Sunday, March 30, 2008

High on the Middle Ages...

I just finished the last installment of the Middle Ages lectures by Prof. Philip Daileader. More info here.

The last section was the High Middle Ages - roughly 1100-1300. It was outstanding. I cannot recommend it enough to fill 30 minutes at a whack with great teaching.

I have done a couple other courses by the same compnay, and they were OK, but not in the same league.

Until now. I just started "The Vikings" by Kenneth Harl. This guy is a match for Phil, I tell ya.

Mostly we think of Vikings like this:

But a better image might be
Regardless of their fashion taste, their history is fascinating and Harl delivers it with intensity and humor. Among other things I've learned:
  • Nobody wore horned helmets. Only Hagar, apparently.
  • Viking warriors were know to catch javelins thrown at them with bare hands. Historians are generally agreed the several accounts of this are likely true.
  • Vikings were less hierarchical and more of a coop than Western Europeans, giving them a huge tactical advantage over the thinner warrior (noble) class they faced on raids.
If you or a friend has a commute or is taking a car trip, these are perfect.


No comments: