is a great series of lecture about a fascinating period of history. The professor does a particularly great job at explaining the historiography of this topic, and weaving that into our understanding of the early middle ages. It turns out there aren't too many primary sources a historian can pull from when it comes to this topic, but what is extrapolated is fascinating nonetheless.

    My only small complaint about this course is that Professor Daileader's tone sometimes takes on an air of "this is too complicated to explain, but I'll painfully try to explain it to you." It's not quite condescension, it's just a very apparent "pained" tone he sometimes takes on. I found this occasionally distracting.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gawel 08-18-15
    Gawel 08-18-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    "Very engaging"

    The way this lecture is taught is simply superb. Can't wait to listen to the other two.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Y. freeman Texas 06-30-15
    Y. freeman Texas 06-30-15 Member Since 2016

    Sincere shopper

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Great detail on a period that I was so curious about."

    Finally learned exactly what the fall of Rome encompassed. As well as how Europe was formed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AAsama 05-29-15
    AAsama 05-29-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great overview of the dark ages"

    This was a really good audiobook for covering the gaps i had in knowledge about the dark ages. A difficult period to understand but these lectures were simple to absorb and the lecturer was engaging. Recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • David
    Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom
    12/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent insight into a little understood period"

    This is the best course I have listened to this far from the Great Courses. The material covered is not a period I knew well and the lecturer had an enjoyably light style with a nicely dry sense of humour.

    What I particularly enjoyed was the comprehensive coverage of the subject including low and high culture; religion and politics; war and peace. Really a superb series of lectures

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    6/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good"

    Really good, I learnt a lot more than I expected, good delivery. Three is the series, started listening to the third (unaware of the second, before driving) and the start is excellent. So go for it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    1/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The perfect lecture course"

    I have listened to many of the Great Courses series, and this ranks amongst the very best. This seemingly remote period came alive completely in the hands of Professor Daileader and I became almost addicted to the lectures. It is a beautifully crafted course: each lecture has a clearly defined topic, beginning with a summary of the last lecture and ending with a short review. And the presentation is just wonderful. For detailed information about content I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site, which has a list of lecture titles. Or you could just take my word for it and download this course now -- I cannot recommend it highly enough.
    I will now move seamlessly on to Professor Daileader's next course on the High Middle Ages......

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    4/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent introduction and framework"

    This is a great introduction to a topic which I had never previously tackled in depth. It is entertaining, and educational and gives a great framework in which to build.
    I learned about late antiquity and how it developed into the Early Middle Ages. I learned about theories about how population and economic decline occurred early in the period and how a turning point was reached during the lifetime of Charlemagne.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eliel Cohen
    4/23/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent trilogy"

    this trilogy of middle ages is so informative and thorough and fascinating. one of the most rewarding ive listened to and I intend to relisten to all some day

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Aoife Maguire
    2/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Lecture"

    Learned a lot, even though I've studied this period before. The lecture was easy to listen to and well structured

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Booka
    England
    8/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Passionate lectures about an interesting period"

    I've listened to lots of Great Courses and this is one of the best because of his passion and the period.
    He covers a long period of 700 years when Saint Augustine and Charlemagne were key players and a part of history that not many people seem to know much about. It's hard to keep track of so many groups of people: the Visigoths, the Arabs, the Vikings, the Merovingians and Carolingians but the course brings them a bit closer to the present.
    I'm looking forward to the next one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • AReader
    London
    8/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Informative and enjoyable"

    Really a pleasure to listen to. A random mention of Charlemagne in the media made me realise I knew nothing about all this and I am now much better informed. I had heard terms like Holy Roman Emperor and Byzantium without really focussing on what they meant. I now have a clear general picture of how the Roman Empire was divided in two, how the two entities developed, how this fitted in with historical figures like the Venerable Bede, and how it all led to Western civilisation today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ms. S. Smith
    UK
    11/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Content great but narration slightly annoying"
    What did you like best about The Early Middle Ages? What did you like least?

    This is a period of history that I know relatively little about and especially the fall,of the Roman Empire was really interesting. The only fly in the ointment was the narrator's irritating use of a long, drawn out "aaaand" every couple of words which made listening quite hard going after only a short time. I persevered however because the subject interested me.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical content obviously.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Pace yes, but I would probably read another work by this author. rather than listen to him narrate another audio book.


    Did The Early Middle Ages inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, I have already bought additional historical audio books from the Great Courses series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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