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HIST2225 Besieged: Towns in War c.1250-c.1650

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • How people responded to the experiences of being besieged in the period 1250-1650.
  • Similarities and differences in sieges across 400 years and in different types of war.
  • The experience of being besieged in different geographical contexts (England, France, the Low Countries).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Adopt a comparative approach to examining the experiences of sieges.
  • Using political, social and cultural history alongside military history to examine sieges.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse a range of primary sources in translation.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explore which factors influenced 'resistance' in different historical and geographic contexts.
  • Consider whether 'rules' applied to sieges in the medieval and early modern periods and assess whether these were changing over time.

Syllabus

The study of sieges goes far beyond the strict military framework, overlapping the fields of political, cultural and social historians. It provides an original angle to study contemporary mentalities, the concepts of treason, allegiance, sovereignty and the nascent sentiment of patriotism. The chronological framework of this module gives a priceless opportunity to grasp changes and continuity over four centuries, breaking the traditional boundary between medieval and modern. It is centred upon England and two neighbours, France and the Low Countries and involves different contexts of war (e.g. dynastic, religious and civil).

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The structure of the module is mainly chronological and articulated around case studies. Lectures will set the broader political context of a siege which is then examined in more detail in seminars. These are based on the analysis of a wide variety of primary sources, such as chronicles, eye-witness accounts, memoirs, poems, official correspondence and dispatches (all in translation).

TypeHours
Tutorial1
Lecture12
Preparation for scheduled sessions36
Independent Study15
Completion of assessment task50
Seminar12
Follow-up work24
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Potter, D., Renaissance France at War: Armies, Culture and Society, c.1480-1560 (Woodbridge, 2008). 

Donagan, B., War in England 1642-1649 (Oxford, 2008). 

Corfis, I. A., Wolfe Michael, eds., The Medieval City under Siege (Woodbridge, 1995). 

Afflerbach, H., and Strachan, H., eds., How Fighting Ends: A History of Surrender (Oxford, 2012). 

Duke, A., Reformation and revolt in the Low Countries (London, 1990). 

Parker, G., The army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567-1659: the logistics of Spanish victory and defeat in the Low Countries' wars (Cambridge, 1972). 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1500 words) 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise 40%
Essay 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1500 words) 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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