Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

History 310 / MSTU 328 - The Early Middle Ages 600 - 1150

Spring 2012

The Mediaeval World… It sprung from the ruins of the Roman Empire! For a long time it was considered to be a world completely different from the political, social, cultural, religious, and economic structures of Classical Antiquity. As for the formation of European society and civilisation the Middle Ages constituted a crucial period, coming out of the darkness following the decline and fall of Rome, and leading the Western world to its full “Renaissance”. The history of the Middle Ages spans a time of approximately twelve centuries, between the 4th and the 16th century. Already towards the end of the 15th century certain scholars started to use the term “Middle Ages”, in order to distinguish the entire era between Antiquity and what they themselves saw and experienced as a revival of it. They tended to idealise the Graeco-Roman, classical civilisation, and believed they were witnessing a “rebirth”, a “Renaissance” of it. They literally regarded the centuries that separated them from their ancient forefathers as a time in which the people had walked in darkness. From the late 17th century the term “Middle Ages” became a commonplace in contemporary studies of the past. 

Geographically speaking the Mediaeval World comprises all of the Mediterranean basin, Western Europe, and all the regions North and East of the two aforementioned, which came into contact with them, or were in fact already so. Scandinavia, Middle and Eastern Europe, as well as all parts of and beyond the Mediterranean that from the 7th century onwards were conquered by the Arabs, and which previously had largely belonged to the Roman Empire.

The value of chronological periodisation is rather relative. Although this course appears to have a chronological order, its structure may also be found to be more thematic. The issue of continuity and discontinuity is essential in a better understanding of the Mediaeval world.

 

Course Abstract

The key objective of this course is to survey the history of the Middle Ages, from the time of the so-called “decline and fall” of Rome, roughly up to the year 1100. Not always an easy task, as one of the main problems concerning the studies of the Mediaeval period in general is one of evidence. We rely on biased, and often fragmented literary sources. But art history and archaeology supplement more and more the historical literary evidence. However, all has to be weighed with extreme care and consideration.

Throughout this course, a series of lectures and seminars, we shall attack some of the major issues in the study of Mediaeval society and culture. History is never a single-minded and uniform matter. The various contributions of numerous scholars, next to our main text of Barbara Rosenwein, are all intended to stimulate our own minds to ask further questions, and to start thinking into only few of all the possible directions towards possible answers – or mere hypotheses. Primary sources, as well as secondary literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, reveal the drama of Mediaeval history, society,  politics, and culture. All these texts together contribute to our awareness of the cultural tradition in which we ourselves also stand.

 

Procedures and Policies

The History of the Middle Ages meets twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:20pm until 1:35pm. It is expected of students to contribute in a significant way to this course. They are responsible for completing all of the assigned readings, according to the schedule attached to this syllabus. This course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of Mediaeval history, or indeed of the Latin language. It is intended that students acquire a basic knowledge and understanding of the historical background and facts of the Middle Ages, as well as that of the working of historical mechanisms.

 

Attendance and Assessment

Attendance is mandatory. The succes of each session depends to a considerable extent on the students’ presence, as well as on their preparation and participation.

Final grade assessments will be based on the combination of two exams, one mid-term and one final, and one large essay (10-15 pages) concerning a topic of free choice and based on primary sources and secondary literature. A small percentage of the students’ grade will be derived from attendance and participation. Students opting for an Honors Contract will be given extra assignments.

It is strongly recommended to take notes, both when reading and listening. These notes are an indispensable part of studying and learning, often the best means to anchor your thoughts with true understanding, transform opinion into knowledge, and establish comprehension rooted in memory. Writing is learning – with half as much effort.

 

Exam and essay assignments

The 2 (TWO) exams will be tests of your acquired knowledge and understanding of the book by Rosenwein, as well as the topics dealt with in the additional secondary literature. The book provides a general outline of the developments of Mediaeval history, society and culture. The facts and the various backgrounds of events, both in time and throughout the Mediaeval world, are the framework of any basic historical understanding and mode of thinking.

As far as the essay is concerned, it is strongly recommended to start thinking of a suitable topic, including (some of) the appropriate material, right at the beginning of the course. In any case will you be summoned for a consult the week before mid-term, in order to establish an outline of the final essay. Essays count between 10-15 pages.

Information MUST under all circumstances be cited. Plagiarism of any sort will result in a grade of “F” for the assignment, or, depending on the level, perhaps even for the entire course.

 

Essay Grading

Written work, and to a certain extent also the final exam, meriting the grade of “A” (excellent) must:

  • address the assigned question or topic directly and intelligently;
  • demonstrate a careful and considered reading of the texts at hand;
  • present a lucid thesis and a persuasive argument in its defense;
  • use correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction;
  • make ample and appropriate use of quotations from the texts;
  • weave together thesis and argument, quotations and interpretations;
  • reveal thoughtfulness, originality and insight.

Written work and examinations awarded the grade of “B” (good) adequately fulfill a majority of these criteria, with areas of improvement indicated by grading remarks and comments.

The grade of “C” (average) is given when written work and examinations fail to meet most criteria, therefore indicating to the student that an appointment should be made with the professor, before the next essay assignment, to discuss methods for improvement.

Finally, the grade of “D” is assigned to written work and examinations that are simply unacceptable, according to the criteria outlined above, in which case an appointment must be made with the professor and arrangements determined for re-submitting the assignments in an acceptable form.

 

            Grading Percentages:

 

            Mid-term Examination             30%

            Final Examination                    30%

            Final Essay                              30%

 

            Presence / Participation                        10%

 

Students who wish to request a review of the final course grade must provide original versions of all their graded  course assignments.

 

Literature

·                    Barbara H. Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages (2nd edition; Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004).

·                    Reader.

 

Course Program

Week 1: Introduction

  • ·                    Jacques Le Goff, Medieval Civilization, 400-1500. Transl. by Julia Barrow (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1988), 113-130.

Week 2: The Conversion of Europe – Orthodoxy and Heresy, Canons and Creeds

Primary sources

  • ·                    Eusebius, Vita Constantini / Life of Constantine XXVII-XXXIII. Translated, with introduction and commentary by Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • ·                    Constantine, ‘Laws for Christians’. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall - Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
  • ·                    Constantine, ‘On the keeping of Easter’. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall - Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
  • ·                    Ambrose, Epistulae/Letters XVII-XVIII. Translated by Sister Mary Melchior Beyenka (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1954; reprinted 2001)
  • ·                    Codex Theodosianus / The Theodosian Code, XVI.i.2. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall - Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
  • ·                    Codex Theodosianus / The Theodosian Code, ‘On Religion’. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall - Internet Medieval Sourcebook.

Secondary literature

  • ·                    Barbara H. Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages (2nd edition; Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004), 19-39.
  • ·                    Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom. Triumph and Diversity AD 200-1000 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 34-53.  
  • ·                    Richard Lim, ‘Christian triumph and controversy’, in: G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar, Late Antiquity. A Guide to the Postclassical World (Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard University Press, 1999; repr. 2000), 196-218.

Week 3: the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Primary sources
  • ·                    Ammianus Marcellinus, Res Gestae / Histories, XIV.vi.3-26. Edited and translated by J.C. Rolfe. LCL 300 (Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard University Press/Heinemann, 1935; repr. 1982)
  • ·                    Aurelius Augustinus, De civitate Dei / City of God, I.i-ix. Translated by D.B. Zema & G.G. Walsh (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1950, repr. 1977)
  • ·                    Orosius, Historiae contra paganos / The Seven Books of History against the Pagans, VII.xxxix-xl. Translated by Roy J. Deferrari (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964; repr. 1981)
  • ·                    Procopius, Historiae / History of the Wars, II.xxii-xxxiii. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall - Internet Medieval Sourcebook.
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 39-55.
  • ·                    Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vols. (London, 1776-1788; repr. London: Everyman’s Library, 1994), 6.616-643.
  • ·                    Walter Pohl, ‘The Barbarian Successor States’, in: L. Webster & M. Brown (eds.), The Transformation of the Roman World AD 400-900 (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 1997), 33-47.
  • ·                    Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilisation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1-10; 138-168.

Week 4: Barbarian Successor States: Britain and the Anglo-Saxons

Primary sources
  • ·                    Beda Venerabilis / Bede, A History of the English Church and People. Translated by Leo Sherley-Price (Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1983), 66-71, 99-104, 126-128.
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 75-77; 81-87.
  • ·                    John Moorhead, The Roman Empire Divided, 400-700 (Harlow/London: Longman, 2001), 95-124.
  • ·                    Nicholas Brooks, ‘Canterbury, Rome and the construction of English identity’, in: Julia M.H. Smith (ed.), Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2000), 221-246.

Week 5: Barbarian Successor States: The Francs and Merovingian Gaul

Primary sources
  • ·                    Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks.
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 78-81.
  • ·                    Ian Wood, ‘Administration, law and culture in Merovingian Gaul’, in: Rosamond McKitterick (ed.), The Uses of Literacy in Early Mediaeval Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 63-81.
  • ·                    _________, ‘Deconstructing the Merovingian family’, in: Richard Corradini, Max Diesenberger, Helmut Reimitz (eds.), The Construction of Communities in the Early Middle Ages. Texts, Resources and Artefacts (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2003), 149-171.
  • ·                    Maximilian Diesenberger, ‘Hair, sacrality and symbolic capital in the Frankish kingdoms’, in: Richard Corradini, Max Diesenberger, Helmut Reimitz (eds.), The Construction of Communities in the Early Middle Ages. Texts, Resources and Artefacts (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2003), 173-212.
  • ·                    Bonnie Effros, ‘The ritual significance of vessels in the formation of Merovingian Christian communities’, in: Richard Corradini, Max Diesenberger, Helmut Reimitz (eds.), The Construction of Communities in the Early Middle Ages. Texts, Resources and Artefacts (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2003), 213-227.

Week 6: Byzantium: Emperors, Christianity, and Iconoclasm

Primary sources
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 59-66; 95-102; 131-138.
  • ·                    Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom. Triumph and Diversity AD 200-1000 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 235-253.
  • ·                    L. Brubaker, ‘Icons before Iconoclasm?’, in: Morfologie Sociali e Culturali in Europa fra Tarda Antichità e Alto Medioevo (Spoleto, 1998), 1215-1258.
  • ·                    Michael McCormick, ‘Byzantium and the West, 700-900’, in: Rosamond McKitterick, The New Cambridge Medieval History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 349-380.

Week 7: The Carolingians: the Franks as the New Israel?

Primary sources
  • ·                    Einhard, Life of Charlemagne.
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Mary Garrison, ‘The Franks as the New Israel? Education for an identity from Pippin to Charlemagne’, in: Yitzhak Hen and Matthew Hinnes (eds.), The Use of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 114-162.
  • ·                    Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom. Triumph and Diversity, AD 200-1000 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 276-298.
  • ·                    Rudolf Schieffer, ‘Charlemagne and Rome’, in Julia M.H. Smith (ed.), Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough (Leiden/Boston/London, 2000), 279-295.

Week 8: Inauguration Rituals and Charlemagne’s Imperial Cornonation

Primary sources
  • ·                    Einhard, Life of Charlemagne.
  • ·                    R. Davis, The Lives of the Eighth-Century Popes (Liber Pontificalis). The Ancient Biographies of Nine Popes from AD 715 to AD 817 (Liverpool, 1992), 184-192.
Secondary literature
  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 113-130.
  • ·                    Janet L. Nelson, ‘Symbols in context: Rulers’ inauguration rituals in Byzantium and the West in the Early Middle Ages’, in: Janet L. Nelson, Politics and Ritual in early Medieval Europe (London, 1986), 283-309.
  • ·                    _________, ‘The Lord’s annointed and the People’s  choice: Carolingian royal ritual’, in David Cannadine and Simon Price (eds.), Rituals of Royalty. Power and Ceremonial in Traditional Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 137-181.
  • ·                    Janet L. Nelson, ‘Kingship and empire in the Carolingian world’, in: Rosamond McKitterick (ed.), Carolingian Culture: Emulation and Innovation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 52-87.
  • ·                    R. Collins, ‘Charlemagne’s imperial coronation and the Annals of Lorsch’, in J. Story (ed.), Charlemagne. Empire ad Society (Manchester, 2005), 52-70.

Week 9: The Papacy

Primary sources

  • ·                    R. Davis, The Lives of the Eighth-Century Popes (Liber Pontificalis). The Ancient Biographies of Nine Popes from AD 715 to AD 817 (Liverpool, 1992)

Secondary literature

  • ·                    Thomas Noble, The Republic of St. Peter. Birth of the Papal State, 680-825 (Philadelphia, 1984), 184-255.
  • ·                    P. Delogu, ‘The papacy, Rome and the wider world in the seventh and eighth centuries’, in: Julia M.H. Smith (ed.), Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough (Leiden/Boston/London: Brill, 2000), 197-221.
  • ·                    Thomas Noble, ‘Topography, celebration, and power: the making of a papal Rome in the eighth and ninth centuries’, in: Mayke de Jong, Frans Theuws, Carine van Rhijn (eds.), Topographies of Power in the Early Middle Ages (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2001), 45-91.

Week 10: Ascetics, Saints and Monasteries

Primary sources

  • ·                    Athanasius, Life of Anthony. Translation and introduction by Robert C. Gregg (Mahwah, NJ.: Paulist Press, 1980)
  • ·                    Regula Benedicti / Rule of St. Benedict. Translated by Justin McCann (3rd edition; London: Sheed and Ward, 1976; repr. 1995)

Secondary literature

  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 190-205.
  • ·                    Richard W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages (London: Penguin Books, 1970; repr. 1990), 214-240.
  • ·                    Mayke de Jong, ‘Religion’, in: Rosamond McKitterick (ed.), The Early Middle Ages 400-1000 (Oxford, 2001), 131-161.
  • ·                    Alan Thacker, ‘In search of saints: the English church and the cult of Roman Apostles and Martyrs in the seventh and eighth centuries’, in: Julia M.H. Smith (ed.), Early Medieval Rome and the Christian West. Essays in Honour of Donald A. Bullough (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2000), 247-277.

Week 11: The Rise of Islam

Primary sources

  • ·                    The Qur’an.

Secondary literature

  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 59-75; 102-110;167-169.
  • ·                    Hugh Kennedy, ‘The Muslims in Europe’, in: Rosamond McKitterick (ed.). The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 2 (Cambridge, 1995), 249-271.
  • ·                    __________, ‘Islam’, in: G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar, Late Antiquity. A Guide to the Postclassical World (Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard University Press, 1999; repr. 2000), 219-237.
  • ·                    Peter Brown, The Rise of Western Christendom. Triumph and Diversity AD 200-1000 (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), 184-197.
  • ·                    Ann Christys, ‘The History of Ibn Habib and ethnogenesis in Al-Andalus’, in: Richard Corradini, Max Diesenberger, Helmut Reimitz (eds.), The Construction of Communities in the Early Middle Ages. Texts, Resources and Artefacts (Leiden/Boston/Köln: Brill, 2003), 323-348.

Week 12: The Crusades

Primary sources

Secondary literature

  • ·                    Rosenwein (2004), 177-184; 243-245.
  • ·                    J.A. Brundage, Medieval Canon Law and the Crusader (Madison, MI./London: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 3-29.
  •                      H.E. Mayer, The Crusades. Translated by J. Gillingham (2nd edition; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 1-57.