In the first part of this lecture, Professor Freedman discusses the emergence of the Vikings from Scandinavia in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Vikings were highly adaptive, raiding (the Carolingian Empire), trading (Byzantium and the Caliphate) or settling (Greenland and Iceland) depending on local conditions. Through their wide-ranging travels, the Vikings created networks bringing into contact parts of the world that were previously either not connected or minimally so. Professor Freedman concludes the lecture, and the course, by considering what’s been accomplished between 284 and 1000. Although Europe in the year 1000 experienced many of the same problems as did the Roman Empire 284 where we began -- population decline and lack of urbanization, among others – the end of the early Middle Ages also arguable heralds the emergence of Europe and Christendom as cultural constructs and sets the stage for the rise of the West.
Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
Original Course Name: HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000.