HIST 204 Lecture Outline (Spring 2017 – Week 1)


Prof. Martha Carlin

Week 1: Tuesday


Corvus Corax, Saltarello (2:58 min.);  Rustica Puella (7:11 min.)

Introduction to course:

Discussion of syllabus, required textbooks and online readings, grading and deadlines, exams
and research paper, discussion sections, expectations.

IMPORTANT: We need to be able to contact you via your UWM e-mail address.  If you use another Internet Service Provider instead (e.g., Yahoo! or Hotmail), you must put a Forward command on your UWM e-mail address immediately, so that your UWM e-mail will be forwarded to the e-mail address that you actually use.  To do this, go to to  http://outlook.office365.com and follow the directions there for forwarding mail.


BC (“before Christ”) = BCE (“Before the Common Era”) (examples: “Augustus seized control of Rome in 31 BC” or  “Augustus seized control in 31 BCE”)

AD (“anno domini” or “in the year of the Lord”) = CE (“Common Era”)  (examples: “Augustus died in AD 14” or  “Augustus died in 14 CE”)

c. or ca. (“circa”) = “around” (example: “Chaucer was born c. 1340.”)

i.e. (“id est“) = “that is” (example: “In the thirteenth century, i.e., in the 1200s . . .”)

e.g. (“exempli gratia“) = “for example” (example: “Primary sources can include physical
objects, e.g., buildings, skeletons, and pottery.”)

What is a primary source?
Primary sources are essential to the study of history; they are the raw data from which historians work.
Primary sources = firsthand or eyewitness sources, contemporary with the period under study .
(For example, primary sources for medieval Europe include both texts and also physical objects, such as buildings, skeletons, and pottery, that date from the Middle Ages.)

What is a secondary source?
Secondary sources = secondhand or later sources, not contemporary with the events studied.
(For  example, secondary sources for medieval Europe include modern reference works and scholarly studies, assemblages of statistical data, and reconstructions of medieval buildings, weapons, and clothing.)

Why do historians need to consult both?



Old Roman chant: Terra Tremuit (offertorium from the Easter Sunday service, Rome, 7th-8th cent.: 10:02 min.):

Collegerunt pontifices (11th-cent. processional antiphon, 5:25 min.):

Summary of early medieval European history, AD 1-1000:

Click here for an Interactive map of the Roman Empire

c. AD 1-200      Height of Roman power

200s                  Roman Empire in crisis

300s                  Order restored; Roman Empire becomes widely Christianized; Empire divided into Eastern (Byzantine) and Western Empires

400s-500s       Invasion of Western Empire by Germanic tribes leads to collapse of Western Empire, which leads to sharp decline of towns in West (Eastern or Byzantine Empire survives until 1453)

600s                 Rise of Islam

mid 700s- mid 800s  Rise of Carolingian (Frankish) Empire, Benedictine monasticism, and feudalism;
the three great European-Mediterranean powers (Byzantines, Muslims, and Carolingians) achieve rough balance of power

800-1000        W. Europe attacked by Vikings, Muslims (“Saracens”), and Magyars; Carolingian
Empire disintegrates

c. 1000

Revival begins in W. Europe:
(click here for a map of Europe about the year 1000)
external attacks cease
internal violence diminishes
weather improves
better crops > better diet > rise in population
long-distance trade revives
towns revive
“Tripartite” society: those who pray, those who fight, and those who work

Online readings:

Peace of God, 989
Archbishop and bishops decree anathema (damnation) against anyone who attacks churches or people who cannot defend themselves (poor and clergy).  = Effort to curb endemic violence by predatory lords and their followers.

Raoul Glaber, Histories
Widespread building and rebuilding of churches shortly after the year 1000.  Demonstrates widespread economic revival.

Truce of God, 1063
Bishop and count jointly decree severe penalties (exile and exommunication) against those who commit theft or violence during the period called the “truce of God” (throughout the year, from sunset Wednesday to sunrise Monday; and daily from Advent to 6 January, Lent to a week after Easter, and the 5th Sunday after Easter to the 7th Sunday after Easter).  = A further effort to curb endemic aristocratic violence.

Those charged with breaking the peace who deny it are to undergo the ordeal of hot iron.
= Standard form of judgment when charge is disputed: God determines innocence or guilt.
(Click here for a depiction from Bamberg Cathedral [1513] of a woman undergoing an ordeal by  hot iron.)