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Class Information

Below are the date, time, location, and outline for this class.

Three Events of the High Middle Ages That Made Your Life the Way it is Today

Taught by Rick Davis


Day Time Location
Thursday, August 1 4 p.m. Taylor 248
Saturday, August 3 1 p.m. Taylor 248
Rick Davis

Rick Davis


One of the best ways to help you understand both my teaching philosophy and how I think is to read a little bit about me.

I live in this valley because my grandfather homesteaded here in 1919. I grew up in Rexburg. In high school I studied science and debate. I played the keyboard in a dance band and with my band mates we made good money. I still play the piano and organ. I was a DJ and had my own program. I served a mission in France and am still fluent in French.

I graduated from the University of Idaho and was enrolled in the Law School, but after one year I was drafted into the Vietnam War and was transferred to the DMZ in Korea, where I served two years as an MP working with a General assigned to the United Nations.

BYU-Idaho (Ricks College) called asking me to teach Humanities; I began in 1971, a year after I returned from the army. I’ve taught classes in Humanities, Western Civilization, Music Appreciation, Piano, Book of Mormon, and even a couple of courses dealing with computers. I was the yearbook advisor for eight years. I served as the chairman of the Department of Humanities for 17 years and another 10 as director of the Honors Program. I’ve been around the world and to Europe lots of times; I’ve seen what I teach.

I got married to a wonderful lady from Phoenix, Arizona, and we have a daughter and three sons. The two oldest sons and I used to spend many a summer days on nasty dirt bikes, roaring up trails and through streams in the mountains around here.

My other hat is a public one. I’ve served as the Madison County Coroner for over 26 years and currently still hold this office. Yes, CSI Rexburg. I deal with dead bodies on a regular basis and since I’m on 24-hour call there have been more than a few times when I’ve been called right out of class. One final comment: my father always told us kids to “Think!” and he was correct. I appreciate people who think and know where they stand.

Class Outline

Three seemingly unrelated events-Genghis Khan, The Little Ice Age, and The Black Death-had a direct bearing on why you and I are the way we are today.

1.     High Middle Ages begins with the Crusades and new knowledge
        coming to Europe.
        a. New ways of thinking are introduced
        b. Greek learning arrives in Europe, challenging Church doctrines

2.     Genghis Khan unites Asia
        a. Removes Persian/Moslem influence forever
        b. His grandson will change Europe via Marco Polo

3.     Global Cooling
        a. Normal crops no longer grow at that latitude, resulting in
            widespread famine and a weakened population.

4.     Black Death
        a. A sickly population is no match for plague
        b. Europe's population is reduced by 1/3 in just 3 years, in 50
            years by half.

5.     Survivors look for something new, different, which sews seeds
        of the Renaissance.