The Early Middle Ages

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too little history, too much theology! I bought this DVD for History, NOT for Theology. However I found there very little History: 80% of the lectures are about religion. TWO lectures are just about Agustin's writings although neither his Confessions nor City of God have anything to do with history and have everything to do with Theology. Very frustrating!
Date published: 2021-04-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great overview of content but production is dated As with many reviews, it is undeniable that the content contained in this course is well put together and stellar. If you are looking for a general overview of the time and are wishing to listen to it presented in a well thought out manner, this lecture is a gem. However, the video production is showing its age. While you should not shy away from it, if you are a more visual learner, this is not for you. I find it helpful to get the spellings of key figures correct, but that is all. I highly recommend this for audio only or to purely read the transcript.
Date published: 2020-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Engaging and Full of Ideas I love how he deep dives into these mysterious times with humor and the right amount of skepticism. Each lecture is well rounded and provides a lot of material for my notes. I would certainly watch another of his courses as he's knowledgable, amusing and accessible.
Date published: 2020-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb A very well constructed and delivered series on the early Middle Age. The lecturer is excellent. He has one distracting verbal crutch: between sentences he extends the word "and" to "AAAAAAND". I take no points off for this
Date published: 2020-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid, Enjoyable Course While this is a solid, enjoyable course, having come straight from some of the more recent courses with higher production values, I personally found the initial lectures somewhat jarring. Though not the most engaging of speakers, the lecturer is nonetheless still interesting and informative on an otherwise little discussed era of history.
Date published: 2020-10-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The professor is very knowledgeable, however, his presentation style is not at all for me and makes it difficult to stay engaged. It's an annoying regurgitation of tremendous volumes of information presented as though he is reading from a book which happens lecture after lecture. His mannerisms of reading from notes at the podium then walking away and arm waving repeatedly without ever looking at the audience/camera is monotonous and bothersome. There were very very few slides summarizing what was important during or at the end of lectures to underscore what was critical to remember and there were not many visual aids. If the professor had field or research experiences to share it would have helped punctuate the monotony of the lectures. This is a critical period in world history and although the fall of the Roman Empire sets the stage for the Early Middle Ages, almost a third of the course is devoted to this and it could have been covered in a couple of lectures with more emphasis on other important aspects of the Early Middle Ages.
Date published: 2020-09-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Presentation Overall I think this is a good course. My one criticism is that I would have liked to see a little more about the history of England during this period. He spends almost the entire course on continental Europe and Byzantium.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A complex period intelligently presented. We have enjoyed traveling and this course illuminated many things we have seen and read about. The Course enriched our understanding of the things we’ve seen, the underlying historyand even the culture that exists today. It intersected nicely with several other courses we’ve enjoyed. This is mostly new subject matter that is complex and the professor organizes and presents it in a manner that is reasonably digestible. Well done!
Date published: 2020-06-06
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The Early Middle Ages
Course Trailer
Long Shadows and the Dark Ages
1: Long Shadows and the Dark Ages

Though the Early Middle Ages and the world of Late Antiquity that preceded them are often little studied, the questions they raise about why Rome fell and why Christianity replaced paganism as Europe's dominant religion remain important and controversial.

32 min
Diocletian and the Crises of the Third Century
2: Diocletian and the Crises of the Third Century

During the 3rd century, the collapse of a reeling Roman Empire is staved off for a few centuries by the transformative changes introduced by an otherwise conservative emperor named Diocletian.

31 min
Constantine the Great-Christian Emperor
3: Constantine the Great-Christian Emperor

Constantine's military victories gain him control of the entire Roman Empire and begin the process of transforming Christianity from a minority, illegal religion to the majority, official religion of the Empire.

31 min
Pagans and Christians in the Fourth Century
4: Pagans and Christians in the Fourth Century

The accession of Julian the Apostate causes brief hopes-or fears-of a pagan restoration. But his reign is short-lived, and by 400 A.D. it is clear that the tide has permanently turned toward Christianity within the Roman Empire.

30 min
Athletes of God
5: Athletes of God

With the conversion of Constantine and the end of imperial persecutions, and with martyrdom no longer readily available, those seeking new ways to excel in their faith turn to new ways of achieving Christian heroism.

31 min
Augustine, Part One
6: Augustine, Part One

This is the first of two lectures about perhaps the most influential thinker of the later Roman Empire, whose life and career encapsulate some of the broad changes that were taking place.

31 min
Augustine, Part Two
7: Augustine, Part Two

In reaction to a theology that argued for the ability of humans to obey God's commands without the assistance of divine grace, Augustine develops a theology that emphasizes human helplessness and the inability to achieve happiness in this world.

31 min
Barbarians at the Gate
8: Barbarians at the Gate

A chain of events set into motion by the Gothic migration of 376 A.D. ultimately leads to the formal end of the western half of the Roman Empire a century later.

31 min
Franks and Goths
9: Franks and Goths

An examination of the Gothic kingdoms and the kingdom of the Franks shows that while the deposing of the last Roman emperor in the west might have been significant from a political standpoint, the administrative, cultural, social, and economic impacts were minimal.

31 min
Arthur's England
10: Arthur's England

The Anglo-Saxon settlement of England substantially transforms England's language and the god or gods worshipped there. By the 7th and 8th centuries, Irish and Anglo-Saxon monks have become the leading educators and intellectuals of the day.

31 min
Justinian and the Byzantine Empire
11: Justinian and the Byzantine Empire

The eastern half of the Roman Empire-known to historians as the Byzantine Empire-survives the Western Empire by roughly a millennium, managing to preserve classical culture and urban life even as its official language passes from Latin to Greek.

31 min
The House of Islam
12: The House of Islam

An emerging Arab Empire conquers the Persian Empire, large sections of the Byzantine empire, and even parts of continental Europe, including most of the Iberian peninsula. But an Arab raiding party's insignificant defeat provides the key moment in the ascent of Europe's next great dynasty.

31 min
Rise of the Carolingians
13: Rise of the Carolingians

The Carolingians finally depose the last Merovingian king in 751 A.D., bring all of Francia under their control, and even begin to intervene in Italy, reversing the power balance established during the Roman Empire.

31 min
Charlemagne
14: Charlemagne

The Carolingian Empire reaches its territorial and military high watermark during the very long reign of Charlemagne, who makes the Empire the most powerful Christian state on the European continent and gains for himself the revived title of emperor.

31 min
Carolingian Christianity
15: Carolingian Christianity

Carolingian rulers are deeply involved in the affairs of the Christian Church, dictating policy, sponsoring missionaries, and supporting ecclesiastical reform in a number of ways.

31 min
The Carolingian Renaissance
16: The Carolingian Renaissance

The fear that educational deficiencies were jeopardizing the salvation of souls and interfering with the ability of people to call on God for help drives a century-long period of educational reform known as the Carolingian Renaissance, the impact of which is felt to this day.

31 min
Fury of the Northmen
17: Fury of the Northmen

Beginning in the 8th century, Scandinavians fan out from their homeland in a diaspora that stretches from Newfoundland to Russia, involving settlement, the forging of new trading networks, and relentless violence.

31 min
Collapse of the Carolingian Empire
18: Collapse of the Carolingian Empire

Discredited by its inability to deal with Viking attacks, the Carolingian dynasty falls prey to battles over succession and its consequent civil wars and ultimately crumbles.

31 min
The Birth of France and Germany
19: The Birth of France and Germany

The collapse of the Carolingian Empire results in the emergence of the Capetians and Ottonians as the new ruling dynasties in West and East Francia, whose differing paths ultimately reshape them as the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Germany.

31 min
England in the Age of Alfred
20: England in the Age of Alfred

Viking attacks on Britain produce very different results from those on the continent, with large sections of England settled. The ultimate result, after the Norman Conquest of 1066, is that a group of Christianized, French-speaking Viking descendents becomes the ruling class in England.

30 min
Al-Andalus-Islamic Spain
21: Al-Andalus-Islamic Spain

Islamic Spain becomes one of the most dynamic and developed areas of the continent. Despite the brutality of its high politics and religious restrictions on Jews and Christians, its flourishing economy, trade, and intellectual ferment make it an important center of cultural exchange.

31 min
Carolingian Europe-Gateway to the Middle Ages
22: Carolingian Europe-Gateway to the Middle Ages

This lecture makes the case that, during the Carolingian period, Europe stepped decisively out of its classical past and into its medieval present.

31 min
Family Life-How Then Became Now
23: Family Life-How Then Became Now

The family underwent a number of structural changes during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and these changes illustrate how Roman and Germanic culture fused to become the medieval world.

31 min
Long Shadows and the Dark Ages Revisited
24: Long Shadows and the Dark Ages Revisited

This final lecture examines how historical research has modified the ideas of Gibbon and Pirenne about the transition from the ancient to the medieval world, particularly as they explain the Roman Empire's demise.

33 min
Philip Daileader

Making four courses over the last thirteen years has been an honor, and I'd like to think that as The Teaching Company has grown and developed, I've developed with it.

About Philip Daileader

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 for excellence in teaching. As a graduate student, he was a four-time winner of the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. Dr. Daileader is the author of True Citizens: Violence, Memory, and Identity in the Medieval Community of Perpignan, 1162-1397. His research focuses on the social, cultural, and religious history of Mediterranean Europe.

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