The First Crusade (HIH1505)

StaffDr Alun Williams - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to acquaint students with some of the key problems arising from the use of various sources for the history of the First Crusade and the evidence they provide about a wider range of issues. At the Council of Clermont (1095) Pope Urban II called on the people of western Europe to go to the aid of their fellow Christians in the East against the forces of Islam. Whether he had in mind a small army of mercenaries to aid the Byzatines or the huge popular movement of perhaps 100, 000 people which emerged, and which led to the establishment of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, is a matter of considerable debate, as are the motives of those involved in the Crusade. Contemporary texts will allow us to study the Crusade from the point of view of the Pope, the Crusaders themselves, and those they encountered en route: the Jews in the Rhineland, the Byzantine Christians and the Moslems. These texts will themselves be analysed with the aim of demonstrating to students problems of the reliability and bias of historical sources.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the reasons for the success of the First Crusade.
  • 2. Assess how the idea of the crusade developed.
  • 3. Work critically with a range of sources for the history of the First Crusade written from a variety of perspectives.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Identify the problems of using historical sources, e.g. bias, reliability, etc., and to compare the validity of different types of source, e.g. chronicles, letters and charters.
  • 5. Answer a question briefly and concisely.
  • 6. Present work orally, to respond to questions orally, and to think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Work independently and in group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group.
  • 10. Write to a very tight word-length.

Syllabus plan

Week 1 Introductory lecture

Week 2 Calling the Crusade

Week 3 The Response to the Crusade

Week 4 The ‘People’s Crusade’

Week 5 Jewish reactions to the crusaders

Week 6 Reading week: no class Week 12 General review

Week 7 Byzantine perceptions of the crusaders

Week 8 Fighting the Turks

Week 9 Dissent amongst crusaders reflected in chronicles

Week 10 The crusade through Moslem eyes

Week 11 The Crusade ideal

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2010 x 2 hour seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided Independent Study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing a weekly source essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Marks and written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries602000 words (500 per commentary) (15% per commentary)1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments
Essay on Sources401500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.
1500 word essay1500 words essay1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Hans Eberhard Mayer, The Crusades, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1988)
Kenneth M. Setton and Marshall W. Baldwin, (eds), A History of the Crusades I: the First Hundred Years (Madison, Wisc.,1969)
Steven Runciman, A history of the Crusades, vol I: The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem,
(Cambridge, 1951)
Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusaders, 1095-1131 (Cambridge, 1997)
Jonathan Riley-Smith, The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading (London, 1986)
John France, Victory in the East : a Military History of the First Crusade (Cambridge, 1994)
Jonathan Philips (ed.), The First Crusade (Manchester, 1997)

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