CC + tutorial: The Holy Roman Empire (900 – 1400 A.D.)

Course Description: 

The course will try to give an overview of the history of the Holy Roman Empire in the period between 900 and 1400 A.D. The course will cover the most important political events as well as the legal, social, economic and structural developments. It will also discuss the concepts of the “Holy Roman Empire”, the mediaeval as well as modern ones. This will also include the probable disadvantages of such concepts.

The structure of the class is partially chronological, partially systematic. Some sessions will focus on political events or problems, others will deal with structural issues. The seminar will try to explain, how the concept that covered such a great variety of diverse regions was able to survive for more than one millennium.

The course is divided into a seminar and a tutorial. While the seminar can be taken independently from the tutorial, the tutorial requires a participation in the seminar. The seminar will focus on specific problems or topics on the basis of the relevant literature, while the tutorial will explore more deeply key texts or case studies on the basis of the relevant source material. Though the majority of sources is in Latin, the seminar as well as the tutorial will work with the Latin and an English translation. Knowledge of German is not necessary.  

Learning Outcomes: 

Learning outcomes

1. Concerning the content of the class

The students should become familiar with the source material, the research and the literature on the topic. The students should develop an idea of the main events as well as the legal, social, and economic structure of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. Apart from the Holy Roman Empire as a political entity, the class will also try to pay special attention to the concept and the idea as well as its ritual and symbolic manifestations. The seminar will also discuss the limits of the concept, its medieval background as well as modern uses. Since the topic is broad and covers a large time period of time, the class will focus on examples and case studies. These will try to cover various aspects of the historical phenomenon, including its religious, legal, economic, social and, of course, political dimensions. At the end, the students should be able to take the case studies as a tool for getting a broader picture of a specific region in a certain period of time. They should be able to fill the gaps on their own on the basis of the presented source material, the literature and the relevant research tools. 

2. Concerning general abilities

The students should be trained in how history is done in a scholarly way. They should practice working with the available source material, the literature, important research trends and methodological tools. The topic should be taken as an example for getting a general idea, how a topic in medieval studies can be researched and presented. The students should practice how to present their own results and how to argue in front of an audience.


1. Class paper: 40%

The class paper should elaborate more in detail one of the topics discussed during the class. Additional aspects that have not been included in the class can be chosen as well. They just have to fit the general topic of the course. The paper should demonstrate the ability to work in a professional manner on a historical problem or question. It should demonstrate the ability to identify open questions and to elaborate them on the basis of the source material and the relevant literature. The paper should fulfill the usual requirements for a scholarly work in Medieval Studies, with footnotes, bibliography and the respective quotation styles. The maximum number of pages is 10 with a font size of 12 points and 1 ½ spaced lines. The bibliography counts within the maximum number of pages. The paper should contain an introduction and a conclusion.

2. Moderation of a session: 30%

Students are requested to choose a session, in which they would like to moderate the discussion. This kind of moderation can contain an introductive element of about 10 minutes where certain background information is provided. The main element of the moderation is, however, to guide the class through the respective topic. The moderators are expected to lead the discussion or to moderate various forms of cooperation. These can contain group work or other forms of interactive forms of cooperation and communication. The moderators should develop a plan with their goals in mind. They should develop a strategy how they want to achieve them. The moderation should integrate the mandatory readings. It should inspire students to participate and to develop their own ideas. It should be focused on certain points, which are considered to be important.

 3. Discussion: 20%

Students are requested to participate in group discussions as well as general discussions on the respective topic on the basis of the readings and their own background information. The discussions aim at exchanging ideas on a certain question or problem. The group discussions are a useful tool to work more intensively on a specific question. It gives students room to experiment and to reflect on various issues without being confronted with criticism from the whole group or the professors. Furthermore, the group discussion will help those students who might feel uncomfortable to speak in front of others to elaborate their own points before turning to the whole class. The general discussion will open up the specific problems that had been discussed in smaller groups. It will try to collect, exchange and compare the results. It will try to get to some general conclusions.  As a result, the discussions should enable the students to get a profound knowledge of the topic.

 4. Participation in the class: 10%

Students are expected to participate and to pay attention.