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Publisher's Summary

Was King Arthur a real person? What about Robin Hood? Is the Holy Grail a cup, or something else, altogether? Did Europeans really burn millions of people at the stake for witchcraft, in the past? These are just a few of the questions you will explore with the help of medieval scholar Dorsey Armstrong as she reveals the truth about the stories we continue to tell about the medieval period. Some contain nuggets of truth, others are wholly fabricated, but all of them can tell us something about the past.

From films like Braveheart and Excalibur to literature such as Ivanhoe and Morte d’Arthur, the years between 500 and 1500 have generated amazing stories of knights and damsels, superstitions and magic; some of these stories even made it into our grade school history curriculum. But what were those years really like? Known, somewhat inaccurately, as the “Middle Ages,” this period was not merely a transition from Roman antiquity to the Renaissance, but a vibrant time full of people just as curious, innovative, malicious, joyful, confused, ambitious, complex - in other words, just as human - as in any other period of history.

The 10 enlightening (and often humorous) lectures of Medieval Myths and Mysteries will show you how far from the “dark” times of legend these centuries were. Uncover the facts about the Knights Templar. Reveal the truth behind the tales of legendary creatures like the Questing Beast and the unicorn. Trace the events of the Black Death and the ways it altered the world in its wake, and much more. 

With Professor Armstrong, you will dig deep into the ways that later generations reshaped the narrative of the medieval years and perpetuated the myths of a simpler and less civilized age, which was, in fact, much richer and more complex than many of us have been led to believe.

©2019 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

Our favorite moments from Medieval Myths & Mysteries

Chapter 2, Lecture 1: Misconceptions about the Middle Ages
  • Chapter 2, Lecture 1: Misconceptions about the Middle Ages
Two conflicting views of the Middle Ages
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Chapter 4, Lecture 3: The Holy Grail
  • Chapter 4, Lecture 3: The Holy Grail
"Who was King Arthur?"
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Chapter 11, Lecture 10: The Medieval World and Game of Thrones
  • Chapter 11, Lecture 10: The Medieval World and Game of Thrones
Discovering history through Game of Thrones.
-0.00
  • Chapter 2, Lecture 1: Misconceptions about the Middle Ages
  • Two conflicting views of the Middle Ages
  • Chapter 4, Lecture 3: The Holy Grail
  • "Who was King Arthur?"
  • Chapter 11, Lecture 10: The Medieval World and Game of Thrones
  • Discovering history through Game of Thrones.

"We'll also put to rest many long-held misconceptions about medieval people
and the world they lived in. Discovering along the way that people then
and people now are more alike than they are different."

Professor Dorsey Armstrong, The Great Courses
.

About the Professor

Dr. Dorsey Armstrong is professor of English and medieval literature at Purdue University, where she has taught since 2002. The holder of an AB in English and creative writing from Stanford University and a PhD in medieval literature from Duke University, she also taught at Centenary College of Louisiana and at California State University, Long Beach. Dorsey applied her extensive knowledge to audio lectures on Medieval Myths & Mysteries. Her research interests include medieval women writers, late-medieval print culture, and the Arthurian legend, on which she has published extensively and includes the 2009 book Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur: A New Modern English Translation Based on the Winchester Manuscript and Gender and the Chivalric Community in Malory's Morte d'Arthur, published in 2003. In January 2009, she became editor-in-chief of the academic journal Arthuriana, which publishes the most cutting-edge research on the legend of King Arthur, from its medieval origins to modern scholarship.

What listeners say about Medieval Myths & Mysteries

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting, but centered on Britain

However interesting, it is mainly centered in Britain myths and legends. I missed more information on other events happening in other regions. The main themes are king Arthur, Robin Hood, the black plague, beasts & comparison between medieval Britain and Game of Thrones. I know is a long period where many things happened and found it really interesting, however for the sake of consistency it should be called "Myths and Legends of Medieval Britain".

20 people found this helpful

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Unprofessional audiobook format

I couldn't forward, there weren't chapters. Once the book stopped playing due to sleep timer, it reverted to lecture one which I would have to listen to to get to next lecture. I don't have any interest in the knights templar.

14 people found this helpful

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Perfectly acceptable.

Armstrong seems quite pleased with herself - more power to her - but her energy isn’t as infectious as she assumes, and she spends a good amount of time correcting errors I’ve yet to hear even a single person make. Still, I’d listen to other courses from her; this one felt a bit rushed and little shallow, but held promise enough to pique my interest. Here’s hoping the next feels more substantial.

10 people found this helpful

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  • rs
  • 05-13-20

written with a tone of arrogance

seemed like my kind of book but I lost it when she talked about nutty conspiracy theorists but believes that Jesus was a real person and not a copy story of Egypt's horus god.

6 people found this helpful

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Love her lectures

I've listened to Professor Armstrong's lectures before and have always thoroughly enjoyed them. I've actually listened multiple times to her King Arthur and Black plague ones. This was a lot of fun, great researched material, & I adore the presenter.

11 people found this helpful

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Can't get enough of this!

My library has MANY books about Medieval times. This is by far the best . Dorsey Armstrong has hit this one out of the park. I felt totally immersed in the Dark Ages while listening . Her presentation and content was alive and refreshingly entertaining, yet educational and thought provoking. I'm looking forward to listening to this many times over.

6 people found this helpful

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Well read and researched

The author did a good job with reseaching and reading her work. Well done on this book.

12 people found this helpful

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juvenile narration

When the author uses "totally" - replete with valley girl accent - she loses credibility. The legends are boring and have been debunked many times already. Did not learn anything new and the juvenile style of narration drove me crazy. Struggled to make it to half way mark. Waste of time.

2 people found this helpful

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A Good Starting Point

I have listened to most of Prof. Armstrong's other lectures, and this is a good primer for those. There's not a lot of new information if you've listened to all the other Great Courses Lecture's she's done, but if you can get a feel for the time period without having to dedicate yourself to 12-20 hours of listening. It's a good place to start, and even if you have listened to the other courses, there are enough new things that it shouldn't bore you. Over all a good place to start if you're interesting in the Medieval period.

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Fascinating!

Wonderful read! Ms. Armstrong is witty, insightful and just plain interesting to listen to. I highly recommend this to anyone who has an interest in this particular topic.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jill Kirtley
  • 07-28-20

Fantastic!

It’s a highly informative and often humorous insight into Medieval Myths, and Mysteries, and it has certainly whet my appetite for more things Medieval. Great narration too!

1 person found this helpful