This course is an introduction to medieval cultures and societies as seen through the lenses of some of their main "actors": the warrior class, women of various social status, the clergy, peasants, as well as others. It will focus on the kinds of activities in which they engaged on a daily basis and on special occasions. These include: training to become a knight, preparing and waging war; marriage and childrearing; care of the estate; pilgrimages and relics; feeding and clothing the body; hunting and tournaments; feasting and banqueting, etc. We will also examine how these figures and activities are portrayed in works of fiction, such as Arthurian narratives, epic poetry, fabliaux, saints' lives, etc. We will work towards an understanding of the conflicting values and models of medieval society, as seen in fictional and historical documents. Although 11th-13th century French society will serve as the main reference, students will have opportunities to investigate and compare the cultures and societies of other Western European countries or regions.