From Rome to the Renaissance: The Transformation of Traditional Societies, c.400-1650
Course Code: HIS-00004-C
Convenor: Lucy Sackville
This module provides an introduction to the history of Europe and its relations with the rest of the world from late antiquity to the beginning of the early modern era. It traces the persistence and transformation of traditional societies through the study of their political structures, economies, cultures and religious practices.
Core lectures offer a broad chronological overview of the period through the examination of seven key themes: peoples, nations and states; economic and social development; power and rulership; intellectual and court culture; religion and the church; aristocracies and ruling elites; and the other. Discussion groups will address a selection of focused topics and case studies emerging from the lectures.
After completing this module students should have:
- Acquired a broad overview of the history of the traditional world from late Rome to the early Renaissance, and some of the recent scholarship relating to it;
- Examined and understood a series of focused case studies from the period;
- Practiced core skills identified in the autumn term Making Histories module, including historical analysis, note-taking, presenting to groups, and leading discussions in seminars;
- Delivered advanced level historical work, in essays and examinations, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the course topics.
Students will attend two lectures and one one-hour discussion group in weeks two to ten of the spring term and weeks two to four of the summer term. They will complete a procedural essay in spring week five, for which they will receive written feedback.
The provisional outline of titles for the lecture series is as follows:
Peoples, Nations and States
- Peoples, Kingdoms and Empires, c. 400–c.1000
- Peoples, Nations and States, 1000-1500
- Dynasty and Blood: Political Organization in the Early Modern World
Economic and Social Development
- Tax, Tribute and Trade, c.400-1000
- The Black Death
- The First Globalization?
Po wer and Rulership
- Early Medieval Kingship, c.400-c.1000
- The Most Christian King: Monarchy and Majesty, 1200-1500
- The Power of Monarchy, 1300-1500
- Theatres of Rule: Courts East and West
Intellectual and Court Culture
- The ‘Northumbrian Renaissance’, c. 700-c. 750
- Northern Europe Culture, 1200-1500
- The Italian Renaissance and its Progeny
- The ‘Print Revolution’
Religion and the Church
- Mission and Conversion in Medieval Europe, c.400-1000
- Medieval Monasticism c. 400-c. 1200
- A Religious Revolution? Part I: The European Protestant Reformations
- A Religious Revolution? Part II: The Making of Roman Catholicism as a World Religion
Aristocracies and Ruling Elites
- Early Medieval Aristocracies, c. 400-c. 1000
- Chivalry and Feudalism
- The Civilizing of the Aristocracy in the Early Modern Period
The Other: Europe and the Outside World
- The Vikings Between Islam, Byzantium and the Kingdoms of Early Medieval Europe
- The Crusades
- Rethinking the ‘Age of Discovery’
Students will complete a 2,000 word assessed essay, due in week nine of the spring term; and a 48 hour examination that takes place in the summer exam period. Each assessment contributes 50% of the module mark.
- Chris Wickham. The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000. London: Penguin, 2009.
- Robert Bartlett. The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950-1350. London: Penguin, 1993.
- P. A. Linehan and J. L. Nelson, eds. The Medieval World. London: Routledge, 2001.
- Merry Wiesner-Hanks. Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Pre-requisites for Elective
A-level, or equivalent, in History at Grade B or above.