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Europe in the Middle Ages (Films for Humanities (Firm))
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Monks [electronic resource]: Keepers of Knowledge

As hubs of spiritual and scientific activity, monasteries were the information centers of the Middle Ages. This program explores the varying missions-and the often-cloaked thoughts and feelings-of the medieval monk, within the larger context of the era's highly regulated and intrigue-ridden religious life. With a focus on the interaction of European and Arab cultures, as well as the importance of libraries and pre-Christian texts, the program's discussions of medicine, mathematics, astronomy, law, and philosophy portray monastic life as full and surprisingly worldly: not only the zenith of introspection, but an arena of passion, exploration, and power struggle. Portions are in other languages with English subtitles.
2006; 2004

Knights and Nobles [electronic resource]

This program surveys the courtly culture of armored knights, their duties and privileges, and their significance in the religious and political conflicts of the Middle Ages. Presided over by royalty, knights formed an elite caste with a code of honor steeped in the arts of hand-to-hand combat and chivalry. Knights and Nobles examines their everyday customs, coats of arms, weaponry, and-with the help of an elaborate historical reconstruction-the castles which sheltered them between campaigns. The program climaxes with the Battle of Crecy in 1346, which initiated infantry-style warfare and effectively ended knighthood in the military sense. Portions are in other languages with English subtitles.
2006; 2004

Peasants, Serfs, and Servitude [electronic resource]

During the Middle Ages, most of Europe's inhabitants were illiterate and lived in the shadow of the wealthy; knowledge of peasant culture is therefore limited. This program addresses the historical lack of firsthand written materials, viewing serfs and servants through the eyewitness accounts of a fictitious traveler. Although a peasant farmer's daily existence was indeed oppressive, defined by taxation and compulsory military service to the ruling noble, the program details innovations of the era-including the horse-drawn iron plough and the three-field planting system-amounting to an agricultural revolution that set the stage for a heavily populated, modern Europe. Portions are in other languages with English subtitles.
2006; 2004

Bankers, Builders, and New Beginnings [electronic resource]

This program illustrates life from the perspective of the medieval merchant: urban, financially sophisticated, and revolving around trade and travel. Demonstrating how the growth of European cities prefaced the end of feudal society and the founding of major universities-while unfortunately enabling the spread of the Black Plague-the program reveals surprising facts regarding city planning, banking practices, cartography, and the skyscrapers of the Middle Ages, cathedrals. In essence, a new civilization emerges in this final episode of Europe in the Middle Ages, due in part to the creation of urban centers as bases for global exploration and conquest. Portions are in other languages with English subtitles.
2006; 2004