The Reign Of Charlemagne 768-814: A Barbarian Empire HIST4162

  • Academic Session: 2015-16
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course studies the reign of Charlemagne from the origins of Europe. It also studies a ruler who had to convince his initially sceptical followers of his right to rule.


First and Second Terms: twice weekly as scheduled in MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Satisfactory completion of third year honours in History

Excluded Courses



2 x 2 hour exams

2 x 1500 word essays

2 x 800 seminar papers

Contribution in seminars across both semesters

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

1. to prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills which will be of benefit in a wide range of careers;

2. to show students how a professional historian works;

3. to familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other);

4. to ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised;

5. to encourage students to develop the confidence, imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere of employment where these qualities are valuable.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end this course students should be able to:


i) demonstrate an understanding of the major events of the reign of Charlemagne, particularly his achievements and failures in his attempt to create a Frankish empire covering much of western Europe and of the relationship of that empire's cultures with each other;
show the development of an awareness of the significance of recent developments in studies of social/cutlural topics such as ethnogenesis, ritual, and gender for the study of a pre-modern empire such as Charlemagne's;
show the development of an ability to critically evaluate, interpret and analyse the different types of primary sources on which this course is based and the ability to evaluate historians' opinions and current debates on the basis of a thorough knowledge of the relevant primary sources (in English translation) and an understanding of the modern historiography ;
demonstrate the ability to lead and participate in seminar discussions devoted to particular passages from primary sources and the ability to assess orally and on paper the historical significance of a particular source.