Spring 2019 - HIST 349 D100

Rome after Rome: The Byzantine Middle Ages from the end of Antiquity to the Crusades (4)

Class Number: 6688

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 5008, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including 6 units of lower division history.



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, HS/HIST 317 or HS 349 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


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 seven 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 much change in Byzantine society. We will talk about Byzantines of all walks of life, men, women and eunuchs and we will study their history, culture, and society. 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 along with short summaries of the weekly lectures and other useful resources will be found on the course website.

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). Every week, a different chapter of this book will provide an alternative narrative to the material presented in lecture. The aim is not to memorize this book or use it in the assigned papers. By reading the assigned chapters from this book you reinforce what you learn in lecture and acquire supporting material with which to frame your reading of the primary sources


  • Class participation 20%
  • First paper 20%
  • Second paper 20%
  • Final paper 40%

Registrar Notes:

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