The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1000-1250
Value half unit
Prof. Peregrine Horden
Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars
2-hour exam (70%), best one of two coursework essays (30%)
This course explores a crucial stage in the development of European power structures. The central Middle Ages (c.1000–1250) witnessed an expansion of the frontiers of Latin Christendom in almost every direction, but most dramatically in the Middle East with the Crusades. The period saw an increase, at every level, in the powers of secular and ecclesiastical authorities, whether establishing a centralized bureaucracy or ‘reforming’ the Church. It also saw the development of novel forms of power, in the household, in ‘feudal’ lordship and in cities. The approach of the course is firmly comparative, and the geographical scope is very wide: from the British Isles to the Crusader States, and the Byzantine world, and from Spain to Scandinavia. Building on the overview of key developments and historiographical debates in the lectures, the seminars will be devoted to reading and discussing primary sources in translation for each of the course’s ten topics.