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.

The Normans HIST5099

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

Rather than concentrating primarily on the Norman conquest of England, this course takes a comparative approach to the dynamics of Norman expansion in a broader European context. This course seeks to explore not only mechanisms of conquest and political hegemony but also the cultural and social impact of Norman penetration. It examines the nature and development of the Norman duchy from its origins in the early tenth century, through the period of Norman military involvement in Britain, Apulia, Calabria, Spain and the Levant, up to the mid twelfth century, by which time the two great 'empires' of the Anglo-Norman regnum and the kingdom of Sicily had reached, if not indeed passed, their zenith. How far is the concept of 'empire' valid in relation to these principalities, and to what extent were they political or cultural entities?


10 x 2 hours

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





1 x 4,000 word essay (70%)

Oral presentation + 2,000 word seminar paper (20%)

Seminar contribution (10%)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

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

This course aims to:

■ develop students' critical understanding of the dynamics of Norman expansion and of the political, social, military and cultural impact of the Normans on a range of European societies between the late tenth and early twelfth centuries;

■ develop an advanced understanding of the relation of argument and evidence in historical reasoning;

■ further develop students' ability to evaluate critically a range of relevant primary sources and to gain a good understanding of the relevant historiographical perspectives;

■ foster multi-disciplinary perspectives on the nature of the Norman impact on Europe.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ understand the nature of historical debate;

■ evaluate conflicting argument and counter-argument;

■ understand issues of cultural dissemination and reception in their political contexts;

■ apply advanced knowledge of primary sources for Norman history

■ identify demonstrate advanced knowledge of the period c. 911 to c. 1150 in relation to the Normans and their expansion within Europe

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.