HIST 203 – Early Middle Ages (Fall 2021)

Prof. Martha Carlin

Copyright Martha Carlin 2021, all rights reserved

HIST 203
Lecture Outlines

COVID-19 Panther Community Health and Safety Standards

As a member of our campus community, you are expected to abide by the Panther Interim COVID-Related Health & Safety Rules:

  • Masks are required while indoors on UWM campuses. 
  • A student who comes to class without wearing a mask will be asked to put on a mask or to leave to get one at a mask handout station. Failure to do so could result in student discipline.
  • Unvaccinated students coming to campus are required to test weekly for COVID-19.
  • Self-check for COVID symptoms at https://uwm.edu/coronavirus/symptom-monitor/. Symptoms may include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of sense of taste or smell. 
  • If you test positive for or are diagnosed with COVID-19, complete this Dean of Students Office form: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofWisconsinMilwaukee&layout_id=4

If you are ill or have been exposed to COVID-19:

Do not come to campus or attend any in-person class if you are ill or have COVID-19, if you are experiencing symptoms of illness, or if you have been in close contact with others who have symptoms.

Contact me immediately to discuss options for completing coursework while ill or in quarantine.

As your instructor, I will trust your word when you say you are ill, and in turn, I expect that you will report the reason for your absences truthfully.

Class recording:

Our class sessions may be recorded for students who are unable to attend at the scheduled time. Students who attend class are agreeing to be recorded.

Potential for reversion to fully online instruction:

Changing public health circumstances for COVID-19 may cause UWM to move to fully online instruction at some point during the semester. In this event, UWM will communicate with students about moving to fully online instruction.

Online protocols:

If our class moves online, we will use Zoom as our online class platform (you will access it from the course Canvas page). Should this happen, I will send you full instructions for using Zoom.

 

 

Office: Holton 320
Telephone: (414) 229-5767
Messages: History Department, tel. (414) 229-4361
Email: carlin@uwm.edu
Webpage: people.uwm.edu/carlin/
Office hours: Tuesdays 11 AM – 12 noon, and by appointment

Grader: Matilda Eshun Ansah
Office: Holton 402
E-mail:  mansah@uwm.edu
Office hours: Tuesdays, 2-3 PM; Thursdays 12 -1 PM; and by appointment

 

Course description: This course will survey the history of Europe in the early Middle Ages, c. 500-1000 CE. During the first ten weeks of the semester we will examine the broad history of the period, and we will look at some individual events and developments and trace their long-term effects on European society. These special topics will include the collapse of the Roman empire in the West and its survival in the East, the spread of Christianity and Islam, the invasions and migrations of the Germanic peoples in Western Europe (including the Anglo-Saxons, the Franks, and the Vikings), and the rise and fall of the Carolingian empire. In the latter part of the semester we will examine in some detail the conditions of daily life in early medieval Europe. To do all this we will read works by modern scholars who have attempted to reconstruct pieces of the medieval past, and also accounts by medieval people of their own world as they saw it, and we will consider examples of the art, architecture, and material culture of the period.

Course objectives: This course should provide you with a good overview of European history between 500 and 1000 CE, and enable you to understand the significance both of outstanding individual careers and events, and of broad and long-term historical patterns. It should also enable you to develop important skills in:

  • reading and evaluating sources carefully and critically
  • identifying and analyzing a wide variety of types of evidence
  • using such evidence to reconstruct and interpret the past
  • combining research and analysis with thoughtful writing to produce clear, original, and persuasive arguments

Our course Grader is Matilda Ansah. Matilda will be grading your written work and keeping the grade book and attendance records. She will also be holding a workshop in Week 11 on writing papers, and will assist me as needed during class. Matilda’s contact information and office hours are listed above.

There are two required textbooks, both inexpensive, and both available through UWM’s Virtual Bookstore at https://uwm.ecampus.com/shop-by-course.

Bennett, Judith M., and Sandy Bardsley. Medieval Europe: A Short History. 12th edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020. You are welcome to buy either the print edition or the e-edition of this book (e-editions are available from RedShelf.com or VitalSource.com), but be sure to buy the 12th edition (new in July 2020), not an earlier edition. (We will be using the same book this Spring in History 204 (High Middle Ages), so if you think that you might take Hist 204, it would be worth your while to buy the print edition.)

Riché, Pierre. Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne. Trans. Jo Ann McNamara. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978. (There is only one edition of this book, so any copy that you buy, new or second-hand, should be fine.)

There are also numerous required online readings (listed below under Topics and Readings).

Email and internet access: You will require an email account and access to the Internet for this class. All UWM students receive a free UWM email account, and the History Department regularly contacts students via their assigned UWM email addresses. If you routinely use another email service provider (e.g., Gmail or Yahoo!) instead of your assigned UWM email, please go immediately into your UWM email account and put a “forward” command on it, to forward all incoming email messages to the account that you routinely use. This is your responsibility; the History Department reflectors use UWM e-addresses only. (To put a forward command on your UWM email account: enter your Office 365 account and click on “?” to open the Help app. Type “forward mail” and then follow the directions to forward email to your desired account.)

Papers: There are seven required mini-papers (described at the end of this syllabus), each worth 10% of your final grade. You are welcome to write more than seven of these mini-papers, in which case your seven best paper grades will be used for your final grade (10% each, for 70% of final grade). Your papers will be submitted electronically via Canvas.

Exams: There will be no midterm exam or final exam, but there will be frequent in-class quizzes. The quizzes will count towards the class participation portion of your final grade.

Attendance and participation: This class is designed to be taught face-to-face; if we need to move it online, it will be a synchronous (“live”) lecture class. Either in-person or online, your regular attendance and participation are essential. Registered students who fail to attend class during the first two class meetings, or to contact me, may be dropped administratively. The participation portion of your grade will be based on in-class work, such as quizzes or other activities. Together, your attendance and participation are worth 30% of your final grade.

Grading and deadlines: Your final grade will be based on your seven (or seven best) mini-papers (10% each, for 70% of final grade), and your attendance and participation in class (30%). The mini-papers are due on the dates specified at the end of the syllabus. Late work will not be accepted, except in cases of major illness or emergency (it is your responsibility to contact me immediately in such a case).

Electronic devices in class: You may use a laptop, tablet, or smartphone in class, but ONLY for work related to this class. This is a zero-tolerance policy: any off-task computer use will result in the immediate forfeiture of the privilege of using the device in class for the remainder of the semester. All electronic devices must be silenced during class.

For fast access to Canvas on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, go to:  https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Canvas-Mobile-Users/gh-p/mobile

Disabilities: If you have a disability, it is essential that you contact me early in the semester to discuss any help or accommodation you may need.

Students in need: Any student who faces challenges securing food, housing, or technology, or is struggling with mental, physical, or emotional health, and believes this may affect their academic performance, is urged to contact the Dean of Students (dos@uwm.edu) for support.

Academic Advising in History: All L&S students have to declare and complete an academic major to graduate. If you have earned in excess of 45 credits and have not yet declared a major, you are encouraged to do so. If you are interested in declaring a major or minor in History, or require academic advising in History, please visit the Department of History’s undergraduate program web page, at:
https://uwm.edu/history/undergraduate/.

Academic integrity at UWM: UWM and I expect each student to be honest in academic performance. Failure to do so may result in discipline under rules published by the Board of Regents (UWS 14). The penalties for academic misconduct such as cheating or plagiarism can include a grade of “F” for the course and expulsion from the University. For UWM’s policies on academic integrity, see https://uwm.edu/deanofstudents/academic-misconduct/ and https://uwm.edu/academicaffairs/facultystaff/policies/academic-misconduct/

UWM policies on course-related matters: See the website of the Secretary of the University, at: https://uwm.edu/secu/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2016/12/Syllabus-Links.pdf

 

Topics and Readings

 

Week 1: Introduction

2 Sept. –

Introduction to course

 

 Week 2: The Roman Empire; the Origins and Spread of Christianity

7 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. xi-xix (introductory matter), 1-10

 Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 1-6, 9-11. Use any edition of the New Testament, or use either of the editions below:
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/acts-asv.html (American Standard Version, 1901)
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=51&chapter=1&version=49 (New American Standard Version, 1995)

 

9 Sept. –

Week 2 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 11-23

Eusebius: The Conversion of Constantine, 312
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/conv-const.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140911025111/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/conv-const.asp

The Nicene Creed, 325
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/the-nicene-creed/

Theodosius the Great, Law-code (excerpts): On religion
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/codex-theod1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814161845/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/codex-theod1.asp

Hypatia of Alexandria (d. 415): Read the editor’s introduction, and then scroll down and read all three accounts of her life and murder
https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/hypatia-of-alexandria/

 

 Week 3: The Collapse of Roman Power in the West; the Barbarian Invasions

14 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 23-27

Tacitus, Germania (read the first of the two texts)
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140912074251/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.asp

 

16 Sept. –

Week 3 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 28-32

Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks: The reign of Clovis
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/gregtours1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20110805002306/http:/www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/gregtours1.asp

Biographical sketch of Clotilda, Clovis’s queen
https://medievaleuropeonline.com/retiredclothilde.html

Theodoric the Ostrogoth (via his secretary, Cassiodorus): Letters
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/theodoric1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814182556/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/theodoric1.html

Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book I, Chap. 15: The
coming of the Anglo-Saxons
https://www.ccel.org/ccel/bede/history.v.i.xiv.html
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:
https://web.archive.org/web/20160409102022/http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bede/history.v.i.xiv.html

 

 Week 4: Early Western Christendom, c. 500-700

21 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 33-47

Venantius Fortunatus: Life of St. Radegund
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/venantius-fortunatus-life-of-st-radegund/
(If the above website is unavailable, use the following website:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20160303195904/http:/mw.mcmaster.ca/scriptorium/radegund.html

 

23 Sept. –

Week 4 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 47-60

The Rule of St. Benedict
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/rul-benedict.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140912073807/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/rul-benedict.asp

Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People: Missionaries in England
https://web.archive.org/web/20180317102044/http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/bedeconv.html

 

 Week 5: Byzantium and Islam

28 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 61-82

Procopius, On the Buildings (De Ædificiis): Hagia Sophia
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/procop-deaed1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814160639/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/procop-deaed1.asp

Procopius, On the Wars (De Bello Gothico): the Byzantine silk industry, and the racing factions (see both websites below)
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/550byzsilk.asp
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/procop-factions.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived versions of these sources at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814172637/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/550byzsilk.asp
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814172738/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/procop-factions.asp

Procopius, The Secret History (Anecdota): read Introduction (by webmaster Paul Halsall), “Contents” (list of chapters in The Secret History), and “By the Historian” (introduction by Procopius)
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/procop-anec.asp

 

30 Sept. –

Week 5 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 83-95

 The Qur’an: Extracts from Surahs 1 and 47, on faith
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/medieval-sourcebook-the-quran-1-47/

 

 Week 6: the Islamic World

5 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 96-104

The Qur’an: Extracts from Surahs 4 and 2, on women, Moses, Jesus, and righteousness
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/the-quran-excerpts/

The Hadith (extracts): On the 5 pillars of Islam; on trade
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/the-hadith-excerpts/

Watch this entire documentary video:
Islam: Empire of Faith, part 1: Muhammed and the Rise of Islam (54 min.):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF6VPZsHDZQ

7 Oct. –

Week 6 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 105-107

“The Origins of the Sunni/Shia split in Islam” (short article by Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, Editor of IslamForToday.com)
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/origins-of-sunnishia-split-in-islam/

Yakut: Baghdad under the Abbasids, c. AD 1000
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1000baghdad.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814160142/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1000baghdad.asp

 

 Week 7: Carolingian Europe

12 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 108-123

Riché, pp. 41-6 (the palace), 90-8 (life at court)

Einhard, Life of Charlemagne: Extracts from Book III
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/einhard1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814160700/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/einhard1.asp

 

14 Oct. –

Week 7 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 123-132

Riché, pp. 3-23 (the Carolingian world)

Charlemagne: Capitulary De villis
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/carol-devillis.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814160655/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/carol-devillis.asp

Inventory of Charlemagne’s estate at Asnapium [=modern Annapes; the mysterious word “gramalmin” in this inventory is a misreading of “gramalium” (pot-hook)]
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/800Asnapium.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814182105/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/800Asnapium.asp

 

Week 8: The New Invasions: Muslims, Magyars, and Vikings

19 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 133-143

The Vikings attack the Franks, c. 843-912 (read all three texts)
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/843bertin.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20141028170149/http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/source/843bertin.asp

Viking ship-building and navigation (see both websites below)
https://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/britannia/anglo-saxon/maldon/gokstad.html

http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manufacturing/text/norse_ships.htm

Viking ships (see all four websites below):
http://www.sjolander.com/viking/museum/Ston3888.jpg
(“Bildsten Stora Hammars 1” – Viking picture stone from the Swedish island of Gotland, depicting land and sea battles; alternative URL: https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildsten#/media/Fil:Bildsten_Stora_Hammars_1_-_KMB_-_16000300017733.jpg)

The Oseberg ship: http://www.vikingskip.com/osebergskipet.htm
The Gokstad ship: http://www.vikingskip.com/gokstadskipet.htm
The Tune ship: http://www.vikingskip.com/tuneskipet.htm

The Cuerdale hoard, c. 905-910: the largest known Viking Age silver hoard from Western Europe
https://web.archive.org/web/20140704015936/http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/t/the_cuerdale_hoard.aspx

 

21 Oct. –

Week 8 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Saga of Grettir the Strong, Chaps. 1-18
https://web.archive.org/web/20170226152113/http:/omacl.org/Grettir/gr1-18.html

Ibn Fadlan: Description of the Rus, 921 (read as far as “Questions and answers about Eaters of the Dead and 13th Warrior“)
https://www.vikinganswerlady.com/ibn_fdln.shtml

 

 Week 9: Europe Survives the Siege

26 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 143-156

Asser, Life of King Alfred
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/asser.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814182212/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/asser.asp

The Peace of God proclaimed in the archdiocese of Bordeaux, 989
https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pc-of-god.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20141009112720/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pc-of-god.asp

 

28 Oct. –

Week 9 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 156-164

“Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, Tenth-Century Poet and Playwright” (biographical essay by Brenda M. Johnson on the German canoness who was the first medieval playwright)
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/hrotsvit-of-gandersheim/

 

 Week 10: Early Medieval Society; Daily Work

2 Nov. –

Riché, pp. 101-9, 110-30 (Carolingian people)

 

4 Nov. –

Week 10 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Riché, pp. 133-42 (farming), 142-51 (stock breeding, crafts)

 

 Week 11: The Early Medieval Church

9 Nov. –

Riché, pp. 35-40 (monasteries), 84-89 (prelates), 109-10 (rural priests); 230-42 (liturgy, churches and their furnishings, penance, liturgical calendar), 269-72 (sanctuary and hospitality)

Allen J. Frantzen, Anglo-Saxon Penitentials – A Cultural Database:

Penances recommended by Anglo-Saxon manuals of penance (“penitentials”) for male-female sexual sins:
http://www.anglo-saxon.net/penance/index.php?p=sexmafe

If you are doing this week’s mini-paper, see also the penances recommended for same-sex and auto-erotic sins:
http://www.anglo-saxon.net/penance/index.php?p=sexsame

11 Nov. – Paper-writing workshop with Matilda

Week 11 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

For today’s class, Matilda will hold a workshop on writing papers. Bring any questions that you have about the mini-papers, or about writing papers in general. Attendance is required.

 

Week 12: Formal Education; Popular Religion

16 Nov. –

Riché, pp. 74-76 (aristocratic training), 191-7 (clerical training), 203-29 (education and learning)

Walafrid Strabo, Hortulus (My Little Garden): The Gourd
https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/walafrid-stabo-hortulus-the-gourd/

 

18 Nov. –

Week 12 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Riché, pp. 181-90 (paganism, magic, astrology, marvels), 197-202 (popular religious instruction), 242-5 (prayer associations), 273-88 (relics and pilgrimage)

 Allen J. Frantzen, Anglo-Saxon Penitentials – A Cultural Database: penances recommended by Anglo-Saxon penitentials (manuals of penance) for pagan and superstitious practices
http://www.anglo-saxon.net/penance/index.php?p=paganism

 

 Week 13: Lordship and Justice

23 Nov. –

Week 13 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Riché, pp. 67-71 (estate administration), 257-8 (the poor), 259-68 (royal justice and lay protectors)

The law of the Salian Franks
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/salic-law.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20190331231148/https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/salic-law.asp

Judgment by ordeal
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/ordeals1.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20190331231321/https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/ordeals1.asp

 

25 Nov. –

[THANKSGIVING DAY – NO CLASS]

 

Week 14: Daily Life; Hardships

30 Nov. –

Riché, pp. 47-56, 61-3 (demography, sex, and marriage), 159-77 (housing, clothing, hygiene, food)

 

2 Dec. –

Week 14 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

 Riché, pp. 24-8 (landscape), 76-81 (war), 249-54 (hardships)

Aelfric, Colloquy (“On Laborers”), c. 1000
https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/1000workers.asp
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140814200012/http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1000workers.asp

 

 Week 15: Riddles, Poetry, and Tales; Review

7 Dec. –

Alcuin of York, “The Debate Between Pippin and Alcuin”
https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/alcuin-of-york-the-debate-between-pippin-and-alcuin/

Anglo-Saxon poetry and riddles from the Exeter Book: Excerpts from
The Ruin and The Wanderer, and three riddles
https://people.uwm.edu/carlin/exeter-book-excerpts/

Three tales from The 1001 Nights (translated by Sir Richard Burton):
“The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream”
https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/burt1k1/tale14.htm

“The Sweep and the Noble Lady”
https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/burt1k1/tale12.htm

“The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160910123742/http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/burt1k1/tale19.htm

 

9 Dec. –

Week 15 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM today (see end of syllabus)

Review (class will meet as usual)

 

Week 16:  NO CLASS TODAY

14 Dec. –

Instead of our usual class, Matilda and I will hold extended office hours in our offices or on Zoom, from 9:30 AM to 12 noon. Please make an appointment to see us OR simply drop in – we would love to see you! Attendance is optional.

 

 

Mini-Papers for History 203

 

PAPER REQUIREMENTS:

Each paper must be 1-2 double-spaced pages long, in a 12-pt font. (The minimum length is one full page of text.) It must be submitted as a Word document (.doc or .docx) via the course Canvas page.

Your paper must be based entirely on that week’s assigned readings and my lectures and lecture outlines. No other sources are allowed, including Wikipedia. The point of the papers is to challenge you to read the assigned readings carefully, and to attend and take part in the lectures thoughtfully, and to hone your analytical and writing skills.

Your papers must address the assigned topic, and be written to a college-level standard, with good grammar, spelling, punctuation, and phrasing. Fill your papers with solid factual content, not “padding,” and avoid vague or unclear writing. Put everything in your own words; do not include any quotations at all.

Your papers must be entirely your own work. You may not copy or adapt them from someone else’s work, and you may not collaborate on them with anyone else.

At the end of your paper, list every source that you have used. For books, include the specific page numbers. (Do not simply list the full range of pages in the reading assignments – list only the pages from which you actually took ideas or information.) For online sources that are longer than about one page, indicate which section(s) of the source you used. Examples:

Carlin, Tuesday lecture and lecture outline
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 30-35
Riché, pp. 74-76
Tacitus, Germania: “Training of Youth,” “Marriage Laws”
Venantius Fortunatus, Life of St. Radegund, paragraphs 7-10, 15

If your main text fills two full pages, the list of sources may go on page 3.

You must submit a minimum of seven mini-papers. You are welcome to submit more than seven; if you do, your seven best paper grades will be used for your final grade. Your seven (or seven best) mini-papers are worth 70% of your final grade (10% each).

All papers are due in Canvas on THURSDAYS by 4:59 PM, except for Week 13 (Thanksgiving week), when it is due on Tuesday by 4:59 PM. Late papers (including paper topics from an earlier week) will not be accepted.

 

PAPER TOPICS (choose at least seven):

WEEK 2:        This week’s readings include three quite different accounts of the scholarly career and murder of Hypatia of Alexandria. Imagine that you are a modern investigator trying to reconstruct why Hypatia was killed and the circumstances of her death. Drawing for background on this week’s readings and lectures, analyze the three documents. For each document, answer the following three questions:

(1)       Who is blamed for Hypatia’s death?
(2)       What sign(s) of bias can you detect in the account?
(3)       Is the account trustworthy or untrustworthy, and why?

 

WEEK 3:        This week we read two propagandistic accounts of the Germans, as seen through Roman eyes. The first account, Germania, provides an important early description of the Germanic people and their culture. It was written c. 98 CE by the Roman senator and historian Tacitus (c. 56-c. 120 CE). The second account is the depiction of the Frankish king Clovis (d. 511), founder of the Merovingian dynasty. It was written in the late 500s by Gregory, the aristocratic Gallo-Roman bishop of Tours (c. 538-594). Identify five features of Germanic culture as described by Tacitus that can also be seen in Bishop Gregory’s account of Clovis.

 

WEEK 4:        Much is known of the life of St. Radegund (c. 520-587), a Frankish princess forced into marriage with a Frankish king, who later fled her marriage and her royal status to live a life of celebrated holiness and self-denial in a convent in Poitiers. When Radegund died there in 587, the whole city wept. She was buried outside her convent, in a church that she had built, and her grand public funeral was conducted by her friend Gregory, bishop of Tours (c. 538-594). Drawing on two primary sources — the Life of St. Radegund written by her friend Venantius Fortunatus, and the monastic way of life for monks (and nuns) as represented by the Rule of St. Benedict — together with this week’s lectures and the readings in Bennett and Bardsley, imagine that you are Bishop Gregory at Radegund’s funeral, and write a eulogy for her as he might have delivered it. Be sure to pack your paper with concrete information drawn from the lectures and readings listed above.

 

WEEK 5:        It is the year 541. Justinian and Theodora are planning to erect a grand public monument celebrating their reign. Justinian has asked Procopius to draft the inscription that will be carved on this monument, describing the glorious achievements of the emperor and empress. Produce two versions of this inscription:

(1) A draft that Procopius would have submitted to Justinian and Theodora
(2) A malicious version, which Procopius would have included in his Secret History of their reign.

Each version of the inscription should be half a page to one page long.

 

WEEK 6:        The rise of Islam rapidly overthrew Byzantine hegemony in the Middle East and North Africa, and established a new dominant religion and a new imperial state. Drawing on the lectures and readings in Weeks 5 and 6, identify:

  • Two major reasons for Islam’s early success against the Byzantines
  • Three major examples of the political and cultural achievements of the Umayyad and early Abbasid caliphates.

 

WEEK 7:        It is the year 805. You are a distant cousin (male or female) of Charlemagne, whom you are visiting at his court at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Write a letter home to your family describing the emperor and his palace, and what you have seen and heard and done there. Fill your description with concrete factual information drawn from this week’s lectures, lecture outlines, and readings.

 

WEEK 8:        You are a modern archaeologist who has just excavated a large Viking burial mound in Norway. Drawing on this week’s lectures and readings:

  • Describe in detail six to eight of your most important finds
  • Compare each find with items mentioned in Grettir’s Saga and Ibn-Fadlan’s description of the Rus Vikings.

 

WEEK 9:        In Week 4 we looked at the cultural flowering in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria; in Weeks 5 and 6 we traced the achievements of early Byzantium and of the early Islamic caliphates. In Week 7 we examined the Carolingian Renaissance in Francia; this week we studied the efforts of Alfred the Great to rebuild literacy and scholarship in Wessex, and some of the achievements of the Ottonian Renaissance in Germany. In an age dominated by war and violence, why did great rulers strive to become the patrons of education, scholarship, art, architecture, and literature? Identify five reasons for this.

 

WEEK 10:      You are a male or female peasant living on a farm in Carolingian Francia. Of the four seasons of the year, which one do you consider the hardest in terms of your work, and why? Give plenty of concrete details.

 

WEEK 11:      You are a Carolingian bishop conducting your annual “visitation” (inspection tour) of each abbey in your diocese. You need to check for problems of all kinds, in such matters as proper adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, the physical maintenance of the abbey buildings and furnishings, the abbey’s finances, the competence and honesty of the abbot or abbess, the behavior and morale of the monks or nuns, the training of novices, the standard of hospitality, the reputation of the abbey in the vicinity, etc. Write a checklist of 20 standard questions to be asked by the bishop at each house of monks or nuns.

 

WEEK 12: Renowned scholars like Walafrid Strabo taught elite students in monastic schools or in royal or aristocratic households. Ordinary parish priests – many of them poorly educated themselves – taught the elements of the faith to their parishioners. Identify two ways in which Walafrid might have used his poem on gardening (Hortulus) to teach his students; and identify two ways in which parish priests might have used penitentials (handbooks of penance, of which the database in this week’s readings contains extracts) to instruct their parishioners.

 

WEEK 13:      Identify five features of Frankish society, culture, and concepts of justice that came up in this week’s lecture and readings from Riché, and that are reflected in the two sets of primary sources.

 

WEEK 14:      Aelfric (c. 955-c. 910), an English monk, wrote his Colloquy (“On Laborers”) to teach Latin to boys being schooled in his monastery.  Some houses of nuns had schools for girls. Write a similar dialogue for girls that describes the daily work of girls and women. Fill your dialogue with concrete factual details, not mere chatter.

 

WEEK 15:      This week we read examples of literary texts from Western Europe and from the Abbassid caliphate. What do they tell us about their respective societies? Identify one major feature in common and four major differences between the two societies, their lifestyles, and their cultural preoccupations that are reflected in these sources.