The angry Angevins: 1154-1216
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now started
What is the course about?
The political and cultural impact of Henry II and his sons, Richard I and John, on the history of England.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will begin by looking at the circumstances that led to Henry of Anjou’s accession to the throne of England in 1154 and then move on to look in depth at his personal relationships. Henry’s queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, was a formidable woman and her long career in the political arena is worthy of attention. Henry and Eleanor’s sons were known as ‘the Devil’s brood’ and we will study the contrasting reputations left by Richard and John. We should remember the daughters who exported Becket’s cult to Europe. The twelfth century was also a time of legal reform and the flowering of English historiography. We have a unique Anglo-Norman biography of one of the most extraordinary men of the period, William the Marshal. This affords us a unique opportunity to look at how a landless, younger son could rise to become a royal regent. William the Marshal served all three Angevin kings and almost single-handedly ensured the survival of the monarchy after the death of King John in the midst of civil war and foreign invasion in 1216.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Describe the legal reforms instituted by Henry II and their impact on twelfth-century England
• Explain and evaluate the circumstances that led to the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury
• Assess the role of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Angevin politics
• Compare and contrast the reputations of Richard and John
• Debate on the significance of Magna Carta.
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 necessary reading materials will be provided. If you wish to purchase a book before the course begins, I would recommend Nick Barrett, The Restless Kings: Henry II and His Sons and the Wars for the Plantagenet Crown London: Faber & Faber, 2018.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other courses in British and European history. Please see the City Lit 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: https://queenshipinpreconquestengland.wordpress.com/ 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.