Early Medieval Europe - HIST4100

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


What happened when the Roman Empire collapsed? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? How violent were the Vikings? What was the Norman Conquest all about? Were the 'Dark Ages' really as grim as they are often made out to be? This module provides an introduction to the history of early medieval Europe (c.400–c.1100), examining the major political events and social changes that took place across this period. Along the way, we shall consider key aspects of warfare, religious life and intellectual culture. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the outlines of early medieval history between the end of the Roman Empire and the sweeping transformations of the late eleventh century, as well as a sense of what daily life was like for most people and of the types of evidence historians can use to understand this period. The weekly lectures guide students through the module, and seminars provide opportunities to explore key debates and historical problems in more detail through the analysis of primary sources.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150


There may be an optional field trip to medieval history sites around Canterbury and Kent. If this trip is run, it will be significantly subsidised by the School of History, but students who would like to attend will be asked to make a small contribution to the costs to secure their place on the trip.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Autumn Term
• Essay 2,000 words 40%
• Primary Source Critique 1,000 words 40%
• Seminar participation 20%

Spring Term
• Essay 1,500 words 20%
• Primary Source Critique 500 words 20%
• Seminar participation 10%
• Examination 2 hours 50%

Reassessment methods
This module will be reassessed by 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages: https://kent.rl.talis.com/index.html

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate understanding of the broad outlines of key themes in the history of early medieval Europe.
2 Demonstrate awareness of the types of sources available, including their strengths and limitations.
3 Interpret primary sources.
4 Think independently and construct arguments using primary sources.
5 Communicate arguments and ideas, using a variety of methods.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Identify and solve problems while considering critically relevant intellectual concepts and differing historiographical interpretations.
2 Engage in independent and group work, using library resources, and enhance skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, presentations and essay-writing.
3 Communicate complex concepts effectively through written work. They will acquire the ability to further develop skills they have already gained, which will be of use to them in future study or occupations.
4 Demonstrate communication skills and IT skills.
5 Present information creatively and accessibly.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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