Plague, famine and war: Fourteenth century Europe

Course Dates: 05/05/23 - 28/07/23
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Keeley Street
No sooner had the Great Famine of 1315-22 taken its toll then along came the Black Death to wipe out half the remaining population but there was also a flourishing of art and literature.

Please note there is a break week on Friday 7 July.
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Full fee £259.00 Senior fee £207.00 Concession £130.00

Course Code: HEH12

Fri, day, 05 May - 28 Jul '23

Duration: 12 sessions (over 13 weeks)

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What is the course about?

The study of western Europe between 1300 and 1400.

What will we cover?

We begin by discussing Europe in 1300 and move on to look at the causes of the Great Famine followed by the causes and consequences of the Black Death. Thereafter we look at France and England during the first half of the Hundred Years War; the Holy Roman Empire; Italy; Spain; queenship and art literature.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Assess the validity of such terms as “the calamitous fourteenth century” and the “Age of Chivalry” used to define the period 1300-1400.
• Describe the social and economic impact of the Black Death
• identify the key events of the Hundred Years’ War during the fourteenth century
• Explain the issues faced by German Emperors in the exercise of power and how Charles IV, in particular, dealt with them.
• Discuss opportunities and limitations faced by queens during the period.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No prior knowledge is necessary but a good understanding of English is essential.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Each week there will be a PowerPoint presentation and a seminar-style discussion of original sources (in translation) pertinent to the topic. You are invited to bring along/describe items you have read in newspapers/heard on radio/seen on TV you think may be of interest to the group. You will be encouraged to do homework reading to foster debate.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You need only bring note-taking materials. All reading materials will be provided.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

The European history cycle continues from September 2023 on Mondays and Fridays.

Vanessa King Tutor Website

Vanessa King is a lecturer in Medieval and early Modern History at Regents University, and Birkbeck College University of London. At City Lit, Vanessa offers courses and day schools on London, as well as European history from the Fall of Rome to 1800. She has published widely on the Anglo-Norman period (1066-1154), and is currently writing a book on Early English Queenship 600-1066 for Routledge. You can follow her progress via her website: Vanessa’s expertise in medieval matters means she is frequently called upon to give public lectures and speak on BBC Radio. Vanessa's philosophy of teaching is to make history come alive through informative presentations with a good sense of humour. In her spare time, she enjoys nothing better than talking history over a glass of red wine!

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.