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  • Date: 19-11-2013, 22:22
19-11-2013, 22:22

TTC Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest

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TTC Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest
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TTC Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest
Taught By

Professor Jennifer Paxton, Ph.D., Harvard University,
Georgetown University

Course No. 8410

36 Lectures
30 minutes / lecture

Description

Evidence of Great Britain’s legacy to the English-speaking world – indeed, to most of the Western
world itself – is all around us, woven intimately into the fabric of almost every aspect of daily
life. We see it in

the laws and system of justice that help guide our behavior;
the political principles that underpin our representative governments;
the nature of those governments and their relationship to the governed;
much of our most glorious literature and art; and
our very language itself, from its most subtle meditations to its most powerful vulgarities.
But while many of us in search of the roots of this shared heritage often focus our attention on
the contributions of modern Britain, the answers we seek are actually to be found much
earlier.

For it is in the medieval history of England, Britain’s most important realm, that our search
must begin, from the withdrawal of Rome’s legions to the beginning of the Tudor dynasty in 1485.

Even if you have a solid familiarity with medieval history as a whole, understanding the lessons
of medieval England is essential to rounding out your knowledge of the period. Moreover, these
lessons are a key to understanding much of the Western world that followed, including the social,
political, and cultural legacies by which that world has been enriched.

The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest tells the remarkable story
of a tumultuous thousand-year period. Dominated by war, conquest, and the struggle to balance the
stability brought by royal power with the rights of the governed, it was a period that put into
place the foundation of much of the world we know today.

Taught by Professor Jennifer Paxton, an honored scholar and award-winning teacher at Georgetown
University and The Catholic University of America, The Story of Medieval England’s 36 lectures
feature a level of detail and attention to key figures that set this course apart from those with
a more narrow focus.

Grasp the Emergence of the Themes that Shaped the Western World

As you journey through The Story of Medieval England’s largely chronological narrative -
occasionally interrupted for lecture-long explorations of specific topics – you’ll see the
course’s key themes emerge. And as you do, Professor Paxton explains their impact and place in
the larger historical picture:

The long process of creating a unified English state by assimilating successive waves of
ethnically diverse invaders, developing a particular sense of “Englishness,” and
forging the growth of English nationalism
The competition for power as different individuals struggled to establish rule and demonstrate
the skills demanded of a king who would rule successfully
The tense relationship between kings and the nobility, including changes in the nature of noble
rebellion
The role of the most persistent of those tensions – over money and taxation – in the creation and
evolution of both the Magna Carta and Parliament
How changes in economics, religion, law and justice, literacy, disease, and other factors
affected everyday life for English people of all classes
And because so much of history is driven by specific individuals and not just historical
circumstance, each lecture is rich in intimate portraits that reveal those individuals at the key
moments of their historical destiny. Among the extraordinary figures you’ll encounter are many
who are undoubtedly familiar, including these:

Alfred the Great, whose leadership against the Vikings, in the face of overwhelming military
superiority, laid the foundation for what would become the first ruling house of a united England

William the Conqueror, the extraordinary ruler whose name tells only part of the story, with his
reign serving as a demonstration of how to truly consolidate and maintain power
Eleanor of Aquitaine, the powerful French wife of King Henry II whose network of patrons fostered
the spread of courtly literature and provided support for writers such as Chretien de Troyes
John Wycliffe, the Oxford cleric whose attacks on some of the core tenets of the Catholic Church
contributed greatly to Protestant doctrine at the time of the Reformation.
Learn How History Can Be Shaped Even by Those in Its Shadows

But there are others, as well. You’ll meet men and women visible to history only for what they
represented as members of a group. These include people like the anonymous craftsman taking up
arms in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, enraged that the dramatically reduced work force left by
the Black Death still could not command a living wage.

And you’ll meet some who achieved fame chiefly among historians, like the Pastons. The story of
this family’s 15th-century rise from the yeomanry to the gentry bursts forth from the treasure
trove of letters they shared for generations and that have survived to this day. As scholars have
pored over them, a great amount of detail has emerged that gives us real insight into the
achievements and hardship of these new practitioners of upward mobility.

The precious historical legacy represented by the Paston correspondence, however, represents only
one of the ways in which Professor Paxton keeps the course vibrant and moving. Presenting her
material in a cheerful and comfortable style, she continually unveils fresh perspectives on the
lives of the men and women who determined England’s history, from the wealthiest noble to the
hardest-working serf.

She reads from Chaucer, reveals details from the unprecedented collection of information in what
would become known as The Domesday Book, and leads you onto the bloody soil of some of history’s
most memorable battles – each time turning history into spellbinding narrative.

Medieval British History Made Crystal Clear

Just as important, she does it while making the meaning of each historical moment crystal clear,
while also illuminating its role as part of a greater whole. Periodically, she pauses in the
overall chronology to devote entire lectures to specific issues, such as Chaucer and the rise of
English, or the evolution of knighthood and chivalry, so that your view of history’s forest is
never overwhelmed by your nearness to the trees.

The result is a course that winds up being not only informative but deeply entertaining, with
each lecture drawing you in with its own particular fascinations, including

a probing look at the scope of the Black Death and its social, economic, and religious
implications, including its role in ultimately bringing about the Peasants’ Revolt decades later;

a realistic examination of the legends of both King Arthur and Robin Hood, revealing whether
there is indeed a core of truth at the heart of the stories we have heard;
a riveting description of the Battle of Bosworth Field, where the defeat of Richard III marked
the beginning of the Tudor reign and ushered in a new age in English politics;
an insightful look at the origins of the role of the coroner, and what an examination of early
records of death can tell us about the ways in which English people lived during the late Middle
Ages, and
a discussion of the surprisingly nuanced penalties of the early Germanic law codes, which reveals
the tremendous social complexity among the Germanic settlers in Britain in spite of the lack of
any organized “state.”
Throughout The Story of Medieval England, including a tour de force final lecture in which she
tightly weaves together the course’s main themes and events, Professor Paxton consistently
delivers a fresh level of understanding about medieval England, its rulers and subjects, and
their significance for the world we live in today. The chain of theme and event that links our
world to theirs will never be clearer, rewarding every moment you spend with this course.

About Your Professor

Dr. Jennifer Paxton is Professorial Lecturer in History at Georgetown University, where she has
taught for more than a decade, and Visiting Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic
University of America. The holder of a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where she
has also taught and earned a Certificate of Distinction, Professor Paxton is both a widely
published award-winning writer and a highly regarded scholar, earning both a Mellon Fellowship in
the Humanities and a Frank Knox Memorial Traveling Fellowship. She lectures regularly on medieval
history at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and has also been invited to
speak on British history at the Smithsonian Institution and the Shakespeare Theatre in
Washington, DC.

Professor Paxton’s research focuses on England from the reign of King Alfred to the late 12th
century, particularly the intersection between the authority of church and state and the
representation of the past in historical texts, especially those produced by religious
communities. She is currently completing a book, Chronicle and Community in Twelfth Century
England, that will be published by Oxford University Press. It examines how monastic historians
shaped their narratives to project present polemical concerns onto the past.

Should I Buy Audio or Video?

While this course works well in all formats, the video versions feature more than 1,000 visual
elements to take you back to medieval England, including 3-D animations, detailed maps, rich
images and illustrations, and on-screen text.

Back to top

Course Lecture Titles
**********************
36 Lectures
30 minutes / lecture

01. From Britannia to Britain.avi

02. Roman Britain and the Origins of King Arthur.avi
03. The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.avi

04. The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons.avi

05. Work and Faith in Anglo-Saxon England.avi

06. The Viking Invasions.avi

07. Alfred the Great.avi

08. The Government of Anglo-Saxon England.avi

09. The Golden Age of the Anglo-Saxons.avi

10. The Second Viking Conquest.avi

11. The Norman Conquest.avi

12. The Reign of William the Conqueror.avi

13. Conflict and Assimilation.avi

14. Henry I – The Lion of Justice.avi

15. The Anarchy of Stephen’s Reign.avi

16. Henry II – Law and Order.avi

17. Henry II – The Expansion of Empire.avi

18. Courtly Love.avi

19. Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade.avi
20. King John and the Magna Carta.avi

21. Daily Life in the 13th Century.avi

22. The Disastrous Reign of Henry III.avi

23. The Conquests of Edward I.avi

24. Edward II – Defeat and Deposition.avi

25. Edward III and the Hundred Years’ War.avi

26. The Flowering of Chivalry.avi

27. The Black Death.avi

28. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.avi

29. Chaucer and the Rise of English.avi

30. The Deposition of Richard II.avi

31. Daily Life in the 15th Century.avi

32. Henry V and the Victory at Agincourt.avi

33. Henry VI – Defeat and Division.avi

34. The Wars of the Roses.avi

35. Richard III – Betrayal and Defeat.avi

36. England in 1485.avi

About The Professor

Jennifer Paxton
Ph.D., Harvard University
Georgetown University

Dr. Jennifer Paxton is Professorial Lecturer in History at Georgetown University, where she has
taught for more than a decade, and Visiting Assistant Professor of History at The Catholic
University of America. The holder of a doctorate in history from Harvard University, where she
has also taught and earned a Certificate of Distinction, Professor Paxton is both a widely
published award-winning writer and a highly regarded scholar, earning both a Mellon Fellowship in
the Humanities and a Frank Knox Memorial Traveling Fellowship. She lectures regularly on medieval
history at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and has also been invited to
speak on British history at the Smithsonian Institution and the Shakespeare Theatre in
Washington, DC. Professor Paxton’s research focuses on England from the reign of King Alfred to
the late 12th century, particularly the intersection between the authority of church and state
and the representation of the past in historical texts, especially those produced by religious
communities. She is currently completing a book, Chronicle and Community in Twelfth Century
England, that will be published by Oxford University Press. It examines how monastic historians
shaped their narratives to project present polemical concerns onto the past.


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