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HIST1019 The First Crusade: Sources and Distortions

Module Overview

How are modern day relations between Islam and the West to be explained and why does the term ‘crusade' carry such emotive resonance for Muslims? To understand these things we have to go back to the beginnings of the crusade movement in 1095 with the appeal of Pope Urban II to Western Christians to take up arms and liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control. What led tens of thousands of people to respond to this appeal and leave their homes to undertake such a hazardous enterprise? The module considers this and also explores the experiences and reactions of those who encountered the First Crusade including Jews, Greeks and Muslims using the testimonies produced at the time, including chronicles, letters, charters and poems.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

introduce you to the study of medieval history through a well-documented topic which has received much scholarly attention.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the methodological problems inherent in using medieval source materials
  • the issues of under-representation of minority groups in medieval history-writing.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • compare different historiographical approaches to the first crusade
  • demonstrate critical reading and analysis of historiography and primary sources.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate oral communication skills at a standard appropriate for Level 1 study
  • write fluently and effectively
  • find, assimilate and analyse diverse and complex information
  • formulate arguments that are clearly reasoned and based on evidence
  • manage your own learning and your time effectively, meeting deadlines.


Introduction ï‚· the call to crusade ï‚· traditional views of crusading ï‚· logistics and landscapes: the military historians ï‚· alternative eastern perspectives ï‚· Jews and the crusade ï‚· individuals and the crusade ï‚· the impact of the First Crusade ï‚· cultural assimilation ï‚· the West in the East?

Special Features

The progression of lectures and themes on the module will underline the evolution of medieval crusade studies; reading sources and secondary literature each week will enable you to see the practical effects of a particular approach, and will develop your critical skills. Seminars will concentrate on historiographical approaches to the sources, including at least one student presentation per seminar on a particular approach to form the basis for discussion. The online quiz and website will enable you to revisit each week’s topics and to post queries. Lectures, seminars and online resources will all help you to achieve the learning outcomes for the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include  lectures  seminars In common with other ‘Cases and Contexts’ modules, this module will be taught by 6 lectures and 7 double seminars. Each student will be asked to give a non-assessed presentation during the module. Template Approved by Senate – June 2013 University of Southampton 4 Module Profile date module name Learning activities include  preparing and delivering presentations. Innovative or special features of this module  the module will be supported by a module website with full bibliographical support and texts in translation  it is intended to run a weekly online quiz to help you reflect on and revise module material.

Independent Study126
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary  (1000 words) 20%
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Examination  (60 minutes) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment tasks 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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