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

Undergraduate Course: War and History, c.1350-c.1650 (HIST10499)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course provides an opportunity for students to engage with key themes and debates relating to the nature of war in medieval and early modern Europe. Students will engage with a wide range of sources (including objects, images, and texts) and historical fields (primarily social, cultural, and intellectual) to consider how war was justified, waged, supported, experienced, and remembered between c.1350 and c.1650.
Course description What was the culture of war, and how did its meaning, practice, and experience change during the Middle Ages and Early Modern period? In this course you are introduced to some of the key older arguments about the nature of war and military history during c. 1350 to c. 1650, notably the 'military revolution debate' and 'bellicist' propositions about the contribution of war to the evolution of the modern state. You also engage critically with new research on the 'invention of the civilian' as a protected person in war as well as studies of gender and war, the relationship between technology and war, and on the emotional and cultural meanings of war. Three conflicts receive focused attention (The Hundred Years War [1337-1454]; The Italian Wars [1494-1559]; The Thirty Years War [1618-48]) and there is weekly use of textual and non-textual primary sources, as well as class trips to key war-related sites, collections, and museums including the National War Museum in Edinburgh Castle.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: violence, sexual violence, mutilation, torture, massacre. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Additional Costs Entry to National War Museum, Edinburgh Castle (£1.00 each with YoungScot card)
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 345 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
5,500 word essay (35%)
2,500 word written assignment (15%)

Exam (Open Book. You are allowed to bring one folder of notes on paper):
3-hour paper (50%)
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show a coherent grasp of key political, religious, social and cultural themes and debates in the history of war in Europe between c.1350 and c.1650;
  2. Show an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship in the history of medieval and early modern war;
  3. Show an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. Show an ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Show independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Yuval Noah Harari, The Ultimate Experience: Battlefield Revelations and the Making of Modern War Culture, 1450-2000 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

Maurice Keen (ed.), Medieval Warfare: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Erika Kuijpers and Cornelis van der Haven (eds.), Battlefield Emotions 1500-1800: Practices, Experience, Imagination (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

Helen Nicholson, Medieval Warfare: Theory and Practice of War in Europe, 300-1500 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

Geoffrey Parker (ed.), The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare, revised edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020)

Craig Taylor, Chivalry and the Ideals of Knighthood in France during the Hundred Years War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Sherry Velasco, The Lieutenant Nun: Transgenderism, Lesbian Desire, and Catalina de Erauso (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001)

Peter H. Wilson, Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War (London: Penguin Books, 2010 [2009])
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The ability to think critically and reflectively about the changing nature of conflict.
The ability to think critically and reflectively about the changing nature of debates about the role of war in history.
The ability to recognise and critically analyse the wide variety of written, visual, and physical evidence for war.
The ability to interpret evidence effectively and to present it to both academic and non-academic audiences.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Stephen Bowd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3758
Course secretaryMiss Annabel Samson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3783
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