The Ottoman Empire [TTC Video]

The Ottoman Empire [TTC Video]
The Ottoman Empire [TTC Video] by Kenneth W Harl
Course No 3160 | M4V, AVC, 600 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.04GB

When confronting the future, nations and civilizations always look to the past for guidance, lessons, and a shared sense of purpose and meaning. For the peoples of the Middle East, that immediate past is the Ottoman Empire.

In the West, we often overlook the fact that the achievements of the Ottoman Empire at the zenith of its power matched those of contemporary Western Europe – as well as the other great Islamic states of Safavid Iran and Mughal India. According to Kenneth W. Harl, award-winning professor of Classical and Byzantine history at Tulane University, “the cultural achievements of Ottoman civilization still endure, and they speak of a wealthy and sophisticated Islamic civilization.”

It is by understanding the vast, dramatic story of the Ottoman Empire – from its early years as a collection of raiders and conquerors to its undeniable power in the 15th and 16th centuries to its catastrophic collapse in the wreckage of the First World War – that one can better grasp the current complexities of the Middle East, including geopolitical tensions between Turkey and its Balkan and Middle Eastern neighbors, the sustained political and cultural power of Islam, and the balancing act between religious tradition and cultural modernity.

What made the Ottoman Empire such a match with the empires of the early modern world? What, in fact, made this empire unlike any other in human history? What forces were responsible for shaping this brilliant civilization—and what forces led to its ultimate destruction? These are just some of the questions you’ll explore alongside Professor Harl in The Ottoman Empire. Over the course of 36 historically rich and enlightening lectures, you’ll investigate more than 600 years of history that cover the nature of Ottoman identity, the achievements and oddities of the Sultan’s court, and stories of confrontation and cooperation with the West. The result: a better appreciation for the ways in which the Ottomans created a unique way of life – and how that way of life echoes throughout Europe and across the Middle East.

From “Sublime Porte” to “Sick Man”

To the emissaries of King Francis I in 1536, the Ottoman Empire was called the “Sublime Porte,” referring to the magnificence of the high gate within the empire’s grand Topkapı palace complex. More than 200 years later, Tsar Nicholas I referred to the empire— beginning to lose territory and power—as “the Sick Man of Europe.” Less than 100 years after that, the empire disappeared.

The Ottoman Empire guides you through the rise, flourishing, and fall of one of the most powerful forces in history in a way that makes historical themes and ideas easy to understand. Working chronologically from the empire’s medieval roots to its rebirth as the modern republic of Turkey, Professor Harl groups the lectures around a series of historical moments and themes.

  • An Empire is Born: You’ll get an in-depth look at how the Ottoman Empire was first created, and you’ll follow the learning journey it took up through 1632, during the reign of Sultan Murat IV. Along the way, you’ll meet rulers seldom equaled by any other dynasty, including Suleiman the Magnificent – who reigned from 1520 to 1566 and whose iconic rule is still hailed as the apex of Ottoman power.
  • The High Ottoman Empire: The classical age of the Ottoman Empire is commonly held as the time between 1453 and 1699. What were its political and religious institutions like? What cultural advancements were made? You’ll dive into two centuries of vitality and originality, covering everything from the imperial economy to Islamic building programs to the development of miniature manuscript paintings.
  • When East Met West: Central to the classical age of the Ottoman Empire was its complex relationship with its eastern and Western neighbors, from Safavid Iran to European traders, who both engaged with – and threatened – the traditional Ottoman order. You’ll consider how wars and treaties with the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, Russia and more shifted the balance of power that would pave the way for the empire’s ultimate decline.
  • Reform, Collapse, Rebirth: Starting in the late 17th century, the Ottoman Empire began its slow decline, collapse, and partition. After which, a rebirth occurred in the form of the republic of Turkey. Professor Harl unpacks the various historical forces responsible for this, chief among them the First World War and the leadership of Mustafa Kemal.

People, Events, and Themes that Made an Empire

Befitting a story of such epic scope and grandeur, every lecture of The Ottoman Empire is a treasure trove of historical nuggets and fascinating insights into the people, events, themes, and locales responsible for shaping the story of this often overlooked empire.

Told with Professor Harl’s characteristic detail and insight, these and other topics are just a few of what you’ll find laid in these 36 lectures.

  • Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes. One of the central figures in the early spiritual transformation of Anatolia was Jalal-ud-din Rumi who, along with his followers, the iconic “whirling dervishes,” used Sufism to create a folk Islam linked to the mores of Anatolian village life.
  • Selim the Grim. An ambitious victor of a civil war in 1512, Selim earned his terrifying moniker, Yavuz (“the Grim”), after ordering the execution of all challenges to his rule, including his half-brother, his nephews, and his cousins.
  • The Sultan’s Deputies. Something of the Turkish sultan’s right-hand man, the grand viziers, after the mid-16th century, began to assume the foreign policy and administrative power from sultans, who found themselves more involved with spiritual and ceremonial matters.
  • Suleiman’s Wars. Not only was Suleiman I one of the Ottoman Empire’s most decisive, influential rulers, he also waged several fierce military campaigns against Safavid Iran (the empire’s main Eastern rival) that were less about territory and more about competing religious claims as to who would lead the Islamic world.
  • The Committee of Union and Progress. Between 1909 and 1911, the CUP dominated the Ottoman parliament as something of a shadow government ruling through repression. This is a political model that, Professor Harl notes, would be transmitted to the empire’s successor states in southeastern Europe and the Middle East.

A Fascinating Story Told by a Great Storyteller

Over the years, Professor Harl has been acclaimed by lifelong learners for his ability to untangle historical complexities and recreate the thrill of making historical connections. As a seasoned member of The Great Courses faculty, his expertise in the Classical and Byzantine eras (including scholarly work on classical Anatolia) makes him the perfect guide through centuries of fascinating history.

The winner of numerous teaching awards, including Tulane University’s Sheldon Hackney Award for Excellence in Teaching (on two occasions), Professor Harl has a preternatural ability to make the intricate layers and interconnections of an entire civilization’s history graspable.

A visually rich course, the video editions of The Ottoman Empire come complete with helpful maps that show the historic expansion (and contraction) of the empire; portraits that put a face with some of the many people you encounter in these lectures; photographs and illustrations of Ottoman architecture, illuminated manuscripts, and historic landscapes; and much more.

Welcome to a fascinating story of the triumph and tragedy, war and peace, intellectual progress and civil insurrection of a great empire that, for all its glory and grandeur, has left an important legacy that will shape the future of the Balkan nation-states, the Turkish Republic, and the Arab world – and those of us in the West as well.

The Ottoman Empire [TTC Video]

The Ottoman Empire [TTC Video]

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad [TTC Video]

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad [TTC Video]
The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad [TTC Video] by Joyce E Salisbury
Course No 8286 | M4V, AVC, 784 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.98GB

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. It has historically stood at a critical crossroad—a crossroad of geography, of cultures, of religions, of ideas, of trade, and more. Spain’s strategic location, through the centuries, has made it a magnet for multiple different peoples, and it has participated in and witnessed numerous major shifts, trends, and historical moments.

Across 5000 years, from its prehistory and ancient Roman rule to the glory of Moorish al-Andalus, and from its empire building to its religious passions and kingly dynasties, Spain’s history has been extraordinarily dramatic, colorful, poignant, inspiring, and heartrending.

And yet, Spain’s remarkable role has not always been detailed in standard history curricula, at times overshadowed by the high profile of other European powers. But to understand the unfolding of Spain’s epic history is to come to terms with one of the West’s great civilizations, and to grasp its enduring presence and influence on the world stage. Consider these singular features of Spanish history:

  • The Renaissance began in Spain 15 years before the rest of Europe;
  • Spain was both the instigator and the catalyst for the opening of the New World, spanning North, Central, and South America—leaving Spanish as the world’s second most widely spoken language, following only Chinese;
  • Spain was a primary player in the vast commercial revolution that changed the world in the 17th century;
  • The collapse of Spain’s great empire both prefigured and sheds light upon the later disintegration of other European empires;
  • Spain’s 20th century history reveals much about the rise and fall of fascism in Europe.

In The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad, Professor Emerita Joyce E. Salisbury of the University of Wisconsin unfurls a broad and fascinating panorama of Spanish history, spanning the centuries from the first Neolithic settlement of the peninsula to Spain’s 20th century Civil War.

Linking one extraordinary era with the next, the course begins with how early Spain drew a spectrum of peoples from ancient Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, who formed vibrant communities on the peninsula. From there, you’ll witness the subjugation of the peninsula by both Rome and Gothic peoples, leading to the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain and the Reconquista, Catholic Spain and the Inquisition, and the conquest of the New World. In the final lectures, you’ll travel into the royal dynasties and dazzling artistic heritage of the Habsburg and Bourbon kings, and you’ll track Spain’s storied emergence into the modern world.

These 24 accessible and highly enjoyable lectures offer you a penetrating overview of the development of Spanish civilization. Designed for a wide audience, the course presents a comprehensive picture of Spanish life and culture, encompassing history, architecture and art, religion, science, and the humanities, as well as offering many pointers for travel in Spain, highlighting the country’s outstanding historical and cultural sights, and why they’re important.

A Thrilling Journey through Five Millennia of History

In the course’s opening, you’ll trace the melding of Neolithic peoples, Celts, Greeks, Phoenicians, and other immigrants who gave the Spanish peninsula its unique character. Across the centuries of history and the numerous seminal epochs the course illuminates, you’ll witness extraordinary historic moments such as:

  • The Kingdom of the Visigoths–Following Rome’s imperial domination of the region, discover how the Visigoths wrested control of the peninsula, and contemplate the remarkable society they built–a culture that produced great art, codes of law, theology, and hugely influential scholarship in the intellectual centers of Toledo and Seville;
  • The Golden Age of Islamic Spain–Take account of the nearly seven centuries of Islamic rule of Spain, and its zenith in the legendary Caliphate of Córdoba; grasp the underpinnings of Córdoba’s great wealth, and its astonishing achievements in art, science, aesthetics, and learning, that spread its fame across the known world;
  • Spain’s Catholic Passion–Track the deeply integral presence of Catholicism in Spanish life over the centuries. Learn about Spain’s role in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the Inquisition; trace Spain’s bloody wars against Protestants and Muslims, as well as its history and remarkable resurgence of religious tolerance;
  • The New World: Treasure and Tragedy–Witness how Columbus’s voyages led to the carving out of vast Spanish possessions in the Americas; follow the huge commercial empire which transpired, and the exploits of conquistadors, missionaries, and pirates, against a backdrop of economic oppression, slavery, and the decimation of native populations;
  • The Habsburgs: A Splendorous Era–In yet another illustrious epoch, learn how the Habsburg kings spent Spain’s New World treasure in the glorious architecture of Madrid and the El Escorial summer palace, and in fostering an artistic renaissance in the work of some of history’s greatest painters, composers, and literary artists;
  • Spain in the Modern World–Following the disintegration of Spain’s empire, observe its adaptations and contributions to the modern era, from its great 20th century artistic and intellectual innovators to its trials under the dictator Francisco Franco and its place as a vibrant 21st century nation.

A Rich Tapestry of Spanish Culture

As a primary strength of this course, Professor Salisbury brings to the table a vast and extraordinarily detailed knowledge of the Iberian Peninsula; its history as well as its unique culture. Demonstrating a flair for historical narrative, she expertly conveys the monumental scope and movement of events while at the same time revealing details that make the story compellingly three-dimensional. In her descriptions of the ancient trade in garum (Roman fish sauce, a surprisingly valuable commodity), the glittering court culture of Islamic Spain, and the features of life aboard Columbus’s ships, these distant eras come vividly alive.

Intertwined with the unfolding of Spanish history, Professor Salisbury illuminates Spain’s iconic cultures, and its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, theology, and learning. In the lecture on Spain’s gypsy heritage, you’ll explore the origins and forms of flamenco music and dance, and their deep links to gypsy and Andalusian culture. You’ll learn how the ritual of bullfighting—held as an art form in Spain—evolved from its origins as an equestrian pastime of the nobility to its markedly altered modern form.

Across the centuries, you’ll explore jewels of Spanish architecture, from the resplendent Moorish Alhambra and Alcázar of Seville to the sublime Sagrada Familia cathedral of Catalan modernist Antoni Gaudí. Professor Salisbury also highlights the evolution and forms of Spanish music, spanning the eras from the music of Islamic Spain to the great Baroque composers Guerrero and de Victoria and the 19th century master Albeniz. And you’ll encounter Spain’s geniuses of the visual and written arts, encompassing such masters as the painters Velasquez, el Greco, Goya, and Picasso, and writers from the philosophers Averroes and Maimonides to literary greats Lope de Vega and Cervantes.

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad takes you on a wide-ranging journey through the remarkable scope of Spanish civilization, life, and culture. Travel with us to this extraordinary land, and savor the majesty and the great human drama of the story of Spain.

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad [TTC Video]

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America [TTC Video]

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America [TTC Video]
The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America [TTC Video] by James Currie, Birding Enthusiast
Course No 7782 | M4V, AVC, 687 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 157 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.45GB

Birds have often held a special fascination for humanity. Venerated as deities and powerful symbols in the mythology of ancient Egypt, China, the Maya, and other cultures, through the millennia birds have remained mysterious, magnetic, and irresistible. In the 18th and 19th centuries, naturalists traveled the earth in search of the most resplendent avian species, and the advent of science has only increased interest in the amazingly varied world of birds. Today this fascination continues in the modern activity of birding, a passionate and well organized pursuit for people around the world.

Birding is a pastime that enriches and challenges hobbyists on multiple levels. Going beyond basic bird identification, birding includes a far-reaching look into matters such as bird behavior, migration, habitats, conservation, and the science behind them. Ultimately, birding offers the opportunity to participate in the systematic study of birds, and to help science advance its understanding of them. As such, birding involves direct contact with one of our primary treasures of wildlife, and some of the most beautiful of all living creatures.

Now, The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America, taught by internationally respected birding expert James Currie, takes you deeply into this compelling, delightful, and multifaceted field, focusing on the astounding wealth of bird species found in North America.

Among the world’s top birding territories, North America–encompassing the United States, Canada, and Mexico–holds a special place. With its rich geographical diversity and wide range of wildlife habitats, North America is a paradise of bird species, and an inexhaustible field of interest for birders from around the globe. From iconic species such as the soaring California Condor, the fiery-pink American flamingo, and the magnificent frigatebird to the raptors, wading birds, forest and desert dwellers, seabirds, and the melodious songbirds that populate our own neighborhoods, North America offers one of the most outstanding spectrums of bird species in the world.

Discover the Remarkable Lives and Incredible Diversity of Birds

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America introduces you to the joys of birding and bird identification in 24 engaging and richly enjoyable lectures, which cover the field in comprehensive detail. Across the span of the course, you’ll explore important components of birding, such as

  • the essentials of bird anatomy and taxonomy, and how this knowledge helps you critically in the field;
  • a thorough study of how to identify birds, plus related topics such as birding by ear, and birding at night;
  • key optical equipment for birding, highlighting binoculars and spotting scopes, and how to use them; and
  • the exciting activity of locating, approaching, and observing birds in the field.

You’ll also take a detailed look at the vast range of North American bird species, using the forthcoming 7th edition of the classic National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America as a foundation and reference, as well as learning about further important facets of birding, such as how to photograph birds, the best North American birding locations, and important elements of bird conservation.

In their remarkable scope and detail, these lectures are of great value not only for beginning birders, but for experienced enthusiasts who would like to extend and enrich their knowledge. Employing the vast resources of National Geographic, the renowned leader in wildlife and nature education, the course takes you into the field, using filmed demonstrations, location videos, and audio recordings of birdsong, as well as an abundance of visual images. With their substantial material on bird photography, these 24 content-rich lessons are a valuable reference for photographers and will deepen your appreciation of the wonders of the world around you, in the extraordinary lives of the birds which surround us yet often go unnoticed.

Learn the Many Enthralling Facets of Birding

Mr. Currie brings a lifetime of birding experience and a breathtaking knowledge of the avian world to this course, opening doors to every aspect of this world-spanning activity. A warm and inspiring lecturer, he devotes the course’s first half to a study of birding’s core elements, including:

  • Bird Identification–In building bird identification skills, learn to recognize orders, families, and species of birds by specific physical characteristics, such as their shape or silhouette, size, color, and anatomical features; additionally, study many other factors which aid in the challenges of identification, encompassing birds’ flight patterns, habitats, geographic ranges, feeding habits, and more;
  • The Roles and Dazzling Variety of Bird Plumage–Investigate the functions and different types of bird feathers and plumage variations; observe how many species pass through multiple plumage phases within their lifetime; how others undergo radical seasonal changes in plumage; and how evolution produces the shimmering colors of species such as the green jay, the eared quetzal, and the roseate spoonbill;
  • The Extraordinary Phenomenon of Birdsong—Learn how to recognize bird calls, and about the astonishing ways birds vocalize to communicate; discover how many melodic bird songs are actually “boasts”; how some birds have a repertoire of different alarm calls; and how specific species actually develop regional “dialects”;
  • Avian Migration—Study the remarkable story of migration, as it manifests in numerous bird species; investigate awe-inspiring examples, from the 25,000-mile seasonal flight of the arctic tern to the spring roosting in Nebraska of half a million sandhill cranes;
  • The Marvel of Bird Behavior—Grasp how knowledge of bird behavior aids identification; take account of striking behavioral features such as the western grebe’s dramatic, synchronized mating ritual; the white pelican’s group “herding” of fish; and the mockingbird’s ability to learn over 200 different songs, mimicking other species and environmental sounds;
  • Encountering Birds in the Field—Learn key field methods for observing birds; stealth techniques for tracking and approaching birds; ways to attract birds by mimicking bird calls and predators; and how to bring birds into your own yard or surroundings.

Explore North America’s Limitless Birding Opportunities

Spanning the North American continent, you’ll delve into the specifics of bird habitats, from forest and desert to wetlands, chaparral, and tundra, finding the unique avian species that make them their home, as well as how to observe birds in these types of terrain. You’ll also study the principle flyways of bird migration across North America, from east to west and north to south, and the spectacles of migrating species you can observe in each.

After you have learned the basics of birding, you’ll devote six lectures to a panoramic view of the bird species of North America, using vivid color images of our miraculous range of birdlife. Beginning with pelagic (ocean) birds, you’ll encounter waterfowl and shorebirds, raptors, and bird families containing the cuckoos, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, kingfishers, and many others, before taking a three-lecture tour of the Passerine order, the largest group, comprising the perching or songbirds. Finally, from the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge to Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park, you’ll investigate 23 of the top North American birding spots, locations which attract many hundreds of species.

Throughout the course, Mr. Currie speaks eloquently of the need for conservation of our precious bird species, and what we as individuals can do to protect endangered birds and their habitats. You’ll also learn about organizations that promote avian welfare, and how you can participate directly in their efforts, both at home and in the field.

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America is your key to the extraordinary world of birds and birding–in your own backyard as well as across our majestic continent; an endlessly diverse and rewarding pursuit which offers you a lifetime of pleasure and discovery.

The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America [TTC Video]

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