Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Carolingian And Ottonian Empires HIST4059

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is not a comprehensive history of a long and complex period but will focus on the power and authority of two successful, but very different, royal dynasties, the ninth-century Carolingians after the reign of Charlemagne, and the tenth-century Ottonians of the German kingdom. It will explore how royal power was displayed in dramatic rituals and ceremonies in a landscape of royal palaces as well as in texts and images.  It will also survey the challenges posed to rulers by aristocratic rebellions, Viking and Hungarian attacks. It will also explore tensions and feuds within these dynasties.


Twice weekly

Requirements of Entry

Admission to honours in history

Excluded Courses





Essay (1500-2000 word) 20%; Seminar Presentation (6%) Seminar Contribution [other coursework[ (4%); Exam (120 minutes duration) (70%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims common to all the Dept's Honours Modules are as follows:
1.The development of the intellectual interests and analytical skills acquired by students during their first two years;
2.exposure to different methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options;
3.developing familiarity with complex historical debates and interpretations, skill in interpreting primary sources where appropriate and to inform this with new ideas derived from lecturers' current research; offer the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing, as well as basic IT awareness;
5.the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving teamwork.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

Having completed this course, students should be able to:

1.demonstrate the capacity to understand the historical development and the nature of royal power and authority in the Carolingian and Ottonian kingdoms through study of these dynasties in a variety of aspects including royal family relationships as structuring elements of kingdoms, rituals of religious legitimation, criticism of royal rule and rebellion against it;
2. demonstrate the capacity to exercise independent judgment on selected key problems of the period through critical analysis of selected primary sources such as biographies, annals, illuminated manuscripts;
3. demonstrate the ability to evaluate concepts such as kingdom, ruler representation, dynasty and ritual through critical engagement with the historiography of the Carolingian and Ottonian worlds.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.