Lecture Times

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HST 114






Course Convenor: Dr Amanda Power


tel: 0114 222 2560


1. Course information 2

2. Essay questions 4

3. Lecture programme 5

4. Abbreviations of journal titles 6

5. Introductory reading 6

6. Lecture and Essay Bibliographies 10


One of the recurring themes in European history between the 4th and 13th centuries is the relationship between power and religion. In the period 300 – 1000, the dominant issue was the conversion of societies from paganism – a term which covers a whole range of beliefs from the elaborate cults of the Roman Empire to the sacred trees of the German forests – to Christianity, with its exclusive belief in one God and no other. The first part of this module aims to examine from a comparative perspective how and why this fundamental transformation occurred, considering both missionary activity and responses to it and attempting to assess the impact of Christianity upon the societies to which it spread. The second part of this course will examine the changing relationship between power and religion between 1000 and 1300, as the Roman Church became the most powerful institution in Europe and exerted an ever stronger influence over the lives of ordinary people, and new religious orders and ways of life emerged. The period witnessed the persecution of heresy as well as greater hostility to Latin Christianity´s neighbours, most dramatically in the Crusades and other holy wars waged not only against Muslims but also against Greek Christians, pagans, heretics and even the Church´s political enemies.

Lecture Times

Monday 2-3 Chemistry Building, Lecture Theatre 1

Tuesday 12-1 Chemistry Building, Lecture Theatre 1

There will be no lecture on the May Day Bank Holiday. We will do our best to make some brief lecture notes available on MOLE soon after the lecture, but they will be no substitute for attendance.


Seminars begin in Week 1. If you do not know which seminar group you are in, or if you have to swap groups for important reasons (such as unavoidable clashes with lectures), please contact the deputy course convenor, Morn Capper, at M.Capper@sheffield.ac.uk


Assessment for this module is made up of a combination of marks for oral performance (17%), unseen examination (50%), and coursework essays (33%), as follows:

1. Oral performance

Oral performance in seminars will be assessed under three headings, the marks for which will be averaged to arrive at a final mark for this component:

  • a presentation to the group in response to a specific question

  • either a commentary on an extract from a primary source or a critical summary of the argument of a particular book or article

  • general contribution to seminars

A rota system for the performance of these three exercises in seminars will be established by your seminar tutor. You should bear in mind that absence without appropriate excuse from a seminar in which you are scheduled to perform one of these exercises will result in a mark of 0 for that element.

2. Examination

A two-hour unseen examination, to be taken during the examination period, which is: 24 May - 12 June 2010. The paper will be divided into two sections, one devoted to broad thematic issues, the other to more specific topics. You will be required to answer one question from each section.

Past papers are available at: http://www.shef.ac.uk/history/current_students/undergraduate/exampapers/

3. Essays

You are required to write two essays, between 1500 and 2000 words in length, which should conform to the regulations and conventions of presentation set out in the Level One handbook of the History Department. Late essays are subject to penalty, and any extension has to be requested (in writing or by email) from the course coordinator, Amanda Power. Your seminar tutor will offer you feedback on both essays.

The essay deadlines for students in ALL tutor groups are as follows:

Essay 1: Monday 15 March 2010, 12 noon

Essay 2: Monday 26 April 2010, 12 noon

Your essays should normally address one of the questions listed below. If you want to write an essay on a topic which does not appear to be covered here, please consult your seminar tutor.

You must submit one copy of your essay in hard copy at the main desk in the Jessop building and one in electronic (and MS Word-compatible) format to the Turnitin plagiarism service. For instructions, see the MOLE pages for this module or the Level-One handbook. Please note that unless you submit your essay to Turnitin within the deadline, it will be penalised for lateness. You will not be able to pass this module without submitting BOTH essays to Turnitin.

Note: Some historical topics will inevitably occur in more than one of your modules. You should be careful to ensure that you do not copy and/or resubmit your work from one course as part of your coursework for another module. This constitutes self-plagiarism and is unacceptable.

Essay questions

  1. Why were Christians persecuted in the Roman empire before Constantine?

  2. Why did Pagans and Christians think one another’s beliefs were threatening?

  3. Why were Christians persecuted in the Roman empire before Constantine?

  4. Was it only the chance of Constantine’s personal conversion which made the Roman empire Christian?

  5. Did Julian’s religious aims have any chance of success?

  6. Why were Roman emperors so concerned about heresy?

  7. Why were barbarian kings so willing to convert to some form of Christianity?

  8. What role did women play in either the conversion of the Roman aristocracy or in Anglo-Saxon and Frankish mission?

  9. What made bishops such powerful figures in late antique and early medieval society?

  10. Why did monastic Rules emerge?

  11. Why did saints’ cults develop?

  12. Why were the Gnostics viewed as a threat?

  13. Why were Roman emperors so concerned about heresy?

  14. Why did pictures matter so much in eighth-century Byzantine Christianity?

  15. Why was iconoclasm a primarily Eastern phenomenon?

  16. Was the conversion of Anglo-Saxon kings to Christianity always connected with political ambition?

  17. Why did Saint Boniface cross the Channel?

  18. Why did Charlemagne decide to convert the Saxons?

  19. How did Charlemagne try to Christianize the Franks?

  20. How can Viking contacts with the wider world best be described?

  21. Should we forget about the ‘terrors of the Year 1000’?

  22. Was the Peace of God movement primarily a reaction to social breakdown?

  23. What were the causes of the crusades?

  24. How far were the crusades the product of rising self-confidence in the Latin West?

  25. How did the Church deal with the threats to its authority that it faced in the thirteenth century?

  26. Account for the growth of heresy in the later middle ages.

  27. Was the Church triumphant in the thirteenth century?

  28. How successful was inter-faith ‘dialogue’ during the medieval period?

  29. Why were Jews and heretics persecuted in the later medieval period?

  30. ‘Pastoral care as set up by the Church in the 13th century was all about social control’. Discuss by focussing on EITHER popular culture OR women.

  31. Did the Church lose authority between c.1350 and c.1450?

  32. Did modern colonialism originate in fifteenth-century Europe?

  33. How important was the role of the laity in fifteenth-century religious life?

Lecture Programme

The lecture team is Simon Loseby (STL), Charles West (CW), Amanda Power (AP) and Martial Staub (MS).

Week 1

8.02.10 1: Pagans, Christians and Heretics (AP)

9.02.10 2: Heresies, Apologies and Roman persecutions (JH)

Week 2

15.02.10 3: Constantine: converting an empire (STL)

16.02.10 4: Julian’s attempted revival of paganism (STL)

Week 3

22.02.10 5: The shaping of holy power: bishops, monks, and saints (STL)

23.02.10 6: Creed or Chaos? Early Christian Theology (MS)

Week 4

01.03.10 7: Warrior Christianity (STL)

02.03.10 8: Mediating the Divine: The Iconoclastic Controversy (CW)

Week 5

08.03.10 9: Monks and mission in northern Europe (CW)

09.03.10 10: Charlemagne’s priests (CW)

Week 6

15.03.10 11: Furious Northmen (CW)

16.03.10 12: The End is nigh: millennial anxiety and the Last Days (CW)

Easter vacation

Week 7

12.04.10 13: An investment crisis, 1056-1122 (CW)

13.04.10 14: The world of the crusades (AP)

Week 8

19.04.10 15: The Church triumphant? (AP)

20.04.10 16: Talking to the enemies of God (AP)

Week 9

26.04.10 17: The Religion of the Common People, c.1200-c.1350 (MS)

27.04.10 18: Christianity in Crisis, c.1350-c.1450 (MS)

Week 10

03.05.10 May Day Holiday

04.05.10 19: Of Heathens, Slaves, Turks and False Christians (MS)

Week 11

10.05.10 20: The Renaissance of Christendom and the Reformation (MS)

11.05.10 21: Concluding lecture: overview of the period (AP)

Abbreviations of journal or series titles used in this bibliography

(* indicates that some – sometimes most – issues of the journal are available electronically)

AHR* American Historical Review

AJP* American Journal of Philology

ASE* Anglo-Saxon England

BAR British Archaeological Reports

DOP Dumbarton Oaks Papers

EHR* English Historical Review

EME* Early Medieval Europe

GRBS Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies

JECS* Journal of Early Christian Studies

JEH* Journal of Ecclesiastical History

JHS* Journal of Hellenic Studies

JMH* Journal of Medieval History

JRA Journal of Roman Archaeology

JRH* Journal of Religious History

JRS* Journal of Roman Studies

JTS* Journal of Theological Studies

M&H Medievalia et Humanistica

NMS Nottingham Medieval Studies

P&P* Past and Present

PBSR Papers of the British School at Rome

PBA Proceedings of the British Academy

RBPH Revue Belge de Philologie et dHistoire

SCH Studies in Church History

SCISAM Studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sullalto medioevo

SMRH Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History

TRHS Transactions of the Royal Historical Society

Introductory Reading

1. Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean: General Textbooks

Textbooks also available electronically

Barber, M., The Two Cities: Medieval Europe 1050 1320 (1992; 2nd ed., 2004)

Le Goff, J., The Birth of Europe, trans. J. Lloyd (2005)

Morris, C., The papal monarchy: the western church from 1050 to 1250 (1989)


Le Goff, J., Medieval Civilization, trans. J. Barrow (1988)

Logan, F.D., A History of the Church in the Middle Ages (2002)

Debating the Middle Ages: Issues and Readings, eds L.K. Little and B.H. Rosenwein (1998), esp. Parts II, IV [selected articles and extracts]

The Medieval World, eds P. Linehan and J.L. Nelson (2001)

The New Cambridge Medieval History III (c.900-c.1024), ed. T. Reuter (1999)

The New Cambridge Medieval History IV (c.1024c.1198), ed. D. Luscombe and J. Riley-Smith (2 vols, 2004)

The New Cambridge Medieval History V (c.1198-c.1300), ed. D. Abulafia (1999)

The New Cambridge Medieval History VI (c. 1300-c.1415), ed. M. Jones (2000)

c. 250 – c.1000

Brown, P.R.L., The world of Late Antiquity, AD 150-750 (London, 1971)

-------, The rise of western Christendom: triumph and diversity, AD 200-1000 (2nd ed., Oxford, 2003)

Cameron, A., The Later Roman Empire, 284-430 (London, 1993)

-------, The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity, 395-600 (London, 1993)

Cameron, A. and Garnsey, P. (eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. XIII. The late

empire, AD 337-425 (Cambridge, 1998)

Cameron, A., Ward-Perkins, B. and Whitby, M. (eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. XIV. Late antiquity: empire and successors, AD 425-600 (Cambridge, 2000)

Collins, R., Early medieval Europe, 300-1000 (London, 1991)

McKitterick, R. (ed.), The early middle ages: Europe 400-1000 (Oxford, 2001)

Moorhead, J., The Roman empire divided, 400-700 (Harlow, 2001)

Noble, Thomas F.X. (ed.), From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms (2006)

Smith, J.M.H., Europe after Rome: a new cultural history 500-1000 (Oxford, 2005)

Wallace-Hadrill, J.M., The barbarian west 400-1000 (3rd ed., Oxford, 1967; also rev. ed. Oxford, 1985)


Bartlett, R., The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950 1350 (1993)

Berman, C. (ed.), Medieval Religion: new approaches (2005)

Brooke, C.N.L., Europe in the Central Middle Ages, 962 1154 (2nd ed., 1987)

France, J., The Crusades and the expansion of Catholic Christendom 1000-1714 (2005)

Hay, D., Europe in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries (2nd ed., 1989)

Jordan, W.C., Europe in the High Middle Ages (2001)

Moore, R.I., The First European Revolution c.970-1215 (2000)

Mundy, J.H., Europe in the High Middle Ages, 1150 1309 (1973)

Oakley, F., The Western Church in the Later Middle Ages (1979)

Power, D. (ed.), The Central Middle Ages (2006)

Reynolds, S., Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe, 900 1300 (2nd ed., 1997)

Southern, R.W., The Making of the Middle Ages (1953)

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