Spring 2017 - HS 349 D100
Rome after Rome: The Byzantine Middle Ages from the end of Antiquity to the Crusades (4)
Class Number: 8593
Delivery Method: In Person
This is a history of Byzantium, Rome's direct heir, that familiarizes students with the social, political, economic, and cultural history of Byzantium from the rise of the Caliphate in the seventh century to the Carolingians, the Crusades, the emergence of the Italian maritime republics and the ascent of the Seljuk Turks. Students with credit for HIST/HS 308, HIST/HS 317 or HIST 349 may not take this course for further credit.
Byzantium was the empire of the medieval Romans. In this course we study Roman history in the Byzantine era, from the middle of the ninth century to the fifteenth century. By covering some six centuries of history it necessarily deals with much change. When we start, Byzantium is entering the so-called Dark Ages. In the coming two centuries of blood, sweat, and tears the empire survives the challenges of Arab threats, Bulgarian incursions, internal dissent – both political and religious. The tenth century is a period of military glory and conquest that makes Byzantium the dominant power of the Mediterranean. In the eleventh century the Byzantines face the explosive militarism and piety of the Crusaders and by the 13th century that encounter leads to blood and destruction. Byzantium survives but by the end the empire is a ghost of its old self, confined to the walls of Constantinople and to some lands in Greece. The fleets of Italian city-states, the monarchy of France and Spain and the empire of the Ottoman Turks rule the new world in which it exists.
During this semester we will follow the changes in Byzantine society that take place over some six centuries. We will talk about Byzantines of all walks of life, men, women and eunuchs and we will study their history, culture, and society. A more formal written version of the lectures presented in class will be accessible online on the class’ native Learning Management System.
To go deeper into the study of Byzantine history we will also read primary sources, which you will be called to interpret, understand, and contextualize. Those sources will be found in a Course Pack that you can find online on the course’s Wordpress Site.
We will also be using as support for our lecture and tutorial material Timothy Gregory’s A History of Byzantium (available on kindle, for purchase online).
- Class participation 20%
- First Paper 20%
- Second Paper 20%
- Final Paper 40%
Timothy Gregory, A History of Byzantium (available on kindle, for purchase online)
Primary source readings available online on the course website
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