HIS2124 – The History of Early Medieval England (c. 400-1000)

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

From the first century, much of southern Britain was part of the Roman Empire. However, in the early fifth century, Roman troops were withdrawn from the island, leaving its inhabitants open to attack and invasion. In the years following the Roman withdrawal different groups of Germanic-speaking peoples settled in Britain, ultimately forming independent kingdoms. These settlers were later known by the name Anglo-Saxons.

This course will follow the development of these independent kingdoms from their origins through to the tenth century, when the kingdoms were first governed together as a realm united under a single king. During this course, students will learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Anglo-Saxon period, including significant works of art and literature. A major emphasis will be placed on investigating and problematizing the written sources from this period, which will include Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, as well as saints’ lives, letters, literary texts, and chronicles. Through discussion and debate, students will assess the reliability of these textual sources in light of new historical and archaeological research.

Learning outcome

In this course students will:

  • Acquire knowledge of the development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the period 400-1000 and an understanding of the religious and political structures in this period
  • Gain an awareness of the key academic debates related to the invasion of Britain and the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Learn to read and assess medieval source material in a variety of genres
  • Enhance their understanding of historical methodologies and approaches
  • Learn to engage critically with academic literature

A major portion of this course will involve critical discussion of primary sources. It is assumed in this course that students are prepared to read academic literature in English and participate in discussions in English.


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A good ability to read and communicate in English is required for this course.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with HIS4124 – The History of Early Medieval England (c. 400-1000)


This course will be taught in the form of twelve two-hour seminars.  These seminars will be composed of lecture, discussion, and group work. Students will be expected to read all literature assigned, attend the lectures, and participate actively in discussions.

Compulsory assignment:

During the course, students will write a compulsory assignment (en kvalifiseringsoppgave) in English.  A passing grade is required for students to sit the final exam.


3-days take-home examination: The students have three days to write an assignment. The length of the assignment should be 6-10 standard pages (each page containing 2300 characters without spacing).

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2019


Autumn 2019

Teaching language