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History 32000-001 (10981)
The World of Charlemagne

2015, fall semester

INSTRUCTOR

John Contreni

Office: BRNG 2216J

Hours: T and Th 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.; and by appt.

Phone: 765-418-1866

E-mail: contreni@purdue.edu




Assiduous and frequent questioning is indeed the first key to wisdom.

--Peter Abelard (1121)
The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

--Leslie Poles Hartley (1953)
The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.

--Robert Frost (1874-1963)
When people lived in times of long ago, they never thought they lived long ago. They thought they lived Now.

--Constance Brittain Bouchard (2015)

NOTE: In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. Here are ways to get information about changes in this course.

Blackboard Learn course Web site

Instructor’s email (listed above)

Instructor’s phone (listed above)


TIP. Make good use of the office hours. Feel free to consult with the instructor or the teaching assistant during your progress through the course. The time to seek help is when you begin to experience a problem, not at the end of the semester.
GOALS
In his own day Charles, king and later emperor of the Franks, was called "the Great". He was also known to his contemporaries as Europae Pater, "the Father of Europe". Today, the city of Aachen in Germany awards a "Charlemagne Prize" to the person who best advances the cause of European unity. A conference room in the buildings of the European Union in Strasbourg, France, is called "The Charlemagne Room". Who was this man whose long shadow stretches even to the beginning of the 21st century? More importantly, what did he do 1200 years ago that still commands our attention?
The "World of Charlemagne" offers us an important case study of historical change. For the first time since the break-up of the Roman Empire in the West during the fourth and fifth centuries, people began to think about what European civilization and society should be like. In the hands of Charlemagne and his advisors and successors, Europeans began to take action to implement their ideas. One of the results of their thinking and their efforts was the creation of the Carolingian Empire. It was Charlemagne's conquest and domination of most of Western Europe during his long reign (768-814 CE) that earned him a pre-eminent place in historical annals.
Yet, there is much more to the world of Charlemagne than a tale of conquest and empire. What resources did Charlemagne draw on when he and his advisors fashioned their world? How successful were they? How did they respond to challenges, disappointments, and failures? How did their efforts affect the lives of others--non-Franks as well as Frankish men, women, and children? What impact did Charlemagne's career have on politics, religion, the economy, intellectual and cultural life? We will also be interested to find out how Charlemagne's world endured after his death and what impact it might have had on European civilization in the short term and generally.
In addition to focusing on Charlemagne and his world, our semester's work will also attempt to analyze how civilizations try to fashion themselves. It will be attentive to the interplay between individuals and groups, between ideals and realities, between court and local interests, and among competing sources of power and authority. The rich art of the period will be discussed as symbolic representations of how Carolingians thought about themselves and their society.
Although the semester’s work will focus on Charlemagne and his world, the course will also include the perspectives of his successors and rivals, as well as of Saxons, Vikings, Muslims, Byzantines, bishops, abbots, and important men and women who also populated Charlemagne’s world and helped to shape its successes as well as its failures.
Finally, the semester's work will provide students with an opportunity to develop their analytical (= thinking) skills by reading, thinking, and discussion. They will learn to read historical documents in context and to analyze those documents for what they reveal about a particular period in human history.
This course will use lectures, readings, discussions, and images to try as best as possible within 15 weeks to create a portrait of a complex and fascinating time, a time whose failures and successes affected history long after Charlemagne's world collapsed.
REQUIRED TEXTS

1. Alessandro Barbero, Charlemagne: Father of a Continent. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. 0-520-23943-1



2. Thomas F.X. Noble, ed. and trans. Charlemagne and Louis the Pious: The Lives by Einhard, Notker, Ermoldus, Thegan, and the Astronomer. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2009.




READING AND LECTURE SCHEDULE (follow order of chapters as listed below)


WEEK 1: 24 AUGUST



Reading and Discussion assignment:
Charlemagne, pp. 1-4, “Introduction” and ch. 1, “The Frankish Tradition”
Lectures:

I INTRODUCTION



WEEK 2: 31 AUGUST



Reading and Discussion assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 2, “The War Against the Lombards”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” (pp. 1-6)
Lectures

I INTRODUCTION

II. FROM LONG-HAIRED KINGS TO EMPERORS

WEEK 3 7 SEPTEMBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:
Charlemagne, ch. 3, “Wars Against the Pagans”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” + Einhard, prologue-c. 16 (pp. 7-37)
Lectures:
II. FROM LONG-HAIRED KINGS TO EMPERORS

WEEK 4 14 SEPTEMBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:
Charlemagne, ch. 4, “The Rebirth of Empire”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Einhard, c. 16-33 (pp. 37-50)
Lectures:
II. FROM LONG-HAIRED KINGS TO EMPERORS

WEEK 5 21 SEPTEMBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:
Charlemagne, ch. 5, “Charlemagne and Europe”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” + Notker, Bk I,1-19 (pp. 51-75)
Lectures:

II. FROM LONG-HAIRED KINGS TO EMPERORS



WEEK 6 28 SEPTEMBER



Exam I on Weeks 1-5: Tuesday 29 September
Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 6, “The Man and His Family”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Notker, Bk I,20-Bk II,9 (pp. 75-100)
Lectures:

III. THE ORGANIZATION OF POLITICS, THE ECONOMY, AND RELIGION



WEEK 7 5 OCTOBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 7, “Government of the Empire: The Institutions”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Notker, Bk II,10-22 (pp. 100-118)
Lectures:

III. THE ORGANIZATION OF POLITICS, THE ECONOMY, AND RELIGION


WEEK 8 12 OCTOBER
Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 8: Government of the Empire: The Resources”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” and Ermoldus, Bk 1 (pp. 119-142)
Lectures:

III. THE ORGANIZATION OF POLITICS, THE ECONOMY, AND RELIGION



WEEK 9 19 OCTOBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 9: “Government of the Empire: The Justice System”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Ermoldus, Bks 2-3 (pp. 142-170)
Lectures:

IV. FASHIONING A EUROPEAN CULTURAL LIFE



WEEK 10 26 OCTOBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 10: “An Intellectual Project”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Ermoldus, Bk 4 (pp. 170-186)
Lectures:

IV. FASHIONING A EUROPEAN CULTURAL LIFE



WEEK 11 2 November



Exam II on Weeks 6-10: Tuesday, 3 November
Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 11, “The Frankish Military Machine”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” and Thegan, prologue- c. 41 (pp. 187-210)
Lectures:

V. FAMILY FEUDS AND NEW INVASIONS


WEEK 12 9 NOVEMBER
Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 12, “A New Economy”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Thegan, c. 41-58 (pp. 210-218)
Lectures:

V. FAMILY FEUDS AND NEW INVASIONS



WEEK 13 16 NOVEMBER
Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 13, “Patronage and Servitude”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, “Introduction” and Astronomer, prologue – c. 20 (pp. 218-246)
Lectures:

VI. TOWARD THE FUTURE: THE LEGACY OF THE FIRST EUROPE



WEEK 13.5 23 NOVEMBER



Lectures:

VI. TOWARD THE FUTURE: THE LEGACY OF THE FIRST EUROPE



WEEK 14 30 NOVEMBER



Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne, ch. 14, “Old Age and Death”

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Astronomer, c. 21-43 (pp. 246-245)
Lectures:

VI. TOWARD THE FUTURE: THE LEGACY OF THE FIRST EUROPE



WEEK 15: 7 DECEMBER


Reading and Discussion Assignment:

Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, Astronomer, c. 44-64) (pp. 275-302)



Lectures:

VII. SUMMING UP



FINAL EXAM WEEK: 14 DECEMBER



Exam III on Weeks 11-15: TBA
EXAMS

Three essay exams will provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of course materials. The exams are scheduled for 29 September, 3 November, and final exam week. The exams will cover the previous five weeks' work and will be based on lectures and discussion topics. Each will count 0-25 pts. (25%) toward determination of the overall grade (0-100 points) for the course.

DISCUSSION

The two main texts for the course, Alessandro Barbero’s study of Charlemagne and Thomas F.X. Noble’s important collection of Carolingian sources, present multiple perspectives on the world of Charlemagne. Awareness and appreciation of these perspectives will be enhanced by intelligent discussion of the weekly readings.


Weekly discussion topics will be posted on Blackboard, but students should feel free to raise questions and make points about any aspect of the readings. Discussions based on the weekly readings are scheduled for Thursday meetings, but discussion is encouraged at any time.
Evaluation Standards for Discussion
Discussion participation will count 0-25 pts. (25%) toward calculation of the final course grade. Students will earn at least a passing grade of D for attending discussion. Participation in discussion over the course of the semester will advance that grade to the C, B, or A level depending on the quality and frequency of discussion. Absence from discussion counts as 0 for each discussion missed.
Students often have questions about how participation in discussion will be evaluated and assessed. Overall participation will be assessed at the end of the semester according to the following criteria:
A level (90-100%): Student participates often, without having to be called on. Responds both to issues raised by the discussion leader and points raised by other students. Knows how to work in a discussionbased environment: Keeps to the point; helps to keep others (even the instructor!) on the point; sees when it is time to move to a new issue. Consistently displays careful, critical, analytical reading of the weekly assignments.

B level (80-89%): Student participates often. Offers to participate and/or responds effectively when called on. Knows basic information but can offer interpretations, analyses, critical reflections. Responds to other students' points. Shows real interest and gives evidence of having completed the reading with a high degree of understanding and comprehension.

C level (70-79%): Student occasionally participates voluntarily. Can respond minimally if called on. Demonstrates very basic preparation of essential facts but gives no evidence of careful, critical thought about the reading and the problems it raises. Shows modest interest and gives evidence of having completed only some of the reading.

D level (60-69%): Student is present for discussion. Does not voluntarily contribute. Has difficulty responding when called on. Shows little interest and gives no clear evidence of having completed the assigned reading.

F level: Student is absent from discussion. Each absence will affect the calculation of the overall score for the discussion component of student achievement.
For example, student X who scores at the mid-B level for discussion and attends all discussions would earn .85 x 25 pts. x 1.0 for discussion = 21.25 / 25 pts.

Student Y who scores at the mid-B level for discussion, but who attended 75% of the discussions would earn .85 x 25 pts. x .75 = 15.94 / 25 pts.

Student Z who scores at the mid-B level for discussion, but who attended 60% of the discussions would earn .85 x 25 pts. x .60 = 12.75 / 25 pts.
TIP: Many students report that they do not participate as much as they should in discussion because they hesitate to speak out in groups, feel that they are shy, or feel that they have little to contribute. We understand these concerns, but it's time to contribute to and participate in learning and not sit on the sidelines. The only dumb question is the one that never gets asked! So be brave!


SUMMARY Exam 1 (9/29): 0-25 pts.


Exam 2 (11/3): 0-25 pts.

Exam 3 (wk 16): 0-25 pts.

Discussion: 0-25 pts.
Total: 0-100 pts.
A+ = 100-96 pts B+ = 89-86 pts. C+ = 79-76 pts. D+ = 69-66 pts.

A = 95-93 pts B = 85-83 pts. C = 75-73 pts. D = 65-63 pts.



A- = 92-90 pts. B- = 82-80 pts. C- = 72-70 pts. D- = 60-62 pts.
F = 59-0 pts.
GET READY FOR A GREAT SEMESTER!
FINAL TIP: During the last two weeks of the semester, you will be provided an opportunity to evaluate this course and your instructor. To this end, Purdue has transitioned to online course evaluations. On Monday of the fifteenth week of classes, you will receive an official email from evaluation administrators with a link to the online evaluation site. You will have two weeks to complete this evaluation. Your participation in this evaluation is an integral part of this course. Your feedback is vital to improving education at Purdue University. I strongly urge you to participate in the evaluation system.

Cheating / Plagiarism—a distasteful topic that, unfortunately, needs to be addressed.



Plagiarism refers to the reproduction of another's words or ideas without proper attribution. University Regulations contains further information on dishonesty. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are serious offenses, and will be treated as such in this class. You are expected to produce your own work and to accurately cite all necessary materials. Cheating, plagiarism, and other dishonest practices will be punished as harshly as Purdue University policies allow. Any instances of academic dishonesty will likely result in a grade of F for the course and notification of the Office of the Dean of Students.


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