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From Ancient to Medieval Societies, Third to Eleventh Centuries


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a three-hour examination (60%) and two 2500-3000-word essays (20% each)

Module description

The period stretching from the late Roman Empire to the early Norman Empire is marked by dramatic transformations in social organisation, language, economic exchange and political systems. People living in the former Roman world witnessed the rise of Byzantium, the Gothic invasions, the creation of Islam, the 'revival of the Roman Empire' under Charlemagne, and the change of the millennium. The degree of consistency achieved by the administration of the Roman Empire gave way to smaller states, bound by kinship, defence and organised religions.

New figures in these societies emerged as powerful: clerics, holy men and warriors were elegised in new kinds of literature like saints' lives and miracle stories. The built environment and the material culture of these people was new, as well, reflecting their small-scale everyday economy.

In this module we focus on the people of the British Isles, Europe and the Mediterranean in their transitions, looking comparatively across different parts of the region at key themes such as:

  • state formation
  • courts and aristocracy
  • religion in society
  • intellectual life
  • law and government.