I've been asked to teach (YAY!!!!) a four class on "Survey of the MIddle Ages"
ETA: this is for an Ithra session in November. think SCA audience, mostly folks who have been in for a year or three, many of them with college degrees, but not neccessarily with a history background per se.
am not sure how to condense the period from the norman invansion to the discovery of the new world into four hours in an engaging and entertaining way.
so, what are the key bits of the middle ages taht you think are the major "must know" bits?
is it better to just pick four single topics and cover them in a more depth way, (ending up being more USEFUL, IMO) and acknowlege that theres whole swaths that we wouldnt even touch on?
is it about dates and people? or is it about philosophical milestones? comparing cultures? does one break it into East vs West vs North vs South? does one focus on church vs education vs art vs innovation?
there's some really fun potential here :)
ETA: brainstorming over lunch with a work collegue, she had the idea that we could focus on 4-6 different important people/things. look at culture, historical framework, people, etc. have a break with snacks and music from the period, then do another one.
ex: bayeau tapestry; black death, feudalism and the rise of the middle class; the crusades and the fear of the other mixed with politics and the church; spice and its influence on culture, politics and economy; the medieval tournament, courtly love and such; ???
further ETA: here's the course syllabus for the university. note there's a fair bit of leeway in what HAS to be done vs what a teacher might consider doing....
Class Name: SURVEY OF THE MIDDLE AGES
Definition: A concise overview of medieval society, thought, art, and politics. [ETA....HAH!!!!! good luck!!!]
General tips: the instructor should be conversant with medieval history and have read original as well as modern sources on the period. The instructor will need to organize 1000 years of information into a coherent discourse and have a feel for the high points of the subject area that will give students a general appreciation for the period.
The instructor should cover: the historical changes that produced the culture we call the
Middle Ages (for example, the consequences of the fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the
Viking invasions, the Norman invasion of England, the Crusades, the Gothic period, the
Black Death, the Hundred Years War, the rediscovery of the New World, the Renaissance) and their effects; describe feudalism; the influence of Islam; the role of the Church and universities; trade and commerce; and governmental systems.
The instructor may also cover city and manorial life, money systems, arts and sciences, geography, literature. The instructor should be aware that there are other Ithra degree classes which cover many of these subjects in detail.
At the end of the class, the student should know: what period the Middle Ages covered, the names of some notable medieval persons, good and bad things that happened in the Middle Ages and the impact they had on people, and know what feudalism Is.
At minimum, the instructor should supply the student with an outline of the subjects covered and a resource list.
so with that in mind, one could discuss:
1. the norman invasion and the vikings (mmm. fishie snackage!), it wasnt all sailing about y'know...
2. the crusades (mmm. middle eastern snackage!) Richard Lionheart, Eleanore of Aquitaine (courtly love and the structure of europe in that period) Saladin, how it changed the west
3. the black death (mmm. ermmmm....) technology, life in a medieval town
4. the 100 years war (mmm, 15th c. snackage!), the gothic period and King Rene
5. social structures and their evolution through our period (ie anglo saxon to feudalism to the rise of the middle class and guilds to the city state) (mmm. egalitarian snackage!) also to include the church, universities and other such things
6. the renaissance, both 12th c and 16th :)
I like the idea of a giant TimeLineOfDoom so that even though we wont be talking about it all, they can see where things relate to each other....
tho I must admit I'm a bit intimidated if I think on it too much....what have I gotten myself into???????