The Great Courses: Renaissance & Early Modern History

8 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 2,301 ratings

The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean Publisher's Summary

Take a riveting tour of the Italian peninsula, from the glittering canals of Venice to the lavish papal apartments and ancient ruins of Rome.

In these 24 lectures, Professor Bartlett traces the development of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, showing how the modern nation of Italy was forged out of the rivalries, allegiances, and traditions of a vibrant and diverse people.

This comprehensive portrait of Italian history opens an exciting new world-a grand mosaic of lustrous and storied cultures as distinctive as the people who helped build them. As you come to know these many "Italys," you'll see how the Italian states defined themselves against the others, competing for territory, trade, and artistic supremacy - and how the vestiges of these interactions are visible even today.

Among other things, you'll consider the rivalry between the Genoese and the Pisans, which stems from a nearly 800-year-old grudge; examine how the crusades influenced the development of Genoa, Pisa, and Venice; and explore Italy's troubled relationship with the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

You'll also get a glimpse into the lives of the powerful and influential, including Pope Paul IV, who championed the Roman Inquisition, and Luigi Gonzaga, who cut out the hearts of his enemies and nailed them to the doors of their palaces as a warning to others who might challenge his power.

As you get to know the distinctive personalities and events that define the peninsula, you'll gain fresh insights into the Italy of today. Surprising, enriching, always engaging, this course offers a unique perspective on one of the most dynamic and creative cultures of the modern world.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
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    • The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean

    • By: Kenneth R. Bartlett, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Kenneth R. Bartlett
    • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 260
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 234
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 233

    Take a riveting tour of the Italian peninsula, from the glittering canals of Venice to the lavish papal apartments and ancient ruins of Rome. In these 24 lectures, Professor Bartlett traces the development of the Italian city-states of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, showing how the modern nation of Italy was forged out of the rivalries, allegiances, and traditions of a vibrant and diverse people.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • European political history taken to the next level

    • By Quaker on 02-27-15

    Regular price: $34.95

    • A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts

    • By: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
    • Length: 24 hrs and 32 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 684
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 630
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 625

    During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called "the first modern society" and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.Those years hold a huge and captivating story. The English survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on earth.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Old-fashioned and inaccurate

    • By E. Stein on 02-26-14

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Conquest of the Americas

    • By: Marshall C. Eakin, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Marshall C. Eakin
    • Length: 12 hrs and 7 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 140
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 128
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 126

    Was Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492 the most important event in the history of the world? Professor Eakin's provocative answer is a resounding "Yes" - as he presents his case in an intriguing series of 24 lectures. These thoughtful lectures will remind you that when Columbus completed his voyage, he found a people unlike any he had ever known, living in a land unmentioned in any of the great touchstones of Western knowledge. You'll learn how the European world, animated by the great dynamic forces of the day, Christianity and commercial capitalism, reacted to Columbus's discovery.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Brilliant

    • By Cássio on 12-04-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition

    • By: Teofilo F. Ruiz, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Teofilo F. Ruiz
    • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 267
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 242
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 236

    Western civilization is closely associated with reason and science, and with exceptional accomplishments in art, architecture, music, and literature.Yet it has also been characterized by widespread belief in the supernatural and the irrational - with mystics who have visions of the divine and entire movements of people who wait in fervent anticipation of the apocalypse.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • For those who wonder why

    • By Christina on 10-07-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Other 1492: Ferdinand, Isabella, and the Making of an Empire

    • By: Teofilo F. Ruiz, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Teofilo F. Ruiz
    • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 128
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 118
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 115

    Ask anyone about the significance of the year 1492, and you're almost certain to hear something about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the New World. But there is also a perspective on 1492 far different than the one most of us know-one that is more complete and complex. A 1492 when there was no country called Spain and no language called Spanish.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great background for Latin American developments

    • By Jeremy on 06-02-15

    Regular price: $14.95

    • The Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations

    • By: Andrew C. Fix, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Andrew C. Fix
    • Length: 24 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 423
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 380
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 373

    Between 1348 and 1715, western Europe was fraught with turmoil, beset by the Black Plague, numerous and bitter religious wars, and frequent political revolutions and upheavals. Yet the Europe that emerged from this was vastly different from the Europe that entered it. By the start of the 18th century, Europe had been revitalized and reborn in a radical break with the past that would have untold ramifications for human civilization.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent! (...but the ending could be improved)

    • By FN2187 on 09-12-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • The Italian Renaissance

    • By: Kenneth R. Bartlett, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Kenneth R. Bartlett
    • Length: 18 hrs and 17 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 298
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 269
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 271

    The effects of the Italian Renaissance are still with us today, from the incomparable paintings of Leonardo da Vinci to the immortal writings of Petrarch and Machiavelli. But why was there such an artistic, cultural, and intellectual explosion in Italy at the start of the 14th century? Why did it occur in Italy? And why in certain Italian city-states such as Florence? Professor Bartlett probes these questions and more in 36 dynamic lectures.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great Course but need written text

    • By Listen on 07-04-14

    Regular price: $41.95

    • The Age of Henry VIII

    • By: Dale Hoak, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Dale Hoak
    • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 101
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 87
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 87

    Henry VIII, who ruled England for almost four decades, provokes questions. What is greatness? How should we judge character? Who or what can be said to "make" or cause history? England's most famous king ruled an island only about the size of Pennsylvania, 500 years ago - yet he remains instantly recognizable to this day. In this series of 24 revealing lectures, an honored teacher offers an intimate portrait of the monarch who, in a recent biographer's words, "changed the heart, mind, and face of Britain more than anything between the coming of the Normans and the coming of the factory"

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Fascinating and enthralling!

    • By Fara on 12-18-13

    Regular price: $34.95