At the dawn of the last millennium in the year 1000, Europe was one of the world's more stagnant regions - an economically undeveloped, intellectually derivative, and geopolitically passive backwater, with illiteracy, starvation, and disease the norm for almost everyone.
Yet only three centuries later, all of this had changed. A newly invigorated cluster of European societies had revived city life, spawned new spiritual and intellectual movements and educational institutions, and had begun, for reasons both sacred and profane, to expand at the expense of neighbors who traditionally had expanded at Europe's expense. This series of 24 lectures, filled with memorable detail, examines how and why Europeans achieved this stunning turnaround. By its conclusion, you will be able to describe and analyze the social, intellectual, religious, and political transformations that set into motion this midsummer epoch of the medieval world - an epoch you will come to know very well through Professor Daileader's vivid descriptions and examinations of its people, including
the warrior aristocracy of knights, castellans, counts, and dukes;
free and unfree peasants; and townspeople, both artisans and merchants;
its vibrant stirrings of religion and intellect, including monastic life and charismatic figures like Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas;
the lives of those outside the religious mainstream, especially heretics and Jews;
and its major political developments and events, including the First Crusade, the Norman Conquest of England, and the granting of the Magna Carta.
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- Mary Elizabeth Reynolds
Great overview of an overlooked period