Medieval Civilization

HI 312-01

Fall 2006           TR 1:00-2:40            LH 333


Dr. Erika Lindgren                                                             

314 Luther Hall                                                                       


Office Hours: By appointment and

MF 10:45-11:45 / T 2:50-3:50


Course Description

This course examines the social, political, religious, economic, legal, and intellectual development of civilization in Europe, and to some extent its neighbors, during the period known as the Middle Ages.


Course Goals:  By the end of the term you should be able to:

1.      Express a broad understanding of why and how medieval civilization developed.  This is the “Big Picture.”

2.      Show knowledge of the key historical figures, events and institutions that shaped this civilization.

3.      Read, discuss, and write about medieval primary source documents.

4.      Plan and implement a research project that produces a seminar length paper.

5.      Understand how historians practice their craft.

6.      Uncover some of the links between our current society and that of the past.

7.      Have some fun!


Required Texts

Judith Bennett, A Medieval Life,


Barbara Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages, Broadview- Hereafter as Short


On-line readings on webpage.

Website: contains copies of the syllabus, assignments, and links to online readings.



Readings- You are responsible for the readings assigned in this syllabus.  On the day that they are assigned you should complete them before class. Always bring the day’s reading to class. Taking notes on what you read, on your computer, in a notebook, or in the margins of the text, will assist you in summarizing and remembering the major points of the texts.  Despite its ease, highlighting is rarely helpful


Short paper- This paper will analysis a primary source and will be 3-4 pages in length..  More information to follow.


Themes paper- This 5-7 page paper will serve to showcase what you have learned in the course.  More information to follow.


Research Project-  Each student will undertake an individual research project that involves both primary and secondary sources.  Each student will submit a project proposal (graded),  a bibliography of sources (not graded, but mandatory), an outline (graded), a draft of roughly 10 pages (not graded, but mandatory), and a final paper of roughly 15 pages- not including bibliography, appendices, or images.


Late work will not be accepted unless prior arrangement has been made with the professor


Participation-Any in-class writing assignments or quizzes will count towards your participation grade.  All students are expected to contribute to the discussion of class readings and lectures.


Grading and Attendance Policy

Participation                             25%

Short paper                              10%

Themes paper                           25%

Research project

            Paper proposal             5%

            Bibliography                 0%

            Outline                         5%

            Draft                            0%

            Finished                        30%                


You are responsible for all material covered in the classes you miss.  If you miss more than 10% of the class meetings, your final course grade will be docked.    Missing class also means you can not contribute to your participation in class. 


Honor Code/Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of the work or ideas of others as your own.  Plagiarism can result from failing to cite a source, giving sufficient credit to the original authors, closely paraphrasing without attribution, and direct copying.  The Academic Policies Committee of Student Senate and the Honor Council have asked faculty to remind students that they have a “…responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work”.  All forms of plagiarism and cheating will result in severe academic penalties, which include receiving a failing grade for the course.  ALL WORK YOU TURN IN MUST BE YOUR OWN PRODUCED FOR THIS CLASS!


By attending Wartburg College, students are demonstrating their dedication to the Honor Code.  The Honor Code reminds students of their responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work.  This is a reminder of your obligation to the Honor Code (from the policy developed by students and overseen by the Student Senate, the Honor Council, and the Academic Ombudsperson).


Special Needs

"The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodations by contacting the Dean of Students Alexander Smith.  He can be reached at the Student Life Office, Wartburg College, Luther Hall 206, 352-8260, <>"


Classroom policies:

            1.   Arrive promptly

2.      Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beepers, and noisy watches.

3.      You may only record my classes with my permission.

4.      If you know you must leave early, let me know before class and sit near the door.

5.      Limit exiting and reentering the classroom during the class period.  It is disruptive to your fellow students and distracting to the professor.

6.      Make sure you put your name on everything you turn in!

7.      Follow the directions on all assignments!  It will save headaches and heartaches.

8.      I have nothing against food and drink in the classroom.  Just make sure it is not too messy, smelly, or noisy- NO chips!!  AND PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF!


Schedule of Classes: Readings to be completed before class on the day they are listed.


Week 1            9/7       Introduction. Discuss topics


Week 2            9/12     Read: Short, chapter 1 and 2


                        9/14     Read: Extracts from the Rule of St. Benedict;  One Saint's Life of your choice: St. Antony (4th c.); St. Macrina (4th c.); St. Matrona (5/6th c.); St. Eligius (6th c.); St. Benedict (6th c.); St. Columba (6th c.); St. Columbanus (6/7th c.); St. Kentigern [Mungo] (6/7th c.); Willibord (7th c.); St. Cuthbert (7th c.); Sts. Robert and Erendruda (7/8th c.); St. Leoba (8th c.); St. Boniface (8th c.); St. Anskar (9th c.)


Week 3            9/19     Meet in Classroom 2, Vogle Library

                                    Read: A tiny piece from Gregory of Tours and  Early Law Codes  Read the first 7 entries- skimming the Old-Irish text, and selectively looking at the Full Visigothic Code [Forum iudicum]


                        9/21     Paper proposal due

                                    Read: Documents related to slaves/slavery under social classes  Keep an eye on the dates!


Week 4            9/26     Read: Short, chapter 3 and 4


                        9/28     Read:  Einhard, Life of Charlemagne


Week 5            10/3     Read:  Articles on Feudalism


                        10/5      Read:  Handouts


Week 6            10/10   Read: Short, chapter 5


                        10/12   Bibliography due

Read:  Investiture controversy sources


Week 7            10/17   Read:  Crusades material.  Crusades project.


                        10/19   Short paper due   Read:  Ruth Mazo Karras, "Sharing Wine, Women, and Song. . . " Handout and Sharon Farmer, "Down and Out and Female in Thirteenth-Century Paris," American Historical Review, 1998.  [J-STOR]


Week 8            10/24   Read: Short, chapter 6 and 7


                        10/26   Fall Break


Week 9            10/31   Read:   A Medieval Life  


                        11/2     Read:  A Medieval Life


Week 10          11/7     Outline due

Read: nothing- work on draft


                        11/9     Read: Readings on the Black Death on medieval internet sourcebook


Week 11          11/14   Read: nothing- work on draft


                        11/16   Draft Due 


Week 12          11/21   Conferences this week

                                    Read:  Chapter 8


                        11/23   Thanksgiving Break


Week 13          11/28   Read: Pamela Nightingale, "Knights and Merchants: Trade, Politics, and the Gentry in Late Medieval England," Past and Present, August 2000 [J-STOR]


                        11/30   Themes paper due


Week 14          12/5     Presentations


                        12/7     Presentations


Finish version of research paper is due before 10 am on Wednesday December 13 in my office.


The professor reserves the right to make changes to syllabus, and will notify students when she does so.