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Years That Changed History: 1215

Gain a truly global understanding of our world in the making-and discover the common themes that connect us across time and space through one single year.
Years That Changed History: 1215 is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 102.
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Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very biased presentation I have watched dozens of TGC history courses, but this is the first time that I feel compelled to write a review - Years That Changed History: 1215 is just so biased and such a disappointment. If you want to believe that the medieval Christian West was BAD to its core, and Moslems, Mongols and all non-Christian societies were unquestionably GOOD, then this course is for you. If you prefer more balanced presentation, I would recommend TGC courses How the Crusades Changed History, The Mongol Empire or essentially any other course. I gave this course a second star only because I watched all of the lectures.
Date published: 2024-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Sythesis I knew most of the events and even had thought about some of the particular influencesthe events had but hadn't put them together or thought about how they influenced the world in such detail.
Date published: 2024-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fascinating Distillation of a "Moment in Time" Professor Dorsey Armstrong is a superb presenter – extremely knowledgeable and well organized, and she has terrific delivery. No hemming and hawing here. She takes a thematic approach to culture and history and explores many influences - politics, social conditions, geography, strong individuals who, through their insight, creativity, or sheer force of will (and in some cases an inability to “read the room”), and even climatic events - that impact a point in time. Sometimes these changes were gradual, sometimes forceful and sudden, and other times, they might have seemed insignificant at the moment, but nudged the future in a different direction. Surprisingly, the signing of the Magna Carta is one of the latter, and it’s an interesting story. What sets this course apart is its global approach. While the English barons were frustrated with the complete ineptitude of King John, there were forces far beyond their ken, or even their imagination, that would affect the world in astounding ways – the phenomenal career and legacy of Genghis Khan who ruled the most expansive empire the world has known, the Fourth Lateran Council which would make pronouncements that continue to haunt Jewish populations today, and the profound influence of Islamic scholars who had preserved the works of Greek literature, who were far more advanced in medicine then the Europeans, and whose simple numerals revolutionized mathematics. And while the civilizations of the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa would not be appreciated by Europeans for centuries, their civilizations and cultures in the 13th Century were nevertheless “advanced” and fascinating. The video version is unnecessary to appreciate the course. Although the lectures have some visuals and artwork, they are ideal for listening to while walking, jogging, riding in a car, commuting to work, or doing gardening. However, I often like to grab the course guidebook to refresh my memory about a certain point without having to queue up the lecture. Professor Armstrong’s “Questions to Consider” at the end of each lecture are thought provoking and could even be used among friends or by parents and children to discuss the issues.
Date published: 2024-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Entertaining Each episode of this course is a delight. We feel like we're gaining better context for that time frame delivered by a prof with great skill and humor. Today I checked to see if Dr. Armstrong has any other courses and was delighted to find she has several more for us to look forward to. Thank you!
Date published: 2024-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of fascinating Information Professor Armstrong always delivers great lectures. Most of the information in this course I did not know. I will watch it again!
Date published: 2023-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great delivery! Very interesting content and beautiful delivery. Recommended!
Date published: 2023-11-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from PANORAMIC VIEW OF A MILLENNIUM AGO I have a few of Dorsey Armstrong's courses, and feel I know a bit about her personality, which she describes as "quirky." That may be the reason, I assume, she has become an expert on the details of the black death, the subject of a couple of her GC courses. In this course on the year 1215, a theme I see is her unmistakable cultural relativism. For example, regarding the Mayas, she says they "produced a civilization to rival that of Renaissance Italy, and some scholars have compared it to Classical Greece at its height." As for the Muslims: "it is from the Islamic educational system that much of what we think of as medieval European advances...actually have their sources (here)." Also: "In the 13th century, the communities that were making the greatest strides .. in education, scientific developments, and the preservation of knowledge were those of the Muslim world." Then moving to the continent of Africa, she makes the assertion: "Let's face it: early archaeology in Africa was pretty much the domain of white people who felt themselves superior to black Africans, and from their racist perspective..." Another group for which she has praise is the Mongols, despite the fact that many scholars regard their influence as having set back for centuries civilizations they would routinely ravage. She writes "(Their behavior) at first must seem odd to those of us with Eurocentric background, but which makes perfect sense when considered in the context of the realities of the Mongol world." Bottom line, I enjoy Darcey Armstrong's 1215 presentation, but could entirely do without her revisionist, politically correct statements, which has the agenda of elevating other cultures, as long as they are not Caucasian and European.
Date published: 2023-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dr. Armstrong hits a grand slam! What a wonderful, comprehensive global perspective on a very key year in the history of humanity. Absolutely loved each lecture but Genghis Khan series was extremely interesting and, as we always expect from Dr. Armstrong, beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched. Her ability to spin history, which in my academic experience could be very dry, into the most intriguing interesting, better than fiction lectures is uncanny and unparalleled. Highly recommend this series as well as her Black Death lectures - both sets - and any of her lectures on medieval times. Sure would like to see more series like this one and the year 1066 survey presented by Jennifer Paxton. Such great snapshots of time and insights into the world at that precise time.
Date published: 2023-06-25
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Overview

Years That Changed History: 1215 is a unique course, offering you the chance to delve into one of the most interesting periods in world history. Over 24 wide-ranging lectures, Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University gives you the Big History of this singular year, introducing you to the people, events, and consequences of the world in 1215.

About

Dorsey Armstrong

Every turning point discussed in these lectures shifted the flow of the river of history, bringing us ever closer to the modern world.

INSTITUTION

Purdue University

Dorsey Armstrong is a Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University, where she is also the head of the Department of English. She received her PhD in Medieval Literature from Duke University. She is the executive editor of the academic journal Arthuriana, which publishes cutting-edge research on the legend of King Arthur, from its medieval origins to its modern enactments. She is a recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Purdue’s top undergraduate teaching honor. Her other Great Courses include The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague and The Medieval World.

By This Professor

King Arthur: History and Legend
854
The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague
854
Years That Changed History: 1215
854
Great Minds of the Medieval World
854
The Black Death: New Lessons from Recent Research
854
La Peste Negra: La Plaga Más Devastadora del Mundo
854
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
854
Years That Changed History: 1215

Trailer

The World before 1215

01: The World before 1215

Begin your survey of this amazing year with some context. Europe in the 13th century was experiencing a period of climate warming, which led to a population boom as well as the expansion of urban centers and the growth of cities. Meanwhile, in Asia, the Mongols were finding their ages-old way of life threatened by these same changes.

34 min
The Magna Carta: Patching Up a Squabble

02: The Magna Carta: Patching Up a Squabble

History buffs likely know that the Magna Carta was drafted in 1215, and that it helped establish English law as we know it. But what was actually in this document? And why was it created in the first place? Here, you’ll discover the surprisingly narrowly-focused origins of a short-lived document—what seemed at the time like a minor footnote in history.

31 min
What’s Really in the Magna Carta?

03: What’s Really in the Magna Carta?

Continue your study of the Magna Carta by investigating some of its most interesting clauses. As you learned in the previous lecture, the document was meant to appease a group of nobles, and the negotiated settlement is a delightful mix of grand pronouncements and specific requests—including that widows shall not be compelled to remarry.

30 min
The Magna Carta’s Legacy

04: The Magna Carta’s Legacy

Although the Magna Carta is revered today as a founding document of British law and a democratic sensibility, it’s stunning to reflect on how easily it could have been forgotten. Shortly after it was officially accepted by both king and nobles, the pope annulled the document; yet that isn’t the end of the story. Here, trace the Magna Carta’s story across the ages.

28 min
What Inspired the Fourth Lateran Council?

05: What Inspired the Fourth Lateran Council?

If you went back in time and asked anyone in 1215 what the most important event of the year was, most people in Europe would cite the Fourth Lateran Council. In this lecture, Professor Armstrong surveys the history of Christianity and the events leading up to this pivotal ecclesiastical event.

31 min
Canons for Christian Practice and Belief

06: Canons for Christian Practice and Belief

Delve into the canons that were decreed at the Fourth Lateran Council. Find out what Church leaders were trying to accomplish, or what crises they were attempting to address. From heresies to marriage to the nature of the priesthood, the Fourth Lateran Council took on issues that affected nearly everyone in Europe.

30 min
The Canons of Persecution

07: The Canons of Persecution

Continue your study of the Fourth Lateran Council with this examination of the “canons of persecution.” Whereas the canons you studied in Lecture 6 primarily affected Christians, the canons in this lecture were directed specifically at non-Christians—particularly Muslims and Jews. After exploring these persecution canons, consider the background for the Crusades.

28 min
Civilizations in the Americas in 1215

08: Civilizations in the Americas in 1215

Shift your attention from Europe to the Americas, where a number of civilizations were thriving in 1215. Although no single lecture could do justice to all of these civilizations, Professor Armstrong spotlights the Pueblo people, the Incas, and the Maya, providing a solid foundation for what was happening on the American continents at the time.

29 min
Civilizations of Sub-Saharan Africa in 1215

09: Civilizations of Sub-Saharan Africa in 1215

Africa in 1215 was home to a number of fascinating civilizations, including the Mali Empire, the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, and the Ethiopian Empire. Travel to Sub-Saharan Africa to review the history leading up to these great civilizations, meet some of the major figures, and explore some of their great feats, from mining to dry-stone engineering.

30 min
The Crusading Impulse

10: The Crusading Impulse

A few lectures ago, you studied the “persecution canons” of the Fourth Lateran Council and saw the tense relationship between the Church and non-Christians. Here, Professor Armstrong unpacks the background to the Crusades, beginning with Pope Urban II’s 1095 call for Christians to take the Holy Land back from the Muslims.

32 min
The Fourth Crusade and the Crusader States

11: The Fourth Crusade and the Crusader States

In the century after Pope Urban II, a “crusading impulse” had taken over medieval western Europe. In this lecture, you will examine the Fourth Crusade, which began in 1198 and culminated with the sack of Constantinople in 1204. Then turn to the Children’s Crusade that followed.

30 min
The Fourth Lateran Council and the Jews

12: The Fourth Lateran Council and the Jews

The Fourth Lateran Council marked a turning point for Jewish communities in medieval Europe. In this first of two lectures on the Jewish experience around 1215, Professor Armstrong provides an overview of anti-Semitism in medieval European society. Reflect on the uneasy relationship between Jews and Christians.

29 min
The Jews in 1215 and Beyond

13: The Jews in 1215 and Beyond

Continue your study of the Jewish experience in medieval Europe. Examine the aftermath of 1215 and the Fourth Lateran Council’s insistence on Christian dominance. In the 13th century, institutional persecution began trickling down to the masses, leading to blood libel accusations, among other abominations.

30 min
Francis of Assisi and the Mendicant Orders

14: Francis of Assisi and the Mendicant Orders

As you may recall, the Fourth Lateran Council attempted to curb the formation of new monastic orders, yet the Church soon after granted an exception for the Franciscans and the Dominicans. Dive into the background of these orders, meet St. Francis of Assisi, and see how his life inspired the creation of a new religious order.

34 min
The Crusade against the Cathars

15: The Crusade against the Cathars

Catharism is a version of Christianity even more revolutionary than the mendicant orders you studied in the last lecture. In fact, Catharism was so radical that some people argued its belief system was not Christianity at all. See why, in the early 13th century, the pope turned his attention away from the Crusades abroad to root out Catharism at home.

33 min
Mongol Culture before Genghis Khan

16: Mongol Culture before Genghis Khan

Too often, western history books portray the Mongols as bloodthirsty murderers and destroyers hellbent on destroying civilization, but the true story of Mongol society is much different. As Marco Polo relayed after a visit to Kublai Khan, the Mongols did much to stabilize the societies they conquered. Explore the dual identity of the Mongols.

31 min
The Mongols and the Rise of Genghis Khan

17: The Mongols and the Rise of Genghis Khan

The rise of Genghis Khan is an amazing, unbelievable story. How did a low-ranking man from the Mongolian steppes rise up to be one of the greatest military leaders the world has ever seen? In this lecture, Professor Armstrong surveys the dazzling rise of Genghis Khan, outlines his military strategy, and surveys his conquests across Asia.

32 min
The Battle of Beijing

18: The Battle of Beijing

By the early 13th century, Genghis Khan had defeated all of his immediate rivals and brought a number of regional tribes under his banner, including the Huns, Turks, and Tatars. His crowning achievement was his success at the Battle of Beijing, when he consolidated his control of China. As you’ll discover, the battle was decidedly one-sided from the start.

30 min
What Happened to the Mongols after 1215?

19: What Happened to the Mongols after 1215?

When Genghis Khan died, his greatest legacies were his tradition of warfare as well as the way he unified so many disparate groups of people. In this final lecture on the Mongols, follow the story of his sons and grandsons, and witness the collapse of the largest, contiguous political entity ever to exist.

33 min
The Status of Women in 1215

20: The Status of Women in 1215

To tackle the subject of what the world was like in general for women in 1215, Professor Armstrong returns to medieval Europe, which was home to many powerful and well-educated women. Explore the lives of three exemplary women of the time: Hildegard of Bingen, Héloïse, and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

33 min
Literary Trends in the Early 13th Century

21: Literary Trends in the Early 13th Century

Religious writing was flourishing in 1215, and religious tracts and guides provide a crucial window into 13th-century spirituality and behavior. Beyond religion, however, the Norse and Icelandic sagas offer great insight into the myths, events, and stories of a pagan, pre-Christian past, while the Arthurian legend grew in popularity throughout the medieval world. Review this amazing—and sometimes amazingly weird—literature.

34 min
The Islamic World in 1215

22: The Islamic World in 1215

In the 13th century, the Islamic world was experiencing a golden age of art, science, education, and more. From Baghdad’s House of Wisdom to figures such as Avicenna, Averroës, Saladin, and more, take a tour of this grand world. Learn about the foundations of modern medicine and mathematics.

32 min
Japan and Samurai Culture

23: Japan and Samurai Culture

Mongol culture affected huge swaths of the world, including Japan. After reflecting on the feudal structure of Japan in the 13th century, Professor Armstrong traces the rise of the shoguns, which is rooted in the 1185 conflict between the Taira and Minamoto clans. Examine the history of shoguns, the samurai, and more.

31 min
The World after 1215

24: The World after 1215

Much of this course has been about looking back to a watershed year in world history. In this final lecture, Professor Armstrong looks forward to consider how the events from this course shaped the centuries that followed. With a shifting climate, the decline of population, and the catastrophic Black Death in the 14th century, we can look back and see that the year 1215 is truly an anomalous time.

38 min