The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Course No. 8286
Professor Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
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Course No. 8286
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Learn how the Habsburg kings spent Spain's New World treasure in the glorious architecture of Madrid and in fostering an artistic renaissance.
  • numbers Examine how the voyages of Columbus led to the carving out of vast Spanish possessions in the Americas.
  • numbers Look at the nearly seven centuries of Islamic rule of Spain, and its zenith in the legendary Caliphate of Cordoba.
  • numbers Track the deeply integral presence of Catholicism in Spanish life over the centuries.

Course Overview

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. It has historically stood at a critical crossroad—a crossroad of geography, of cultures, of religions, of ideas, of trade, and more. Spain’s strategic location, through the centuries, has made it a magnet for multiple different peoples, and it has participated in and witnessed numerous major shifts, trends, and historical moments.

Across 5000 years, from its prehistory and ancient Roman rule to the glory of Moorish al-Andalus, and from its empire building to its religious passions and kingly dynasties, Spain’s history has been extraordinarily dramatic, colorful, poignant, inspiring, and heartrending.

And yet, Spain’s remarkable role has not always been detailed in standard history curricula, at times overshadowed by the high profile of other European powers. But to understand the unfolding of Spain’s epic history is to come to terms with one of the West’s great civilizations, and to grasp its enduring presence and influence on the world stage. Consider these singular features of Spanish history:

  • The Renaissance began in Spain 15 years before the rest of Europe;
  • Spain was both the instigator and the catalyst for the opening of the New World, spanning North, Central, and South America—leaving Spanish as the world’s second most widely spoken language, following only Chinese;
  • Spain was a primary player in the vast commercial revolution that changed the world in the 17th century;
  • The collapse of Spain’s great empire both prefigured and sheds light upon the later disintegration of other European empires;
  • Spain’s 20th century history reveals much about the rise and fall of fascism in Europe.

In The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad, Professor Emerita Joyce E. Salisbury of the University of Wisconsin unfurls a broad and fascinating panorama of Spanish history, spanning the centuries from the first Neolithic settlement of the peninsula to Spain’s 20th century Civil War.

Linking one extraordinary era with the next, the course begins with how early Spain drew a spectrum of peoples from ancient Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, who formed vibrant communities on the peninsula. From there, you’ll witness the subjugation of the peninsula by both Rome and Gothic peoples, leading to the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain and the Reconquista, Catholic Spain and the Inquisition, and the conquest of the New World. In the final lectures, you’ll travel into the royal dynasties and dazzling artistic heritage of the Habsburg and Bourbon kings, and you’ll track Spain’s storied emergence into the modern world.

These 24 accessible and highly enjoyable lectures offer you a penetrating overview of the development of Spanish civilization. Designed for a wide audience, the course presents a comprehensive picture of Spanish life and culture, encompassing history, architecture and art, religion, science, and the humanities, as well as offering many pointers for travel in Spain, highlighting the country’s outstanding historical and cultural sights, and why they’re important.

A Thrilling Journey through Five Millennia of History

In the course’s opening, you’ll trace the melding of Neolithic peoples, Celts, Greeks, Phoenicians, and other immigrants who gave the Spanish peninsula its unique character. Across the centuries of history and the numerous seminal epochs the course illuminates, you’ll witness extraordinary historic moments such as:

  • The Kingdom of the Visigoths--Following Rome’s imperial domination of the region, discover how the Visigoths wrested control of the peninsula, and contemplate the remarkable society they built--a culture that produced great art, codes of law, theology, and hugely influential scholarship in the intellectual centers of Toledo and Seville;
  • The Golden Age of Islamic Spain--Take account of the nearly seven centuries of Islamic rule of Spain, and its zenith in the legendary Caliphate of Córdoba; grasp the underpinnings of Córdoba’s great wealth, and its astonishing achievements in art, science, aesthetics, and learning, that spread its fame across the known world;
  • Spain’s Catholic Passion--Track the deeply integral presence of Catholicism in Spanish life over the centuries. Learn about Spain’s role in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the Inquisition; trace Spain’s bloody wars against Protestants and Muslims, as well as its history and remarkable resurgence of religious tolerance;
  • The New World: Treasure and Tragedy--Witness how Columbus’s voyages led to the carving out of vast Spanish possessions in the Americas; follow the huge commercial empire which transpired, and the exploits of conquistadors, missionaries, and pirates, against a backdrop of economic oppression, slavery, and the decimation of native populations;
  • The Habsburgs: A Splendorous Era--In yet another illustrious epoch, learn how the Habsburg kings spent Spain’s New World treasure in the glorious architecture of Madrid and the El Escorial summer palace, and in fostering an artistic renaissance in the work of some of history’s greatest painters, composers, and literary artists;
  • Spain in the Modern World--Following the disintegration of Spain’s empire, observe its adaptations and contributions to the modern era, from its great 20th century artistic and intellectual innovators to its trials under the dictator Francisco Franco and its place as a vibrant 21st century nation.

A Rich Tapestry of Spanish Culture

As a primary strength of this course, Professor Salisbury brings to the table a vast and extraordinarily detailed knowledge of the Iberian Peninsula; its history as well as its unique culture. Demonstrating a flair for historical narrative, she expertly conveys the monumental scope and movement of events while at the same time revealing details that make the story compellingly three-dimensional. In her descriptions of the ancient trade in garum (Roman fish sauce, a surprisingly valuable commodity), the glittering court culture of Islamic Spain, and the features of life aboard Columbus’s ships, these distant eras come vividly alive.

Intertwined with the unfolding of Spanish history, Professor Salisbury illuminates Spain’s iconic cultures, and its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, theology, and learning. In the lecture on Spain’s gypsy heritage, you’ll explore the origins and forms of flamenco music and dance, and their deep links to gypsy and Andalusian culture. You’ll learn how the ritual of bullfighting—held as an art form in Spain—evolved from its origins as an equestrian pastime of the nobility to its markedly altered modern form.

Across the centuries, you’ll explore jewels of Spanish architecture, from the resplendent Moorish Alhambra and Alcázar of Seville to the sublime Sagrada Familia cathedral of Catalan modernist Antoni Gaudí. Professor Salisbury also highlights the evolution and forms of Spanish music, spanning the eras from the music of Islamic Spain to the great Baroque composers Guerrero and de Victoria and the 19th century master Albeniz. And you’ll encounter Spain’s geniuses of the visual and written arts, encompassing such masters as the painters Velasquez, el Greco, Goya, and Picasso, and writers from the philosophers Averroes and Maimonides to literary greats Lope de Vega and Cervantes.

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad takes you on a wide-ranging journey through the remarkable scope of Spanish civilization, life, and culture. Travel with us to this extraordinary land, and savor the majesty and the great human drama of the story of Spain.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain
    Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders. x
  • 2
    Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists
    Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants. x
  • 3
    Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula
    Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich. x
  • 4
    Christianity Comes to Hispania
    Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy. x
  • 5
    Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula
    As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population. x
  • 6
    The Visigoths Unite Spain
    As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture. x
  • 7
    Islam: The New Religion
    Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or “pillars”, and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians. x
  • 8
    Conflict within Islam
    Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Cordoba. x
  • 9
    The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus
    Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Cordoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Cordoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world. x
  • 10
    The Christian Reconquista
    This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by “El Cid”, the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada. x
  • 11
    Medieval Spanish Culture
    Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry. x
  • 12
    The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism
    Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain. x
  • 13
    Gypsy Influences on Spain
    Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies. x
  • 14
    The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion
    Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art. x
  • 15
    Columbus and the New World
    European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus’s travels, and the impact of his “opening” of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases. x
  • 16
    Conquistadors and Missionaries
    Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of Hernán Cortés, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slavery. x
  • 17
    The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy
    Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships. x
  • 18
    The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs
    Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes. x
  • 19
    Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants
    Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty. x
  • 20
    The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain
    Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon. x
  • 21
    Spain Loses Its Empire
    Follow Napoleon’s crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the “universal” principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain’s colonies. x
  • 22
    20th-Century Spanish Modernism
    Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miró and Dalí, the architect Antoni Gaudí, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain’s constitutional monarchy. x
  • 23
    The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign
    Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture. x
  • 24
    Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad
    Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future. x

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  • 264-page printed course guidebook
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  • 264-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Joyce E. Salisbury

About Your Professor

Joyce E. Salisbury, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Joyce E. Salisbury is Professor Emerita of Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, where she taught history and served as associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of International Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Medieval History at Rutgers University, specializing in religious and social history. Professor Salisbury began her career performing research in Spain, and she has...
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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 145.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough and Lively We are on the 7th episode of the course, in preparation for a trip to Spain. We are enjoying the down-to-earth approach of the lecturer, and her often humorous tone. The detail level is just about right to give insight, without "bogging down". Even my skeptical wife if enjoying it!
Date published: 2019-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from We began watching this last night, and could hardly stop and go to bed. Very well done!
Date published: 2019-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Lectures by Excellent Professor! I have purchased dozens of offerings from The Great Courses over the years, most in audio format like this one. These lectures by Professor Salisbury rank at the very top. She made the history of Spain burst to life over 24 fascinating lectures, effectively delivered, well organized, and understandable. I was sorry the series ended. Very well done! I hope Professor Salisbury lectures further on The Great Courses.
Date published: 2019-03-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from While much of this is interesting, her whitewashing of Islam mars the entire series of lectures. She paints over it so thickly that even those familiar with Islam can hardly recognize it. Also, she should familiarize herself with Dario Fernandes-Morera's "The MYTH of the Andalusian Paradise." Without these blotches, the lectures would have been better.
Date published: 2019-02-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Peters Out Last two lectures were hardly worth the effort. Professor Salisbury was engaging through twenty lectures. But she could not make the transition to the 19th and 20th centuries. Her treatment of the 20th century and early 21st was weak. If these were the only lectures I would have given the course one star. But she was excellent for 20 lecturs. She just did not seem to have a grasp of contemporary Spain. I think it is alot to ask of someone to cover this much material and be consistent throughout. The Great Courses might want to offer a course about modern Spain. The Franco era and its aftermath are just too complex to be covered in 30 minutes. But I enjoyed the course.
Date published: 2019-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent teacher This is one of the very best of the many Great Courses I have taken. The information is clear and concise, well organized and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you.
Date published: 2019-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview. Having traveled in Spain, I could relate to much of the material. This course covers more than the usual travelogue, though I would have wished for a few more lectures on the early history. Dr. Salisbury is a gifted lecturer. I could listen to her for hours on end.
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly enjoyed this course! It was a pleasure listening to Dr. Salisbury cover Spanish history! The course is an overview and covers a long time span. I'm planning a trip to Spain this year and the information covered in the course will help me better understand the country. I will be reading a more detailed history of the specific areas I'm visiting. This course is well worth the time and cost invested.
Date published: 2019-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Comprehensive, informative and entertaining. This is a comprehensive review of Spanish history by someone who exudes love for the country. It is entertaining and informative, covering not only political history, but also cultural and economic history. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2018-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The History of Spain The lectures are concise, short, to the point, and very interesting.
Date published: 2018-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lectures It is so pleasant when the course is presented by one that loves the subject.
Date published: 2018-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous! I learned at least one new thing with every lecture although I have been studying Spain's twentieth century history for the past five years. Dr. Salisbury is a pleasure to listen to. Her grasp and delivery of the subject matter makes me want to sit down in a coffee shop with her and just listen to her speak. I am travelling to Spain this Spring and will be bringing the course with me. Thanks so much.
Date published: 2018-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough Overview The course was interesting and well presented. The professor has an obvious, and I believe well deserved, love of the country. Given her credentials I am confident that emotional tie to the country would not influence her presentation of events, culture and characters in the course. I trust her intellectual integrity and admire her enthusiasm.
Date published: 2018-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good and Simple to follow History I purchased this course The History of Spain. It has been easy to follow and understand. I can skip and return to lectures at my leisure. I am throughly enjoying it.
Date published: 2018-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The History of Spain I was raised in Latin America, so speak Spanish fluently. I also have a master's degree in Spanish Language and Literature. Some of my favorite courses were focused on the Golden Age of Spain and 19th century Spanish literature. It would have greatly enriched my course work if I would have had access to this course at that time. However, that was long before this course was developed. Nevertheless, it has been a wonderful treat to view Dr. Salisbury's lectures. It has not only refreshed my memories, but has added much historical and cultural enrichment to this elderly mind. In my opinion Dr. Salisbury has done an outstanding job in each lecture, and in developing the course as a whole.
Date published: 2018-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It was a cross road. Love title. Planning a vacation to Spain and wanted to know more about history. Fills the bill.
Date published: 2018-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Now I know I wish I had seen the History of Spain before I traveled through the country several years ago. Now I understand what I saw. It was a fantastic trip, but the course would have made it even better. The prof did an great job of providing the info that explained what I saw and why when I was there.
Date published: 2018-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional course, if your passion is Spain! My husband and I are Spain-a-holics....We've visited every year, for between 2-10 weeks, for several years now, and have had the privilege of seeing most of the country on our travels. This exceptional course helped us to much better understand the context and the richness of Spain, as it relates to the rest of Europe, as well as the nature of it's people and society. Dr. Joyce Salisbury is an especially engaging professor, and her insights and the associated graphics really enriched our reflections on what we had seen and what we had experienced. It especially cemented for us our satisfaction in planning a 2.5 week visit to Cadiz in the south of Spain in extremely important port in Spain's history in a town not even mentioned by Rick Steves! Thank you, Dr. Salisbury, for enriching our experiences through this course.
Date published: 2018-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great debut course from a terrific lecturer I really enjoyed this course, and learned a lot. Many elements of the history of what is now Spain are covered in other TC course, including those on Greek and Roman history, the middle ages, Western civilization, the Islamic world, 1492, the Celtic world, the Napoleonic Era, and more. It's extremely interesting and useful to have a sweeping survey course on Spain, from the stone age to the present. I found Prof Salisbury to be an excellent lecturer, who hooked me from her first few sentences. She loves the material and surveys Spain with passion. I hope she does more TC courses. In a few recent reviews, one complained about Prof Salisbury's use of correct Spanish pronunciations for various cities, and another claimed that the course is anti-Catholic. I think any open-minded person would find both comments nonsense, so I suggest ignoring those reviews.
Date published: 2018-09-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Annoying presentation The professor's habit of attempting to pronounce Spanish nouns like a native seriously detracts from the presentation. This is an English speaking audience not Spanish. Every time she says "Cordoba" she sounds like she's coughing up a hairball. I can understand the desire to say as the natives do but please remember you audience.
Date published: 2018-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just what I wanted My son and his wife are living in Spain and I wanted a history of Spain to learn about the land where my son 's family lives. This course was exactly what I wanted and served as a great introduction to the land, people, culture and history of the Iberian Peninsula
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well-organized but anti-Catholic This course is well-organized and informative. The big negative is anti-Catholicism. Some of it is legitimate, but the professor goes way overboard. Even the great Queen Isabella, a savior of Spain, is mentioned far less than warranted, and always as a negative force. There is a whole other side to the story.
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In-depth, engaging and fair-minded An excellent discussion of the history of Spain, with consistent emphasis on the theme of Spain as a crossroads of various cultures and forces. Parts of the course that I found most interesting or surprising: * The influence of Celts in the early history of Iberia * Religious trends during the Counter-reformation * The long period of tolerance among Jews, Christians and Muslims in Spain and the reasons behind the shift to intolerance and persecution * An anthropological look at gypsies and their influence in Spain * The insularity and conservatism of the Franco era I don't understand the reviews that call her biased as I detected no political or other leanings. She deliberately covered both positive and negative aspects of everything from the Church and the flowering of Islamic culture to the right and the left. Two criticisms: First, there are way too many stumbles in the narration. I do not understand why The Great Courses doesn't edit these during or after the recording sessions, as happens with all professionally produced audiobooks. It's so distracting, and unnecessarily so. I blame the company rather than the professor for this serious flaw. Second, her pronunciation of both Spanish and French words is terrible - painful to hear. Bad enough for me to complain about it but not bad enough to stop listening and taking away new understandings of Spanish history.
Date published: 2018-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough and outstanding review She does an extraordinary job analyzing the history and the events that led Spain be such an amazing country in terms of the delights that anybody can enjoy either living there or visiting.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent introduction to Spain's history This is not an in-depth course but it does provide an excellent "bare bones" introduction. Dr. Salisbury's spirited lectures inspired me to dig deeper into the rich history and culture of this beautiful and multifaceted country.
Date published: 2018-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great illustrations The History of Spain reminded me of my old days in High School were I took an intensive review of Spain's history,geography,music and literature.This course is the only course that comes close to it.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Save your money and read the Wikipedia entries I bought the Audible version. Not much there I hadn't seen about on Wikipedia. Too critical of the Catholics and too forgiving of the Arab and North African invaders who set up a slave-based society in Spain. Save your money.
Date published: 2018-05-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, solid history I have quite a bit of Spanish ancestry but was woefully deficient in Spanish history. This course is what I was looking for.
Date published: 2018-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fair and balanced This is an excellent overview of the history of Spain. Although Joyce Salisbury is a professor of history, her presentation style is lively and informal rather than stiff and academic. She is very articulate, has a merry demeanor, and a great stage presence. Professor Salisbury does an excellent job of describing the ebb and flow of various invaders who arrived and departed from the Iberian Peninsula over the centuries, including the Romans, Celts, Greeks, Goths, Visigoths, Moors, and others. She examines these encroaching cultures, and points out the effects, both good and bad, that each one had on Spain. Altogether, this is a nicely balanced and enjoyable history course. Well worth the money.
Date published: 2018-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History with Flair! I especially liked this lecturer's presentation of a thorough history of Spain from Altamira to today because it incorporated her personal experiences and outlook as well as the historical facts. And her flair for changing attire from section to section made watching her lecture more interesting than the usual "same old suit for every lecture"format.
Date published: 2018-04-29
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