Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Early Middle Ages (Yale)

Open Yale is a great source for academic podcasts. Thanks to a tip from my reader Charles Lipson, I learned about a set of new courses that have become available at Yale, among others Paul Freedman's series about the Early Middle Ages (284-1000 CE) - (feed). After having heard the first four lectures (out of 22), I warmly recommend this series.

In the world of history podcasts there are a couple of other options to get information about the early Middle Ages; UCSD has an MMW part dedicated to this era and there is also a series about the Byzantine Empire that should be had when you are interested in these centuries and there is the multimedia experience of Europe From Its Origins. All of these tend to start with the Roman emperors Diocletian and Constantine to mark the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and then move on to cover the fall of Rome in the West and the consecutive developments in Western Europe.

Yale's Paul Freedman does the same, but with his lectures I was made to realize for the first time, how radical the change is, especially under Constantine and how this truly is the beginning of the Middle Ages, that era in the history of Western Europe that is dominated by Christianity and the Church power. It has been said before, but as Freedman emphasizes how odd it is that an insignificant minority sect such as the Christians, that is known for its pacifism, within a hundred years becomes the dominant creed and political power in this mighty and militaristic empire, I have come to understand more profoundly how remarkable the development is. Really the start of a new age. Neither religion nor the state were the same as before.

More Yale:
The Moral Foundations of Politics
History of epidemics,
Early Modern England,
European Civilization 1648-1945,
France since 1871,
New Testament, history and literature,
The Hebrew Bible.

More Medieval History:
Europe From Its Origins
Norman Centuries
12 Byzantine Rulers,
Byzantine Empire (UCSD),
Medieval Heritage (UCSD - Chamberlain),
Medieval Heritage (UCSD - Herbst).