Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Early Medieval Germany: the Making of the First Reich: C.900 - C. 1125
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour
Seminars / Tutorials 1 x seminar every fortnight


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 2,500 WORD ESSAY  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 HOUR, 2 QUESTION CLOSED EXAMINATION  70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to
Assess critically the body of historical knowledge which discusses the political and religious developments in Germany during the Central Middle Ages.

Comprehend and assess the different historical debates and analyses evident in related texts, ranging from the Middle Ages to recent scholarly works.

Assess the continuing impact of Ottonian and Salian developments on medieval Germany.

Read, analyse and assess a range of different types of historical evidence relevant to the module, including appropriate literary evidence.

Comprehend the historical debates and problems regarding the impact of the Ottonians and Salians on medieval Europe

Express with increased confidence understanding and discuss related issues through writing in an academic context

Work independently and as part of a group and take an active part in group discussions (not formally assessed).

Brief description

In the early tenth century, a new political entity appeared on the map of Europe: the Eastern Frankish, later German, empire. Over the next two hundred years, its rulers remained the dominant force in the politics of medieval Europe, while also setting new standards in art, literature and learning. At the heart of this empire was, however, a contradiction which continued to form German (and European history) well beyond the Middle Ages: the clash between a claim to universal lordship and the diverse ethnic and cultural make-up of the empire. This course provides an introduction into one of the formative periods of medieval European history, and will use the specific example of Germany to illustrate a series of more general questions and themes relevant for the study of the early medieval West.


This module is intended to provide an introduction to the history of Europe in the Central Middle Ages in general, and of Germany in particular. It provides a focused introduction to the history of one of the most important medieval European realms, exposes the students to a variety of sources, approaches and themes, and helps to broaden the provision of Part I courses in the department.


1. Introduction
2. The Carolingian legacy
3. The revival of Empire: Otto I & Otto III
4. The allure of Rome: Henry II & Conrad II
5. Mad, bad or just unlucky? Henry IV & Henry V
6. The Salian legacy: 1125 and beyond
7. Church & Empire I: the Ottonian Century
8. Church & Empire II: the Salian century
9. Religion & Society I: Hrotswith of Gandersheim
10. Religion & Society II: Adalbert of Bremen
11. The pillars of the empire: the German princes
12. Sacral kingship?
13. The structure of Politics (i): friends, family & followers
14. The Structure of Politics (ii): ritual & symbolism
15. Imperial overstretch? Germany & Italy
16. Identities: regnal, ethnic & local
17. Franks, Saxons, Germans or Romans: The Chronicle of Thietmar of Merseburg
18. Summing up

1. Henry I and the Origins of Germany?
2. Bishop and Courtier: Adalbert of Bremen
3. Right and Power: Conrad II
4. Decline and Fall? Henry IV
5. Thietmar of Merseburg and the question of identity

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; improve their 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.
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 plan and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills Develop a knowledge of, and familiarity with, a range of different medieval sources; develop the ability to use appropriate historical research tools effectively.
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 4