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The Medieval World | [The Great Courses]

The Medieval World

Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages: one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era.
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Publisher's Summary

Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.

These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages - one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era. Drawing on history, literature, the arts, technology, and science, these lectures will deepen the way you understand not only the Middle Ages but everything that came afterward: From the Renaissance, to the Enlightenment, to your own world.

Filled with amazing insights, this series brings you closer than ever before to life as it was lived and felt. You'll meet the likes of William Caxton, England's first printer who not only printed and distributed a variety of works but also often had to translate them himself; learn about Hugh of Payns and the role of his Knights Templar - organized for the protection of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem - in the creation of the first modern bank; see how communities dealt with marriage in a time when the church had not yet drawn this institution into its orbit; and much more.

Rich with information and period detail (including revealing examples of medieval literature from the English, French, Norse, Icelandic, and Italian worlds), these lectures will dramatically increase your understanding of how lives in the Middle Ages were really lived.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Dr. Cosens-Hellstrom Northern Lower Michigan 12-10-13
    Dr. Cosens-Hellstrom Northern Lower Michigan 12-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent introduction to Medieval History!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This lecture series is an excellent introduction to the nuances of the Medieval World. The series is well detailed and interesting - enticing the listener to continue on to learn more about the progression of the Medieval World.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Dorsey Armstrong – was your favorite?

    The lecturer was easy to listen to. She made Medieval History, which could have been rather dry, come alive, allowing the listener to actually see, hear, smell, and feel the lives and environments of those living in Medieval times.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I would have loved to have been able to listen to this lecture series in one sitting, but the length prevented this. I certainly would not have wanted the lecture to be shorter, and listening in more than one sitting allowed for better absorption of the material.


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Armstrong is a lecturer I will be looking for in future lecture series, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her bring the Medieval World come alive.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rocco USA 10-04-13
    Rocco USA 10-04-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Prof. Armstrong is an rockstar. Loved her class."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Medieval World to be better than the print version?

    Its a University course, so no print version - and the audio version is awesome.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Medieval World?

    Many great moments, especially the various debunkings of myths everybody holds about the middle ages. I loved the chapter on the Plague, and how its consequences are explained both in a socio-cultural way and an economic way.


    What about Professor Dorsey Armstrong’s performance did you like?

    Clear, compelling, energetic. If I could go back to school, I'd love to learn from her.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Its a bit long for one sitting, but I've listened to it for hours in a row.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Prof. Drout's courses from the Modern Scholar, you will love this course.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey 09-24-13
    Tracey 09-24-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Very Easy to Listen To"
    What made the experience of listening to The Medieval World the most enjoyable?

    The way the Professor presented each of the lectures make listening to "lectures" very easy and enjoyable.


    What does Professor Dorsey Armstrong bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    In my opinion, you can tell she enjoys her subject matter. She paraphrases easily and with enough substance you don't feel like your missing anything. And where she thought you actually would be missing something, she told you so.


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this set of lectures and from that I will order more. Hopefully they are all as well presented as this one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Naib 09-23-14
    G. Naib 09-23-14
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    4
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    "Interesting Facts, but dumbed down and repetitive."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend this to a friend who has a university degree. As it can be at some times insultingly informal and sensationalist in its delivery.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The relevance of the Arthurian Saga to the early and high middle ages.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Buy focusing more on the historical events and their connection. It seems to target a annoyingly low level of academic fluency. The very interesting facts largely loose their appeal due to the way in which they are emphasised, e.g. the Ms. Armstrong quite often uses phrases like 'unimaginable to today's Americans' and 'my students are quite shocked when I tell them'.Furthermore there is a massive deal of repetition. In one instance during one of the later chapters on peasant life the Ms. Armstrong makes several repetitions from the chapter right before it. This should be the case in a special needs classroom, not in a "college level course".


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting time in history that deserves a better piece of work. Ms. Armstrong shows a high degree of knowledge and understanding in the field, however the structure and delivery make it a painful listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NoDumbName Hoboken, NJ United States 08-19-14
    NoDumbName Hoboken, NJ United States 08-19-14
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    "Absolutely a must!"

    As Dorsey Armstrong says, "most people think of the middle ages as a dark period between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance". So did I. But, in this gem of a series, she shows that the Middle Ages is a very interesting and period, full of colorful characters (King Arthur, for example), adventures (the crusades), achievements (the gothic cathedrals) and much, much more.
    Prof Armstrong's narration is very appealing. She is articulate, warm, funny at times, and her pronunciation is easy to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-15-14 Member Since 2013

    linbur0100

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    "Wonderful course. Very engaging."
    Where does The Medieval World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is an awesome course. She is a wonderful teacher, and makes the lectures so interesting you don't want them to end.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    NA. It is a history book. There are not "characters".


    Which scene was your favorite?

    NA. It is a history book. There are not "scenes".


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    NA. It would be a documentary.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 03-24-14
    Julia 03-24-14 Member Since 2008

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

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    "Great Overview"
    Where does The Medieval World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoyed this audio lecture more than others. The first few chapters are a bit difficult to keep up with since there are so many family relationships. However, once past that, the rest of the lectures are presented in an easy to follow format and well presented by Professor Armstrong. A great series. I listened to it twice!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Panama city, Fl, United States 03-16-14
    Scott Panama city, Fl, United States 03-16-14
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    "Well done!"
    Would you listen to The Medieval World again? Why?

    Very informative, and organized. Professor Armstrong made it very interesting, and was easy to listen too. I'm looking forward to her other books on this topic.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jackifus 01-17-14
    jackifus 01-17-14

    Jack

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    "Informative lecture, with piped-in applause"

    The lecturer has a pleasant, informal style that makes listening to this broad overview a pleasure.

    I find the "Great Courses" to be of uneven quality in general, but this particular lecture has been really satisfying in substance, organization, and presentation.

    I do wish the producers would leave out the Masterpiece theatre music and canned applause, they condescend to the listener and cheapen the experience.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandru Constantin Long Beach , CA 01-16-14
    Alexandru Constantin Long Beach , CA 01-16-14
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    "Fantastic series of lectures."
    Where does The Medieval World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A very interesting set of lectures about a time in history I tended to avoid. The lectures focused on the social aspect and life in the middle ages a side of history I prefer. It really got me interested in pre Roman Europe so Im excited to find something on that subject next.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Jim
    Twickenham, United Kingdom
    6/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good after a slow start"

    This gets off to a slow start if you're at all familiar with medieval history; I nearly gave up on it at the 30 minutes stage because it seemed to be covering really basic stuff. As with all the Great Courses though the lecturer really knows her stuff and the opening section is presumably intended to get all types of reader up to speed before she starts a series of lectures that have a really ambitious scope. For example, I knew about the peasants revolt in England but I didn't know about contemporary revolts in Italy. She's also interesting on the subject of the Arthurian legends, what they can tell us about England in the dark ages, the archeological evidence that aligns with them and the reasons they were re-written afterwards. As an approach this worked well for me because European society and institutions such as the church and various noble houses were strongly interconnected so a history which tries to paint a holistic picture feels like worthwhile if challenging approach to take. She's good on the details of day to day life as well giving us a picture that spans diets to underwear for ordinary folks.

    The Medieval World is informed and enjoyable. It goes for big picture and description rather than detail or rigorous analysis but it made for an enteraining listen and provided some new perspectives on a familiar period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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