Europe in the High Middle Ages
Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Dr Mark Hagger
Overall aims and purpose
This module aims to introduce students to the events and trends of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, providing a foundation for many of the modules offered at Levels 5 and 6. This module explores the history of western Europe from around the year 1000 to c. 1250. This was a period that saw the so-called "investiture contest", a struggle between the empire and papacy for supremacy in Europe; the expansion of Latin Europe, with crusaders establishing Latin states in the Holy Land, the Christian kings of Spain pushing back the Moors in the Iberian peninsula, and crusaders and missionaries conquering and settling the Slav lands east of the River Elbe. These conquests in turn helped to spark the `twelfth-century renaissance', with the rediscovery of Roman law, classical texts, and the development of a new style of architecture known today as the gothic style. Economic and political trends also saw the consolidation of the kingdom of France and the fragmentation of the kingdom of Germany, and the module will explore the divergent histories of these two powerful European states, pausing on the way to examine the reign of Emperor Frederick II, "the wonder of the world", who negotiated the return of Jerusalem to the Christians while excommunicated, conducted inhumane experiments to satisfy his thirst for knowledge, and wrote a book on the art of hunting with hawks.
The module provides an overview of a number of key topics, building up a picture of developments in Latin Europe as a whole across the period studied. Lectures and seminars will focus on: 1. Economy and society in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; 2. The reform papacy and the investiture contest; 3. Monasticism and the new religious orders; 4. Popular religion and heresy; 5. Capetian France; 6. Germany and the Empire; 7. Intellectual life and learning; 8. The expansion of Latin Europe; 9. The crusades; 10. The Spanish Reconquista. Students taking the course will study these topics using both translated primary sources (such as The Deeds of Louis the Fat, Gesta Francorum, and Peter Abelard's History of my Calamities) and the modern historiography on each of these subjects.
C- to C+
There are three grades for lower second-class performance:
Work will receive a C+ mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains partially superficial; covers the important aspects of the relevant field, but in some places lacks depth; advances a coherent and relevant argument; employs some evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only a few or no mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.
Work will receive a C mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but remains superficial; covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth; advances a coherent and largely relevant argument; employs some limited evidence to back its points; and is presented reasonably well with only limited mistakes. It will also contain appropriate references and bibliography, which may, however, contain some mistakes or be slightly erratic and/or partially insufficient.
Work will receive a C- mark if it: shows evidence of solid reading, but little knowledge of in-depth studies (for first-year work the student may not have read beyond a few standard works; at second or third year the student may not have read a good selection of journal articles and specialist monographs); covers most of the important aspects of the relevant field, but lacks depth or misses a significant area (for second- and third-year work this may mean that it fails to deploy the historical details found in specialist literature); advances a coherent, and sometimes relevant argument, but drifts away from tackling the task in hand (for example, by ordering the argument in an illogical way, becoming distracted by tangential material, or lapsing into narrative of only partial pertinence); usually employs evidence to back its points, but occasionally fails to do so or deploys an insufficient range; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways, but may fail to get to the heart of the central scholarly debate or fully understand a key point (in second- and third-year work this may extend to a failure to discuss important subtleties or ambiguities in the evidence, or to a lack of awareness of the current state of historical or archaeological debate); is reasonably well presented and contains appropriate references and bibliography, but makes some mistakes in presentation or appropriate use.
There are four grades for first-class performance:
A* (95%) At this level, first-class work earns its mark by showing genuine originality. It may advance a novel argument or deal with evidence which has not been considered before. Such originality of ideas or evidence is coupled with the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected of first-class work graded at A or A+. At this level, the work exhausts relevant secondary material, includes in dissertation work extensive and often unanticipated primary evidence, and betrays no factual or interpretative inaccuracy. It can also show a mastery of theory and deploy hypotheses subtly and imaginatively. In the case of essays and dissertations, work of this standard will be impeccable in presentation and will be publishable.
A+ (87%) At this level, first-class work will also have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail, but will further deploy the evidence consistently accurately and give indications of deploying unexpected primary and secondary sources. It will habitually demonstrate a particularly acute and critical awareness of the historiography and/or archaeological debate, including conceptual approaches, and give a particularly impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical or archaeological debate. It will show a particularly sophisticated approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. It will be original work. The standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently first-class work. In essays and dissertations standards of presentation will be very high.
A (80%) At this level, first-class work will have its argument supported by an impressive wealth and relevance of detail. It will usually also demonstrate an acute awareness of historiography and/or archaeological debate, and give an impressive account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical or archaeological debate. It may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, moderating the line taken in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. In essays and dissertations standards of presentation will be high.
A- (74%) A first-class mark at this level is often earned simply by demonstrating one or more of the features of a good upper-second essay to a peculiar degree, for example presenting a particularly strong organization of argument, strong focus, wide range of reading, engagement with the historiography and/or archaeological debate, depth of understanding, an unobjectionable style, and strong presentation.
There are three grades for third-class performance:
D+ (48%) Work is marked D+ if it: shows evidence of acceptable amounts of reading,but does not go much beyond what was referenced in lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers much of the necessary ground but fails to discuss one or a few vital aspects of a topic; deploys relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole, or sustains a clear argument only for the greater part of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points, but sometimes fails to do so, or shows difficulty in weighing evidence, or chooses unreliable evidence; displays an awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but without devoting sustained discussion to this; is for the most part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious problems in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but occasionally misunderstands their appropriate use or makes mistakes in their presentation.
D (45%) Work is marked D if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based partly on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers some of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some relevant material but partly fails to combine it into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only some parts of the piece; deploys some evidence to support individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical or inappropriate evidence; shows some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is often correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.
D- (42%) Work is marked D- if it: shows evidence of an acceptable minimum of reading, based largely on lecture notes and/or a basic textbook; covers parts of the necessary ground but fails to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; deploys some potentially relevant material but fails to bring it together into a coherent whole or sustains a clear argument for only parts of the piece; occasionally deploys evidence to back some individual points but often fails to do so or shows difficulty weighing evidence or chooses unreliable, atypical, or inappropriate evidence; may show some awareness that the past can be interpreted in different ways but the differences will not receive sustained discussion or analysis; is in part correctly presented but has sections where there are serious difficulties in presentation, style, spelling, grammar, or paragraph construction (but see section on dyslexia below); and uses references and bibliography where needed but sometimes misunderstands their appropriate use or makes serious mistakes in their presentation.
In addition, for work that fails to meet the standard for honours:
E+ (38%) Reading: Work may show evidence of reading—but this is largely cursory Content: Work discusses a limited number of the basic aspects of a topic, but leaves many out; or shows largely a limited knowledge of those it discusses; or is short weight; or makes major mistakes about the pattern of events. Argument: Work is mostly badly organized; or has a largely unclear argument; or makes an argument which is quite irrelevant to the task in hand. Analysis: Work deploys only a limited amount of evidence and tends more to express opinion without much support from historical fact (or archaeological evidence); or misuses evidence; or indicates only a limited sense that evidence can be interpreted in different ways. Presentation: Work makes some serious mistakes in presentation or writing style or in coherence; or makes some serious errors in grammar, spelling, or paragraph construction (but see guidelines on dyslexia below). Scholarly apparatus: Work prone to misuse references and bibliography, or inconsistent in recognizing when these are essential.
There are three grades for upper second-class performance:
Work will receive a B+ mark if it is consistently strong in: covering the necessary ground in depth and detail; advancing a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analysis and deployment of an appropriate range of historical and/or archaeological evidence and consideration of possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Work will receive a B mark if it: is clear that it is based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in depth and detail; advances a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical and/or archaeological evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Work will receive a B- mark if it: is clearly based on solid reading; covers the necessary ground in some depth and detail; advances a properly-structured, relevant, and focused argument; analyses and deploys an appropriate range of historical and/or archaeological evidence and considers possible differences of interpretation; and is correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Communicate ideas clearly and lucidly.
Demonstrate an ability to deploy references and citations in accordance with academic practice
Demonstrate an awareness of the various types of historical evidence that medieval historians use and of the possible problems with that evidence.
Synthesize historical arguments about long-term developments during the period.
Demonstrate a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of Europe during the high middle ages.
Illustrate a detailed knowledge of specific aspects of the period and subject
Set out and judge between the alternative historical interpretations of the period, including current historiographic positions.
Present detailed historical arguments about specific aspects of the period and subject
|ORAL||10 Minute Presentation||
The oral presentation will test knowledge and understanding of a particular topic which will be set into the context an understanding of the overall development of the period. Answers will be graded by considering scope of reading; content (the depth of knowledge displayed); the focus and clarity of argument; analysis (the ability to judge between interpretations and back arguments with evidence); presentation; and the ability to time the presentation properly, the quality of any additional resources used such as power point slides or handouts, for example considering whether they are accurately presented, the quality of the references, the bibliography is presented appropriately. Presentations will be expected to show a detail of knowledge about the topic discussed and to engage with current historiographic controversies where relevant.
Essays are a test of your skills to research a topic; to analyse material and understand different interpretations of the past; to produce clear, evidence-based and properly referenced historical argument; to present your findings in good English/Welsh; and your ability to organize your time so that the work is submitted by the deadline. Degree essays are supposed to be the result of considerable reading and research and of time spent considering your historical argument. Little credit will be given for work which simply repeats lectures or basic textbooks. The essays and their bibliographies will be expected to show evidence of wide reading (including journal articles and monographs). The argument of the work is expected to show independent judgement and engagement with any relevant historiographical debates. REMEMBER that you MUST provide references and a bibliography in the correct format. All essays should be submitted on Turnitin. All essays should be word-processed and well-presented. They must include a full bibliography and proper references. All assessed degree essays will be penalized according to University rules if they are handed in after the deadline and you have not arranged an extension with the Senior Tutor.
Answers will be graded by considering scope of reading; content (the depth of knowledge displayed); the focus and clarity of argument; analysis (the ability to judge between interpretations and back arguments with evidence); presentation; and the ability to use references and bibliography appropriately [see Student Handbook for assessment criteria in these areas.]
Examinations are a test of your ability to bring together a range of historical information; to understand historical questions quickly; to select the material relevant to making specific arguments; and to construct arguments quickly and flexibly.
You will be given the exam paper 48 hours in advance of sitting the exam itself. The exam will last TWO hours and you must answer TWO questions.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
There will be two one-hour lectures every week = 2hrs x 10, plus a one-hour revision session at the end of the module. Lectures, and their associated power point presentations, will provide students with a basic introduction to the subject in question, and as such help them to build a wide-ranging knowledge of the history of Europe in the High Middle Ages as well as providing an introduction to some of the differing interpretations of the topic.
One-hour long seminars will be held once per week (usually from Week 2) = 1hr x 10. Seminars will provide students with the chance to develop their understanding of the topic concerned by contributing to the discussion and/or by asking for further explanation of a discrete issue. Seminars will also provide the forum for the presentations prepared by students. In addition, all students should prepare model answers to essay questions or be prepared to comment on extracts from primary materials, thereby developing their knowledge of the subject and their ability to handle the evidence and its pitfalls, and to critique the approaches and interpretations offered by the historiography. Seminar discussions also help students to develop their communication and presentation skills.
Private study is essential to high achievement in an Arts and Humanities degree. This time should be spent reading around a given subject, preparing for seminars, and researching essay answers. It provides the opportunity to develop an understanding of the period in part or as a whole, and should act as a stimulus to further reading, or raise questions that can be brought to seminars for discussion.
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
- understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
- being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
- being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
- producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
- planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
- marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
- demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
- presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
- preparing effective written communications for different readerships
- making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
- making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
- making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
- appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
- critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
Resource implications for students
It would be useful to purchase one or two key textbooks, but otherwise none.
Introductory/General Reading D. Abulafia (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History of Europe V. c. 1198-c. 1300 (Cambridge, 1999) M. Barber, The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050–1320 (second edition, London, 2004). This is the key textbook for this module, and you are advised to buy your own copy of it (it costs about £20). C. N. L. Brooke, Europe in the Central Middle Ages, 963–1154 (London, 1975) M. Keen, The Penguin History of Medieval Europe (London, 1991) D. Luscombe and J. S. C. Riley-Smith (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History of Europe IV. c. 1024-c. 1198, 2 vols (Cambridge, 2004) J. H. Mundy, Europe in the High Middle Ages, 1150–1309 (London, 1973) T. Reuter (ed.), The New Cambridge Medieval History of Europe III. c.900-c. 1024 (Cambridge, 1995) R. W. Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages (London, 1953) D. Power (ed.), The Central Middle Ages, 950-1320 (Oxford, 2006)
Detailed reading lists for each topic will be provided in the module handbook.
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- V100: BA History year 1 (BA/H)
- VV41: BA Herit, Archae & Hist year 1 (BA/HAH)
- VV42: BA Heritage, Archaeology & History with International Exp year 1 (BA/HAHIE)
- V1W6: BA History with Film Studies year 1 (BA/HFS)
- V1W7: BA History with Film Studies with International Experience year 1 (BA/HFSIE)
- 8B03: BA History (with International Experience) year 1 (BA/HIE)
- V1P5: BA History with Journalism year 1 (BA/HJ)
- V1PM: BA Hanes gyda Newyddiaduraeth year 1 (BA/HN)
- V130: BA Mediaeval and Early Modern His year 1 (BA/MEMH)
- VV12: BA Welsh History/History year 1 (BA/WHH)
- V101: MArts History year 1 (MARTS/HIST)
Optional in courses:
- 3QV1: BA History and English Literature year 1 (BA/ELH)
- P3V1: BA Film Studies and History year 1 (BA/FSH)
- V103: BA History and Archaeology year 1 (BA/HA)
- V1V9: BA History with Archaeology with International Experience year 1 (BA/HAIE)
- V1V4: BA History with Archaeology year 1 (BA/HAR)
- MVX1: BA History/Criminology year 1 (BA/HCR)
- LV11: BA History/Economics year 1 (BA/HEC)
- RV11: BA History/French year 1 (BA/HFR)
- RV21: BA History/German year 1 (BA/HG)
- RV31: BA History/Italian year 1 (BA/HIT)
- VW13: BA History and Music year 1 (BA/HMU)
- RV41: BA History/Spanish year 1 (BA/HSP)
- LVJ1: BA Cymdeithaseg/Hanes year 1 (BA/HSW)
- V140: BA Modern & Contemporary History year 1 (BA/MCH)
- WV33: Music & Hist & Welsh Hist (IE) year 1 (BA/MHIE)
- VVV1: BA Philosophy and Religion and History year 1 (BA/PRH)
- LV31: BA Sociology/History year 1 (BA/SH)
- LV41: BA Social Policy/History year 1 (BA/SPH)
- LVK1: BA Polisi Cymdeithasol/Hanes year 1 (BA/SPWH)
- QV51: BA Cymraeg/History year 1 (BA/WH)
- V1VK: BA Welsh History with Archaeology year 1 (BA/WHA)