Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Medieval World course for describing life
and times in the medieval world and it's influence on us today.
Professor Dorsey Armstrong is an exceptional lecturer
and her intelligence is apparent in every lecture.

The Medieval World
Lectures by Professor Dorsey Armstrong

The Medieval World (2009) - 36 lectures, 18 hours
The Medieval World  at

Most of us know that, far from being a time of darkness, the Middle Ages was an essential period in the grand narrative of Western history - one whose political, cultural, economic, scientific, and spiritual developments are an invaluable part of our own modern era. But what was it like to actually live in those extraordinary times?

  • To be a pilgrim embarking with others on a fulfilling spiritual pilgrimage to a saint's holy shrine?
  • To be a serf laboring on a farm - both for your family and the lord to whom you were bound?
  • To be a knight entertaining crowds in a wildly popular jousting tournament or fighting in the heat of battle?

How did these and other average men and women from medieval Europe eat, work, love, rule, laugh, pray, and mourn? Above all, how different - or how similar - were their lives from the way you live today?

Now you can find out.

The Medieval World offers you a different perspective on the society and culture of the Middle Ages: one that goes beyond a simple historical survey and entrenches you in the daily human experience of living during this underappreciated era. Your guide on this extraordinary historical journey is medievalist and Professor Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University. Drawing on history, literature, the arts, technology, and science, her 36 lectures are a highly nuanced tour that will deepen the way you understand not only the Middle Ages but everything that came afterward: from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment to your own world.

A Unique Understanding on How We Live Now

It is only by studying the lives of everyday men and women in medieval Europe that you can grasp the beginnings of - and connections to - our own 21st-century Western lives. Just like you, these men and women plied their respective trades, raised families, entertained themselves in their spare time, and followed the laws of their society. And their world was one that played an important role in shaping our own modern world.

"For all the differences of the world in which they lived," notes Professor Armstrong, "medieval people were more like us than they were different. It is their world that gave rise to ours, and in our most sacred institutions of government, houses of worship, and social ideals, the shadow of the medieval looms large."

Illuminating the details within these shadows, The Medieval World is a course that is ultimately about people (whether remembered by history or not), the world around them, and how they made their way through their extraordinary surroundings. It's also about the ways in which understanding the medieval experience can shed new light on our own contemporary experience.

Correcting the common modern portrayal of medieval life in profoundly negative terms, Professor Armstrong opens a window onto a world where people didn't just suffer through plague, indentured servitude, and illiteracy. Instead, she reveals a world where people were kind and generous, willing to stand up for what they believed in, intelligent and cunning, ambitious and perseverant.

Professor Dorsey Armstrong is Associate Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University. She received her A.B. in English and Creative Writing from Stanford University in 1993 and her Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Duke University in 1999. Her book Gender and the Chivalric Community in Sir Thomas Malory's "Morte d'Arthur" was published by University Press of Florida in 2003. In January 2009, she became editor in chief of the journal Arthuriana.

36 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: The Medieval World 19: The Persistence of an Ideal
2: The Legacy of the Roman World 20: Late Medieval Religious Institutions
3: The Christianization of Europe 21: The Magna Carta
4: After the Roman Empire - Hybrid Cultures 22: Daily Life in a Noble Household
5: Early Monasticism 23: Daily Life in a Medieval Village
6: From Merovingian Gaul to Carolingian France 24: Medieval City Life
7: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Renaissance 25: Food and Drink
8: Byzantium, Islam, and the West 26: Music and Entertainment
9: The Viking Invasions 27: Dress and Fashion
10: Alfred the Great 28: Medieval Medicine
11: The Rearrangement of the Medieval World 29: The Black Death and its Effects
12: The Norman Conquest and the Bayeux Tapestry 30: Childhood in the Middle Ages
13: King Arthur - The Power of the Legend 31: Marriage and the Family
14: The Three Orders of Medieval Society 32: Art and Artisans
15: Pilgrimage and Sainthood 33: Science and Technology
16: Knighthood and Heraldry 34: Weapons and Warfare
17: The Gothic Cathedral 35: Revolts, Uprisings, and Wars
18: Piety, Politics, and Persecution 36: Toward the Early Modern Period


The Medieval World
Lectures by Professor Darcy Armstrong

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse The Medieval World course for describing life
and times in the medieval world and it's influence on us today.
Professor Dorsey Armstrong is an exceptional lecturer
and her intelligence is apparent in every lecture.