Poets, Priests, & Paladins: Views of the Medieval World


HIST 375
Medieval Europe: 500 - 1500

ENGL 351 Medieval British Literature 

Dr. Pavlac
Hafey-Marian 307
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5748

Dr. Lloyd
Hafey-Marian 403
Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5393

Office Hours: tba
and by appointment
e-mail: bapavlacATkings.edu

Office Hours: tba
and by appointment
e-mail: mslloyd@kings.edu

  Class Schedule | Links

I. Description

This course offers a broadly based inquiry into the historical synthesis of Greco-Roman, Celtic, Judeo-Christian, and Germanic Barbarian cultures from the late Roman Empire through the age of medieval Christendom, ending with the Renaissance. The course surveys peoples and institutions, especially those of the knights, the clergy, the peasants, and the townspeople, which shaped this period of Western Civilization.

Reading and evaluating sources from history and literature, the students will learn how those people encountered life, death and the afterlife. Drawing also on art, music, drama, philosophy and theology, themes will include the dilemmas of women's choices, the conflict of chivalry and warfare, the interplay of imagination and reality, and the construction of the Christian faith.

This course will co-ordinate with English 351 and an honors course, Poets, Priests, and Paladins, to offer a broad introduction to Medieval Culture and History.  It will be team taught with Dr. Megan Lloyd. 

Taken alone, it may count for one History Major course.  Taken in conjunction with English It may count for honors credits, 2 History major courses or 2 English major credits.  

II. Purpose

This is a History Major, European Sequence course.

Objectives for the student:

  1. To identify the major events, persons and ideas of the history of classical antiquity.
  2. To develop concepts and methods which give an understanding of what influenced the attitudes and behavior of major participants in political situations.
  3. To read primary and secondary sources and explain their significance to relevant historical problems.
  4. To practice critical and analytical skills on historical controversies.
  5. To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the current issues and the investigation of the Middle Ages.
  6. a knowledge of medieval history and literature, its genres, contexts, major authors, and schools of thought.
  7. an ability to respond critically to medieval texts, with an understanding of their importance both to their own time and to the modern era.
  8. an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the critical processes of looking at primary texts.
  9. a knowledge of how the art, music, and drama of the medieval period reflected the theology, philosophy, and history of the age.
  10. an understanding of how Christianity informs medieval texts and is the important foundation on which texts and lives of this period are woven.
  11. an appreciation of how the texts of the medieval period have contributed to modern ideas and writing.  

Goals for the student:

  1. To develop a wider perspective which recognizes the political, economic and cultural interdependence of differing societies and people, and which encourages a more inclusive view of the human experience.
  2. To heighten awareness of the specific contributions and perspectives of diverse members of society.
  3. To appreciate the social, economic, cultural and political developments of the Medieval Europe to our present culture and Modern World History.
  4. To understand the influence of the past on contemporary events and problems, or, in other words, to develop "Historical Mindedness."

General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal learning goals. Successful completion of this course is expected to help improve your ability

  1. To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions in order to more clearly clarify a problem, topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in a written form and oral presentations.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

1. Readings:

The required readings are intended both to provide you with important factual and background information before class and to be used as review and reference works afterwards. Before class, you will read the chapters or pages assigned according to the class schedule. Not all topics in the books will be covered in class, but you are responsible for them on the exam and in class discussion.

Especially in your readings book, you must make notes in the margins or a notebook, underline key statements, highlight important passages, and/or annotate essential details in order to be better prepared for classroom discussion. 

If necessary, the instructor may give quizzes to test your reading and comprehension of the texts, or evaluate your copy of the text for a quiz grade on your preparation.

2. Class Participation & Attendance:

Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives. Thus a portion of your grade (about 20%) will depend on your in-class performance. You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, respond to questions, ask questions and participate in any in-class projects.

Classes may be recorded with the instructor's permission, to be used for study and review only.  Tapes must be erased after the exams.

The instructor will regularly take attendance. Absences due to college activities, emergency or extended illness may be excused by the appropriate college official. Other absences are unexcused and will lower the class participation portion of your grade. After any absence, you are responsible for making up missed work, requesting hand-outs and already returned assignments, or borrowing notes from other students. Whether absences are excused or not, you cannot get a higher grade than the percentage of classes attended.

All students who have a learning disability, physical handicap and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should schedule an appointment with the instructor during the first week of class to discuss available accommodations.

If you miss an exam, contact the instructor as soon as possible. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor. The makeup exam may be in the form of an oral exam.

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, due to poor performance, illness or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal.

3. Other Requirements

Two exams, including a final exam as assigned during finals week. 

You will have several in-class discussion/projects, intermittently through the semester. You also may be evaluated by short quizzes or written reports done in-class or after class, either individually or in groups, worth between 10 and 50 points each.

Always you are required read before class the appropriate material (as listed on the class schedule, section VII, or otherwise assigned by the instructor) and be prepared to discuss and/or write about it with the instructor or in small groups. 

Short quizzes or written reports may also be required to evaluate the comprehension of video presentations. Students with unexcused absences will receive no credit for the videos/project/discussion. Students with excused absences may prepare a short report, after consultation with the instructor.

You will have several written assignments, as described on the written syllabus.

IV. Grades:

You earn your grade through work done for this course.

For more information see grading policy.

For your protection, in case of errors in recording, you should keep copies of all exams and assignments until you have received notice of your grade.

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 91%=A, 89%=B+, 81%=B, etc.) of the sum of the following points:

4. In-class Projects:

You will have several in-class discussion/projects, intermittently through the semester. As always, you are required to have read before class the appropriate material (as listed on the class schedule, or otherwise assigned by the instructors) and be prepared to discuss and/or write about it with the instructors or in small groups. Students with unexcused absences will receive no credit for the videos/project/discussion.
Students with excused absences may prepare a short report, after consultation with the instructors.

You may be evaluated by short quizzes or written reports done in-class or after class, either individually or in groups, worth between 10 and 20 points each.

C. Plagiarism:

Plagiarism on written assignments is a serious breach of expected academic honesty. For more information see, honesty.html

E. Presentation:

Both for practice in following guidelines and to facilitate consistency in grading, papers should be uniform in appearance. Every assignment you turn in should have a cover page with your name, but your name should not appear on subsequent pages. For more information, especially about quotations and citations see presentation.html.  For information about Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style citation, see citation.html.

F. Assessment:

The instructor will grade your written assignments based on his evaluation of how well you follow the instructions as to content and presentation.

For more information on the grading of your papers see Assessment.

Links to other medieval websites: 


Use these sites to find links to information and sources about the Middle Ages.

Medieval Studies <http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/medieval/medieval.html>.

ORB: The Online Reference Site for Medieval Studies.  <http://www.the-orb.net/>.

The Labyrinth: Resources for Medieval Studies. <http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/>.

Netserf: The Internet Connection for Medieval Resources. <http://www.netserf.org/>.

Voice of the Shuttle (Website for Humanities Research)  Anglo-Saxon and Medieval [Literature] <http://vos.ucsb.edu/browse.asp?id=2740>.  


Use these sites to find translations of primary source readings from the Middle Ages.

Eurodocs: Primary Historical Sources from Western Europe. <http://library.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/>.

Internet Medieval Sourcebook. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook.html>.

The Online Medieval and Classical Library <http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/OMACL/>.

old English texts <http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/ballc/oe/oe-texts.html>


Following the Route of the Tain bo Cualinge. <http://www.thetain.com>.

Resources for Studying Beowulf. <http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/english016/beowulf/beowulf.html>Beowulf in Hypertext. <http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~beowulf/>.

Paladins and Princes <http://www.legends.dm.net/paladins/roland.html>.  Intro to Medieval History <http://www.ku.edu/kansas/medieval/108/lectures/roland.html>.

Minnesaenger Manuscript. <http://www.bumply.com/Medieval/Manuscript/ms.htm>.

The World of Dante. <http://www.iath.virginia.edu/dante/>.  ELF presents: The Divine Comedy. <http://www.divinecomedy.org/divine_comedy.html>.

The Camelot Project. <http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/cphome.stm>.

The Poem as Green Girdle: Gawain and the Green Knight. <http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rashoaf/gawain/masterng.htm>.

Anniina Jokinnen. Anthology of Middle English Literature: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. <http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/gawain.htm>.

Jane Zatta, Chacer, The Canturbury Tales, with narration of prologue<http://www.siue.edu/CHAUCER/prol.html>.

Susan K. Hagan, Resources for Chaucer Studies. <http://panther.bsc.edu/%7Eshagen/chaucer.htm>.

Chaucer Metapage <http://www.unc.edu/depts/chaucer/>.

Dorothy Disse, Other Women's Voices: Translations of Women's Writing before 1700. Christine de Pizan /Pisan(c.1364-aft.1429).<http://home.infionline.net/~ddisse/christin.html>.


Medieval Towns:  <http://www.trytel.com/~tristan/towns/towns.html>

Castle Learning Center. <http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castle6.htm>.

The Crusades. <http://www.unf.edu/classes/crusades/>.

The Age of Charles V (1338-1380). <http://www.bnf.fr/enluminures/aaccueil.htm>.

VII. Class Schedule:

All topics and assignments on the schedule are tentative; the instructor may change them at his discretion. Not all classes or assignments are listed here.

date topic readings other
Jan 13 Orientation none  
Jan 15 Intro to Medieval History    
Jan 22 The End of Rome S 1-4, 9-11, 13; R 1-3  
Jan 29 The Dark Ages S 14-21; R 6  
Jan 31 The Carolingians S 24-26; R 7  
Feb 3 The Creation of Europe    
Feb 6 Feudal Politics S 32-35; R 8-10  
Feb 17 Peasant Life S 29, 79-81; R 11-12, 18-21  
Feb 19 Towns and Trade S 47-51; R 13  
Feb 17 Feudal Society     
Feb 22 Medieval Faith fff  
Feb 24 Medieval Monks fff  
Feb 29 Medieval Heresy fff  
Mar 2 The Papacy fff  
Mar 14 Crusades fff  
Mar 16 Popes and Emperors fff  
Mar 21 Dynastic Monarchs    
Mar 23 Literature ddd  
Mar 28 Art ddd  
Mar 30 Thought ddd  
Apr 4 Late Medieval Crises ddd  
Apr 6 Women's Roles ddd  
Apr 11 Late Medieval Society ddd  
Apr 13 Sovereigns ddd  
Apr 18 Medieval v Renaissance ddd  

  Class Schedule | Links

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