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ME3223 The Rise and Fall of the Carolingian Empire, c.750 - 900

SCOTCAT credits:30
Academic year(s):2017/8
SCQF Level 9
Planned timetable:See

This module deals with the history of the Carolingian dynasty, who ruled the last pan-European empire of the middle ages, stretching from Brittany in the west to the frontiers of what is now Hungary in the east. Beginning with the spectacular conquests and cultural reforms of the emperor Charlemagne, the module traces the transformation and ultimate disintegration of the empire under his descendants. Why did the empire collapse? And even more importantly, what held it together in the first place? Central themes include the construction and maintenance of royal power through ritual, history-writing and iconography; the ethos of the aristocracy; warfare and the impact of the Viking raids; the development of the office of queenship; exploitation of the peasantry and economic change; and the importance of the period for the emergence of Europe.

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for History, Mediaeval History, Mediaeval History & Archaeology, Mediaeval Studies and BA (Intl Hons) History.

UG Pre-requisite(s):60 credits from ME1003, ME1006, ME2003, HI2001, MH2002

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 x 2-hour seminar, plus 1 office hour.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 20
  • Guided independent study: 280

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 60%
  • Practical examinations: 13%
  • Coursework: 27%
UG As used by St Andrews:3-hour Written Examination = 60%, Coursework = 40%
UG Re-assessment:4,000- to 5,000-word essay = 100%


Module coordinator:Prof S MacLean
Module teaching staff:Prof S MacLean