During the 229-year period from 1485 to 1714, England transformed itself from a minor feudal state into what has been called “the first modern society” and emerged as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.
Those years hold a huge and captivating story. The English survived repeated epidemics and famines, one failed invasion and two successful ones, two civil wars, a series of violent religious reformations and counter-reformations, and confrontations with two of the most powerful monarchs on Earth, Louis XIV of France and Philip II of Spain. But they did much more than survive. They produced a great culture, giving the world the ideas of John Locke, the plays of Shakespeare, the wit of Swift, the poetry of Milton, the buildings of Christopher Wren, the science of Isaac Newton, and the King James Bible, to name a very few. And, despite the cruelty, bloodshed, and religious suppression they visited upon so many, they ultimately left behind something else: the political principles and ideals for which we-and so many of them – would work and die, and on which we would build our own nation.
Now you can watch this remarkable panorama of society, economics, religion, and politics unfold in a series of 48 transfixing lectures by a justifiably honored teacher who takes you into the lives of not only Britain’s ruling royal houses, but the English people themselves, describing how they were born, worked, played, worshiped, fell in love, and died.
Cinematic in their presentation and detail – whether describing the likely thoughts of Charles I on the way to his execution or the overheard weeping of Queen Anne after she fired her Lord Treasurer – these lectures are as memorable as the history they describe.