Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Medieval Island Regions

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



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

'Medieval Sicily' discusses the political, social, cultural and economic evolution of Sicily from Byzantine and Muslim times up to the early sixteenth century, in the light of wider central Mediterranean developments. Topics covered include: a discussion of the historiography; Sicily and North African Islam; the Norman conquest and the political evolution of the Kingdom of Sicily; the unmaking of Sicilian Islam; the social and cultural transformation of the island; economy and society in Sicily on the eve of the Vespers; Sicily in the Catalan-Aragonese orbit. Students are encouraged to evaluate contrasting interpretations of late medieval Sicilian history.

'Medieval Sardinia' presents a regional case-study in the wider Mediterranean context; Sardinia’s political history, from the period of Byzantine rule to the fifteenth centuries, is studied in relation to the wider forces which were shaping Mediterranean history. Topics covered include: society and politics in eleventh century Sardinia; Genoese and Pisans in Sardinia down to 1323; commerce and colonization; the Catalan-Aragonese take-over, 1323-1410; the debate on Sardinia: an example of a medieval colonial society?

'Medieval Corsica and Majorca' present two additional regional case studies in the medieval Mediterranean context. Both insular examples are studied within the framework of Mediterranean events. The medieval history of Corsica is investigated within the context of competing western Mediterranean powers, leading to the establishment of control by the Genoese republic which was to last until the eighteenth century. The medieval history of Majorca is studied especially within the context of the extension of Latin Christian rule to the Balearic islands with Catalan-Aragonese expansion, leading to the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Majorca between 1276 and 1349. Topics covered include: the rivalry of the Italian maritime republics; the role of these islands in Catalan-Aragonese expansion; the conquest of Majorca and the period of independent rule; and Genoese government in late medieval Corsica.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unti aims:
- To offer students factual knowledge and comparative insights into the regional histories of Mediterranean islands in the medieval period;
- To emphasize the connection between political, economic, social and institutional developments in these insular case-studies, within the broader picture of medieval Mediterranean history;
- To offer students the opportunity to form a critical understanding of the role of dominant political and economic centres in shaping the later medieval Mediterranean world;
- To make students aware of different approaches to medieval regional history;
- To emphasize the interconnection between the different factors shaping the history of these island regions, and their important consequences and effects;
- To alert students about comparative historical approaches to the subject.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Explain the key concepts and thematic debates in medieval Mediterranean insular history;
- Highlight how this field of study is related to the wider subject of medieval history, as well as the field of Mediterranean history;
- Describe developments in the history of these different Mediterranean islands and their interconnection with the wider context;
- Analyze the factual knowledge and the thematic interpretations of the subject in terms of the recent historiography of the medieval Mediterranean;
- Make historical comparisons between developments in different contexts.

2. Skills:

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

- Read critically and selectively and make sense of a range of secondary sources on the subject;
- Write advanced historical essays with a clear structure and logical presentation of arguments;
- Demonstrate a critical awareness of the long-term development of regional and insular histories;
- Explain the structural similarities as well as the differences between different historical case-studies.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Abulafia D., The Great Sea. A Human History of the Mediterranean (Penguin, 2011)

Supplementary Readings:

- Abulafia D., A Mediterranean Emporium. The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca (CUP, 2010)
- Abulafia D., Italy, Sicily and the Mediterranean, 1100-1400 (Aldershot, 1987)
- Bresc H., Politique et société en Sicile, XIIe-XVe siècles (Aldershot, 1990)
- Bresc H., Un monde méditerranéen. Économie et société en Sicile, 1300-1450 (Palermo - Rome, 1986)
- Day J., Uomini e terre nella Sardegna coloniale, XII-XVIII secolo (Turin, 1987)
- Dyson S.L & Rowland R.J., Archaeology and History in Sardinia from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, 2007)
- Epstein S.R., An Island for Itself. Economic development and social change in late medieval Sicily (Cambridge, 1992)
- Franzini A., La Corse du XVe siècle (Editions Piazzola, 2005)
- Hobart M. ed, A Companion to Sardinian History (Brill, 2017)
- Marchi van Cauwelaert V., La Corse génoise (Classiques Garnier, 2011)
- Meloni G., Mediterraneo e Sardegna nel basso medioevo (Cagliari, 1988)
- Nef A. ed, A Companion to Medieval Palermo (Brill, 2013)
- Norwich J.J., The Normans in Sicily (Penguin, 1992)
- Peri I., La Sicilia dopo il Vespro (Laterza, 1982)
- Peri I., Restaurazione e pacifico stato in Sicilia, 1377-1501 (Laterza, 1988)
- Rowland R.J., The Periphery in the Center: Sardinia in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (Archaeopress, 2001)
- Sabaté F. ed, The Crown of Aragon. A Singular Mediterranean Empire (Brill, 2017)
- Tangheroni M., Medioevo tirrenico: Sardegna, Toscana e Pisa (Pisa, 1992)
- Vergé-Franceschi M., Histoire de Corse (Editions du Félin, 2013).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

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


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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.