Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Early Middle Ages for describing
life in Europe in the years 300 to 1000. The beginning of
the long road from the dark ages to modern times.

The Early Middle Ages
Lectures by Professor Philip Daileader

The Early Middle Ages (2004) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
The Early Middle Ages at TheGreatCourses.com

We often call them the "Dark Ages," the era which spanned the decline and fall of Rome's western empire and lingered for centuries, a time when the Ancient World was ending and Europe had seemingly vanished into ignorance and shadow, its literacy and urban life declining, its isolation from the rest of the world increasing.

It was a time of decline, with the empire fighting to defend itself against an endless onslaught of attacks from all directions: the Vikings from the North, the Huns and other Barbarians from the East, the Muslim empire from the south.

It was a time of death and disease, with outbreaks of plague ripping through populations both urban and rural.

It was a time of fear, when religious persecution ebbed and flowed with the whims of those in power.

And as Rome's power and population diminished, so, too, did its ability to handle the administrative burdens of an overextended empire. Fewer records were kept, leaving an often-empty legacy to historians attempting to understand the age.

But modern archaeology has begun to unearth an increasing number of clues to this once-lost era. And as historians have joined them to sift through those clues - including evidence of a vast arc of Viking trade reaching from Scandinavia to Asia - new light has begun to fall across those once "dark" ages and their fascinating personalities and events.

"A World Recognizably Becoming Our Own"

In his new course on The Early Middle Ages - which traces a journey from Scandinavia across northern and central Europe to the farthest reaches of the Byzantine and Islamic empires - Professor Philip Daileader shares this new understanding of a world, no matter how far away and strange it may seem, that is "recognizably becoming our own."

"In countless ways, seemingly obscure events and developments from the ‘Dark Ages' impinge on the lives of people today.

"This is true in the realm of religion, because our period saw the triumph of Christianity over paganism. … This is true in the realm of language, because every word that we speak and write - indeed, the handwriting that we use each and every day - is a product of the historical forces that we will study. … And this is true in the realm of family life, because many practices that existed in 300 - such as polygyny, marriage within the kin group, and infanticide - are illegal today and were vanishing or completely gone by the year 1000."

Professor Philip Daileader is Associate Professor of History at The College of William and Mary. He has provided students with intriguing perspectives on the medieval world. His acclaimed teaching style was honored with William and Mary's Alumni Fellowship Award. As a graduate student at Harvard, he won the university's Certificate of Distinction in Teaching an impressive four times.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Long Shadows and the Dark Ages 13: Rise of the Carolingians
2: Diocletian and the Crises of the Third Century 14: Charlemagne
3: Constantine the Great - Christian Emperor 15: Carolingian Christianity
4: Pagans and Christians in the Fourth Century 16: The Carolingian Renaissance
5: Athletes of God 17: Fury of the Northmen
6: Augustine, Part One 18: Collapse of the Carolingian Empire
7: Augustine, Part Two 19: The Birth of France and Germany
8: Barbarians at the Gate 20: England in the Age of Alfred
9: Franks and Goths 21: Al-Andalus - Islamic Spain
10: Arthur’s England 22: Carolingian Europe - Gateway to the Middle Ages
11: Justinian and the Byzantine Empire 23: Family Life - How Then Became Now
12: The House of Islam 24: Long Shadows and the Dark Ages Revisited


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The Early Middle Ages
Lectures by Professor Philip Daileader

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Early Middle Ages for describing
life in Europe in the years 300 to 1000. The beginning of
the long road from the dark ages to modern times.