Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
CHristendom and Beyond in medieval Europe
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 1 x 2 Hour Seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of a body of historical knowledge relating to medieval Europe.

Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of ‘Christendom’ and how it has been interpreted.

Demonstrate an understanding of the range of primary and secondary sources which may be utilized by historians to study Europe in the Middle Ages.

Demonstrate an understanding of key themes in the historiography of medieval European history in broad compass.


Survey modules aim to provide students with a broad lecture-based introduction to an historical period and/or theme and this particular module introduces the issues raised by the role of religion in medieval Europe. It treats the formation of key movements and institutions in Latin Christendom, while also surveying the interaction with other faiths. The structure is intended to provide for the analysis of themes within a chronological framework.

Brief description

By the eleventh century, the peoples and regions of western Europe had come to think of themselves as part of an entity called ‘Christendom’, accepting of the authority of the pope and celebrating the Latin liturgy. The purpose of this course is to identify the characteristics of this 'Latin Christendom' and to provide a broad survey of religious and ecclesiastical activity in the period. It provides an assessment of the place which the medieval church occupied in contemporary spiritual life and its impact on and relationship with, secular politics and social issues. It considers the nature and extent of the challenges, both internal and external, to the idea of a unified and integrated Christian. After all, just because Europe was a society dominated by Latin Christianity, this did not mean that it lacked Greek orthodox, pagan, Muslim or Jewish inhabitants, or that it did not experience debates about and criticisms of established religious practices, while Christendom itself was formed in continuing interaction and response to the societies of the wider Mediterranean and western Eurasia.


The first lecture will provide an introduction to the module and the key themes to be discussed; in particular it will present the concept of Christendom as the basis for the rest of the module. The rest of the lectures are divided into two major sections. The first section will discuss and analyse the state of Christendom and the Church in the eleventh century to identify the characteristics of Latin Christendom. Aspects to be looked at may include the purpose and structure of the Church, the development of ‘Papal Monarchy’ in the time of the Fourth Lateran Council, and the role of the laity within the Church. Understanding the Church and the state of Christendom will prepare the way for the second section which will focus on the challenges, both internal and external, which threatened the idea of a united and integrated Christendom from the eleventh century onwards. This period saw the rise of heresy, anti-clericalism, Church Councils and humanism. There were also challenges posed from Islam, urban life and the religion of the laity, with profound implications for the interaction between Christians and their non-Christian neighbours. The final lecture will bring together the different threads that have been running through the module.

Students will be expected to attend two two-hour seminars. The aim of these seminars is to provide an opportunity for intensive discussion, which explores both the direct subject matter of the lectures, but also offers ways of thinking across lecture boundaries.
Seminar themes will include broad and inclusive topics such as the Papacy and the ‘political Church’, the variety in practice and belief in the later Middle Ages, the impact of external challenges, or the historiography of Christendom.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number NA
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination
Subject Specific Skills An ability to identify and analyze medieval primary sources.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 5