The Christianization of Early Medieval Europe

History 280B/285B

Spring 2018
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Tu 9-12

This class will begin by focusing on four specific complexes of problems surrounding the Chrisitianization of early medieval Europe. The basic exposition of these problems should take six to eight weeks, after which we will turn to issues of more specific interest to students sparked by our discussions of these four problems. The first problem concerns Boniface’s precise role in the Christianization of continental Europe and the development of the Carolingian reform. The second examines “bracteates,” approximately 1¼ inch gold medallions from late 5th through early 7th-century southern Scandinavia (and Kent), usually depicting Odin but often depicting stories from Nordic mythology otherwise textually attested only centuries later. The third addressess the pastoral mission of bishops and priests locally in the late 8th and 9th centuries, concentrating on episcopal capitularies and Carine van Rhin’s important Shepherds of the Lord (2007). The fourth will present recent research on the sacralization of Christian space in the late 10th and early 11th centuries: that is, the bounding of cemeteries, dioceses and parishes, and the nucleation and identification of settlements around churches — a process that Michel Lauwers has called inecclesiamento (to contrast with Giovanni Tabbaco’s incastellamento). Primary source readings will be almost entirely in Latin — fairly basic Latin, but Latin nonetheless. Secondary sources will be in English, French, and German. A final paper is required, emphasizing untranslated primary sources if the class is taken as a 285, emphasizing multiple-language secondary sources if taken as a 280.

  • 280B: Class #32885
  • 285B: Class #25035