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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2115 Charles the Great to Alfred the Great: Franks, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in the Ninth Century

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Professor Julia Barrow

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

HIST2005Rule and Reform under Charlemagne and his Successors, 768-98

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module will trace political, cultural and social developments in the Frankish empire and Anglo-Saxon England in the ninth century, an age of Viking raids that also saw the origins of the kingdoms of France and Germany.


The objectives of the module are:
(1) To encourage students to look comparatively at Franks, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, and at their impact on each other, in an era of rapid political change.
(2) To encourage students to reflect on motives and audiences for historical writings, and also about modern historical debates.
(3) To encourage students to consider the contributions that other disciplines (eg. archaeology and place-name studies) make to knowledge of this period.
(4) To consider longer-term political developments set in train by events in the ninth century.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
(1) Knowledge of the Frankish empire and the contribution it made to subsequent political and cultural developments in medieval Europe; understanding of the role of the Vikings in ninth-century political and economic developments;
(2) Awareness of the contribution archaeology, numismatics and onomastics make to the study of the earlier middle ages; understanding of the development of medieval kingdoms and their military and administrative structures;
(3) Awareness of the range of audiences available for historical writings in the ninth century and the variety of approaches taken by writers of the period; awareness of different approaches taken by 10th-12th c writers describing the 9th c.


Charlemagne and Frankish government; Anglo-Saxon kingship from Offa to the 860s; Carolingian church; Vikings and warfare; Frankish government 814-870s; Vikings and settlement; Trade and urbanisation; Writing history and biography; Alfred; Late 9th c Francia; Alfred’s successors.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading to prepare for seminars and for presentations; self-directed reading around the topic; researching, preparing and writing assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress can to some extent be monitored in seminars, especially individual presentations but also general contributions to class; in addition, students will be encouraged to seek advice about reading for and planning their essays.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words to be submitted by Noon on Monday of Exam Week 160.00
Assignment2,000 word historiographical debate exercise due by Noon on Monday of Teaching Week 740.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:06


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