This course has concessions available

New: The World Of The High Middle Ages

The course will explore the development, of human societies in Europe and the Mediterranean world from the 11th to the 13th Centuries CE, including the late Norse and Norman expansions in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean worlds; the schism between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity; the collapse of the Caliphates of Baghdad and Cordoba; the institutions of Pilgrimage and Crusading; and the emergence of the Mendicant Orders. Drawing on archaeological evidence, literary texts, architecture and the visual arts, it will look at the complex and shifting relationships between the present and the past in the definition and transformation of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures and identities.

Who is this course for

No prior knowledge is necessary but a good understanding of English is essential. If you wish to read before the course the following book is recommended: Robert Bartlett: The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonisation, and Cultural Change.

What does this course cover

We will begin by looking at the balance between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish cultures in Europe and the Mediterranean World in 1000 AD. We will go on to consider the Norse settlements of North America and the Norman invasion of England; the schism between Catholic and Orthodox Christianity; the institution of Pilgrimage, and the theory and practice of Crusading. We will explore aspects of Romanesque and Gothic art and architecture; the idea of Chivalry; and the challenge posed to the institution of the Catholic Church by visionaries including Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic of Caleruega.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Give an account of the history of Europe and the Mediterranean World from the 11th to the 13th Centuries CE.
- Contribute to discussions on the distinctions between Orthodox and Catholic Christianity; the changing relationships between the Medieval Christian and Islamic civilisations; the ideas of Pilgrimage and Chivalry; and of Benedictine, Franciscan, and Dominican spirituality.
- Discuss the key features of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic art, architecture, and literature.
- Use the knowledge gained on the course to identify aspects of Medieval thought that continue to influence the literature, politics, and philosophy of the modern world.

What will it be like

Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint and group discussion of aspects of Medieval archaeology, history, religion, art, and architecture. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress.

What else do you need to buy or do

Bring note-taking materials to all sessions.

What this course could lead to

You might consider enrolling on other history/history of art/literature/philosophy courses run by the Centre.

mwc logo

I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.

MWC student


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Unavailable Classes:

Why come to Mary Ward Centre?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference.   We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’