The Early Middle Ages (A Great Course Review)

This review was a long time coming; specifically, because, I alternated this course along with another Great Courses lecture series. So it feels like an epic, even though it is but a normal series of lectures. Despite not being an epic course, however, I learned an epic amount from this course. So it all worked…Read more »

Long Shadows and the Dark Ages Revisited (Notes:56)

AS you will remember from the first lecture in this series, two prominent historians– Edward Gibbon and Belgian Anacreon Perion—both conceived of two ways in which the Roman Empire fell. One, Edward, thought that it was Christianity which weakened the Empire and made it susceptible to Barbarian invasion. Anacreon, meanwhile, conceived of things in economic…Read more »

Carolingian Europe: Gateway to the Middle Ages (Notes:54)

The Carolingians are responsible for introducing three quintessential medieval things: serfdom and the rise of the medieval manor, feudalism, and trial by ordeal. First, the medieval manor. When the Roman latifundia die out, they are replaced by the medieval estates. While this happens, we also see the disappearance of large-scale slavery. Slavery is replaced by a different…Read more »

England in the Age of Alfred (Notes:52)

In Anglo-Saxon England, Viking attacks dealt far more damage than on the continent. At this time, England consisted of various kingdoms of variously changing sizes, though some of the more long-lasting territories, such as Kent in the far south-east or Sussex, Mercia, North Umbria, managed to maintain a relatively consistent geo-political formation. In this England,…Read more »

The Birth of France and Germany (Notes:51)

During the second half of the ninth century, the office of Count—someone who rules over a county on behalf of the emperor—becomes heredity while counts themselves are given numerous counties in order to secure their loyalty in the Carolingian civil war following the death of Charlemagne. These counts start to hoard tax revenue for themselves…Read more »