Late Middle Ages

Course No. 8296
Professor Philip Daileader, Ph.D.
The College of William and Mary
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Course No. 8296
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Course Overview

Were the two centuries from c. 1300 to c. 1500—an age that has come to be known as the Late Middle Ages—an era of calamity or an era of rebirth? Should we look on this time as still clearly medieval or as one in which humanity took its first decisive steps into modernity? Was it a period as distant from us as it appears, or was it closer than we suspect? Students of history are still trying, even after so many centuries, to reach anything approaching a consensus on the answers to these questions.

Ponder the many contradictions on your own and you may be frustrated by inconclusive answers. Instead, let Professor Philip Daileader be your guide and set you on the path to answers with The Late Middle Ages, the final course in his excellent trilogy that began with The Early Middle Ages and The High Middle Ages.

This provocative 24-lecture course introduces you to the age's major events, personalities, and developments and arms you with the essentials you need to form your own ideas about this age of extremes—an age that, according to Professor Daileader, "experiences disasters and tragedies of such magnitude that those who survive them cannot remember the like, and doubt that subsequent generations will be capable of believing their descriptions."

An Era of Disease, War, and Religious Turmoil ...

There was the Black Death, which killed perhaps half the population of Europe in four years and remained a constant and terrifying presence for centuries to come. ...

There was the carnage of frequent wars, particularly the Hundred Years War, and a steady progression in the deadly effectiveness of the weapons with which those wars might be waged. ...

There was religious turmoil, with the papacy humiliated, the popes departing Rome, and a Great Papal Schism that ultimately produced three competing popes, leaving the Catholic Church with no clear leader for a period of nearly 40 years. ...

And there was the threat of rebellion in both city and country as disasters and social change took their inevitable toll.

... or Were the Seeds of Modernity Planted?

On the other hand, even as Europe was reeling under these onslaughts, a powerful new way of thinking was coming to fruition. This was the beginning of the intellectual and cultural movement known as Humanism.

By Humanism's precepts, which harkened back to the moral inspiration inherent in Classical artistic values, humans have an enormous capacity for goodness, for creativity, even for the achievement of happiness. Moreover, that happiness was something that could be experienced not in the next life, but in this one.

But these were hardly the only forces that tug modern-day historians in multiple directions. The Middle Ages was also a period when the persisting legacy of knights, serfs, and castles coexisted with the cannons and muskets newly made possible by gunpowder.

It was a period when Scholastic theologians continued to question the nature of God and the salvation of humanity, while this new breed of Humanists urged a focus on humanity itself. And it was a time enlightened enough to welcome and appreciate the rise of the printing press, yet it still permitted and tolerated the torments of the Spanish Inquisition.

With a world of such contradictions and juxtapositions, is it any wonder that historians, including those who have been the most influential and evocative in studying this period, have differed on how history is to judge this era?debating even when it ended and modernity began?

As you might imagine, Professor Daileader is no stranger to this discussion. His opinion is that modernity in Europe came much later than is generally thought, occurring between 1750 and 1850.

More importantly, Professor Daileader's wealth of teaching skills has drawn consistent recognition and honors, beginning with his four Certificates of Distinction while still a graduate student at Harvard and ranging to his current occupancy of one of William and Mary's University Chairs in Teaching Excellence.

Encounter Extraordinary People and Events

The teaching skills that helped earn those honors include a delightful narrative style and a wry and pointed sense of humor, both of which are on regular display throughout these lectures. The result is a compelling course that introduces you to an extraordinary array of people and events.

  • Meet women like Christine de Pizan, possibly the first woman to support herself and her family entirely through her literary efforts. Left to her own devices after the deaths of her husband and father, the Italian-born resident of France put her superb education to work, writing and selling poems, royal biographies, a defense of Joan of Arc, and even a book on military theory. But her greatest contributions were as an early feminist; with major works defending the intellectual and moral equality of women, she launched a discussion that would last for centuries.
  • Encounter rulers who helped turn the tide of history, like Ferdinand and Isabella, who sponsored Columbus's voyages to the Americas but also expelled both the Jews and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula and established the Spanish Inquisition. Or Philip IV of France, whose drive to assert supremacy over the papacy included the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the popes in Avignon and the arrest and trial of the Knights Templar, the military order supposedly answerable only to the pope.
  • And discover radical thinkers and theologians such as John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, and William Ockham, whose ideas dared to approach—and cross—the forbidden lines of heresy, sparking controversy, rebellion, and the sometimes fatal opposition of the church.

But as fascinating as the people of the Late Middle Ages were, its signpost events and developments were no less gripping, and Professor Daileader creates vibrant pictures in showing how each contributed to this complex and important era, including:

  • The Black Death, which claimed what some historians now believe to be fully half of Europe's population in its first four-year visit (there were others) and left in its wake not only death and grief but widespread social and economic complications.
  • The influence of the Inquisition's courts and the idea of the "witch"—especially the female witch—as well as the occurrence of the first witch trials and the widespread ordeals women fell prey to in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • The coming of paper to Europe, after its invention in China 1,000 years earlier, and the replacement of parchment by paper. This development was critical to the feasibility and spread of the printing press, perhaps even more so than the demands presented by the rise of literacy.
  • The far-reaching effects of the historical transaction that has come to be known as the Columbian Exchange. The massive trade of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and New Worlds rapidly changed both areas forever. As Europe gained enormous demographic and economic benefits, it was often at the cost of profound devastation to the Americas.

The impact of the exchange that began with Columbus's voyage is still felt today, as is the impact of the entire era whose end it roughly marks and whose story is presented so brilliantly in The Late Middle Ages.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Late Middle Ages—Rebirth, Waning, Calamity?
    This lecture introduces the course and its focus on two major questions debated by historians for centuries: Did the 14th and 15th centuries mark the turning point between the medieval and the modern? Was this period a high or a low point in European history? x
  • 2
    Philip the Fair versus Boniface VIII
    You'll examine the conflict between the king of France and the papacy. The results—a growth of French influence and a weakened papacy—will shape the religious history of 14th-century Europe. x
  • 3
    Fall of the Templars and the Avignon Papacy
    Continued French defiance of papal authority generates a perception of French influence that—even though exaggerated by influential foreign voices such as Petrarch's—can only diminish the authority of an institution that aspires to universality. x
  • 4
    The Great Papal Schism
    Two unusual papal elections produce two popes, one in Rome and the other in Avignon, with each claiming legitimacy. The resulting split, complete with competing lines of popes, will divide Christian Europe for nearly two generations. x
  • 5
    The Hundred Years War, Part 1
    The political history of 14th-century Europe will be dominated by more than a century of continual conflict between France and England over the latter's claims to the French throne. x
  • 6
    The Hundred Years War, Part 2
    Although the thrones of the combatants ultimately remain unchanged, the war demonstrates the effectiveness of the longbow against knights and contributes to the emergence of larger, infantry-based armies—a trend that will soon have political and social repercussions. x
  • 7
    The Black Death, Part 1
    With its population at a difficult level to sustain, Europe is ill-equipped to confront the calamity that arrives in 1347. Medical and cultural assumptions of the time are limited and the population drops by one-third, perhaps by one-half, in four years. x
  • 8
    The Black Death, Part 2
    The consequences of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of plague include an increase in geographical mobility and wages and a drop in rents, land values, and food prices. The result is a rising gap between rich and poor, increasing the social tensions that sometimes manifested themselves in revolt. x
  • 9
    Revolt in Town and Country
    The Late Middle Ages witnessed a relatively high number of large-scale revolts, and you'll examine both rural and urban examples: the Peasants' Revolt in England of 1381 and the revolt of the Ciompi in Florence in 1378. x
  • 10
    William Ockham
    You'll learn about the life and works of a man whose theological views and criticisms of the papacy made him a polarizing figure, not only during his own lifetime but for centuries to come. x
  • 11
    John Wycliffe and the Lollards
    Another controversial English Scholastic theologian has an even greater impact than Ockham, inspiring—through his ideas about the church, priesthood, and spiritual authority—the first large-scale heretical movement to emerge in medieval England. x
  • 12
    Jan Hus and the Hussite Rebellion
    The execution of the man willing to defend Wycliffe's ideas in the Holy Roman Empire touches off a series of revolts known as the Hussite Wars, during which the Hussites become the only medieval heretical group to fight successfully for the establishment of their own church. x
  • 13
    Witchcraft
    Although the 16th and 17th centuries were the great age of European witch hunts, the first European witch trials date to the Late Middle Ages. You'll discover the fusion of the concepts of heresy and "harmful" magic that set the stage for those witch hunts. x
  • 14
    Christine de Pizan and Catherine of Siena
    You'll look at the work of two of the late-medieval culture's most noteworthy women: one perhaps the first self-supporting female author, the other a mystic who was to become one of the first female Doctors of the Church. x
  • 15
    Gunpowder
    The introduction of gunpowder and the weapons for it is one of the most important technological developments in late-medieval Europe, altering the balance of power and, together with other changes in military technology, forcing the medieval nobility to function less as warriors and more as courtiers. x
  • 16
    The Printing Press
    The printing press greatly increases the efficiency with which knowledge is disseminated, making it easier for subsequent generations to build on and surpass the intellectual achievements of their predecessors. x
  • 17
    Renaissance Humanism, Part 1
    This first of two lectures on Humanism looks at the emergence of this strong belief in the inherent goodness, intellectual capability, and dignity of the individual, combined with a profound admiration for Classical literature and art and a desire to revive the literary and artistic values of antiquity. x
  • 18
    Renaissance Humanism, Part 2
    Continuing our discussion of Hu­man­ism, you'll look at its differences from the dominant intellectual method of the time—Scholasticism—and the role Hu­manist ideas were destined to play in Euro­pean intellectual life. x
  • 19
    The Fall of the Byzantine Empire
    The eastern half of the Roman Empire outlives the western half by nearly 1,000 years. This lecture traces the fall of that empire, with the resulting migration of Byzantine scholars to Italy, helping to fuel the revival of antiquity's values then taking place in the West. x
  • 20
    Ferdinand and Isabella
    The marriage of the heir to the throne of Aragon to the heir to the throne of Castile sets the stage for one of the most important political events of the late 15th century: the dynastic unification of most of present-day Spain. x
  • 21
    The Spanish Inquisition
    In 1478, Ferdinand and Isabella establish the Spanish Inquisition. It is a reaction to the large number of Jews converting to Christianity in the aftermath of earlier pogroms and doubts about their sincerity, with Spanish Inquisitors likely playing a role in the decision to expel the Jews in 1492. x
  • 22
    The Age of Exploration
    During the 15th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers begin to venture down the west coast of Africa and farther out into the Atlantic Ocean, reaching places where no European, to anyone's knowledge, had ever been before—with enormous economic consequences to Europe. x
  • 23
    Columbus and the Columbian Exchange
    Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas in 1492 marks a turning point not just in European history but in global history. Trading plants, animals, minerals, and diseases between the Americas and Europe quickly changed both continents. x
  • 24
    When Did the Middle Ages End?
    Humanists of the Italian Renaissance came to believe they had brought the Middle Ages to an end, but there are several reasons to dispute that claim, as this closing lecture makes clear. x

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Your professor

Philip Daileader

About Your Professor

Philip Daileader, Ph.D.
The College of William and Mary
Dr. Philip Daileader is Associate Professor of History at The College of William and Mary. He earned his B.A. in History from Johns Hopkins University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. Before taking his position at William and Mary, he taught at the University of Alabama and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Professor Daileader received William and Mary's 2004 Alumni Fellowship Award...
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Reviews

Late Middle Ages is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 102.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Professor Philip Daileader's conclusion to his series on the middle ages is excellent. That endured plague,famine and religious intolerence and among other things the Hundred Years War. However it also produces Chaucer, Dante, Boccacio, Galileo, and Copernicus. The idea that stuck with me was that the middle ages really did not end until the Industrial Revolution even though many ideas from that period continue to influence us today. Certainly many of our common phrases date to that era, such as "hue and cry".
Date published: 2012-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bring out your dead I must admit with some embarrassment that scenes from Monty Python's Holy Grail ran through my head a few times as I was watching this course, especially during the lectures on Black Death. As I went through the Professor's trilogy on the middle ages, I assumed that I would learn less as I got closer to modern times. As usual I was wrong. This overview of the last 200 years of the middle ages straightened out quite a few of my misconceptions and set me up nicely to watch Western Civ 2. Professor Daileader is a solid enough teacher, with a touch of humor, to keep me interested through all 72 lectures. While there is a bit of repetition the courses do work well when watched back to back. This course like the first has a more linear history with time out for topical lectures, while the second tends toward individual topics until the last half dozen lectures. It starts with the French and the English and after a time out for rebellions, witchcraft, guns and the renaissance moves to Spain in time to end up with Columbus. The sequence works well with my only two complaints being the waste of lectures 1 and 24 on the history of history and pet theories and that the course wasn't longer so we could get more in depth history on the English/French conflicts and the rise of Spain.
Date published: 2012-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fine end to a trilogy As trilogies go, it wasn't quite "Lord of the Rings," but Prof. Daileader's set of courses on the Middle Ages was well worth the time, and had a fascinating cast of characters. This final installment brings us to the brink of the Renaissance and beyond. Every teacher preparing one of these series has to pick and choose, leaving out huge swaths of material in order to fit the standard format. Reviewers who complain about a pet topic that isn't covered have to understand that Dr. Daileader is trying to cover 200 years of European history in 12 hours, which is far less "face time" than a standard college history course. In my opinion, he organized the class well and explained his methodology clearly. Some of the lectures are on major events, such as the conflict between kings and popes, the Black Death, or the Hundred Years War. Others focus on key people of the time, both men and women. And there are topical lectures on witchcraft, gunpowder, humanism, and the printing press. All in all, the student is left with a satisfactory knowledge of the key events and people of this vibrant era. There are many visual elements to this course, including maps, portraits, and text, so I would recommend the DVD version. The course book is of average length with modest glossary and biography sections. The Prof has a couple of slightly annoying habits, such as stretching out unimportant words (and, but) while he gathers his thoughts, and using ineffectual hand gestures. But he is an engaging lecturer with a good sense of humor, he knows his topic well, and he has the best collection of shirts and ties of any lecturer I've watched so far. I hope he creates more series for us to enjoy.
Date published: 2012-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great end to a trilogy! I have watched all three of Professor Daleader's courses on the Middle Ages and I have enjoyed each of them. I like the way he presents the material clearly and in a swell-organized way. I feel like I have learned a lot and have a better understanding of this time period because of these classes.
Date published: 2012-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Course Should Be Required audio version There is so much covered during this time period that this course should be required for everyone. The Black Death, the Spanish Inquisition, the discovery of gunpowder, the papacy at Avignon, the discovery of America (hang on...I've got to take a breath) -- just look at the list of lectures. Each topic could be a course in itself. The primary "flaw" of this course is that Prof. Daileader didn't have more time to cover these topics. Prof. Daileader did a nice job of selecting the lectures and covering them in a coherent manner in 30 minutes. I enjoyed his sense of humor and his organization in presenting this material. He provided a nice bibliography. This course can stand alone. One should not feel that Prof. Daileader's other courses in this series are prerequisites for this course (although I would encourage interested people to buy them as a set and listen to all three). I would recommend this course for anyone interested in western culture. Thank you to TTC and Prof. Daileader for this Great Course -- hopefully, you will cover some of the topics in more detail in future courses.
Date published: 2012-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I had some problems with this course The content concentrates on specific selected events over the period -- some are treated in depth. I would have enjoyed hearing at least one lecture on the condition of the "common man", including how people lived and played. A lecture on medicine would have been interesting. Trade and money could have been featured in another lecture. The lecturer has a distinctly nasal voice but I became accustomed to that. What did annoy me throughout is his habit of continually flapping his hands and arms around, perhaps a nervous tic but I found this off-putting. Overall I regret I cannot recommend this course.
Date published: 2012-03-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Weakest of the Three Don't get me wrong. There's much of real value in this course. Professor Daileader is extremely knowledgeable. He hits all the bases. He does fine work in exploring the political and military consequences of the Hundred Years' War and the vast consequences, including the economic repercussions, of the Black Death. His discussion of Columbus and the Columbian Exchange is provocative and quite good. But, overall, the course falls well short of the other two in this series. It lacks systematic organization. The topics feel isolated, and one concludes the course far less secure than in the previous courses in understanding the politics, the power, and the relative position of the major countries of Europe. The discussion of humanism is very thin, better on biography of the major players but very weak on the substance, the ideas they generated. The treatment of Petrarch and the Renaissance artists, among others, is so fleeting that the student gets only the most elementary sense of how radical an advance in thought and art they achieved. Daileader makes a reasonable case at the end of the course that the Middle Ages did not abruptly end in 1500. There would be a transition into the next major phase of history just as there had been from the Roman era into the Dark Ages. It would have been more helpful to focus even more precisely on the elements and pace of that transition than trying to prove the rather self-evident point that it wasn't until 1850 that all the major vestiges of the Middle Ages had passed from the scene. Among other things, the professor could have covered more specifically the developments in art, philosophy, science, and economics that he treated too lightly during the course. Having been more critical than most other reviewers, I do want to conclude with general praise and express gratitude to the professor for ably helping me fill in a huge gap in my knowledge by better understanding this long and important period of history.
Date published: 2011-10-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Grand Finale Prof. Daileader does a magnificent job with these concluding series of lectures on the Middle Ages. He is very engaging, articulate, humorous and knowledgeable and does a great job in selecting his content and building each lecture around a central theme. A very accessible, user friendly introduction to the late Middle Ages. The course features a number of maps, which made me glad I purchased the DVD version. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2011-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Glorious conclusion of the series Downloaded version. I have already commented on how great professor Daileader is in my reviews of the Early and High Middle Ages. He has a nice voice, he presents the material very well and makes it quite interesting. It certainly does not seem as if he is simply reading his notes, the way some professors do. When you start listening to the first course (the Early Middle Ages), you come to realize that this is a great course and that the professor is very good. By the third installment of the series, the professor is an old friend and you expect and receive great information in a very enjoyable style. He has a great sense of humor. For example, he noted that during the Late Middle Ages many believed that they were living at the end of times and that the end of the world was at hand. He then pointed out that “in view of the evidence, their claims were rather exaggerated.” All three segments were designed as separated courses. You don’t really need to listen/view any of the other Middle Ages segments to enjoy any one course. However, it works much better when you listen to all three. On that point, we are lucky that the professor had a chance to complete them all and that all 3 are available at the same time. My understanding is that it took almost 10 years to complete them, so there were years between the segments when people were anxiously waiting for the release of the second and the third installments. There is a lot of interesting information presented in this course. What I found the most intriguing is the suggestion that the Middle Ages did not end at 1500 but at 1750 or even 1800 because many of the habits, traditions, practices, and institutions persisted well into the modern age. If you are interested in history, I am sure you will enjoy this course. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2011-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The last part of a great trilogy DVD review. After doubling between 1000 and 1300, Europe's population was halved before 1350 by the Black Death and other assorted plagues. For true believers in this "Age of Faith", the Deity must have seemed doubly mysterious. Then the Pope moved to Avignon, under French control. This was followed by a spate of Popes living at the same time, excommunicating each other; a panic over witches; large heretical movements in Northern Europe; and swarms of torturing, burning inquisitors bent on rooting out incorrect thought. It is a miracle that a belief in the perfectability of man and society (Humanism) sprouted in such an unpromising environment. Dr Daileader guides us through 1300 to 1500 with the same thoroughness and humor he used in his two previous courses. Short and efficient, just the way I like it. And in the end, when the long-suffering Europeans reach America and decimate the natives (unintentionally, of course) with the plagues and diseases they were now resistant to, some saw that God had had a plan after all. This, of course, is my suggestion, not Dr Daileader's. Human history is filled with unintended ironies and tragedies. This course is an excellent introduction to a choice part of it. Your mental furniture if you so decide.
Date published: 2011-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Natural delivery I concur with the reviewers below that this is a stellar course that is worth your investment. And I would like to add one additional comment: The professor appears completely un-self-conscious. He really does sound like a college prof who is teaching his students who are right there, in studio. That eliminates the awkward feeling when camera angles change and the prof has to catch up with the change. He also consults his notes relatively infrequently , which feels more natural.
Date published: 2011-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Late Middle Ages Finally, we got the third of Prof. Daileader's Middle Ages Courses! His material is always detailed, extremely well organized and superbly presented. One of the side benefits from this presenter is his marvelous, dry sense of humor. I know I will watch these three over and over, but I fervently wish he would do more courses for us! He really makes this complex period of history comprehensible and very alive. Bravo, Prof. Daileader. Thank you, Teaching Company!
Date published: 2011-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Wonderful Course This is the third in an outstanding trio of medieval history courses.
Date published: 2011-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fifteen stars So ends the Trilogy. EARLY, HIGH, LATE middle ages. Each certainly worth 5 stars. Dr Dailender is a marvel. Wonderfully engaging. Great teacher. Each segment seems more like an interesting story told by a good friend, than a lecture. The only question is : will you want to put in the 36 hours to view the whole series. The TCC does have some shorter courses on Middle Ages. For me the answer is a strong yes. In fact, will probably watch it all over again. Strong buy.recommendation !
Date published: 2011-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "I watched the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages in essentially one breath, I couldn't put the lectures down, all 72 of them, Professor Daileader was riveting most all professors at the Teaching Company have their idiosyncrasies, sometimes these are a challenge, but beyond these occasional irritations what one finds most consistently is mastery and even brilliance, much as here thank you Professor Daileader"
Date published: 2011-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding series! Prof. Daileader's 3-course series on the Early, Middle and Late Middle Ages is engrossing. Even if you are not heretofore terribly interested in the medieval era in Europe, this series will get you interested. Prof. Daileader is entertaining as well as informative. This series is truly one of the best the Teaching Co. offers in the history field. I strongly recommend purchasing all three and starting with the Early Middle Ages.
Date published: 2011-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellence in Education! Another excellent presentation by Professor Daileader. Always engaging, informative and well-prepared. Highly recommended! My only regret is that there are not more courses taught by this wonderful scholar!
Date published: 2010-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding I listened to all three Middle Ages courses from Prof Deileader, and they are uniformly excellent. As might be expected, there is some slight overlap between this course and the High Middle Ages. Unlike some other reviewers, I actually think this is the best of the three. Perhaps this is solely because there is more to work with, but it seems to me that each lecture flows logically and insightfully into the next. The course is designed as a single unit rather than breaking it up into themes, which I think aids with overall understanding of the period. I agree with several reviewers who disliked the last lecture. Prof Deileader cherry picks his points to make the bizarre case that middle ages didn't end until 1750-1850. Things that the middle ages and early modernity have in common (but which in now way define or are unique to the medieval period) are cited as evidence for this thesis, while more obvious and more important differences are ignored. Despite the last lecture, I would still rate this an outstanding effort and precisely what I expect from a TTC course.
Date published: 2010-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent 3-course finale This is an outstanding finale to Prof. Daileader's excellent series. I disagree with several of the earlier reviewers that this course is less interesting than the other two, but then tastes do vary. The courses should be viewed in chronological order to give them continuity and to flesh out the references he sometimes makes to observations from the earlier courses. Dr. Daileader is an engaging lecturer and comes across as someone with whom you'd really like to have dinner.
Date published: 2010-12-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The End of the Daileader Trilogy Having just finished the last of the 72 Daileader Teaching Company lectures, let me say that I feel Dr. Daileader was consistent throughout. I noticed that a small number of reviewers didn't take to the Late Middle Ages as much as the Early and High Middle Age Courses. I for one didn't mind at all the slight change in pace--namely, the lectures that deviated from chronological political narration to focus on topics like gunpowder and witchcraft. I found them every bit as interesting, and they made me want to check out the new TC course by Dr. Armstrong. On another note, I also enjoyed the much-mentioned last lecture where Daileader posits that the middle ages ended with the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. I for one think the idea is brilliant an intuitive. Just think what our world today is like and compare it with what life was like in, say, 1500. When did the most fundamental changes take place, and where shall we say the dividing line between the world of 1300 and 2000 lies? It makes sense to me that using the writing of Candide makes more sense to me than the sculpting of Michelangelo's David. I would say that the Salem of the 17th century was still medieval. In any event, I am receptive to the idea, and it seems that all sorts of once cherished historical notions are eventually re-evaluated and changed. Look at the topic of the fall of the Roman Empire for example. We have gone from cherishing Gibbons to cherishing Peter Brown.
Date published: 2010-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Daileader is awesome! Recently I was a TA for a Western Civ class that focused on the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. I knew nothing about this era; so, each week I listened to the lectures pertinent to that week's discussion section, and I totally phonied my way into looking knowledgeable. On my TA evals, under the question "rate the instructor's knowledge of course material" I received A: 89% B: 7% C:2% F:2%. Several students also wrote down that I really knew my stuff. I'm lucky to have had this course. This is a great course (2nd only to Bob Brier's Ancient Egypt) b/c Daileader has colorful anecdotes, a good sense of humor, insightful scholarly analysis--all characteristics of great teaching. Anecdote Example: Columbus telling his men the 1st to spot land gets a fancy jacket. When one spotted land, Columbus stated that he saw it the night before and didn't tell anyone. Humor example: When talking about hot s e x between witches and the devil, he stated that this lecture needs a parental advisory sticker (I used that same joke in class). Insightful analysis example: The discovery of America changed the ecological trajectory of the planet. Before discovery, there was high biodiversity; now high bio-homogeneity. Most lectures were fantastic, especially the one on Columbus and the Columbian exchange. I had the CDs and didn't feel my learning was impaired by not having the visuals.
Date published: 2010-09-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 23 great lectures, 1 terrible lecture I found almost all of this course to excellent - Daileader knows the middle ages exceptionally well and presents the material in depth. If I had listened only to the first 23 lectures, it would have been solid 5 stars. But, I have a serious caveat - skip the last lecture. Daileader lost a substantial portion of the credibility he built up over the previous 23 lectures by trying to make a serious argument that the Middle Ages lasted until the period 1750-1850. I was a modern European intellectual historian, specializing in 18th and 19th century, especially Germany and the Anglosphere, and his argument just doesn't wash. It's not consistent with how serious European thinkers thought of themselves and their times from the late 15th and 16th centuries on and the criteria he uses as characteristics of the middle ages that continue don't seem to me to accurately characterize the differences between the ancient world and the medieval world, let alone the medieval world and the modern world.
Date published: 2010-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Solid, Mostly Superb Presentation While each course in Daileader’s trilogy on the Middle Ages (Early, High, and Late) can stand on its own, I agree they should be listened to in chronological order. Daileader is strongest on broad topics and themes. His two lectures on The Black Death were fabulous, and perhaps might deserve a separate course. I also relished his lectures on witchcraft, gunpowder, and the printing press. Daileader was not as interesting in Lectures 3 through 6, which were mostly linear and covered the requisite movers and shakers in the Hundred Years War, etc. The professor’s humor is still there, as when he introduces a “cross-dressing peasant girl who heard voices in her head” -- Joan of Arc. He concludes in his final (and best) lecture that the Middle Ages did not really end until about 1750, a thesis (if valid) that makes the Middle Ages critically important to know and understand. Don't miss this fabulous series!
Date published: 2010-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 3 for 3 in varied and fascinating history I just finished this after having taken Prof. Daileader's Early and High Middle Ages courses in the past 6 months. The Late Middle Ages is an excellent mix of religion and philosphy, culture, personalities, technology changes, and the major events that so profoundly infiuenced the Late Middle Ages and shaped our modern world. Prof Daileader is an enthusiastic and learned speaker. He brings real passion and perspective to the material. I found the integrated approach to the English and French sides of the 100 Years War, for example, much better than any treatment I had previously read about. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2010-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great time machine! Dr. Philip Daileader gives a good review about the Late Middle Ages. I enjoyed it enormously and I think he discusses the most important topics of that period. He is a good lecturer and knows what he is talking about. However some of his lectures are too superficial (it is hard to describe the “ONE HUNDRED YEARS war” in 60 minutes I assume!) and I completely disagree with his argument that the Middle Ages ended well into what I think is the Modern Age (even when many of the medieval institutions are till functional such as the Monarchies of Spain or England, Monaco, the Papacy, and that medieval conditions existed well into early the XX century in places such as Russia or Mexico I do not think anyone can argue the Middle Ages were still going on then). But that is what I think these lectures do, they stimulate intellectual discussion. Overall, the course is worth every penny and I recommend it to everyone interested in the period.
Date published: 2009-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! Fascinating, thorough, well-presented course. Prof. Daileader is an excellent lecturer whose love of the material is contagious. I have listened to his entire series on the Middle Ages and my only complaint is that it ended. I highly recommend all three courses.
Date published: 2009-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Number One Of the many superstar lecturers I have enjoyed via The Teaching Company, Professor Daileader possesses just the right mixture of scholarship, dry wit and humor to rate him my number one. Each of his three courses on medieval history is a gem and will be reviewed several times. He also has piqued my interest in further explorations of the subject through the excellent bilbiolographies. These courses are The Teaching Company at it very best.
Date published: 2009-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Finish to a Great Series This course left me yearning for the Italian Rennaissance course, which I will have to go purchase now. The series of three Middle Ages courses are a fantastic and entertaining portrait of life in that time period, from peasants to kings, from Augustine to Columbus. I find Professor Daileader's humor and wit particularly entertaining, especially his joke about the Magellan Fund in one of the last lectures... Overall, I would highly recommend all three courses in this series. The Late Middle Ages course in particular left me wanting more.
Date published: 2009-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Presentation Once again Professor Daileader does a wonderful job of explaining a complex and vast topic. He pulls together all the material from the Early Middle Ages and weaves those stories into this course. He takes the important aspects of the time period and helps you understand all of the events of Europe and the Middle East at this time.
Date published: 2009-05-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Least Favorite of the Trilogy I enjoyed these lectures, but not as much as the first two of the series, which I had listened to just before this one. The professor is interesting and insightful, but the structure of the course didn't flow as smoothly as the previous two. Of course, since it was the third, perhaps I had exhausted my mood for the Middle Ages by the time I reached the final course. I'd still recommend it.
Date published: 2009-04-04
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