Fall 2018 - HIST 220 D100

Late Medieval and Renaissance Europe (3)

Class Number: 5184

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 5018, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 10, 2018
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    AQ 3159, Burnaby



An introduction to the world of late Medieval and Renaissance Europe (c.1200-c.1500). Breadth-Humanities.


It was Petrarch, writing in the mid 1300s that came up with the notion that the ages separating and leading up to his own time were “dark,” i.e. backwards and worthless – a notion quickly picked up by the Italian Humanists of the early 1400s, who saw themselves as ushering in a rebirth—a renaissance—of classical values. By the 1800s, the Romantics took the opposing view of the Middle Ages as a vital if mysterious period. What are the limitations of either position?

This HIST 220 provides an introduction to the major themes and trends in the development of European societies during the first half of the second millennium. Specifically, the class will address the rise and fall of feudalism and the manorial system, urbanization and demographic shifts (especially in the wake of the first outbreak of the Black Death in 1347-49); the on-going Christianization of Europe and interactions with other faiths (notably Islam and Judaism); economic patterns (the “proto-industrial” centres of Flanders, Florence, and al.), politics and military conflict, with an emphasis on the development of national states in Western Europe (especially England and France through the 100 Years’ War), as well as the less successful
scenario—specifically the development of Italian city states of the 12th—15th centuries, and their failure to unite into an Italian national state; culture in the later Middle Ages leading up to Humanism and the Italian Renaissance.

The course is organized both chronologically and thematically, with textbook-based lectures integrated with correlated readings of primary sources in tutorial, which address issues of power-relations, faith, race, gender, and cultural development in engaging and illuminating ways.


  • Quizzes 20%
  • Term paper 20%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Final Exam 30%
  • Attendance 5%
  • Participation 5%



Rosenwein, Barbara. 2018 (fifth edition). A Short History of the Middle Ages, Volume II: From c.900 to c.1500. Toronto: Toronto University Press

Rosenwein, Barbara. 2018 (third edition). Reading the Middle Ages: Sources from Europe, Byzantium and the Islamic World. Toronto: Toronto University Press

Additional materials will be made available

Registrar Notes:

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