The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague

Course No. 8241
Professor Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.
Purdue University
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Course No. 8241
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What Will You Learn?

  • Investigate the medical understandings of plague.
  • Follow how the plague traveled by sea across the Mediterranean, invading port cities and then radiating inward.
  • Discover how the plague's death toll dramatically altered the balance of power between labor and management.
  • Explore the flagellant movement, whose adherents tortured themselves publicly to atone for the sins of the world.
  • Witness how numerous governmental functions dramatically broke down during the plague.
  • Consider how diseases and pandemics have shaped human societies and individual behavior throughout history.

Course Overview

In the late 1340s, a cataclysmic plague shook medieval Europe to its core. The bacterial disease known to us as the Black Death swept westward across the continent, leaving a path of destruction from Crimea and Constantinople to Italy, France, Spain, and ultimately most of Europe, traveling as far west as England and Iceland. Within these locations, the plague killed up to 50% of the population in less than 10 years—a staggering 75 million dead.

Many of us know the Black Death as a catastrophic event of the medieval world. But three vital elements of the story often go unrecognized:

  • The Black Death was arguably the most significant event in Western history, profoundly affecting every aspect of human life, from the economic and social to the political, religious, and cultural.
  • In its wake, the plague left a world that was utterly changed, forever altering the traditional structure of European societies and forcing a rethinking of every single system of Western civilization: food production and trade, the Church, political institutions, law, art, and more.
  • In large measure, by the profundity of the changes it brought, the Black Death produced the modern world we live in today.

While the story of the Black Death is one of destruction and loss, its breathtaking scope and effects make it one of the most compelling and deeply intriguing episodes in human history. Understanding the remarkable unfolding of the plague and its aftermath provides a highly revealing window not only on the medieval world but also on the forces that brought about the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and modernity itself.

Speaking to the full magnitude of this world-changing historical moment, The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague, taught by celebrated medievalist Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University, takes you on an unforgettable excursion into the time period of the plague, its full human repercussions, and its transformative effects on European civilization.

A Catastrophe Unprecedented in Human Experience

In 24 richly absorbing lectures, you’ll follow the path of the epidemic in its complete trajectory across medieval Europe. You’ll examine the epidemiological causes of the disaster; the social panic it spawned; its influence on religion, society, politics, economics, and art; and the long-term consequences for a continent that, less than two centuries later, would have the technology and the wherewithal to explore a new world.

In the process, you’ll learn about these remarkable and emblematic effects of the Black Death:

  • By revealing the corruption and inadequacies of the Church in the face of people’s desperate need, the plague sowed the seeds of the Reformation.
  • The plague upended the class system in Europe, permanently changing the balance of power between laborers and lords, peasants and nobles.
  • The epidemic transformed social opportunities for the working and merchant classes: peasants could become clergy, serfs could become tenant farmers, merchants could marry into the nobility, and women could enter trades and professions.
  • Perhaps most surprising of all, those who survived the plague were often wealthier than they’d been before, and had access to more opportunities.

These changes utterly upended structures of social, economic, and religious power that had been in place for centuries, leaving chaos in their wake—and room for new ideas and institutions to arise.

An Epic Story of Loss and Metamorphosis

In measuring the Black Death’s vast societal impact, you’ll explore subject matter such as:

  • The medical causes and underpinnings of the plague – Investigate the epidemiology of Yersinia pestis, the plague bacterium. You’ll study the three main varieties of plague, how the disease was transmitted, and how other disease factors may have contributed to the Black Death’s monumental devastation.
  • The epidemic’s transit across medieval Europe – Track how the plague traveled by both maritime and overland trade routes, and witness the individual stories and shattering drama of its arrival in communities such as Florence, Avignon, Walsham, and Paris.
  • The Black Death’s impact on religion and faith – Discover how the Church appeared powerless to provide any remedy or relief from the plague, which eroded its prestige, moral authority, and temporal power. Observe how direct expressions of religious devotion by common people, such as pilgrimage, flagellation, and veneration of saints, increased dramatically in response to the plague’s ravages.
  • The plague and European economies – Examine how the huge loss of labor and manpower led to social mobility and greatly increased economic opportunities for workers and merchants, and accelerated the rise of the merchant class to rival the economic power of the nobility.
  • Political reverberations of the Black Death – Grasp how the political scene in many places changed dramatically, as nobles came under new economic pressure. The traditional ruling order of those who fight (nobles), those who pray (clergy), and those who work (everyone else) was undone by the new power of labor and trade, and the nobles’ attempts to maintain their previous status triggered unrest and revolts.
  • The historical legacy of the epidemic – Take account of the ways in which the events of the Black Death shaped the future of the West, leaving behind a world in which serfs could buy their freedom, and where, for the first time, leaders and governments were answerable to every level of society.

The Astonishing Human Dimensions of the Plague

In a masterful act of historical storytelling, Professor Armstrong reveals the unfolding of the plague as an endlessly surprising and enthralling saga, illuminating the story with vivid maps, works of art, and manuscripts, as well as gripping contemporary accounts by writers such as Boccaccio and Petrarch. In the course of the narrative, you’ll encounter the full spectrum of poignant human reactions to the epidemic, from terrified families abandoning their stricken children and clergy recoiling from the dying to astounding individual acts of compassion and self-sacrifice for loved ones and strangers alike.

You’ll bear witness to many psychosocial responses, among them the Flagellant movement, whose members publicly tortured themselves to appease the wrath of God; the French town whose populace believed riotous merrymaking would keep the plague at bay; and a range of extreme behavior from hedonistic indulgence and crazed dancing to the tragic scapegoating of Jewish communities. In a fascinating view into the medieval mindset, you’ll explore 14th-century theories of the plague, from theological constructs to explanations of its origins in astrological conjunctions, “corrupted air,” and earthquakes. You’ll also encounter, in medical treatises, the singular figure of the plague doctor, dressed in broad-brimmed hat, long coat, and a beaked, birdlike mask filled with sweet-smelling herbs.

Professor Armstrong details how the plague brought new forms of visual art, such as the extraordinary paintings of the Danse Macabre and Triumph of Death traditions. In the unusual economic climate of the times, plague-themed works of art were commissioned not only by the nobility, but also by the likes of bakers, gardeners, and blacksmiths. And you’ll discover how, in the midst of devastation, the plague directly inspired some of the greatest literary masterpieces the world has ever produced, such as the works of Boccaccio, William Langland, and Geoffrey Chaucer.

Majestic in scope and remarkable in detail, The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague takes you to the heart of one of Western history’s most catalytic and galvanizing moments, the effects of which gave us the modern world.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Europe on the Brink of the Black Death
    Begin to contemplate the enormity of the Black Death's impact on the medieval world. As context for the harrowing events to come, take account of the state of medieval society on the eve of the plague. In particular, investigate the religious, economic, and political structures of mid-14th-century Europe. x
  • 2
    The Epidemiology of Plague
    Explore the medical understanding of plague, as seen in the 6th-century Plague of Justinian, the Black Death of the 1300s, and the 19th-century Third Pandemic. Examine the three predominant varieties of plague, the symptomatology of each, and scientific theories as to the nature and transmission of the disease that ravaged Europe in the 14th century. x
  • 3
    Did Plague Really Cause the Black Death?
    In recent years, scholars have reassessed the causes of the Black Death, questioning how it spread through medieval Europe with such astonishing speed and virulence. Here, investigate additional factors that may have contributed to the devastation, such as other diseases, bacteria, and other possible forms of transmission. x
  • 4
    The Black Death's Ports of Entry
    Now examine the plague's first sustained appearance in Europe, at the Crimean trading port of Caffa. Learn about the Mongol siege of the city that preceded the outbreak, and how the plague moved west with escaping sailors. Follow the spread of the plague to Constantinople, to Italy, and into France and England. x
  • 5
    The First Wave Sweeps across Europe
    Explore how the plague traveled by sea across the Mediterranean, invading port cities and then radiating inward. To get a view of the unfolding devastation, study the events in Sicily, Mallorca, and Avignon, highlighting first-person accounts. Assess ways of measuring the plague's impact and the difficulty of comprehending the scope of the disaster. x
  • 6
    The Black Death in Florence
    Observe how Florence, the most advanced community in medieval Europe, dealt with the crippling effects of the plague. Learn about the extraordinary and diverse responses of citizens, and see how city leaders took steps to slow the spread of the disease, to counteract the breakdown of laws and government, and to restore the city. x
  • 7
    The Black Death in France
    Witness the plague's horrific impact at Marseille, and uncover how citizens responded with unusual solidarity. Study the ravages and drastic measures taken at Bordeaux, and see how news of outbreaks sparked violence and the scapegoating of Jews. Grasp the monumental death toll in Paris, whose traumatized public reacted with unbridled hedonism, resignation, and numb indifference to the ubiquitous suffering. x
  • 8
    The Black Death in Avignon
    As the 14th-century seat of the papacy, Avignon presents an exceptional case. Learn about the lavish, hedonistic lifestyle of the papal court under Pope Clement VI, and review the range and complexity of Avignon's responses to the Black Death, encompassing both religious and science-based efforts. Investigate the populace's surprising resilience. x
  • 9
    The Black Death in England
    The plague ravaged England with stunning ferocity. Consider evidence of other possible disease agents that added to its effects, as well as factors in the environment that exacerbated the epidemic. Follow how the plague spread through inland waterways, with staggering losses to peasant populations and monasteries, and a resulting search for explanations of God's wrath. x
  • 10
    The Black Death in Walsham
    The village of Walsham provides a vivid view of how English society was upended by the plague. Learn about the manorial system, where peasants lived under a local lord and landholder. Discover how the plague's death toll dramatically altered the balance of power between labor and management, transforming the economic opportunities of peasants. x
  • 11
    The Black Death in Scandinavia
    The Black Death reached Scandinavian countries at different times, by different routes. Follow the plague's arrival by ship in Norway, then its movement into Sweden and Denmark, and observe how Scandinavian social customs worsened its toll. Learn also about a unique form of folklore and mythos that arose in Scandinavia in response to the plague. x
  • 12
    The End of the First Wave
    Track the final stages of the plague's initial path through 14th-century Europe, from its incursion into Germanic lands to its devastation of Poland and Russia. Study the socioeconomic conditions within Russia, where lack of labor led to a slave-like system of serfdom, and consider psychosocial responses such as the building of one-day votive churches."" x
  • 13
    Medieval Theories about the Black Death
    Observe how learned minds responded to the plague through the writing and dissemination of plague treatises. Review theories regarding the plague's appearance, from astrological conjunctions and weather to those of corrupted" air, eclipses, and earthquakes. Take account of contemporary sanitation procedures, medical remedies, and the practices of plague doctors." x
  • 14
    Cultural Reactions from Flagellation to Hedonism
    Delve into the range of psychosocial responses people had to the plague and to the knowledge of its inescapability. Explore the flagellant movement, whose adherents tortured themselves publicly to atone for the sins of the world. On the opposite end, learn about extreme hedonistic responses, from sexual licentiousness to choreomania"-obsessive ritual dancing." x
  • 15
    Jewish Persecution during the Black Death
    Examine the history of anti-Semitism in medieval Europe and the unfolding of conspiracy theories during the plague that Jews were poisoning the Christian population. Witness how anti-Semitic hysteria led to horrific violence and the execution of Jewish populations, even as both Christian and secular leaders attempted to quell such actions. x
  • 16
    Plague's Effects on the Medieval Church
    The Black Death dealt serious blows to the institution of the Church. Learn how the plague's death toll among the clergy upset the hierarchy and management of religious affairs. Also investigate how the Church's failure to affect any cure or relief from the plague led to a weakening of its authority and status. x
  • 17
    Plague Saints and Popular Religion
    Religious devotion at the popular level proliferated during the Black Death. Follow the dramatic increase in activities such as religious pilgrimage, the building of chantry chapels, and the veneration of saints. Witness the struggle between the official Church doctrine and popular religious beliefs, as people searched desperately for comfort in their darkest hour. x
  • 18
    Artistic Responses to the Black Death
    Discover how artists confronted the plague through new and innovative forms of expression. Among these, study the creation of transi tombs with graphic sculptural effigies of the dead, as well as the remarkable paintings, murals, and woodcuts of the memento mori tradition, which sought to remind viewers of their mortality. x
  • 19
    Literary Reponses to the Black Death
    The events of the Black Death inspired some of history's greatest literary masterpieces. In this lecture, uncover the range of textual responses to the plague, highlighting William Langland's dream-vision poem Piers Plowman and Boccaccio's Decameron. Learn how the plague set Geoffrey Chaucer on the path to literary immortality. x
  • 20
    The Economics of the Black Death
    Investigate how the plague initially brought massive loss of labor, administrative manpower, and the tax base, as well as far-reaching disruption of farming. Grasp the process by which economic opportunities for the lower and merchant classes-including women-were transformed, and how those who survived were, in most cases, much wealthier than before. x
  • 21
    The Black Death's Political Outcomes
    The social and economic changes brought by the plague were inextricably linked to the sphere of politics. Witness how numerous governmental functions dramatically broke down during the plague, and study how, in the aftermath, many governments attempted to maintain the pre-plague status quo, which was untenable in the new world order. x
  • 22
    Communities That Survived the First Wave
    Despite the vast spread of the Black Death throughout the European continent, several communities were notably spared during the first wave of the 14th century. In the examples of Finland, Milan, and Nuremberg, investigate how factors of geography, timing, preventive action, and hygiene contributed to saving certain populations. x
  • 23
    Later Plague Outbreaks: 1353-1666
    Chart subsequent occurrences of plague across Europe following the Black Death of the 14th century, culminating with the Great Plague of London of 1665-66. Learn how people developed critical strategies to combat outbreaks, from administrative bodies created to deal with the plague to the phenomena of pesthouses for the sick, plague pits, and quarantines. x
  • 24
    How the Black Death Transformed the World
    In conclusion, reflect on how the economic, social, and political worlds of Europe reinvented themselves to accommodate the deep changes brought about by the plague. Finally, through examples ranging from medieval smallpox to the recent occurrence of Ebola, consider how diseases and pandemics have shaped human societies and individual behavior throughout history and continue to do so today. x

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  • 200-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Dorsey Armstrong

About Your Professor

Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.
Purdue 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,...
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The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 258.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Top Course, Excellent Presenter I purchased this course in 2019 and waited to finish a prior course before starting this one. It turned out to be timely! I have listened to many of the Great Courses over the years and rate this as one of my top three. Professor Dorsey Armstrong is fantastic. Her command of the subject is unrivaled. Her ability to present the information is not only coherent but entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed each lecture. I have been interested in the Black Death for many years (40+). I have read many accounts of the plague both fictional and non fictional. Never before has this much information been assembled in a single and reasonable presentation. Some may find of found parts of the information repetitive however I found that reemphasizing certain context to be relevant and illuminating. Again Professor Armstrong provided ligaments to a great deal of information and connected many aspects of long periods of events into a deeper understanding that has not been available anywhere else. I highly recommend this course and Professor Armstrong. Great Course!
Date published: 2020-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Relevant! This class was amazing. So interesting, so relevant to what is going on with the current pandemic. I found the initial chapters to be fascinating, in that the author traced the spread of the disease across Europe and Asia through overland and maritime trade routes. I appreciated the way the author explained the epidemiology of the plague in other sections of the course. There were also very informative side journeys through out the curriculum on related subjects, such as how various countries were affected by the plague. This course was worth the investment.
Date published: 2020-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best course ever I was morbidly curious because of the Corona Virus and wanted to understand the Black Death to help me put things in perspective. The instructor normally teaches literature. But she clearly has a deep knowledge and interest in this topic. I was spell bound and couldn’t stop watching. I am going to look to see if she teaches any other courses because she is great!
Date published: 2020-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Timely Course I was looking for information regarding the plague since I thought that the present COVID-19 was similar. I wanted to see what the reactions were and see if our present reactions were similar or not. I realized that our reactions are a lot closer to the reactions in the Middle Ages, including the good, the bad and the ugly. Professor Armstrong mentions that the population of Europe double in 300 years, that's a 0.23% increase per year and not very impressive when looked at that way. But, a person living in a town of 1000 inhabitants at age five would see the population increase to 1123 in fifty years and most villages were probably about that size. To see that same population drop to 560 in a year or two must had struck panic and the reactions of the Middle Ages can then be understood. The pictures of mass burials in New York City, so similar to the pictures shown by professor Armstrong, should cause similar reactions of horror to us at this time. The reactions of going to churches even when those are places of contagion, of accusing a minority group of bringing the epidemic, of even attacking these people, have been repeated. The reaction by medical personnel and the people who are trying to help in every way, physically, economically and emotionally, have also been repeated. Le plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. This course is worthwhile now more than ever just to realize how important our reactions are to an event as this. Also, to get ready for changes in the short, long and extended term, as the societies of Europe experience.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good organization of the facts. I ordered The Black Death right before the current CoVID19 pandemic, which ironically makes it a very relevant course right now. Although I had read a few things about the Black Death, I still prefer the way this course is organized. It is easy to follow and highlights the points which make what we have learned from it very applicable today. One of the most important take-aways from the course is how The Black Death fundamentally changed history. Anyone who wants to understand how we progressed from the Middle Ages until the present, should a get this course.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Information certainly is timely. Quality organization and presentation of material. Excellent sources of information and topics.
Date published: 2020-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Relevant and thorough I started watching this during the COVID19 lockdown, as I am very interested in medieval history. First, I was impressed by Armstrong's presentation skills. She is well-spoken, easy to understand, doesn't explain simple concepts (respects that we have some intelligence) and also doesn't assume that we are familiar with all the people and places she discusses. Her style is very approachable--she doesn't come across as an intellectual snob, though she clearly is well-educated and intelligent. I wish I would have had her as a professor when I was in college. I also think she would be great company for coffee or wine and a chat. As for the content, she manages to divide it into digestible sections. If she is going to go into a specific topic in more detail later, she mentions this so you're not left hanging. I can't count the number of times, while watching this, that my jaw hit the floor and I had to rewind to listen to something again that was almost a direct parallel with what is happening with COVD19--towns locking their gates to travelers just too late, ships not being able to find a port where they are allowed to dock, misinformation being spread about the causes and cures. I've been recommending this to everyone I know as COVID19 lockdown viewing/listening. Thanks Ms. Armstrong for such an enlightening course!
Date published: 2020-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stay at Home Education! I was inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic to purchase this course on the Black Death. The professor was clear in her presentations. The course helped me to put Covid-19 in a larger context.
Date published: 2020-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So relevant for our lives in 2020! I bought this course Last year on recommendation from a friend in genealogy who found it useful for impacts on DNA. I didn't get to it then, but with the current virus decided it might give us some idea in early days of where we are headed in a pandemic. I found the material timely, relevant to the current crisis especially as the instructor reads from diaries and reports written by victims and observers of the black death which rose from trade routes in the east, through merchant ships and poured into the shores of Europe in a sudden tsunami of illness. Ms. Armstrong is a provocative speaker with a story telling style that is informative and backed by dozens of resources that encourage further research.
Date published: 2020-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative This course was very well presented and informative. Professor Armstrong took you from point A to the end in a meaningful progression and was very knowledgeable about the subject.
Date published: 2020-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Black Death I thought after reading about 15 books on the plague I knew a lot about it. Professor Dorsey Armstrong knows a whole lot more and presents it with style and flair. Most books focus on the plague she does also but also presents the consequences of the plague in an interesting and informative fashion..
Date published: 2020-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an amazing course! Professor Armstrong's course on the black death is simply fantastic. I liked her course on the Middle Ages, but this one is breath taking. She certainly knows her subject.
Date published: 2020-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Too Much Repeating but Important Lesson I purchased this course when the Coronavirus was still an exotic disease in city on China that must Americans had never heard of. All of that has since changed and the world faces a new pandemic, As if this writing New York State, my home, has more than 700 cases for which no cure has bee found. Dr Dorset is a capable lecturer but she repeats herself far too often, How often do we have to be informed on the estates of life in the XIV century? That being said as mild criticism, everyone should listen to the last lecture and learn from it, Plagues - the Black Death of Coronavirus are still with us and we must be ready on all levels to combat them,
Date published: 2020-03-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too long! This is a very interesting topic & the professor is very capable & articulate. However, I think it could have been covered in about half the number of lectures. Also, the video components didn't add much to the overall content, with the exception of the maps, so this might be better as an audio course.
Date published: 2020-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very engaging I almost binge-watched this course.The instructor is really engaging and presents the material in an organized and compelling way. This was a period about which I knew way less than I thought I knew before taking the course. The fact that people managed to keep going through all of the tragedy and loss, in a sort of macabre way, gives me some optimism for the future of humanity. I would've like to have heard some more about what happened in east Asia, where the Black Death originated. Although the course did cover some of the social and economic changes that occurred as a result of the numerous periods of plague, I would've also been interested in a discussion of how (if at all) it affected the sense of meaning in Europe and how that in turn affected the way Europe interacted with the rest of the world. Overall though, a great course. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2020-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Depressing but excellent Armstrong is one of my favorite GC professors. She is never boring, and she is often outright funny. The Black Death course, like all Armstrong courses, is full of detail and is presented passionately.
Date published: 2020-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and entertaining I watched this course within the last year and I would put it in my top ten--I have bought and watched nearly 150 courses--and the best I have seen of Professor Dorsey's. The rats were an especially nice touch. Their positions changed from lecture to lecture giving one something to look forward to, kind of like Easter eggs in software. Professor Dorsey's steadfast refusal to acknowledge their presence added a certain tension. My one complaint is that the resolution of the DVD video was not the greatest and when I tried to take screenshots many of the rats were hard to detect.
Date published: 2019-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from DVD not needed I bought the DVD because I am interested in the topic. The DVD is not needed as it is 98% watching the speaker. The subject should have a bit more science included but overall OK.
Date published: 2019-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great topic and lecturer This is my first experience with The Great Courses, and I'm very glad I gave it a try. I'd been reading another book that referred to some details about the Black Death that I hadn't known, so getting a sale ad for this course was perfect timing. Dorsey Armstrong is the lecturer, and I found her engaging and easy to listen to. She provided tons of information. The maps and old paintings were great, though I would have enjoyed even more of them. I'm already looking for other presentations by Dr. Armstrong and additional topics I'm interested in.
Date published: 2019-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Topic I bought this on your super cooperative sale and am so glad I did. Have always wanted to know more about the plague and it’s effect. The only reason it did not get five stars is there was TOO much repetition
Date published: 2019-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course Very good. Easy to follow. The lecturer repeats the same or similar information, or sums up the info in the preceding chapters, again & again, in the first few minutes of every single lecture; that is a waste of the listeners’ time; perhaps, best avoided
Date published: 2019-08-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Content great, delivery grating If you read the book or if it were presented by a dry British professor, it would be wonderful. This professor presents (reads off the teleprompter?) in a sing-song cadence that at times is hard to listen to. Maybe she should rerecord it or hire Judi Dench to read it.
Date published: 2019-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Black Death Although the instructor is a professor of English, she is very astute on medieval history. She does a great job of providing the background on feudalism, the influence of the kings and the Church, and what is was like to live in the mid 14th century. She provides a lot of interesting details. It's grisly but anything but dull!
Date published: 2019-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Black Death Excellent presentation witha much greater amount of information than a college history course into Medieval society. Highly recommended to any one interested in history or medicine.
Date published: 2019-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best Great Courses I've probably seen more than 50 Great Courses (borrowed all of them from the library or from interlibrary loans) and have enjoyed most of them. But this one is really at the top of the list. My husband and I couldn't stop watching it. I learned one interesting fact after another. It's really a mix of science, history, literature and economics. Don't pass it up.
Date published: 2019-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love the lecturer, should be shorter I loved this topic and thought Dr. Armstrong was excellent. However, this should have been a shorter series. It ended up being quite repetitive with common themes repeated in multiple lectures. But if you have interest in the the Plague during the Middle Ages, I could definitely recommend this lecture.
Date published: 2019-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative & Interesting I enjoyed this audiobook. Her style is narrative, yet not too much, so it does not turn into wasting the listeners' time. She is knowledgeable. One point for improvement, is that she spends a few minutes at the start of each lecture, to summarise the whole lecture so far. It is unnecessary & a waste of time. We do remember it. Thank u for a great course. I won't respond to queries, sorry.
Date published: 2019-06-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Punctuatioon If you don't mind hearing punctuation marks read aloud, then this may not bother you but it does me. The speaker says "quote" f/b "unquote" so many times that I wondered when she'd be saying "period," "comma," "question mark." The content of this course is also a bit disappointing. Offering examples of what caused the "Black Death" was helpful but I wished the speaker proffered an opinion as to its etiology.
Date published: 2019-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything I hoped for. This course was everything I hoped it would be. I learned so much about the black death and life in 14th century Europe. The Professor was very knowledgeable and her presentation was straightforward and clear. I really like her style. One of the better courses by the Learning Company.
Date published: 2019-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very thorough coverage of the subject matter Although the subject matter itself can be quite grim, the professor is lively and covers it with tremendous insight and energy.
Date published: 2019-05-13
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