Ancient and Medieval Spanish History. From Altamira to Isabella and Ferdinand (Prehistory to 1500) (in English)--Fall Semester Only

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Ancient and Medieval Spanish History. From Altamira to Isabella and Ferdinand (Prehistory to 1500) (in English)--Fall Semester Only

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The main goal in this course is to give students an overview of Spain?s history and culture, with special emphasis on events that have marked Andalusia more profoundly from the dawn of history to the Renaissance. Additionally, this course will provide students with basic historical vocabulary and knowledge pertaining not only to Spain: the ?discovery? of agriculture, empire, slavery, ?tolerance? vs. ?intolerance?, feudalism, monarchy, the birth of universities.

    Field trips, projection of slides and videos, will all be key elements in this course helping the student to have a clearer perception of each period.

    Students will come prepared to class, after working with the assigned pages from the coursepack, key questions and other material supplied by the instructor. Primary sources will be extensively discussed.

    There will be a midterm exam and a final exam. Students will work on articles and books relevant for specific areas of Spanish History assigned by the instructor, and write a report on them. This report will be 5-6 pages long, using MS WORD and TIMES NEW ROMAN 12 font, and will be double-spaced. Additionally, students will give a short oral presentation on their reports. Due dates will be announced. Key elements in class will be original documents from each period, which will be discussed regularly. Students will write two essays on clusters of primary sources pertaining to the course. Due dates will be announced.

    We will do field trips in Seville and surrounding area, in order to see in situ monuments, buildings, works of art, and places relevant to our course. They are mandatory for members of this course. Field trips will be announced with due notice.

    -Simon Barton (2004) A History of Spain.
    -Carr, R. (ed., 2000) Spain: A History.
    -Constable, O.R. (ed.,1997) Medieval Iberia. -Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources.
    -Cowans, J. (ed., 2003) Early Modern Spain. A Documentary History.
    -Domínguez Ortiz, A. (2000) España. Tres milenios de historia.
    -Pierson, P. (1999) The History of Spain

    GRADING. Oral participation is very important, and every student is expected to contribute energetically and courteously. Attendance will be checked daily. The participation grade will take into account the student?s initiative and creativity during the different activities scheduled for the course.

    The final grade is broken down as follows:
    Participation 20%
    Essays (2) 20%
    Paper 15%
    Oral Presentation 5%
    Midterm Exam 20%
    Final Exam 20%



    Unit 0: Introduction. Cultural and geographical diversity. (Carr, 1-9) The land and its many shapes. The Autonomous communities (Comunidades autónomas) and the Constitution of 1978.

    Unit 1: Prehistory in Iberia. (Fear, 11-12; Barton, 1-4). The Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.

    Atapuerca and Homo antecessor. Altamira. The ?Neolithic Revolution?. The demand for metals.

    Unit 2: From the Dawn of History to the arrival of Rome. (Fear, 12-19). Colonization and the metal routes. Phoenicians and Greeks in the Iberian Peninsula. Tartessos. Iberians. Celts. Carthaginians.

    Unit 3: Roman Hispania. (Fear, 19-38). The long Roman conquest. Romanization. Trajan and Hadrian. Economy: Hispania as part of an empire. Society. The arrival of Christianity. Constantine and Theodosius. The fall of Rome. The ?invention? of Hispania. The lasting influence of Rome to our present day.

    Unit 4: The Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania. (Collins, 39-62; Constable (ed.), 3-25). Who were the ?Barbarians?? Sueves, Vandals, and Alans in Hispania. The arrival of the Visigoths. Aristocracy and monarchy. Social and economic changes. Religion: Catholic Christianity vs. Arian Christianity. The conversion of Reccared. The Lex Visigothorum. Crisis of the Visigothic kingdom. Gothic identity?

    Unit 5: The hegemony of al-Andalus. (Fletcher, 63-75) What is al-Andalus? The expansion of Islam under Muhammad and his successors. Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The dependent emirate and the Umayyad emirate. The Caliphate of Córdoba. Fall of the Caliphate and Taifa kingdoms. Walking Tour ? ?Ancient and Medieval Sevilla?

    Unit 6: Society, economy and urban life in al-Andalus. Arabization and islamization: An Arabic and Muslim society. Dhimmis. Mozarabs. Improvements in agriculture. Trade and industry. The role of cities.


    Unit 7: Christian Iberia during the early Middle Ages. (Fletcher, 75-89). The first centers of resistance. Asturias and Leon, Pamplona, Aragon, Catalan counties. The great expansion: Castile and Leon, the Crown of Aragon, Navarre, Portugal. The Berber dynasties. The controversy of convivencia. Walking tour ?Sevilla and the river?

    Unit 8: The crisis of the late Middle Ages. (Mackay, 91-115). Fieldtrip to Carmona (Roman necropolis, in addition to Carthaginian and Muslim remains).

    Unit 9: The Catholic Monarchs. (Barton, 89-102).

    -Class Discussion and Review
    -Final Exam (to be scheduled)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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