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Publisher's Summary

Spain has played a unique and essential role in Western civilization. To understand the unfolding of Spain's epic history is to come to terms with one of the West's great cultures, and to grasp its enduring presence and impact on the world stage.

In these 24 accessible lectures, Professor Salisbury presents a broad and enthralling panorama of Spanish history, covering the centuries from the first prehistoric settlement of the peninsula to Spain's 20th-century civil war.

Linking one seminal era with the next, the course begins with how early Spain drew a range of peoples from ancient Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, who formed vibrant communities on the peninsula. From there, you'll witness the rule of the peninsula by both Rome and Visigothic peoples, leading to the spellbinding drama of Islamic Spain and the Reconquista, Catholic Spain and the Inquisition, and the opening of the New World. Finally, you'll travel into the kingly dynasties and the dazzling artistic heritage of the Habsburgs and Bourbons, and you'll track Spain's emergence into the modern world.

Together with the unfolding of Spanish history, Professor Salisbury illuminates Spain's iconic cultural forms - such as flamenco music and dance, and the ritual of bullfighting - and its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, theology, and learning.

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 modernist Antoni Gaudí. And you'll encounter Spain's geniuses of the visual and written arts, including 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.

Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the beauty and the great human drama of the history of Spain.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses

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Can't bother to have correct Doctrine/History

Martyrs of the early Christian churches were venerated, not worshiped. The veneration of the Martyrs are not magical and their use was for worship.

Her explanation of the origin of the naming convention of "Christians" failed to mention anything about it's etymological roots from Antioch.

Additionally, there's clear bias when naming the Roman Catholic Church and when trying to describe it's origins along side with the Arians.

More so, she seemed willfully ignorant of the early Christians community structure and its relationship to the Roman Emperor. All of which have serious influence to Spain.


The Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church are not the same and painting it as such creates ignorance.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-10-22

As much travelogue as history

Prof Salisbury starts her first lecture acknowledging her love for Spain and Spanish culture, which is fair enough, perhaps even to be expected. She follows through with a parade of colorful highlights, a 12-hour whirlwind from Phoencians to Franco.

Often she gets a little carried away. Spain's is not all that fertile a soil, for example, nor do I think she really believes it's difficult to think of an architect on par with Gaudi. This kind of cheer-leading, paired to a brisk, skimming pace, can gives the lectures more of a feel of travelogue or a pre-collegiate world cultures course than of collegiate level history. Good news for casual listeners, bad news for history buffs in search of some meaty analysis. As a history buff, I was disappointed, but recognize that this kind of enthusiasm can go a long way to holding the interest of someone who typically finds lectures dry and awful.

Sometimes, however, she takes the adoration too far, charitably understating the more... problematic aspects of topics like colonialism, bullfighting, slavery, guerillas, and the Spanish Inquisition. She prefers celebrating reform to identifying the problems needing reform. Bring a healthy dose of cynicism to your listening.

Full marks for Salisbury's speaking voice, which I could follow even in a noisy work environment, and for an unusually low incidence of verbal tics.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Caleb
  • 2017-10-16

Good

I was expecting a bit more in depth about history. Was mostly a broad view. It did cover some elements of culture which I found very interesting

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  • Devan Pennington
  • 2017-08-05

Excellent

I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture series and learned a lot. It has inspired me not only to visit the Iberian Peninsula, but to delve into the histories of other nations as well.
I enjoyed Prof. Salisbury's presentation and the overall presentation in general.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J. F. Mcmanus
  • 2018-05-18

Too partisan

This sounded more like a op-ed piece than history. It's often anti-Catholic and overly sympathetic to the Arabs and North Africans who invaded Spain in the 7th century and occupied it until the 15th century ... to the extent that the author indulges a right of return for the descendants of the invaders. The occupation that the author celebrates as benevolent was based on the social and economic institutions of Apartheid and slavery. How in heaven's name can the enslavement and castration of boys and the enslavement and sexual exploitation of young girls be positioned as benevolent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Yakov Nayerman
  • 2017-12-19

The Best Educational Book I've Read

Preparing my trip with my friends to Spain, I decided to learn something about its history not to look absolutely illiterate, next to my very educated friends. So, I was ready for a boring facts listing, which I have to just swallow, like a medicine. Instead I was blown out of water by this brilliant and catching story, which I couldn't stop listening! All the facts are there, but it is told with personal touch, including kid's impressions, like your close friend would do, sharing last trip... Thank you, Mrs. Salisbury so much! I already Googled your other books, and you do have a big fan of you here, in San Diego!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Renee Robinson
  • 2017-10-17

Best Great Courses Yet

I have listened to about 20+ great courses, and this one has absolutely been my favorite. The professor has a contagious enthusiasm for the subject matter, clear and consise speaking style, and organizes the material in a way that is engaging and helps bring the lectures to life. I never once "spaced out," and found myself looking forward to the next commute. I am now hoping to travel to Spain to experience some of its rich history and culture and hope the professor will have other Great Courses soon! Thanks!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandy Addison
  • 2017-10-06

Far more than just a history of Spain

I was really surprised just how much I got out of the Great Course. Not only is it a really good survey course of Spanish History, but the Professor Salisbury covers a wide variety of material that, while was a part of Spanish History, impacts upon other parts of World as well.

Definitely worth the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ADELINA PELTEA
  • 2017-08-10

Eagle's View of Spain's and Europe's history

Great lectures to our usual stereotypes and bits of knowledge about our country in perspective.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2017-08-06

A fabulous presentation about a fascinating land.

Before listening to this course, I never realized the Importance of Spain to the thread of history running from the ancient Roman Empire through the evolution of Europe to the wider world of today. It has put together many pieces of information into a coherent whole for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott T. Pytlik
  • 2018-09-20

Great Content - Frustrating Narrator

The content is great. It's well-organized and intriguing.

My frustration is with Prof Salisbury herself. Her hyper-correct Castilian pronunciation comes and goes at will, sometimes even within the same sentence. It's incredibly frustrating and sometimes (especially when listening while driving), I couldn't understand what place or name she was even talking about. Also, she uses (again inconsistently) Castilian pronunciation for non-Castile locations, which also creates some confusion. And as normal with hyper-correct pronunciation, it comes off as arrogant.

If you don't mind place and proper names changing all of the time, it's great content.