HIS362K                                                                    Dr. Villalon

Course Syllabus



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: 3-4 p.m. 
(13)  Email Address:  avillalon@austin.rr.com
(14)  Villalon's Website:  Wire Paladin, URL:  http://webspace.webring.com/people/ca/avillalon/
Index for Medieval Warfare, URL:  http://webspace.webring.com/people/ca/avillalon/c-MedWar-index.html
Syllabus for Medieval Warfare, URL:  http://webspace.webring.com/people/ca/avillalon/c-MedWar-admin-syllabus.html

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.

II. Course Description:

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. 400-1500).
(2)  To provide some understanding of the various types of evidence available to scholars when they  undertake to study and reconstruct the medieval past.
(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 western history.

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 been posted. 

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:

A.  Books:

(Required)  Charles W. C. Oman, The Art of War in the Middle Ages (Any edition).

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 bookstores.

B. Articles

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.

C.  Visual Materials

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)
Modern Marvels: 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 Military Success 
Lecture 8:  The Move from Infantry to Cavalry:  Brunner vrs. White vrs. Morillo
Reading:  Selections by Lynn White and Steven Morillo
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 Kelly DeVries
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 those lectures, click here.]

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 hours.)

(2)  Simply come to the professor's office during the posted office hours.

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 third. 

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 as grading.

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 .

IX. 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 another class.).

Paper Requirements:

a.  All papers must have a title page as prescribed in the Paper Instruction posted elsewhere on the course webpage.  (Paper Instructions.)

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 considerations.)

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 languages. 

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 submit photocopied source materials used in preparation of his/her paper.  These should include

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

Photocopied illustrations 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 readings

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 that time.

(See the sections of the webpage Examination Procedures and Examination Schedule).

(4)  A final examination during the regularly scheduled final exam period.

Both the regularly scheduled examination and the final will count equally.

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 provided.

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 them.
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 be issued.

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; for example, 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 it.

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 produce it.

XIV. Attendance:

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 responsibilities.
(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 unprepared students. 

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 student's time.)

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 course.

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!!