History | Medieval Heroes
B204 | 3091 | Deliyannis
Above section qualifies for COAS topics credit
A society's heroes, real or fictional, can tell you a lot about that
society (think about who our heroes are in modern America). So
heroes are a great way to learn about past societies. This course
is an introduction to the history of the Middle Ages in western
Europe through its heroes (and villains). What made people heroes
(or villains) in the Middle Ages? Who can be a hero? Who can become
a heroine? How did changes in medieval society create changes in
people's thinking about heroes? And how do modern people see these
There will be a textbook that provides an outline of medieval
history, but the main focus will be on the primary source readings.
We will read historical texts, saints' lives, epic poems, Arthurian
romances, in order to understand who the heroes were, and how they
were presented to people in society. We will focus on the heroic
qualities that people admired, and discuss how they changed during
the 1000 years that make up the Middle Ages.
This class consists of two lectures a week, plus a discussion
section. There will be short written assignments on the readings,
and participation in discussion will be an important part of the
class grade. In addition to the written assignments, there will be
two midterms and a final exam.