the European Experience: Church, State and Society : : Essay Fountain

This paper should be 2 pages long, typed in 12 font, double-spaced, with one inch margins all around.  The pages should be stapled together.  All your language and ideas and conclusions in your paper should be your own. If you have borrowed language, ideas or conclusions from any source, including our class readings and discussions, you MUST acknowledge that source and provide an appropriate citation.  Use the MLA citation format.

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Since this is a Writing Enhanced course, students are encouraged to revise this paper.  Revising a paper means improving the paper’s writing and/or content.  If there is insufficient improvement, the grade will not be raised.  Revised papers are due one week after the papers are returned in class.   

Answer ONE of the following:

1. How did the Carolingian kings define the goals of their government according to religious goals?   What religious meaning did they give to their actions? Did this ultimately strengthen their authority as rulers?

This paper concentrates on the following Carolingians: Pippin, 751-768; Charlemagne (768-814), first king and then emperor after 800; and Louis the Pious (emperor, 814-840).  

The paper should rely on Wickham, Medieval Europe, ch. 4—“The Carolingian Experiment”; and the readings posted on Blackboard, in the folder “Carolingians,” which is posted below this assignment sheet. 

The paper should begin by emphasizing the importance of the Carolingian alliance with the church.  This alliance began with the anointing of King Pippin in 751/754; see Wickham, p. 62; and “Medieval Sourcebook: Annals of Lorsch: The Pope Makes the Carolingians Kings.”  (one paragraph)

The next section of the paper discusses the Carolingian program of correction/ moral reform as their religious obligation as rulers.  See Wickham, pp. 68-75.  What were the goals of this reform, according to Wickham and “Medieval Sourcebook: Charlemagne: General Capitulary of the Missi (802)”?  Pay special attention to the “First chapter” and chapters 2 and 3 of this capitulary. (See p. 69 Wickham for counts, bishops, and missi; for an explanation of what a capitulary is, see Wickham, p. 70).  

The last section of the paper discusses how the program of correction/ moral reform could work against the king, focusing on Louis the Pious’s vulnerability to accusations of sinfulness.  See Wickham, p. 63 for a quick overview of Louis’s reign; p 66 for his public penance at Attigny in 822, and pp. 72-74.   

2.  What factors contributed to the formation of a kingdom of England in the 10th century?

This question depends on Wickham, ch. 5—“The Expansion of Christian Europe, 500-1100.”  This chapter begins with a general overview of northern/ eastern Europe.  Wickham suggests that there were two major characteristics in this region: small, weak kingdoms and kings; free peasants (pp. 82-84).  But that changed over the next few centuries, especially in England (pp. 85-89).  

This essay focuses on the following: 

conversion to Christianity—and the creation of a unified church by Theodore of Tarsus; 

the development of more powerful kingdoms, (for example Offa’s kingdom of Mercia) based on military power, control of trade, and the wealth that came from “the slow development of private landowning, by kings and aristocrats . . . ” (87); 

wars against the Vikings, won by the kings of Wessex (Alfred and his heirs).  

Wickham gives a concise overview; if you want more information, read the following “chapters” from An Outline of English History by J. P. Sommerville: “Anglo-Saxon England”; “Anglo-Saxon England II”; “Anglo-Saxon England III: The Spread of Christianity”; “Anglo-Saxon England IV” (on Offa); “Anglo-Saxon England V: Wessex and the Vikings”; and “Anglo-Saxon England: Alfred the Great and his Successors.”  

There are also maps on Anglo-Saxon England posted below, on this assignment sheet.

Writing assignments will be graded on clear development of a thesis, careful organization of material, accuracy in discussing the paper’s sources, understanding of historical events, and completeness in discussing the paper topic.  Papers should also be free of major writing errors.  This paper is worth 25% of the Final Grade. 

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