This class explores the nature of warfare, its place in, and effects upon, the societies of the post-Roman Mediterranean from c. 600 to 1000 CE. These centuries witnessed the terminal phase of the great struggle of Antiquity between Rome and Persia, the emergence of Islam and its profound reshaping of the post-classical world, as well as the formation of numerous ‘barbarian’ successor kingdoms in the west. Topics to be addressed include: military organization, the ideals and realities of battle, the imagery and literature of warfare and martial values, changing technology.
The major work of the course will be a 25-30 page research paper (approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words) using primary sources (in translation) and drawing upon secondary scholarship. Students will also deliver two oral reports (one on the research underway), produce a research bibliography, and be consistently engaged participants in class discussion.