1066: The Year That Changed Everything

1066: The Year That Changed Everything
Course Trailer
The Norman Conquest through History
1: The Norman Conquest through History

What makes 1066 such a pivotal year in the history of Western civilization? How has the meaning of the Norman Conquest been debated and interpreted over time? And how did two weddings-between the English king Aethelred and the duke of Normandy's sister, Emma, and then, after the death of Aethelred, Emma's marriage to the Danish king Cnut-lay the groundwork for this tumultuous moment? Find out in this lecture that provides crucial information for grasping the Norman Conquest.

33 min
England and Normandy before the Conquest
2: England and Normandy before the Conquest

Take a closer look at the half-century between the Danish conquest of England in 1016 and the fateful year of 1066-a chaotic time when power was up for grabs. Two figures were crucial during this time. The first: Edward the Confessor, who succeeded to the English throne in 1042 but was dominated by the powerful Godwinsons. The second: William the Bastard, the ruler of Normandy, who brought the Norman nobles under control and then set his sights on conquering England.

34 min
The Succession Crisis in England
3: The Succession Crisis in England

Investigate how the relationship between Edward the Confessor and William the Bastard put England and Normandy on a collision course when the childless King Edward had to plan the succession to the English throne. You'll focus on Edward's plans for succession, meet the contenders to the throne, and learn how Harold Godwinson achieved victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge-only to face another invasion of England from the south.

34 min
The Battle of Hastings
4: The Battle of Hastings

Revisit one of the most important moments in English history: the Battle of Hastings, after which the island nation-and the entire Western world-would never be the same. Dr. Paxton reveals how the Normans mustered up enough men and ships for their invasion; investigates some intriguing mysteries and controversies about the invasion; explains the tactics of medieval warfare; and provides a blow-by-blow account of the battle.

33 min
Completing the Conquest
5: Completing the Conquest

It took several years for William the Conqueror to consolidate the gains he made at the Battle of Hastings. Learn how he used a combination of diplomacy and clever military tactics to take control of London without a fierce battle; how he won over the church so that he could get himself crowned king; how he spent the early years of his reign responding to various rebellions in the northern part of the country; and more.

35 min
The Aftermath of the Conquest
6: The Aftermath of the Conquest

Why does the Norman Conquest matter? Take a closer look at the relationship between the Normans and the English in the generations immediately following the conquest, with a focus on the myriad ways that Norman and English culture intermingled. You'll realize the ultimate legacy of this vital year: the transition of England into the European mainstream.

35 min
Jennifer Paxton

It was a special joy to me to work with The Great Courses because I was already a longtime customer and fan! I know I had become a better teacher because of my years of listening to the excellent instructors in The Great Courses series.

ALMA MATER

Harvard University

INSTITUTION

The Catholic University of America

About Jennifer Paxton

Dr. Jennifer Paxton is Assistant Director of the University Honors Program and Clinical Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic University of America. She was previously a Professorial Lecturer in History at Georgetown University, where she taught for more than a decade. The holder of a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where she has also taught and earned a Certificate of Distinction, Professor Paxton is both a widely published award-winning writer and a highly regarded scholar, earning both a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and a Frank Knox Memorial Traveling Fellowship. She lectures regularly on medieval history at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and has also been invited to speak on British history at the Smithsonian Institution and the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC. Professor Paxton's research focuses on England from the reign of King Alfred to the late 12th century, particularly the intersection between the authority of church and state and the representation of the past in historical texts, especially those produced by religious communities. She is currently completing a book, Chronicle and Community in Twelfth Century England, that will be published by Oxford University Press. It examines how monastic historians shaped their narratives to project present polemical concerns onto the past.

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