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The Story of Medieval England: From King Arthur to the Tudor Conquest

Season 1
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 the governed, it was a period that put into place the foundation of much of the world we know today.
202436 episodes
TV-PG
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Episodes

  1. S1 E1 - From Britannia to Britain
    January 17, 2024
    34min
    TV-PG
    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.
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  2. S1 E2 - Roman Britain and the Origins of King Arthur
    January 17, 2024
    33min
    TV-PG
    The collapse of Roman rule, arrival of barbarian raiders and settlers, and resistance to Germanic immigration serve as a backdrop to a tantalizing mystery. Examine the evidence as to whether the unidentified champion who temporarily halted the advance of the barbarians could have been the King Arthur of later legend.
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  3. S1 E3 - The Early Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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 culture were transformed by contact with Britain's.
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  4. S1 E4 - The Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    Follow the parallel stories of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and the emergence of England's seven preeminent regional kingdoms. Those kingdoms drew—depending on their location—upon two different sources of Christian influence and custom.
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  5. S1 E5 - Work and Faith in Anglo-Saxon England
    January 17, 2024
    31min
    TV-PG
    Plunge into the substance of daily life for Anglo-Saxons of all social levels, including illness and mortality, the transition from paganism to Christianity, farming, trade, or even raiding. What is clear is that there is tremendous variation in the economic and religious experience of the population.
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  6. S1 E6 - The Viking Invasions
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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. Intent on settling permanently, the invaders' influence in eastern England would be profound, with patterns of landholding, legal institutions, and even language altered forever.
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  7. S1 E7 - Alfred the Great
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    Explore the career of Alfred the Great, who led the heroic resistance that kept Wessex free of Viking control. Separate fact from legend in the life of the man who would create the Wessex dynasty that would eventually become the first ruling house of a united England.
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  8. S1 E8 - The Government of Anglo-Saxon England
    January 17, 2024
    33min
    TV-PG
    Grasp the well-organized ways 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 crude by modern standards, it functioned quite well compared to its contemporaries.
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  9. S1 E9 - The Golden Age of the Anglo-Saxons
    January 17, 2024
    29min
    TV-PG
    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" but inspiring sermons, monastic reform, and an artistic renaissance encompassing book production, metalwork, and needlework.
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  10. S1 E10 - The Second Viking Conquest
    January 17, 2024
    30min
    TV-PG
    The Golden Age ended as the Wessex dynasty was overturned by a second wave of Viking invaders, with Denmark's King Cnut seizing the throne and marrying the Wessex queen. See how the well-organized Wessex state functioned until Edward the Confessor restored the "legitimate" dynasty in 1042.
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  11. S1 E11 - The Norman Conquest
    January 17, 2024
    31min
    TV-PG
    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 the defeat of his successor by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.
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  12. S1 E12 - The Reign of William the Conqueror
    January 17, 2024
    33min
    TV-PG
    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 legal and administrative measures to fortify his position.
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  13. S1 E13 - Conflict and Assimilation
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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 king an unprecedented survey of English landholding and thus very exact information about wealth and the ability to pay taxes.
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  14. S1 E14 - Henry I - The Lion of Justice
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    Examine the reign of Henry I in a lecture ranging from his many administrative innovations—including the development of royal accounting at the Exchequer—to the legendary temper that led to the castration of all the royal moneyers discovered to be cheating the treasury.
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  15. S1 E15 - The Anarchy of Stephen's Reign
    January 17, 2024
    31min
    TV-PG
    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 had no wish to be ruled by a queen.
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  16. S1 E16 - Henry II - Law and Order
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    See how England returned to order as Henry II razed castles built without the crown's permission, consolidated justice in royal hands, and standardized its operations. But he also raced toward a fateful and ultimately deadly confrontation with his former chancellor and best friend, Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury.
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  17. S1 E17 - Henry II - The Expansion of Empire
    January 17, 2024
    34min
    TV-PG
    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 titles created by his family's politically intertwined bloodlines created just as many possible conflicts.
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  18. S1 E18 - Courtly Love
    January 17, 2024
    31min
    TV-PG
    Take a pause from political intrigue to look at the culture that flavored the royal and princely courts, with a focus on the rise of courtly love, the music and poetry that were its backdrop, and the creation of a rich tradition of vernacular Arthurian romances.
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  19. S1 E19 - Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    View the reign of Richard the Lionheart primarily through the lens of his experience as a crusader, with implications focusing on the position of Jews in England, the development of royal administration in his absence, and the ambitions of his brother.
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  20. S1 E20 - King John and the Magna Carta
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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 his lost land—efforts that ultimately led to the signing of the Magna Carta.
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  21. S1 E21 - Daily Life in the 13th Century
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    Another pause in the political narrative allows for a close look at life in a 13th-century English village—life that had changed materially for the better since the Anglo-Saxon and Norman periods.
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  22. S1 E22 - The Disastrous Reign of Henry III
    January 17, 2024
    31min
    TV-PG
    A key theme of the course 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 barons. Their frustration triggered a revolt and the nucleus of what would ultimately become Parliament.
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  23. S1 E23 - The Conquests of Edward I
    January 17, 2024
    33min
    TV-PG
    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 a lawgiver, including greatly expanding the role of Parliament in making statute law.
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  24. S1 E24 - Edward II - Defeat and Deposition
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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 resentment, an infamous defeat by the Scots, deposition by his own wife, and ultimately his murder.
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  25. S1 E25 - Edward III and the Hundred Years' War
    January 17, 2024
    32min
    TV-PG
    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 and plundering that left the French countryside impoverished but made the fortunes of many English knights and soldiers.
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Details

More info

Audio languages
English
Subtitles
English [CC]
Producers
The Great Courses
Starring
Jennifer Paxton
Studio
The Great Courses
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