The High Middle Ages

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent overall In having mentioned in my review of Prof Daileader's early middle ages lectures, I will not take points off for his one annoying verbal crutch ("Aaaaaand"). The lecture series is excellent but given that this is academia, I am compelled to address two matters of substance (similar to how back in 1977 at Boston University I approached a Professor of Geography and corrected him on his errors on matters of Physics). I have an MBA and an MD and thus am qualified to comment on these topics. In Lecture 7 he makes statements comparing economic issues of the High Middle Ages to our era and makes several substantive mis-statements about pricing, contribution margin, profit. He should have consulted with the economics professors. In Lecture 9 he describes gastrointestinal problems afflicting one middle-age monk and repeats what is certainly historical hyperbole without calling it into question. The monk's diarrhea and emetus was almost certainly not attributable to his monastic behaviors and were much more likely due to some infectious disease such as a parasitical infestation, or due to liver disease attributable to alcohol.
Date published: 2020-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid A few things about this course stick out. First is that the presenter seems far more comfortable with the process than he had in its predecessor, The Early Middle Ages. The second is how overwhelmingly dated the course is - not in content, but in production values and graphics. The latter is not a detriment, but it remains somewhat jarring if viewing after more recent courses. Otherwise, it's a solid course that focuses on an intriguing amount of time on social and religious history, albeit it at the cost of neglecting a fair portion of the political history of the time period. Each of the major regions of the time is reduced to one - or maybe two - half hour lectures, while others are only glossed over. Future versions of this course may be better fitted to keep the social and religious histories, but to add an addition 6-12 courses to better fit the political history of the age. That being said, the course hits all the high points and should not be discounted for this reason alone. The course remains interesting despite this disparity, albeit not the most engaging to be found on this site.
Date published: 2020-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging and Thoughtful... I've very much enjoyed these lectures! The professor is both knowledgable and interesting in his presentation; I would be delighted to watch other lecture series taught by him. THANKS!!!
Date published: 2020-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from All Uphill From First Lecture After watching the first lecture I almost decided to not go on with this course but I am glad that I did. The rest of the lectures were interesting and gave me a deeper understanding of the the time period. I wish the sound quality was better but the content was great. If you are thinking about giving this a try do not be discouraged by the first lecture, it was all uphill from there.
Date published: 2020-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear and interesting throughout. I usually ditch a course halfway through, losing interest due to repetition or themes or material. But this course was an extensive narrative that keep moving. The material is very well organized, and impactful. The speaker is very eloquent and precise. An excellent course.
Date published: 2020-09-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from No closed captions. I am in my 80's and have serious hearing issues. They are such that much of what I see on my TV requires closed captioning and that includes this course. I plan to return it and another that has no closed captioning. It would be helpful to know before purchasing if the course in question has this. I enjoy the courses I can understand but would never buy one if I knew it did not have this feature.
Date published: 2020-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from EXCELLENT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Prof. Daileader has done a fine job of bringing the High Middle Ages to life. He explains vividly how the Europe of 1300 was far more populated and less forest than that of 1300. Then in 1350 the drastic population decline due to the Back Death gave the surviving labor pool substantially more economic leverage. He looks at the chivalric code of conduct as a means to make a "kinder and gentler" knight and which served to elevate women higher than they had ever been before. He explains how the first cooperative self-defense organizations of commoners were formed by townspeople, who in many cases did battle with knights-- professional warriors. Regarding Benedictine monasteries, they were built in remote locations in order to avoid the temptation of family members trying to lure monks back into secular life. The monastic life was an option for parents giving up their children to the monastery, as well as for aristocrats looking for a place to retire after making a suitable donation, The lecture "The Medieval Inquisitions" explains how the "inducimiento" was a means to get evidence by any means necessary, turning one person on another with the reward of escaping punishment or getting a lighter sentence--a technique used to this day by Federal prosecutors. It was also quite fascinating that Prof. Daileader shares with us the near-obsession with the term "feudalism"--how many academics since the 1960s (with a social agenda) including Medievalists, take pains to assert that the Middle Ages were not really hierarchical, but communal in nature. Although this course dates to 2001 it has withstood the test of time and is one of my all-time favorites from the Great Courses.
Date published: 2020-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Illuminating the Middle Ages Interesting, well- organized, clearly presented with occasionally flashes of humor, this course illuminates an often neglected, important period. The instructor speaks clearly and is very engaging.
Date published: 2019-12-22
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Why the Middle Ages?
1: Why the Middle Ages?

Europeans living between 1000 and 1300 would have been shocked to hear that they were living in the "Middle" Ages. So where does the term come from? What does it tell us about the topic of this course?

33 min
Demography and the Commercial Revolution
2: Demography and the Commercial Revolution

One of history's most potent forces is demography. In the Middle Ages, when the line between sufficiency and dearth was so thin, small innovations and events could and did have huge effects.

31 min
Those Who Fought-The Nobles
3: Those Who Fought-The Nobles

Perched atop the society of high medieval Europe was a group of mounted, armored warriors who came to form a hereditary aristocracy with unique legal privileges.

30 min
The Chivalric Code
4: The Chivalric Code

When clerics sought to refine rough-hewn knights with literature, the result was the emergence of new genres such as the chivalric romance. How far did such books go to change actual behavior?

31 min
5: Feudalism

Few words are so closely associated with the Middle Ages as "feudalism." Yet historians have argued ceaselessly over its meaning. So what is "feudalism," and how can we use the term to further our understanding?

31 min
Those Who Worked-The Peasants
6: Those Who Worked-The Peasants

Although most medieval people were peasants, a lack of written records makes them hard to study. It seems clear that the rights of lords weighed upon peasants, though less so in 1300 than in 1000.

30 min
Those Who Worked-The Townspeople
7: Those Who Worked-The Townspeople

Revived urban life made townspeople a prominent part of medieval society. But was their outlook "bourgeois," or still characteristically "feudal"?

31 min
Women in Medieval Society
8: Women in Medieval Society

Long marginalized by political and military history, women's history and gender history have become two of the fastest growing fields in medieval studies.

31 min
Those Who Prayed-The Monks
9: Those Who Prayed-The Monks

Monks formed a spiritual elite, living lives of work, study, and prayer under the Rule of Saint Benedict. The High Middle Ages saw a number of monastic reform movements, including the Cluniac and the Cistercian.

31 min
Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan Movement
10: Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan Movement

How did this Italian merchant's son create a new religious order that mixed monastic elements with his own ministry of itinerant preaching, evangelical poverty, and a mixed critique and affirmation of urban spirituality?

31 min
Heretics and Heresy
11: Heretics and Heresy

During the High Middle Ages, heresy and heretical movements spread across much of Europe. Why did this happen? How did authorities respond?

31 min
The Medieval Inquisitions
12: The Medieval Inquisitions

What were the various "Inquisitions" that existed in medieval and early modern Europe? What did they actually do? This lecture separates legend from documented historical fact.

31 min
Jews and Christians
13: Jews and Christians

Jews were the largest religious minority in high medieval Europe. Curiously, despite the relative prosperity of the times, the treatment of Jews became noticeably harsher. Why?

30 min
The Origins of Scholasticism
14: The Origins of Scholasticism

Explore the bold and innovative intellectual methods of the Scholastics, and meet a key early figure in this pioneering movement in European thought.

31 min
Aquinas and the Problem of Aristotle
15: Aquinas and the Problem of Aristotle

What was the project of Aquinas and his fellow Scholastics, and what made their work a focus of controversy amid their contemporaries?

31 min
The First Universities
16: The First Universities

The High Middle Ages gave birth to a new educational institution: the university. Of all the institutions to which high medieval Europe gave rise, the university is the most vibrant today.

31 min
The People's Crusade
17: The People's Crusade

The First Crusade, which ended with the capture of Jerusalem in 1099, demonstrated the rising power of Europe. How did this combination of holy war and pilgrimage begin?

31 min
The Conquest of Jerusalem
18: The Conquest of Jerusalem

Despite internecine quarrels, crusading barons took Jerusalem in 1099 and carved out "crusader states" in Syria and Palestine that would last for nearly 200 years.

31 min
The Norman Conquest
19: The Norman Conquest

Broad, impersonal forces may shape history, but contingencies play a role as well. The conquest of Saxon England by Gallicized Norsemen on 1066 offers an excellent example.

30 min
Philip II of France
20: Philip II of France

The French monarchy is one of the era's great comeback stories. The king most responsible for this turnaround was Philip II Augustus (1180-1223). A combat-averse hypochondriac, he outwitted rivals and laid the basis for French greatness.

31 min
Magna Carta
21: Magna Carta

Having early developed a powerful monarchy, the English also early developed instruments for restraining it. The Great Charter was such a tool, and its long-range consequences would be considerable indeed.

31 min
Empire versus Papacy
22: Empire versus Papacy

The conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the Church that is known as the Investiture Controversy would last two generations and leave imperial authority weakened for good.

30 min
Emperor Frederick II
23: Emperor Frederick II

Nicknamed stupor mundi, or "the wonder of the world," Frederick II Hohenstaufen (1211-50) was one of the most controversial figures of his age. Yet even he could not reverse the fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire....

31 min
Looking Back, Looking Forward
24: Looking Back, Looking Forward

By 1300, Europe had assumed an economic and political importance that would have been unimaginable in 1000. Although much of the world was as yet untouched, the European hand had begun to stretch forth.

32 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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