HIST 485
After Rome Fall 2014
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed CLAS 485 / HIST 485
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

What happened to the Western Roman Empire? Did barbarians destroy it, did internal weakness undermine it, or did its participants voluntarily set it aside in favor of new cultural, social and political ideas? How did the evaporation of imperial political and military structures change the cultural and religious fabric of Europe? And above all, what is it that divides the ancient from the medieval world? Few questions in European history have occupied historians as insistently as these, and yet for all the lengthy books, ponderous documentaries, and political polemics, we are no closer to a consensus view. This tutorial will approach these timeless questions, first, through a comparative survey of the post-Roman Mediterranean, considering North Africa, Spain, Italy, Gaul, and the Byzantine East in turn. We will consult key primary sources for each region, including tax records, laws, narrative histories, letters, religious texts and archeological finds, as they are variously available. This first-hand experience with the problems of post-Roman history will prepare us to engage with secondary scholarship on the late imperial and early medieval worlds. Alongside the classic catastrophist readings of post-Roman history, which see the centuries after 476 CE as a period of severe economic and social dislocation, we will explore more recent arguments that seek to circumvent the problem of Rome’s fall by positing an era of economic, cultural and intellectual continuity from the fifth through the eighth centuries.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1243
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: six essays (5-7 pages each) and six critiques, together with a longer, final essay (ca. 10 pages)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: History majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
CLAS 485 Division I HIST 485 Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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