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.…
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…
Illuminations - Private Lives of Medieval Kings
BBC
Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of illuminated manuscripts that were custom-made for kings and explores the medieval world they reveal. Starting with the first Anglo-Saxon rulers to create a united England, she encounters books in the British Library's Royal…
3 videos
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…
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 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…
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
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…
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.…
An Arthur-Like Figure in Cornwall
Episode 2 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Investigate archaeological and historical evidence that support the existence of an Arthur-like figure in early Britain. Learn about the site of Cadbury Castle, the center of operations of a leader of great military and logistical skill who thwarted the Saxon…
The Puritan Revolution - Cromwell and the Rise of Parliamentary Democracy
Part of the Series: Shaping of the Western World Collection
Capturing all the color and turbulence of the period, this program portrays the zeal of Oliver Cromwell and his Puritans as they press their Civil War to its triumphant conclusions against proud King Charles of England in 1640. Specially edited…
1532 Cajamarca—Inca vs. Conquistadors
Episode 16 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
Continue with Spain's campaign against the vast and highly organized Inca Empire. Follow the daring maneuvers of the forces under Francisco Pizarro, aided by European military technology and including the kidnap and ransom of the Incan emperor, which enabled 190…
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…
Alfred the Great
Episode 7 of Story of Medieval England
Explore the career of Alfred the Great, who led the heroic resistance that kept Wessex free from Viking control. Separate fact from legend in the life of the man who would create the Wessex dynasty that would eventually become the…
The Declaration of the Rights of Man
Episode 9 of Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon Course
Study the origins and significance of this shocking declaration, from its influences in the Enlightenment and American rights declarations to its implications for religious liberty and the role of the king. Who would get these "universal rights"? How would they…
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…
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 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.
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…