Story of Medieval England
From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest Series

The Great Courses
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36 episodes in this series

Episode 1 From Britannia to Britain
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…
Episode 2 Roman Britain and the Origins of King Arthur
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…
Episode 3 The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
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…
Episode 4 The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons
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…
Episode 5 Work and Faith in Anglo-Saxon 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…
Episode 6 The Viking Invasions
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…
Episode 7 Alfred the Great
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…
Episode 8 The Government of Anglo-Saxon England
Grasp the well-organized wasy in which the Anglo-Saxon state became perhaps the most successful in Christian Europe, with sophisticated coinage and access to the court system by all levels. Although…
Episode 9 The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxons
Learn why the 10th century is often referred to as the Golden Age of the Anglo-Saxons. It produces not only vernacular literary masterpieces like Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon…
Episode 10 The Second Viking Conquest
The Golden Age ended as the Wessex dynasty was overturned by second wave of Viking invaders, with Denmark's King Cnut seizing the throne and marrying the Wessex queen. See how…
Episode 11 The Norman Conquest
Learn the reasons behind the overturning of the Anglo-Saxon regime by external invasion. This tightly focused lecture examines both the battle to succeed Edward the Confessor, who died childless, and…
Episode 12 The Reign of William the Conqueror
Witness an extraordinary consolidation of power as William used the military to overcome early resistance to his rule, systematically expropriated the nobility to install his own followers, and used both…
Episode 13 Conflict and Assimilation
Open a window on what life was like in post-conquest England through a variety of sources, including the famous Domesday Book compiled at William's order. This extraordinary compilation offered the…
Episode 14 Henry I - The Lion of Justice
Examine the reign of Henry I in a lecture randing from his many administrative innovations - including the development of royal accounting at the Exchequer - to the legendary temper…
Episode 15 The Anarchy of Stephen's Reign
Experience the 14 years of civil war that erupted 4 years after Henry's death in 1135, with his daughter and nephew battling over Stephen's throne - largely because England's barons…
Episode 16 Henry II - Law and Order
See how England returned to order as Henry I razed castles built without the crown's permission, consoliadated justice in royal hands, and standardized its operations. But he also raced toward…
Episode 17 Henry III - The Expansion of Empire
With Becket dead and martyred, Henry faced the difficult task of keeping a secure hold on his many continental dominions and managing his children's futures. Learn how the many royal…
Episode 18 Courtly Love
Take a pause from political intrigue to look at the cutlure that flavored the royal and princely courts, with a focus on the rise of courtly love, the music and…
Episode 19 Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade
View the reign of richard the Lionheart primarily through the lens of his experiences as a crusader, with implications focusing on the position of Jews in England, the development of…
Episode 20 King John and the Magna Carta
Experience the disastrous reign of King John. His technical violation of a feudal oath to the French king led to the loss of Normandy and several expensive efforts to regain…
Episode 21 Daily Life in the 13th Century
Another pause in the political narrative allows for a close look at the life in a 13th-century English villiage - life that had changed materially for the better since the…
Episode 22 The Disastrous Reign of Henry III
A key theme of the coures comes into sharp focus as you see how Henry's many ill-advised foreign ventures created a never-ending need for money to be provided by England's…
Episode 23 The Conquests of Edward I
Explore the reign of Henry's far more talented son, Edward I, from the perspective of both his military career--as a crusader and in Scotland, Wales, and France--and his role as…
Episode 24 Edward II - Defeat and Deposition
Step into the life of a king whose reign was one of great controversy. Edward is beset by intimations of sexually based patronage given to a favored knight, growing baronial…
Episode 25 Edward III and the Hundred Years' War
See how repeated trade conflicts with the French drove Edward to claim the French throne. What would become the Hundred Years War produced both stunning victories and years of stalemate…
Episode 26 The Flowering of Chivalry
Learn the intricacies of the tournament and the practice of heraldry as you observe the evolution of the knight. What was once little more than a noble's hired thug evolved…
Episode 27 The Black Death
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…
Episode 28 The Peasants' Revolt of 1381
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…
Episode 29 Chaucer and the Rise of English
A journey through some selected works, including "Piers Ploughman" and "The Canterbury Tales", highlights the rise of vernacular English poetry in the 14th century, with English also becoming a principle…
Episode 30 The Deposition of Richard II
Appreciate the extraordinary turns history can often take. Richard II's reign, which once seemed so promising, disintegrates in factional fighting and disputes so bitter they ultimately led not only to…
Episode 31 Daily Life in the 15th Century
Examine how the population losses of the plague years finally produced the low rents and high wages that were once the goal of the Peasant's Revolt. The position of the…
Episode 32 Henry V and the Victory at Agincourt
Resume the chronology of England's evolution as war with France is renewed and Henry V wins a historic victory at Agincourt in 1415. But gains of this great triumph of…
Episode 33 Henry VI - Defeat and Division
The tensions over dynastic succession were made even more problematic by a multitude of ambitious royal cousins and were forced to the surface by growing discontent over the failing campaign…
Episode 34 The Wars of the Roses
Take a look at the reign of the Yorkist Edward IV and the last effort of the Lancastrians to unseat this popular but notoriously lazy king, whose unexpected marriage to…
Episode 35 Richard III - Betrayal and Defeat
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…
Episode 36 England in 1485
Process everything you have learned in a final lecture that explains what England had become at the beginning of the Tudor dynasty. A thorough integration of the course's major themes…

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