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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Join a seasoned expert on Spain and witness the dazzling history of the Spanish culture and its unique role in the West.
The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 181.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Lecture Of the dozens of Great Courses I have taken, this is one of my favorites. The course is well structured and progresses with ease through history. The presentation is captivating and enthusiastically delivered. Clearly, professor Salisbury is in love with the subject matter. Great job!
Date published: 2022-08-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Content and Visuals I loved the course! This is a fabulous course for anyone who has an interest in history, especially Spanish History. Dr. Salisbury does an excellent job in providing an overview of 5,000 years of history on the Iberian Peninsula. I lived in Spain for about two years in the 1970's and read James Michener's book Iberia to help me better understand what I was going to experience. It was a good travel guide. I learned to love Spain and I learned quite a lot about Spain and it history while I lived there but never felt like I had a good understanding of the big picture of Spanish History. This course is excellent in giving one a basic understanding of the many different cultures that influenced Spain over thousands of years. The lectures were very informative and the visual additions were extensive and made the course come alive. I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2022-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am thoroughly enjoying this History of Spain. I've known bits and pieces of Spanish history that I've gleaned over the years but this presentation pulls it all together and puts it in perspective. It's all the more meaningful having been a flight attendant and then a Spanish teacher over my 40 years of working as my pleasure and educational pursuits to me to Spain a number of times, especially Andalucia. I also thoroughly enjoy Joyce Salisbury's enthusiastic presentation. It's obvious she is enchanted by Spain. I'm sure it's well planned out, but the way she speaks makes it seem like we're at a sidewalk table in Granada waiting on our tapas, while drinking some vino tinto, por supuesto. Pretty sure I'll be watching this one again. I enjoying her voice and the subject. The maps are very helpful as are the names appearing on the screen. I also love the way the presentation is organized. One of my favorite things about being retired is that I have the time to explore these courses, at my leisure. Nothing like having sufficient time on the planet, 74 years now, to have a better perspective AND more time to try to put it all together, even if for no other reason than I just want to know. Thanks for making them affordable.
Date published: 2022-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course (of course!) After working and travelling in Spain over many years this course really put what I have seen and learned into context. Extremely well presented and ties history, culture and the arts into the wonderful tapestry that is Spain and the Spanish. I originally got the audio version have since purchased the video and sharing with friends and family
Date published: 2022-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very interesting! The subject mater is just what I expected. The professor is very engaging and easy to listen to. Good course.
Date published: 2022-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An extremely enjoyable course! I enjoyed this course immensely and raced through the lectures in a few days. Dr. Salisbury is an excellent lecturer and the visuals (maps, people, and art/architecture) were very good. It is obviously quite a high level (but comprehensive) overview as there were only 24 lectures and MANY years of history covered. I would be interested in any additional more detailed courses on the history of Spain/Iberia she chose to deliver or, even better, a travel history class perhaps called The Great Tours: Spain on a Crossroad just as there are courses on France, Italy, various parts of the UK, Egypt etc. As I am writing this I see that a new course was just released by Dr. Salisbury on the Middle Ages Around the World (especially ex-Europe). That one is surely next in my queue!
Date published: 2022-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting and informative! My husband and I just walked 300+ miles on the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain in 2221, following a trip in 2019 where we walked the other 200+ miles, to complete the Camino Frances. We were so glad to find the lecture series on the history of Spain. We have also traveled elsewhere in the country and found Dr. Salisbury's lectures very interesting and informative. We like the chronological order of the lectures and the way the different subjects were connected to each other. We feel as if we were on a tour through thousands of years, much as we were in walking the Camino. The only thing that I think would enhance this series would be if there were a few more photographs of the places being discussed.
Date published: 2022-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Presentation Dr. Sallsbury is a born video presenter, the first I've see to adapt well in adjusting her eye contact between two or more cameras. She exudes confidence in her extensive material, speaking concisely, with clarity. These attributes enhance a 24 lesson plan for the typical listener. My prior understanding of Spain's history proved shallow at best. I'll leave this course with the ability to visit this land with a deep appreciation. Trust to hear more courses from this professor in the near future. Al
Date published: 2022-01-23
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Overview

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. In this course, you'll learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

About

Joyce E. Salisbury

When dealing with human beings, nothing is simple or predictable, and these are the kinds of wonderful contradictions that have kept me engaged for so long.

INSTITUTION

University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

Joyce E. Salisbury is Professor Emerita of Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she taught history and served as associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of International Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Medieval History at Rutgers University, specializing in religious and social history.

Professor Salisbury began her career performing research in Spain, and she has continued to travel there to conduct further research, lecture, and guide students and other travelers. She is currently working on a book about the history of early Christian martyrdom.

In addition to receiving the University of Wisconsin's Outstanding Teaching award, she was named Professor of the Year in 1991 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She has taught three times on Semester at Sea, a study-abroad program on a ship that circumnavigates the world with more than 500 students for a full semester.

Professor Salisbury is a prolific author whose books include the award-winning Perpetua's Passion: Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman; The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages; Rome's Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire; and the widely used textbook The West in the World. She has been interviewed many times on National Public Radio on topics from religion to the books she has written, and she appeared on the PBS special The Road from Christ to Constantine.

By This Professor

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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
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The Middle Ages around the World
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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Trailer

From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain

01: From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain

Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders....

31 min
Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists

02: Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists

Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants....

29 min
Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula

03: Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula

Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich....

30 min
Christianity Comes to Hispania

04: Christianity Comes to Hispania

Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy.

32 min
Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula

05: Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula

As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population....

30 min
The Visigoths Unite Spain

06: The Visigoths Unite Spain

As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture....

29 min
Islam: The New Religion

07: Islam: The New Religion

Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or "pillars", and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians....

30 min
Conflict within Islam

08: Conflict within Islam

Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Córdoba....

31 min
The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus

09: The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus

Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Córdoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Córdoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world....

31 min
The Christian Reconquista

10: The Christian Reconquista

This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by "El Cid", the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada....

28 min
Medieval Spanish Culture

11: Medieval Spanish Culture

Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry....

30 min
The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism

12: The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism

Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain....

29 min
Gypsy Influences on Spain

13: Gypsy Influences on Spain

Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies....

31 min
The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion

14: The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion

Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art....

31 min
Columbus and the New World

15: Columbus and the New World

European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus's travels, and the impact of his "opening" of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases....

30 min
Conquistadors and Missionaries

16: Conquistadors and Missionaries

Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of Hernán Cortés, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slaver...

28 min
The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy

17: The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy

Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships....

30 min
The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs

18: The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs

Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes....

30 min
Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants

19: Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants

Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty....

30 min
The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain

20: The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain

Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon....

32 min
Spain Loses Its Empire

21: Spain Loses Its Empire

Follow Napoleon's crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the "universal" principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain's colonies....

31 min
20th-Century Spanish Modernism

22: 20th-Century Spanish Modernism

Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miró and Dalí, the architect Antoni Gaudí, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain's constitutional monarchy....

30 min
The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign

23: The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign

Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture....

29 min
Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad

24: Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad

Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future.

34 min