HIST 325 Knights & Castles

Spring 2014

2-3:15 pm MW, Hafey-Marian 301


Prof. Pavlac
U.S. Mail Address:
History Department
King's College
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5748
Fax: (570) 208-5988 
Office: Hafey-Marian 307
Office hours: 8:30-9:45 MWF
1-1:45, 3:30-4:30 W
and by appointment

Written Assignments | Class Schedule | USEFUL LINKS

I. Description

The mounted warriors of the Middle Ages and their fortified residences inspire awe, romance, and power even today.  Students will learn how knights became a major element in European warfare; how they lived and fought; how they created a governing class and an elite social rank; how they fashioned an ideology of chivalry in art and literature; and finally, how they declined.

II. Purpose

This is a History Major, European Sequence course.

Goal 1: Student will develop familiarity with major historical subjects, themes, and concepts.
Objectives: Students will

Goal 2: Students will engage, investigate and appreciate history as a conversation about how we make sense of the past.Objectives: Students will

Goal 3: Students will join these historical conversations and produce original scholarship.Objectives: Students will

Goal 4: Students will apply their understanding of history in appreciation of the liberal arts.
Objectives: Students will

Goal 5: Students will translate their experience in the history major into their local and global communities.
Objectives: Students will

General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal learning goals. Successful completion of this course is expected to help improve your ability

  1. To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions in order to more clearly clarify a problem, topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in a written form and oral presentations.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

A. Academic Standards (click here for more information).

Be aware of the Academic Standards Policy (sometimes called Academic Honest or Integrity) concerning cheating and plagiarism, and your moral, ethical and legal obligation only to submit work completed by you yourself.  For more information see <Help stop Plagiarism!>.  

Similar to the college's policy in your Student Handbook, as determined by the professor, instances will be reported to the Academic Integrity Officer, and

B. Reading:

Reading is still the best way to learn history.  We will read both broad surveys of history and specific sources in order to better understand the past.

The required readings are intended both to provide you with important factual and background information before class and to be used as review and reference works afterwards. Before class, you will read the chapters or pages assigned according to the class schedule.   In all your classes, you should prudently mark up, underline, and otherwise annotate your texts as you study.  For this class you are required to do so.  Several times and notably at the two exams, the instructor will check your books so that classs text readings and evaluate the quality of your note taking or highlighting.  You are to turn in your textbook at the exams, when the instructor will evaluate how well you have marked it up (15 points each text).

Bring the books to class that are listed for that day's readings.  During each class the instructor will select at random students to present part of that day's reading and show how it integrates with the other material. Not all topics in the books will be covered in class, but you are responsible for them on the exam and in class discussion. 

If necessary, the instructor may give quizzes to test your reading and comprehension of the texts, or evaluate your texts for a quiz grade on your preparation.   For the Froissart text, you will have a study guide to complete (40 points). 

C. Class Participation & Attendance:

Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives. Thus a portion of your grade (about 20%) will depend on your in-class performance and presence, aside from graded quizzes, exams, and papers.  You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, maintain proper classroom decorum, respond to questions, and participate in discussion, presentation of the reading, and in-class projects. You are encouraged to take notes and ask questions.   Since mature engagement with our society's past and present and controversies requires knowledge of current events, students are expected to be informed about significant news stories. 

Any student who has a learning disability, physical handicap, and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should meet with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to establish available accommodations.  Only with the instructor's permission may class be recorded, only to be used for your own study, and the recordings must be erased after the final exam.

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, whether due to poor performance, illness, or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal. 

This class's absence policy requires students who miss a class to fill out an Absentee Assignment (see below).  

If you arrive at class late, after attendance is taken, you must personally request that the absence be turned into a tardy mark; otherwise an Absentee Assignment may be required (see below).  Students who need to leave a class early, except for an emergency, should notify the instructor before class begins.

1. Absence Policy and Absentee Assignment:

Since participation and class attendance are necessary, if you miss a class you must complete an Absentee Assignment in order for the instructor to know that some learning has taken place.  For an Absentee Assignment, you are to write a one-to-one-and-a-half page essay (in proper presentation format) reviewing the topic for the day based on required readings.  These papers are ungraded, without points, and not returned; yet failure to complete Absentee Assignments will significantly lower your grade.  
: The assignment(s) should be turned in to the instructor at the beginning of the next class after you return.

This absence policy requires Absentee Assignments whether absences are excused or not.  Excused absences due to college activities or extended illness must be authorized in writing by the appropriate college official. You should consult with the professor about making up/turning in missed work in advance or as soon as possible after your return. 
All other absences are unexcused and do not require any written documentation. 

If you miss an exam, contact the instructor as soon as possible. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor.  The make-up exam takes the place of an Absentee Assignment. 
If you miss any quizzes and/or class projects due to an excused absence, you may make them up with the explicit permission of the instructor, who may require any equivalent assignment, due at the beginning of the next class period. 
After any absence, you are responsible for requesting from the professor hand-outs and already-returned assignments, or borrowing notes from other students. 

More than a few unexcused absences will start to lower the class participation portions of your grade, despite turning in the mandatory Absentee Assignments.  Whether absences are excused or not, you may not get a higher grade than the percentage of classes attended. 
Nevertheless, a few absences will not significantly affect your grade.  Always, your health is your first priority.  If you are sick, stay home and recover. 

D. In-class Projects:

1.  Regularly through the semester we will have in-class discussions and projects. You are required to have read before class the appropriate material (as listed on the class schedule or otherwise assigned by the instructors) or view material in class and be prepared to discuss and write about it with the instructors or in small groups.

You will be evaluated by short quizzes or written reports done in-class or after class, worth between 10 and 20 points each.


At the end of the semester, you will participate in a simulation of medieval courts and combat.

Purpose: This exercise will summarize what you have learned for the class, showing your understanding of feudal relationships through the acting out of medieval political and social life.

Procedure: More information will be provided in a handout. If any student feels uncomfortable with role-playing, contact the instructor for an alternate assignment.

For Documents related to the simulation, click here.

The Maps for the game are available here.

After the end of the game sessions, on the due date assigned, submit a two page reflection paper in proper presentation format, describing your perceptions of the process. Questions you might consider: How did you prepare for your role? At what were you able to succeed? Where did you fail? What mistakes did you make? How did the other characters and/or the rules help or hinder the pursuit of goals? (50 points)

E. Exams

You will take one mid-term exam on the assigned date in the class schedule and a final exam as assigned during finals week. The exams are comprehensive: each exam may cover material since the beginning of the course. Both exams consist of short identifications quizzing knowledge of detail and significance, and longer essays demanding your understanding of the course material through logical presentation of facts and explanation of historical trends.   During the exams the instructor will grade your marking up of your textbooks, for the mid-term Life in a Medieval Castle and A Warrior Bishop, for the final The Knight in History, The Medieval Fortress, and Froissart.

To study for the exams you should regularly, at least once a week, review your class notes. You should also compare and contrast these notes with your textbook and with the issues and trends emphasized in the class description.

F. Written Assignments:

1. Presentation:

Both for practice in following guidelines and to facilitate consistency in grading, papers should be uniform in appearance.  For more information, see the proper presentation format page. Every assignment you turn in should have a cover page with your name, but your name should not appear on subsequent pages. For more information, especially about quotations and citations see click here.  For more on ways to improve writing essays, see <http://staff.kings.edu/bapavlac/grading.html#howto>.


You will write three-to-five page reflection paper on A Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier (40 points).

Purpose: This exercise will build your skills in reading texts in-depth, doing research, and organizing your findings in a clear, coherent and interesting narrative


  1. Read A Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier.
  2. Write, re-write, polish and proofread your drafts. Your thesis should argue the source’s usefulness in understanding medieval society and war. Only briefly (no more than one paragraph), summarize the plot or subject. More important, use specific examples from the source to explain feudal politics. You should put it in historical/intellectual context. Compare and contrast your subject with what we have learned and read about nobility, honor, religion, training, courtly love, lifestyle, warfare, tournaments, virtues and vices. Be sure to analyze social codes of behavior and examples of combat in the context of fact vs. fantasy.
    Citations may be made using the chapter number at the end of the sentence, before the period, e.g. (Chap. 21).
  3. Turn in the final draft of your report in proper presentation format to the instructor on the due date. Be prepared to discuss the book in class.


You are to write a five-to-six page analysis of knighthood and chivalry based on a primary source.

Purpose: This exercise will build your skills in reading texts in-depth, doing research, and organizing your findings in a clear, coherent and interesting narrative (100 points).


  1. Choose a work from the list on this page, then signing your name on the list posted on the instructor’s door by January 30.  You should do some research on the work and obtain a copy before you sign up for it. 
  2. Read the work and do research on the author and text. Consult at least five printed secondary scholarly books and three scholarly articles.
  3. Write, re-write, polish and proofread your drafts. Your thesis should argue the source’s usefulness in understanding medieval knights. Only briefly (no more than one page), summarize the plot or subject. More important, use specific examples from the author’s life and work to explain knighthood. You should put it in historical/intellectual context. Compare and contrast your subject with what we have learned and read about nobility, honor, religion, training, courtly love, lifestyle, warfare, tournaments, virtues and vices. Be sure to analyze social codes of behavior and examples of combat in the context of fact vs. fantasy.
  4. Turn in the final draft of your report to the instructor on the due date (75 points).
  5. You will present a seven-to-eight-minute oral report to the class on your subject on the days listed on the course schedule. Be sure to go beyond the textbook presentation, connecting your figure to other issues under discussion, and examining historians’ controversies.
    You must prepare a handout for the class which sums up the key aspects of your paper.  No slide presentations are allowed.  You must use notes (not full sentences or text copied from your written report) printed on 5x8 inch notecards or half sheets or standard 8½ inch paper (neatness and clarity count). Your assignment will be evaluated on the appropriateness of your choice of artwork, the thoroughness of your answers, quality of your notes, your use of sources, the clarity of your oral presentation, and your response to questions. For a similar evaluation form which will be used, click here. Your report will be evaluated on your clarity of presentation, the use of details, and the quality of your analysis. (25 points).

IV. Grades:

You earn your grade through work done for this course. It is your responsibility to understand why you have achieved a certain grade, and what steps you can take to maintain or improve your grade.  You are encouraged to consult with the professor during office hours or by appointment both before and after exams and written assignments.  Click here for parameters of evaluation and grading.

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 90%=A, 80-90%=B, etc., with borderline grades earning "+" or "-") of the sum of the assignments. Different assignments will be worth certain point values.

For your protection, in case of errors of recording, you should keep copies of all exams and assignments until you have received official notice of your final grade.  Any and all materials done for this course may become the property of the professor, who may use them for assessment, evaluative, scholarly, or research purposes. 

Although the syllabus presents the basic content and requirements of the course the professor reserves the right to change anything (e.g. assignments, and topics, due dates), anytime, at his discretion.   If the college should cancel classes, maintain the given schedule below for all assignments until otherwise notified. 

V. Class Schedule:

date topic readings and other assignments due: 
Jan13 Orientation USEFUL LINKS
Jan15 The End of Rome and the Beginning of the Middle Ages Medieval Fortress, Introduction, Chaps. 1, 2
Jan20 The Beginnings of Knights & Castles Life in a Medieval Castle, pp. 1-146
Jan22 Embroidery Knight in History, Chap. 1, 2
Jan27 Life of Knights Life in a Medieval Castle, pp. 147-231
Jan29 Heraldry  
Feb2 Life of Castles Medieval Fortress, Chap. 3
Feb5 Chivalry & Romance Knight in History, Chap. 4
Feb10 Tournaments Knight in History, Chap. 5
Feb12 Crusades Knight in History, Chap. 3
Feb17 More Crusades Knight in History, Chap. 6
Feb19 Territorial Politics A Warrior Bishop of the Twelfth Century: The Deeds of Albero of Trier; Warrior Bishop Paper Due
Feb24 Review Review
Mar10 The Hundred Years War Froissart, Book One pp. 1-198;
Medieval Fortress
, Chap. 4;  Study Guide Part One Due
Mar12 The Hundred Years War Froissart, Book One, again
Mar17 The Hundred Years War Froissart, Book Two pp, 198-259; Study Guide Part Two Due
Mar19 The Hundred Years War Froissart, Book Three pp. 263-348;
Knight in History
, Chap. 7; Study Guide Part Three Due
Mar24 The Hundred Years War Froissart, Book Four pp. 351-471; 
Knight in History
, Chap. 8; Study Guide Part Four Due
Mar26 Castles in Countries Medieval Fortress, Chap. 5  
Chivalry in History Source Paper Due
Mar31 The end of Knights & Castles Knight in History, Chap. 9
Apr2 Source Reports  
Apr7 Source Reports  
Apr9 Source Reports  
Apr14 Simulation Feudal Lords and Ladies
Apr16 Simulation Feudal Lords and Ladies
Apr23 Simulation Feudal Lords and Ladies
Apr28 Last Class Review;  Feudal Lords and Ladies Reflection paper due

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