Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This course will survey the social, cultural, and political development of western Europe between 500 and 1350. A number of topics will be incorporated into the broad chronological sweep of the course, including: the Germanic conquest of the ancient Mediterranean world; the rise of a distinct northern culture and the Carolingian Renaissance; the emergence of feudalism and the breakdown of political order; contact with the Byzantine and Islamic East and the Crusading movement; the quality of religious life; the vitality of the high medieval economy and culture; and the catastrophes of the fourteenth century.

The course has a scheduled three-hour final exam, as well as a shorter mid-term exam to be taken in class. As you can see from reviewing the syllabus, the reading for this course is of two main types: a text narrative of events and major ideas, and short selections from primary sources. The mid-term and final exams will primarily test your ability to make sense of the narrative of the course. In addition to the exams, you are also required to submit a total of four discussion papers - two due before the mid-term and two after - in which you analyse a primary source. These papers should be short - not more than 2 pages - and should demonstrate your ability to dissect a single source and place it in its larger historical context. They should be turned in on the day in which the particular source is being discussed in class. These papers will not depend on any outside reading. However, if you wish to pursue a topic which does require some additional reading, please clear this with me in advance. In particular, you are not permitted to use any Internet sources, unless they are from fully refereed sites, or are on-line versions of primary source documents.

Regular attendance in class is required; and participation in class discussion will feature prominently in the calculation of final grades. If you need to miss class for some legitimate reason, please notify me in advance so that I may make a note of it as an excused absence. Unexcused absences will detract from the participation component of your grade.


Mid-term 15%
Papers @ 10% Each 40%
Final Exam 20%
Participation 25%

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments