The Late Middle Ages-the two centuries from c. 1300 to c. 1500 - might seem like a distant era, but students of history are still trying to reach a consensus about how it should be interpreted. Was it an era of calamity or rebirth? Was it still clearly medieval or the period in which humanity took its first decisive steps into modernity? These 24 provocative lectures introduce you to the age's major events, personalities, and developments, and arms you with the essentials you need to form your own ideas about this age of extremes.
"An Excellent Overview of the Late Middle Ages"
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."
"Amazing Look at the Transition to the Middle Ages!"
If you were taught that the Middle Ages were a time of intellectual stagnation, superstition, and ignorance, you were taught a myth that has been utterly refuted by modern scholarship. As a physicist and historian of science James Hannam shows in his brilliant new book, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, without the scholarship of the "barbaric" Middle Ages, modern science simply would not exist. The Middle Ages were a time of one intellectual triumph after another.
Today we tend to separate questions of logic from questions of belief, philosophy from religion, reason from faith. But for 1,000 years during a pivotal era of Western thought, reason and faith went hand-in-hand in the search for answers to the most profound issues investigated by Christianity's most committed scholars.
"Professor Williams Blends Reason with History"
William's conquest of England arguably made him the most important figure in shaping the course of English history, but modern caricatures of this vitally important medieval figure are largely based on ignorance. William is a fascinating and complex figure, in many ways the quintessential warrior king of this period.
At the dawn of the last millennium in the year 1000, Europe was one of the world's more stagnant regions-an economically undeveloped, intellectually derivative, and geopolitically passive backwater, with illiteracy, starvation, and disease the norm for almost everyone. Yet only three centuries later, all of this had changed.
The Civilization of the Middle Ages incorporates current research, recent trends in interpretation, and novel perspectives, especially on the foundations of the Middle Ages and the Later Middle Ages of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A sharper focus on social history, Jewish history, women’s roles in society, and popular religion and heresy distinguish the book.
"Recommended for students"
A fascinating new portrait of Medieval Britain that brings together the everyday and the extraordinary. Using wide-ranging evidence, Martyn Whittock shines a light on Britain in the Middle Ages, bringing it vividly to life. Thus we glimpse 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master. The life of Dick Whittington illuminates the rise of the urban elite.
A History of the Middle Ages is the amazing story of European man in transition. It is a dramatic chronicle of 1,000 years of political, social, and economic transformation beginning with the dissolution of the classical Mediterranean civilization and ending with the first flowering of the Renaissance. It is also the story of two new religions, Christianity and Islam, both of which were destined to dominate the mind of every person in those new civilizations arising in their wake.
"A Stunning Achievement"
Drawing from both Christian and Islamic sources, Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain demonstrates that the clash of arms between Christians and Muslims in the Iberian peninsula that began in the early eighth century was transformed into a crusade by the papacy during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Successive popes accorded to Christian warriors willing to participate in the peninsular wars against Islam the same crusading benefits offered to those going to the Holy Land.
"An Overview, But Not For Beginners"
Modern beer has little in common with the drink that carried that name through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Looking at a time when beer was often a nutritional necessity, was sometimes used as medicine, could be flavored with everything from the bark of fir trees to thyme and fresh eggs, and was consumed by men, women, and children alike, Beer in the Middle Ages and Renaissance presents an extraordinarily detailed history of the business, art, and governance of brewing.
"A detailed and exhaustive study"
This work presents a composite view of medieval English university life. The author offers detailed insights into the social and economic conditions of the lives of students, their teaching masters and fellows. The experiences of college benefactors, women and university servants are also examined, demonstrating the vibrancy they brought to university life.
"Worth it if you stick it out"
Although it ended over 550 years ago, the Hundred Years' War still looms large in the historical consciousness of England and France, even if the name of the famous war is a misnomer. Actually a series of separate conflicts between the English and French monarchies, interspersed with periods of peace, its historical image is an odd one, in part because its origins were based on royal claims that dated back centuries.
In addition to lending the name Dracula to Bram Stoker's famous vampire, Vlad is known around the world by the cognomen Vlad the Impaler, due to his reputation for impaling thousands of his enemies. Vlad was reputed to be such a tyrant that his reputation and stories of his deeds spread across Germany and the rest of Europe during his lifetime.
In the time period between the fall of Rome and the spread of the Renaissance across the European continent, many of today's European nations were formed, the Catholic Church rose to great prominence, some of history's most famous wars occurred, and a social class system was instituted that lasted over 1,000 years.
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.
"Entertaining And Enlightening"
When a crusader army of Western European Franks took Jerusalem by storm on July 15, 1099, it was one of the more unexpected conquests in history. Everything seemed to be against them for the previous three years of crusades right up to the final siege, yet they finally prevailed. And when they did, they massacred most if not all of the population before establishing a Christian realm in a region that had been taken over by the Muslims in 634 CE.
Through his writing, Chaucer's wit, charm, and eloquence give us a deeper understanding of not only the time in which he lived, but of how human emotion, frailty, and fortitude are the base elements of human existence. Despite social upheaval and the changing fortunes of his patrons and peers, Chaucer remained a favored subject during three distinct and contrasting reigns. His experiences provided Chaucer an appreciation for his good (and bad) fortune - and that of others - made evident in his writing.
"I learned more about history than language."
William Shakespeare may have been the greatest playwright in the English language, but how does he measure up as a historian? In this brilliant comparison between the events and characters in Shakespeare's history plays and the actual events that inspired them, acclaimed historian John Julius Norwich examines the nine works that together amount to an epic masterpiece on England's most fascinating period.
"The program demands an optional headline"
The idea of a powerful woman in the Middle Ages seems like an oxymoron. Females in this time are imagined to be damsels in distress, trapped in a high tower, and waiting for knights to rescue them, all while wearing traffic-cones for a hat. After rescue, their lives improved little. Their career choices were to be either docile queens, housewives, or be burned at the stake for witchcraft. But what if this image of medieval women is a complete fiction? It turns out that it is. Powerful female rulers fill the Middle Ages.
"casual history reading"