The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thorough and entertaining It covers a lot of ground and some asides. Unfortunately pronunciation of Spanish is inconsistent, often incorrect and jarring
Date published: 2021-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course Excellent course - the professor made me want to visit Spain. Her engaging presentation style and her ability to cover a huge amount of information at the right level to move the story along without bogging down were perfect. She provided a crystal clear story from prehistoric times to the current day.
Date published: 2021-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Informative I borrowed this from my local library. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot that I didn't know before. Spain certainly has a very interesting history. Ms. Salisbury is well organized, is enthusiastic about the subject, and is a good speaker. My only negative is that she gets one of the most important events of the 20th century wrong. The Great Depression was not caused by the US Stock Market Crash. Hardly any economist alive supports that theory. This really big mistake costs her 1 start in my rating. (My college major was Economics.)
Date published: 2021-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Time Well Spent Extremely worthwhile course, one that ties together monumental episodes in history that are already familiar, but presents them in a new perspective. The lecturer is reassuringly authoritative and smooth as silk in her presentation. This was a very good use of my time and another example of how The Great Courses can enrich in these bleak times. I want to point out, in particular, that lecture 6 was a revelation! I have listened to/read many scholarly descriptions of the Goth refugees entering Roman territory and the sacking of Rome but always had a vague sense that the narrative was incomplete or even deliberately biased; here we get the 'full' story, one that finally makes intuitive sense.
Date published: 2021-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing story teller For the past month, daily ration of this lecture has successfully entered into the list of my three daily blessings! The professor swept through 5000 years of history with a big theme of "cross road" and deep love for the country. I visited Spain before armed with a careful reading of Rick Steve. This course provided me a deeper understanding and a renewed passion to visit there again! Thank you Professor Salisbury!
Date published: 2020-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A liitle on the left side I found the early history interesting, although distracted by the scene changes and abrupt movements. Additional graphic would be helpful as well as advice to the Doctor on wardrobe...the belly role... Her treatment of the relation ships with the religious were insufficient.
Date published: 2020-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an interesting topic! I bought this course more because I thought that I should know about Spain than because I had a strong interest in the subject matter, but, six lectures into the course, I’m hooked. In my opinion, the lecturer is a good storyteller with an engaging, friendly manner, and I find the information she presents intriguing. Most of it is new to me, and I’m eager to learn more and am now hoping to visit Spain once the pandemic is under control. Thank you, Great Courses, for this offering!
Date published: 2020-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Très bon survol de l'histoire de l'Espagne Le cours présente un très bon survol de l'histoire de l'Espagne et des cilivilations qui l'ont influencé, avec différents points de vue i.e. culture, langues, religions, luttes politiques, arts, etc. La professeur est structurée et enthousiastes. Elle est objective et en général présente son sujet sans biais ou parti pris. J'ai écouté les 24 leçons dans une semaine. La présentation est en excellent anglais, facile à suivre. Le cours invite à des lectures plus détaillées, selon l'intérêt suscité.
Date published: 2020-10-25
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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
Course Trailer
From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain
1: From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain

Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders....

31 min
Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists
2: Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists

Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants....

29 min
Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula
3: Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula

Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich....

30 min
Christianity Comes to Hispania
4: Christianity Comes to Hispania

Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy.

32 min
Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula
5: Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula

As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population....

30 min
The Visigoths Unite Spain
6: The Visigoths Unite Spain

As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture....

29 min
Islam: The New Religion
7: Islam: The New Religion

Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or "pillars", and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians....

30 min
Conflict within Islam
8: Conflict within Islam

Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Córdoba....

31 min
The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus
9: The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus

Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Córdoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Córdoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world....

31 min
The Christian Reconquista
10: The Christian Reconquista

This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by "El Cid", the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada....

28 min
Medieval Spanish Culture
11: Medieval Spanish Culture

Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry....

30 min
The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism
12: The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism

Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain....

29 min
Gypsy Influences on Spain
13: Gypsy Influences on Spain

Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies....

31 min
The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion
14: The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion

Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art....

31 min
Columbus and the New World
15: Columbus and the New World

European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus's travels, and the impact of his "opening" of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases....

30 min
Conquistadors and Missionaries
16: Conquistadors and Missionaries

Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of Hernán Cortés, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slaver...

28 min
The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy
17: The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy

Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships....

30 min
The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs
18: The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs

Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes....

30 min
Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants
19: Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants

Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty....

30 min
The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain
20: The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain

Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon....

32 min
Spain Loses Its Empire
21: Spain Loses Its Empire

Follow Napoleon's crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the "universal" principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain's colonies....

31 min
20th-Century Spanish Modernism
22: 20th-Century Spanish Modernism

Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miró and Dalí, the architect Antoni Gaudí, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain's constitutional monarchy....

30 min
The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign
23: The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign

Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture....

29 min
Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad
24: Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad

Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future.

34 min
Joyce E. Salisbury

We humans do not walk lightly. We leave our imprint as we go, and I want to show you how each group has left its mark on Spain.

ALMA MATER

Rutgers University

INSTITUTION

University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

About Joyce E. Salisbury

Joyce E. Salisbury is Professor Emerita of Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she taught history and served as associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of International Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Medieval History at Rutgers University, specializing in religious and social history.

Professor Salisbury began her career performing research in Spain, and she has continued to travel there to conduct further research, lecture, and guide students and other travelers. She is currently working on a book about the history of early Christian martyrdom.

In addition to receiving the University of Wisconsin's Outstanding Teaching award, she was named Professor of the Year in 1991 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She has taught three times on Semester at Sea, a study-abroad program on a ship that circumnavigates the world with more than 500 students for a full semester.

Professor Salisbury is a prolific author whose books include the award-winning Perpetua's Passion: Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman; The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages; Rome's Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire; and the widely used textbook The West in the World. She has been interviewed many times on National Public Radio on topics from religion to the books she has written, and she appeared on the PBS special The Road from Christ to Constantine.

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