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Publisher's Summary

The Early Middle Ages - the years from A.D. 650 to 1000 - were crucial to Europe's future social and political development. These 24 lectures trace a journey from Scandinavia across northern and central Europe to the farthest reaches of the Byzantine and Islamic empires, providing an exciting new look an era often simply called the "Dark Ages."
Given the period's dismal reputation and its temporal remoteness from the 21st century, you'll be surprised to learn about some of the most challenging questions historians have ever had to tackle: Why did the Roman Empire fall? Why did the ancient world give way to the medieval world? Why did Christian monotheism become the dominant religion in Europe? You'll meet some of the era's exciting figures, such as St. Augustine and Justinian, and you'll consider the extent to which the historical realities of King Arthur and Charlemagne match up to the legends that have become attached to their names. You'll also look at the era's effect on the Vikings, the rise of the Carolingians, and the golden age of Islamic rule in Spain.
Professor Daileader also explores the contrasting historical theories offered by two extremely influential historians: Edward Gibbon, the English author of the monumental The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, whose explanations closely followed those of the Roman moralists of the 4th and 5th centuries; and Henri Pirenne, the Belgian thinker who injected a newfound emphasis on social and especially economic factors into the analysis of history.
You'll see why the era belies its reputation as dark and dismal, but you'll come away with a new appreciation for this once-lost era.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mike on 07-03-14

Amazing Look at the Transition to the Middle Ages!

Any additional comments?

This was an excellent read! Professor Philip Daileader is an excellent lecturer and scholar and you probably won't be disappointed by anything you get from him.

This lecture series takes you from the late Roman Empire around the time of Constantine and traces the transition of Europe from late antiquity to the middle ages. You will learn about the collapse of Roman rule in the West, the continuation of the Roman empire in the East through the Byzantine rulers, the Barbarian invasions of Western Europe, the rise of Islam, the emergence of the Carolingian Holy Roman Empire, and the eventual splitting off of that empire into what would become the modern states of France and Germany. He covers all major historical events to about 1000AD.

If you would like to learn more about how Europe went from a unified Roman empire to the divided and complicated state it is in now, I cannot recommend another resource more highly. You will learn about the foundations of all the modern nation states, including England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. This was an invaluable read for me as it helped me connect all of those dots!

Also, the professor tries to highlight not just political history, but also cultural, economic, religious, and social aspects of history in his overview.

This is part one of a three part series offered by the Great Courses that will take you through the entire middle ages up to the year 1500. I highly recommend the whole series.

If you are at all interested in the topic, and enjoy a good read about history, you will not be disappointed! Enjoy!!!

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Nicolas Cobelo on 11-16-17

Great professor!

Long Shadows and the Dark Ages
Diocletian and the Crises of the Third Century
Constantine the Great—Christian Emperor
Pagans and Christians in the Fourth Century
Athletes of God
Augustine, Part One
Augustine, Part Two
Barbarians at the Gate
Franks and Goths
Arthur’s England
Justinian and the Byzantine Empire
The House of Islam
Rise of the Carolingians
Carolingian Christianity
The Carolingian Renaissance
Fury of the Northmen
Collapse of the Carolingian Empire
The Birth of France and Germany
England in the Age of Alfred
Al-Andalus—Islamic Spain
Carolingian Europe—Gateway to the Middle Ages
Family Life—How Then Became Now
Long Shadows and the Dark Ages Revisited

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By David on 12-27-14

Excellent insight into a little understood period

This is the best course I have listened to this far from the Great Courses. The material covered is not a period I knew well and the lecturer had an enjoyably light style with a nicely dry sense of humour.

What I particularly enjoyed was the comprehensive coverage of the subject including low and high culture; religion and politics; war and peace. Really a superb series of lectures

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By mr on 06-15-14

Very good

Really good, I learnt a lot more than I expected, good delivery. Three is the series, started listening to the third (unaware of the second, before driving) and the start is excellent. So go for it.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 09-11-17

Great introduction to the period

Stimulating discussion of the Early Middle Ages. Gets you engaged in some deep thinking of this time.

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