High Middle Ages

Hawker College, Semester 2, 2013


Welcome to the High Middle Ages History unit at Hawker College. My school email is Christopher.Kenna@ed.act.edu.au, and I can be contacted in Staffroom 74 and on 6205 7774.


Assignment sheets and support material
Assignment 1 Essay: revised due date: 3 September 2013
Please use the Teachit proforma to plan and structure your essay . Remember to have an introduction, conclusion and linked paragraphs. Develop an argument in response to the question, and consider alternative arguments also. Use the Chicago style for footnotes and bibliography.

Here are the essay questions ; please note the due date was extended for one week until 5 September.

Assignment 2 In-class document study on the Crusades: to be held in the double Line 2 class on Tuesday, Week 9, 17 Sept 2013.

Weeks 1-3
The two topics we have been looking at so far are the Norman Conquest of 1066 and aspects of feudalism.

Week 4
Please read this account of the Battle of Hastings, with some comments about the English and the Normans, by William of Malmesbury(and see this link to learn more about him). Two questions:
1. Should we regard William's account, at least partly, as a primary source?
2. Is William positive or negative about the Norman role in England?

Week 5
This week, we will be looking at some different personalities of medieval women.

For Tuesday, please look at Chaucer's writing about the Wife of Bath. Read as much as you can, to be able to answer these questions:

1. What picture is painted of the Wife of Bath, and how typical would she be?
2. Are there positives/negatives using a souce such as The Canterbury Tales as a source for History?

As a second example, please consider the life and works of Hildegard of Bingen. Sample this example of one of her visions, and listen to this recording of her remarkable music, or this beautiful example. Does Hildegard provide an example of a particular type of women's experience in medieval Europe?

Week 6
On Monday, we will be considering the relationship between 'facts' and 'interpretation'. Please read the excerpt from E.H. Carr's What is History? and look at the material on this topic from Cambridge University. When we deal with the crusades later in the unit, it will be very relevant to consider different ways of looking at these, and shown in the extracts provided by Cambridge.

Our next medieval woman to consider is Eleanor of Aquitaine. Compare this brief account from the BBC, with any impressions we gain from a letter to her from Peter of Blois.

Before going on to consider Joan of Arc, let's consider the context of the Hundred Years War: here is some information via the BBC site. Question: according to this source, what were some of the key factors in the outbreak of this conflict?

Week 7
We will continue to consider the significance of Joan of Arc. First, please see the evidence relating to her trial (go to page 34 of this long document). Questions: 1) what were the charges against Joan? 2) What were her manner and some of her responses when being tried? There is also a shorter account, and a letter from Joan. Question: 3) what light do these documents also throw on Joan?

Week 8
This week, we are starting to look at the Crusades. Please begin by looking at five accounts of a speech by Pope Urban II. Please be ready to compare accounts 1 (Fulcher of Chartres) and 2 (Robert the Monk) on thursday.

Week 9
This week, we will begin by looking at some accounts of the People's Crusade involving Peter the Hermit. Questions 1) What was the effect of Peter the Hermit's preaching? 2) Are there points of agreement or disagreement in the first three accounts provided at this site?

Week 10
We will continue looking at aspects of the First Crusdade this week, beginning with accounts of the crusaders at Constantinople (modern Istanbul). Questions: 1) What is your impression of modern Istanbul? 2) How do the accounts of Anna Comnena (from a Byzantine perspective) compare with an account from at least one of the foreigners?

Please also consult at least one version of the siege and fall of Jerusalem. Questions: 1) How would you describe the actions of the crusaders at Jerusalem? 2) Are there points of agreement or disagreement between the various accounts?

Weeks 11-12
After the break, we began to look at the Cathar heresy in the south of France, and the Albigensian Crusade. Please also read the handouts of extracts from Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou. Questions: (1) What were the key features of Catharism? (2) What were the motivations of the Albigensian Crusade?

In preparation for our next topic, we borrowed The Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks' novel about a later plague in the 1600s) and should have started to read it over the weekend.

Week 13
This week, we will start looking at the Black Death. Please begin by looking at this overview.

Best wishes, Chris Kenna