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Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The High Middle Ages for describing life in Europe in the years 1000 to 1300. People had finally begun to drag themselves out of
the dark ages into a time where they finally had enough to eat.

The High Middle Ages
Lectures by Professor Philip Daileader

The High Middle Ages (2001) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
The High Middle Ages at

As the last millennium dawned, Europe didn't amount to much. Illiteracy, starvation, and disease were the norm. In fact, Europe in the year 1000 was one of the world's more stagnant regions - an economically undeveloped, intellectually derivative, and geopolitically passive backwater. Three short centuries later, all this had changed dramatically. A newly invigorated cluster of European societies revived city life, spawned new spiritual and intellectual movements and educational institutions, and began, for reasons both sacred and profane, to expand at the expense of neighbors who traditionally had expanded at Europe's expense.

The Revival of Europe

In this course you examine 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 underlay this midsummer epoch of the medieval world.

But why were "the Middle Ages" - the period from 1000 to 1300 - so designated?

Petrarch, writing in the 1300s, defined the period of "literary and artistic rot" in Europe after the sack of Rome in A.D. 410 as an Age of Darkness. The idea of the Middle Ages originates with Petrarch's concept, even though he did not use the term himself. The Latin term "medium aevum" (the Middle Age) first appeared in the 15th century.

Themes and Topics You'll Cover

The first eight lectures treat medieval society: the warrior aristocracy of knights, castellans, counts, and dukes; the free and unfree peasants whose work in the fields made the existence of medieval society possible; and the townspeople, the artisans and merchants who represented the newest arrivals on the medieval scene.

Lectures 9–16 examine the intellectual and religious history of high medieval Europe. You study monks and the monastic life, charismatic preachers such as Francis of Assisi, and theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. You examine the lives of those who found themselves outside the religious mainstream, especially the heretics and Jews of high medieval Europe.

The final eight lectures discuss the major political developments and events between 1000 and 1300, including the First Crusade, the Norman Conquest of England, and the granting of Magna Carta.

The key events, entities, and personalities you will learn about include:

  • The demographic, climatic, and technological changes that set the stage for Europe's resurgence
  • The three groups - "those who work, those who fight, and those who pray" - who formed the backbone of medieval society
  • An in-depth look at the renewed world of cities, artisans, merchants, and commercial exchange that shaped the high-medieval scene in crucial ways
  • The ongoing struggles between popes and emperors
  • The significance of figures as diverse as William the Conqueror, Pope Gregory VII, Abelard, Emperor Frederick II, King Philip II Augustus of France, Saint Benedict, Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen
  • The institutions of knighthood, feudalism, the church and monasticism, the Scholastic university, and the urban guild
  • The situations of marginalized groups such as peasants, urban workingfolk, women, Jews, and heretics.

Professor Philip Daileader is Associate Professor of History at The College of William and Mary. He Earned his M.A. and Ph.D in history from Harvard University. He won William and Mary's 2004 Alumni Fellowship Award for teaching excellence. As a graduate student, he was a four-time winner of the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. He has written True Citizens: Violence, Memory, and Identity in the Medieval Community of Perpignan.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Why the Middle Ages? 13: Jews and Christians
2: Demography and the Commercial Revolution 14: The Origins of Scholasticism
3: Those Who Fought - The Nobles 15: Aquinas and the Problem of Aristotle
4: The Chivalric Code 16: The First Universities
5: Feudalism 17: The People's Crusade
6: Those Who Worked - The Peasants 18: The Conquest of Jerusalem
7: Those Who Worked - The Townspeople 19: The Norman Conquest
8: Women in Medieval Society 20: Philip II of France
9: Those Who Prayed - The Monks 21: Magna Carta
10: Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan Movement 22: Empire versus Papacy
11: Heretics and Heresy 23: Emperor Frederick II
12: The Medieval Inquisitions 24: Looking Back, Looking Forward

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The High Middle Ages
Lectures by Professor Philip Daileader

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The High Middle Ages for describing life in Europe in
the years 1000 to 1300. People had finally begun to drag themselves out of
the dark ages into a time where they finally had enough to eat.