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.…
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…
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 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…
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.
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…
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 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…
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.
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.…
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…
1066 Hastings—William Conquers England
Episode 10 of The Decisive Battles of World History Series
The Battle of Hastings changed the course of both English and world history. Here, encounter the redoubtable figure of William the Conqueror and his 1066 invasion of England to claim the crown. Witness the terrible engagement at Hastings and its…
King Arthur in the Latin Chronicles
Episode 3 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Now explore some of the most significant early witnesses to the Arthurian legend. In Latin texts by the chroniclers Gildas (6th century) and Nennius (9th century) and in the Welsh Annales Cambriae, study accounts of Arthur's exploits and death in…
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…
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Episode 13 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Delve into the fascinating narrative of this highly sophisticated poem, following the great Sir Gawain through elaborate plot twists on his quest to fulfill an astonishing challenge. Investigate the meaning of his journey, and consider the important questions it raises…
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,…
Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte Darthur
Episode 15 of King Arthur: History and Legend Series
Thomas Malory's massive retelling of the Arthurian saga became a benchmark for all writers who came after him. Learn how Malory's text introduced the Pentecostal Oath, a sacred code of ethics sworn to by the knights, which Malory "tests" throughout…
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…
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