Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Renaissance Italy
The Renaissance was a time of significant accomplishments in architecture, art, music, science and exploration. It began in the Italian city-states, with Florence generally described as the cradle of the Renaissance. Venice was a trading superpower with a large empire.…
Story of Medieval England - From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest Series
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…
36 videos
From Britannia to Britain
Episode 1 of Story of Medieval England
A discussion of how the geography of Britain has shaped political events over the centuries introduces you to the significance of English history between the 5th-century fall of the Roman Empire and the 1485 advent of the Tudor Dynasty.
The Origins of King Arthur
Episode 1 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
First, consider images of the Arthurian legend familiar in Western culture, and their relationship to historical reality. Trace the history of post-Roman Britain, the large-scale invasions of the Anglo-Saxons, and evidence that a single, extraordinary individual rose from the chaos…
Charlemagne: Father of Europe
Episode 47 of History of the Ancient World
Learn why the word great, though applied to any number of famous and infamous rulers, may be fully justified in the case of Charlemagne, whose impact in the areas of war, politics, religion, and culture left an mark on Europe…
Apocalypse Then - The First Crusade with Professor Jay Rubenstein of the University of Tennessee
How did the First Crusade happen? Jay Rubenstein, Associate Professor of Medieval History at the University of Tennessee, is convinced that the primary contributing factor was the widespread belief in the Apocalypse and the consequent determination of so many crusaders…
The Viking Invasions
Episode 6 of Story of Medieval England
Watch as the one- or two-boat raids of the late 8th century grew into vast armies of 50 ships or more by the middle of the 9th.k Intent on settling permanently, the invaders' influence in eastern England would be profound,…
The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
Episode 3 of Story of Medieval England
See how the victories of the shadowy figure possibly identified with Arthur offered only temporary stability, with the initiative soon shifting to the Germanic immigrants. Examine what we know about the societies that produced them and how their laws and…
The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons
Episode 4 of Story of Medieval England
Follow the parallel stories of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and the emergence of Englands seven preeminent regional kingdoms. Those kingdoms drew--depending on their location--upon two different sources of Christian influence and custom.
Carnival in the High Middle Ages
Episode 13 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
In the wake of the Crusades, learn about the great innovations in medieval cooking spurred by contact with Islamic civilization, based in the sophisticated use of exotic spices and herbs. Trace the food rituals and exuberant indulgence of Carnival, and…
1521 Tenochtitlán—Aztecs vs. Conquistadors
Episode 15 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
The 16th-century Spanish conquest of the Americas resulted in some of the most unusual military encounters of all time. Here, learn about the campaign under Hernan Cortes to conquer Mexico, and how fewer than 1,000 Spaniards defeated the mighty Aztec…
Europe's Dark Ages and Charlemagne
Episode 11 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
The fall of Rome and the rise of Germanic tribal kingdoms brought marked culinary changes to Europe. Study the "barbarian" diet and the culture of "fast and feast" rooted in the opposing ideals of Christian asceticism, meat-eating virility, and classical…
Roman Britain and the Origins of King Arthur
Episode 2 of Story of Medieval England
The collapse of the Roman rule, arrival of barbarian raiders and settlers, and resistance to Germanic immigration serve as a backdrop to tantalizing mystery. Examine the evidence as to whether the unidentified champion who temporarily halted the advance of the…
The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
Episode 28 of Story of Medieval England
Grasp how both religious frustrations and economic grievances stemming from the dislocations of the Black Death combined to bring about the most significant event in Richard II's early reign: the Middle Age's most serious revolt against the English crown.
The Birth of French Haute Cuisine
Episode 20 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
In the mid-17th century, France assumed a preeminent position in the art of cooking. Here, grasp the aesthetics of the new French cuisine, based in subtlety, refinement, and pureness of flavors. Discuss four French cookbooks that revolutionized culinary history and…
Work and Faith in Anglo-Saxon England
Episode 5 of Story of Medieval England
Plunge into the substance of daily life for Anglo-Saxons of all social levels, including illness and mortalility, the transition from paganism to Christianity, farming, trade, or even raiding. What is clear is that there is tremendous variation in the economic…
A Renaissance in the Kitchen
Episode 15 of Food: A Cultural Culinary History Series
The Italian Renaissance brought a new aesthetic approach to cookery, featuring great complexity of presentation. Uncover some of the era's extremes in books by food writers Platina, Ficino, and Messisbugo, and note connections with the self-conscious sophistication of Mannerist painting.…
Richard III - Betrayal and Defeat
Episode 35 of Story of Medieval England
Let yourself be riveted by one of history's most dramatic chapters, highlighted by the imprisonment of Richard III's two nephews in the Tower of London and their probable murder, and a battlefield demise immortalized--though with considerable license--by Shakespear himself.
Secrets of the Viking Sword
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Only a select few Vikings carried the ultimate weapon of their era: the feared Ulfberht sword. Fashioned using a process that would remain unknown to the Vikings' rivals for centuries, the Ulfberht was a revolutionary high-tech tool as well as…
The Black Death
Episode 27 of Story of Medieval England
England, already weakened by a series of famines, was devastated by the disastrous epidemic that swept across Europe and arrived on its shores in 1348. It left in its wake social, economic, and religious effects that would endure for many…