of the Course
Objectives and Goals of
The course is intended to introduce the principal historical issues
involved in the study of European
history in the early Middle Ages. These include the end of
the ancient world, the character of
learning and social structure in the early Germanic kingdoms, the
Carolingian empire, and the
relationship between Europe and its neighbors. In dealing with this
material, moreover, students will
be expected to learn how to assimilate and analyze new information and
to practice expressing their
ideas in clear, accurate, correct prose. They are also
expected to refine their ability to employ the
basic concepts used in historical analysis.
The following books will be required reading in the course.
Peter Heather, The Fall of the Roman Empire (Oxford)
Alexander Murray, From Roman to Merovingian Gaul
Rule of St. Benedict
Peter Brown, Rise of Western Christendom
Matthew Innes, An Introduction to early medieval western Europe
Paul Dutton, Carolingian Civilization
Oxford Illustrated Book of the Vikings
The Heather, Brown, and Barbero books are also available on library
Other readings will be available at Angel or on the internet. Readings
in electronic format should
be printed and brought to class.
The readings are at a variety of levels. Some are written specifically
for college students; others
are original sources; still others that address specific problems will
require you to follow the
authors' arguments about how to interpret difficult sources or
All exams will be essay exams. Students will be expected to
know the material covered in both
assigned readings and lectures. They will, additionally, be
asked to apply what they have learned
to problems not necessarily explicitly addressed in either the readings
or the lectures.
History majors are required to do a 12-page research paper in this
course. Students who are not
history majors may, at their option, do either the research paper or
two shorter (6-8 page) papers on
two different sources, as assigned by the professor.
Research Paper. The research paper shall involve an detailed study of a
primary source, placing it
in its historical context and explaining its historical significance.
To do this, students will need to
compare their chosen source to earlier or contemporary sources similar
to it, and to situate it in the
events and institutions of its time; they will also need to be able to
discuss how modern historians
(at least three) have used it. (Note: Out of date sources, or
encyclopedias, are not acceptable for
the historiographical part of the assignment.) The first step of the
research paper will consist of
submitting a 1-page prospectus designating the source to be studied and
providing a prelimary
overview of the historiography. This prospectus must be approved by the
instructor prior to doing
additional work on the paper; the approved prospectus must then be
resubmitted with the final paper.
Shorter Papers. The alternative, shorter papers will be based on the
readings assigned for the
course. Students will be expected to answer questions that
may not be explicitly stated in those
readings, but whose answer can nonetheless be arrived at through
careful reading and analysis.
Papers are to be written in clear, standard English, using humanities
style footnotes. Sample footnote
forms are available on Angel.
Internet sources. Internet materials should not be used in the papers
without prior permission from
Grades will be determined by the following percentages:
Class attendance is part of the discussion grade. Excessive absences
(more than three) will result
in a reduction of the discussion grade.
Instances of academic dishonesty will be severely punished, with
penalties up to failure on the
assignment and failure in the course.