Description: Often misunderstood with sweeping generalizations as the so-called Dark Ages, the diversity, dynamism, and influence of medieval history is often an overlooked aspect of high school level history courses. This course will begin with the rapid Christianization of the late Roman Empire, the barbarian invasions of the West, and the development of Early Western Christendom. Students then begin studying neighboring Byzantium and the medieval Islamic empires, as well as the Carolingian restructuring of Europe and the various conquests, crusades, and famines that took place, all while gaining an appreciation of a diverse and dynamic late medieval culture. Interesting characters will emerge along the way, like Charles Martel, Charlemagne, and Empress Theodora, as well popular medieval figures like the legendary King Arthur, Robin Hood, and the warrior-maiden Joan of Arc. This is a fantastic preparatory course for students contemplating our AP Modern European course and lays the necessary groundwork to understand both modern and contemporary Europe. This course uses one of the most highly readable medieval history books available, complete with high-quality maps and color illustrations that make medieval Europe come alive.
Grade Level: 9-12. No student below 9th grade may register.
Prerequisites: There are no formal class prerequisites, but students should be able to read a challenging textbook, primary sources, and write grammatically complete sentences. Students without a background in the Middle Ages may find it helpful to do a quick read of Famous Men of the Middle Ages or Book of The Middle Ages over the summer.
Required Materials: Medieval Europe: A Short History (10th Edition) by Judith Bennett and C. Warren Hollister. The textbook must be the 10th edition and there should be many affordable used copies for sale. Primary sources are also a significant part of the course and hyperlinks to the documents will be provided. Students will also need a headset microphone (built-in microphones also work).