1066: The Year That Changed Everything

Course No. 8422
Professor Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America
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Course No. 8422
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Course Overview

If you were to look back at hundreds of years of history in search of the one critical moment after which the history of the English-speaking world would never be the same again, it would undoubtedly be the year 1066. It was during this pivotal time that an event occurred that would have untold ramifications for the European continent: the Norman Conquest of England.

But why does this moment matter so much, both for the medieval world and for us today in the 21st century? While the true meaning and importance of the Norman Conquest has been sharply debated, medievalist and professor Jennifer Paxton of The Catholic University of America argues that the Norman Conquest, and the entire year of 1066, matters deeply for two key reasons.

  • It turned England away from a former Scandinavian orientation toward an orientation with mainland Europe, making the island nation a major player in Europe's political, social, cultural, and religious events.
  • It created a rich hybrid between English and French culture that had a profound impact on everything from language and literature to architecture and law.

In fact, it was only with the tumultuous events of the year 1066 that England was equipped to become a full participant in the unprecedented developments of the Middle Ages and the centuries that followed. And with 1066: The Year That Changed Everything, Professor Paxton's exciting and historically rich six-lecture course, you can experience for yourself the drama of this dynamic year. Taking you from the shores of Scandinavia and France to the battlefields of the English countryside, 1066: The Year That Changed Everything will plunge you into a world of fierce Viking warriors, powerful noble families, politically charged marriages, tense succession crises, epic military invasions, and much more.

Meet Intriguing Figures, Follow Powerful Battles

Your journey starts in the 10th and early 11th centuries, when power in England and Normandy was very much up for grabs—and when the small island nation was under continuous assault from Viking forces. Professor Paxton helps you gain a solid grasp of the complex political alliances and shifting relationships between figures such as

  • Emma of Normandy, whose marriage to the English king Aethelred II in 1002 brought the two powers together against invading Vikings and planted the seeds for future conflict;
  • Cnut, the fierce Danish conqueror who succeeded in taking over England in 1016 and then married the widowed Emma of Normandy, making her the queen of England—for the second time;
  • Edward the Confessor, who in 1042 brought the kingship back into English hands after Danish rule but who eventually came under the dominion of the powerful Godwinson family; and
  • Harold Godwinson, brother-in-law to Edward the Confessor and the controversial successor to the royal throne after Edward's death in 1066.

Edward the Confessor's death and Harold Godwinson's succession sparked two invasions that form the centerpiece of 1066: The Year That Changed Everything. With her powerful storytelling abilities and her intricate knowledge of this period, Professor Paxton recounts the two seminal battles that pitted England against the Scandinavians and the Normans.

  • The Battle of Stamford Bridge: The Scandinavian king Harald Hardrada and the king of England's own brother Tostig invaded England from the north, defeated local English forces, and steadily made their way inland. Racing north, Harold Godwinson defeated the Scandinavians at Stamford Bridge—yet was now on the wrong end of the country to meet the impending Norman invasion from the south.
  • The Battle of Hastings: Considered one of the definitive conflicts of the medieval world, the Battle of Hastings pitted Harold Godwinson, whose forces were still reeling from the Battle of Stamford Bridge, against William the Conqueror, the Norman ruler whose invasion was backed by papal authorities and was supplied with men and ships from surrounding French territories. After a battle filled with twists and turns, William emerged master of the field.

It was this last battle, you'll learn, that forever enshrined in the pages of history the name of William the Conqueror, whose military and political prowess made the Norman Conquest a success. You'll follow how he managed to solidify his conquest of England in the subsequent years.

Probe Lasting Controversies and Enduring Legacies

Throughout the lectures, Dr. Paxton opens your eyes to continued debates and controversies over this year and offers her own take on the Norman Conquest's enduring legacy and the fascinating results of this epic clash. A seasoned historian whose teaching and scholarship focuses specifically on this unique chapter in the grand narrative of Western civilization, she makes an engaging and trustworthy guide for this visit to a year that literally made history.

By exploring 1066: The Year That Changed Everything—what led up to it, what happened during that fateful year, and what changed as a result—you'll gain a sharper perspective and a greater understanding of everything that would come afterward.

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6 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Norman Conquest through History
    What makes 1066 such a pivotal year in the history of Western civilization? How has the meaning of the Norman Conquest been debated and interpreted over time? And how did two weddings—between the English king Aethelred and the duke of Normandy's sister, Emma, and then, after the death of Aethelred, Emma's marriage to the Danish king Cnut—lay the groundwork for this tumultuous moment? Find out in this lecture that provides crucial information for grasping the Norman Conquest. x
  • 2
    England and Normandy before the Conquest
    Take a closer look at the half-century between the Danish conquest of England in 1016 and the fateful year of 1066—a chaotic time when power was up for grabs. Two figures were crucial during this time. The first: Edward the Confessor, who succeeded to the English throne in 1042 but was dominated by the powerful Godwinsons. The second: William the Bastard, the ruler of Normandy, who brought the Norman nobles under control and then set his sights on conquering England. x
  • 3
    The Succession Crisis in England
    Investigate how the relationship between Edward the Confessor and William the Bastard put England and Normandy on a collision course when the childless King Edward had to plan the succession to the English throne. You'll focus on Edward's plans for succession, meet the contenders to the throne, and learn how Harold Godwinson achieved victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge—only to face another invasion of England from the south. x
  • 4
    The Battle of Hastings
    Revisit one of the most important moments in English history: the Battle of Hastings, after which the island nation—and the entire Western world—would never be the same. Dr. Paxton reveals how the Normans mustered up enough men and ships for their invasion; investigates some intriguing mysteries and controversies about the invasion; explains the tactics of medieval warfare; and provides a blow-by-blow account of the battle. x
  • 5
    Completing the Conquest
    It took several years for William the Conqueror to consolidate the gains he made at the Battle of Hastings. Learn how he used a combination of diplomacy and clever military tactics to take control of London without a fierce battle; how he won over the church so that he could get himself crowned king; how he spent the early years of his reign responding to various rebellions in the northern part of the country; and more. x
  • 6
    The Aftermath of the Conquest
    Why does the Norman Conquest matter? Take a closer look at the relationship between the Normans and the English in the generations immediately following the conquest, with a focus on the myriad ways that Norman and English culture intermingled. You'll realize the ultimate legacy of this vital year: the transition of England into the European mainstream. x

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  • 120-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Jennifer Paxton

About Your Professor

Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D.
The Catholic University of America
Dr. Jennifer Paxton is Assistant Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America. She was previously a Professorial Lecturer in History at Georgetown University, where she taught for more than a decade. The holder of a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where she has also taught and earned a Certificate of Distinction, Professor Paxton is...
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Reviews

1066: The Year That Changed Everything is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 99.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Small but Important Slice of History This is a very specific course explaining the events in detail of the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings. It is a interesting subject that has had significant historical consequences. I thought it was interesting and well researched, but the delivery was a little dry. I like to view lectures on DVD and I may have like it a little more if I had something to look at, it's the first course that I had to just listen to. Overall, I liked the course and thought it had some very good content, a nice supplement to European medieval history.
Date published: 2015-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding in Every Way. Not much to add to the many positive reviews. Professor Paxton is a wonderful storyteller, and her casual yet eloquent style combined with her obviously unfeigned enthusiasm make her a pleasure to listen to. The story, of course, is both fascinating and crucially important to western history. In six lectures we are given a clear overview of the convoluted circumstances which led to William of Normandy becoming William the Conqueror, a blow-by-blow description of the war itself, and a necessarily brief but insightful discussion of the aftermath of the conquest. My only regret is that the course is not available in a video version. I highly recommend it for any with an interest in English and European history, and I also suggest you consider Professor Paxton's equally outstanding course, "Story of Medieval England."
Date published: 2015-04-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Just great! Take this course!! This was my first ever audio, although I have a lot of Great Courses on video. I listened to it during my commute to work. WARNING, it's so interesting you need to remember that you're driving, pay attention to the stop lights! You need to, because you will get so caught up in it, you could forget where you are and be transported into the world of 1066. The lecturer is amazingly knowledgeable and she tells the story compellingly. She taught me to understand why the year 1066 matters to me, and all of us, the inheritors of that "hinge of history" year.
Date published: 2015-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A concise and eloquent presentation of William and his impact on English history
Date published: 2015-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting I have quite an interest in history, especially European history. This course was very detailed in describing how the Battle of Hastings came about and give you a great understanding of the history leading up to the battle.
Date published: 2015-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly entertaining While the myriad of characters, twists and turns are all very complicated, seeing history through this woman's eyes was very compelling. I loved it both for it's story and historical values, which were both quite compelling.
Date published: 2015-02-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 1066 We listened to this while traveling. We went through it pretty fast, which means that we were enjoying both the presentation and the information. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in history.
Date published: 2015-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Concise, Lucid and Illuminating This short, sharply-focused six-lecture course is a spin-off of Professor Paxton’s excellent 36-lecture Great Course on “Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest”. It expands on a critical turning point in English history, the Normal conquest of 1066, generally regarded as the most eventful and certainly the best known single date in English history and, aside from minor Viking incursions, the last successful invasion of England. Although the course is offered only in audio format, this imposes no limitation, as her narrative is richly descriptive and her account of the famous Battle of Hastings in Lecture 4 is vivid enough to rival the battle reenactments of TV’s History Channel. Much more than just that critical battle, this course traces the events leading up to the Normal conquest, discussing in depth the leading characters, including the heirless King Edward the Confessor, the ambitious and calculating Queen Emma, and the several competing contenders to the English throne, principally William, Duke of Normandy, Harold Hardrada, King of Norway and Harold Godwineson of the powerful English Godwine family, who initially and briefly succeeded Edward as King in early 1066. Dr. Paxton’s admiration of William comes through clearly in her description of his skill as a military commander in several conflicts in Normandy as a very young man, as well as later in England. Even more important to his success was his strong personality and political-diplomatic skills in persuading fellow Normans to embark on the hazardous invasion of England to face the larger and stronger English army. A combination of judicious timing of the invasion and plain good luck enabled William to defeat the superior English army of King Harold who, exhausted after defeating the almost simultaneous Viking force of King Harold Hardrada in the north, undertook a frantic march south, fatefully to meet William at Hastings. I recall learning in elementary school many decades ago that Harold was killed by a chance Norman arrow in the eye (a still prevailing view), but Dr. Paxton suggests that this explanation of his death, based on the famous Bayeux Tapestry may have misidentified a soldier for Harold and misinterpreted a broken spear shaft for an arrow. It is not clear at what stage of the battle Harold met his end, but it is evident that William out-generaled him, despite Harold’s larger force and high-ground position. William was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066. In the final two lectures, Dr. Paxton describes how William was able to consolidate his control over the next two years and skillfully converted to his side several former enemies and lesser contenders to the throne. Norman rule was gradually accepted by the Anglo-Saxon population in a symbiotic blending of the two cultures and languages, a tribute at least in part to William’s considerable political skills. Most importantly, it permanently affiliated England with mainland Europe rather than with Viking Scandinavia. This short course is both informative and entertaining. Dr. Paxton’s pleasing voice and informal yet substantive speaking style make to listening to these lectures a real pleasure.
Date published: 2014-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Choice This course presented the events leading up to, during, and after the Norman Conquest of 1066 very clearly and concisely. Professor Paxton was always engaging and easy to listen to, which made the course very fun for me. If you like history or think you might be interested, this is a great course to choose.
Date published: 2014-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 1066 great course The course description says it all, really. An interesting point brought up was when England moved away from Scandinavia the English language enriched, She compared English with ~250,000 words to Spanish with 125,000 words. Truly 1066 is the year that changed everything.
Date published: 2014-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best. This is one of the best Great Teaching courses I've taken. It's a short, very informative course and all the lectures are very interesting. Professor Paxton is an excellent teacher.
Date published: 2014-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The last conquest of the British Islands This whole short course is dedicated to one central, pivotal, event in English history: the Norman Conquest. Professor Paxton gives us a brief overview of the political situation before this stunning turn of events: the country had been ruled by a Viking king – king Cnute, and his reign had been quite steady. The problem made that itself present with Cnute’s death, was that there was no clear successor and a tumultuous era in which power was up for grabs followed from the accession of King Edward the confessor in 1042 CE until the Norman conquest in 1066. William Duke of Normandy had a rather tenuous genealogical contention to the throne: the wife of king Cnute was his own great aunt, queen Emma – not very close… Furthermore, William’s political arena was hardly Britain. Prior to his invasion he had little business there. It was due to Williams’s tenacious nature and his brilliant tactics combined with a good dose of good luck, that allowed him to make a stunning appearance on the British scene and conquer it from the hands of Harold Godwinson, changing British history forever. We explore William’s brilliant harrying tactics of submission, his building of a sophisticated castle network on his way to conquering London, and finally the brilliant fashion in which he conquered London with relatively little shedding of blood. William introduced many administrative and legal reforms during his reign. He governed in a manner that allowed his Norman loyal following to migrate to England with him, to settle down and to assume key positions. The magic is that he did this without alienating the local English population to such an extent as to perpetuate endless strife between the two civilizations. In fact we are told that after about one century, there had occurred a more or less complete integration creating a brand new British culture. This amalgamation would forever affect British culture and particularly, the English language. Furthermore, the conquest had the effect of making the European continent the main arena of focus for the British nation in terms of politics and trade, whereas before it had been focused on the North due to the Viking invasions. William's descendants would become some of the most colorful and famous of the Monarchs of British History. I deeply enjoyed hearing this course given by Professor Paxton. She is a fantastic presenter and the content of this short and focused course is really fascinating. When one considers it, this 1066 conquest was an absolutely unexpected turn of events that turned the British narrative on its head yet again (after it had earlier been conquered by the external invaders thrice – the Romans, the Angles and Saxons, and the Vikings). It would leave Britain forever changed, and in many ways create a more sophisticated and united civilization, and it would have absolutely pivotal effects on all of Western civilization for centuries to come.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fascinating! All I remembered about the Battle of Hastings from my high school history class was that it took place in 1066. This lecture series changed all of that! The stories seemed to come out of a Korean Drama! It was fascinating! I did have to print out a family tree chart from wikipedia to keep things straight as there was so much intermarriage and similar names used, but I sure remember a whole lot more now than just the date. The lecturer was great, too. She had a great sense of humour and really helped the stories come alive.
Date published: 2014-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great presenter Jennifer is lively, enjoys lecturing and has a sense of humor. I don't care about academic protocol - we are here to be entertained, as well as educated, and she understands that better than most. That said, this is a detailed course.
Date published: 2014-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from informative and fun I am very interested in William and the year 1066 so this was a must for me. Keeping this short, I felt lectures 3-6 were what I wanted and I could have lived without the first two. I am more interested in William than his linage. I feel that lectures 1 and 2 could have been summed up and the time better used later, after the conquest of England, to fill in Williams life. Other then that I really enjoyed this one.
Date published: 2014-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb This professor is really good. Informative and engrossing, the course in her hands, makes far away historical figures and situations relatable. I bought a course on medieval Britain when I saw that she is the teacher. I hated to see the year 1066 end.
Date published: 2014-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Solid Short Course After several bad experiences with courses in the six lecture format, I decided not to purchase any more of them. These courses seemed either too ambitious to succeed on such a narrow frame or too slim to be worthy. Then, one day, I saw a description of this course. It seemed well suited to a specific matter that interested me: the significance of 1066. The professor seemed highly qualified and able. And, candidly, the course was priced right on sale, making the purchase of a course not much deeper in content than a long scholarly article or lecture a reasonable buy. The professor organizes her approach quite well. She introduces the the subject nicely by showing the learner several significant ways in which the Norman conquest impacted the future of England and the English language. She then looks back to times well before 1066 to set the stage for examining the events of that year. This efficient and focused work in establishing the background was crucial to the success of the course. We learn the forces, the key characters, and the historical developments that gave root for the events of 1066. Her account of the battles and the conquest, including William's deft strategy to go beyond initial success in battle to take the crown and assume control, was well executed. The professor concludes with a discussion of how all the change actually "took," and a bit more on its lasting legacy. In the end, one leaves the course with the satisfaction of having had some solid teaching on the matter of what that year, 1066, was really all about.
Date published: 2014-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Supplementary Material This is one of the shorter courses available, only 6 lectures, and, unfortunately, only available, at present, on audio CD. I highly recommend that the course be expanded to a visual experience, as well. For example, it would be nice to see some photos of some of the key characters introduced, and maps, but Professor Paxton mentions that one of our key sources about the 1066 events is the Bayeux Tapestry It would be nice to see this tapestry, as the professor talks about it. (I might add that lecture 2 of Professor Kloss' course on "A History of European Art," does show photos of this work) That being said, this is still a wonderful course. Dr. Paxton mentions many key events, and characters, that, at first, don't seem to matter that much. However, as is the case of many great lecturers, does a fantastic job in putting all the pieces together, There is some detail given, at first of the state of Europe prior to the Norman Conquest, so that one can better understand, and appreciate the impact of the conquest. I found this background very helpful. The actual conquest is described in a very interesting matter. Since I was not that familiar with the battle itself, I found this experience akin to reading a great book, and not being able to put it down. Dr. Paxton is a great storyteller, also. She also does a great job at summing up everything, and answering the question first introduced at the beginning, "Why do these things matter?" As other reviewers have mentioned, she tells us, that, had the conquest not occurred, she might not be speaking English. Dr. Armstrong's course on "Turning Points in Medieval History," is also good to consult, in conjunction to this particular course. Dr. Armstrong tells us to ask the question, "So what?" Why does this matter anyway? This is a great question to ask, pertaining to the year 1066. Dr. Daileader's course on "The High Middle Ages" is also a great supplement/complement, for the material in this lecture series. In conclusion, this is a handy course to have. It really is very specific in scope, and does much to help someone with little knowledge of 1066, to put everything into historical context.
Date published: 2014-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Add more courses by Professor Paxton! Interesting descriptions throughout the course of a truly pivotal year in Western history. I deeply appreciate Professor Paxton's teaching: choice of material, clear explanations both of what we know and what we don't know, and relating enough about how we know the situation in 1066 to give the learner great confidence in the course content. She also well places events in historical context. My wife and I went through the whole course during one weekend trip. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2014-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why we speak English i always knew that 1066 was a pivotal year in English history (well, I'm sure a teacher really told me), but I never understood quite why. Now I do. Prior to 1066 England was ruled by a Danish dynasty and had closer ties with Scandinavia than with Europe. Had the Norman Conquest not happened we could be speaking Danish instead of English. The Norman Conquest of 1066 not only pointed England toward Europe but also had a large impact on the language. While English is basically a Germanic language, many French words came into the lexicon. We can "eat" and we can "dine." This course is a short one -- only 6 lectures -- but gets to the heart of the matter quickly and thoroughly. The Course Guidebook for this series is really a transcript so you can go back and review a point, as desired. After listening to this course I had to know more which led me to 2 other courses: . The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest, and . A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts. both of which I strongly recommend.
Date published: 2014-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Normanization of England? Dr Paxton presents a short, concise review of the circumstances and personalities involved in the invasion and assimilation of the Norman conquerors into the mainstream English society. It seems to have very direct similarities to the Hellenization of the eastern Mediterranean, in that William attempted to blend with rather than dominate the English, without abandoning the Norman legacy. It seems to have worked. Kudos to Paxton and TGC for an excellent course.
Date published: 2014-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Course Favorite My teenage boys and I listened to this in the car while commuting to and from classes. We wanted to learn more about British history before a family trip to the UK. Jennifer Paxton's telling of the history leading up to the Battle of Hastings and some of the things that followed has something for everyone. If you're interested in history, politics, military, or just in good stories, this is a great series.
Date published: 2013-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very well presented course This is a very short course of 6 lectures. Dr. Paxton does an excellent job in presenting the topics. I particularly enjoyed all the back stories of what lead up to the Battle of Hastings.
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yes, a Turning Point Shortly into the first lecture, Professor Paxton mentioned a parody written in 1930 about English history and how one of the supposedly turning points of England was 1066. In turn, she asks several questions: why was it considered important? Was William's strategy brilliant or was he simply lucky? Should we care about it today? From that start, she introduces a host of characters ranging back 200 years BEFORE the Conquest showing how various events led to William and the other claimants to the throne, the invasion, its difficulties as well as several attempted coups until the last was finally suppressed in 1072. The last lecture went over how the Norman Conquest impacted the people of England. There is a report of a trial in 1072, examples of how fashion changed, how clerical historians reported various observations to give an impression of how the people of England thought of their new rulers - which seemed overall positive. By the end of the course, the questions are answered - in my opinion. As much as they may have wanted isolation, it took until the 1500's before England lost it's last foothold in French territory. But they were a integral part of Europe and European history and even went on to creating a worldwide empire. As for Professor Paxton herself, her lecture style is clear and crisp as well as light. There is a line of humor in some of her comments that seem to make it nearly entertaining and not dry facts being related. I listened to this course in two gulps while driving and I was for the most part, able to keep the cast clear - especially as she does 'remind' her audience who this person was and the last time he - or she - may have appeared in the course. Definitely an enjoyable lecturer and I will investigate her other course.
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Signal Event in Western History Explained This excellent short course by Professor Paxton puts a world changing event in the perspective of the the time period. The Norman Conquest, a signal event in the development of Western Europe and the world, given the great impact that Britain and the English-speaking countries it spawned across the globe has had over the intervening 10 centuries, is explained in terms of the people involved, their actions and motivations; bringing this long-ago world alive. After starting and finishing these lectures in one short afternoon, I was left wishing that the course was longer and available on dvd with corresponding visuals and maps to further illustrate the lectures.
Date published: 2013-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 4 stars Professor Paxton does a great job presenting the material. She is very articulate and eloquent. I was hoping that the material had more substance and interpretation to it. For example it would have been important to know the overall population size of England, London and Normandy at the time. Besides nobles, how did peasants/population at large welcome William to their country? When did William die and how well respected and pleased was he at his deathbed? Did he specify a certain legacy to his throne? Overall the lectures left me with the feeling that the Norman Conquest was more of a bedtime story then a critical historical event. I am not sure if I would purchase the other lecture by Prof Paxton; Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest, although I am very much interested in the subject.
Date published: 2013-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Excellent Short Course Prof. Paxton does an excellent job of discussing the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings as well as some results of the battle. She is an engaging lecturer. I enjoyed her sense of humor. She certainly enjoys her subject. Probably the most pleasant surprise for me was how well she used her small amount of course time. I have to admit that I was skeptical that TTC could produce a six-lecture course that could be considered "great." However, Prof. Paxton dove in with just a minimal introduction and closed with a brief conclucion. Therefore, she had the entire six lectures to work with. In addition, her topic was certainly not as broad as many of TTC's courses. So it was manageable in this format. Hopefully, TTC will continue to develop short gems such as this. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in this topic.
Date published: 2013-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A+ Prof.Paxton is delightful lecturer - actually she is a born story teller. Her delivery makes medieval history feel fresh, current, and exciting. She skillfully weaves the events and culture of the times, the principal players, and the consequences of the outcome into a compelling narrative. The geneaology and relationships involved could easily be confusing, but Paxton keeps it all clear, and uses just enough - but not too much - repetition to help you keep it all straight. Sometines I prefer to buy DVDs over CDs because they hold my attention better, but in this case I was fully engaged - actually on the edge of my chair - much of the time. This is learning at its best and I have now added Paxton to my list of favorite Teaching Company professors.
Date published: 2013-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great little course on a moment in history This was a great short course on an important moment in history. The author did an excellent job of setting up the conditions behind the battles, the family histories, and rivalries, and the society in general of that time period. I listened to the entire course in one setting while peeling apples for making applesauce, so it was easy for me to follow. I think if I had broken it up over several days, though, I might have lost track of some of the players. I really enjoyed how she emphasized the perspective of 1066 has changed over the years, and what it might be in the future.
Date published: 2013-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good Only thing better on this subject is a podcast called Rexfactor. Two young men telling this same story and reviewing the combatants in a fun and fast passed romp. Is it wrong to characterize the conquest of the most powerful country in history as a romp? Oh well… I’m an American…. Therefor you must forgive my bluster. Fascinating time and so many good stories!
Date published: 2012-11-25
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