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CD Soundtracks are the entire audio portion of this video course. They contain some references to visual images, animations, graphics and content designed for the video experience.
Digital Soundtracks are the entire audio portion of this video course. They contain some references to visual images, animations, graphics and content designed for the video experience.
These are just three of the many turning points in the history of medieval Europe that prove the Middle Ages were far from “dark.” On the contrary, the era was full of fascinating figures and world-altering events. Learning and innovation flourished, with the printing press, Arabic numerals, the stirrup, and the heavy plow all being introduced into Western society during this time.
Despite these landmark developments exerting far-reaching influence over the course of history, few people have a firm grasp of the medieval narrative or how its ripples gave way to everything that followed.
For an accurate picture of how the political, social, and religious structure of present-day Europe came to be—and even why we’re speaking English today—studying the key events between the years 500 to 1500 is of critical import.
Turning Points in Medieval History delivers an unparalleled look at these moments that profoundly changed the arc of history. Presented in 24 gripping lectures by medievalist and popular Great Courses Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, this course weaves the era’s vast array of disparate events into an interconnected tapestry that illuminates why nothing exists in a vacuum.
Explore the Forces that Shaped Modern Europe
Beginning with the fall of Rome—the event that created the medieval world and sent shockwaves reverberating through it—you’ll discover how each episode played a role in sowing the seeds of the modern world. Some lectures provide an in-depth analysis of events that are likely to be familiar, while others may surprise even those well-versed in this period.
As you delve into the many medieval conflicts, hardships, and inventions, you’ll encounter five recurring themes that help you get a handle on the material:
You’ll investigate events, such as the Norman conquest of England in 1066, where the impact was immediate and tangible. In others, like the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western churches, the importance was not recognized for years. Some developments had effects so gradual that their significance can only be recognized from the vantage point of history.
You’ll also touch on a few false turning points, moments that medieval people pointed to as marking a significant shift, but that didn’t really have much impact at all.
As you might expect for a course titled Turning Points in Medieval History, war figures prominently. Here, you’ll come to understand the ways in which a single battle, leader’s decision, or stroke of luck changed the fates of nations.
Among other notable conflicts, you’ll delve into
An Eye-Opening Account of History
Even if you’re a history buff, Professor Armstrong’s dynamic lectures may have you rethinking what you thought you knew. Lecture 16 dispels the notion that the Magna Carta was the most pivotal event of 1215 for its contributions to the development of human rights and justice. Instead, you’ll learn it’s the meeting of the Fourth Lateran Council that is the single most important event to have occurred in that year—and probably the entire 13th century.
Unlike King John’s reluctant acceptance of the Magna Carta, this gathering had an immediate impact on everyone in the medieval world both inside and outside the Christian community, from peasants to popes, because it
Throughout the course, you’ll probe the many ways religion was a powerful force across the millennium, inspiring both acts of great virtue and extreme brutality.
Enter the Classroom of a Noted Authority
As an award-winning educator and expert in Middle English and Arthurian literature, Professor Armstrong offers a depth of knowledge and nuanced perspective. In addition to delivering accurate historical accounts and deep analysis, she peppers her lectures with a wealth of detail that provides a full portrait of the medieval experience. For example, did you know
Methodical and meticulous in its approach to a labyrinthine age, Turning Points in Medieval History will help you understand why the West’s transition from the classical to the early modern was a fluid, ongoing process rather than the result of a single pivotal moment. In taking this course, you’ll be able to connect the dots from the sack of Rome through the Renaissance and beyond.
Ph.D, Duke University
Dr. Dorsey Armstrong is Associate Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University, where she has taught since 2002. The holder of an A.B. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Duke University, she also taught at Centenary College of Louisiana and at California State University, Long Beach.
Her research interests include medieval women writers, late-medieval print culture, and the Arthurian legend, on which she has published extensively, including 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 Sir Thomas 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 its enactments in the present moment. Her current research project—Mapping Malory's Morte—is an exploration of the role played by geography in Malory's version of the story of King Arthur.
This course is available only in audio formats.
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