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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Ancient History

Undergraduate Course: Religion and War in Byzantium and in Comparative Perspective (ANHI10083)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe one thousand years history of the Byzantine Empire was marked by continuous warfare against various enemies on various fronts. If war was a necessity for the survival and prosperity of the Eastern Roman imperial state, the question arising is how did a society imbued with Christian ideals of peace and non-violence legitimize the use of military violence as a political means and justified the conduct of war in ideological terms. The course will trace the development of eastern Roman attitudes toward war and peace from the period of the empire's Christianization up until the eve of early modernity in comparison with other medieval societies.
Course description In this course we will explore the development of the dialectic relationship between the Christian religion and war in East Roman imperial culture. This will be approached from a comparative view-point by discussing the development of war ethics in the Christian post-Roman West and the Islamic Near East. Furthermore, we will undertake a comparison with cultures in which the relationship between religion and war was not informed by the biblical tradition. Our main goal will be to position the Byzantine war ethic within the broader discussion about a western just war tradition and to explore the differences between Eurocentric and non-Eurocentric approaches to the relationship between religion and military violence.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Ancient History 2a or Ancient History 2b or 40 credits of second level historical courses.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 courses in Classics related subject matter (at least 2 of which should be in Ancient History) at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this), or 3 courses in History, or a mixture of 3 History and Classics courses, for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 30 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) - class participation and presentation (10%)
- 2,500 word essay (30%)
- 2 hour exam (60%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of sources on the war ethic of the late antique and medieval Byzantine society;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others.
Reading List
Bachrach D.S., Religion and the Conduct of War, 300-1215, London 2003

Bonner M., Jihad in Islamic History, Princeton 2006

Cadoux C. John, The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the History of Christian Ethics, London 1919 (repr. New York 1982)

Kelsay J. & Turner Johnson J. (eds.), Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions, Westport, CT 1991

Koder J. & Stouraitis I. (eds.), Byzantine War Ideology between Roman Imperial Concept and Christian Religion, Vienna 2012

Miller T.S. & Nesbitt J. (eds.), Peace and war in Byzantium. Essays in honor of George T. Dennis, S. J., Washington, DC 1995

Popovski V./Reichberg G.M./Turner N. (eds.), World religions and norms of war, New York 2009

Riley-Smith J., The First Crusade and the idea of crusading, London 1985

Russell F. R., The Just War Idea in the Middle Ages, Cambridge 1975

Shean, J.F., Soldiering for God: Christianity and the Roman army, Leiden 2010

Sorabji R. & Rodin D. (eds.), The Ethics of War. Shared Problems in Different Traditions, Oxford 2006

Turner Johnson J., The Holy War Tradition in Western and Islamic Traditions, Univ. Park, PA1997
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Yannis Stouraitis
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
Course secretaryMiss Stephanie Blakey
Tel: (0131 6)50 3580
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