HISTORY 204: THE HIGH MIDDLE AGES
Professor Martha Carlin
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Copyright 2022, all rights reserved
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.
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.
Switch to online instruction:
DURING THE FIRST WEEK of the semester (25 and 27 January), THIS CLASS WILL MEET ONLINE ONLY. We will meet at the scheduled times, and use Zoom as our online class platform: you will access it from the course Canvas page. (See instructions there for how to log in.)
Changing public health circumstances for COVID-19 may cause UWM to pivot back online at some later point during the semester. In this event, UWM will communicate with students about moving to fully online instruction.
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Office: Holton 320
Telephone: (414) 229-5767
Messages: History Department, tel. (414) 229-4361
Home page: https://sites.uwm.edu/carlin/
Office hours (both in-person and via email): Tuesdays 11 AM – 12 noon, and by appointment
Grader: Matilda Eshun Ansah
Office: Holton 328
Office hours (both in-person and via email): Tuesdays 2-3 pm and Thursdays 1-2 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
Our course Grader is Matilda Ansah. Matilda will be grading your written work and keeping the grade book and attendance records. Her 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 use 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 get the 12th edition (new in July 2020), not an earlier edition.
Gies, Joseph, and Frances Gies. Life in a Medieval City. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1969; rpt Harper and Row, Perennial Library, 1981. (There is only one edition of this book, so any copy that you buy will 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. If you routinely use some other email account (such as a Gmail account), please go immediately into your UWM email account and put a forwarding command on it, to forward all incoming email to the account that you routinely use. This is your responsibility; the History Department will use your assigned UWM e-address only. (To put a forwarding command on your UWM email account: enter your Office 365 account and click on the “gear” icon to enter “Settings.” Type “forwarding,” and follow the instructions 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 six 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).
Exams: There will be no midterm exam or final exam, but there will be frequent in-class electronic quizzes, which will be taken in Canvas and will count towards the participation portion of your final grade. You will need a smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer to take the quizzes. 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
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. Your attendance and participation are EACH worth 20% of your final grade.
Grading and deadlines: Your final grade will be based on your six (or six best) mini-papers (10% each, for 60% of final grade), and your attendance (20%) and participation in class (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.
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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 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
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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.)
Week 1 INTRODUCTION; EUROPE IN THE ELEVENTH CENTURY
25 Jan. —
Introduction to course
27 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
1 Feb. —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 174-189 (rural life)
Aelfric, Colloquy, c. 1000: Peasant work
Pierce the Plowman’s Crede, late 14th century: peasant life
Photograph of 13th-cent. cottage from Hangleton, Sussex
3 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
Week 3 NEW PATHS TO GOD
8 Feb. —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 50-52 (Benedictine monasticism), pp. 240-257 (New Paths to God, c. 1000-1300)
10 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
Week 4 CONQUESTS, CRUSADES, AND PERSECUTIONS, c. 1100-1300
15 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)
17 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
Week 5 COMMERCE AND TOWNS
22 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)
24 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
Week 6 DAILY LIFE IN TOWN AND CASTLE
1 March —
Gies and Gies, pp. 34-67 (Chaps. 2-4)
3 March —
Gies and Gies, pp. 68-75 (Chap. 5)
William Fitzstephen, Description of London, c. 1173
(There is also an archived copy of this document at: https://web.archive.org/web/20210307201404/http://users.trytel.com/~tristan/towns/florilegium/introduction/intro01.html)
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.:
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
Week 6 mini-paper due in Canvas by 4:59 PM
Week 7 POPES AND THE PAPACY, c. 1000-1300
8 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
10 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
15 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
17 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
SPRING RECESS: 20-27 MARCH 2021
Week 9 CAPETIAN FRANCE, THE LOW COUNTRIES, IBERIA, 987-1314
29 March —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 320-332 (France, Iberia, Eastern Europe)
Rigord, Deeds of Philip II “Augustus,” 1190s. Read all the following selections:
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
31 March —
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
Week 10 SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
5 April —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 211-216, 333-349 (Schools, Universities, and Intellectual Trends)
7 April —
Gies and Gies, pp. 154-165 (Chap. 11)
Pierre Abelard (1079-1142), Sic et Non (Yes and No), c. 1120, and Historia
calamitatum (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
Week 11 LITERATURE, ARCHITECTURE, SCULPTURE, c. 1000-1300
12 April —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 349-365 (Literature, Architecture, Sculpture)
Gies and Gies, pp. 135-153 (Chap. 10)
14 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
19 April —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 366-381 (Europe, c. 1300; demographic crisis; the Great Plague)
Gies and Gies, pp. 109-119 (Chap. 8)
21 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
Week 13 PAPAL POLITICS OF THE FOURTEENTH AND EARLY FIFTEENTH CENTURIES: THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY, THE GREAT SCHISM, AND THE CONCILIAR MOVEMENT
26 April —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 385-395 (Late Medieval Christianity)
Petrarch’s invectives against Avignon
Marsiglio (Marsilius) of Padua, Defensor pacis (1324): Conclusions
28 April — NO IN-PERSON CLASS TODAY! SEE WED. AFTERNOON EMAIL (27 APRIL) PROVIDING LINK TO RECORDING OF THURSDAY LECTURE + INSTRUCTIONS FOR QUIZ.
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
Week 14 KNIGHTHOOD, WARFARE, AND REVOLT
3 May —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 396-420 (Towards the Sovereign State, c. 1300-1500)
5 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
Week 15 DYNAMISM AND THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES, c. 1300-1500; REVIEW
10 May —
Bennett and Bardsley, pp. 421-440 (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:
12 May —
REVIEW NO CLASS TODAY
Instead, Matilda and I will be holding extended office hours in our offices during the usual class time. Feel free to drop in to talk about the class, or about history, or about UWM’s History major. 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 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 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. Late papers (including paper topics from an earlier week) will not be accepted.
PAPER TOPICS (choose at least six):
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?