HIST 203 – Early Middle Ages (Fall 2024)


Martha Carlin
Distinguished Professor
Department of History
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

HIST 203

COVID-19 and other issues:

As a member of our campus community, you are expected to abide by UWM’s COVID-Related Health & Safety Rules:

If you are ill or have COVID-19:

Do not come to campus or attend any in-person class if you have COVID-19, or if you are experiencing any other symptoms of illness.

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 switch to online instruction:

If our class needs to move online (such as because of a weather emergency or COVID-19 outbreak), we will meet on our regular day(s) and at our regular time(s), and we will use Zoom as our online class platform. You will access the Zoom class(es) from the course Canvas page, and I will send you full instructions for using Zoom.

*                      *                      *

Office: Holton 320
Messages: History Department, tel. (414) 229-4362
Email: carlin@uwm.edu
Website: people.uwm.edu/carlin/
Office hours: Tuesdays 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, and by appointment

Grader: Athena Dauffenbach
Office: Holton 375
Email:  dauffen3@uwm.edu
Office hours: Tuesdays 1:00-3:00 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 Anthena Dauffenbach. Athena will be grading your written work and keeping the grade book and attendance records. She will also assist me as needed during class. Athena’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 six 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 six best paper grades will be used for your final grade (10% each, for 60% 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 be taken electronically, via Canvas, and 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 is 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. Your attendance and participation are EACH worth 20% of your final grade (40% in all).

Grading and deadlines: Your final grade will be based on your six (or six best) mini-papers (10% each, for 60% of final grade), your attendance (20%) and your in-class participation (20%). 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 ASAP to discuss any help or accommodation you may need.

Students in needAny 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: http://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 and procedures on academic misconduct, see https://uwm.edu/deanofstudents/academic-misconduct-2/ and https://uwm.edu/deanofstudents/instructor-academic-misconduct-process/

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

5 Sept. –

Introduction to course

7 Sept. – The Roman Empire

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


Week 2: The Origins and Spread of Christianity

12 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 11-16

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/?search=Acts+1&version=NASB (New American Standard Version, 1995)

14 Sept. –

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

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 16-23

Eusebius: The Conversion of Constantine, 312
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

The Nicene Creed, 325

Theodosius the Great, Law-code (excerpts): On religion
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Hypatia of Alexandria (d. 415): Read the editor’s introduction, and then scroll down and read all three accounts of her life and murder


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

19 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 23-27

Tacitus, Germania (read the first of the two texts)
(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

21 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

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)


Biographical sketch of Clotilda, Clovis’s queen

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:) https://web.archive.org/web/20210414234039/https://medievaleuropeonline.com/retiredclothilde.html

Theodoric the Ostrogoth (via his secretary, Cassiodorus): Letters

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book I, Chap. 15: The
coming of the Anglo-Saxons

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:


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

26 Sept. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 33-47

Venantius Fortunatus: Life of St. Radegund

(The following website contains the same text, but has some editing flaws:)

28 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

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People: Missionaries in England


 Week 5: Byzantium and Islam

3 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 61-82

Procopius, On the Buildings (De Ædificiis): Hagia Sophia

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Procopius, On the Wars (De Bello Gothico): the Byzantine silk industry, and the racing factions (see both websites below)

(if the main website is down, use the archived versions of these sources at:)

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)


5 Oct. –

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


 Week 6: the Islamic World

10 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 96-104

The Qur’an: Extracts from Surahs 4 and 2, on women, Moses, Jesus, and righteousness

The Hadith (extracts): On the 5 pillars of Islam; on trade

Watch this entire documentary video:

Islam: Empire of Faith, part 1: Muhammed and the Rise of Islam (54 min.):

12 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)

Yakut: Baghdad under the Abbasids, c. AD 1000

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)


 Week 7: Carolingian Europe

17 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

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

19 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

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Inventory of Charlemagne’s estate at Asnapium [=modern Annapes; the mysterious word “gramalmin” in this inventory is a misreading of “gramalium” (pot-hook)]

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)


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

24 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 133-143

The Vikings attack the Franks, c. 843-912 (read all three texts)

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Viking ship-building and navigation (see both websites below)

(if the above site fails to load, use the copy at:  https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/the-gokstad-ship/)


Viking ships (see all four websites below):

(“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

26 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


Ibn Fadlan: Description of the Rus, 921 (read as far as “Questions and answers about Eaters of the Dead and 13th Warrior“)


Week 9: Europe Survives the Siege

31 Oct. –

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 143-156

Asser, Life of King Alfred

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

The Peace of God proclaimed in the archdiocese of Bordeaux, 989

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

2 Nov. –

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

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 156-164

Brenda M. Johnson, “Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, Tenth-Century Poet and Playwright” (biographical essay on the German canoness who was the first medieval playwright)


Week 10: Early Medieval Society; Daily Work

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

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

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

 Week 11: The Early Medieval Church

14 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)

16 Nov. –

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

Allen J. Frantzen, Anglo-Saxon Penitentials – A Cultural Database: Penances recommended by Anglo-Saxon manuals of penance (“penitentials”) for paganism, superstitions, and cultic practices:


Also, practices concerning death and burial:



Week 12: Lordship and Justice

21 Nov. –

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

The law of the Salian Franks

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

Judgment by ordeal

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)

23 Nov. –         [THANKSGIVING DAY – NO CLASS]

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

Week 13
: Formal Education; Popular Religion

28 Nov. –

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

Walafrid Strabo, Hortulus (My Little Garden): The Gourd

30 Nov. –

Week 13 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)

 Week 14: Daily Life; Hardships

5 Dec. –

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

7 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

(if the main website is down, use the archived version of this source at:)


 Week 15: Riddles, Poetry, and Tales

12 Dec. –

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

Three tales from The 1001 Nights (translated by Sir Richard Burton):
“The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through a Dream”

“The Sweep and the Noble Lady”

“The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Seaman”



14 Dec. – Review

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


Mini-Papers for History 203



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 online 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 use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in writing your papers; you may not copy or adapt your papers from someone else’s work; and you may not collaborate on them with anyone else.

You must use endnotes (NOT footnotes) to document your sources. Insert a new endnote each time you use a new source, which may be every few sentences. You must use at least one endnote per paragraph. Insert the superscript endnote number at the end of the sentence, after the period. If you use more than one source in a single sentence or cluster of sentences, then cite all of these sources in the endnote. Do not insert more than one endnote at the end of any sentence. (Examples of endnotes are given below.)

Number all endnotes sequentially. If you use a previously-cited source later in your text, cite it in a fresh endnote; do not re-use endnote numbers. Microsoft Word will automatically generate sequential endnote numbers, and will automatically re-number them as necessary as you compose and revise your text. In using Word, be sure to choose Arabic numerals, NOT Roman numerals, for your endnote numbers.

  • In citing books, give the specific page numbers that you used in writing this part of your text. Do not simply list the full range of pages in the reading assignments – list only the page(s) from which you took ideas or information.
  • In citing online sources that are longer than about 2 pages, indicate which specific section(s) of the source you used (see examples below).
  • If you have used material from my lectures or lecture outlines, say so, and give the dates.
  • If your text fills two pages, your endnotes may go on p. 3.

Examples of how to cite single sources in endnotes:

1Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 211-16, 333-5.

2Riché, p. 76 (war).

3Walafrid Strabo, Hortulus: The Gourd, lines 30-34.

4Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book I, Chap. 15: The coming of the Anglo-Saxons.

5Carlin, Thursday lecture and lecture outline.

Example of how to cite more than one source in an endnote:

6Bennett and Bardsley, p. 40; Carlin, Tuesday lecture; Venantius Fortunatus: Life of St. Radegund, chap. 7.

You must submit a minimum of six mini-papers. You are welcome to submit more than six; if you do, your six best paper grades will be used for your final grade. Your six (or six best) mini-papers are worth 60% of your final grade (10% each).

All papers are due in Canvas on THURSDAYS by 4:59 PM, except for Week 12 (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 six):

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 early medieval 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 the assigned readings, including both the Life of St. Radegund and the Rule of St. Benedict.

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 one-half page to one page long. You must use ALL of Tuesday’s assigned readings as sources for this paper.

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 Week 5 (Thursday) and Week 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. You must use all of this week’s readings as sources for this paper.

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 (medieval as well as modern sources):

  • Describe in detail six to eight of your most important finds
  • Compare each find with items mentioned in Grettir’s Saga and in 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? Give five reasons for this. You must use both medieval and modern sources in this paper.

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, drawn from the lectures and assigned readings.

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. You must use both medieval and modern sources for this paper.

WEEK 12:  Renowned scholars like Walafrid Strabo taught elite students in monastic schools or in royal or aristocratic households.

  • Identify two ways in which Walafrid might have used his poem on gardening (Hortulus) in the classroom to teach his students


  • Identify two things that this poem tells us about monastic life at Walafrid’s abbey at Reichenau.

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 medieval 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. Using  the assigned readings from BOTH Riché and Aelfric, 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 Abbasid caliphate. What do they tell us about their respective societies? To compare and contrast these two societies, their lifestyles, and their cultural preoccupations, identify one major feature that they shared, and four major ways in which they differed, which are reflected in these literary sources.