Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Megan Cassidy-Welch


The early medieval period (c. AD 400-1000) was a time of both upheaval and development. From the disintegration of the Roman Empire to the apocalyptic horrors associated with the millennium, the medieval world underwent profound cultural, political and religious transformations. The unit will explore those historical changes through analysis of key questions such as: Why did the Roman empire collapse? How did the barbarian kingdoms come into being? What was the impact of the Vikings? Did medieval people think that they were living in the 'Dark Ages'? Why did Christianity spread throughout Europe during this period? What were the varieties of cultural experience in the Byzantine world, the world of Islam, and the world of western Europe? Students will explore how medieval people experienced the world around them and how the early Middle Ages has been constructed by post-medieval writers, thus engaging with and analyzing critically a formative period of Europe's past.


  1. Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

Understand the processes of historical change in Europe, Byzantium and the Islamic worlds from c. AD 400- 1000;

  1. Critically engage with the historiographies of the early medieval period;
  2. Critically analyse primary source material relevant to the early medieval period;
  3. Possess a sophisticated understanding of conceptual categories of historical analysis (such as ethnicity and gender);
  4. Develop skills in historical research and writing;
  5. Formulate historical arguments (oral and written) based on evidence and historiographical awareness.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

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Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.