HS3SLF-From Louis the Fat to Louis the Saint: The Image of Kingship in Capetian France

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Lindy Grant

Email: l.m.grant@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Soon after his death in 1270, the French King Louis IX was canonised, and by the mid 13th century he could be described by an English chronicler as “the king of terrestrial kings”. By contrast, his early 12th century predecessor, Louis VI, The Fat, as his soubriquet suggests, cut a less glamorous figure than the great princes of France, like the counts of Champagne and Flanders and, above all, the dukes of Normandy, who were also kings of England, and by the mid 12th century, rulers of Anjou and Aquitaine too. We shall examine the French kings’ real achievements in the development of administrative kingship, and victory in war, above all over the kings of England and the Angevin Empire, for these underlie and underpin the transformation in perception of the kings of France and, indeed, of France itself; but this course will concentrate on those perceptions. How far were the kings themselves, and their queens, conscious and active in manipulating the image of kingship; or how far was it the work of the counsellors and courtiers who surrounded them? How far were they influenced by their Angevin rivals, or by the Western or Eastern Emperors? How did they respond to and appropriate images of the great kings of the Old Testament, or their Merovingian and Carolingian predecessors? How did the refashioning of the image of the earthly ruler coexist with the reformist ideals of churchmen and the agenda of an ever more powerful and interfering papacy? How did they and their advisers develop the rituals of coronation, war and death, use luxury manuscripts and stained glass to refashion the image of rulership and commission magnificent castle and ecclesiastical architecture to provide a stage for the kings, their queens, families and courts? We will examine and analyse contemporary textual sources, including biographies of the kings, chronicles, charters, accounts, letters and mirrors for princes by their counsellors, their courtiers and their critics, including writers from the circle of the Angevin kings. In addition, we will investigate the evidence provided by material culture, notably buildings, manuscripts and stained glass.


Aims:

Specials aim to provide 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through close examination and evaluation of primary sources and the light they shed on issues and problems.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:




  • undertake detailed textual analysis and comment on the primary materials

  • achieve a detailed command of varying historical interpretations of the primary materials and subject as a whole

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing under timed conditions

  • recognise and interpret a wide range of different primary materials


Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student’s effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.


Outline content:

Soon after his death in 1270, the French King Louis IX was canonised, and by the mid 13th century he could be described by an English chronicler as “the king of terrestrial kings”. By contrast, his early 12th century predecessor, Louis VI, The Fat, as his soubriquet suggests, cut a less glamorous figure than the great princes of France, like the counts of Champagne and Flanders and, above all, the dukes of Normandy, who were also kings of England, and by the mid 12th century, rulers of Anjou and Aquitaine too. We shall examine the French kings’ real achievements in the development of administrative kingship, and victory in war, above all over the kings of England and the Angevin Empire, for these underlie and underpin the transformation in perception of the kings of France and, indeed, of France itself; but this course will concentrate on those perceptions. How far were the kings themselves, and their queens, conscious and active in manipulating the image of kingship; or how far was it the work of the counsellors and courtiers who surrounded them? How far were they influenced by their Angevin rivals, or by the Western or Eastern Emperors? How did they respond to and appropriate images of the great kings of the Old Testament, or their Merovingian and Carolingian predecessors? How did the refashioning of the image of the earthly ruler coexist with the reformist ideals of churchmen and the agenda of an ever more powerful and interfering papacy? How did they and their advisers develop the rituals of coronation, war and death, use luxury manuscripts and stained glass to refashion the image of rulership and commission magnificent castle and ecclesiastical architecture to provide a stage for the kings, their queens, families and courts? We will examine and analyse contemporary textual sources, including biographies of the kings, chronicles, charters, accounts, letters and mirrors for princes by their counsellors, their courtiers and their critics, including writers from the circle of the Angevin kings. In addition, we will investigate the evidence provided by material culture, notably buildings, manuscripts and stained glass.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The teaching for this module involves weekly two-hour discussion seminars.



Students will gain ‘hands-on’ experience of the historian’s task through the detailed evaluations of key texts, objects and buildings and the light they shed on the issues and problems being investigated.



Students will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature.



Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.



Students will also have the opportunity to join an organised trip to Paris in January.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 22 22
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 176 178
       
Total hours by term 198.00 202.00
       
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A two-hour paper involving detailed commentary on extracts from the sources studied.


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write two essays (each constituting 30% of the overall mark for the module) to be submitted electronically, the first by 12 noon on the Monday of Week 5 in the spring term, the second by 12 noon on the Friday of Week 1 in the summer term. Each essay shall not exceed 3,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Essays which exceed the word limit by more than 5% will incur a penalty of five marks. Candidates will be rewarded for making appropriate use of the prescribed texts.


Formative assessment methods:

Formative work, for instance seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, practice source commentaries, will be required for this Special Subject over the two terms.



Practice commentaries on the sources will be required for formative assessment.


Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall.


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-assessment will be by the same method as the module’s original requirement, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.


    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

     











     Travel, accommodation and subsistence - Organised Trip to Paris in January



     Approx. £250-£300












     Required text books:



     £75



    Last updated: 1 October 2018

    THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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