Paul Halsall

Introduction to the Medieval World

Class 1.: Introduction

Assigned Reading:

Topics: Introduction and practicalities, timeline, origins of civilization

I.   Introduction
     A.   Practicalities

     1.   Name Cards
          1. Name (last name first.  2. Address + tel. no.
          3. Year  4. Major  5. Previous history courses

     B.   Syllabus

     1.   Office + office hours + Contact outside hours
     2.   The Course
     3.   Class Texts
     4.   Course structure
     5.   Requirements
     6.   Calendar
     7.   Class Rules

II.  Geography

III. Music

     A.   Four pieces
     
     Byzantine Chant (modern version.
     Gregorian Chant
     Hildegard of Bingen
     Allegri

     B.   Sound - typical of middle ages ?

     Monodic - single melodic line
     Liturgical\ecclesiastical
     Different from modern
     - beat
     - who performs
     Similarities
     - we still sing hymns - Christianity remains dominant
     - note structure

     Change over the period, and over area.

     POINT: We are dealing with a very different civilization,
     but one upon which the modern West is largely based.


IV.  Why study Medieval History?

     A.   What is History?

     Types of history?

     Political, economic, social, legal, religious, women's etc.
     POINT  it's about everything.

     Etymology
     `histoire' (French) = story
     ``istoria'  (Greek) = inquiries

     The `past' and `history' - we make history from the past,
     that's why its interesting to study.

     B.   Why study History?

     Nature of education
     1.-Skills - computer studies
     2.-Why things are as they are - Physics

     History - the science of the fourth dimension
     it tells you where you are in time.

     C.   Problems of Periodization

     We think in Years
     Other civilizations often think thought in generations
     or reigns [An example - OT and NT]

     Few other civilizations are as history conscious
     - they do not see themselves as successors to a whole
     string of earlier cultures.

     Modern chronology developed from need to calculate
     date of Easter.

     What we mean by `ancient', `classical'. `medieval',
     `early modern' and `modern'


     D.   The Middle Ages as a Period

     1.   Intrinsic value and interest

     2.   Background of many people in US.

     3.   Value of its art

     4.   Origin of Western world predominance.
          Modern dominance of western thought in world culture.

          Look at situation in 1500
          China - missions to Africa, gunpowder
          Turkey - Controls whole Islamic world
          India -  important, but not very mobile
          Europe - divided and squabbling

          Why did Europe dominate in following centuries?
          -need to look at its history i.e. its medieval history

IV.  Questions and Answers



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© Paul Halsall, 1996.

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