The 12th century was a time of significant change and development in Western Europe. Relative political stability, religious reform, the development of court culture, and crusades in the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula all contributed to the phenomenon known as the 12th century renaissance.
At this time there were developments in virtually all aspects of medieval life. Education, architecture, philosophy, religion, science and technology, and literature and the arts all underwent substantial advancements with far-reaching consequences. The introduction, or re-introduction, of many Greek and Arabic works into the Latin West via wide-scale translation activity led to the cultural and intellectual landscape of Western Europe changing dramatically.
This course will explore how the phenomenon of the 12th century renaissance impacted the society of Medieval Oxford specifically, and how this related to the experience of Europe more widely. We will look at the emergence of the University of Oxford and the influence this had on the scholastic culture of both England and wider Europe. Beyond this, we will consider the changes in various academic disciplines such as medicine, philosophy, and theology, as well as less legitimate pursuits such as learned magic. We will explore the development of literature, particularly in vernacular languages such as Middle English. We will also consider the developments in the legal and political structures of Europe, and England specifically.