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Level 4

4AAH1002 European History 400-1500

Credit value: 30 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Dionysios Stathakopoulos
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (100%)  
Teaching pattern: 20 x 1-hour lectures (weekly); 20 x 1-hour seminars (weekly)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

Single semester version for Study Abroad students
  • 4AAH1102 European History 400 - c.1000 - semester 1 
  • 4AAH1202 European History 1000 to 1500 - semester 2

Single semester versions of the module, split 400-1000 (semester 1) and 1000-1500 (semester 2), are available to study abroad students only.

Assessment: 4AAH1102 & 4AAH1202: Coursework (100%), comprising: 2 x 2,500 word essays (50% each).

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

This module offers a broad overview of the history of Europe (including areas on both sides of the Mediterranean) from Late Antiquity to the whole fifteenth century. It covers problems of continuity and change in society, politics, religion, and culture; but it also introduces students to debates about the fate of the Roman Empire, the christianization of Europe, the impact of the rise of Islam, the meaning of the age of Charlemagne, the centuries of the Crusades and the European economic ‘take-off’, the effects of the great plagues and revolts of the fourteenth centuries, and finally about Renaissance, ‘modernity’, and the origins of European states. Students will have the opportunity to consider how a series of vast transformations formed European culture and to reflect on general themes, such as the interaction of religious orthodoxy and dissent, shifting perceptions of gender, or the friction between imperialist drives and cultural coexistence.

Provisional teaching plan

Week 1: Romans and barbarians 

                Seminar: The fall of the Roman West 

Week 2: Western successors and the Roman heritage 

                Seminar: Theoderic and Clovis 

Week 3: The spread of Christianity  

                Seminar: Monasticism 

Week 4: Economic transformations  

                Seminar: Towns 

Week 5: The Byzantine empire 

                Seminar: The Iconoclast Controversy 

Week 6: Islam and the Mediterranean world  

                Seminar: Islamic Spain 

Week 7: Charlemagne and the Carolingian empire 

                 Seminar: Centre and locality: law, local control and the exercise of

Week 8: The making of Europe  

                 Seminar: The Vikings 

Week 9: Family problems  

                Seminar: Courtly love 

Week 10: The year 1000: where did it all go wrong? 

                   Seminar: Slaves and serfs 


Week 11: The Crusades  

                   Seminar: Crusader kingdoms 

Week 12: Popes and emperors  

                   Seminar: Innocent III and Frederick II 

Week 13: Economy and society: Europe 

                  Seminar: Economic growth 

Week 14: Renaissances before the Renaissance  

                   Seminar: Abelard and Heloise 

Week 15: Heresy and reform  

                   Seminar: The Cathars 

Week 16: Economy and society: China 

                   Seminar: China  

Week 17: Plague and rebellion 

                   Seminar: The medicalization of society 

Week 18: War and states  

                   Seminar: The rise of the fiscal state 

Week 19: The frontiers of Europe: connections with sub-Saharan Africa 

                   Seminar: The Iberian frontier and the Atlantic 

Week 20: Humanism and the Renaissance  

                  Seminar: Patronage and art

Introductory reading list

These books are ‘core textbooks’ for this module, therefore purchasing them rather than borrowing them will be of benefit to you throughout your course.

C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome (Allen Lane, 2009)

R.I.Moore, The First European Revolution (Wiley Blackwell, 2000)

R.Bartlett, The Making of Europe (Penguin, 1993)

G. Holmes, Europe: Hierarchy and Revolt, 1320-1450, 2nd edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000)

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