The German medievalist Eckhard Müller-Mertens once wrote that he could accept only a strictly geographic definition of medieval Germany. Indeed, there was no such thing as Germany in the Middle Ages. No term in medieval German existed for what we now know as "Germany." It was only in the 1500s that the term Deutschland came to be used and the term received its nationalistic ring only in the nineteenth century. The land and the people whose medieval history is to be the subject of this course were known by a great variety of names. Most of the provinces of which modern Germany is made up were incorporated into the Frankish Empire, a process completed only during the reign of Charlemagne (768-814). In 800, Charlemagne adopted the title of "emperor of the Romans," but in the tenth century, the eastern parts of his empire came to be known as the East Frankish kingdom, united since 961 with the Lombard kingdom consisting of northern Italy and augmented by the Saxon conquests of the Slavic territories in the East, across the Elbe River. It was only during the eleventh century that the term regnum Teutonicum ("the kingdom of the Germans") came to be used. German historians have traditionally referred to the medieval history of Germany as the period of the "old empire." The medieval empire was "old" in contrast to the German Empire established in 1871. It is with this idea in mind that the Nazis called their Germany "the third empire (Reich)," after the medieval and modern one. So what was medieval Germany? What makes it so difficult to represent by the traditional means of Western historiography and so easy to manipulate in the modern political discourse? What were the historical conditions in which German kingship came to represent the earthly vicariate for Christ, the epitome of the State whose main reason to exist was to protect the Church? How were ethnic identities formed and under what circumstances did the Holy Roman (-German) Empire come into being? Above all, this course aims to provide answers to some of these questions. We will explore social and political issues of German medieval history and examine various aspects of daily life and Church organization. Following a chronological order, we will look, each week, at the questions and problems raised by the study of the entire region of Central Europe, and at some of the primary sources from which historians draw their analysis.
- Horst Fuhrmann, Germany in the High Middle Ages, c. 1050-1200. Cambridge/New York:: Cambridge University Press, 1986; ISBN: 0521266386 [hereafter Fuhrmann]; on two-hour reserve in Library West.
- Ottonian Germany. The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg. Translated and annotated by David A. Warner. Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press/Palgrave, 2001; ISBN: 0719049261 [hereafter Warner]; on two-hour reserve in Library West
- Timothy Reuter, Germany in the Early Middle Ages, 800-1056. London/New York: Longman, 1991; ISBN: 0582081564 [hereafter Reuter]; on two-hour reserve in Library West
- Eleventh-century Germany: the Swabian Chronicles. Translated and annotated by I. S. Robinson. Manchester/New York: Manchester University/Palgrave, 2012; ISBN: 9780719077340 [hereafter Robinson]; on two-hour library reserve in Library West
- (optional) Medieval Germany. An Encyclopaedia. Edited by John M. Jeep. New York: Garland Publishers, 2001; ISBN: 0824076443 [hereafter Jeep]; available in the Reference section (in-library use only) of Library West.
Reading journal. A quick glimpse at the list of weekly topics (see below) will no doubt convince you that this is a course with serious readings. You will be expected to digest a substantial amount of information in a fairly short period of time. The best way to do this is to keep a journal. Before every class meeting, you will post an e-mail message on my address (on top of this syllabus), in which you will discuss briefly the readings for the coming meeting, ask questions and/or make comments, raise issues that need clarification, etc. All e-mails should arrive at least 12 hours before class meetings. Be sure to keep your postings to a reasonable length (175 to 250 words long). I do not want you to spend too much time on them, but I expect you to give an articulate presentation of your thoughts. Needless to say, I also expect you to check on correct grammar and spelling before clicking on "Send." Because the journal is designed to demonstrate your efforts towards an initial understanding of the readings, I must have in time one report for each class meeting, every week (except, of course, week 10). There are only 36 class meetings with required readings (textbook readings are indicated in brackets, followed by online readings, if any, in the weekly topic list below), so journal entries for these days represent 70 percent of your final grade, 1.9 percent for each entry.You can make up a reading report only in extraordinary circumstance such as absence due to participation in an official university activity, observance of a religious holiday, performance of a military duty, or any other conflict (e.g., jury duty), about which you know in advance of the scheduled assignment. In such cases, you are required to notify me of the conflict before the assignment is due, and if possible at the start of the semester. Be aware that missed reports may result in a substantially lower grade. For further information, consult the attendance policies of the University of Florida.
Research paper. The remaining 30 percent of your final grade will be based on a paper of approximately ten pages (with a minimum of 8 and an absolute maximum of 15 pages). The topic of interest to you may be chosen from a variety of issues pertaining to medieval Germany that we will discuss in class (economic life, society and social structures, ministerials, Crusades, conversion to Christianity, rise and growth of towns, art and literature, costume, chivalry and Minnesang, etc.). The research paper topic is due on the day of the first class meeting of Week 10. Keep in mind that your research must include both primary and secondary sources. You can use the readings for this course, but in addition you need to have at least six sources not listed below. Your relatively complete list of sources to be used for the research paper is also due on the day of the first class meeting in Week 10. You are strongly encouraged to begin looking earlier for the material for your research paper and to consult with me as early and often as possible. Your research paper must follow the formatting and style rules of the Chicago Manual of Style. It should also follow the expectations of a good research paper, with a proper introduction, thesis, body and conclusion, well written in proper formal English with correct spelling and punctuation. A research paper also implies the proper use of footnotes documenting the sources for your facts and ideas. My recommendation is that you write a first draft, which we (you and I) can go over during my office hours.
Grades. The following scale will be used in determining your final grade
Points Grade 95-100 A 89-94 A- 84-88 B+ 79-83 B 74-78 B- 69-73 C+ 64-68 C 59-63 C- 54-58 D+ 49-53 D 44-48 D- under 43 EAcademic
You must conform to UF’s academic honesty policy regarding plagiarism and other forms of cheating. The university specifically prohibits
cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation, bribery, conspiracy, and fabrication. For more information about the definition of these terms and other aspects of the Honesty Guidelines, see http://www.dso.ufl.edu/sccr/process/student-conduct-honor-code/
If found to have cheated, plagiarized, or otherwise violated the Honor Code in any assignment for this course you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the university honor policy, including judicial action and the sanctions listed in 6C1-4.047 of the Student Conduct Code. For serious violations, you will fail the course.Students with
Please do not hesitate to ask for accommodation for a documented disability. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office (http://www.dso.ufl.edu/drc). The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student, who must then provide this documentation to me when requesting accommodation. Please ask if you would like any assistance in this process.
Week 16 (12/04-08): Late medieval German culture (research paper due on Wednesday, 12/06)
- New beginnings in the social system [Jeep 19-20, 28-34, 274-292, 303-306, 323-326, 332-334, 510-511, 525-532, 795-797, 822-826]
- Thirteenth-century German literature; read the Prologue to Gottfried of Strasbourg's Tristan; see also a presentation of Minnesang; read the Falkenlied; see a digital version of the Codex Manesse in Heidelberg and a Minnesang competition in Braunschweig (2009); listen to Walter von der Vogelweide's Palästinalied
© 2017 Florin Curta
- Conclusion: German Middle Ages.