Prof. Richard Abels
(302 Sampson, x6263,
Office Hours: MW second period, Tu second period, and by appointment
(Last revised 21 Nov, 2006)
This independent study examines the impact of culture upon the practice
and conception of war in the High Middle Ages. The topics covered include: the
formation of a “European” culture and its expansion, race relations
on cultural frontiers, racial stereotyping and the creation of the Other, the
influence of chivalry upon warfare, war and the peasantry, and the differences between intra- and
trans-cultural warfare. The last will
entail an examination of how war was waged on the Scottish frontier, in the
ASSIGNMENTS AND COURSE POLICIES (read fully and carefully):
1. SHORT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS . For each class day you are to write a brief paper either answering a specific question I posed about the reading or, more generally, identifying the thesis/theses and arguments/evidence used to substantiate it/them.
2. READING JOURNAL. You are to keep a reading journal with your reactions to the assigned readings. The focus of the journal should be on addressing the capstone essay question.
3. CAPSTONE ESSAY. The capstone essay is to be a synthesis of your assigned readings, 10-15 pages long, which addresses the impact of cultural differences upon the practice and conception of transcultural warfare in the Middle Ages. Were such wars fought differently and thought of differently from contemporary intra-cultural wars? If so, how and why? What role did such wars play in the development of a self-conscious ‘European’ identity? In answering these questions discuss the specific wars you read about this semester: Crusading warfare in the East, 1096-1187; the Albigensian Crusade; and Anglo-Norman warfare on the Celtic fringe.
4. TUTORIALS. The
independent study will be modeled upon the “
LESSON PLAN (we will meet Monday mornings at 0830 and Thursday afternoons, fifth period)
NOTE: Unless indicated otherwise, you are to bring to each of our meetings a short paper explaining the thesis or theses in the assigned reading and assessing the author’s use of
Week of 04 Sept
T (is Monday!) Bartlett, The Making of Europe, chaps 1-5
Th. Bartlett, Making of Europe, chaps 6-9
Essay question: Characterize race relations on the frontiers of Latin Christendom and explain what evidence exists for racial attitudes in the Middle Ages.
Week of 11 Sept
M. Bartlett, Making of Europe, chaps. 10-12
Essay question: What does
Th. Strickland, War and Chivalry, chaps 1 and 3
Essay question: What was “chivalry” in the Anglo-Norman world according to Strickland, and what was the relationship between this “chivalry” and the clergy?
Week of 18 Sept (sign
up for 30 minute individual meeting)
M. Strickland, War and Chivalry, chaps. 4-6
(Explain the theses of each of these three chapters. How do these theses/chapters relate to one another?)
Th. Strickland, War and Chivalry, chaps 7-9
Week of 25 Sept
M. Strickland, War and Chivalry, chaps. 10-11 and Conclusion
Essay question: What was chivalry, how did it influence warfare, and when didn’t it apply?
Th: Nicholas Wright, Knights and Peasants: The Hundred Years War in the French Countryside (Boydell, 1998)
Week of 02 Oct
W. The Problem: Impact of Culture on the Practice of War
Stephen Morillo, “A General Typology of Transcultural Wars: The Early Middle Ages and Beyond”, in Transcultural Warfare Medieval and Modern, the Proceedings of the 2004 Regensburg Conference on Transcultural Warfare (handout).
F. War and Cultural Identifications:
John Gillingham, “Conquering the Barbarians: War and Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Britain,” The Haskins Society Journal 4, 1992 (handout); Matthew Strickland, Killing or Clemency? Ransom, Chivalry and Changing Attitudes to Defeated Opponents in Britain and Northern France, 7-12th centuries in Krieg im Mittelalter (2001)
Week of 9 Oct
M. Anglo-Norman warfare and settlement on the Celtic fringe
Strickland, “Securing the North: Invasion and the Strategy of Defence in Twelfth-Century Anglo-Scottish Warfare,” in Strickland, ed., Anglo-Norman Warfare (handout); C.J. McNamee, William Wallace's Invasion of Northern England in 1297 - from Northern History v.26 (1990); R.R. Davies, "Colonial Wales," Past & Present 65 (1974): 3-23
Essay question: Was it warfare or settlement that most shaped English attitudes toward the Scots, Welsh, and Irish?
Th. Transcultural Warfare: First Crusade in the Sources
Week of 16 Oct
M. Relations across military frontiers: Spain and the Levant
Angus MacKay, “Religion, culture, and ideology on the late medieval Castilian-Granadian frontier,” in Bartlett and Mackay, eds, Medieval Frontier Societies (Oxford, 1998), 218-43; Nikita Elisséeff, “The Reaction of the Syrian Muslims after the Foundation of the First Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” in The Crusades, ed. Thomas Madden (Oxford, 2002) (handout)
Th. Construction of the Other: How did Westerners view Arabs?
Jo Ann Moran Cruz, “Popular Attitudes
Towards Islam in Medieval
Week of 23 Oct
M. Construction of the Other: How did Arabs view the Westerners?
Essay question: Was there a consistently held view of the Frankish Crusaders by Muslim writers in the twelfth century?
Th. Frontier Warfare in the
Week of 30 Oct
M. The Fall of
Th. Military Strategies: Saladin and Richard
Week of 06 Nov
M. The Baltic Crusades
Th. The Baltic Crusades: Victims?
Week of 13 Nov
M. Intracultural warfare: Albigensian Crusade
Joseph Strayer, The Albigensian Crusades, pp. 1-72
Th. Strayer, Albigensian Crusades, pp. 73-122
Week of 20 Nov
M. Albigensian Crusade as presented in the sources
Caesarius of Heisterbach on the Sack of Beziers; The Siege of Termes from the Song of the Cathar Wars; The Siege of Termes (1210), according to the Historia Albigensis; The Siege of Toulouse in 1217; Albigensian Crusade Timeline (1209-1255)
Week of 27 Nov
Th. Work on capstone
Week of 04 Dec
T. Discussion of Capstone essay