I. General Information:
(1) Full Course title: Cavalry, Castles, Crossbows, Chivalry, Condotierri,
Catapults, and Cannon: Warfare in the Medieval World
(2) Semester: Second
(3) Professor: L. J. Andrew Villalon (Dr. V; Mr. V)
(4) Course number: 362K (39865)
(5) Section: Only one
(6) Days/Time of meeting: M-W-F/12-1 p. m.
(7) Classroom: BUR (Burdine) 212
(8) Campus Office: GAR 4.120
(9) History Departmental Office, GAR/First Floor
(10) Office Phone: (512) 475-8004
(11) Departmental Phone: 471-3261
(12) Office Hours: Monday: 3-6 p.m. (in the hour from 5-6, the
student must call into the office in order to be admitted to the 4th floor); Wednesday:
(13) Email Address: email@example.com
(14) Villalon's Website: Wire Paladin, URL:
Index for Medieval Warfare, URL: http://webspace.webring.com/people/ca/avillalon/c-MedWar-index.html
Syllabus for Medieval Warfare, URL:
If you do not remember or have available the URL to my website, you can still find
it easily by typing into Google "Andrew Villalon Wire Paladin." The
website should come up as the first entry on the list. You can then click
through to the main index and follow the links to the course webpage.
After a brief retrospective on war in the ancient world, this one semester course will examine in detail the development of warfare
between the late Roman Empire and the early modern world (c. 400-1500),
a period of some eleven centuries traditionally referred to as the Middle
Ages. It will concentrate on what historians call the West, i.e. the
lands around the Mediterranean Sea, including Europe, North Africa, and
the Near East. Lectures will also incorporate political and social
background material in light of which military developments may be better
understood. The only departure from this scheme will involve the Mongols,
a people of Far Eastern origin, whose territorial expansion in the 12-13th
centuries was so enormous that it actually reached the West.
III. Course Goals:
(1) To provide students with an understanding of warfare as it took
place in that period in western history referred to as the Middle Ages (c.
(2) To provide some understanding of the various types of evidence
available to scholars when they undertake to study and reconstruct the
(3) To acquaint students with the historiographical trends and
current intellectual debates within the discipline.
(4) (Hopefully) To inspire in the student a continuing interest in
studying warfare as it was conducted during this fascinating period of
IV. Course Webpage:
A webpage for Warfare in the Medieval World is
posted on the teaching section of my website, Wire Paladin .
Like the rest of my teaching materials, the course webpage can be
reached by accessing the website's main index page, then clicking on the chess
knight entitled University of Texas Courses taught by Dr. Villalon.
Alternatively, you can go directly to the course webpage. (The URL
to that particular webpage is also given above.)
As noted above, if you do not have available the URL to my website, you can still find
it easily by typing into Google "Andrew Villalon Wire Paladin." The
website should come up as the first entry on the list. You can then click
through to the main index and follow the links to the course webpage.
Throughout the semester, this webpage may undergo occasional updating. You
are responsible for periodically consulting it to see if anything new has
If you are reading this syllabus, you are already aware that
it is also posted on the webpage. Your first assignment is to READ
THIS SYLLABUS CAREFULLY. Afterwards, GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE WEBPAGE
CAREFULLY. There are matters that are covered much more
thoroughly in the sections devoted to them than here in the course
syllabus. (For example, instructions for doing the paper.) It
is the students responsibility to find and consult the appropriate
sections of the website. The excuse "I didn't know about them" will
cut no ice with me!
V. Required Reading/Viewing:
(Required) Charles W. C. Oman, The Art of War in the Middle Ages
The classic work in the field of military history, it was the work of an English
historian many regard as the founding father of medieval military studies,
Charles William Chadwick Oman (1860-1946). Amazingly, it was written
in 1885 as an undergraduate essay; and despite Oman’s far longer, two volume
History of the Art of War in the Middle Ages, produced late in life, it
is this shorter essay that has remained in print ever since. (The longer
work has not been reprinted in decades.) To the
extent that there is a textbook in the class, this will be it. It is
strongly recommended that this short book be read in the first week of
class in order (1) to get an overview of what the course will handle; and
(2) to help the student decide on a paper topic.
(Required) Kelly DeVries and Robert Douglas Smith, Medieval Military Technology
(Second Edition), (Toronto, 2012).
In its own way, this book has also become a classic in the field. The
first edition was produced many years ago by Kelly DeVries, a rising star in
the field of medieval military history, to fill a crying need for a single
book that would provide an overview of military technology and how it
changed during the period. The revised edition brings in DeVries's
close collaborator, Robert Douglas Smith, head of conservation at the Royal
Armoury in Leeds, England.
(Recommended, but not required) Edward M. Peters, The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher
of Chartres and Other Source Materials
This collection of primary sources dealing with the First Crusade supplies
an excellent idea of the kind and extent of sources available for a major
military event in the medieval period. As one of the most important
such events, the so-called First Crusade is also one of the best documented.
Most medieval historians, especially from the earlier centuries, wish that
they had this much to work with.
Note: Since books can be easily purchased through the major online
stores such as Amazon.com or Alibris, no order has been placed in local
In addition to the two books assigned in this course, several selected articles
will be posted on the website which examine
specific aspects of medieval military history.
Article that are posted are
required unless it is clearly indicated that they are simply recommended.
These will be shown in class (as time permits), interspersed with the lectures.
The Roman Legion (DVD)
The Barbarians/Visigoths (DVD)
The Barbarians/Huns (DVD)
The Barbarians/Vikings (DVD)
Modern Marvels/Axes, Swords, and Knives (selections)
Castle and Dungeons (DVD)
Nova/Building the Great Cathedrals (short selection)
NOVA/Ancient Empires: The Trebuchet (DVD)
The Bayeux Tapestry (CD)
The Crusades (as seen by Terry Jones) (3 of the 4 DVDs in the series)
The Barbarians/Mongols (DVD)
VI. Course Lectures:
Reading: Charles Oman, The Art
of War in the Middle Ages
[This very short book should be read at the beginning
of the course to give the student an overview of medieval warfare and help
him/her select a paper topic.]
Introduction: The Return of Military History
Lecture 1: A World at War: Origins of Human Warfare
Lecture 2: Warfare in the Fertile Crescent and the Birth of Metal Weapons
Lecture 3: Two Ancient Formations: The Phalanx vrs. the Legion
Video: The Roman Legion
Lecture 4: The Pax Romana: A Military-Based Peace?
Lecture 5: Rome vrs. the Germans: A Changing Balance and the Birth of the
Western Middle Ages
Video: The Barbarians: Visigoths
Video: The Barbarians: Huns
Lecture 6: The Franks, Religion, Politics, and Early Medieval Warfare
Lecture 7: The Reign of Charlemagne: Effects of Good Government on
Lecture 8: The Move from Infantry to Cavalry: Brunner vrs. White vrs.
Reading: Selections by
Lynn White and
Lecture 9: The Darkness After Charlemagne
Lecture 10: War in the Viking Age
Video: The Barbarians: Vikings
Video: The Conquerors: William the Conqueror
Test 1: Lectures 1-10/Accompanying videos and readings
Lecture 11: The Medieval Warrior
Lecture 12: Arms, Armor, and Training
Reading: Article by John Clements
Video: Modern Marvels/Axes, Swords, and Knives (selections)
Lecture 13: The Art of Castle Building
Video: Nova/Building the Great Cathedrals (short selection)
Lecture 14: Life in the Medieval Castle
Video: Modern Marvels: Castles and Dungeons
Lecture 15: Siege Warfare: Defending and Capturing the Castle
Video: Ancient Empires: The Trebuchet
Lecture 16: The Many Faces of Feudalism
Lecture 17: Eastern Ways of War: The Survival of the Byzantine Empire
Lecture 18: Eastern Ways of War: The Rise of Islam
Lecture 19: The Clash of East and West: The Crusades
Reading: Article by
Lecture 20: Gunpowder Weaponry
Lecture 21: Ships and Guns
Final Exam: Lectures 11-21/Accompanying videos and readings
[For access to the notes that accompany
VII. Contacting the Professor:
There are three reliable ways to contact this professor:
(1) Speak with him after class. (If the subject requires a
lengthier conversation, an appointment can be made to meet during office
(2) Simply come to the professor's office during the posted office
No appointment is needed; I am almost always available in my office (or very
nearby) during office hours. If you do not at first find me, try either
the departmental office on the first floor or photocopying machine on the
If, for whatever reason, I have to miss an office hours, something
that does not happen often, then I shall try to leave a note on the
door. If that occurs, let me apologize in advance.
(3) Contact the professor through email.
I check and respond to my email regularly and will try to reply to your
message as soon as I see it. It is always best to send messages to my
home email address (given at the beginning of the syllabus).
Other means of getting in contact are much less certain.
I will answer phone calls to the office if I am there, but I will not
call students back.
I have purposely
omitted my home telephone number from this syllabus for the simple reason
that I will not wish to receive student phone calls at home. Email
serves the same purpose, more reliably and less obtrusively.
VIII. Contacting the Teaching Assistant:
Depending upon the number of student taking the course, the History
Department may assign a teaching assistant (TA) to help with such matters
It will be announced in class whether or not there is a TA and, if so,
how the student can contact him/her.
For more about contacting the TA,
click here .
Criteria for Grading:
(1) Research Paper
A course paper on some aspect of
medieval war ( approximately 10 pages). It might deal with a warrior, a weapon, a
battle, a type of medieval ship, a book, artwork depicting warfare, even
an analysis of a film depicting medieval warfare; in short, anything that
has to do with medieval warfare. This is the student's opportunity
to explore in depth something which his interested him/her and write a
meaningful paper about it.
While most historians consider the period
between roughly 400 and 1500 to be the Middle Ages, for the purposes of
this paper, I will extend the range of permissible research to as early as
the end of the Pax Romana (c. 200) and as late as 1550. The student
is cautioned not to chose a topic outside of these chronological limits,
even if it is a topic I briefly covered in my introduction to warfare.
(For example, the student should not turn in a paper on Greek Warfare or
Alexander the Great or the Roman Civil Wars. These topics belong to
a. All papers must have a title page
as prescribed in the Paper Instruction posted elsewhere on the course
b. All papers must be type-written,
double-spaced, proof read, and contain a bibliography.
c. All papers should be well written,
using proper grammar and spelling.
For more information on common mistakes, see
my Rules for Academic Writing.
d. They must be submitted in an approved three-prong folder.
(Students are not to submit three ring binders due to the weight
The paper and accompanying sources (see
below) must be drilled and placed neatly into the folder.
e. The paper must use source citations.
These should be in the style used by
historians. In other words, some variant of the system summarized in
the Chicago Manual of Style, not the MLA (Modern Language Association)
style that was designed for use by scholars in English and foreign
For more information on how
to use source citations, click through to the section of this website
dealing with the issue entitled
Footnoting for Historians: A Guide for the Perplexed.
Students may employ either footnotes
or endnotes, though I strongly encourage using endnotes.
(2) Submitted Source Materials
Along with the paper, each student should
source materials used in preparation of his/her paper. These should
Short articles and
individual primary documents, taken either from a printed source or from the web;
such short items
should be copied in their entirety and their source clearly identified.
If books have been used,
copy the title page and the most important pages utilized by the student
can also be included.
(3) Rules for submission:
Drill both the pages of the paper AND the submitted
source materials and place them into an approved three-prong folder.
If the source materials do not fit into the same
three-prong folder as the paper, a second folder can be used. (Under
no circumstances should a student utilize a three-ring binder!
Any failure to follow the instructions for
submitting the paper WILL lead to deductions in the grade!! Even if
your work is genius-level, it still needs to be submitted correctly!
(3) An in-class examination during a regular class period based on the lectures and
The precise date of the regular examination will be announced in class at least a
week in advance.
Unpenalized make-up exams will be available during the two
weeks after the original exam period for students who fail to take it at
(See the sections of the webpage Examination
Procedures and Examination
(4) A final examination during the regularly scheduled final exam
Both the regularly scheduled examination and the final will count
Both examinations are entirely short answer (matching or fill-in-the-blank
from a list supplied on the exam; true or false). Scantrons will be
The examination average will count for 2/3 of the final grade; the
paper will count for 1/3.
In addition, the student should not ignore active engagement in the
class. This can take various forms: discussion (either in
class or outside of it), producing information the instructor has not
mentioned, answering questions, finding and sharing relevant materials,
etc. Such participation can count in the student’s favor, though a
failure to participate in this manner will not count against him/her. I am
fully aware that there are many good students who prefer to listen rather
than talk and, and since I admire good listeners, I will not penalize
Note Well: All work must be completed and handed in to receive a grade other
than X or F. There may be some slight bending of this rule for those
taking the course on a pass-fail basis, but it is up to the student to
clear this with the professor early in the semester.
Students who are taking the course pass-fail, are expected to
earn at least a C- to receive a passing grade. Otherwise an X will
X. Grading Procedure:
The grades in this class are computed using + and -; in other words, A,
A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, F. Grades will not be
rounded upward; in other words, a B+ is a B+, not an A-.
XI. Concerning the Finality of Grades:
In almost all cases, final grades are indeed final.
(1) The obvious exception: if I have made a mistake in computing
your grade. If you believe this to be the case, you should contact me or
the TA immediately.
(2) In a few cases, I will offer a student the opportunity to
get a higher grade. This will only occur in special circumstances;
where the student was really on the borderline. In addition, where
the student has received an F for failing to turn in a course paper, I
will usually change the F to a passing if the paper is turned in to me
after the deadline.
XII. Instructions for Students Who Fail to Receive a Grade:
While this is usually the result of a failure to complete some part of
the course work, it may also be an error on the professor's part. Under
any circumstances, the student should contact the professor as soon as
possible and arrange a meeting in order to determine what, if anything,
can be done about the problem. In many cases, something can be done.
Once something has been arranged, be certain to keep after me until the
grade goes through. Rather than resenting this, I will appreciate
XIII. Retaining Copies of Work:
It is a good practice in any course to keep copies of everything that
you have handed in. It is also a good practice to retain any work that is
handed back until you have received your (correct) final grade in
the course. Mistakes happen, especially in a large class. Items
get lost and errors are made in recording grades. In such instances, the
student cannot merely claim to have done the work. He/she must be able to
Attendance in any course is important, but it is particularly important
when that course is based heavily upon both in-class lectures and, to a
lesser extent, in-class discussion.
Although I provide fairly detailed notes of what is discussed in each
class, THE STUDENT IS EXPECTED TO ATTEND ON A REGULAR BASIS. No habitual
failure to attend is acceptable, regardless of the reason. While this may
seem old-fashioned, I am a firm believer that part of a student's
responsibility is to attend class. Gross failure to attend will almost
certainly be taken into consideration in the final grade; and the
professor reserves the right to deny a student a grade if the attendance
is poor enough.
Attendance is computed on the basis of how many times the student has
signed the attendance sheet which circulates in each class. Consequently,
students who wish to have their attendance correctly recorded have two
(1) They must sign the attendance sheet for the class.
(2) If the professor forgets to circulate an attendance sheet (as
sometimes happens), students should raise their hand and remind him.
(Such an interruption will always be most welcome.)
Furthermore, students should never skip a class simply because they feel
unprepared. After all, you might miss something interesting or useful!
Besides, there are no unannounced quizzes and I never seek to embarrass
XV. Classroom Deportment:
Although I do not appreciate students who sleep, read, draw pictures,
surf the web, answer email or do work for other courses during classtime,
I very rarely reprimand them in class for their sins. Such
offenses against the "academic order" may lead to a private discussion
between us; and, if severe enough, may be taken into consideration when I
award a final grade for the course. (Remember, as a historian, I have a
very long memory!!)
Talking in class is a different matter!!! A chronic talker may be asked
to leave the class or, in severe cases, to bring a withdrawal slip for me
to sign. Furthermore, please do not start packing up your things to leave
until the class actually ends. This class never gets out early.
(To the chagrin of some students, it has even been known upon occasion to
get out late, though I honestly try to minimize such intrusions into the
XVI. Cheating or Plagiarism:
Everybody knows what cheating is, so there is no need for a definition.
On the other hand, some of you may not be familiar with the word
plagiarism. It refers to any attempt to pass off as your own work
something done by somebody else. Even when only part of a paper is copied
from the work of another person, this is still plagiarism. While it is
perfectly acceptable to quote from another person’s work, such passages
must be carefully footnoted.
Both the university and I regard cheating and plagiarism as extremely
serious; as a result, I would recommend that you avoid them like the
plague throughout your college career and, for that matter, afterwards.
Although I shall treat both cheating and plagiarism on a case-by-case
basis, the offender should not expect leniency. A substantial lowering of
the final grade or even expulsion from the course are the normal penalties
for such offenses.
Cheating takes various forms: any student caught signing the attendance
sheet for another student will be penalized a full letter grade (from an A
to a B, a B to a C, etc.) So will the student whose name he/she signed,
unless the latter can demonstrate to my satisfaction that he/she had no
involvement. If this flagrant piece of dishonesty reoccurs several
times, the student(s) involved will be asked to leave the
XVII. Withdrawal from the Course:
If you receive an F on early work), you should
seriously consider dropping the course IMMEDIATELY and concentrating your
efforts in another course which you have a better chance of passing!
As far as I am concerned, a student wishing to withdraw from the course
for whatever reason will be allowed to do so without penalty, even if
he/she is failing the course at the time of the withdrawal. It has always
been my belief that losing time and tuition is enough of a penalty to pay
for doing poorly in a course.
However, I would strongly recommend to all students that once they have
decided to withdraw, they should do so as soon as possible. It is always
best to get this unpleasant task out of the way.
First of all, it is better to drop a “loser” and concentrate one’s
energies where they will they will do the most good, i.e. in courses where
one is doing well.
Secondly, in putting off the inevitable, some students wait too long and
pass withdrawal dates mandated by the university, after which withdrawing
may become far more complicated, if not impossible. While I am always
willing to approve a withdrawal, after a certain point in time, the
university may not accept it.
XVIII. Requirements and Student Complaints:
Within any academic discipline, a teacher tries to design a course which
will present a body of knowledge, while developing critical thinking and
skills in research and writing. He or she then evaluates carefully each
student's performance in order to arrive at a grade, which will count
toward college credit. Factors which the teacher may take into
consideration when defining student performance include such things as
exams (either in-class or take-home), other written work (papers, book
reviews, journals), and various forms of classroom participation
(discussion, oral presentations, answering questions). Each teacher will
determine which of these factors to employ in arriving at a grade, as well
as their relative importance. The student should also be aware that
classroom deportment may be taken into consideration; in other words,
anyone who habitually acts in a manner which tends to disrupt the learning
process may well find that fact reflected in his or her grade.
In the end, it is the student who earns the grade for demonstrating the
required knowledge and performing the required work within reasonable
deadlines set by the teacher. Failure on the part of a student to
accomplish this may result in a failing grade and the withholding of
academic credit for the course. Again, let me emphasize: grades are
earned, not given or negotiated!!
On the other hand, for students who believe that they have been unfairly
evaluated, the University of Texas has established a grievance
procedure. Grade appeals must be made in accordance with that procedure,
which mandates as its first step an attempt by the student and professor
to resolve the grievance without any outside interference. At this point
in the procedure, intervention by third parties such as parents,
boyfriends, attorneys, department heads, administrators or other faculty
members is inappropriate.
For students who believe that they have been unfairly evaluated and cannot
secure satisfaction from the professor, there are grievance procedures
established by the University of Texas. (See the General Information
Catalogue. Further questions should be addressed to academic advisors or
to the Ombudsman.)
Brief Academic Biography of the Professor:
L. J. Andrew Villalon did his undergraduate work at
Yale University where he earned honors in history and was elected a member
of Phi Beta Kappa. He received his PhD. from Yale in 1984. After many
years working at the University of Cincinnati, where he is now a professor
emeritus, Villalon retired and moved to Texas. He he is currently
employed as a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. A
specialist in late medieval and early modern European history, he has
delivered numerous conference papers on a wide variety of topics including
Pedro “the Cruel”, Don Carlos “the unhappy prince of Spain," San Diego de
Alcala, Spanish involvement in the Hundred Years War and the battle of
Najera, Sir Hugh Calveley, the political ideas of Niccolo Machiavelli,
Spanish royal favorites, English military pardons, and academic editing.
His articles have appeared in collections and various academic journals
including the Catholic Historical Review, Sixteenth Century Journal,
Mediterranean Studies, the Journal of Medieval Military History,
and the Proceedings of the Ohio Academy of History. Currently, he
is working on two book length studies, one on the canonization of San
Diego, the other on the life of Sir Hugh Calveley, an English knight and
mercenary soldier in the Hundred Years War. Villalon has co-edited with
Donald J. Kagay six collections of medieval essays—The Final Argument:
The Imprint of Violence on Society in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
(The Boydell Press, 1998); The Circle of War in the Middle Ages:
Essays on Medieval Military and Naval History (The Boydell Press, 1999);
Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon : Medieval Warfare in Societies around
the Mediterranean (Brill, 2002); The Hundred Years War: A Wider
Focus (Brill, 2005); The Hundred Years War, Part II: New Vistas
(Brill, 2008) and The Hundred Years War, Part III:
(forthcoming with Brill, 2012). At present, the pair are also
collaborating on two joint monographs, the first concentrating on the
battle of Najera (1367), the second, a study of the War of the Two Pedros
(1356-1366) that preceded the battle. In addition to research in his
major field, Villalon has published on automotive history and the history
of World War I. He has held various grants for study in Spain, including
a Fulbright; received two awards from the American Association of
University Professors for defending academic freedom; and in 2001, was
presented the Professional-Scholarly Activity Award for the University
College at the University of Cincinnati. Villalon was the vice president
of the Texas Medieval Association (TEMA) in 2007-2008 and president of
that organization in 2008-2009. While serving as president, he organized
TEMA’s annual conference which was held that year in Austin. He is a
founding member of De re militari: The Society for Medieval Military
History and an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare
and Military Technology put out by Oxford in 2010. (A
complete c.v. is available on the website.)
LAST WORD: As complete as this syllabus is,
not everything is explained here in full detail. Some critical
pieces of information, including the instructions for doing the paper, are
treated in greater detail in other sections of the website.
READ THE REST OF THE WEBSITE!!