Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 50 minute lectures (2 per week)
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 100 minute seminars (1 per fortnight) 1 x 10 minute individual essay tutorial


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 x 2,500 word essays  40%
Semester Exam 3 Hours   3 question, closed examination  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate a firm grounding in the secondary source material and on-going debates surrounding the medieval Iberian kingdoms

Show an understanding of the value of an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the past.

Reflect upon and critically analyse secondary and primary sources.

Collect, collate and analyse historical evidence and produce both oral and written arguments

Work independently and collaboratively (not assessed).

Produce work in a professional manner and demonstrate skills appropriate to the study of history.

Brief description

The period between the eighth and the fifteenth centuries saw the transformation of the Iberian peninsula. Beginning with the Muslim invasion of Visigothic Spain in the eighth century, this module examines the various influences which shaped the rival kingdoms during the centuries of Muslim rule, Christian Reconquista and beyond, until the marriage of Isabela la Catolica of Castile and Fernando of Aragon in 1469 united these two kingdoms, resulting in the formation of a unified, powerful and confident Spain, which had its eyes set on discovery and empire building. The issue of changing religious and political superiority was a constant theme in medieval Iberia, and one which had a profound impact on Iberian society and culture, as did contacts with the rest of western Christendom and indeed beyond, in the steadily expanding Spanish empire. This will be explored in some depth in this module, using a wide range of primary source material, including the thirteenth-century texts The Poem of the Cid and The Book of Deeds of James I of Aragon (in translation).


This module introduces students to one of the most eventful regions of medieval Europe. It traces the development of the various competing kingdoms of medieval Iberia and their formation into what were eventually to become the kingdoms of Castile and Leon, Navarre, Aragon and Portugal. The history of the Iberian kingdoms will be assessed in a wider socio-economic, political and religious context by making extensive use of the abundant chronicle and other primary source material available in translation.


Lectures: 18 x 50 minutes (2 per week)
1. Introduction and sources
2. Visigothic Spain
3. Al-Andalus: Islamic Spain I
4. Al-Andalus: Islamic Spain I
5. Reconquista and crusade I
6. Reconquista and crusade II
7. The medieval kingdoms I: Castile and Leon
8. The medieval kingdoms II: Navarre, Aragon
9. The medieval kingdoms III: Portugal
10. Medieval Iberia: society and economy I
11. Medieval Iberia: society and economy II
12. Medieval Iberia: art and literature
13. Religion: The monastic experience
14. Religion: church and state
15. Iberia in the fourteenth century: crisis and depression
16. Iberia in the fifteenth century: reconstruction
17. Los reyes Catolicos
18. Spain, Portugal and the new world

Seminars: 5 x 100 minutes (1 per fortnight)
1. Visigothic Spain
2. Islamic Spain
3. Reconquista
4. Christian Spain
5. The New World

1 x 10 minute essay return tutorial

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; improve listening skills during the lectures, and consequently develop skills in note taking; demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in two essays; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but not assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs; devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies; devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals and to develop personal awareness of how to improve on these.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD-Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word-process their work. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course in progression; plan and prepare for future course/career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Understand a range of research methods and plans and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Understand the concept of group dynamics; contribute to the setting of group goals; contribute effectively to the planning of group activities; play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars); exercise negotiation and persuasion skills; evaluate group activities and own contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 6