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ME4712   'A Century of Iron': Rulers, Warriors and Scholars in Tenth-Century England and Germany

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 60

ECTS credits : 30

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: Full Year

Availability restrictions: Available only to students in the second year of Honours Programme

Planned timetable: See

The tenth century has traditionally been dismissed as a dark chapter in western European history, a 'century of iron' in which inelegant warlords lorded it over the wreckage of the Carolingian Empire, dissolute popes presided over a corrupt 'pornocracy' in Rome, and pagan raiders menaced the frontiers of Christendom. In the last 20 years, however, study of the period has been revitalised, and the tenth century is now at the centre of a series of fascinating debates about political power, economic change and the origins of Europe itself. This module explores the dynamics of the era via a comparative exploration of Germany and England under two of their most powerful rulers, Otto 'the Great' (936-73) and Edgar 'the Peaceful' (959-75) respectively. We will utilise a wide range of contemporary sources (narrative, documentary, artistic and archaeological) to examine and compare these intimately connected but strikingly different kingdoms. Topics include the nature and construction of royal power; invasion, conquest and warfare; aristocratic culture; political ritual; church reform; queens and queenship; economic change; the writing of history; and relations with the Byzantine and Islamic worlds.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 x 3-hour seminar, plus 1 office hour.

Scheduled learning hours: 66

Guided independent study hours: 534

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2 x 3-hour Written Examinations = 60%, Coursework = 40%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 60%
Practical examinations : 6%
Coursework: 34%

Re-assessment: New Coursework: 1 x source exercise (2,000 - 2,500 words) and 1 x 4,000- to 5,000-word essay = 100%


Module teaching staff: Prof S MacLean