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HIST133: Medieval Europe: From Rome to the Black Death

Medieval Europe from Rome to the
Black Death


HIST133: Medieval Europe: From Rome to the Black Death


Medieval Europe: From Rome to the Black Death
Course Guide 2015
A survey course covering a range of themes in Western European history including social and economic developments, government, religion and warfare (c. 300-1400).

Code: HIST133-15S1 (C) Semester One 2015
15 points; 0.1250 EFTS

Official Course Dates: 23 February 2015 – 28 June 2015
Restrictions: HIST125, HIST130
Tuesdays (15:00-16:00) & Thursdays (16:00-17:00)
Notes for each week’s lectures will be released on the Hist133 LEARN site by
10:00 each Monday.
Students will be automatically assigned to a tutorial group by the beginning of
Week 2. Times & locations for groups will appear automatically on student timetables. Course Coordinator: Dr Chris Jones
14:00-15:00 Tuesday & 15:00-16:00 Thursday in term time (Karl Popper
Virtual Office Hours: Dr Jones is available to answer questions by email
( Dr Jones will respond within 48 hours during term time (excluding weekends and within business hours, 09:00-17:00). He is happy to arrange a time to meet with you if necessary.
Lecturer: Dr Chris Jones ; Dr Jane Buckingham
Enrolment Information:
Last Date to Change Enrolment: 6 March 2013
Last Day to Withdraw with Refund: 6 March 2013
Last Day to Withdraw without Refund: 22 May 2013


HIST133: Medieval Europe: From Rome to the Black Death

Course Description
What were the Middle Ages? This course offers an introduction to an important period of change and development in European history. It seeks to establish the key features of a distinctive western European culture that evolved over the course of a thousand years, a culture which has played a critical role in shaping the modern world. From our parliaments to our system of education, we live in a world where the legacy of the European
Middle Ages, although often overlooked, is profound.
Much of this inheritance is just as relevant to New Zealand today as it is to
European countries: Why do cathedrals occupy such prominent places in our cities? Why do we decide court cases with trials by jury? Why do our books have margins? Where does the idea of the sovereign state originate?
Why do we label the year ‘2015’, ‘2016’, ‘2017’, etc. and not some other number? Where does the idea of the ‘Crown’ come from? The answer to these and many other questions lie in the melting pot of extraordinary creativity, firmly-held religious beliefs, scholarship and spectacular violence that is medieval Europe.
The Europe of this course is the Europe of knights and castles; but it is also the Europe of Magna Carta and the first English Parliament.
This course will offer a diverse approach to exploring the medieval world, one that will introduce you to a number of different forms of history. These will range from religious history to political and economic history via cultural history and the history of political thought. Particularly in the early parts of the course we will even explore what archaeology can tell us about the lives of medieval Europeans.

The ten centuries that make up this course were a period of radical change, change that we will explore through a series of seven topics. At the beginning of our period the majority of western Europeans were pagan in their religious practices and Roman in their political affiliations. In the first topic, ‘The Early
Medieval World’, we will chart two features that redefined Europe: the spread of Christianity and the collapse of the Roman Empire. In our second block,
‘The West Transformed’, we will consider the empire of the barbarian king
Charlemagne and his descendants, an empire that loosely – and briefly – reestablished the unity of the Roman world. We will also explore the coming of the Vikings and Normans. In ‘Reform & Renewal’, we will consider the