HIS 101
Unit 12:
Late Middle Ages


Reims Cathedral (Notre Dame de Reims), Reims, France

Reims Cathedral

This is my photo from up on the rooftop of the cathedral in Reims, France--Yes, the French let you climb on up to the roof to look around, both under the roof on the inside and on the outside.  What an experience!  Anyway, this cathedral, which dates to the thirteenth century, was the coronation place for the French kings.  The site was considered sacred because legend has it that it was here that Clovis, King of the Franks, was baptized by the bishop of Reims in 496 ce.  That symbolized the Christianization of the Franks.  During World War I, the Germans thought that the cathedral towers were being used as French observation points, and so the Germans shelled the cathedral, destroying much of the facade's unbelievable sculptural work and portions of the upper structure.  Restoration work on the cathedral is an ongoing project.

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What you must do in this unit What you can do in this unit
  • Read Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (only those tales in the Dover Thrift paperback edition:  General Prologue, Knight's Tale, Miller's Prologue, Miller's Tale, Wife of Bath's Prologue and the Tale of the Wife of Bath.), if you are going to submit the optional Chaucer paper.
  • Submit the Optional Chaucer paper.  If you don't understand why I call this an optional paper, take a look at the Explanation of Assignments and Grading
  • Listen to some further information about this unit as a mp3 file.  You can also read the information as a txt file.
Some videos that you can watch for this unit Extra Credit Options
  • For a maximum of 50 points extra credit, read Cantar 1 of the Cid poem (Rose and Bacon translation--The Robert Southey translation from 1637 is also available--and write a one-page paper in which you comment on Christian-Muslim relations in the Cid poem.
  • For a maximum of 50 points extra credit, read Dante's Inferno and comment upon his use of allegory and the medieval conception of the universe.  Please be sure to cite any sources that you use.
  • For a maximum of 50 points (maybe more), watch the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Considering that the movie is a satirical comedy, write a one-, or two-page paper (What aspects of life in the Middle Ages were well portrayed in the film?).
  • In a one-page paper, summarize the causes and outcomes of the Hundred Years' War for a maximum of 50 points extra credit.  Please be sure to cite any sources that you use.
  • If you are really daring, read the full text of the Transcript of the Trial of Joan of Arc, and write a short paper in which you assess what was really going on at the trial for a maximum of 50 points extra credit.
  • For a maximum of 10 points extra credit, answer the Chaucer study sheet questions.
  • For extra credit, please suggest a relevant website for this unit of the course.  Send the title of the site, the url and a brief explanation why you find the information interesting and applicable to the material being studied this unit.

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