HIST3011 Vikings, Crusaders, and Mongols: Medieval Europe in Conflict

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the History major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 3 elective
From the 8th to the 13th century, medieval Europe was shaped both culturally and geographically by contact and conflict with its neighbours. Scandinavian Vikings raided and traded with Europeans beginning in the late-8th century, but they also colonised and settled variously across the North Atlantic, including the British Isles, northern France, and the Ukraine. Christian crusaders looked south to the ‘Holy Land', and repeatedly attempted to seize land as well as political and religious power in the Mediterranean. While their military efforts were mostly in vain, their contact with the Arab world and the perceived threat of new attacks from it decidedly influenced all strata of European society. The 13th century witnessed new attacks from the Mongols, who traveled westward from the Asian Steppe to add to an unprecedented series of conquests. Yet histories of the period often marginalise the Vikings, Muslims, and Mongols, considering them only as raiders and interlopers in the ‘civilised' Latinate cultures of continental Europe. This unit refocuses medieval Europe by considering the ways in which conflict and contact with other cultures was crucial to development of European identity in the Middle Ages, while also studying those cultures Europeans came into contact with from their own perspective.
Students are able to (1) assess the basic methodological issues characteristic of the discipline of History through the examples of the Vikings, Crusades, and Mongols; (2) evaluate the methodological problems posed by the study of non-European cultures and societies in the Middle Ages; (3) demonstrate a detailed understanding of the contact and conflicts Europeans had with their neighbours during the period ca. 800 to 1300 by (a) describing early medieval Scandinavian culture and its contacts with Europe; (b) describing the four major Crusades and their impact on European society; (c) describing the attempts by the Mongols to conquer central Europe, and how this shaped European views of Asia in the Middle Ages.; (4) analyse a range of different kinds of primary evidence for the history of the Vikings, Crusaders, and Mongols in Europe (e.g. textual, archaeological, artistic), using appropriate methodologies which demonstrate a high-level understanding of the genres in which medieval Europeans represented their world in relation to the 'Other'; (5) relate their independent interpretations to complex historiographical debates about the impact of Scandinavian trading, raiding and colonisation; the Crusades in the Mediterranean; and European contact and conflict with Mongols in the east; and (6) present advanced arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) primary source exercise; (2) essay; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Kirk Essary
Unit rules
a Level 2 HIST unit
EURO2201 European Civilisation
GEND2902 Men and Masculinities in History
HIST2285 The Vikings; HIST3385 The Vikings
Contact hours
Workshop - 2 hrs per week
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
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