The Medieval World : The Great Courses: Medieval History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Dorsey Armstrong
  • Series: The Great Courses: Medieval History
  • 18 hrs and 15 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times? Now you can find out.
These 36 lectures provide a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages - one that entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era. Drawing on history, literature, the arts, technology, and science, these lectures will deepen the way you understand not only the Middle Ages but everything that came afterward: From the Renaissance, to the Enlightenment, to your own world.
Filled with amazing insights, this series brings you closer than ever before to life as it was lived and felt. You'll meet the likes of William Caxton, England's first printer who not only printed and distributed a variety of works but also often had to translate them himself; learn about Hugh of Payns and the role of his Knights Templar - organized for the protection of pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem - in the creation of the first modern bank; see how communities dealt with marriage in a time when the church had not yet drawn this institution into its orbit; and much more.
Rich with information and period detail (including revealing examples of medieval literature from the English, French, Norse, Icelandic, and Italian worlds), these lectures will dramatically increase your understanding of how lives in the Middle Ages were really lived.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Light-hearted flight over the "not so dark ages"

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you haven't got a clue about what is often referred to as the "dark ages" or "medieval world", this is a nice, well-balanced ride through 1000 years of (for the most part of it) unknown history. Unknown, because we lack proof for most of what Mrs. Armstrong tells us about, but have grown to a "firm believe in what it must have been like".
Nitpicking aside: I really liked that Mrs. Armstrong both gave sources for her theories (she consistently refers to books, of which she even tells names and authors) and tried to "spicen up" what so often is a pure listing of names, places and numbers with anecdotes and personal points of view. The later never came across as "narrow minded" or "biased", but as a "modern perspective" (quite different to e.g. Mr. Robinson in his mind-blowing back-faced "History of Philosophy").

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Medieval World?

Let me quote this question, as this really makes me laugh out loud:

"What was one of the most memorable moments of The Medieval World?"

Whoever programmed this review-system must have thought of such a situation and probably is now sitting somewhere, waiting for someone to answer this one honestly.
Well, OK, so let me try:
For me, the most memorable moment of The Medieval World was that dog that chased the birds from the field. I just loved that one.

Don't know what I'm talking 'bout? Listen to the course, then.

What aspect of Professor Dorsey Armstrong’s performance would you have changed?

The only "downside", and that is an exaggeration, is that Mrs. Armstrong's performance sounds as if she is reading from a script. There does not seem to be much of "free speech", which (in my experience) makes a lecture more "alive", more "personal".
Still, even for "simply reading from a script" there is enough energy, empathy and enthusiasm for topic, time and teaching in her performance that she could sell slices of that on Audible.

Wait. She already does ...

Any additional comments?

It may be a stupid hobby of mine, but this course, again, is a very "American" one. I like American. But, please, when talking about historic events, when talking about "foreign places" or people, at least TRY to use a proper pronunciation.
A funny example: When Mrs. Armstrong placed "Karl the Great" in "ACHIM" I was shocked, since Achim is a somewhat small town in Northern Germany. What she meant was, of course, "Aachen" (pronounced with a long "a" and a defined "n" in the end), which is "THE CITY of Karl".
On the other hand, it was great to hear Mrs. Armstrong speak Old English or a more or less Saxon-based tongue, I could make out some of the words' meanings with the help of understanding Low German.
Yes. Must be a stupid hobby of mine. Forgive me :)

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- Marc

Excellent introduction to Medieval History!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This lecture series is an excellent introduction to the nuances of the Medieval World. The series is well detailed and interesting - enticing the listener to continue on to learn more about the progression of the Medieval World.

Which character – as performed by Professor Dorsey Armstrong – was your favorite?

The lecturer was easy to listen to. She made Medieval History, which could have been rather dry, come alive, allowing the listener to actually see, hear, smell, and feel the lives and environments of those living in Medieval times.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have loved to have been able to listen to this lecture series in one sitting, but the length prevented this. I certainly would not have wanted the lecture to be shorter, and listening in more than one sitting allowed for better absorption of the material.

Any additional comments?

Professor Armstrong is a lecturer I will be looking for in future lecture series, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her bring the Medieval World come alive.

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- Dr. Cosens-Hellstrom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses