HIST 275
Medieval Europe: 500-1500

(3 credits)

Syllabus Spring 2017

Prof. Pavlac
Office: Hafey-Marian 307
  Office Hours: Thursdays 9:00-10:30;
Wednesdays, Fridays 9:00-10:45, and by appointment.
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. 5748

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


  Class Schedule | Material on the Holy Roman Empire | Weblinks

I. Description

This course offers a broadly based inquiry into the historical synthesis of Greco-Roman, Celtic, Judeo-Christian, and Germanic Barbarian cultures from the late Roman Empire through the age of medieval Christendom, ending with the Renaissance. The course surveys peoples and institutions, especially those of the knights, the clergy, the peasants, and the townspeople, which shaped this period of Western Civilization.

Reading and evaluating sources from history and literature, the students will learn how those people encountered life, death and the afterlife. Drawing also on art, music, drama, philosophy and theology, themes will include the dilemmas of women's choices, the conflict of chivalry and warfare, the interplay of imagination and reality, and the construction of the Christian faith.

II. Purpose

This is a History Major, European course.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will develop and apply knowledge of major historical subjects, themes, and concepts.
  2. Students will critically engage sources and assess historiographical arguments.
  3. Students will illustrate participation in historical conversations by producing original scholarship.

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

III. General Requirements

A. Academic Integrity:

Review the academic honesty policy concerning cheating and plagiarism, differing levels of violations, and your moral, ethical, and legal obligation only to submit work completed by you yourself. (click here for more information from the Student Handbook <http://www.kings.edu/non_cms/pdf/StudentHandbook.pdf#page=45>).  Also see <Help stop Plagiarism!>.

B. Reading:

The readings are intended to provide you with important factual and background information before class, a basis for discussion during class, and to be used as review and reference works afterwards.

Please obtain the following textbooks:

And you will also use these materials:

Before class, you will read  according to the class schedule, below. In all of your classes, you should prudently mark up, underline, highlight, and otherwise annotate your texts as you study. For this class, you are required to do so.  Thus it would be best if you purchased/rented/leased a clean un-marked-up copy of each text (whether new or used).
You should critique the texts as you study. While you are reading, use one or more highlighters or pens to mark up portions of the texts. You might use marks similar to those used by the professor in his assessment of your own assignments, found here. You might consider different colors for (a) historical facts, terms, dates, (b) important points or details, or (c) key explanatory phrases and sentences (d) significant quotes or lines. You might write comments in the margins about the following points:

Carefully reading and noting texts is so important that the instructor applies two methods of evaluation:
First, quizzes may be given. Quizzes are usually open book, so you may copy your answers from your notes onto the quiz sheet. Use your own words: language similar to the texts may be plagiarism.
Second, you are required to turn in your textbooks at exams; then the instructor will evaluate how well you have marked it up and answered review questions.

Bring both Rosenwien textbooks to every class as scheduled to discuss them;  bring and the handouts as assigned.  Ask questions about your texts. We will discuss them. After class, regularly through the semester, you should review your class notes and compare them with the texts.

If you have a used textbook that has already been marked up or an electronic version of the textbook, or there is some other problem with obtaining a textbook, see the instructor within the first two weeks of classes so that solutions can be found for your use of the textbook and subsequent evaluation.

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 25%) will depend on your in-class performance, aside from graded quizzes, exams, and papers.

During class, students will be called on at random to explain and/or start discussion on a particular text required for that day's class.  For more on evaluating texts and sources, study this page:  <http://staff.kings.edu/bapavlac/methods/sourceeval.html>.

You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, maintain proper classroom decorum, respond to questions, and participate in discussion and small-group activities. You are encouraged to take notes and ask questions. Some class material will examine explicit issues of sex and violence.  Students are expected to be informed about significant current events, to enable mature engagement with the relevance of our society's past to present problems and controversies.

During class, electronic devices may only be used for tasks and information relevant to the classroom activity and may not distract you or other students. 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.

Any student who has a learning disability, physical handicap, and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements (whether vetted by the Academic Skills Center or not) should meet with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to establish available accommodations.

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 through the Registrar.

D. Absence Policy:

Since participation and class attendance are necessary, if you miss a class you must complete an Absentee Assignment (see below) so that the instructor may evaluate whether some learning has taken place (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 (see below) may be required. Students who need to leave a class early, except for an emergency, should notify the instructor before class begins.

Missing a class falls into two categories, excused or unexcused, either of which requires submission of an Absentee Assignment (see below).

1. Excused absences are due to college activities, an emergency, or extended illness. They require a notification by the appropriate College official (coach, director, etc.). If you know in advance, you should consult with the instructor about making up/turning in missed work; otherwise contact the instructor as soon as possible after your return. They should have no negative impact upon your grade.

2. All other absences, for whatever reasons, are unexcused, but do not require any written documentation. More than a few will lower the class participation portion of your grade.

After any absence, you are also responsible for requesting any hand-outs and already-returned assignments from the instructor, or borrowing notes from other students.
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 professor, who may require any equivalent assignment; otherwise you will get an average of the other student grades, if you turn in an absentee assignment. 
If you miss an exam, you do not need to complete an Absentee Assignment, but contact the instructor as soon as possible to schedule a make-up for the exam. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor.

A few unexcused absences or a make-up exam should not significantly affect your grade.  Always, your health is your first priority. If you are sick, stay away from class, and seek proper treatment and rest before returning to class.

E. Absentee Assignment:

Since participation and class attendance are necessary, if you miss a class you must complete an Absentee Assignment so that the instructor may evaluate whether some learning has taken place.
For an Absentee Assignment, you are to write a no-more-than-one page essay (in proper presentation format--the title on the cover page should be "Absentee Assignment" followed on the next line by the date of the class missed) covering that day's reading or discussion topic.
These papers are ungraded, without points, and not returned; yet failure to complete Absentee Assignments will significantly lower your grade, perhaps resulting in failure of the course. 
Deadlines: The assignment(s) should be turned in to the instructor at the beginning of the next class after you return.

F. Exams

1. You will have two exams, a midterm and a final as assigned during finals week, consisting of short answers and long essays (100 and 150 points).  Before each exam, the professor will provide a study guide with key terms and sample questions.  Your diligent attention and participation in class, note-taking, study, and review are necessary to do well on the exams.

G. In-class discussion projects

2. You will have several in-class discussion/projects, intermittently through the semester. As always, you are required to have read before class the appropriate material (as listed on the class schedule, and be prepared to discuss and/or write about it in pairs or small groups. You may be evaluated by short quizzes or written reports done in-class or after class, either individually or in groups, worth between 10 and 20 points each.

H. The Holy Roman Empire discusssion and written project

You will write four-to-five page reflection paper on the historiography of the Holy Roman Empire (100 points).  You will also discuss the main issues in class.

Purpose: In trying to understand and explain the past, historians argue opposing or contradictory theses or points-of-view about the meaning of historical persons, events, and institutions.  The Holy Roman Empire has been one such controversial topic for historians.  Your examination of this structure will help both understand the Middle Ages and historical methodology. Also, this exercise will build your skills in reading texts in-depth, doing research, preparing bibliographies and footnotes, and organizing your findings in a clear, coherent and interesting narrative.


  1. In addition to material in the textbooks on the Holy Roman Empire, study the texts at the Assigned Readings on the Holy Roman Empire page. Also write a few sentences on each of the required glossary terms to be turned in on the relevant class day.
  2. On the class days according to the schedule, come prepared to discuss those readings.  After discussion, turn in your glossary terms, in proper presentation format to the professor (20 points each part).
  3. Write an essay which evaluates how historians have understood the medieval Holy Roman Empire.  You should consider topics such as individual historians with their specific arguments, particular rulers and events, overall trends, comparison to other European political structures (such as England, France, Poland or Castille), and relevance to today's geo-political situation.
  4. Write, re-write, polish, and proofread your drafts. Your thesis should argue the best way to understand the historical significance of the Holy Roman Empire. Only briefly (no more than one paragraph), summarize overall history of the medieval empire. More importantly, you should put the empire in historical/intellectual context of scholarly argument.
  5. Turn in the final draft of your reflection in proper presentation format to the professor at the beginning of class on the scheduled due date.

IV. Grades:

You earn your grade through work done for this course.  You are responsible to understand why you have achieved a certain grade and what you can do 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. For more information see the grading policy. The final exam is comprehensive, covering material for the entire course.  Only paper from the instructor is to be used. Please write legibly, in blue/black ink (no pencils).

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 90%=A, 80-89%=B, etc.) 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.    

V. Class Schedule:

Should the College cancel classes or have a compressed schedule, still do work according to the schedule below, until otherwise instructed by the professor.
Meeting time under the compressed schedule is 2:30-3:15 pm.

week-date topic readings & assignments
1-M Jan 16 Orientation none
W Jan 18 Intro to Medieval History Why the Middle Ages Matter Today
2-M Jan 23 The End of Rome and the Rise of Christianity Chapter ONE 300-600 1.1 Edict of Milan; 1.2 Theodosian Code; 1.3 Plagues; 1.4 Heretics; 1.5 Nicene Creed
W Jan 25 The surviving Church 1.6 City of God; 1.10 Active Life; 1.13 Cassiodorus; 1.14 Toledo; 1.15 Gregory of Tours
3-M Jan 30 Monasticism 1.7 Benedictine Rule; 1.8 Virginal life; (1.9 Eremetical Life or 1.11 Radegund ascetic); 1.12 Radegund collector
W Feb 1 The Dark Ages Chapter TWO 600-750: 2.10 Isidore; 2.11 Leudegar martyr; 2.12 Childebert dispute; 2.13 Boniface; 2.14 Bede
4-M Feb 6 The Carolingians Chapter THREE 750-900: 3.1 Manors; 3.3 slave contract; 3.10 Stephen and Pippin; 3.11 Einhard; 3.13 Dhuoda
W Feb 8 The Creation of Europe Chapter FOUR 900-1050: 4.3 Cluny; 4.4 Cluny donors
5-M Feb 13 Feudal Europe 4.4 William and Hugh; 4.5 Peace of God; 4.6 Catalan Castellan; 4.12 Stephen of Hungary; 4.13 Thietmar and Poland; 4.16 Bruno; 4.17 Alfred; 4.18 Ethelred
W Feb 15 European Expansion Chapter FIVE 1050-1150: 5.1 Colonists from Holland; 5.3 London; 5.9 Jewish Martyrs; 5.10 Stephen on Crusade; 5.11 Muslim reaction; 5.12 Lisbon
6-M Feb 20 England 5.13 Normans; 5.14 Native English; 5.15 Bayeaux; 5.16 Domesday Book
W Feb 22 Mind 5.6 Vesting Prayers; 5.7 Clerics; 5.8 Visitation; 5.17 Abelard; 5.18 Medical Science; 5.19 Stones; 5.20 Bernard; 5.21 Peter the Venerable
7-M Feb 27 Holy Roman Empire I Assigned Readings on the Holy Roman Empire; 5.4 Henry and Gregory; 5.5 Gregory;  Glossary Terms I due
W Mar 1 Midterm EXAM Everything thus far...
8-M Mar 13 More expansion Chapter SIX 1150-1250: 6.1 Northern Crusades; 6.2 Fourth Crusade
W Mar 15 Kings 6.3 Assizes of Clarendon; 6.4 Lawsuit; 6.5 Laws of Cuencia; 6.13 Constitutions of Clarendon; 6.15 Magna Carta
9-M Mar 20 Popes 6.10 Innocent III; 6.11 papal register; 6.12 Gospel according to Marks of Silver
W Mar 22 Estates 6.6 Bec manorial court; 6.7 Genoese societas; 6.8 Silk Guild; 6.9 Shearers Guild;; 6.18 Troubadour; 6.19 Trobairitz; 6.20 Bertran de Born; 6.22 Lancelot
10-M Mar 27 Holy Roman Empire II Assigned Readings on the Holy Roman Empire; 6.14 Besançon:  Glossary Terms II due
W Mar 29 Faith alternatives 6.23 Lateran IV; 6.24 Waldo; 6.25 Mary of Oignes; 6.26 Canticle to Brother Son; 6.27 Heresy in Trier
11-M Apr 3 Late Medieval Crises Chapter SEVEN 1250-1350: 7.1 Mongols; 7.2 Guyuk Khan; 7.3 Hungarian King; (7.4 Poland frontier or 7.5 Lithuanian Duke); 7.6 Prussian Land; 7.16 Louis; 7.17 Parliament; 7.18 Clericos Laicos; 7.19 Unam Sanctam; 7.20 Boniface heretic; 7.21 Estates-general
W Apr 5 Outsiders 7.13 Inquisition; 7.14 lepers; (7.15 Jews or 8.4 Jews); 8.5 plague; 8.16 Margery Kempe; 8.17 Hussites
12-M Apr 10 More Commerce 7.8 Bulgaria and Venice; 7.9 Ghibelline; 7.10 Hanseatic League; 7.12 Siena
W Apr 12 End of the Middle Ages Chapter EIGHT 1350-1500: 8.3 Prayers at York; 8.7 Ottoman agreement with Venice; 8.11 Froissart; 8.12 Jeanne; 8.13 Lucca; 8.14 Wat Tyler; 8.15 Gerson
13-W Apr 19 Medieval vs. Renaissance 8.18 humanists; 8.19 Alberti; 8.20 Christine de Pisan
14-M Apr 24 New World 8.22 Cortés
W Apr 26 Medieval History Epilogue;  Holy Roman Empire Historiography Paper due
15-M May 1 Review Everything thus far...
tba Final EXAM and that's all.

Although this syllabus presents the basic content and requirements of the course, the professor reserves the right to change anything (e.g. assignments, point values, topics, due dates, grading policy, etc.), at any time, at his discretion.

  Class Schedule | Material on the Holy Roman Empire | Weblinks


URL: http://departments.kings.edu/history/hist275.html
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Brian A. Pavlac

Last Revision: 2017 March 3
Questions, Suggestions, Comments? e-mail bapavlacATkings.edu