Advertisement
Features

10 Free Ancient and Medieval History Online Courses (Spring 2015)

Interested in learning about ancient or medieval history? Here are ten eleven free MOOCs (Massive open online courses) that you can take between April and June 2015, which take a look at topics such as Roman archaeology, medieval manuscripts, the Trojan War, and Norse sagas.

MOOC

Warfare and Weapons in Ancient Egypt

From: Canvas Network
Starting Date: 6 Apr 2015
Length: 5 weeks

Dynastic Egypt united in approximately 3100 B.C. It remained an independent land for much of its 3,000 year history, before becoming absorbed into the Roman Empire in 30 B.C.

During this Dynastic Period, Egypt was able to recover from civil war and foreign rule and use its military might to develop a vast empire stretching from the Sudan to Syria. This military success shows that Egypt understood the value of an efficient fighting force. Certainly, the royal propaganda of the victorious king riding into battle in his chariot, or smiting the enemy who grovels at his feet, is one of Egypt’s most enduring and instantly-recognisable images. But how accurate is this image? What do we know about warfare and weapons in ancient Egypt?

This course, led by expert Egyptologist and author, Dr. Joyce Tyldesley, explores the art, archaeology, and technology of Egyptian warfare and weapons from the Predynastic Period (Dynasty 0) to the end of the New Kingdom (Dynasty 20). Drawing on contemporary literature, it introduces the mighty warrior Tuthmosis III, victor of Megiddo (the Biblical Armageddon), and the self-proclaimed hero Ramesses II, who claims to have single-handedly won the Battle of Kadesh.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Chinese History From Warring States to the Tang Dynasty

From: Edx
Starting Date: 6 Apr 2015
Length: 17 weeks

Zizhi Tongjian is one of the earliest Chinese historiographies spanning nearly 300 volumes and covering 1,300 years of history. Literally meaning “Comprehensive Mirror in Aid of Governance,” Zizhi Tongjian is an annalistic-style history featuring the subjects of politics and the military as the main thread of narration. The collection has been cherished by scholars over numerous dynasties for its historical value and insight into governance, peace and stability.

This guided reading course will help learners deepen their understanding of Chinese history, in addition to applying Zizhi Tongjian’s ancient wisdom to modern-day governance. Because Zizhi Tongjian is a rich, expansive text, this course is intended to remove colloquial barriers and help students gain a deeper understanding of Chinese history from Emperor Qin to Cao Cao and Emperor Taizong.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Sagas and Space – Thinking Space in Viking Age and Medieval Scandinavia

From: Coursera
Starting Date: 7 Apr 2015
Length: 8 weeks

Space is a basic category of human thought. Over the last decades it became a very productive scientific category, too. Thinking about spaces, places, locations, or landscapes covers a spectrum of meanings from the concrete and material through to the abstract and metaphorical. In this course we explore various categories of space in the field of Old Norse culture. Together with international guest scholars from different fields we want to find out how mythological, heroic, historical, geographical spaces or landscapes look like in written and oral narratives, but also on picture-stones, runic inscriptions, paintings, woodcarvings and manuscripts. Another promising question could be to ask about the relationship between texts, images and maps and the process of mapping itself.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Digging Deeper: The Form and Function of Manuscripts

From: Stanford University
Starting Date: 21 Apr 2015
Length: 6 weeks

Digging Deeper: The Form and Function of Manuscripts introduces you to the way medieval manuscripts are interpreted, conserved, and disseminated today. The Digging Deeper team of scholars from Stanford and Cambridge shows how to analyze the function of manuscripts, the methods by which they are conserved, and the digital means that are transforming the field of manuscript studies. We will look at the development of music, move beyond the European tradition to study non-Western manuscripts, and see how digital methods are allowing for new inquiry and posing new problems. In pursuing these studies, you will study some of the most significant and beautiful books held by the university libraries of Cambridge and Stanford.

Digging Deeper is a six-week course, with each week featuring filmed sequences of experts with manuscripts, reading assignments, a short transcription, and self-test quizzes. Assignments will help you further your knowledge of how to access manuscripts in person and online, skills in codicology (the study of the medieval book and the physical make-up of manuscripts), palaeography (the describing and analysis of medieval scripts), and transcription (the reading and interpretation of writing in manuscripts). Participants who finish the course will earn a Stanford Statement of Accomplishment.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Greeks at War: Homer at Troy

From: Edx
Starting Date: 27 Apr 2015
Length: 6 weeks

Homer’s account of the Trojan War in the Iliad explores the effects of warfare upon Greeks and Trojans alike. It illustrates not only the challenges that the combatants faced, but also the plight of innocent victims– women, children, and the elderly. Though the Iliad is often regarded as a kind of Greek national epic, Homer is remarkably even-handed in his treatment of the two sides, even seeming to favor the Trojans over the Greeks at times. He repeatedly emphasizes the horrors of war and his varied descriptions of deaths on the battlefield are unparalleled in both intensity and, paradoxically, poetic charm. The primary objective of warfare in the imaginary time period depicted by Homer is to attain personal glory through acts of individual prowess, with the good of the community seen as a secondary goal.

This course explores the idea that war is both universal and particular. The Vietnam War was not the same as the Iraq War. In every war, some things are the same, while some are different. Intense suffering and horrific acts are inevitable. However, the mode of fighting, the resources, the arms, the equipment, the treatment of prisoners, the command structure, and the ideology driving men and women to fight all differ.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Greek and Roman Mythology

From: Coursera
Starting Date: 27 Apr 2015
Length: 10 weeks

Myths are traditional stories that have endured over a long time. Some of them have to do with events of great importance, such as the founding of a nation. Others tell the stories of great heroes and heroines and their exploits and courage in the face of adversity. Still others are simple tales about otherwise unremarkable people who get into trouble or do some great deed. What are we to make of all these tales, and why do people seem to like to hear them? This course will focus on the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, as a way of exploring the nature of myth and the function it plays for individuals, societies, and nations. We will also pay some attention to the way the Greeks and Romans themselves understood their own myths. Are myths subtle codes that contain some universal truth? Are they a window on the deep recesses of a particular culture? Are they a set of blinders that all of us wear, though we do not realize it? Or are they just entertaining stories that people like to tell over and over? This course will investigate these questions through a variety of topics, including the creation of the universe, the relationship between gods and mortals, human nature, religion, the family, sex, love, madness, and death.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Magic in the Middle Ages

From: Coursera
Starting Date: 4 May 2015
Length: 6 weeks

Magical thought has always attracted human imagination. In this course we will introduce you to the Middle Ages through a wide conception of magic. Students will have an approach to medieval culture, beliefs and practices from the perspective of different areas of knowledge (History, Literature, Art History and History of Science). Popular magic, as well as magie savante (alchemy, geomancy and necromancy) will be addressed and we will also deal with artistic manifestations, such as relics, art objects, the Saint Grail and Arthurian literature. Magic in the Middle Ages offers a captivating overview of medieval society and promotes reflection about certain stereotypes associated with this period.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds: Maritime Archaeology

From: FutureLearn
Starting Date: 25 May 2015
Length: 4 weeks

People have explored and depended on the oceans of our planet for millennia. During that time the geography of our world has changed radically as coastal regions have flooded and islands have risen up, or been lost beneath the waves. With 70% of the world’s surface covered by water, an unparalleled, yet largely untouched record of human life has been left beneath the sea for us to discover, from our earliest ancestors right through to present day. Over the length of this Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds course we will learn about maritime archaeology together – exploring underwater landscapes from the ancient Mediterranean to the prehistoric North Sea, and consider Shipwrecks from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific coast of the Americas.

We will introduce you to the pioneers of the discipline and explain what maritime archaeology is and why it is relevant today. We’ll also explore the technologies used to investigate these challenging environments and the new horizons that are opening to us daily. Finally, we’ll help show you ways in which you can become further involved in the exciting world of maritime archaeology.

Click here to learn more and sign up

The Divine Comedy: Dante’s Journey to Freedom, Part 3 (Paradiso)

From: Edx
Starting Date: 10 Jun 2015
Length: 5 weeks

Joy is the business of Paradiso, that much is clear; but could there be a more mysterious word in the whole realm of human imagination than “Joy?” “Joy” boggles the human imagination because it asks us to follow the vector of hope to its maximal extension and intention, until it arrives at that point which Dante locates “nel mezzo,” at the very center of everything, at that point where every centripetal and centrifugal force of both the physical universe of energy and the symbolic universe of creative imagination and meaning first arise and finally return.

In this course, you will be asked to participate in learning activities on both edX and on MyDante, an innovative platform for deep reading that emphasizes mindfulness and contemplative reading habits as key to deriving lasting meaning from poetic texts. The pedagogical approach of the course goes beyond mere academic commentary on the poem as literature; it introduces the reader to a way of thinking about the meaning of the poem at a personal level. This module is the third of three modules that compose the full course. The previous modules are the Vita Nuova and Inferno, and a module on Purgatorio.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

From: FutureLearn
Starting Date: 15 Jun 2015
Length: 6 weeks

The Roman harbour city of Portus lay at the heart of an empire that extended from Scotland to Iraq. Established by Claudius and enlarged by the emperor Trajan with spoils of the Dacian wars, the port was the conduit for everything the city of Rome required from its Mediterranean provinces: the food and, particularly grain, that fed the largest urban population of the ancient world, as well as luxuries of all kinds, building materials, people and wild animals for the arena.

On this course you will chart a journey from the Imperial harbour to its connections across the Mediterranean, learning about what the archaeological discoveries uncovered by the Portus Project tell us about the history, landscape, buildings, and the people of this unique place. Although the site lies in ruins, it has some of the best-preserved Roman port buildings in the Mediterranean, and in this course you will learn to interpret these and the finds discovered within them, using primary research data and the virtual tools of the archaeologist.

Click here to learn more and sign up

Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier

From: FutureLearn
Starting Date: 15 Jun 2015
Length: 6 weeks

Explore the archaeology of the most heavily fortified frontier in the Roman Empire, its people and their lives.

Hadrian’s Wall stretches over 73 miles (117 km), from coast to coast in what is now Northern England. The Wall, complemented by a sophisticated system of outposts and coastal watch stations, offers a remarkable glimpse of ancient society. In addition to housing one of the largest concentrations of Roman soldiers anywhere in the Empire’s provinces, Hadrian’s frontier system was home to an incredibly cosmopolitan array of civilians.

This six week course offers a comprehensive introduction to Hadrian’s Wall and its people and raises fascinating issues concerning colonisation, cultural transformation, immigration, integration and imperialism. We will explore life in the region before the construction of the Wall, the arrival of the Roman army and its impact on the local population. Detailed case studies will consider the different features of the Wall and its surroundings, considering the way in which the frontier system evolved throughout the Roman period. The changing face of both the Roman army and indigenous populations is richly illuminated through archaeological finds and reconstructions. To appreciate the range and character of native people, soldiers’ families, slaves, merchants and migrants, we will examine their homes, dress, diet, rituals and religious beliefs.

Click here to learn more and sign up



Sign up to get a Weekly Email from Medievalists.net

* indicates required

Smartphone and Tablet users click here to sign up for
our weekly email


Malcare WordPress Security