Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Late Medieval Mediterranean History

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION The study-unit is made up of three principal components:

Late Medieval States: Geo-political Development in the Late Medieval Mediterranean studies the evolution of government and political relationships in Western Europe from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. The discussion proceeds through the presentation of a number of case-studies, including: the evolution of the Catalan-Aragonese confederation, from James the Conqueror to Alfonso the Magnanimous; the consolidation of the Kingdom of France in the thirteenth century; the Hundred Years War; the making and unmaking of the Angevin empire in the Mediterranean; the transition from city-republics to territorial states in Italy; the War of the Vespers and the southern Regno. A geopolitical approach is encouraged.

The Medieval Mediterranean Economy, 1000-1500 discusses the principal aspects of economic life in the Mediterranean world in the second half of the Middle Ages, in the light of recent interpretations. Topics covered include: the expansion of the High Middle Ages; the evolution of long-distance trade; the development of a market economy; urban centres in the Mediterranean economy; the late medieval crisis. An evaluation of different approaches, like the neo-Malthusian model and the Marxist model, is presented; students are also encouraged to test the validity of modern economic terminology in a medieval context.

Merchants and Crusaders: Western Europe, the Levant and North Africa, 1000-1500 discusses the relationships established between Muslim North Africa, the Levant and Western Europe through the two major forces of crusading and commerce. It analyses the role of merchant communities from the Italian city-republics, southern France and Catalonia in developing vast trading networks around the Mediterranean and beyond, at the same time that Western Europe was sending crusading armies to the East. Students are encouraged to view the subject from the point of view of the individual players; use is also made of medieval travel accounts to reconstruct some of the physical and mental aspects of this Mediterranean setting.


- To offer students insights into the history of the late medieval Mediterranean world, from different points of view;
- To make students aware of the impact of human interaction in the period 1000 to 1500 within the broad regional framework of the Mediterranean in their wider context;
- To make students aware of different historical approaches and varying interpretations of the relevant sources of late medieval Mediterranean history;
- To emphasize the interconnections between political and religious, economic and commercial developments studied in different parts of the Mediterranean world and their effects and consequences;
- To alert students about the significance of regional Mediterranean developments in the period 1000 to 1500 in relation to the societies which developed around its shores.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Explain what the key thematic debates in Mediterranean history in the period 1000 to 1500 are;
- Highlight how this field of study has evolved in relation to the exploitation of key collections of documents relevant to the study of the subject;
- Describe geopolitical developments in the history of the late medieval Mediterranean, within the wider context of southern European political developments;
- Analyze the main structural features of the medieval Mediterranean economy in the period 1000 to 1500, within the context of the main debates in medieval economic history;
- Explain the interconnections between trade and crusade in the Mediterranean in the period 1000 to 1500, in terms of the interaction between the major regional components forming the composite picture of the Mediterranean world.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Read critically and selectively and make sense of the substantial literature related to the subject;
- Write advanced historical essays with a clear structure and logical presentation of arguments;
- Demonstrate a critical awareness of the long-term developments in the Mediterranean world in the medieval period, and their significance;
- Compare contrasting forms of human behaviour across time, evaluating the different levels of social and political organization involved in each case.

Reading List:

• D.Abulafia, The Great Sea. A Human History of the Mediterranean (Penguin, 2011)
• D.Abulafia ed, The Mediterranean in History (Thames and Hudson, 2003)
• D.Abulafia, Mediterranean Encounters (Aldershot, 2000)
• D.Abulafia, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms, 1200-1500 (Longman, 1997)
• D.Abulafia, Commerce and Conquest in the Mediterranean, 1100-1500 (Aldershot, 1993)
• T.N.Bisson, The Medieval Crown of Aragon (Oxford, 1986)
• F.Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (University of California Press, 1995)
• J.Dunbabin, Charles I of Anjou. Power, Kingship and State-Making in Thirteenth-Century Europe (Longman, 1998)
• W V Harris ed, Rethinking the Mediterranean (Oxford University Press, 2005)
• N.J.G.Pounds, An Economic History of Medieval Europe (Longman, 1994)
• R.S.Lopez, The Commercial Revolution of the Middle Ages, 950-350 (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1971)
• R.S.Lopez – R.W.Raymond, Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World (New York, 1968)
• J.Richard The Crusades c.1071-c.1291 (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
• J.Riley-Smith ed, The Oxford History of the Crusades (Oxford University Press, 2002)
• S.Runciman, The Sicilian Vespers (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
• G.Tabacco, The struggle for power in medieval Italy (Cambridge, 1989)
• C.Tyerman, God's War. A New History of the Crusades (Harvard University Press, 2006)


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Charles Dalli

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.