Introduction to Medieval History
Fordham University HSRU1300: Spring 1998
Office: Dealy Hall 647
Office hours: Tue 4-5 pm, Fri 2:30-3:30pm
Office Tel.: (718) 817 3934
Class Location and Hours:
Keating 218, Tue. Fri, 10-11:15am
This course is an introduction to the history and
civilization of Europe and the Mediterranean area in the middle ages. The emphasis is on
the dissolution of the classical Greco-Roman world into three kindred civilizations,
Byzantium, Islam, and Latin Christendom; the formation of a new civilization in the West;
and the beginning of the eventual rise to world predominance of the West.
Reading and Texts
Students are required to do a certain amount of assigned reading
outside class. The reading for this course comes in two forms - articles on reserve and
documents available on the World Wide Web. By the end of the course students should be
able to evaluate for themselves both source material from the past and the varied
interpretations given to the to those sources. There is a required textbook, but students'
primary responsibility is to read and discuss primary source assignments. The textbook
(with a new edition for this semester - do not buy older editions) is -
Hollister, C. Warren, Medieval Europe: A Short History,
8th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998)
Sources and Other Readings on the World Wide Web
All the source readings for each class are on the World Wide Web.
If you are reading the online version of this syllabus all you need do is to select [often
by "clicking"] the texts in question, which are listed under each class. You can
then read on screen, or print out the document. [For the computer-phobic copies may be
made available in the library reserve room.] This option puts you, as Fordham students, on
the cutting edge of technology. The Internet is now a valuable research tool for students. Accordingly I
shall also make this syllabus, course outline, lecture notes, and other class handouts
available on the Web. Under each class there may also be reading material
(marked as such), gathered from various WWW Extra sites. This material addresses or
expands upon issues overlooked in the assigned readings. You must acquire a Fordham IT account for this semester. To do this go to the
VAX terminal room in Dealy and complete the online application procedure. You can pick up
your account in the Fordham IT office in Dealy Basement the next day. You can access this
account from any VAX terminal at Fordham, from the new net terminals, from terminals in
the library, and from home if you have a modem. In Mulcahy Hall, in Walsh Library, and in Dealy Hall there are
"graphical terminals" - both Mac, IBM, and VAX Xwindows - which have the
impressive Netscape Web browser. To access the class page from Netscape,
just type in (at the prompt):/halsall/medieval.html On the older VAX terminals at Fordham, there is also a non-graphical,
but very fast, web browser is called LYNX. To invoke the "pages" for this course
simple sign on and type lynx /halsall/medieval.html
- Paper - topic due - Feb 6
- Paper - annotated bibliography due - Feb 20
- Paper - outline and thesis due - Mar 20
- Complete paper due - April 3
- Medieval New York Project - topic due - Feb 6
- Medieval New York Project - completion due - Mar 10
- Midterm - Feb 24
- Final Exam - TBA
ATTENDANCE: Six unexcused cuts entail an F grade. Late arrival
counts as half a cut. Students are responsible for keeping a record of their own
attendance. Absences are excused by: a doctor's note; a note from the Dean; a notice from
the Athletic Director presented before the class to be missed.
TERM PAPERS: Papers must be handed in on time, unless an
extension is given. They must conform to the Stylesheet guidelines handed out
EXAMS: Make up exams will only be given for medical reasons.
HONOR: Cheating will result in an F for any paper or exam in
which it is detected.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment with
the instructor to discuss papers and/or issues raised in class.
Quick Guide to Course Handouts and Guides
The course is based on eight thematic sections of varying length
through which we shall analyze the formation of the medieval world. The eight sections
In general we shall do one "class" per class meeting. To allow
some flexibility, however, I will not assign classes to specific dates. You will know what
to read next by where we are in the course.
NOTES ON THE
- Lecture - Lecture notes for each class are available. These
correspond in some way to what happens in class. For review purposes the topics given under each class should be used.
- Textbook readings in Hollister are to page
numbers in Medieval Europe: A Short History, 8th ed.
- Map links to an online color map related to the
- Sources are indicated by title - for instance the Passion of St. Perpetua. You can access the source simply by selecting
["clicking"] on it. All sources for a particular lecture will be available under
the title Halsall: Lecture 1 (2, 3, 4, etc) the library
- It would be best for you to read ALL the primary source readings. However, they are
marked according to priority:
RED means the text MUST BE READ BEFORE
YELLOW means it might make
more sense to read this text after class
GREEN means the text is
- References to WWW Reading refer to reading available
via the World Wide Web. I expect you to show awareness of some of these readings during
- References to WWW Extra refer to optional reading
available via the World Wide Web
- References to WWW Link refer to World Wide Web sites
related to the class topics. Remember that a much fuller list of Medieval Links on the World Wide Web is
Class 1 - Introduction
Topics: Introduction and practicalities, timeline, origins of
|A: The End of the Classical World
Class 2 - Christianity and the Parting of the Ways: Invasions, Constantinople,
Topics: The Roman World. Literature and art.
Politics - civic structure of society, slave economy. Unity of classical world.
Christianity - Constantine, Eusebius.. Councils - Nicea I, Chalcedon. Constantinople.
Class 3 - The Eastern Roman Empire to Heraklios
Topics: Constantinople. Church and Heresy. Justinian.
Prokopios. Art and Architecture: Hagia Sophia. Ravenna. Monophysitism. Arab Invasions.
Loss of Egypt and Syria. Heraklios - the Basileus.
Class 4 - Iconoclasm and the Glory Days of Byzantium
Topics: The Theme System. Iconoclasm - John of Damascus. Dark
Ages. Slavic Migrations. End of the Cities. Macedonians. Church and society, Mantzikert.
Class 5 - Muhammad: Prophet or Statesman?
Topics: Arabs. Central Asia and Trade. Muhammad. Career. The
Qu'ran. Islamic beliefs - five pillars, greater and lesser jihad. Women, The calendar. The
four early Caliphs. Ali - the Shia.
Dome of the Rock
|Class 6 - Arab Kingdoms and Islamic Empires: Ummayyads,
Abbasids, and Turks
- Hollister, 78-86
- Map: The First 25 Years of
- Map: The Islamic Empire in
- The Pact of Umar, 7th Century
- Anonymous Arab Chronicler: The Battle
of Poitiers, 732
- Story from the Thousand and One Nights [caution: very rude!]
- WWW Extra: Oleg Grabar. Ceremonial
and Art at the Umayyad Court. PhD Dissertation, Princeton Univ 1955. Chap. I. The
Umayyad Royal Idea and its Expression under Mu'awiyah I. pp 18 ff
- WWW Extra: Oleg Grabar. The
Formation of Islamic Art, (New Haven: Yale Univ Press, 19??), pp. 43- 71,.Chap. 3
"The Symbolic Appropriation of the Land"
- WWW Extra: Gaston Wiet. Baghdad:
Metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate, (Norman OK: Univ of Oklahoma Press, 19?? )
- WWW Extra: Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. A
Concise History of the Middle East. Chap. 8. "Islamic Civilization"
- WWW Extra: Bernard Lewis. Race and
Slavery in the Middle East, (New York: Oxford Univ Press 1994) Chap 1.
- WWW Extra: Fred Donner. The Early
Islamic Conquests, (Princeton: Princeton Univ Press, 1981), pp.251 ff - Chapter
VI. "Conclusions: 1. Tribe and State in Arabia: Second Essay"
- WWW Link: Dome of the Rock
Topics: Ummayyads - Muawiya. Abbasids. Nature of Islamic
politics. Kalaam. Sha'ria, Spain - Cordoba. Harun al-Rashid. The Turks. Sultans. The
Seljuqs. The Fatamids.
|D: Formation of Latin Christendom
Class 7 - Formation of the Germanic States
Topics: European geography. Ethnography, Germans. Ostrogoths and Italy - Theodoric. Visigoths and Spain. Vandals. Franks and Merovingians. Clovis.
Class 8 - The Roman Church and Monasticism
Topics: The papacy - Gelasius, Leo I, Gregory I. Roman Church
and Byzantium. Latin Theology. Augustine - Pelagianism. Jerome. Monasticism. St.
|Class 9 - Light in a Dark Age? Bede and
Topics: The Franks. Maior Domo. Charles Martel. Charlemagne.
The desire for unity. Charlemagne and the Church. Carolingian Culture - Alcuin, Cathedral
schools. Ireland - Columba, Aidan. Bede - Northumbria, Lindesfarne
Class 10 - The Second Dissolution of the West: Vikings and Feudalism?
- Hollister, 109-18, 119-29, 138-43 [read with special care pages 126-29]
- Map: The Division of
Charlemagne's Empire, 843 and 870
- Map: Europe in 900
- The Annals of Xanten, 845-853,
Viking attacks, and the low point of western European civilization?
- WWW Reading: John Sloan, The Stirrup Controversy posted on
discussion list firstname.lastname@example.org on 5 October 1994 as part of the thread
"The Stirrup Controversy."
- WWW Reading: Steven Lane,
Review of Susan Reynolds, Fief and Vassals, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1994) in BMMR
- WWW Link: Gunnora Hallakarva's Viking Answers Page
- WWW Link: Vikings in
America: L'Anse Aux, [At Pitt]
Topics: After Charlemagne - Verdun, Mersen, Lothar. Vikings.
Feudalism?. Demography. Early Medieval Economy.
|E: The Rebirth of Latin Christendom
Class 11 - New Political Beginnings and Cluny
Topics: The year 1000. Ottonian Germany, Italy, England,
Cluny. Cistercians - St Bernard. Carthusians.
Class 12 - The Commercial Revolution
Topics: Agriculture. Commerce. Nature of Medieval Economy -
Cloth trade. Growth of Towns. Italy. The Mediterranean and Atlantic. The Baltic -
Hanseatic league. Problems with Credit. Contribution of Jews.
Class 13 - Revolution from the Top: Rome and the Gregorian Revolution
Topics: Idea of Reform. Gregorian reform or Gregorian
revolution?. Papal government - Gregory VII, Urban II. Canon Law - Gratian. Struggle with
Empire. Idea of Christendom.
Class 14 - Byzantium and Islam before the Crusades
- An Arab Ambassador in Constantinople,
(late 10th Century)
- Russian Primary Chronicle: The
Christianisation of Russia (988)
Psellos: Constantine Monomachos [not available yet]
- Anna Komnena:
The Alexiad [not available yet]
- WWW Extra: David J. Wasserstein.
The Caliphate in the West, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), chap. 1. "The
Caliphal Institution in al-Andalus until 422/1031"
- WWW Extra: Yacov Lev. State and Society in
Fatimid Egypt, (Leiden: E. J. Brill., 1991), Chapter 4: The Ruling Circles
- WWW Extra: J. J. Saunders. A
History of Medieval Islam, (London: Routledge, 19??), chap. 9. "IX The
Topics: Iconoclasm. The Macedonian Renovatio.
Conversion of Russia - Kiev. 11th-century Collaps - Psellos. The Komnenoi and the Crusades
- Anna Komnena. Abbasid Break up, Iran, Tahirids, Fatamids, Turks, Seljuqs, Collapse in
Class 15 - Crusades and European Expansion
- Hollister, 188-204
- Map: The First Crusade, 1099
A clickable map of all of Europe in 1099
- Map: The Crusader States in the Early 12th
- Map: Crusader States 12th and 13th
- Map: Jerusalem
- Map: The Second and Third Crusades
- Map: Fourth Crusade
- Synod of Charroux: Peace of God Proclaimed 989
- Drogo of Terouanne: Truce of God 1063
- Leo IV: (847-855): Forgiveness of Sins for Those Who Dies
- John II: Indulgence for Fighting the Heathen, 878
of Nieder-Altaich: The Great German Pilgrimage of 1064-65 ,
- Urban II: Speech at Clermont: Five Versions
- Ekkehard of Aurach: On the Opening of the
- Albert of Aix and Ekkehard of Aura: Emico and the Slaughter of
the Rhineland Jews
- Soloman bar Samson: The Crusaders in Mainz, 1096
- Fulk of Chartres: The Capture of Jerusalem, 1099
- St. Bernard: In
Praise of the New Knighthood (early 12th Century)
Herbipolenses, s.a. 1147: A Hostile View of the Crusade,
- The Decline of Christian Power in the Holy Land, 1164,
Letter from Aymeric, patriarch of Antioch, to Louis VII of France.
- Roger of Hoveden: The Fall Of Jerusalem,
- Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi:
Muslim Hostages Slain at Acre, 1191
- Cologne Chronicle: The Children's Crusade, 1212
- John of Monte Corvino: Report on China,
- WWW Extra: Leo Africanus:
"Description of Timbuktu", from The Description of Africa (1526)
- WWW Extra: Jessica A. Browner: "Viking"
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land fram! fram! cristmenn, crossmenn, konungsmenn! (Oláfs saga
helga, ch. 224.), [At Essays in History 34/Virginia]
- WWW Link: Medieval Archery
- WWW Link: Arador
Topics: European Expansion. Spain - Reconquista. Peace
of God. Truce of God. Normans. Fatamids. Byzantium. Jerusalem. First Crusade. Later
Crusades- Richard I, Saladin . Anti-Semitism. German Drang nach Osten.
|Class 16 - The Church and the Empire
Topics: The Roman Church. The Holy Roman Empire. Innocent III
- Fourth Lateran Council. Frederick I Barbarossa. Frederick II. Boniface VII.
A Royal Court
|Class 17 - The Western Monarchies: England France and Spain
- Hollister, 248-71
- Map: France in 1032
- Map: The Growth of the French Royal
- Map: The Angevin Empire, c. 1174
- Map: Medieval England, c. 1399,
- Map: Medieval London
- Map: Spain: the Reconquista, 1037-1270
- The Domesday Book: Instructions and Example
- Henry of Huntingdon: Chronicle [c.1080-1160]
- Henry II: The Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164
- Henry II:The Assize of Clarendon, 1166
- Magna Carta [A Magna Carta in plain text is also available, as is a British Library modern
- Summons of a Bishop, a Baron, and the Commons to Parliament
- Abbot Suger: Life of Louis VI
- St. Louis: Advice to His Son
Charles Julian Bishko, "The Frontier in Medieval
History", AHA 1955 [at UKans]
- WWW Link: Secrets
of the Norman Invasion
- WWW Link: Bayeux Tapestry
- WWW Link: Regia Anglorum
Topics: Change in "Feudalism". England - William I,
Domesday Book, Henry II, Magna Carta, Parliament. France - Capetians, Louis VII, Philip II
Augustus, St. Louis. Normandy. Notions of Kingship.
Richard I and Philip II
|F: Civilization in the High Middle Ages
Class 18 - Secular Society: The Aristocratic Culture and Peasant Life
Topics: The Aristocracy. Chivalry. Political Power. Literature
- Epic, Romance, Lyric . Chaucer. Peasant life. Diet. Mortality. The Manor. Variety of
|Class 19 - The Age of Faith I: Popular Piety and Christian Belief
Topics: Popular Piety. Sacramentalism. Intellectual response.
Eucharist. The Host. Confession. Marriage. Indulgences. Mary, Saints.
|Class 20 - The Age of Faith II: Intellectual Life
Topics: Italy. Cathedral Schools. Universities. Paris.
Methods. Universals. Neoplatonism and Faith. Aristotle. Aquinas.
|Class 21 - Criticism of Society: Jews, Heretics and Friars
- Hollister, 170-72, 214-24
- Conversion of Peter Waldo
- Bernard Gui: Inquisitor's Manual - Accusations against Cathars
- Cathar Rites: Traditio: Immersion in the Perfect
Community, from the Lyons Ritual
- Cathar Rites: The Apparelhamentum,, from the Lyons
- Fourth Lateran Council: Canon 63 - on Heretics
- Bernard Gui: Technique of Interrogations
- Angelo Clareno, a spiritual Franciscan, on
Torture, early 14th Cent.
- St. Francis: Testament [1182-1226]
- St. Francis: Canticle of the Sun
- Maimonides: The Thirteen Principles of
- Maimonides: Oath of Maimonides
(1040-1105): Communal Affairs in Troyes, c.1100
- Jewish Ethical Wills (12th and 14th Centuries)
- Ephraim of Bonn: on the York Massacre of 1189-90 and Roger of Hoveden: Persecution of Jews Following
Coronation of Richard I, 1189
- Innocent III: Letter on the Jews - toleration,
of Anderl von Rinn: A Blood Libel Saint
Topics: Critical societies. Intellectual and popular heresies.
Cathars. Albi. Waldensians. St. Francis. Franciscans. Dominicans. Inquisition and
persecution: heretics, Jews.
|Class 22 - Gendered History Roles of Medieval Women and Men
- Hollister, 177-82, 187-88,
Matilda: To Archbishop Anselm
- Peter of Blois: Letter 154, to Queen Eleanor, 1173
of Kindred and Degrees - both Roman and German methods of
- Le Menagier [or Goodman] of Paris: on ideal marriage
- Bernardino of Siena: Sermons on Wives and Widows
- Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury Tales: Prologue to Wife
of Bath's Tale [Modern Text]
- Sale of Daughter as a Concubine
- Heloise: Letter to Abelard
- Homoerotic Texts
- WWW Reading: John Thorp: "Review Article/Discussion: The Social
Construction of Homosexuality ", Phoenix 46.1 (1992) p54-65
Reading: Gunnora Hallakarva Homosexuality
in the Viking Age
- WWW Extra: Robbins Library
Bibliography: Bibliography of Works by and about Women Writers of the Middle Ages
- WWW Extra: Bernardette Brooten, "Early Church Responses to Lesbian Sex" The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Volume III, No. 4, Fall, 1996. [At
- WWW Link: Medieval
and Renaissance Weddings
- WWW Link: People
With a History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* History
Topics: Gender in history. Women and work. Women and power.
Women and Religion. Women and Children. Varieties of Marriage, homosexuality?
Extra Class: Visit to Cloisters - Medieval Art and Architecture
Topics: The Cloisters. Religious Art. Romanesque - Durham
Cathedral. Gothic - St. Denis, Notre Dame. Late Gothic. Humanisation of Christ in Art.
Secular Art. Symbolism.
|G: Byzantium and Islam Face the West
Class 23 - Eastern Christendom after the Crusades
Topics: The Comeneni. Russia. The Crusades. 1204. The
Paleologoi. Palamism. The Turks. End of Constantinople. Survival of Orthodoxy.
|Class 24 - Islam Resurgent: The Ayyubbids, The Mamelukes and the
Topics: Arabs and Turks. Saladin. The Mongols. Sultan Baibers.
Ein Jalut. The Mamelukes. Anatolia becomes Turkey. The Ottomans. Closing of the East to
|H: The Later Middles Ages
The Angel of Death
|Class - 25 Catastrophe? The Black Death and its Results
- Hollister, 326-28, 352-58, 359-75
- Map: Europe in 1360
- Johannes of Trowkelowe: Annales - on Famine of 1315
- Giovanni Boccaccio: Decameron - Introduction, on Black
Death, There is another version available.
- Anonimalle Chronicle: Peasant Uprising
- WWW Extra: Pistoia, "Ordinance for
Sanitation in a Time of Mortality "
- WWW Extra: Marchione di Coppo
Stefani, The Florentine Chronicle - Stefani, Marchione di Coppo. Cronaca
fiorentina. Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Vol. 30. , ed. Niccolo Rodolico.
(Citta di Castello: 1903-13)
- Council of Constance: Decree Sacrosancta 1415
Topics: Late medieval economy, The Black Death, Population
effects, economic effects. Popular religion. Indulgences. Elaboration. Images of death.
The Hierarchical Church. New heresies.
Class 26 - Political and Cultural Developments after the Black Death
Topics: The Empire. France and England. 1453- Fall of
Constantinople, 1485- Bosworth Field, 1492- America, The Renaissance. The Reformation. The
Treaty of Westphalia 1648?
- Hollister, 329-50
- Map: France at the Treaty of Bretigny,
- Map: France at Height of English Power,
- Map: France in the Late 15th Century
- Map: The Mongol Empire at the Death of
Genghis Khan, 1227
- Map: The Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan
- Map: Iberia, 1492
- Map: Italy During the Renaissance
- Map: Europe in 1519
- Petrarch: Selected Letters, c. 1372
- Vasari: Leonardo da Vinci, 1550
- Martin Luther: 95 Theses, 1517
- Christopher Columbus: Letter to King and Queen of Spain , prob. 1494
- WWW Reading: The Development of a World Economic System - A Summary of
Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins
of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press,
- WWW Extra: Pico de Mirandola,
"Oration on the Dignity of Man ", paras 1-7
- WWW Extra: Jonathan Harris: Byzantines in
Renaissance Italy, [At Orb]
- WWW Link: Gardens,
Villas, and Social Life in Renaissance Florence
||1/13 First Class
||1/19 MLK - No Class
||1/30 Paper and WWW Topic due
||2/17 Monday Schedule - No Class
||2/20 Annotated Bibliography due
||2/24 Midterm Exam
||3/10 WWW project due
||3/20 Paper Thesis and Outline due
||4/3 Paper Due
||4/10 Good Friday - No Class
||4/14 Easter Monday - No Class
||4/28 Last Class
||4/29-30 Reading Days
||May 1-8 Finals Week
SEARCH THE NET
The Web is so vast now that it contains more, and more diverse information, than any
single printed source. This availability of information will only increase and is a truly
splendid new tool to help in your research. To use the Web efficiently, the various search
engines are essential. These now come in two forms: Limited Area Search Engines [LASE] and
Wide Area Search Engines [WASE].
In either case it is important to form your query words as clearly as possible. For
instance, if you are interested in finding information on a particular musician, do not
search for "music", but for a style [eg "jazz" or "gregorian
chant"] or even a name ["abba", "charlie parker",
Limited Area Search Engines
- The ARGOS Search Engine
ARGOS is Limited Area Search Engine which only returns information on Ancient,
Byzantine and Medieval documents/sites on the Internet. The search area is determined by a
board of associates and is based on some the of the best-maintained links pages on the
web. The Medieval/Byzantium links collection associated with this page is one of the
associate sites. Input your search words below, and hit ENTER.
Wide Area Search Engines Here are links to the best "wide area" search engines on the Web. Yahoo is best, I think, if you are looking for specialized websites. Lycos, Excite,
and Hotbot all index many more documents. These engines will always turn up more
references, but far more will be dross than with Yahoo. It is useful to start with Yahoo since it has a nice feature - once it tells you everything that it has found, it will
automatically plug you in to the other search engines.
- The HIPPIAS Search Engine
HIPPIAS is Limited Area Search Engine which only returns information on
philosophy resources on the net. Input your search words below, and hit ENTER.
As the WWW has grown these wide area engines have become more difficult to use. Searching
for "Plato" for instance, will return more "hits" than one could
possibly read in a lifetime. For this reason it is best to start searches for Byzantine
and Medieval subjects with the "limited area" ARGOS search engine.
The author and maintainer of this site is Paul Halsall [a picture!] . He can be
contacted by email at
Please do not hesitate to mail comments or suggestions.