MEDV3530 Conflict and War in the Late Middle Ages: Prevention, Execution and Rhetoric

Reading List
  • Taught: Semester 2
  • Credits: 20
  • Class Size: 28
  • Module Manager: Axel Müller
  • Email:
  • Pre-Requisite Qualifications: Open to all level 2 and 3 students
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

Many people think that the Middle Ages was a time filled with war, death, and killing, however, the situation was much more complex. Through interdisciplinary study, this module will introduce students to the many facets of conflict and warfare in the later Middle Ages (13th-16th centuries). It will look at the methods of warfare as well as their impact upon society. It will challenge students to develop an understanding of methods of warfare as well as their impact upon society. On completion of this module, students will, through exposure to a variety of topics, have an understanding of how to critically engage with a culture that is separated from them by time. This module will also provide a useful foundation in medieval studies, which would then allow students to pursue various optional and compulsory modules in a number of departments.
This is a thematic module, drawing on material from the British Isles, France, Germany, and the Low Countries, which will explore a broad range of themes associated with conflict and warfare. Teaching on the module consists of one lecture and one seminar per week. Lectures and seminars will examine topics such as:

  • - Different types of conflict: civil unrest, rebellion, war
  • - Conflict and religion: clergy in war, religious calls-to-arms, peace initiatives
  • - Philosophy of conflict: Jus in bellum, Jus ad bello
  • - Archaeology of conflict – battlefields, sites and finds, defensive and offensive arms and armour
  • - Training for war: Tournaments, manuals, mirrors of princes
  • - Chivalry: ideal and in practice
  • - Literary and artistic representations of warfare, battles, and calls-to-arms
  • - Science and technology of conflict including medicine on the field of conflict
  • - The aftermath of war: sieges, surrender, ransoming, rebuilding

This module relates to the following Discovery Themes:
Power and Conflict
Technology and its Impacts


The objectives of this module are to develop students' skills in understanding different debates and theories, constructing arguments in both written and oral form, and interpreting primary evidence through analysis of the changing forms and functions of conflicts and warfare in medieval Europe.


Types of conflict; legal aspects; laws of war; medieval historiography; arms and armour; battlefields; war rhetoric; chivalry; military science and technology.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to (1) demonstrate that they can express opinion and develop an argument in both oral and written expression, (2) identify and discuss a wide range of primary sources for medieval warfare and conflict, including visual, material, archaeological, literary and documental forms of historical evidence, (3) analyse the debates of historians about war and conflict, understanding how their arguments are constructed based on the primary sources they use and their theoretical approach, and (4) evaluate the forms and functions of posturing, war mongering, and calls-to-arms in medieval society; understand the differences between different types of conflict; and assess the reactions to conflict and warfare, in literature, art and religion.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Essay 1 x 2,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 7 40
Essay 1 x 2,000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of teaching week 11 40
Group Project Group presentation, format to be determined by tutor 10
Presentation Reflective summary of presentation 10
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 100

Private Study

Preparatory reading for lectures and seminars.
Engaging with the work of other seminar participants.
Researching and writing essay.
Researching and presenting verbal presentation
Writing a reflective report on presentation

Progress Monitoring

Performance will be assessed through a verbal presentation and three written pieces of work: two essays of 2000 words length and a reflective report on the presentation exercise of 1000 words.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Lecture 11 1 11
Tutorial 9 1 9
Private Study Hours 180
Total Contact Hours 20
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 200

Reading List

Reading List
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