HIST 204 – High Middle Ages (Spring 2021)


HIST 204
Lecture outlines


Professor Martha Carlin

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Spring 2021

Copyright 2021, all rights reserved

Messages: History Department, tel. (414) 229-4361
E-mail: carlin@uwm.edu
Home page: people.uwm.edu/carlin/
Virtual office hours (via email): Tuesdays 11 AM – 12 noon, and by appointment

Grader: Madelyn Lampark
E-mail: mlampark@uwm.edu
Virtual office hours (via email): Thursdays 3-4 PM, and by appointment

Course description: This course covers an exceptionally dramatic and rich period in European history, including the Crusades and the Black Death, the rebirth of scholarship and the rise of the universities, new world-changing technologies such as gunpowder and the printing press, and magnificent developments in literature, art, and music. Over the course of the semester we will survey the political, military, religious, social, economic, and cultural history of Europe in the high and late middle ages, c. 1000-1500 CE. We will also look in depth at some individual events and developments, and we will trace their long-term effects on European society. To do this, we will read works by modern scholars who have attempted to reconstruct pieces of the medieval past, and also accounts written by medieval people who described their own world as they saw it. In addition we will examine non-textual sources, including examples of the art, architecture, and material culture of medieval Europe.

Course objectives: This course should provide you with a good overview of European history between 1000 and 1500 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
* analyzing a wide variety of types of evidence
* using such evidence to reconstruct and interpret the past
* combining careful reading and analysis with thoughtful writing to produce clear, original, and persuasive arguments

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).

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

Attendance and participation: This class is a “live” (synchronous) lecture class, and your regular “live” attendance and participation are essential. Students who fail to attend class or to contact me during the first week of classes 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).

Online protocols:

We will use Collaborate Ultra as our online class platform; you will access it from the course Canvas page. (Collaborate Ultra works best with Chrome as the browser.) All classes will be “live” (synchronous). Our course Grader, Madelyn Lampark, will be assisting me during class in taking attendance, fielding questions, etc.

Protocols for attending our online class:

  • During class, please be in a quiet room, with all other devices silenced.
  • Between 1:00 and 1:15 PM, enter the course Canvas page
  • Click on Collaborate Ultra in the left sidebar
  • Select the session (such as, “Week 1 – Thursday lecture”) and click on “Join Session” (each session will be open by 1:00 PM)
  • Follow the prompts to complete your audio and video checks
  • Click on the lavender tab (lower right) to open the Chat sidebar
  • Class will begin at 1:15 PM, and end at 2:30 PM (some classes may finish early). Attendance will be taken at multiple points during each class so, to get credit for attending and participating, please do not log in late or leave early.
  • To ask a question during class, EITHER type the question in the chat box and press “Return,” OR click on the “Raised Hand” icon and wait for Madelyn or me to call on you. When we call on you, please UNMUTE your microphone to speak, and then MUTE it again ASAP.
  • If possible, please have your VIDEO ON during class so that we can all see one another, as in a face-to-face class.

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.

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 on academic integrity, see 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

There are two required textbooks (both available from eCampus):

Joseph and Frances Gies. Life in a Medieval City. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1969; rpt Harper and Row, Perennial Library, 1981.

Judith M. Bennett and Sandy Bardsley. Medieval Europe: A Short History. 12th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2020.

There are also numerous required reading assignments from Internet Sources (listed below under Topics and Readings).



(Each day’s assigned readings are to be done before class. In-class quizzes will be based on both the lectures and the assigned readings.)


26 Jan. —

Introduction to course

28 Jan. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. xi-xix (abbreviations and contents), 1-3 (Introduction); 4-6, 165-174 (overviews of the Early and Central Middle Ages, 500-1300)

Gies and Gies, pp. 10-22 (Prologue)

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

Raoul Glaber, Histories: Church-building and the cult of relics around the year 1000

The Truce of God proclaimed by the Bishop of Terouanne and Count Baldwin of Flanders, 1063


Week 2  LIFE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, c. 1000-1300

2 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 174-189 (rural life)

Aelfric, Colloquyc. 1000: Peasant work

Pierce the Plowman’s Crede, late 14th century: peasant life

Photograph of 13th-cent. cottage from Hangleton, Sussex

4 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 205-211 (The Landholding Aristocracy)

The feudal compact: homages paid by the counts of Champagne, 1143-1226

John of Toul’s homage to the Count of Champagne, 13th cent.

Four English treatises on household and estate administration, later 13th cent.

Glossary of technical terms used in the above four treatises

Christine de Pisan, The Treasure of the City of Ladies (1405): A lady’s duties

Week 2 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



9 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 50-52 (Benedictine monasticism), pp. 240-257 (New Paths to God, c. 1000-1300)

11 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 257-264 (the mendicant orders)

Gies and Gies, pp. 120-134 (Chap. 9)

Archbishop Eudes of Rouen: Visitation of monastic and parish clergy, 1248-9

Week 3 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



16 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 265-289 (European conquests; Crusades)

Robert the Monk, Historia Hierosolymitana (c. 1120): Pope Urban II’s speech at Clermont, 1095
(Read the brief editor’s introduction, and then click on and read text no. 2.)

Map of the First Crusade, 1095-99

Ekkehard of Aurach, Hierosolymita (early1100s): The first Crusaders

Fulk of Chartres: The Capture of Jerusalem in 1099, and the Latins in the East (see both websites below)

18 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 289-295 (persecutions)

Annales Herbipolenses, 1147: A hostile view of the 2nd Crusade, by an anonymous annalist of Würzburg

De expugnatione terrae sanctae per Saladinum: Eyewitness account of the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin, 1187

Itinerarium peregrinorum et gesta Regis Ricardi (Itinerary of the Travels and Deeds of King Richard): Richard the Lionheart makes peace with Saladin, 1192

The development of the Inquisition:

Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229)
Gregory IX sends Domincan friars as Inquisitors to France (1233)
Bernard Gui, Inquisitor’s Manual (c.1307-23):

the heresies of the Waldensians or Poor Men of Lyon
the Cathars or Albigensians


Bernard Gui, Inquisitor’s Manual (c.1307-23): inquisitorial technique

Week 4 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



23 Feb. —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 190-205 (the commercial revolution; urban life)

Gies and Gies, pp. 23-33 (Chap. 1)

Charter of the shearers of Arras, 1236
[Note on text: the muid of Flanders was a measure of capacity containing 1011 liters]

Two apprenticeship contracts for weavers in Arras and Marseilles, c. 1250

A purchase on credit in Marseille, 1248

Regulations of the London Cordwainers’ (shoemakers’) guild, 1375

Photograph of two 15th-cent. shops with dwelling above, from Horsham, Sussex (now in the Weald and Downland Museum)

25 Feb. —

Gies and Gies, pp. 76-108 (Chaps. 6-7), 199-223 (Chaps. 15-16)

Week 5 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



2 March —

Gies and Gies, pp. 34-67 (Chaps. 2-4)

4 March —

Gies and Gies, pp. 68-75 (Chap. 5)

William Fitzstephen, Description of Londonc. 1173

Jean “Clopinel” de Meun’s continuation of Guillaume de Lorris’s allegorical poem, The Romance of the Rose: Duenna’s advice on table manners for young women, late 13th cent.:

(If the above website is down, use the following archived page:)

Christine de Pisan, The Treasure of the City of Ladies (1405): responsibilities of the wives of craftsmen

Expenses of the Aragonese ambassadors in England, 1415

(If the above website is down, use the following archived page:)

Week 6 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM


Week 7 POPES AND THE PAPACY, c. 1000-1300

9 March —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 296-298, 217-230 (the Investiture Controversy; canon law)

The papacy in the mid eleventh century:
Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida excommunicates the Patriarch of Constantinople (1054)
Papal election decree (1059)

Dictatus papae (The Dictates or Pronouncements of the Pope), 1075 or 1090

Gregory VII prohibits lay investiture, 1070s

Henry IV: Letter to Gregory VII, 24 Jan. 1076

Gregory VII deposes Henry IV, 22 Feb. 1076

11 March —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 230-239 (The Territorial Papacy; Innocent III-Boniface VIII); 298-308 (Germany and Italy)

Innocent III (r. 1198-1216): On papal power

Frederick Barbarossa: On keeping the peace, 1152-7

Innocent III: Canons of the 4th Lateran Council, 1215:
Read entire text:http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/lat4-select.asp
Read Canons 62-69: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/lateran4.asp

Salimbene, Chronicle: Description of Frederick II

Boniface VIII: Clericis laicos, 1296

Boniface VIII: Unam sanctam, 1302

Week 7 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM


Week 8  ENGLAND, c. 1000-1307

16 March —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 309-312 (England)

The Bayeux Tapestry, c. 1070s (see all 35 images at the the site below)

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Domesday Book and William I

Domesday Book (1086): Instructions and entry

Henry, archdeacon of Huntingdon (c.1080-1160), Chronicle: Stephen’s reign

18 March —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 312-320 (England)

Peter of Blois: Description of Henry II, 1177

Edward Grim: The Murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket, 29 Dec. 1170

Peter of Blois: Letter to Queen Eleanor, 1173

Magna Carta, 1215: complete text

Matthew of Westminster: Simon de Montfort’s rebellion, 1264-5

Three summonses to Parliament, 1295

Week 8 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM





30 March —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 320-332 (France, Iberia, Eastern Europe)

Rigord, Deeds of Philip II “Augustus,” 1190s. Read all the following selections:
Editor’s introduction
Year One, Chap. 1
Year Three, Chaps. 15-17
Year Five, Chaps. 26-29
Year Six, Chap. 50
Year Seven, Chaps. 53, 56
Year Nine, Chaps. 66-70

1 April —

Jean, sire de Joinville (1224-1318), extracts from the Life of St. Louis

King Philip IV (“the Fair”) of France vs.Pope Boniface VIII:
Philip rejects papal authority (1297)
Boniface threatens to depose Philip (1302)
accusation by Philip’s lawyer against Boniface (1303)

Week 9 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



6 April —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 211-216, 333-349 (Schools, Universities, and Intellectual Trends)

8 April —

Gies and Gies, pp. 154-165 (Chap. 11)

Pierre Abelard (1079-1142), Sic et Non (Yes and No), c. 1120, and Historia
 (The Story of My Misfortunes): excerpts (see both websites below)

Gregory IX: Statutes for the University of Paris, 1231

Jacques de Vitry: Student life at the University of Paris, 13th century

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-75), Summa theologica: Justification for the Inquisition

Week 10 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



13 April —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 349-365 (Literature, Architecture, Sculpture)

Gies and Gies, pp. 135-153 (Chap. 10)

15 April —

Gies and Gies, pp.166-189 (Chaps. 12-13)

Week 11 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM


Week 12 FAMINE, PLAGUE, AND RECOVERY, c. 1300-1500

20 April —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 366-381 (Europe, c. 1300; demographic crisis; the Great Plague)

Gies and Gies, pp. 109-119 (Chap. 8)

22 April —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 381-385 (Recovery, c. 1350-1500)

John de Trokelowe, Annales: Famine of 1315

Marchione di Coppo Stefani, The Florentine Chronicle (1370s-1380s): the plague in Florence, 1348

The plague in England, 1348-9

The economic effects of the Plague in England: the Ordinance of Labourers (1349) and the Statute of Labourers (1351) (see both websites below)

Week 12 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



27 April —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 385-395 (Late Medieval Christianity)

Petrarch’s invectives against Avignon

Marsiglio (Marsilius) of Padua, Defensor pacis (1324): Conclusions

29 April —

The origins of the Great Schism: Manifesto of the revolting cardinals, 1378

The end of the Great Schism and the Council of Constance:

St. Catherine of Siena beseeches Gregory XI to return to Rome
Jean Petit, “The Complaint of Lady Church,” 1393: Satire on the multiple popes of the Great Schism
Jan Hus: Reply to the synod of Prague, 1413; and last words at the stake, 1415

Powers of the Council of Pisa, 1409

Pius II: Decree Execrabilis, 1459

Week 13 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



4 May —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 396-420 (Towards the Sovereign State, c. 1300-1500)

6 May —

Gies and Gies, pp. 190-198 (Chap. 14)

Jean Froissart, Chronicles:
the Jacquerie in France, 1358
an English knight is felled by a Parisian butcher, c. 1370
the origins of the English Peasants’ Revolt, 1381
(see both websites below)

Journal of a Bourgeois of Paris, 1405-1449, pp. 145-7: War, 1419; pp. 233-4, 240-2, 249, 253-4, 260-5: Joan of Arc, 1429-31

The trial of Joan of Arc, 1431

Battle injuries: skeletons from the battles of Visby, Gotland (a Baltic island), 1361, and Towton, England, 1461 (see both websites below) https://web.archive.org/web/20160304001959/http://homepage.ntlworld.com/peter.fairweather/docs/visby.htm

Week 14 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM



11 May —

Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 421-440 (CORRECTED FROM pp. 344-361 – which we read weeks ago) (Diversity and Dynamism in Late Medieval Culture, c. 1300-1500)

The new technologies (see both websites below):

Paper, horizontal loom, windmill, magnetic compass, spectacles, gunpowder weapons:
Printing press:


13 May —

REVIEW: Attendance is OPTIONAL

Madelyn and I will hold an open session in Collaborate Ultra during our usual class time for anyone who wishes to talk about anything to do with History 204, or about history in general. Feel free to drop in – we’d love to see you!

Week 15 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM


Mini-Papers for History 204


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 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, including, when possible, the specific page numbers. (Do not simply list the full range of pages in that week’s reading assignments – list only the pages from which you actually took ideas or information.) If you have used material from my lectures or lecture outlines, say so, and give the dates (e.g., “Carlin, Week 4, Thursday lecture outline”). If your text fills two pages, your list of sources may go on p. 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. Late papers (including paper topics from an earlier week) will not be accepted.


PAPER TOPICS (choose at least seven):

WEEK 2:  Medieval texts on household and manorial administration warned lords and ladies about the possibilities of fraud or slacking off by their officers and servants. Identify four different kinds of such dishonest practice, and how each can be prevented, that are discussed in this week’s readings. Two of your examples should come from the four treatises on estate management, and two from Christine de Pisan’s treatise on a lady’s duties. Identify which treatise each example comes from. Also, be sure to put everything in your own words – no quotations are allowed in the mini-papers.

WEEK 3:  You are a bishop who has just completed his annual inspection (visitation) of an abbey of nuns. Drawing on this week’s readings and lectures, write a sermon for the bishop to preach to the nuns, in which he praises the things that they are doing well, and points out problems that need correction. (As always, be sure to cite your sources at the end of your paper – see the mini-paper instructions above.)

WEEK 4:  In the late 1090s you were a young French knight who took part in the Crusade and the successful siege of Jerusalem. Now, forty years later, your grandchildren are asking you to tell them about your experiences. Drawing on this week’s primary sources as well as the textbook and lectures, describe four events during the Crusade that you recall vividly. (These must be actual historical events, not fictional events. Note that there had not yet been a second crusade, so don’t call your crusade “the First Crusade”!)

WEEK 5:  You are a successful wool merchant of Troyes in the year 1250, and you want to take on a new apprentice. Many families are anxious to place their sons with you. Drawing on this week’s readings and lectures, describe six things that you will be looking for in choosing your new apprentice.

WEEK 6:  William FitzStephen’s Description of London is an immensely valuable primary source, but it presents an almost entirely positive view of the city. Drawing on this week’s readings and lectures, identify six negative features of urban life that Londoners in the 1170s probably complained about, but that FitzStephen does not mention.

WEEK 7:  The text known as Dictatus Papae (The Dictates or Pronouncements of the Pope) has usually been studied as part of Gregory VII’s clash with the Emperor Henry IV over who holds supreme power on earth: the emperor (as the highest secular power), or the pope (as the highest spiritual power). However, the text is also very much concerned with establishing the pope’s supremacy over the church and its institutions and clergy, especially other bishops. Some clauses in Dictatus Papae indirectly concern bishops, and six clauses explicitly concern them: 3, 4, 7, 13, 15, and 25. For each of these six clauses, explain how it limits the independence and authority of bishops and places them firmly under the control of the pope.

WEEK 8:  Most of the Bayeux Tapestry survives in amazingly good condition, but the last panel (Image 35) is ragged and it is clear that the end is missing. Drawing on this week’s readings and lectures on the Battle of Hastings and the Bayeux Tapestry, and on your careful review of the Tapestry’s surviving panels (Images 1-35), describe what you think would have been shown in the Tapestry’s final panel(s), and what the caption(s) would have said.

WEEK 9:  King Louis IX of France was a disaster to his country both financially and militarily. Drawing on this week’s lectures and readings, give four reasons why Louis IX was, nevertheless, deeply loved and admired, despite having none of the warrior skills that were so prized in medieval Europe.

WEEK 10:  You are a student at the university of Paris in the 1200s. Write a letter to your parents to ask for money. Describe your life and work as a student, and say why you are in need. Fill your letter with factual information drawn from this week’s lectures and readings. Show off some of your learning, to impress your parents with how hard you are studying, and be sure to address them respectfully.

WEEK 11: You are a rebellious teenager in 1292, and the shocking news has just arrived that Acre, the last major Crusader stronghold in the Holy Land, has fallen. Write a brief, malicious parody of one of the Crusades in the form of a fable, using animals as all the characters (as described in this week’s readings and lectures).

WEEK 12  You are a young servant living in your wealthy employer’s household in Paris in the mid 1300s during the Great Pestilence. Drawing on this week’s readings and lectures, write a brief letter to your family in the country, telling them about the pandemic. Report what you believe to be factual information (you may be mistaken!), and also report what you consider rumors and misinformation that are widely discussed, and say what you make of all this.

WEEK 13: When Catherine of Siena died in Rome on 29 April 1380, at the age of 33, the pope (Urban VI) officiated at her funeral and burial in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (at that time the headquarters of the Dominican order). Write a eulogy that the pope might have delivered at her funeral. Pack it with factual information and anecdotes about her life and her piety.

WEEK 14:  Both Catherine of Siena and Joan of Arc were young women from modest backgrounds who became famous and defied many contemporary norms. Why, then, did Catherine die in bed, acclaimed as a saint, while Joan was condemned by the church and died at the stake?

WEEK 15:  Which of the seven technologies that we read about this week (paper, horizontal loom, windmill, magnetic compass, spectacles, gunpowder weapons, printing press) can be considered the most important, and why?