EARLY MIDDLE AGES
Office: Ballantine Hall 708
Office hours: Wed. 1:30-3:30 or by appointment
11:15-12:05 SW 007
Associate Instructor: Angel Flores-Rodriguez, firstname.lastname@example.org
2:30-3:20 BH 235
Friday 9:05-9:55 WH 114
Friday 11:15-12:05 ED 2280
Friday 12:20-1:10 ED 1204
Between AD 33 and 1400, the people of Europe gradually converted from a variety of other religions to Christianity. In this course, we will consider both the (scanty) evidence for pre-Christian religions and the narratives of conversion for each region of Europe, focusing on the post-Roman period (i.e. after AD 400). The focus of the course will be a critical examination of the original written sources and material remains that tell us about the pre-Christian religions of Europe, the conversion of each group, and the impact of Christianity.
There is one main textbook for the semester, which is available for purchase at the IU Bookstore and on reserve in the main library:
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity (University of California Press, 1999).
Other readings are assigned as below, and will be accessible via the online syllabus, found via Oncourse or directly at:
Note that several of the readings are copy-right protected, and you must use a password to see them. You can find the username and password on Oncourse, under "Announcements"
The course will require weekly readings and short exercises on primary sources, participation in discussion sections, and a midterm and final exam.
Attendance at lecture 5%
Attendance and participation in weekly discussion sections 15%
8 exercises (out of 12 assigned) (5% each) 40%
midterm exam 15%
final exam 25%
Attendance will be taken in lecture; your grade will reflect the numerical percentage of the classes you attend. You will be allowed two free absences (i.e. if you attend all but two classes, you will still have 100%). If you are sick, please do not come to class - let me know and your absence will be excused. If you have another kind of excusable absence that can be documented, your absence will be excused and will NOT count as one of your two free absences.
In the discussion classes students are expected not only to learn but also to teach and contribute; discussion will be based on the exercises due in class that day, so you will almost always have something to say. Your grade will be based both on your numerical attendance percentage AND on the degree of participation. You will NOT be allowed any free absences from discussion section (but again, if you are sick, your absence will be excused). More than three unexcused absences from discussion section will result in a "zero" being recorded as the discussion class grade.
A written exercise has been assigned for 12 of the discussion section meetings (no exercise the first week, none the week before the midterm). Each exercise is based on the assigned primary source readings for that week, and is due in class that day. You must do 8 out of the 12 exercises assigned, and you will not be allowed to turn exercises in late. I suggest that you start writing the exercises at the start of the semester (i.e. don't put it off!), so that when unexpected events take place, you'll be caught up.
The exercises are essays, which should be 1-2 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins. "1-2 pages" means more than one page; half of one page will not count and you will receive a 0. You should make specific reference to the relevant primary source(s), as well as to lectures or material from the textbook to provide a context for the source. Be sure to answer the assigned question.
Extra credit of 1% on your semester average will be given for each satisfactory (B or higher) exercise turned in above the assigned 8, up to a total of four extra credit points. Thus, if you turn in 12 satisfactory exercises, you will receive an extra 4% on your semester average.
The midterm exam will consist of identifications and short answer questions. Half of the final exam will be similar in format, on the second half of the class (i.e. not comprehensive), while the other half will consist of an essay (topic given out in advance) covering material from the entire semester.
Sept. 1 Introduction
Sept. 3 Judaism, Christianity, and paganism in the Roman world
Fletcher, pp. 1-19
[[No written exercise this week]]
Sept. 8 The conversion of the Roman empire
Sept. 10 Missions to the Germans
Fletcher, pp. 19-77
Exercise: Here we have the two primary biographical models for medieval conversion: the converted king and the missionary priest. What are the essential features of each? Are they related? How or how not?
Sept. 15 The Irish
Sept. 17 Irish Christianity
Fletcher, pp. 78-96
Exercise: This is one of the few personal testimonies that we have from the early Middle Ages; Patrick has written it in response to unspecified charges that someone is bringing against him. How does he think of his mission? What does he think of the Irish? Do we learn anything about Irish paganism from this text?
Sept. 22 The Fall of the Roman Empire
Sept. 24 The conversion of the Franks
Fletcher, pp. 97-110, 130-159
Exercise: Compare and contrast the different stages of Clovis' conversion to Christianity. Which part of the story would have been most convincing to: a Frankish warrior? a Roman living in Gaul? a peasant woman?
Sept. 29 Britain after the fall of Rome
Oct. 1 The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons
Fletcher, pp. 110-129, 160-192
Exercise: What can we learn about Anglo-Saxon paganism from Bede's accounts? Given that Bede was a Christian monk, how reliable do you think this information is?
Oct. 6 Missions to the Germans
Oct. 8 Charlemagne and the Germans
Fletcher, pp. 193-227
Exercise: How does violence and force come into the story of the conversion of the Germans? Does this seem similar or different from earlier sources that we have read?
Oct. 13 Christian organization
Oct. 15 Pagan survivals
Fletcher, pp. 228-284
Exercise: No paper this week; review for midterm
Oct. 20 MIDTERM EXAM
Oct. 22 Challenges to Christianity
Fletcher, pp. 285-316
Exercise: How do the Muslim laws in the Pact of Umar compare to the Charlemagne's Capitulary?
Oct. 27 The origins of the Slavs
Oct. 29 The Slavs and the Bulgars
Fletcher, pp. 327-368
Exercise: These particular selections from the responses of Pope Nicholas have been chosen because they concern how new Christians are supposed to adapt pagan practices. From these selections, what is the attitude of Christians towards pagan practices supposed to be?
Nov. 3 The Vikings
Nov. 5 The conversion of Scandinavia
Fletcher, pp. 369-416
Exercise: Describe what has been found at Jelling, and how it relates to Christianity and paganism in Scandinavia.
Nov. 10 Russia before conversion
Nov. 12 The conversion of Russia
Fletcher, pp. 382-86
Exercise: What elements in this story have we seen before? What is new?
Nov. 17 Central Europe: Bohemia and Poland
Nov. 19 Central Europe: Magyars and Wends
Fletcher, pp. 417-450
Exercise: This is the biography of the first Christian king of Hungary, written 80 years after his death, and after he became a saint. How do these factors influence the presentation of events in the early years of Stephen's life?
Nov. 24 The Crusades
Nov. 26 NO CLASS - Thanksgiving
NO SECTION MEETINGS THIS WEEK
Fletcher, pp. 316-326
Dec. 1 Popular religion
Dec. 3 Church architecture
Fletcher, pp. 451-482
Exercise: How "Christian" are people in 11th-century England? Given that Christianity has been established for over 4 centuries, are you surprised by any of the recommendations here?
Dec. 8 The "last pagans"
Dec. 10 Conclusion
Fletcher, pp. 483-524
How are the Livonians and
Estonians induced to convert? What
is the motivation of the Christians who are working to convert them
to the text)?
Exam: 5:00-7:00 p.m., Thursday, December 17, in the regular