Course: The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 with Paul Freedman Dnatube

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Lec 1 -Course Introduction: Rome's Great ...

"Lec 1 -Course Introduction: Rome's Greatness and First Crises"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman introduces the major themes of the course: the crisis of the Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity, the threats from barbarian invasions, and the continuity of the Byzantine Empire. At the beginning of the period covered in this course, the Roman Empire was centered...
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Lec 2 - The Crisis of the Third Century ...

Lec 2 - The Crisis of the Third Century and the Diocletianic Reforms"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman outlines the problems facing the Roman Empire in the third century. The Persian Sassanid dynasty in the East and various Germanic tribes in the West threatened the Empire as never before. Internally, the Empire struggled with the problem of succession, an...
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Lec 3 - Constantine and the Early Church

"Lec 3 - Constantine and the Early Church"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman examines how Christianity came to be the official religion of the Roman Empire. This process began seriously in 312, when the emperor Constantine converted after a divinely inspired victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Constantine's conversion would have seemed foolish as a...
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Lec 4 - The Christian Roman Empire

"Lec 4 - The Christian Roman Empire"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) The emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity brought change to the Roman Empire as its population gradually abandoned the old religions in favor of Christianity. The reign of Julian the Apostate, a nephew of Constantine, saw the last serious attempt to restore civic polytheism as the official religion....
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Lec 5 - St. Augustine's Confessions

"Lec 5 - St. Augustine's Confessions"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman begins the lecture by considering the ways historians read the Confessions.In this work, St. Augustine gives unique insight into the life of an intellectual mind in Late Antiquity, into the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire, and into the problems of early Christianity. The three major...
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Lec 6 -Transformation of the Roman Empire

"Lec 6 -Transformation of the Roman EmpireThe Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) The Roman Empire in the West collapsed as a political entity in the fifth century although the Eastern part survived the crisis.. Professor Freedman considers this transformation through three main questions: Why did the West fall apart -- because of the external pressure of invasions or the internal...
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Lec 7 -Barbarian Kingdoms

"Lec 7 -Barbarian KingdomsThe Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman considers the various barbarian kingdoms that replaced the Western Roman Empire. Oringinally the Roman reaction to these invaders had been to accommodate them, often recruiting them for the Roman army and settling them on Roman land. Now, however, they were the rulers of the previously...
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Lec 8 - Survival in the East

"Lec 8 - Survival in the EastThe Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman focuses on the question of how the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire survived, while the West collapsed in the fifth century. He begins with a brief overview of Procopius' Secret History, a work which presents a highly critical account of the reign of the emperor Justinian. The more urbanized,...
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Lec 9 -. The Reign of Justinian

"Lec 9 -. The Reign of Justinian"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman opens by discussing why historians use the writings of Procopius and Gregory of Tours, a sixth century bishop whose history of the Merovingian kings is discussed the following week. Procopius's three works -- The Wars, the adulatory Buildings, and the invective Secret History -- are the best...
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Lec 10 - Clovis and the Franks

"Lec 10 - Clovis and the Franks"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman begins his discussion of Gregory of Tours' history of the Merovingian kings. This history differs markedly from the classical invective style used by Procopius. Gregory of Tours' account seems more random by comparison and emphasizes the intervention of the supernatural in everyday life,...
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Lec 12 - Britain and Ireland

"Lec 12 - Britain and Ireland"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman considers the importance of the British Isles in the early Middle Ages, both in their own right and as an example of a post-Roman frontier society. In the wake of the fifth century Roman withdrawal, England experienced "radical economic simplification." However, England's conversion...
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Lec 13 - Monasticism

"Lec 13 - Monasticism"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman discusses some of the paradoxes of monasticism in the Early Middle Ages. To the modern mind, monks and learning make a natural pair. However, this combination is not an obvious outcome of early monasticism, which emphasized asceticism and renunciation of the world. As it moved west, monasticism shifted away...
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Lec 14 -Mohammed and the Arab Conquests

"Lec 14 -Mohammed and the Arab Conquests"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman introduces Islam. He begins with a discussion of its geographical context: the dry desert lands of the Arabian peninsula. The Bedouins, or nomadic Arabs of the region, lived in a tribal society somewhat similar to the Germanic tribes discussed earlier in the course. Their...
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Lec 15 -Islamic Conquests and Civil War

"Lec 15 -Islamic Conquests and Civil War"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Islamic conquests. Although they were in some sense religiously motivated, Arab did not attempt to forcibly convert or eradicate Jews, Christians, or other non-Muslims. The conquests began as raids, but quickly escalated when the invaders discovered that...
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Lec 16 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--100 ...

"Lec 16 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: The Splendor of the Abbasid Period"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled the Islamic Caliphate beginning in 750. The Abbasids moved the capitol of the Caliphate to the newly-built city of Baghdad and created a state characterized by a strong administration and...
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Lec 17 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--100 ...

"Lec 17 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: The Crucial Seventh Century"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In the first half of this lecture, Professor Freedman continues the previous lecture's discussion of the Abbasids. He highlights their ability to assimilate other cultures, before turning to their decline in the tenth century. In the second half of the lecture, Professor...
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Lec 18 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--100 ...

"Lec 18 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: The Splendor of Byzantium"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman surveys major trends in Byzantine history from the sixth to eleventh century, dividing the era into four periods. In the sixth century, under Justinian's rule, the Byzantine Empire experienced a period of expansion (532-565). However, the...
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Lec 11 - Frankish Society

"Lec 11 - Frankish Society"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) Professor Freedman considers the Merovingians as an example of barbarian kingship in the post-Roman world. In the absence of a strong government, Merovingian society was held together by kinship, private vengeance, and religion. Kings were judged by their ability to lead men in war. Gregory of Tours believed that the...
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Lec 19 -The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 ...

"Lec 19 -The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: Charlemagne"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Carolingian dynasty from its origins through its culmination in the figure of Charlemagne. The Carolingians sought to overthrow the much weakened Merovingian dynasty by establishing their political legitimacy on three bases: war leadership,...
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Lec 20 -1 The Early Middle Ages, 284--10 ...

"Lec 20 -1 The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: Intellectuals and the Court of Charlemagne"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the Carolingian Renaissance, the revival of learning sponsored by Charlemagne and his successors. The period before the Carolingians saw a decline in learning, evidenced in part by the loss of lay literacy. As...
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Lec 21 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--100 ...

"Lec 21 - The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000: Crisis of the Carolingians"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the crisis and decline of Charlemagne's empire. Increasingly faced with external threats -- particularly the Viking invasions -- the Carolingian Empire ultimately collapsed from internal causes, because its rulers were unable...
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Lec Last - Vikings / The European Prosp ...

"Lec Last - Vikings / The European Prospect, 1000"The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) In the first part of this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the emergence of the Vikings from Scandinavia in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Vikings were highly adaptive, raiding (the Carolingian Empire), trading (Byzantium and the Caliphate) or settling (Greenland and Iceland) depending on...

The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 with Paul Freedman


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Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
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COURSE NAME: The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 with Paul Freedman

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