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Medieval Myths & Mysteries  By  cover art

Medieval Myths & Mysteries

By: Dorsey Armstrong, The Great Courses
Narrated by: Dorsey Armstrong
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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.

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.
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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.

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