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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MEDV3610 The Age of Chivalry: The Idea of Knighthood in Medieval Europe, 1050-1450

20 creditsClass Size: 14

Module manager: Dr Alan V Murray

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

In the course of the mid-11th to 14th centuries knighthood developed from being a purely military institution into a social ethos with its own lifestyle, ideology and culture which can conveniently be described as chivalry, and which found expression in a vast range of literary and artistic works. This is a thematic module, drawing on material from France, Germany, the Low Countries and the British Isles, which will explore a broad range of themes associated with knighthood and its values. These will be based on three thematic clusters: a) Knighthood as a military institution, including study of warfare, arms and armour, and tournaments. b) Knights as a social group, including study of social status, terminology, customs, food and clothing, relations between the sexes, and heraldry. c) Chivalry as a code of behaviour, including study of ideologies and criticism of chivalry. Students will be introduced to a range of primary evidence comprising military artefacts, medieval historical and literary texts dealing with chivalry, and artistic evidence such as heraldry. Texts will be read in English translation.


The aim of this module is to explore the topic of knighthood and chivalry between the 11th and 14th centuries; to introduce students to a wide range of primary sources and artefacts including literature, armour and heraldry; and to develop skills in interpreting these forms of evidence historically.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. understand the salient features of the international chivalric culture of the period 1050-1400.
2. understand the significance of literary texts as a source for social history and culture.
3. develop the ability to present arguments based on the reading of original historical, literary and artistic sources and the understanding of artefacts.

Skills outcomes
Source commentary


Indicative topics may include: Knights as a Social Group, Arms and Armour, Tournaments, Courts and Literary Production, Arthurian Literature, Chivalry in Art, Warfare and the Hundred Years? War, Heraldry and Chivalric Display.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for seminars (55 hours), further self-directed reading (22 hours), independent research and writing of assignments (95 hours), reflection on feedback (6 hours).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Feedback will be given on the source commentary and on formative in-class presentations and group work.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Assignment1 x Source Commentary 2000 words due Week 940.00
Essay1 x Essay 3000 words due exam Week 160.00
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 15:25:10


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