Turning Points in Middle Eastern History

Watch Turning Points in Middle Eastern History

  • 2016
  • 1 Season

Turning Points in Middle Eastern History is a fascinating journey through the key moments and events that shaped the Middle East as we know it today. Produced by The Great Courses Signature Collection, this educational series offers a comprehensive overview of the intricate and complex history of the Middle East, covering the period from the birth of Islam in the 7th century to the modern-day conflicts and struggles in the region.

Led by Professor Eamonn Gearon, a renowned Middle East historian and author of several books on the topic, this series of lectures presents a broad and deep analysis of the major turning points in Middle Eastern history, ranging from political revolutions and religious conflicts to cultural exchanges and technological innovations.

With more than 12 hours of content spread across 24 lectures, Turning Points in Middle Eastern History provides a detailed and insightful perspective on the region, its people, and its ongoing struggles. Professor Gearon's engaging and accessible style makes the course enjoyable and easy to follow, while his extensive knowledge and expertise bring depth and nuance to each topic.

The course starts with an overview of the Middle East before the rise of Islam, highlighting key features of the region, such as its diverse ethnic and religious groups, its strategic location, and its vibrant cultural traditions. Professor Gearon then delves into the emergence of Islam and its impact on the Middle East and beyond, discussing the early years of the Islamic empire, the caliphate system, and the formation of various Islamic sects.

Moving forward in time, the course explores pivotal moments in the history of the Middle East, such as the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of modern nation-states. Professor Gearon also pays close attention to the role of religion, exploring the differences and similarities between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and how these religions shaped the history of the Middle East.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the course is the focus on cultural and intellectual exchanges between the Middle East and the West. Professor Gearon discusses the influence of Islamic scholarship on medieval Europe, the spread of Arabic science and philosophy, and the role of translations in facilitating cross-cultural understanding.

Turning Points in Middle Eastern History also covers more recent events, including the 20th-century conflicts that have shaped the region, such as World War I, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Gulf Wars. Professor Gearon analyzes the impact of these events on the Middle East and explores the complexity of their causes and consequences.

Overall, Turning Points in Middle Eastern History is an enlightening and engaging course that offers a comprehensive overview of one of the most complex and fascinating regions in the world. Professor Gearon's expertise and insights make this series of lectures a must-watch for anyone interested in the history, culture, and politics of the Middle East.

Turning Points in Middle Eastern History is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (36 episodes). The series first aired on February 5, 2016.

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The Last Caliphate Falls - 1924
36. The Last Caliphate Falls - 1924
February 5, 2016
Investigate the epochal turning point of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the abolition of the Islamic caliphate-Islam's supreme religious authority-after 1300 years. Witness the remapping of the Middle East by the imperial powers of Britain and France, the impact of these changes on the region, and the emergent states of the modern Middle East.
World War I in the Desert - 1914
35. World War I in the Desert - 1914
February 5, 2016
Examine the role of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and uncover why it entered the war on the side of Germany and Austro-Hungary. Consider the scope of the conflict in the Middle East, the Arab Revolt (arguably the most significant Middle Eastern campaign of the war), and the emergence of Arab nationalism.
Discovering Middle East Oil - 1908
34. Discovering Middle East Oil - 1908
February 5, 2016
No other single factor has impacted the economy, politics, and social life of the Middle East as profoundly as oil. Trace the 20th-century discovery of petroleum across the region by foreign oil companies, and observe the ensuing geopolitical conflicts with local governments. Consider what became known as the Middle East's "oil curse."
Egypt, Europe, and the Suez Canal - 1869
33. Egypt, Europe, and the Suez Canal - 1869
February 5, 2016
The Suez Canal, which halved the sailing distance from Europe to India, changed the course of Middle Eastern and world history. Examine the events behind the building of the canal, and reveal the amazing feat of its construction. Assess the economics of the endeavor, a story of foreign debt that would cost Egypt its independence.
East India Company in Yemen - 1839
32. East India Company in Yemen - 1839
February 5, 2016
Investigate the phenomenon of the British East India Company, a militarized trading organization of astonishing power and reach. Learn about the Company's seizure of the strategic Yemeni port of Aden, which became a trading center of global importance, heralding Britain's century-spanning imperial presence in the Middle East.
French Invasion of Algeria - 1830
31. French Invasion of Algeria - 1830
February 5, 2016
Explore the economic and political factors that sparked the brutal French invasion of Ottoman Algeria. Follow the events of the ensuing occupation, and examine the war of resistance led by the religious leader Abd al-Qadir. Observe how the invasion marked a major shift in European relations with the Middle East.
Murder at the Citadel - 1811
30. Murder at the Citadel - 1811
February 5, 2016
The Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali is widely referred to as the Father of Modern Egypt. Learn about his bloody ascension to power, ending 600 years of intermittent Mamluk rule. Trace Ali's 43-year reign, during which he introduced a modern, European-style army, modern education, a professional civil service, and thriving industrial development.
Napoleon Invades Egypt - 1798
29. Napoleon Invades Egypt - 1798
February 5, 2016
Examine the motives of France and of Napoleon for the massive invasion of Egypt in 1798, and witness the two primary military engagements that ensued. Take account of the impacts of the French occupation, and of the phenomenal work of scholarship under Napoleon that gave birth to the field of Egyptology.
The Saud-Wahhab Pact - 1744
28. The Saud-Wahhab Pact - 1744
February 5, 2016
Here, learn how a little-known 18th-century alliance in the Middle East came to have profound reverberations in our contemporary world. Study the pact between a desert ruler and a religious reformer that initiated a structure of political and religious power that continues to dominate the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Second Siege of Vienna - 1683
27. Second Siege of Vienna - 1683
February 5, 2016
The 1683 Ottoman siege of Vienna is often cited as a critical turning point in European history. Investigate the events leading to the siege and battle, witness the dramatic defense of the city under the Polish king Jan Sobieski, and examine both the legacy of the clash and historical misconceptions surrounding it.
Suleiman the Magnificent - 1520
26. Suleiman the Magnificent - 1520
February 5, 2016
Take the measure of the sultan Suleiman's extraordinary vision, through which he expanded and consolidated the Ottoman Empire, engendered a bureaucratic system and a unified legislative code, and commissioned monumental architecture. Learn also of his great love for his favorite wife, Roxelana, perhaps the most influential female political figure in Ottoman history.
Selim the Grim - 1512
25. Selim the Grim - 1512
February 5, 2016
Investigate the achievements of this most fearsome and pivotal of Ottoman rulers. Learn how Selim vanquished the threatening Safavid Empire after violently wresting power from his father. Track his dramatic expansionist policy, tripling the Ottoman territories in less than a decade, and his defeat of the Egyptian Mamluks, becoming the first Ottoman Caliph.
Safavid Dynasty of Persia - 1501
24. Safavid Dynasty of Persia - 1501
February 5, 2016
Examine the birth of the 250-year Safavid Empire, established by the religious leader, warrior, and poet Ismail. Observe how Ismail forcibly converted his entire kingdom to the Shiite Islamic faith, introduced a new military system, and put in place the Persian bureaucratic framework that underlies the modern nation of Iran.
Fall of Granada - 1492
23. Fall of Granada - 1492
February 5, 2016
The fall of Granada marked the end of 800 years of Muslim rule on the Iberian Peninsula. Study the fitful Granada war that unfolded over ten years, leading to a final eight-month siege under the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella. Follow the events of the state-sanctioned persecution of Jews and Muslims that followed.
Ottomans Seize Constantinople - 1453
22. Ottomans Seize Constantinople - 1453
February 5, 2016
Grasp why the storied city of Constantinople had great strategic importance to the burgeoning Ottoman Empire. Witness the fiercely contested siege of the city, revealing the Ottoman offensive by both land and sea. Take account of how the city's fall arguably marked the end of both the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages.
Ibn Khaldun's Masterpiece - 1377
21. Ibn Khaldun's Masterpiece - 1377
February 5, 2016
Discover the life and times of the brilliant Ibn Khaldun, who produced the Muquaddimah, one of the most original works of scholarship ever written. Follow his astonishing career as a scholar, historian, and judge, and investigate his magnum opus, a philosophy of history that delineates patterns that govern the transformation of human societies.
Mansa Musa, Richest Man - 1324
20. Mansa Musa, Richest Man - 1324
February 5, 2016
History's richest human being was reputedly the African emperor Mansa Musa. Trace the events of Musa's legendary hajj to Mecca, where his lavish spending destabilized the economy of Egypt. Learn about his subsequent creation of a university and library that remain among the most important repositories of ancient wisdom in the world.
Ottoman Empire Rises - 1299
19. Ottoman Empire Rises - 1299
February 5, 2016
The dazzling empire of the Ottomans was the longest-lasting empire in Middle Eastern history. Learn about the dream of Osman, the Ottomans€™ founder, which impelled him to establish what became a transcontinental superpower. Grasp what allowed the Ottomans to thrive and to spread across Anatolia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Mongols Sack Baghdad - 1258
18. Mongols Sack Baghdad - 1258
February 5, 2016
This lecture narrates the calamity that befell the world's largest, most prosperous, and most celebrated city. First trace the rise of the Mongols, a fierce and most destructive ancient empire. Then follow their conquest of the Abbasids of Baghdad, culminating in the horrific siege that effectively ended the Islamic Golden Age.
The Egyptian Mamluks - 1250
17. The Egyptian Mamluks - 1250
February 5, 2016
The Mamluks were an unprecedented phenomenon-a community of slaves who became rulers. Investigate the origins of the Mamluks, and uncover how this elite warrior class took power in Egypt. Learn about the Mamluks€™ empire, their meritocratic system, and how they defeated a vast army that had never been beaten in battle: the Mongols.
Saladin: Chivalry and Conquest - 1187
16. Saladin: Chivalry and Conquest - 1187
February 5, 2016
The Muslim general Saladin stands as a unique figure in Middle Eastern history. Plunge into the pivotal Battle of Hattin, where Saladin's forces decimated the Crusader armies, shifting the balance of power in the Holy Land. Contemplate the combination of brilliant strategy and chivalrous treatment of his enemies that characterized this most remarkable of leaders.
Muslims in the Court of Roger II - 1130
15. Muslims in the Court of Roger II - 1130
February 5, 2016
Encounter the remarkable Kingdom of Sicily under the enlightened and tolerant rule of the Norman king Roger II. Grasp how Norman invaders established a kingdom in southern Italy, and learn about the unique features of life there, including extraordinary legal, economic, and architectural achievements. Consider Roger's legacy and why it remains relevant today.
Crusaders Capture Jerusalem - 1099
14. Crusaders Capture Jerusalem - 1099
February 5, 2016
Study the complex motives and competing interests that launched the Christian crusade to take Jerusalem from its Muslim occupiers. Follow the events of the Pope's dramatic call to arms and the bloody assault against the Holy City, and take account of its aftermath as well as its long-term effects on history.
Al-Ghazali and Orthodoxy - 1090
13. Al-Ghazali and Orthodoxy - 1090
February 5, 2016
The theologian and philosopher Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali has been called the most influential Muslim after Muhammad. Witness al-Ghazali's rise to become a renowned Islamic legal scholar, and reflect on the profound impact of his diverse writings. Investigate his passionate challenge to Neo-Platonism in Islamic theology, and assess the continuing legacy of his work.
Umayyad Exile in Cordoba - 784 - 1031
12. Umayyad Exile in Cordoba - 784 - 1031
February 5, 2016
Discover the golden age of Cordoba as a global center of education and culture. Learn how the displaced Umayyad caliphate established a kingdom in exile in Cordoba, whose rulers oversaw remarkable advancements in lifestyle and manners, magnificent architecture and urban development, and the cultivation of the best available Muslim, Christian, and Jewish scholarship.
The Fatimids of Cairo - 969
11. The Fatimids of Cairo - 969
February 5, 2016
Follow the rise of the Fatimids-history's only Shia caliphate-in political and religious opposition to the Baghdad-based Abbasids. Witness the founding of Cairo as the new Fatimid capital, and examine the enlightened leadership of the 4th and 5th Fatimid caliphs, under whom Cairo became the most important city in the Islamic world.
Qairouan University - 859
10. Qairouan University - 859
February 5, 2016
The world's first university was founded by a visionary Muslim woman in the city of Fes, Morocco. Learn how this groundbreaking institution made advanced education available to all. Assess its influence in the Middle East, discover its unrivaled impact on European learning, and examine the life and work of one of its most celebrated alumni.
Islamic Golden Age Begins - 813
9. Islamic Golden Age Begins - 813
February 5, 2016
Under the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun, Baghdad thrived as both a center of trade and manufacturing and a world city of scholarship. Consider al-Ma'mun's lavish patronage of learning, his promotion of translation and scholarly missions, and his extraordinary influence in three areas: literature, the sciences, and Islamic theology.
The Founding of Baghdad - 762
8. The Founding of Baghdad - 762
February 5, 2016
As the political center of the Muslim world, Baghdad would have a role and importance unlike any other urban center on earth. Chart the building of Baghdad as an imperial capital; explore its monumental, Persian-inspired architectural design; and discover the human factors that made it one of the greatest centers of learning in human history.
Battle of Talas - 751
7. Battle of Talas - 751
February 5, 2016
The Battle of Talas in Central Asia was the only occasion when Arab and Chinese armies would oppose one another. Explore the factors leading to the encounter, the lengthy battle that led to victory for the Abbasid Arabs, and the resulting spread of papermaking to the Middle East, an event with global impact.
Arab Invasion of Andalusia - 711
6. Arab Invasion of Andalusia - 711
February 5, 2016
Study the events surrounding the incursion of Berber-Arab armies into the Iberian peninsula in 711, leading to Muslim domination of the region that would last 800 years. Witness the fateful Battle of Guadalete and the Arabs€™ advance north, and consider both the immediate legacy of the invasion and its overall impact on European history.
Battle of Karbala - 680
5. Battle of Karbala - 680
February 5, 2016
The Battle of Karbala represents the defining moment in the split between the two main branches of Islam. Learn about how the faith came to violent internal conflict so early in its history, assess the nature of the underlying dispute over succession, and witness the political and religious fallout from the battle itself.
Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus - 661
4. Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus - 661
February 5, 2016
The establishment of the Umayyad caliphate's capital in Damascus was the most important political turning point in early Muslim history. Trace the Umayyads' achievements, and investigate their reasons for locating the empire's capital away from the Arabian peninsula, reflecting the shift from a religiously inspired Islamic empire to a politically oriented imperial power.
Arab Invasion of North Africa - 639
3. Arab Invasion of North Africa - 639
February 5, 2016
The seventh-century Arab invasion of North Africa brought profound and permanent change to the entire region. Follow the Arab armies of the newly created Islamic empire in their conquest of the territories of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco, and take account of the lasting Arabization and Islamization that resulted.
Muhammad and the Dawn of Islam - 622
2. Muhammad and the Dawn of Islam - 622
February 5, 2016
Historically, the rise of Islam was a turning point among turning points. Trace key phases in the life of Muhammad, from the founding of the faith through his years of opposition and his ultimate establishment of Islam as a religious and political entity. Assess the global impact of these events, and analyze their reverberations today.
Muslim Empires: Land, Language, Religion
1. Muslim Empires: Land, Language, Religion
February 5, 2016
Consider the geographical region we call the Greater Middle East, and explore the range of nations and cultures that define it. Preview some of the remarkable historical turning points you'll witness, encompassing conquests, political alliances, invasions, and the rise of Islam, as well as social, intellectual, and economic flowering of numerous kinds.
Where to Watch Turning Points in Middle Eastern History
Turning Points in Middle Eastern History is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Turning Points in Middle Eastern History on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon and Hoopla.
  • Premiere Date
    February 5, 2016