Skip to Content


Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

The period from the sixth century to the sixteenth century saw fundamental changes in European Society, including the emergence of the outlines of states and kingdoms that are recognisable today. But the period also saw fundamental changes in conflict resolution. Using a mixture of chronicle, legal, and literary evidence this course provides a comprehensive overview of a millenium of conflicts and conflict resoution in a period which saw the development of fundamental concepts and methods which still shape legal practice. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Frederik Pedersen

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • HI306S Crime & Punishment: the Development of Legal Culture in N.Europe (Studied)
  • HI356S Crime & Punishment: the Development of Legal Culture in N.Europe (Studied)
  • HI456S Crime & Punishment: the Development of Legal Culture in N.Europe (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

During the sixth century to the fifteenth century European society saw fundamental changes. Not only did the outlines of states and kingdoms that are recognisable today emerge but the period also saw fundamental changes in legal concepts and legal performance which are still with us. Among these changes are the development of new ways in which to settle disputes and compensate for crimes and misdemenours which became necessary when the Church prohibited clerics from participating in trials by ordeal. This seemingly insignificant change removed the foundations of old ways of dispute settlements and forced the development of new practices, e.g. the introduction of the principle that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, and the development of formal rules, or procedure, to resolve disputes. 

Though studies by modern scholars have focused on the developments of legal scholarship in centres of learning such as the universities of Bologna and Paris, traditions and practices which had long been a part of the legal culture of Northern Europe also helped inspire these changes, particularly in the Rhineland, England and Scandinavia. This course will examine evidence from sagas, chronicles, saints' lives, secular law codes, canon law, court cases, and treatises on procedure to illustrate and examine how and why these changes were implemented.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt

  • One 4000-word Essay (100%)
  • One 1000-word source review
  • One critical list of five primary sources (with appropriate references) to be used in the summative essay


Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


Written assessments are given CGS marks and written feedback will be communicated to students using the Department of History's cover sheets. Feedback will also be provided in scheduled individual meetings.

Course Learning Outcomes

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.