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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2007

HIS 309K • Western Civilization in Medieval Times

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course will introduce students to the history and culture of that long and vibrant period known as the Middle Ages, a period extending from roughly 400-1500 A.D./C.E. Beginning with the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West, it will survey the primary heirs of Roman Society (the Byzantine Empire, Islam, and the Germanic successor kingdoms of the West), then move on to examine the development of the medieval lifestyle that eventually pointed toward the modern world. The course will adopt a broad-based approach, examining medieval society and economy, the class structure, the warfare that characterized the period, the Church, the universities, and the rebirth of an increasingly urbanized culture toward the end of the period. Emphasis will be placed on how the Middle Ages changed over time. Students will learn from a combination of lectures and readings in carefully selected sources.


There will be no textbook. Instead, the basic course material will be conveyed through a series of highly-developed, easily-available notes, posted on the professor's websiteWire Paladin at Geocities. In addition, the student will be expected to read all or part of the following books which, taken together, supply a better idea of the sources available to those studying the Middle Age. The Portable Medieval Reader (Viking Portable Library) (Paperback), edited by James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin. One of the best general source collections for the period. Einhard and Notker the Stammerer: Two Lives of Charlemagne (Penguin Classics). Two very different approaches to historical writing in the Middle Ages. The Story of Abelards Adversities. One of the most personal accounts to come down from the Middle Ages, involving one of the leading scholars of the period. Lynn White, Jr., Medieval Technology and Social Change (Oxford University Press). A major piece of twentieth century historical writing emphasizing change in the Middle Ages. In addition to their academic value, these readings have been selected on the basis of such practical factors as (1) reasonable initial price; (2) availability on the used-book market; (3) possible relevance to other courses on the medieal world that the student might pursue in the future.


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