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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:36

Course Overview

By the end of the mediaeval period, European society had learned to solve most of its conflicts in courts rather than in military confrontations. The records of these courts allow us to see life as lived by ordinary people. Using translated legal sources, we investigate why people resolved conflicts in court and asks what we can learn about litigants, law and lawyers.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Frederik Pedersen

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Canon law touched the life of every inhabitant of Western Europe in the Middle Ages: it could protect the murderer, it allowed for the speedy resolution of conflicts over debt, it developed an anthropology of human sexuality in its attempts to guarantee that marriage lived up to its high Christian ideals, and in many ways salvation itself was a matter of law. The later medieval papacy functioned increasingly as a source of this law. Between 1200 and 1300, the majority of cardinals and popes were not graduates in theology, but canon law. The personnel of embassies in international diplomacy were selected from university law graduates, such that the very language of inter-state discourse became a legal language, and one of its principal components was canon law.

Further Information & Notes

This module is available to students on all non-History degree programmes as a Discipline Breadth course for the enhanced study requirement. However, the admission of students with a non-History degree intention will be at the discretion of the School of Divinity, History, and Philosophy.

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessment, may be subject to change until 31 July 2022 for 1st half-session courses and 23 December 2022 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: one 5,000 word essay (75%); one 1,000 word presentation report and one 1,000 word response paper (25%) Resit: Not normally available

Formative Assessment

Level 3 students will present papers on chosen topics and level 4 students will undertake chairing and also respond to papers by level 3 students


Written feedback will be provided to essays, presentations and response papers.

Course Learning Outcomes


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