History of the High and Later Middle Ages Reading List

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Brother Charles

History 112

History of the High and Later Middle Ages

Reading List

The Epic of the Cid with related texts

Geoffroy de Charney, A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry

Chretien de Troyes, Perceval

Charles Homer Haskins, The Rise of the Universities

Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages

Richard Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages

Monday 06 Feb. Course Introduction

The Epic of the Cid with related texts, trans. and ed., Michael Harney (Indianapolis: 2011) [Reading of The Cid as a primary text; supplemented by the 11th century Scholar’s Guide] LO12

Wed. 08 Feb. Historical context of Spain at the second millennium

The Epic of the Cid with related texts [Supplemented by the spurious Martyrdom of San Pedro de Cardenas] LO123

Friday 10 Feb. The Beginning of the Reconquest

The Epic of the Cid with related texts [Documents: Arabic, Portuguese, Provencal, and other Dawn Songs] LO134

Monday 13 Feb. Early Medieval Frontiers

The Epic of the Cid exercise due [Who was the intended audience of the poet? Based on the evidence of the poem, describe the political, social, and religious background of the audience.] [Powerpoint on Arabic and Jewish adaptation of Visigothic art and architecture] LO134

Wed. 15 Feb. A fragmented world

Richard Southern, The Making of the Middle Ages, ch. I.i, “ pp. 1-25 [Documents: Excerpts from writings and Vita of Gerbert of Aurillac; Arabic description of Cordoba] LO134

Friday 17 Feb. Europe at the second millennium

Southern, ch. I, ii, a, b.1, pp. 25-49 [Documents related to Fulk Nerra, ancestor of the Plantagenets.] LO13

Monday 20 Feb. The Crusades in context

Southern, ch. I, ii, b, 2-3, pp. 49-73 [Documents: Different versions of uf Pope Urban’s speech at Clermont.] LO123

Wed. 22 Feb. Law and society

Southern, ch. II, i, pp. 74-98 [Documents: Contracts of serfdom and vassalage.] LO234

Thursday 23 Feb. Essay due: El Cid as a Window onto Medieval Castille [Essay on The Cid in relation to the historical documents on Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar] LO123

Friday 24 Feb. Southern's view of Europe after the millennium

Southern, ch. II, ii, pp. 98-117 [Artifacts: Croatian relief of King Zvonimir; Magyar Charter; Excerpt from Njal’s Saga] LO134

Monday 27 March Medieval Christianity

Southern, ch. III, i and ii, pp. 118-154 [Artifacts: Model of the Desiderian Basilica at Montecassino; Frescoes of Sant’Angelo in Formis and Santa Fosca at Torcello] LO134

Wed 29 Feb. The flowering of the peace society

Southern, chs. III, iii and IV, i, pp. 154-184 [Documents of the Peace of God and the Truce of God] LO134

Friday 02 March Southern on the Church and Society

Southern, ch. IV, ii, pp. 185-218 [Secular and monastic charters] LO34

Monday 05 March Vernacular Literature in the Gothic Era

Southern, ch. V, pp. 219-257 [Powerpoint on Eleanor of Aquitaine; Documents: Excerpts from Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes] LO134

Wed. 07 March The origins of the Holy Grail

Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval, pp. i-xxix; 1-20, Translator’s Introduction,

“Prologue,” and “The Meeting with the Knights” [Powerpoint on the historical background of Perceval and the Grail: Routrou the Great of La Perce] LO13

Friday 09 March Initial impressions of Perceval and his world

Perceval, pp. 21-81, “The Maiden in the Tent,” “The Red Knight,”

“Gornemant of Gohort,” and “Blanchefor, Anguingueron, and Clamadeu” [Documents: contracts of confraternity and affiliation] LO34

Monday 12 March The problem and meaning of the Grail

Perceval, pp. 82-125, “The Grail,” “Perceval’s Cousin,” “The Proud Knight of the Moor,” and “Blood on the Snow” [Document: Excerpts from The Mabinogion] LO3

Wed. 14 March The twelfth-century renaissance

Perceval, pp. 126-176, “The Ugly Maiden and Guinganbresil,” “The Maid

with Little Sleeves,” “Escavalon”, and “Perceval’s Hermit Uncle” [Powerpoint on the architecture and art of the 12th century] LO234

Thursday, 15 March Essay on Southern due LO12

Friday 16 March Perceval: An assessment

Perceval, pp. 177-244, “Greoreas and the Evil Maiden,” “The Wondrous Bed,” and “The Guiromelant”

Monday 19 March Midterm Exams [Oral exams looking for comprehension of the narrative of history, interpretation of the historians read, and the ability to see the relations and connections between all the informing sources of the course] LO1234

Wed. 21 March The Hundred Year's War

Geoffroi de Charney, A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry, pp. 1-66 [Powerpoint on acheiropoietic images and the Shroud of Turin] LO34

Friday 23 March The problem of chivalry

Charney, pp. 66-107 [Powerpoint on Muslim art and architecture] LO13

Saturday 24 March Field Trip to the Legion of Honor and Grace Cathedral [To see artifacts and art, including the Mudejar ceiling from Spain and the labyrinth of Chartres] LO34

Monday 26 March The rise of the university

Charles Homer Haskins, The Rise of Universities, pp. 1-57 (handout) [Powerpoint on the earliest universities] LO14

Wed. 28 March Medieval students

Haskins, The Rise of Universities, pp. 59-93 (handout) [Documents: Letters from students and parents of the early universities] LO34

Friday 30 March Medieval Vernacular Literature [Excerpts from the Dawn Songs (again), Dante, The Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuova; and The Romance of the Rose] LO134

Monday 02 April- Holy Week Recess

Monday 09 April

Wed. 11 April Themes in economic and social history

Stephen A. Epstein, An Economic and Social History of the Later

Medieval Europe, 1000-1500, introduction and chapter 1, "Europe at the Millennium," pp. 1-39 [Documents: Agricultural deeds and accounts] LO134

Thursday, 12 April Essay on chivalry due LO24

Friday 13 April Assessing peasant life

Epstein, ch. 2, "Agriculture and Rural Life," pp. 40-69 [Document: Excerpts from George Duby] LO12

Monday 16 April The birth of the bourgeoisie

Epstein, ch. 3, "Trade 1000-1350," pp. 70-99 [Powerpoint on Incastellamento] LO12

Wed/ 18 April Overcoming the pain of usury

Epstein, c. 4, and "Cities, Guilds and Political Economy," pp. 100-128 [Artifact: Frescoes of the Chiesa Madre of San Gemignano] LO34

Friday 20 April Social and economic development in the High Middle Ages

Epstein, ch. 6, pp. 159-189 LO1

Monday 23 April The Plague and Famine

Epstein, chs. 6-7, "The Great Hunger and the Big Death" and "Technology

and Consumerism," pp. 159-222 [Documents: Excerpts from Decameron and I promesi sposi] LO134

Wed. 25 April "The Calamitous Fourteenth Century"

Epstein, ch. 8, "War and Social Unrest," pp. 223-249 [Documents: Duby again; descriptions of English scorched earth raids] LO1234

Friday 27 April Economic and Social Change after the Millennium

Epstein, c. 9, "Fifteenth-Century Portraits, pp. 250-281 [Powerpoint on portraiture] LO34

Monday 30 April One's place in the medieval world and society

Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages, chs. 1-3, “The Violent Tenor of Life,” “Pessimism and the Ideal of the Sublime Life,” and “The Hierarchical Conception of Society,” pp. 1-55 (handout) [Artifact: Excerpt of Ingmar Bergman’s film of Mozart’s Magic Flute] LO24

Wed. 02 May The Burgundian court

Huizinga, chs. 4-7, “The Idea of Chivalry,” “The Dream of Heroism and Love, ” “Orders of Chivalry and Vows,” and “The Political and Military Value of Chivalrous Ideas,” pp. 56-94 (handout) [Powerpoint on the tombs of the dukes of Burgundy] LO34

Friday 04 May Huizinga's view of the Gothic mentality

Huizinga, chs. 8-11, “Love Formalized,” “The Conventions of Love,” “The Idyllic Vision of Life,” and “The Vision of Death,” pp. 95-135 (handout) [Powerpoint on the Danse Macabre] LO34

Monday 07 May The exhaustion of medieval forms

Huizinga, chs. 12-16, “Religious Thought Crystallizing into Images,” “Types of Religious Life,” “Religious Sensibility and Religious Imagination,” “Symbolism in Its Decline,” and “The Effects of Realism,” pp. 136-200 (handout) [Document: Excerpt from Denis the Carthusian] LO34

Wed. 09 May Burgundian art

Huizinga, chs. 17-20, “Religious Thought beyond the Limits of Imagination,” “The Forms of Thought and Practical Life,” “Art and Life,” and “The Aesthetic Sentiment," pp. 201-251 (handout) [Powerpoint: Comparison of Renaissance and Burgundian art] LO13

Friday 11 May The end of the Middle Ages

Huizinga, chs. 21-23, “Verbal and Plastic Expression Compared, I-II” and “The Advent of the New Form,” pp. 252-308 (handout) [Discussion of Huizinga] LO13

Monday 14 May Final Exam [Similar to the Midterm] LO1234

Thursday 17 May Essay on Europe at the end of the Middle Ages due LO2

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will learn to examine the history of Europe and the Mediterranean, including the Byzantine and Arabic Empires from the perspectives of a number of historical constants, such as social-economic relations, learning, religion, politics, art, literature, and peace and warfare. The period covered in the course is the turn of the second millennium to the end of the fifteenth century. Students will also become familiar with the political and physical geography of the areas studied.

  • Students will come to understand the major theories of historical interpretation that have developed to explain the emergence of high the Gothic culture of Europe. In particular here are the interpretations of Richard Southern and Johan Huizinga. Students will also come to understand the relationships and cultural exchanges between the West and the Greek and Arabic cultures.

  • Students will learn how to read and analyze primary resources in translation, drawing upon their historical context in order to properly understand them and using them, in turn, to understand the culture and history of their times. Primary documentary evidence, in translations, art, artifacts, and music, will be offered as part of the lecture of each class.

  • Students will learn how to interpret evidence about the social world primarily through daily discussion of the readings with a focus on critical analysis of the authors' work of selection and interpretation of evidence.

Course Requirements

Attendance is required. My lectures will supplement in important ways the information that you gather through reading and your private study. If you know that you will not be present for a class, then send me word ahead of time.

On Friday discussion days, at 3:20 promptly, I will distribute a question based upon the reading and ask you to write an answer to the question with the help of your book. This exercise is intended to refresh your familiarity with the reading and to allow you to gauge the care and the amount of time that you have given to preparing for the class. Time spent on the reading checks will be little more than five minutes.

Daily Preparation. Reading ahead of time is important. My remarks each day will be more understandable and your comprehension and appreciation of the themes presented much richer by your careful reading.

Discussion Leadership. On Fridays someone will prepare and lead our discussion of the texts that we have read during the week. You will have considerable leeway in engaging your classmates in the discussions, so be creative.

Essays. The essays are an opportunity for you to think at length on the readings and to try to make sense of them in light of the stated goals of the course.

Exams. The exams will be oral, in which you will have a twenty minute conversation with Brother Charles, the purpose of which will be to determine your comprehension of the readings, lectures, and discussions and the depth of your reflection on the questions of the course.

Tour. There is a Saturday tour as part of the course. It is of the Early European Art collection of the Palace of the Legion of Honor and Grace Episcopal Cathedral, designed to look like a Gothic cathedral. You are expected to attend for the completion of the course requirements. Lunch will be provided. If you cannot attend then you will need to make special arrangements with Brother Charles to go on your own and to complete the written part of the visit.

Grade Evaluation. Your grade will be based on occasional essays and writing (40%); the oral exams combined (40%); and reading checks/participation (20%). Eight absences for whatever reason will disqualify you for course credit.

Student Disability Services

Student Disability Services extends reasonable and appropriate accommodations that take into account the context of the course and its essential elements for individuals with qualifying disabilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Student Disability Services Office at (925) 631-4358 to set up a confidential appointment to discuss accommodation, policies, guidelines and available services. Additional information regarding the services available may be found at the following address on the Saint Mary’s website: http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/academics/academic-advising-and-achievement/student-disability-services.html

Academic Honor Code

Always make sure work submitted is entirely your own and credit any and all borrowed ideas and information that goes beyond common knowledge. According to the Academic Honor Code, “Academic dishonesty is a serious violation of College policy because, among other things, it undermines the bonds of trust and honesty between members of the community.”  Violations of the Code include but are not limited to acts of plagiarism.  For more information, please consult the Student Handbook at www.stmarys-ca.edu/your-safety-resources/student-handbook


Free Writing Advising at the Center for Writing Across the Curriculum (CWAC)

Writers of all disciplines and levels, undergraduate and graduate, are invited to drop in or make appointments for one-on-one sessions with Writing Advisers – in Dante 202 or via Skype screen-sharing.

5-8 p.m. Sunday; 12-7 p.m. Monday; and 12-8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. 925.631.4684. www.stmarys-ca.edu/center-for-writing-across-the-curriculum.

Writers should bring their assignments, texts, and notes.

Through collaborative discussion, Advisers guide their peers toward expressing ideas clearly and revising their own papers, always weighing audience and purpose. Writers visit CWAC to brainstorm ideas, revise drafts, or work on specific aspects of writing, such as grammar, citation, thesis development, organization, critical reading, or research methods. Writers may discuss any genre, including poetry, science lab reports, argument-driven research, or scholarship application letters.

Library Statement

Reference/Information assistance is available at the Reference Desk, by phone (925) 631-4624, text message at (925) 235-4762, or Chat( IM). Check the Library’s “Ask Us” link for details: http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/library/ask-us.

Extended assistance by appointment is also available with your librarian subject specialist.  The specialist for history is Sue Birkenseer. She may be reached at sbirkens@stmarys-ca.edu
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