Rachel Fulton
Department of History
The University of Chicago

Winter 2003



This lecture-discussion course offers an in-depth introduction to the history of Europe from the conversion of the Roman Empire to the end of the first Christian millennium.  Principal themes include relations between Christians and pagans, the break-up of the Mediterranean world and subsequent cultural interaction between the three medieval “heirs of Rome,” the origins of Latin Christendom and the European kingdoms of northern and southern Europe, and the special role of the Church in the formation of a distinctive European culture.  Readings include primary sources in translation from both Latin and the vernacular along with relevant scholarship. 


Required readings will be taken from the following books


Available for purchase at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore and on Reserve in Regenstein Library


Rosamond McKitterick, ed., The Early Middle Ages: Europe 400-1000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).  [D121 .M35 2001]

Roger Collins, Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999).  ISBN 0-312-06198-6 [D121 .C65 1999]

George Henderson, Early Medieval (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993).  [N5975.H5]

Bede, A History of the English Church and People, trans. Leo Sherley-Price (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1955).  [BR749.B427]

Paul Edward Dutton, ed., Carolingian Civilization: A Reader (Peterborough, Ontario, 1993).  [DC70.C37 1993] = Dutton


On Reserve in Regenstein Library


Patrick Geary, ed., Readings in Medieval History, 2nd ed. (Peterborough, Ontario, 1997).  [D113.R42 1991] = Geary

Thomas F.X. Noble and Thomas Head, eds., Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints’ Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995).  [BX4659.E85S650 1995] = Noble and Head

Alexander Callander Murray, ed., From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: A Reader (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2000).  [DC60 .F76 2000] = Murray

Olivia Remie Constable, ed., Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997).  [DP97.4 .M43 1997] = Constable

Kevin Crossley-Holland, ed., The Anglo-Saxon World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982). [PR1508.E5A58 1984] = Crossley-Holland

Michael McCormick, Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce, AD 300-900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001) [HF3495 .M333 2001]


Course Requirements

Participation in class discussion 10%

Textual analysis (4-5 pages, due January 28) 20%

Mid-term essay (6-8 pages, due February 18) 30%

Final essay (8-10 pages, due March 20) 40%


Reading and Discussion Assignments


January 7  Introduction

Hildebrandlied (Geary, pp. 111-12)

The Ruin (Crossley-Holland, pp. 59-60)


Henderson, pp. 15-33

McKitterick, pp. 1-19


January 9  The Glory That Was Rome (2nd-3rd centuries)

Pliny the Younger, Letter to Trajan (A.D. 111-113) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pliny1.html)

The Letter of the Smyrnaeans or the Martyrdom of Polycarp (2nd century) (gopher://ccat.sas.upenn.edu:3333/00/Religious/ChurchWriters/ApostolicFathers/Martyrdom_Polycarp)

Tacitus, Germania (A.D. 98) (Geary, pp. 65-78)

Aristides, To Rome (A.D. 144 or 156) (Readings in Western Civilization 2: Rome: Late Republic and Empire, eds. Walter Kaegi, Jr., and Peter White [1986], pp. 182-206) [CB245.U640 1986 vol. 2]


Collins, pp. 1-15


January 14  The Conversion of Constantine (4th century)

Eusebius of Caesarea, Life of Constantine the Great, bk. 1, chaps. 22-40 (A.D. 320-330) (Readings in Western Civilization 3: The Church in the Roman Empire, ed. Karl F. Morrison [1986], pp. 79-87) [CB245.U640 1986 vol.3]

Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, bk. 10, selections (RWC 3, pp. 212-30)

Constantine, Laws for Christians (from Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, bk. 10) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/const1-laws2.html)


Collins, pp. 16-30


January 16  The Empire of the Christians (4th-5th centuries)

Ambrose of Milan, Letters 17 and 18, and Symmachus, Memorial (A.D. 391) (RWC 3, pp. 137-54)

Notitia Dignitatum (c. 400) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/notitiadignitatum.html)

Ammianus Marcellinus, History XIV.16 (c. 400) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/ammianus-history14.html)

Sulpicius Severus, Life of Saint Martin of Tours (c. 396) (Noble and Head, pp. 1-29)

Orosius, Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans (A.D. 417) (Murray, pp. 21-40)


Collins, pp. 31-46, 61-79


January  21  The Empire(s) of the Barbarians (5th century)

Salvian of Marseilles, On the Governance of God (440s) (Murray, pp. 109-37)

Priscus of Panium, An Embassy to the Court of Attila (449) (Murray, pp. 139-51)

Jordanes, History of the Goths, chaps. 33-43 (Geary, pp. 94-99)

Constantius of Lyon, Life of Saint Germanus of Auxerre (Noble and Head, pp. 75-106)

Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters (Murray, pp. 194-98, 202-4, 213-16, 220-26, 234-38, 246-48, 252-54)

Remigius of Rheims, Letter to Clovis (Murray, p. 260)

Avitus of Vienne, Letters to Clovis (Murray, pp. 261-64)


Collins, pp. 47-60, 80-99

Henderson, pp. 35-71

McKitterick, pp. 59-94


January  23  The Conversion of the Barbarians (6th century)

Lives of the Holy Fathers of Mérida (c. 630) (Constable, pp. 5-11)

Third Council of Toledo (589) (Constable, pp. 12-20)

Tomb of Childeric (Geary, pp. 113-21)

Gregory of Tours, Histories, bk. 2, chaps. 27-43 (Murray, pp. 271-86)

Salic Law (Geary, pp. 122-28)

Gregory the Great, Dialogues, bk. 2 (Geary, pp. 188-208)


Collins, pp. 100-115

Henderson, pp. 73-96


January 28  The Empire(s) of the Romans (6th century)

Procopius, The Secret History, pp. TBA (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/procop-anec.html)

Procopius, History of the Wars, II.xxii-xxxiii (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/542procopius-plague.html)

Procopius, De aedificiis (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/procop-deaed1.html)

Justinian, Institutes, titles 1-5, 6, 16, 21-23 (RWC2, pp. 207-16)


Collins, pp. 116-34


January 30  The Conversion of the Barbarians (7th century)

Bede, A History of the English Church and People, Bk. I, chaps. 22-34; Bk. II, chaps. 1-3, 9-14

Laws of Ethelbert of Kent (Geary, pp. 209-11)

Fredegar, Chronicle, bk. IV (Murray, pp. 448-90)

Life of Balthild (Geary, pp. 152-57)


Collins, pp. 153-95


February 4  The Conversion of the Barbarians (7th-8th centuries)

Bede, A History of the English Church and People, Bk IV, chaps. 1-2, 5, 17-18, 24; Bk. V, chaps. 7, 9-17

Theodore, Penitential (Geary, pp. 248-66)

Alcuin, Life of Saint Willibrord (Noble and Head, pp. 189-211)


February 6  Islam

Al-Qu’ran, Suras 1 (The Exordium), 2 (The Cow), 3 (The 'Imrans), 5 (The Table), 10 (Jonah), 19 (Mary), 54 (The Moon), and 96 (Clots of Blood)

Mozarabic Chronicle of 754 (Constable, pp. 29-32; and Murray, pp. 635-37)

Ibn ‘Abd al-Hakam, Narrative of the Conquest of al-Andalus (Constable, pp. 32-36)

First Continuation of Fredegar (A.D. 724-35) (Murray, pp. 633-35)

History of Muhammad (ca. 850) (Constable, pp. 48-50)


Collins, pp. 135-52


February 11  The Conversion of the Barbarians (8th century)

Boniface, Letters (Dutton, pp. 4-10)

Willibald, Life of Saint Boniface (Noble and Head, pp. 107-40)

Donation of Constantine (Dutton, pp. 13-20)

Capitulary concerning the Saxons (Dutton, pp. 58-61)


Collins, pp. 196-217, 234-90


February 13  On the true worship of God (8th century)

John of Damascus, Defense of the icons (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/johndam-icons.html)

Iconoclast council of 754 (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/icono-cncl754.html)

Decree of the Second Council of Nicaea of 787 (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/nicea2-dec.html)

Theodulf of Orléans, Libri Carolini (Dutton, pp. 84-87)

Theodulf of Orléans, Precepts for the Priests of his Diocese (Dutton, pp. 94-106)

Alcuin, Dialogue with Prince Pepin (Dutton, pp. 123-28)


Collins, pp. 218-33

McKitterick, pp. 167-98


February 18  The Emperor of the Romans I (A.D. 800)

Einhard, Life of Charles (Dutton, pp. 24-43)

Charlemagne and Pope Leo (Dutton, pp. 55-57)

Capitulary for the Missi (802) (Dutton, pp. 61-69)

Charlemagne, Letter on the Cultivation of Learning (780-800) (Dutton, pp. 78-80)


Collins, pp. 291-308

McKitterick, pp. 21-56

Henderson, pp. 97-153


February 20  On the origins of the European Economy

Capitulary de villis (Geary, pp. 292-98)

Polyptyque of Saint-Germaine-des-Prés (Dutton, pp. 183-86)

Brief concerning Coudray-sur-Seine (Dutton, pp. 186-87)

Adalhard of Corbie, Statues (Dutton, pp. 192-96)

Saint-Riquier (Centula): Its Precious Goods (Dutton, p. 264)


McCormick, pp. 639-69

McKitterick, pp. 97-129


February 25  A Christian Empire (9th century)

Arno, Life of Benedict of Aniane (Dutton, pp. 156-75)

Ordinatio Imperii of 817 (Dutton, pp. 176-79)

Vision of the Poor Woman of Laon (Dutton, pp. 179-80)

Abogard of Lyons, De grandine et tonitruis (Dutton, pp. 189-91)

Einhard, Translation and Miracles of the Saints Marcellinus and Peter (Dutton, pp. 198-246)

Claudius of Turin, Complaint (Dutton, pp. 247-51)


Collins, pp. 309-63

McKitterick, pp. 131-64


February 27  The New Barbarians (9th century)

Nithard, History (Dutton, pp. 333-63)

Annals of Xanten for 844 to 862 (Dutton, pp. 391-94)

Wandering Monks of Saint-Philibert (Dutton, pp. 434-37)

Annals of Saint-Vaast for 882 to 886 (Dutton, pp. 477-81)

Abbo of Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the siege of Paris (Dutton, pp. 483-85)

Hincmar of Rheims, On the Governance of the Palace (Dutton, pp. 485-99)

Asser, Life of Alfred (Geary, pp. 229-39)

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 865 to 900 (Geary, pp. 239-47)


Collins, pp. 364-89


March 4  In the absence of Rome (10th century)

Foundation Charter of Cluny (Geary, pp. 304-6)

Odo, Life of Saint Gerald of Aurillac (Noble and Head, pp. 293-62)


March 6  The Emperor of the Romans II (10th century)

Liudprand of Cremona, A Chronicle of Otto’s Reign (Geary, pp. 572-79)

Liudprand, Report on His Mission to Constantinople (A.D. 963) (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/liudprand1.html)


Collins, pp. 390-422

McKitterick, pp. 201-42

McCormick, pp. 129-50


March 11  Doomsday

Dream of the Rood (Crossley-Holland, pp. 200-204)

Wulfstan of York, Sermon of the Wolf to the English (Crossley-Holland, pp. 294-99)

The Fortunes of Men (Crossley-Holland, pp. 304-306)


Henderson, pp. 201-238

McKitterick, pp. 245-49


March 13  Review


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