Monday, January 28, 2008

The making of Europe in 1453

History 5 The Making of Modern Europe, 1453 to the Present, with professor Margaret Lavinia Anderson (Peggy for some), has started. This is the best history podcast, if you can call listening in on university lectures a genuine podcast. In spite of the drawbacks of following a lecture and its audience and not have a podcaster directly speak to you, this is the best.

Lecture 1: Endings and Beginnings.
Lecture series have always parts one could easily want to choose to skip. In this lecture for example the first 12 minutes in which the graduate student instructors are introduced, or the first 14 if you are not in need of explanation about the course material. Then there are some general thoughts on history and only by the 29th minute we are really off. The effort of this lecture is to circumvent Europe; identify it as the poorest child to inherit from the Greco-Roman world. The world to become totally isolated as off the fall of Constantinople in 1453, yet the one that came to dominate the world.

Lecture 2: The Rise of the State.
To begin with a technical point again: the first 31 minutes are of low audio, but by 31:45 the sound recovers. (EDIT: the low audio has been repaired - later downloads will not suffer) We learn what sovereignty means until the renaissance and how first in Italy the State arises. But these states soon are to find themselves too small to deal with the greater scale of warfare that comes up with infantry, cannons and better fortifications. This is going to give way for larger scale states with kings who are wealthy enough to wage war.

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