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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  • 200-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos, maps, and illustrations
  • Suggested reading
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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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Reviews

The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 220.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lot of info I had not heard before This course provided information I didn't know plus it was easy enough for friends that are not history buffs were entranced.
Date published: 2019-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I was interested in the plague,which has been well covered so far. It does cut out and need to be restarted on my Kendall Fire.
Date published: 2019-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was a great set of lectures and very informative with the guide book! Highly recommend!
Date published: 2019-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well presented in a memorable way My first Great Course...of many more. I would have loved history in high school had facts been presented this way. Great professor. I did sense a bit of an anti-Christian agenda, however. I did not like this under-teaching.
Date published: 2019-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Course & Professor!! This was the very first course I ever watched from TGC. This is such an awesome course. Professor Armstrong delivers these lectures so well and is very knowledgeable about this topic. As soon as this course goes on sale again I will be buying it. It is one of my very favorite courses in TGC. I will be watching more of this professors courses and hope to see more newer releases with her lecturing soon.
Date published: 2019-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course I just finished this course and I can say without a doubt that this was one of the best Great Courses I’ve purchased. I never knew there was so to learn from the plague. The instructor has very good tone, and is easy to listen to for long periods.
Date published: 2019-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting So Far I haven't been able to watch the DVD and I just started reading the book. As a former Infection Preventionist I find the book very interesting. The great part about the book is that it is not too technical so anyone can read and learn about this terrible problem that struck the world. Have not been able to view the video in spite of the fact I have to select audio/video.
Date published: 2019-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another fine course by Dorsey While I have not yet finished this course, I know I will enjoy every minute of it. I have listened to a couple of Dorsey Armstrong's courses and find her to be a superb lecturer who can always mix in a bit of humor.
Date published: 2019-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Time Travel Looks at a ghastly time in human history from all angles. Very entertaining and insightful. Dr. Dorsey Armstrong is a treat! Purdue '76
Date published: 2019-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So excellent and incredibly relevant Such a great lecture!! It will change the way I look at so many aspects of history...and, of the present.
Date published: 2019-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unbelievable! The information was new to me. Couldn't stop listening. The lectures were presented exceptionally well and the information relevant to current world history.
Date published: 2018-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Series Dr. Dorsey is attractive, intelligent, articulate, and a clear expert in matters Medieval. Her discussion of the etiology of the plague is succinct, and her insights into Medieval society are fascinating. The content of her lectures is consistently engaging, and her delivery is flawless. This set is worth watching.
Date published: 2018-11-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Could Not View This is the second time I've purchase DVDs that use such an old format that my DVD player cannot play them. I am more than frustrated and will make any further purchases. This company refuses to reformat old DVDs and does not warn it's customers that these DVDs are only compatible with older DVD players.
Date published: 2018-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from How European history changed I knew a lot about the various plague epidemics that spread across Europe from the 14th to 19th centuries and Armstrong filled in details that were fascinating, especially the reaction of the church. I thought, how could children and young people be so sinful as to be killed; even the popes and clergy caught the disease and died. Not all sinful and corrupt. I was very interested in the works of Chaucer and Boccaccio in response to the first major spread. Would have liked more about these works. The human species has never been very good about controlling population growth and it is interesting how we still deny that plagues, diseases, wars, pestilence and other "natural" controls are not recognized as cutting down excess population of the human species as necessary. Armstrong, an excellent presenter, did not address this issue, except to note that it took several generations to "rebuild" the population levels. It did allow the lower classes (serfs, peasants, de facto "slaves") to rise to higher levels and out of feudalism (except in Eastern Europe, where it existed into the 19th century).
Date published: 2018-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Set of Lectures We were pleasantly surprised that a professor with academic credentials in English and medieval literature has prepared and delivered an extremely strong set of lectures on the Black Death. She deals expertly in the epidemiology, the path and progress of the disease, and all the ramifications it levied on Western Europe for centuries. Each and every lecture is first class in delivery and camera work; she has an excellent on camera presence. Two minor criticisms are that she devotes an inordinate amount of time in Lecture 19 to Geoffrey Chaucer ( but hey - her field is medieval literature so this was her chance!) and there is very little discussion on why the plague kept reappearing periodically for several centuries and also why it stopped.
Date published: 2018-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from High interest A favorite lecturer of mine now, who ties the past beautifully into the present. I enjoyed every lecture.
Date published: 2018-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative This was a very informative lecture series. I did my postgraduate research on plague tourism in England, so I'm very interested in the topic of the Black Death, and I found this very informative and interesting. However, I would like to point out that in lecture 23, on the later plague outbreaks, when she is discussing the plague outbreak and quarantine in Eyam in Derbyshire in 1665-1666, the lecturer consistently mispronounces both Eyam and Derbyshire. Derbyshire is pronounced "Darbyshire" - the "er" takes on an "ar" sound in this and several other British words. And Eyam is pronounced "Eem", not "I-am". I lived there for nearly a year while conducting my postgraduate research on plague tourism in the village, volunteering at the local museum and explaining this pronunciation to tourists on a regular basis. Other than this, the lecture series is great and I would recommend it to others interested in this topic, since it ties in so strongly with many other historical topics, including the development of capitalism, medieval religious movements, and so much more.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Most interesting I have purchased many courses in the past and this one is one of my very favorites. The subject matter is truly fascinating and the intructor is truly exceptional, offering a great course experience.
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent for listening to in the car Despite the somewhat ghoulish subject matter, this course is fascinating! The professor's profound knowledge and enthusiasm for the topic comes through in every lecture. She takes a very broad approach, discussing what is known, what is still not known, and how this catastrophe permanently changed European society. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Overview of the Black Death This course did a good job of tracing the spread of the Black Death and discussing the consequences of this pandemic.
Date published: 2018-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bring Out Your Dead! By now, Professor Armstrong has become one of my favorite professors with the Great Courses. So when “The Black Death” was resealed, I bought it and rushed to finished it. The biggest takeaway for me in this course was that with the coming of the Black Death, Europe was catapulted into the Modern Age. Had it not arrived in the continent, then the Medieval system would have been in place for a lot longer. With the arrival of the Black Death, it completely shredded the social hierarchy of nobles, peasants, and clergy. Afterwards, the upwardly mobile merchant class would take their place in the new world and their social position would transform Europe. The Church as well could provide little to no comfort to people and their corruption and lackadaisical manner towards their job would began the long road towards the Reformation. Out of such death and devastation in the short term, the Black Death would in the long run bring us into the Modern World.
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So much more than title suggests! I’m a little less than half finished with the course. As with almost all of The Great Courses, I am extremely happy with this one. Far beyond the learning of the plague, you learn the far reaching impact on history. It’s an amazing story and I look forward to each new chapter.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Black Death Course could be shortened by half. Very repetitive. Lecturer fairly good. Probably will ask for a refund
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too little science Dr. Armstrong is a gifted lecturer, but I was disappointed in the course. Her expertise is in medieval literature, and apparently she chose to present her material from that perspective. My disappointment perhaps reflects my own interests, but I would say the Black Death was a historical event reflecting a biological and epidemiological phenomenon, and I had hoped to learn more about the facts of the catastrophe. She indeed tells us about some political and cultural elements that I found instructive. Unfortunately, she seems to have little knowledge of disease, and does poorly with numbers. She perhaps tries to compensate by looking carefully into the published literature, but to give a single example, her choice to weigh what to me seems the absurd suggestion that the Black Death was an early form of HIV as strongly as its likely cause by a bacterium closely related to modern plague is unfortunate. It perhaps adds a certain zest to the story, but tends to move it into the realm of fiction.
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well documented all considered She confronts the reality that we don't know the exact pathogen(s) for this mass casualty event. It does seem clear that bubonic plague was mostly involved, but there do seem to have been other pathogens, and rat fleas as the vector aren't convincing based on the speed with which the disease propagated.She doesn't have all the answers to these questions, because she is honest enough to admit we don't have them. Presumably, the death toll in Asia equalled or exceeded the number in Europe, but that isn't clear. Realistically, a similar plague is the most likely worldwide mass casuality event, despite advances in medicine and because of global inter-connectedness. For that reason alone this is worth seeing.
Date published: 2018-06-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expert Knowledge, Plodding Delivery Let me begin by saying I have the greatest respect for Dr. Armstrong and her academic accomplishments. She has achieved levels of knowledge and recognition far beyond my capabilites, and I can only envy her vast base of knowledge. That being said, I found it difficult to make it through this series of lectures. I am only moderately knowledgable on the subject of the great mortality, but those special "aha" moments I look for in the Great Courses series were few and far between with this lecture set. Her delivery is slow and over-dramatized, with many annoying pauses and lilting vocal inflections. Had the lectures been delivered at a more normal conversational pace, without the dramatic pauses and feigned drama, significantly more information could have been conveyed under the same time restrictions. This set of lectures has its moments, but if you're looking for something that informs beyond freshman history and Plague 101, then I would look elsewhere.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course on a challenging topic Wonderful course on a challenging topic. All aspects are addressed; history, art, literature, psychology, you name it. The impact of black death and its consequences are sometimes underestimated, this course was revealing. Passionate teacher with profound knowledge, thumbs up.
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plag I have completed 50% of the courses and thoroughly love it. Professor Dorsey is very knowledgeable and engaging. The quality of the lectures and graphics are outstanding. I like the fact that each lecture is about 30 minutes long which makes it easy to fit into my schedule. This is my first "Great Courses" course and I will definitely do more of them.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suprising details and insights I didn't know what this would be like. I knew only a few things about the plague from high school. I listened to it while biking at the gym over a few weeks. Professor Armstrong has a sunny personality, which helped with the dark content. She conveys a sense of wonder about surprising details and insights. (She was very well-informed!) I leaned a great deal about many dimensions and impacts of the plague that I didn't know before, and it left me with a lot to think about, when it comes to social structure, tragedy, and how humans react to a crisis.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I thought there was way too much repetition from lecture to lecture.
Date published: 2018-06-11
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