Medieval Europe

History 4B

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 11-1230

A saint picked up worms from the road to keep them safe from harm. A ruler executed 4500 prisoners of war. Jerusalem was conquered in a bloodbath. Flagellants bloodied their own bodies to prepare for the Millennium. Such incidents are all representative of the middle ages. The period is puzzling, contradictory, difficult, and endlessly fascinating. It is also profoundly important, because its 1000 years saw the development of principles and institutions fundamental to later European, American, and Latin American societies. We will begin with the fall of the Roman Empire and then follow the history of one particular people (the Franks) whose own empire gave Europe a lasting belief in its historical destiny. We will then discuss the First Crusade, changing expressions of religious belief and practice (including heresy and the church's responses to it), the rise of states, the appearance of popular rebellion, and the literary culture of the aristocracy. A good deal of attention is also given to the position of women in society and the distinctive social values and religious piety that grew out of it. Other than a good, dense textbook, readings are entirely translated primary sources – generally whole works rather than excerpted snippets.  

Course Books

A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem by Fulcher of Chartres WW Norton. ISBN: 978-0393094237 Required
Introduction to Medieval Europe, 300-1550 by Blockmans, Wim, and Hoppenbrouwers, Peter Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415346993 Required
The Black Death by Horrox, Rosemary Machester University Press. ISBN: 978-0719034985 Required
The Book of Margery Kempe by Margery Kempe Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140432510 Required
The Lais of Marie de France by Marie de France BAKER Books. ISBN: 978-0801020315 Required
Carolingian Chronicles by Bernhard Walter Scholz and Barbara Rogers-Gardner University of Michigan Press. ISBN: 978-0472061860 Required
The Merovingians by Gregory of Tours University of Toronto Press. ISBN: 9781551115238 Required