Subject of the course:

The course focuses on European history between 1000 and 1300. We shall discuss the formation of institutions, especially those of government, the church and education. We shall also consider the transformation of European culture and society including the history of learning in the period, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and the literature of chivalry.

Goals of the course:

One purpose of the course, then, is to survey the history of this long, complex and formative epoch in western civilization. As with other history courses, two kinds of learning are involved. The first involves acquiring basic information about chronology and events: what happened, when and where, and who were involved. The second kind of learning involves interpretation: arriving at the best inference about what happened when evidence is meager or contradictory; recognizing and articulating the significance of events and ideas; and understanding historical context, or how culture, institutions, and social relations affect what people think and do. To achieve high grades in the course students will need to approach the class work with both objectives in mind. Put another way: students will be learning how to acquire information about an unfamiliar subject, evaluate the usefulness and reliability of the information, and discuss it and draw conclusions about it using clear, correct formal language. These are not, in short, skills to get through history classes; they are abilities that are applicable to a wide variety of adult experiences.


Grades will be determined according to the following percentages:

    Quizzes, short essays, and class participation     20%
    Exams                                                                       40%
    Papers                                                                      40%

All exams will be essay exams. Students will be expected to know the material covered in both assigned readings and lectures; they will also 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 original research using both primary and secondary sources on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the professor. The first stage of research will be directed toward the preparation of a 2-page prospectus detailing the topic to be studied and providing a preliminary bibliography. (Note: Out of date sources, or encyclopedias, are not acceptable for the historiographical part of the assignment.) This prospectus must be approved by the instructor prior to doing additional work on the paper. Students have the option of submitting a draft of their paper early (ten days before the due date for the paper) in order to receive criticism and suggestions for improvement.

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. A page of sample footnotes will be posted on Angel.


The following books are available for purchase at the usual places. The current readings should generally be brought to class, especially in the case of primary sources.

        Maureen Miller, Power and the Holy in the Age of the Investiture Contest
        Elizabeth Hallam and Judith Everhard, Capetian France 987-1328<
        Jonathan Phillips, The Crusades 1095-1197
        Robert Bartlett, England under the Norman and Angevin Kings
        Burr, The Spiritual Franciscans

There will also be a number of readings posted to Angel or available on the web. Students should plan to print them out so that they can read them with care and bring them to class for discussion. For primary sources such as The Song of Roland, students are welcome to purchase one of the readily available modern translations to use instead of the online sources. A link to the online syllabus, which contains further links to readings and other materials, can be found on my homepage:


Reading should be done in advance of the class for which they are assigned. Students will be expected to be able to discuss the readings and to answer questions on the content of the readings. Students who come to class unprepared will face some announced quizzes over the reading assignments; the results will be counted in the participation grade.

Quizzes and Class Participation

The participation portion of the grade will reflect coming to class prepared, having done the assigned readings, and being ready to answer or ask questions about them. This preparation will be measured by brief quizzes occasionally given at the beginning of class, or by very brief papers assigned in advance on the readings. Additionally, students who are absent without excuse more than three times will have their class participation grade reduced proportionally.


Instances of academic dishonesty will be punished by failure in the course.