The High Middle Ages

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Which Course to Take? And Why? Daileader covers much the same time period as TGC’s “Era of the Crusades" (Harl) and frequently overlaps parts of TGC’s “Story of Medieval England" (Paxton). His style is reminiscent of TGC's Rufus Fears, the now deceased and much loved historical philosopher. All three courses have advantages. Harl is a machine, disseminating prodigious amounts of accurate information logically. His course focuses on Mediterranean populations from Italy to Constantinople to the Middle East while well covering the European characters that drove events. His guidebook is one of TGC’s best. Paxton’s coverage of England’s historical leadership also contains 10 lectures clearly describing medieval life, though at times gets a bit "gossipy". Paxton before or after Daileader would work. I would recommend Harl’s course BEFORE Daileader as a "base” for what Daileader is going to talk about. Supporting this, Daileader labels his course level as “intermediate". This course is much like going out to a café with the Professor after you’ve done (Harl's) classroom structure. Daileader, in his relaxed, but challenging, “cafe conversations” will ask such questions as “did feudalism happen or was it a construct of Marxist historians (L5)? Was there even a concept of class struggle (L3-9)? His course is people-centered and you will definitely understand why those who judge ancestors based on today’s views are far off base. Excellent examples are his discussion of urban guilt and the flaws of scholasticism. Both of these provide enormous insight into today's troubles (L14, L15). L24 is an outstanding unexpected treat. It records how globalization has changed historical analysis over time from Haskin’s POV to historians of various ethnic, sex, and religious backgrounds. Daileader makes it obvious why “historians have become dissatisfied with history that examined each region of the world in isolation.” He has a sense of humor, including his comments on Aristotle’s superior god (at the expense of Harvard University, L15) and the wonderful time period when students (who pay for education) actually controlled their professors’ salaries and time off (L16). CONS: Guidebook has 105 pages of lecture summaries with 20% of those pages involved in redundant prequel “scope” & end-lecture summaries. It therefore requires a lot of note taking or purchase of a Transcript. SUMMARY: Daileader's “Parisian café” conversational style is part of what makes this course outstanding for a divided world. Though the course was produced in 2001, his attention to Moore’s “The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power & Deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250" presages today's persecutory "Critical Race Theory". As the European descendants age out of the work force and other races take up the lead, discussions with open-minded professors like Daileader may lead to better resolutions. The audio version works very well as the course is more about ideas than maps.
Date published: 2021-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Much better than Early Middle Ages Hello. I appreciate that Professor Daileader has polished his style to look at the camera more often and gesture less frequently. Even his speech patterns and delivery have changed! One little mistake in the part about population growth (lecture 2): "Brakes" is misspelled as "breaks" in the titles. The professor is speaking in terms of car parts - he mentions brakes and engine - so this really should be corrected.
Date published: 2021-03-01
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
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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
Feudalism
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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