Celtic Britain and Ireland in the Early Middle Ages (HIST*2190) | College of Arts

Celtic Britain and Ireland in the Early Middle Ages (HIST*2190)

Code and section: HIST*2190*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Bronagh Ni Chonail


Mode of delivery: 

Weekly Course Format: 2 x 1.5hr lecture

Course Synopsis:  

This course will explore the Celts of Ireland and Britain from the time of the druids down to the post-millennium world where we discover the emergence of a body of literature relating to a king called Arthur. This course centres on the period 400-1100AD. The following two questions underpin this course; what do we know about the Celtic-speaking peoples?, and how do we know it? We will examine topics such as the development of Celtic kingdoms and elite ‘heroic’ culture, law and order, the spread of Christianity and the cult of saints, everyday life and the family, the ‘golden age’ of Celtic art and production, and also the interaction between the Celts and their neighbours. A historical and chronological framework is followed, as the course examines change and developments to ca. 1100AD.  

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, you will:

gain a broad knowledge and understanding of the Celtic-speaking peoples in the time period of the course;
think critically about the textual and visual evidence available for the study of this period; 
analyze source material pertaining to the emerging political entities of early medieval Ireland, Scotland and Wales; and 
enhance your skill-set in relation to historical research and writing through assigned coursework.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Mid-Term - 20%
Term Paper Proposal - 5%
Term Paper - 30%
Take-home assignments - (3 x 5%) 15%
Final Examination - 30%

Core Texts/e-books and e-Resources, all accessible through library log-in:

  • B. Maier, The Celts. A History from the earliest times to the present (Edinburgh, 2003).
  • J. T. Koch (ed.), Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia 5-vol. (Santa Barbara, 2006).
  • D. Ó Cróinín (ed.), A New History of Ireland vol. I (Oxford, 2005).

Additional e-readings for particular topics will be recommended at various points in the course and will be placed on Reserve/Ares. 

**Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**