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ME3420   Rich and Poor in the Later Middle Ages

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: See

This module will examine the attitudes towards wealth and poverty in the context of medieval western Christianity. It will explain how a religion that preached poverty dealt with wealth and the way of life of its rich faithful. It will also focus on the key role played by charity in order to shorten one's stay in purgatory and achieve salvation. The module will discuss the following topics: the chivalric virtue of largesse, conspicuous consumption, showing status through clothes, banquets (and fasting), the Franciscan ideal of holy poverty, the theological aspects of charity, how charity was practiced, hospitals, categorization of poor people, etc. The objective of the module is twofold: first, offering an overview of how the rich and the poor lived (or managed to survive) in the Middle Ages and, second, explaining how the two groups interacted and needed each other.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass at least 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.

Scheduled learning hours: 22

Guided independent study hours: 278

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 3-hour Written Examination = 60%, Coursework = 40%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 60%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 40%

Re-assessment: 4,000- to 5,000-word essay = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr A Del Campo Gutierrez
Module teaching staff: Dr A Del Campo