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The Medieval World (HI127): Example Papers

 

Spring 2006 (Progress Test)

1. Identify or locate any SIX of the following, and comment in about 100 words on the significance of each for the period

Feudal relief

Heriot

Villein

Escheat

Jacquerie

John Ball

Burh

Commenda

Double-entry bookkeeping

Genoa

Ebola

Cistercians

Waldo of Lyons

Transubstantiation

Clement VI

Annates

College of Cardinals

Agnatic kinship

Hildegard of Bingen

Roman de la Rose

2. Comment on any FIVE of the following passages, with particular reference to the attitudes expressed or the information presented and to the historical context

(a) According to their custom the Northmen plundered eastern and western Frisia and burned down the town of Dordrecht, with two other villages, before the eyes of Lothair [the Emperor], who was then in the castle of Nimwegen, but could not punish the crime.

(The Annals of Xantan, 845-853)

(b) 1. During those four days and five nights no man or woman shall assault, wound, or slay another, or attack, seize, or destroy a castle, burg, or villa, by craft or by violence.

(The Truce of God – Bishopric of Terouanne, 1063)

(c) Free tenants. Thomas le Boteler holds a messuage with a court yard which contains 1 rood, and 3 acres of land, by charter, paying thence yearly to the said abbot 14s.

Likewise the rector of the church of Alwalton holds 1 virgate of land with its appurtenances, with which the said church was anciently endowed. Likewise the said rector has a holding the tenant of which holds 1 rood of ground by paying to the said rector yearly 12d.

(An Account of the Manor of Alwalton, Huntingdonshire from the Hundred Rolls of 1279)

(d) Following the example of Pope Gregory, our predecessor of pious memory, we have placed under sentence of excommunication all those who in future consort with the Saracens, directly or indirectly, or who attempt to give or send aid to them by sea, as long as the war between them and us shall last.

(Pope Innocent III: Licence to Venice to Trade with The Saracens, 1198)

(e) Careful investigation has established that at that time there were in Florence approximately 25,000 men capable of bearing arms, ages fifteen to seventy, all citizens, of which 1,500 were noble and powerful citizens required as Grandi to post the customary guarantees. There were then around seventy-five fully-equipped knights. We find of course that before the government of the "second people," which is still in power, there were more than 250 knights, but after the people began its rule the Grandi had neither the status nor the authority they formerly enjoyed.

(Giovanni Villani, Chronicle)

(f) Four pennies worth of coarse bread was not enough to feed a common man for one day. The usual kinds of meat, suitable for eating, were too scarce; horse meat was precious; plump dogs were stolen. And, according to many reports, men and women in many places secretly ate their own children....

(The Famine of 1315)

(g) As to the perfect heretics however they had a magistracy whom they called Deacons and Bishops, without the imposition of whose hands, at the time of his death, none of the believers thought that he could be saved; but if they laid their hands upon any dying man, however wicked, if he could only say a Pater noster, they considered him to be saved, that without any satisfaction, and without any other aid, he immediately took wing to heaven.

(Raynaldus on the Accusations against the Albigensians)

(h) Let no man at all, then, infringe this page of our constitution, prohibition or decree, or, with rash daring, act counter to it; but if any one shall presume to act shall know that he is about to incur the indignation of Almighty God and of His blessed apostles Peter and Paul.

(Boniface VIII, Clericis laicos, 1296)

(i) Marriage is a firm and indissoluble union. This is public knowledge and no Christian can take the liberty to ignore it.

(Peter of Blois: Letter 154 to Queen Eleanor, 1173)

(j) She slandered her husband, her friends, her own self; she spoke many a reprevous word and many a shrewd word; she knew no virtue nor goodness; she desired all wickedness; like as the spirits tempted her to say and do so she said and did.

(The Book of Margery Kempe. [The Birth of Her First Child and Her First Vision])

 

Summer 2005

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. ‘It makes no sense to speak of the decline of the manorial system, because there was never a system in the first place.’ Do you agree?

2. How far can Europe in 1200 be described as a ‘feudal society’?

3. Was the period 1350-1500 a ‘golden age’ for anyone?

4. In what sense were the friars a product of their time?

5. How significant was the part played by secular rulers in the Papacy’s victory over Conciliarism?

6. To what extent can women be regarded as the ‘fourth estate’ in medieval society?

7. ‘The universities were more of a blessing than a threat to the authorities in Church and State.’ Do you agree?

8. What was distinctive about Renaissance humanism?

9. ‘By 1500 the French monarchy was much stronger than the English one.’ Discuss.

10. ‘The failure of the crusading movement proved that for European rulers the defence of their domestic interests was of greater significance than the defence of their faith.’ Discuss.

 

Summer 2004

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. ‘Feudalism is a category that has outlived its usefulness.’ Do you agree?

2. Did the growth of a market economy destroy the manorial system?

3. Was plague the principal motor of change in fourteenth-century Europe?

4. ‘Ecclesiastical reform in the Middle Ages proved neither sufficient nor longlasting.’ Discuss.

5. Was heresy more an expression of religious enthusiasm than of dissatisfaction with the medieval church?

6. What factors determined gender relations in medieval society?

7. Why did the medieval universities develop where they did?

8. How significant a contribution did the Church make to the Italian Renaissance?

9. What was the most important legacy of the Hundred Years’ War?

10. Why did Europeans seek contact with the wider world?

 

Spring 2004 (Progress Test)

Time Allowed: 2 hours

Candidates should answer both questions

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each book.

1. Identify or locate any SIX of the following, and comment in about 100 words on the significance of each for the period

 

Servile tenure The Investiture Contest

The black rat Ghent

Bill of exchange The mulberry bush

Tower societies Heloise

Assarting Exogamy

Cathars Avignon

Cluny John Huss

Celibacy Demesne

Fief Felix V

Lateran Council of 1215 Beguines

2. Comment on any FIVE of the following passages, with particular reference to the attitudes expressed or the information presented and to the historical context

(a) We command all priests on feast days and Sundays to pray for all who keep the peace, and to curse all who violate it or support its violators.

(The Truce of God – Bishopric of Terouanne, 1063)

(b) Of these hides the said abbot has in demesne I hide and a half of land and half a virgate, which contain as above. Likewise he has there 8 acres of meadow. … Likewise he has there three water mills.

(Alwalton manorial accounts, 1279)

(c) To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.

(Magna Carta, 1215)

(d) …your messengers, recently came to the apostolic see and were at pains to explain to us that by this decree your city was suffering no small loss, for she is not devoted to agriculture but rather to shipping and to commerce.

(Pope Innocent III’s licence to Venice to trade with the Saracens, 1198)

(e) …it seems fitting to mention other important features of our city so that our successors in later times can be aware of any rise or decline in the condition and power of our city…

(Giovanni Villani’s Florence)

(f) Whereas late against the malice of servants, which were idle, and not willing to serve after the pestilence, without taking excessive wages, it was ordained by our lord the king…

(The Statute of Labourers, 1351)

(g) The prelates and above-mentioned ecclesiastical persons we strictly command, by virtue of their obedience and under penalty of deposition, that they by no means acquiesce in such demands, without express permission.

(The Bull ‘Clericis Laicos’, 1296)

(h) …if any one of us is elected pope, he shall continue the present council and not dissolve it…

(Decree of the Council of Pisa, 1409)

(i) What? Should he study as a madman would

Upon a book in cloister cell? Or yet

Go labour with his hands and swink and sweat,

As Austinbids? How shall the world be served?

  (Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to The Canterbury Tales)

(j) If you do not render her satisfaction, she and the French will perform the greatest feat ever done in the name of Christianity.

(Joan of Arc’s Letter to the King of England, 1429)

 

Summer 2003

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. 'With the revival of a money economy, feudalism came to an end.' Discuss.

2. Which city made the greater contribution to European economic growth in the period before the Black Death, Venice or Florence?

3. 'The Black Death did not initiate any economic trends, it merely accelerated existing ones.' Do you agree?

4. Why did the council of Basle fail to attain its objectives?

5. 'Across medieval Europe family structures were largely uniform.' Is this a fair verdict?

6. To what extent did universities broaden the range of the medieval curriculum?

7. 'The culture of the Italian Renaissance was essentially secular.' Discuss.

8. Why did France eventually win the Hundred Years War?

9. 'The principal cause for the failure of the crusading movement lay in its inner dissensions.' Do you agree?

10. What were the main objectives of overseas explorers in this period?

 

Summer 2002

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. Is there sufficient evidence to justify reference to a ‘feudal revolution’?

2. Account for the prominence of Italian cities in the commercial revival of the central Middle Ages.

3.Is it possible to reconcile the impact of the epidemic of 1348 with its identity as bubonic plague?

4. Was the help of the friars an advantage or an insult to the papacy?

5. ‘Heresy involved more politics than religious choice’. Do you agree?

6. Why was the influence of women in medieval politics regarded with suspicion?

7. Did the rise of professional armies affect the hierachy of feudal society between 1350 and 1500?

8. What did the Italian intellectuals of the fifteenth century mean by ‘scholasticism’, and why did they dislike it?

9. Did the age of the Crusades produce any genuinely ‘Holy Wars’?

10. Assess the importance of the slave trade in the expansion of oceanic exploration during the fifteenth century.

 

Summer 2001

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. To what extent was thirteenth-century Europe a ‘feudal society’?

2. Account for the prominent role played by Italy in the Commercial Revolution.

3. To what extent were medieval heresies popular movements?

4. Assess the part played by lay rulers in the defeat of the Conciliar Movement.

5. What were the principal consequences of the rise of the universities?

6. How far was the Hundred Years War a national conflict?

7. ‘Family life in medieval society was principally determined by inheritance structures.’ Do you agree?

8. ‘By the end of the thirteenth century the crusading movement was effectively dead.’ Discuss.

9. What was new about the ‘New Monarchies’?

10. ‘Overseas exploration owed little to the Renaissance.’ Do you agree?

 

Summer 2000

(i) For candidates who are offering a whole-unit paper:

Time allowed: 3 hours

Answer THREE questions.

(ii) For candidates who are offering a half-unit paper:

Time allowed: 2 hours

Answer TWO questions

Answers should NOT include any significant amount of material already presented in ANY assessed essays.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book.

1. Did the organisation of feudal society ever constitute a 'system'?

2. What factors encouraged a commercial revolution in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Europe?

3. 'The European economy was heading for a crisis half a century before the Black Death.' Do you agree?

4. Was the fifteenth century a period of recovery for the papacy?

5. Can ecclesiastical authorities be accused of creating the problem of heresy?

6. Why have historians found it difficult to estimate the influence of women in European society after 1350?

7. How did the rise of professional armies affect the status of the aristocracy between 1350 and 1500?

8. Assess the impact of classical literature on Italian taste during the fifteenth century.

9. Were the crusades inspired by religious conviction or economic ambition?

10. What part did fantasy play in encouraging Europeans to explore the wider world?