Discussion

Specific primary documents and questions will be assigned to augment topics discussed in lecture.  Please see below or the lecture schedule for specific dates.  For assignments specified with page lengths, each is worth 20-30 points depending on length.  These should be typed and are due at the beginning of the period.  There is not necessarily a correct answer, but students must refer to the documents in question in order to receive full points.  Grammar, syntax, and citing will also be assessed.

All documents are from your sourcebook unless indicated

1. Go ye now baptizing all nations..., 24 Jan, 2 pages

Pope Gregory the Great, The Book of Pastoral Rule
Gregory of Tours, The Conversion of Clovis
Bede, Conversion of England
Willibald, St. Boniface and the Conversion of Germany
The Christianization of Russia

1. What do these writings reveal about Pope Gregory's attitude toward power and its responsibilities?

2. What do these documents reveal about why people converted to Christianity?  What did they believe they might gain from the Christian god?

2. To create an empire; 31 Jan, 2 pages

Augustine, City of God (excerpt)
Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne

As the Roman Empire in the West was crumbling at the beginning of the 5th century, Augustine of Hippo wrote the City of God to discuss the relationship between the heavenly and earthly kingdoms.  The portion you are reading is part of his discussion on secular rulers.

Three hundred years after the last Roman Emperor ruled in the West, Charlemagne attempted to unite Europe under the dream of a Christian empire which both looked back to its Roman past and yet would surpass it because Charlemagne's empire would be based on Christ.

1. Einhard is in many ways Charlemagne's 'official' biographer.  Keeping in mind that this was written by someone who had been a member of Charlemagne's court, are you distrustful of any of the material presented?  Where do you sense that there is more going on below the surface?  Where do you believe historians can probably trust what has been reported?

2. Where can you see the influence of Augustine on Einhard's writings?


3. Thou shall not make thee any graven image; 4 Feb, IN CLASS ONLY

Iconoclastic Council, 754
Decree of the Second Council of Nicaea, 787
John of Damascus, In Defense of Icons

1. Outline the arguments for and against icons.


4. Peasant Life; 21 Feb, 2 pages

Manorial Court
Social Change - Villeinage
People's Possessions
Bedfordshire Village
Retirement and Pensions
Family Affairs - Chalgrave
Villein of Cuxham
Family Affairs - Cholchester
Family Affairs - Halesowen
Independent Women

One of the issues we face as historians is that the majority of people in the Middle Ages were illiterate.  That means we have to reconstruct their lives using sources that are not from their point of view and were never meant to be used to discuss daily life.

1. Using the above documents, discuss what historians can learn about peasant life and what issues these documents either ignore or may skew.


5. Town Life; 2 Mar, IN CLASS ONLY

William Clito, Charter for Town of St. Omer
Urban Privileges: Charter of Lorris
John I, Charter Granted to the Citizens of Cambridge
Calendar of Usages and Customs of Ipswich
Account of the Setting Up of Self-Government
Oaths of Officers and Burgesses
Archbishop Thurstan, Charter Granted to Men of Beverley
Regulations of the Weavers’ Gild of Stendal
Two Apprenticeship Agreements for Weavers
List of Florentine Crafts Subject to Tax

1.  What were the privileges and responsibilities of those who lived in towns?

2.  What can we learn about town life from these documents?


6. Blessed are the Peacemakers; 7 March, IN CLASS ONLY

Truce of God - Bishopric of Terouanne, 1063
Peace of God - Synod of Charroux, 989
Decree of the Emperor Henry IV Concerning a Truce of God

1. What are the Truce and Peace of God?  What were the punishements for breaking these?

2.  Why do you think that these measures were not successful?


7. 'For there is no greater love...'; 9 March, 2 pages

Urban II, Speech at Clermont
Eugene III, Summons to a Crusade, 1154
Bush Sr., Open Letter to College Studies on the Perisan Gulf Crisis
Bush Sr., Address to the Nation Announcing Allied Military Action in the Persian Gulf
Bush Jr., President's Remarks at the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance
Bush Jr., Address to a Join Session of Congress and the American People
Bush Jr., Presidential Address to the Nation

1. The first two documents provide support for the crusades and are illustrations of the propaganda of the period.  What are the similarities and differences between the arguments in these documents?  Which arguments do you think would have most appealed to the people?

2. The US, of course, must also sell its wars to the American people.  Do any of the arguments in the medieval documents remind you of ideas found in American war speeches?


8. To be in the world, but not of it; 30 March, IN CLASS ONLY

Selections from the Rule of St. Benedict
Francis, The Rule of St. Francis
Carmelites, Whatever is for the Honor of the Creator of All

1. The Christian community has always tried to separate or set itself apart from the world.  Monasticism is in part a reflection of this attitude.  Looking at the assigned monastic rules, what principles seem to guide the communities?  Why do you believe people would be attracted to this type of lifestyle?

2. One concept which is discussed in medieval monasticism is 'freedom through the Rule'.  What do you think that means?  Do the rules and regulations at Fox play a similar role?


9. 'And the Son of God shall bring forth the elect out of the midst of the sinners...; 4 April, 2 pages

Cathar Gospel, Book of John the Evangelist
Cathar Rites, Traditio
Cathar Rites, The Apparelhamentum
Raynaldus, On the Accusations against the Albigensians
Bernard Gui, The Albigensians
Beatrice de Planissoles, Confession

1. Imagine that you lived in the Middle Ages and entered a Cathar service where the above reading and rites (documents 1-3) took place.  Why might you confuse this as an orthodox church?  Would anything stand out as incorrect?  (There is a translation of the Roman liturgy in the back of your sourcebook)

2. Reading the last three selections, what was of concern to the Church with regard to Albigensian belief and behavior?


10. Monarchy and government; 11 April, 2 pages

Frederick II, Statute in Favor of the Princes, 1231
Charles IV, Golden Bull, 1356
Magna Carta, 1215
Three Summons to the Parliament of 1295
Edward I, Confirmation of the Charters, 1297
 
 1. The first two documents are from the Holy Roman Empire, the last three from England.  All the sources reflect checks on royal power.  Although both the English king and the Holy Roman emperor had to recognize that the did not have absolute power, at the end of the Middle Ages, the Holy Roman emperor was weak while the kings of England still commanded considerable power.  Looking at these documents, where are the crucial differences in the concessions made by the monarchies that helped to lead to such opposite developments?

2. In the copy of the Magna Carta in your sourcebook, some entries are marked with an '*'.  These denote clauses which were later dropped from the document.  How significant are these changes to the maintenance of royal power?
 
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