The Carolingian World: Conquests, Ideology and a Civilizing Process

Tutor: Katherine Cross (tutor for 2018-19) / Mary Garrison

Module type: Explorations

Module Code: HIS00017I

This module will introduce students to a range of topics related to important developments in the eighth and ninth centuries. Evidence ranging from the barbarian law codes and penitentials (which can seem bizarre), to the appealing and immediately accessible letters of Alcuin of York, to manuscript illustrations, will be adduced to illuminate three large areas of debate:

  1. The extent to which early medieval Europe can be said to have undergone a ‘civilizing process’ in the eighth and ninth centuries and
  2. The extent to which the Carolingian outpouring of writing about themselves can reveal areas of tension, contest and debate
  3. The transmission of Latin learning, and the effects of that learning, in this world of restricted literacy.

The seminar programme will likely deal with the following:

  1. Carolingian Landmarks
  2. Norms of behaviour
  3. Charlemagne: conquests and reforms—a civilizing process?
  4. The Ideology of Conquest: Italy, Bavaria, the Saxons
  5. An historical conundrum
  6. Foreigners and outsiders in the Carolingian World
  7. Dissolution and decline or transformation
  8. Carolingian Legacy

Group project work will deal with the following: Kingship, narrative and Royal Biography, Victory and Defeat, Life at Court.


For more information, please visit the module catalogue.