- What are the defining characteristics of feudalism?
- ‘Regional differences in medieval society were so marked that the whole concept of feudalism is meaningless’. Discuss.
- How do you account for the decline of feudalism in the later middle ages?
2. The Manor
- What was the role of the manor in the medieval economy?
- Why did the manorial system begin to break down in the later middle ages?
- To what extent was manorialism responsible for the English Rising of 1381?
3. The Economy of Europe before 1350
- Why were some areas of medieval Europe more urbanised than others?
- In what sense was there a commercial revolution in the thirteenth century?
4. The Economy of Europe 1350-1500
- ‘The impact of the Black Death has been greatly exaggerated’. Discuss.
- ‘For those who survived, the fourteenth-century crisis was a blessing in disguise’. Discuss.
- In what sense was the Renaissance economy depressed?
5. The Church before 1300
- Did the papal reform programme succeed in increasing the power of the papacy?
- How effective were the church’s attempts to combat heresy c.1200?
- In what sense did the friars represent a departure from tradition, and why might they be seen as ‘a product of their time’?
6. The Church 1300-1500
- Why did the Great Schism last so long?
- How serious a challenge did calls for reform pose to the papacy in the fifteenth century?
7. Women and the Family
- How restricted was the role of women in medieval society?
- How and why did attitudes towards marriage change in the middle ages?
- Was there any place for affection in medieval family life?
8. The Twelfth-Century Renaissance
- In what sense was there a Twelfth-Century Renaissance?
- Is the vernacular culture of the twelfth century more important than the Latin culture?
9. The Italian Renaissance
- Why was there a revival of antiquity in the Italian states between 1250 and 1500?
- ‘The importance of Florence in the development of the Italian Renaissance has been exaggerated’. Discuss.
10. Government and Warfare
- Is it accurate to describe medieval Europe as ‘a society organised for war’?
- Why were the English successful for so long in the Hundred Years War?
- ‘For the monarchies of France and England the period 1450-1500 was one of recovery and consolidation rather than of innovation’. Discuss.
11. The Crusades
- Were the motives of the crusaders primarily religious or economic?
- Why were the later crusades so much less successful than the first?
12. Europe and the Wider World
- How far were contacts between Medieval Europe and the North Atlantic fact and how far were they fantasy?
- How far were contacts between Medieval Europe and Asia fact and how far were they fantasy?