Medieval Europe: an introduction
The module is a basic introduction to the history of Europe c600-c1450, a period usually described as 'Medieval'. It outlines the political and economic structures of the period, and examines the medieval 'world view' by discussing attitudes to life, death and the afterlife. Its first theme, expansion, charts the growth of Europe as a major world power and includes topics such as the crusades against the Muslims and pagans, political and economic growth, and intellectual development in the foundation of the universities. Its second theme, crisis, focuses on the devastating impact of plague, famine and warfare, and the increasing persecution of heretics, lepers, homosexuals, and Jews.
The Crusades and the Making of Latin Christendom, 1050-1300
The purpose of this module will be to examine the crusades by setting them in the context of the rapid expansion of Latin Christendom in the Middle Ages. The module will consider the crusades from the perspective of the Latin Christian society that created and sustained them, focussing on the major campaigns carried out to the Holy Land as well as the crusading expeditions to theatres including Byzantium, the Mediterranean, and within Western Europe. In so doing, it considers the impact of crusading activity at the 'periphery' or Europe - places including the Holy Land, Spain and Scandinavia - as well as at its 'core' - areas including France, Germany and the British Isles. The course will examine how the crusades influenced the military and cultural expansion of Latin Christendom in this era, as well as the impact of the crusading movement on ideas, institutions and developments within the heartlands of Europe.
Medieval Britain 1250-1461
This module on British history in the later medieval period investigates the relationship between England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and France, raising questions about conquest, nationalism, patriotism and race. It will also look at the social, economic and cultural history of Britain (eg the rise of English as a literary language) as well as the internal problems each country faced as it battled against plague, revolts and civil war.
The Practice of History
The purpose of the module is to encourage you to think more deeply about how historians work and, in particular, about how we as historians can locate and use primary historical sources effectively as a means of interpreting and understanding the past. During the module we will learn about the survival of historical evidence, how it is organised and made accessible to historians to undertake their research, and how to effectively locate and interpret it in your studies. We will consider how the process of doing historical research changes over time, in particular with the impact of recent developments like digitization.
At the core of the module will be the work you undertake with others in your seminar group using a range of primary sources which your seminar tutor will introduce to you. As part of the module assessment you will also undertake your own primary source based research project using items from these collections. The module is designed strengthen your analytical skills and to help prepare you for the more extensive uses of primary evidence which you will encounter in final year special subjects and dissertation.
The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusades
This module examines the history of the Cathar heresy in the 12th and 13th centuries and the so-called Albigensian Crusades that were launched to suppress them between 1209 and 1229. It will consider the appeal of Catharism to its supporters; the reasons for the brutal treatment of the Cathars by the Catholic Church and Northern French aristocracy; and the legacy for European civilisation of this medieval heresy and the military campaigns against it.
The History dissertation is a free-standing, 40-credit module that runs across both semesters of Level Three. Candidates conduct research upon a subject of their choice, devised in consultation with a member of staff teaching for the degrees in History, and concerning a topic that falls within staff research and teaching interests.
Vikings, Monks and Conquest: Britain in Europe, 1000-1200 A.D.
Between 1000-1200 AD, England was ruled by two Danish Kings (Cnut, 1016-35; Harold, 1035-40) a king whose father was Danish and his mother Norman (Harthacnut, 1040-42) an English king who had spent the first half of his life in Normandy (Edward, 1042-66) followed by a dynasty whose roots were fully Norman, and progressively tied to the conquest and colonisation of regions in France, Ireland and the remainder of the British Isles. This module will explore Britain¿s place in its European landscape during the period c.1000-1200 AD. It will consider a range of interactions between Britain and Europe, including conquest, colonisation, diplomacy, church networks and trade. A diverse variety of sources will inform debates, including written accounts, archaeological evidence, visual-artistic sources such as sculpture, architecture and the Bayeux Tapestry, and, uniquely at this level, digitised medieval manuscript sources. Students will be encouraged to critically engage with a rich historiography which, although traditionally emphasising differences between Britain and the Continent in this period, is now turning rapidly to highlight Britain¿s numerous close and long-standing relationships with European neighbours across this period.
Medieval Britain 1250-1461
This module focuses on British history, 1250-1520, and investigates the relationship between the peoples of England, France, Scotland, Ireland and Wales during a period of intense warfare. It considers issues of domination, conquest, nationalism, patriotism and ethnicity, and looks at the nation as a social, economic and cultural unit (eg. the rise of the English language as a political and literary medium). By looking at the Jews and those termed `alien¿ in England, it also reflects on attitudes towards the `other¿ in medieval society.
Reading Medieval Manuscripts
Medieval manuscript sources are crucial to our understanding of the Middle Ages. Research across the disciplines of medieval studies is grounded in the study and use of medieval books and documentary sources. This module aims to give students the skills, knowledge and confidence to engage with original manuscript sources of various types, from early Anglo-Saxon Gospel books to medieval chronicles, from illustrated books of hours to critical legal documents. Students will engage with these sources via digital and printed images and full-scale printed facsimiles, learning to recognise and transcribe medieval hands from all periods. Students will be given the chance to read original manuscripts during visits to the West Glamorgan Archive Service (Swansea) and the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth). This module assumes no prior knowledge of medieval manuscripts, nor any prior knowledge of the medieval languages featured in the manuscript samples, including Latin, Old English and Middle English.
Introduction to Advanced Medieval Studies 1: Skills and Approaches
This module introduces students to recent and current trends in medieval studies, to the research skills required for MA-level research, and to the medieval heritage of South Wales and the surrounding region. Seminars will consider the nature of medieval sources and texts, and a selection of themes that have made a significant impact upon medieval studies in recent years.
Introduction to Advanced Medieval Studies 2: Themes and Sources
This module aims to apply the skills and approaches learned in the module HIMM01: Introduction to Advanced Medieval Studies 1: Skills and Approaches to a range of important themes in Medieval Studies, including gender, identity, laws and customs, spirituality, heritage. The module is interdisciplinary and draws on historical, literary and visual sources. The content of the module will be arranged in 2-weekly blocks, with the first week in each block dedicated to introducing students to the specific theme and the second week being used as a practical application of this knowledge to a source or text.
Directed Reading in Medieval Studies
Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and either historiography or literary criticism, relating to a topic in Medieval Studies which they choose from a wide range of options.