HISTART 194 - First Year Seminar
Section: 002 Medieval Castles: Bastions of War and Peace
Term: FA 2017
Subject: History of Art (HISTART)
Department: LSA History of Art
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
Other Course Info:
May not be used to meet the prerequisite requirement for the History of Art major.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In this course we will explore the extraordinary history of the medieval castle from its inception in the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century to the advent of efficient siege artillery about a thousand years later. We will investigate the massive keeps of Romanesque England and France; the sprawling hilltop fortresses of the Hohenstaufen emperors in Germany and southern Italy; the awesome Crusader castles in the Holy Land and their equally daunting Muslim counterparts; the impregnable castles of Edward I in Wales; and the towering brick fortresses of the Order of the Teutonic Knights in the eastern Baltic. The course contains a strong element of visual analysis, for example of architectural plans and topographical maps. Students will also learn how to read relevant primary sources, for instance a medieval chronicle’s description of a siege, and how to distinguish popular from scholarly accounts of medieval castles and their development. Important questions that this course raises and aims to answer include the following: What sites were chosen for the construction of castles? How did technological change affect the design of castles? Were castles simply utilitarian structures or perhaps also bearers of symbolic meaning? And what was life like in a medieval castle in times of war and peace, both for the lord and his family and for the garrison stationed within its walls?

Class Format:


HISTART 194 - First Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
MW 2:30PM - 4:00PM
003 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for HISTART 194 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)