Summary

Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.
These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages: one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era. Drawing on history, literature, the arts, technology, and science, these lectures will deepen the way you understand not only the Middle Ages but everything that came afterward: from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment to your own world.
Filled with amazing insights, this series brings you closer than ever before to life as it was lived and felt. You'll meet the likes of William Caxton, England's first printer who not only printed and distributed a variety of works but also often had to translate them himself; learn about Hugh of Payns and the role of his Knights Templar - organized for the protection of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem - in the creation of the first modern bank; see how communities dealt with marriage in a time when the church had not yet drawn this institution into its orbit; and much more.
Rich with information and period detail (including revealing examples of medieval literature from the English, French, Norse, Icelandic, and Italian worlds), these lectures will dramatically increase your understanding of how lives in the Middle Ages were really lived.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jim on 08-06-14

Good after a slow start

This gets off to a slow start if you're at all familiar with medieval history; I nearly gave up on it at the 30 minutes stage because it seemed to be covering really basic stuff. As with all the Great Courses though the lecturer really knows her stuff and the opening section is presumably intended to get all types of reader up to speed before she starts a series of lectures that have a really ambitious scope. For example, I knew about the peasants revolt in England but I didn't know about contemporary revolts in Italy. She's also interesting on the subject of the Arthurian legends, what they can tell us about England in the dark ages, the archeological evidence that aligns with them and the reasons they were re-written afterwards. As an approach this worked well for me because European society and institutions such as the church and various noble houses were strongly interconnected so a history which tries to paint a holistic picture feels like worthwhile if challenging approach to take. She's good on the details of day to day life as well giving us a picture that spans diets to underwear for ordinary folks.

The Medieval World is informed and enjoyable. It goes for big picture and description rather than detail or rigorous analysis but it made for an enteraining listen and provided some new perspectives on a familiar period.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Catlyn on 22-12-15

Good overview

Any additional comments?

In general a very good overview of medieval life. Maybe noting that the descriptions were more about Western Europe, quite a few things were different in the East and North.

Overall, still very much recommend it!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rocco on 04-10-13

Prof. Armstrong is an rockstar. Loved her class.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Medieval World to be better than the print version?

Its a University course, so no print version - and the audio version is awesome.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Medieval World?

Many great moments, especially the various debunkings of myths everybody holds about the middle ages. I loved the chapter on the Plague, and how its consequences are explained both in a socio-cultural way and an economic way.

What about Professor Dorsey Armstrong’s performance did you like?

Clear, compelling, energetic. If I could go back to school, I'd love to learn from her.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Its a bit long for one sitting, but I've listened to it for hours in a row.

Any additional comments?

If you like Prof. Drout's courses from the Modern Scholar, you will love this course.

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21 of 22 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By NoDumbName on 19-08-14

Absolutely a must!

As Dorsey Armstrong says, "most people think of the middle ages as a dark period between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance". So did I. But, in this gem of a series, she shows that the Middle Ages is a very interesting and period, full of colorful characters (King Arthur, for example), adventures (the crusades), achievements (the gothic cathedrals) and much, much more.
Prof Armstrong's narration is very appealing. She is articulate, warm, funny at times, and her pronunciation is easy to follow.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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