The Middle Ages is not only a period of Romance, but of legends, tales, and mysteries. In this course, Professor Thomas F. Madden guides listeners through the most famous and enduring narratives of medieval Europe. Beginning with King Arthur, Professor Madden peels back layers of exaggeration and fiction to lay bare the historical basis for the mythical king. Madden then examines myths of the medieval church, sexual myths of the Middle Ages, and myths about Robin Hood and the Shroud of Turin, all the time imparting an understanding of just what medieval people thought about their planet.
©2014 Thomas F. Madden (P)2014 Crescite Group, LLC
Of all the courses that Thomas Madden has presented for The Modern Scholar series, this is perhaps his best.
He chooses some very interesting topics for discussion and treats each one with the respect and skepticism it deserves. One never gets the idea that he is pushing an agenda or trying to convince us of anything, but simply lets the facts speak for themselves.
My only criticism would be that the course is so short. I think there are many more mysteries he could have dealt with, such as those surrounding the Crusades.
Other than that, highly recommended.
This book comprises 8 30 minute lectures which seek to investigate some of the more well known
myths/isteries/legends of the middle ages.
The topics include; king Arthur, the Holy Grail, Witchcraft and the Inquisition, pope Joan, chastity belts,
Robin Hood, the Flat Earth and the Shroud of Turin.
Each lecture introduces us to the topic, spends some time deconstructing/investigating its veracity and
then goes on to describe how the myth or mistery evolved over time.
Naturally, the more you know about any of these topics then the less you will get out of them, since each
lecture is only 30 minutes long.
Personally I know quite a lot about the legends of king Arthur and Robin hood and am quite familiar with
the inquisition. Therefore I found these lectures less interesting than other such as the one on pope
Joan, who I had never heard of before.
The lecturers style is interesting and engaging, though at times it could tend to be a bit on the dry side.
The book is a short, light listen with enough nuggets of information to hold your attention.
Nice as an intro to several topics, but too brief to get into any depth. Glad I listened. Now I'll look into some of the topics more throughly.
Say something about yourself!
I'm more of an ancient history person, so my knowledge of the Middle Ages is very basic. What I know about Medieval times comes from a general humanities education and "what everybody knows" from films and novels. Luckily, those are the topics he covers! Find out the truth behind the legends of:
1. King Arthur
2. The Holy Grail
3. Female Pope Joan
4. Dungeons, Witches, Inquisitions, & Torture
5. Sexual Myths – Chasity Belts & Right of the 1st Night Sex
6. Robin Hood
7. Belief in the Flat Earth
8. Shroud of Turin
We still talk about all of these subjects in modern pop culture, and I didn't need any additional outside knowledge of Medieval times to understand and enjoy the lectures. Watch out for me at my next cocktail party!
I really enjoy listening to Thomas F. Madden. His courses are well organized, focused, and arranged in a way where the themes are easy to follow. His courses are wonderful for someone who is new to the subject matter. He presents me with what I need to know and doesn't go off on academic tangents. His lecture style is engaging while being neither over the top nor dull and dry. Also, the recording itself didn't have annoying vocal tics.
good content, information
Not relevant here
The mysteries he selects to talk about are interesting topics and if I had to guess, I think he gave good information about them. Much of the history comes from primary sources and I am always impressed with that. I can only believe it because it makes sense. I have never been able to believe that chastity belts were a real thing!
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