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Research Paper Topics For Medieval History Textbook

It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search of the contents of the MSU Libraries' web site, starting at the top left of the Libraries' home page.  The results will be sorted into several categories to follow up on:  articles from journals, books/media from our online catalog, databases, library research guides like this one, other.  Watch a short video about it here. To do a more traditional search, read on.

Books and Media (online catalog) contains the holdings of the M.S.U. Libraries.  Search by author's name(s), remembering that institutions, governments, or organizations may be authors as well as individuals, by title of a particular work or periodical, by author/title combination, by keyword, by subject heading, or by call number.

Keywords are the natural language words that occur to you to describe your topic

Subject headings are controlled vocabulary words and phrases assigned to each item in the catalog.  Cataloging librarians at the Library of Congress assign several subject headings to each item based upon examination of the contents. M.S.U. Libraries uses their system of headings.  Some suggested subject headings are below.

Search by keyword? Search by subject heading?  How to decide?  Best quality retrieval intellectually is usually achieved by searching using the official L.C. subject headings.  However, new topics may not have official subject headings yet; for those keyword searching may work better. 

How to find the official subject headings?  Below is a list of L.C. subject headings that might come in handy for your work on medieval Spain.  For others, ask to see the L.C. List of Subject Headings books in the Reference Collection at Z 695.... Or, just try a keyword or phrase in the subject search mode and see if it works.  It might.  Or, the system might provide suggestions.  

It is always possible to start off with keyword searches and notice the subject headings at the end of the catalog record of the items you find that look best and then search using those subject headings. 

Keywords may be combined using and, or, not.   For example:  santiago and military

Remember that people's names, places, groups, events may also be subject headings, too. Examples: Egerius.  Santiago de Compostela.Templars. Crusades.

If you are looking for primary sources, pay attention to the sub-headings of the L.C. subject headings.  Look for sub-headings such as sources, correspondence, early works to 1800, personal narratives, archives, archival resources, diaries, manuscripts, manuscripts--facsimiles.

Aristocracy Spain

Books and reading history

Books and reading Spain history to 1500

Books history 400-1400

Books Spain history

Castles Spain


Christian pilgrims and pigrimages

Christian shrines

Cities and towns medieval

Clothing and dress history medieval 500-1500

Clothing and dress in art

Clothing and dress in literature

clothing and dress Spain

Color in heraldry

Convents Spain

Costume history medieval 500-1500

Costume Spain


Crosses in heraldry

Crowns in heraldry

Devices (heraldry) [use instead of coats of arms]

Education medieval Spain


Heraldry [use instead of coats of arms]


Illumination of books and manuscripts Spanish

Illumination of books and manuscripts medieval

Knights and knighthood

Libraries history

Manuscripts Spain

Military religious orders

Monasteries Spain

Monastic and religious life Mediterranean region history

Nobility education medieval

Nobility heraldry

Nobility Spain

Nuns Spain

Orden de Calatrava

Orden de Santiago

Orders of knighthood and chivalry Spain

Roads Europe history

Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

Scriptoria Spain

Spain civilization to 711

Spain civilization 711-1516

Spain history to 711

Spain history Gothic period 414-711

Spain history 711-1516

Spain history Ferdinand and Isabella 1479-1516

Spain history military

Spain intellectual life to 711

Spain intellectual life 711-1516

Spain social conditions to 1800

Spain social life and customs


Travel religious aspects Christianity to 1500

Women and religious travel

Women education Spain

Women history Middle Ages 500-1500

Women legal status laws etc. Spain

Women prayers and devotions Spanish

Women religious life Spain history

Women Spain history


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| Sourcebook | Links to Net Resources | Term Paper | Medieval New York Project | Stylesheet |

Paul Halsall/
Fordham University

HSRU1300: Spring 1998

Office: Dealy Hall 647
Office hours: Tue 4-5 pm, Fri 2:30-3:30pm
Office Tel.: (718) 817 3934
Class Location and Hours:
Keating 218, Tue. Fri,  10-11:15am


The Course

This course is an introduction to the history and civilization of Europe and the Mediterranean area in the middle ages. The emphasis is on the dissolution of the classical Greco-Roman world into three kindred civilizations, Byzantium, Islam, and Latin Christendom; the formation of a new civilization in the West; and the beginning of the eventual rise to world predominance of the West.

Reading and Texts

Students are required to do a certain amount of assigned reading outside class. The reading for this course comes in two forms - articles on reserve and documents available on the World Wide Web. By the end of the course students should be able to evaluate for themselves both source material from the past and the varied interpretations given to the to those sources. There is a required textbook, but students' primary responsibility is to read and discuss primary source assignments. The textbook (with a new edition for this semester - do not buy older editions) is -

Hollister, C. Warren, Medieval Europe: A Short History, 8th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998)

Sources and Other Readings on the World Wide Web

All the source readings for each class are on the World Wide Web. If you are reading the online version of this syllabus all you need do is to select [often by "clicking"] the texts in question, which are listed under each class. You can then read on screen, or print out the document. [For the computer-phobic copies may be made available in the library reserve room.] This option puts you, as Fordham students, on the cutting edge of technology.

The Internet is now a valuable research tool for students. Accordingly I shall also make this syllabus, course outline, lecture notes, and other class handouts available on the Web. Under each class there may also be reading material (marked as such), gathered from various WWW Extra sites. This material addresses or expands upon issues overlooked in the assigned readings.

You must acquire a CIMS account for this semester. To do this go to the VAX terminal room in Dealy and complete the online application procedure. You can pick up your account in the CIMS office in Dealy Basement the next day. You can access this account from any VAX terminal at Fordham, from the new net terminals, from terminals in the library, and from home if you have a modem.

In Mulcahy Hall, in Walsh Library, and in Dealy Hall there are "graphical terminals" - both Mac, IBM, and VAX Xwindows - which have the impressive Netscape Web browser. To access the class page from Netscape, just type in (at the prompt):


On the older VAX terminals at Fordham, there is also a non-graphical, but very fast, web browser is called LYNX. To invoke the "pages" for this course simple sign on and type

lynx /halsall/medieval.html

Class Requirements


  • Paper - topic due - Feb 6
  • Paper - annotated bibliography due - Feb 20
  • Paper - outline and thesis due - Mar 20
  • Complete paper due - April 3
  • Medieval New York Project - topic due - Feb 6
  • Medieval New York Project - completion due - Mar 10
  • Midterm - Feb 24
  • Final Exam - TBA

Class Policies

ATTENDANCE:Six unexcused cuts entail an F grade. Late arrival counts as half a cut. Students are responsible for keeping a record of their own attendance. Absences are excused by: a doctor's note; a note from the Dean; a notice from the Athletic Director presented before the class to be missed.

TERM PAPERS: Papers must be handed in on time, unless an extension is given. They must conform to the Stylesheet guidelines handed out separately.

EXAMS:Make up exams will only be given for medical reasons.

HONOR:Cheating will result in an F for any paper or exam in which it is detected.

Students are encouraged to make an appointment with the instructor to discuss papers and/or issues raised in class.


Quick Guide to Course Handouts and Guides

Course Outline

The course is based on eight thematic sections of varying length through which we shall analyze the formation of the medieval world. The eight sections are:-

In general we shall do one "class" per class meeting. To allow some flexibility, however, I will not assign classes to specific dates. You will know what to read next by where we are in the course.


  • Lecture - Lecture notes for each class are available. These correspond in some way to what happens in class. For review purposes the topics given under each class should be used.
  • Textbook readings in Hollister are to page numbers in Medieval Europe: A Short History, 8th ed.
  • Map links to an online color map related to the lecture..
  • Sources are indicated by title - for instance the Passion of St. Perpetua. You can access the source simply by selecting ["clicking"] on it. All sources for a particular lecture will be available under the title Halsall: Lecture 1 (2, 3, 4, etc) the library reserve room.
  • It would be best for you to read ALL the primary source readings. However, they are marked according to priority:
    RED means the text MUST BE READ BEFORE CLASS.
    YELLOW means it might make more sense to read this text after class
    GREEN means the text is optional.
  • References to WWW Reading refer to reading available via the World Wide Web. I expect you to show awareness of some of these readings during the semester. 
  • References to WWW Extra refer to optional reading available via the World Wide Web
  • References to WWW Link refer to World Wide Web sites related to the class topics. Remember that a much fuller list of Medieval Links on the World Wide Web is also available.

Class 1 Introduction

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Introduction and practicalities, timeline, origins of civilization

Chi-Rho Symbol

A: The End of the Classical World

Class 2 Christianity and the Parting of the Ways: Invasions, Constantinople, Christianity

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Roman World. Literature and art. Politics - civic structure of society, slave economy. Unity of classical world. Christianity - Constantine, Eusebius.. Councils - Nicea I, Chalcedon. Constantinople.

Imperial Eagle

B: Byzantium

Class 3 The Eastern Roman Empire to Heraklios

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 42-51
  • Map:The Eastern Empire in 395
  • Map:Constantinople
  • Map:Constantinople - sketch map
  • Procopius: On the Nika Revolt, from The Wars
  • Procopius: on Justinian, from Secret History. The full text of the Secret History is also available.
  • Procopius: Description of Hagia Sophia from De Aedificiis
  • Paul the Silentiary: Description of Hagia Sophia from Descriptio S. Sophiae
  • Corpus Iuris Civilis [selections]
  • Antiochus Strategos: The Sack of Jerusalem (614)
  • WWW Reading: Cyril Mango. Byzantium: The Empire of New Rome, (New York: Scribner's, 1980), pp. 13. ff
  • WWW Extra: David Kennedy and Derrick Riley. Rome's Desert Frontier. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990), Chapter One: Physical and Human Geography, pp. 24. ff
  • WWW Link: Weblink to Byzantium: Byzantine Studies on the Internet

Topics: Constantinople. Church and Heresy. Justinian. Prokopios. Art and Architecture: Hagia Sophia. Ravenna. Monophysitism. Arab Invasions. Loss of Egypt and Syria. Heraklios - the Basileus.

Class 4 Iconoclasm and the Glory Days of Byzantium

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 51-55
  • Map:The Byzantine Theme System
  • John of Damascus: In Defence of Icons, c 730
  • Liutprand of Cremona: Report on Mission to Constantinople 963
  • WWW Reading: Judith Herrin, The Formation of Christendom. " Byzantium Confronted by Islam", (Princeton: Princeton Univ, Press. 1987) pp. 187 ff
  • WWW Extra: Irfan Shahid, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fifth Century. (Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, D.C. 1989), pp. 528. ff - Vll. BYZANTINISM AND ARABISM: INTERACTION

Topics: The Theme System. Iconoclasm - John of Damascus. Dark Ages. Slavic Migrations. End of the Cities. Macedonians. Church and society, Mantzikert.


C: Islam

Class 5 Muhammad: Prophet or Statesman?

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Arabs. Central Asia and Trade. Muhammad. Career. The Qu'ran. Islamic beliefs - five pillars, greater and lesser jihad. Women, The calendar. The four early Caliphs. Ali - the Shia.

Dome of the Rock

Class 6 Arab Kingdoms and Islamic Empires:Ummayyads, Abbasids, and Turks

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 78-86
  • Map:The First 25 Years of Conquest
  • Map:The Islamic Empire in 750
  • The Pact of Umar, 7th Century
  • Anonymous Arab Chronicler: The Battle of Poitiers, 732
  • Story from the Thousand and One Nights [caution: very rude!]
  • WWW Extra: Oleg Grabar. Ceremonial and Art at the Umayyad Court. PhD Dissertation, Princeton Univ 1955. Chap. I. The Umayyad Royal Idea and its Expression under Mu'awiyah I. pp 18 ff
  • WWW Extra: Oleg Grabar. The Formation of Islamic Art, (New Haven: Yale Univ Press, 19??), pp. 43- 71,.Chap. 3 "The Symbolic Appropriation of the Land"
  • WWW Extra: Gaston Wiet. Baghdad: Metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate, (Norman OK: Univ of Oklahoma Press, 19?? ) Chap. 5
  • WWW Extra: Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. A Concise History of the Middle East. Chap. 8. "Islamic Civilization"
  • WWW Extra: Bernard Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle East, (New York: Oxford Univ Press 1994) Chap 1. "Slavery".
  • WWW Extra: Fred Donner. The Early Islamic Conquests, (Princeton: Princeton Univ Press, 1981), pp.251 ff - Chapter VI. "Conclusions: 1. Tribe and State in Arabia: Second Essay"
  • WWW Link: Dome of the Rock

Topics: Ummayyads - Muawiya. Abbasids. Nature of Islamic politics. Kalaam. Sha'ria, Spain - Cordoba. Harun al-Rashid. The Turks. Sultans. The Seljuqs. The Fatamids.


D: Formation of Latin Christendom

Class 7 Formation of the Germanic States

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: European geography. Ethnography, Germans. Ostrogoths and Italy - Theodoric. Visigoths and Spain. Vandals. Franks and Merovingians. Clovis. Anglo-Saxons.

Class 8 The Roman Church and Monasticism

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The papacy - Gelasius, Leo I, Gregory I. Roman Church and Byzantium. Latin Theology. Augustine - Pelagianism. Jerome.  Monasticism. St. Benedict


Class 9 Light in a Dark Age?Bede and Charlemagne

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Franks. Maior Domo. Charles Martel. Charlemagne. The desire for unity. Charlemagne and the Church. Carolingian Culture - Alcuin, Cathedral schools. Ireland - Columba, Aidan. Bede - Northumbria, Lindesfarne

Class 10 The Second Dissolution of the West: Vikings and Feudalism?

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 109-18, 119-29, 138-43 [read with special care pages 126-29]
  • Map:The Division of Charlemagne's Empire, 843 and 870
  • Map:Europe in 900
  • The Annals of Xanten, 845-853, Viking attacks, and the low point of western European civilization?
  • WWW Reading: John Sloan, The Stirrup Controversy posted on discussion list mediev-l@ukanvm.cc.ukans.edu on 5 October 1994 as part of the thread "The Stirrup Controversy."
  • WWW Reading: Steven Lane, Review of Susan Reynolds, Fief and Vassals, (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1994) in BMMR 95:12.1
  • WWW Link: Gunnora Hallakarva's Viking Answers Page
  • WWW Link:Vikings in America: L'Anse Aux, [At Pitt]

Topics: After Charlemagne - Verdun, Mersen, Lothar. Vikings. Feudalism?. Demography. Early Medieval Economy.


Otto III

E: The Rebirth of Latin Christendom

Class 11 New Political Beginnings and Cluny

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The year 1000. Ottonian Germany, Italy, England, Cluny. Cistercians - St Bernard. Carthusians.

Class 12 The Commercial Revolution

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 161-70, 182-88
  • Map:Transasian Trade Routes, 13th Century
  • Map:Hanseatic League, 14th Century
  • Capitulary De Villis 9th century
  • Tables: Population in Europe
  • Guibert of Nogent Autobiography - on Communal Revolt in Laon, 1115,
  • Southampton Guild Merchant: Rules
  • The Great Fair at Thessalonica, (mid 12th Cent.)
  • The Taxes of the Kingdom of Jerusalem [SKIM]
  • L�beck and Hamburg Treaty, 1241
  • Reginald of Durham: Life of St. Goderic - a 12th century merchant,
  • WWW Link:Agricultural Tools in the Middle Ages
  • WWW Link:Wharram Percy Page Wharram Percy is a deserted English Medieval village.

Topics: Agriculture. Commerce. Nature of Medieval Economy - Cloth trade. Growth of Towns. Italy. The Mediterranean and Atlantic. The Baltic - Hanseatic league. Problems with Credit. Contribution of Jews.

Gregory VII

Class 13 Revolution from the Top:Rome and the Gregorian Revolution

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Idea of Reform. Gregorian reform or Gregorian revolution?. Papal government - Gregory VII, Urban II. Canon Law - Gratian. Struggle with Empire. Idea of Christendom.

Class 14 Byzantium and Islam before the Crusades

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • An Arab Ambassador in Constantinople, (late 10th Century)
  • Russian Primary Chronicle: The Christianisation of Russia (988)
  • Michael Psellos: Constantine Monomachos [not available yet]
  • Anna Komnena: The Alexiad [not available yet]
  • WWW Extra: David J. Wasserstein. The Caliphate in the West, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), chap. 1. "The Caliphal Institution in al-Andalus until 422/1031"
  • WWW Extra: Yacov Lev. State and Society in Fatimid Egypt, (Leiden: E. J. Brill., 1991), Chapter 4: The Ruling Circles
  • WWW Extra: J. J. Saunders. A History of Medieval Islam, (London: Routledge, 19??), chap. 9. "IX The Turkish Irruption" 

Topics: Iconoclasm. The Macedonian Renovatio. Conversion of Russia - Kiev. 11th-century Collaps - Psellos. The Komnenoi and the Crusades - Anna Komnena. Abbasid Break up, Iran, Tahirids, Fatamids, Turks, Seljuqs, Collapse in 1092.

Class 15 Crusades and European Expansion

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 188-204
  • Map: The First Crusade, 1099
    A clickable map of all of Europe in 1099
  • Map: The Crusader States in the Early 12th Century
  • Map: Crusader States 12th and 13th Centuries
  • Map:Jerusalem
  • Map: The Second and Third Crusades
  • Map: Fourth Crusade
  • Synod of Charroux: Peace of God Proclaimed 989
  • Drogo of Terouanne: Truce of God 1063
  • Leo IV: (847-855): Forgiveness of Sins for Those Who Dies in Battle
  • John II: Indulgence for Fighting the Heathen, 878
  • Annalist of Nieder-Altaich: The Great German Pilgrimage of 1064-65 ,
  • Urban II: Speech at Clermont: Five Versions
  • Ekkehard of Aurach: On the Opening of the First Crusade
  • Albert of Aix and Ekkehard of Aura: Emico and the Slaughter of the Rhineland Jews
  • Soloman bar Samson: The Crusaders in Mainz, 1096
  • Fulk of Chartres: The Capture of Jerusalem, 1099
  • St. Bernard: In Praise of the New Knighthood (early 12th Century)
  • Annales Herbipolenses, s.a. 1147: A Hostile View of the Crusade,
  • The Decline of Christian Power in the Holy Land, 1164, Letter from Aymeric, patriarch of Antioch, to Louis VII of France.
  • Roger of Hoveden: The Fall Of Jerusalem, 1187
  • Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi: Muslim Hostages Slain at Acre, 1191
  • Cologne Chronicle: The Children's Crusade, 1212
  • John of Monte Corvino: Report on China, 1305
  • WWW Extra: Leo Africanus: "Description of Timbuktu", from The Description of Africa (1526)
  • WWW Extra: Jessica A. Browner: "Viking" Pilgrimage to the Holy Land fram! fram! cristmenn, crossmenn, konungsmenn! (Ol�fs saga helga, ch. 224.), [At Essays in History 34/Virginia] 
  • WWW Link: Medieval Archery Research Project
  • WWW Link: Arador Armour Library

Topics: European Expansion. Spain - Reconquista. Peace of God. Truce of God. Normans. Fatamids. Byzantium. Jerusalem. First Crusade. Later Crusades- Richard I, Saladin . Anti-Semitism. German Drang nach Osten.

Frederick II

Class 16 The Church and the Empire

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Roman Church. The Holy Roman Empire. Innocent III - Fourth Lateran Council. Frederick I Barbarossa. Frederick II. Boniface VII. 

A Royal Court

Class 17 The Western Monarchies:England France and Spain

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 248-71
  • Map: France in 1032
  • Map: The Growth of the French Royal Domain, 1182-1350
  • Map: The Angevin Empire, c. 1174
  • Map: Medieval England, c. 1399,
  • Map: Medieval London
  • Map: Spain: the Reconquista, 1037-1270
  • The Domesday Book: Instructions and Example
  • Henry of Huntingdon: Chronicle [c.1080-1160]
  • Henry II: The Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164
  • Henry II:The Assize of Clarendon, 1166
  • Magna Carta [A Magna Carta in plain text is also available, as is a British Library modern translation] [SKIM]
  • Summons of a Bishop, a Baron, and the Commons to Parliament 1295
  • Abbot Suger: Life of Louis VI
  • St. Louis: Advice to His Son
  • WWWReading: Charles Julian Bishko, "The Frontier in Medieval History", AHA 1955 [at UKans]
  • WWW Link: Secrets of the Norman Invasion
  • WWW Link: Bayeux Tapestry
  • WWW Link: Regia Anglorum

Topics: Change in "Feudalism". England - William I, Domesday Book, Henry II, Magna Carta, Parliament. France - Capetians, Louis VII, Philip II Augustus, St. Louis.  Normandy. Notions of Kingship.


Richard I and Philip II

F: Civilization in the High Middle Ages

Class 18 Secular Society: The Aristocratic Culture and Peasant Life

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Aristocracy. Chivalry. Political Power. Literature - Epic, Romance, Lyric . Chaucer. Peasant life. Diet. Mortality. The Manor. Variety of patterns.

The Eucharist

Class 19 The Age of Faith I: Popular Piety and Christian Belief

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Popular Piety. Sacramentalism. Intellectual response. Eucharist. The Host. Confession. Marriage. Indulgences. Mary, Saints.


Class 20 The Age of Faith II: Intellectual Life

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Italy. Cathedral Schools. Universities. Paris. Methods. Universals. Neoplatonism and Faith. Aristotle. Aquinas.

St. Francis

Class 21 Criticism of Society: Jews, Heretics and Friars

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 170-72, 214-24
  • Conversion of Peter Waldo
  • Bernard Gui: Inquisitor's Manual - Accusations against Cathars
  • Cathar Rites: Traditio: Immersion in the Perfect Community, from the Lyons Ritual
  • Cathar Rites: The Apparelhamentum,, from the Lyons Ritual
  • Fourth Lateran Council: Canon 63 - on Heretics
  • Bernard Gui: Technique of Interrogations [1307-1323]
  • Angelo Clareno, a spiritual Franciscan, on Torture, early 14th Cent.
  • St. Francis: Testament [1182-1226]
  • St. Francis: Canticle of the Sun
  • Maimonides: The Thirteen Principles of Judaism
  • Maimonides: Oath of Maimonides
  • Rashi (1040-1105): Communal Affairs in Troyes, c.1100
  • Jewish Ethical Wills (12th and 14th Centuries)
  • Ephraim of Bonn: on the York Massacre of 1189-90 and Roger of Hoveden: Persecution of Jews Following Coronation of Richard I, 1189
  • Innocent III: Letter on the Jews - toleration, 1199
  • Story of Anderl von Rinn: A Blood Libel Saint

Topics: Critical societies. Intellectual and popular heresies. Cathars. Albi. Waldensians. St. Francis. Franciscans. Dominicans. Inquisition and persecution: heretics, Jews.

A Marriage

Class 22 Gendered History Roles of Medieval Women and Men

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 177-82, 187-88,
  • Empress Matilda: To Archbishop Anselm
  • Peter of Blois: Letter 154, to Queen Eleanor, 1173
  • Tables of Kindred and Degrees- both Roman and German methods of calculation
  • Le Menagier [or Goodman] of Paris: on ideal marriage
  • Bernardino of Siena: Sermons on Wives and Widows
  • Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury Tales: Prologue to Wife of Bath's Tale [Modern Text]
  • Sale of Daughter as a Concubine
  • Heloise: Letter to Abelard
  • Homoerotic Texts
  • WWW Reading: John Thorp: "Review Article/Discussion: The Social Construction of Homosexuality ",Phoenix 46.1 (1992) p54-65
  • WWW Reading: Gunnora Hallakarva Homosexuality in the Viking Age
  • WWW Extra: Robbins Library Bibliography: Bibliography of Works by and about Women Writers of the Middle Ages
  • WWW Extra: Bernardette Brooten, "Early Church Responses to Lesbian Sex" The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Volume III, No. 4, Fall, 1996. [At HGLC.org] 
  • WWW Link: Medieval and Renaissance Weddings
  • WWW Link: People With a History: An Online Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* History

Topics: Gender in history. Women and work. Women and power. Women and Religion. Women and Children. Varieties of Marriage, homosexuality?

Extra Class: Visit to Cloisters - Medieval Art and Architecture:

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Cloisters. Religious Art. Romanesque - Durham Cathedral. Gothic - St. Denis, Notre Dame. Late Gothic. Humanisation of Christ in Art. Secular Art. Symbolism.

A Solidus

G: Byzantium and Islam Face the West

Class 23 Eastern Christendom after the Crusades

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: The Comeneni. Russia. The Crusades. 1204. The Paleologoi. Palamism. The Turks. End of Constantinople. Survival of Orthodoxy.

Muslim Armies

Class 24 Islam Resurgent: The Ayyubbids, The Mamelukes and the Ottomans

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Arabs and Turks. Saladin. The Mongols. Sultan Baibers. Ein Jalut. The Mamelukes. Anatolia becomes Turkey. The Ottomans. Closing of the East to Europe.


H: The Later Middles Ages

The Angel of Death

Class 25 Catastrophe? The Black Death and its Results

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 326-28, 352-58, 359-75
  • Map:Europe in 1360
  • Johannes of Trowkelowe: Annales - on Famine of 1315
  • Giovanni Boccaccio: Decameron - Introduction, on Black Death, There is another version available.
  • Anonimalle Chronicle: Peasant Uprising of 1381
  • WWW Extra: Pistoia, "Ordinance for Sanitation in a Time of Mortality "
  • WWW Extra: Marchione di Coppo Stefani, The Florentine Chronicle - Stefani, Marchione di Coppo. Cronaca fiorentina. Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, Vol. 30. , ed. Niccolo Rodolico. (Citta di Castello: 1903-13)
  • Council of Constance: Decree Sacrosancta 1415

Topics: Late medieval economy, The Black Death, Population effects, economic effects. Popular religion. Indulgences. Elaboration. Images of death. The Hierarchical Church. New heresies.

Class 26 Political and Cultural Developments after the Black Death

lecture notes

Assigned Reading:

  • Hollister, 329-50
  • Map:France at the Treaty of Bretigny, 1360
  • Map:France at Height of English Power, 1429
  • Map:France in the Late 15th Century
  • Map:The Mongol Empire at the Death of Genghis Khan, 1227
  • Map:The Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan
  • Map:Iberia, 1492
  • Map:Italy During the Renaissance
  • Map:Europe in 1519
  • Petrarch: Selected Letters, c. 1372
  • Vasari: Leonardo da Vinci, 1550
  • Martin Luther: 95 Theses, 1517
  • Christopher Columbus: Letter to King and Queen of Spain , prob. 1494
  • WWW Reading: The Development of a World Economic System - A Summary of Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press, 1974)
  • WWW Extra: Pico de Mirandola, "Oration on the Dignity of Man ", paras 1-7
  • WWW Extra:Jonathan Harris: Byzantines in Renaissance Italy, [At Orb]
  • WWW Link:Gardens, Villas, and Social Life in Renaissance Florence

Topics: The Empire. France and England. 1453- Fall of Constantinople, 1485- Bosworth Field, 1492- America, The Renaissance. The Reformation. The Treaty of Westphalia 1648?

Class Schedule




Week 11/13 First Class1/16
Week 21/19 MLK - No Class1/23
Week 31/261/30 Paper and WWW Topic due
Week 42/32/6
Week 52/102/13
Week 62/17 Monday Schedule - No Class2/20 Annotated Bibliography due
Week 72/24 Midterm Exam2/27 
Week 8 3/3 3/6
Week 9 3/10 WWW project due3/13
Week 10 3/173/20 Paper Thesis and Outline due
Week 11 3/243/27
Week 12 3/31 4/3 Paper Due
Week14 4/74/10 Good Friday - No Class
Week 15 4/14 Easter Monday - No Class4/17
Week 16 4/21  4/24
Week 174/28 Last Class4/29-30 Reading Days
Week 18May 1-8 Finals Week 


The Web is so vast now that it contains more, and more diverse information, than any single printed source. This availability of information will only increase and is a truly splendid new tool to help in your research. To use the Web efficiently, the various search engines are essential. These now come in two forms: Limited Area Search Engines [LASE] and Wide Area Search Engines [WASE].
In either case it is important to form your query words as clearly as possible. For instance, if you are interested in finding information on a particular musician, do not search for "music", but for a style [eg "jazz" or "gregorian chant"] or even a name ["abba", "charlie parker", "hildegard"].

Limited Area Search Engines

  • The ARGOS Search Engine
    ARGOS is Limited Area Search Engine which only returns information on Ancient, Byzantine and Medieval documents/sites on the Internet. The search area is determined by a board of associates and is based on some the of the best-maintained links pages on the web. The Medieval/Byzantium links collection associated with this page is one of the associate sites. Input your search words below, and hit ENTER.
  • The HIPPIAS Search Engine
    HIPPIAS is Limited Area Search Engine which only returns information on philosophy resources on the net. Input your search words below, and hit ENTER.


Wide Area Search Engines

Here are links to the best "wide area" search engines on the Web. Yahoo is best, I think, if you are looking for specialized websites. Lycos, Excite, and Hotbot all index many more documents. These engines will always turn up more references, but far more will be dross than with Yahoo. It is useful to start with Yahoo since it has a nice feature - once it tells you everything that it has found, it will automatically plug you in to the other search engines.
As the WWW has grown these wide area engines have become more difficult to use. Searching for "Plato" for instance, will return more "hits" than one could possibly read in a lifetime. For this reason it is best to start searches for Byzantine and Medieval subjects with the "limited area" ARGOS search engine.


The author and maintainer of this site is Paul Halsall [a picture!] . He can be contacted by email at

Please do not hesitate to mail comments or suggestions.

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