Early Medieval Europe - HIST4100

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Edward Roberts checkmark-circle


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:

One essay 2,000 words 35%
Seminar participation 15%
Examination 2 hours 50%

Reassessment methods:
This module will be reassessed by 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

P. Brown (2013). The Rise of Western Christendom: Triumph and Diversity, AD 200–1000, rev. ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
M. Costambeys, M. Innes and S. MacLean (2011). The Carolingian World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
D. Rollason (2018). Early Medieval Europe, 300–1050. A Guide for Studying and Teaching, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.
J. M. H. Smith (2005). Europe After Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
P. Stafford, ed., A Companion to the Early Middle Ages: Britain and Ireland, c.500–c.1100. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
C. Wickham (2010). The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000. London: Penguin.

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, both orally and in writing.

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 work, using library resources, and enhance skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, oral presentations and essay-writing.
3. Engage in group work, in which they will be encouraged to interact effectively with others and to work co-operatively to enhance one another's learning.
4. 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.
5. Demonstrate communication skills and IT skills.
6. Present information creatively and accessibly.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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