Evaluative Essay: Medieval Cultures


The student will evaluate an historical theme using assigned sources for support and compose a properly formatted, scholarly paper. Please note, there will be two essay assignments that are separate assignments with different due dates.


Students will submit a thesis statement for Evaluative Essay: Ancient Societies Assignment to the instructor for review. This pre-submission of the thesis statement will not be required for Evaluative Essay: Medieval Cultures Assignment.

The student will write two Evaluative Essay Assignments each discussing a chosen topic. The student will choose one of the given essay prompts to write on. The length of each paper should be 750 – 1100 words – not counting footnotes. The paper will use double spaced text, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, standard margins, and indentation. The paper must use Turabian formatting.

The paper will include both a title page and a bibliography page. The student will use citations of the sources given in the prompts. The essay should use Basic Organization (except literature topic, given in literature document): The paper will consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion.

The introduction should be one paragraph and should introduce the main argument, ending with a strong thesis statement. The thesis statement is the one sentence argument. 

The body of the paper is a few paragraphs (3-4) that develop and support the argument while comparing the assigned documents. The body will also provide further analysis and Biblical evaluation. The body of the paper should provide specific examples and details from the assigned sources. 

The conclusion is the final paragraph, restating the argument and summarizing the main points of the paper, drawing conclusions for the reader. The conclusion should not provide new information. 

Evaluative Essay: Medieval Cultures Prompts

Economy and Labor  For this paper, you will consider the role of agriculture in the middle ages, and examine two secondary sources, one from the Carolingian period (early Middle Ages) and one from the High Middle Ages. As you read and consider, do keep in mind that they are separated by several centuries of time. You will also examine a primary source, the inventory of a Carolingian estate from the early Middle Ages.   Choose one of the themes below to consider in the body of the paper. The thesis statement should clearly respond to the theme chosen.     What conclusions can you make from this information, about daily life and work in medieval Europe? What changes occurred over the centuries that made life better?   Evaluate the information in light of your previous assumptions about medieval life. How does this information change, or bolster, your assumptions?   With the inventory of the Carolingian estate, what can you deduce about the nature and operations of the estate? How does the primary source provide support and additional information for the secondary source on Carolingian Europe?   After reading over the documents and descriptions of life and work, what struck you as the most interesting, and why? Are there any implications from this that relate to modern Western Civilization?   See the Resources section of the Assignment Page for the below sources: Carolingian Europe (c. 800)Inventory Account of Carolingian estate (c. 800)Urban and Rural Life during the High Middle Ages (c. 11th-12th centuries)  
LawRead over the different laws and guidelines for women and slaves in the following excerpts. Note the similarities and differences in how women and slaves are treated in the two civilizations. Also note that during this period, women do not appear in many legal codes, so laws regarding their care and treatment tend to be bound up in family or marriage law.   Your thesis statement should answer the following question:   Look at these laws in light of Scripture. What does Scripture have to say about laws, social justice, and equality? How do these excerpts exhibit or ignore Biblical guidelines?   See the Resources section of the Assignment Page for the below sources: Juris Civilis: laws regarding slavery 535 (Byzantium – Eastern Orthodox) –Book I section VIIISunnah: on treatment of women and slaves ca. 9th century (Islamic Empire- Muslim)Magna Carta: regarding women 1215 (England- Roman Catholic) – Sections 7-8, 11, 12, 15, 26, 54Old and New Testament Scripture – Biblegateway.comMay also consult Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or other Bible Concordance.
LiteratureFor this topic, write a literary analysis.   This paper, unlike the others, has a specific format and organization. It will be made up of 5 paragraphs, and should follow the organization outlined below.  
Introduction: (Paragraph 1) Introduce the topic and state the argument of the paper. The thesis (argument) should be ONE SENTENCE.  
Body:   Paragraph 2- provide a narrative summary of the poem, in prose form, writing out the main gist of the poem. Be brief, as the focus of the paper should be analysis.   Paragraph 3 – Look at the document from an historical viewpoint. What can it tell us about the culture, society, or civilization of that time?   Paragraph 4 –  consider what the Christian can learn from reading this work of literature. Does it contain anything good, or true? Anything worth contemplating? (Phil. 4:8)  
Conclusion: (Paragraph 5) Restate the thesis and summarize the main points.   See the Resources section of the Assignment Page for the below sources: Excerpt from Song of Roland Old and New Testament Scripture – Biblegateway.comMay also consult Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or other Bible Concordance.
Religion and Philosophy  For the second paper, you will read three documents – the first is a peer-reviewed article regarding the true motivations behind the First Crusade, and the other two are primary source accounts by Pope Urban II and a participant in the First Crusade.   In this paper, you will analyze the argument made in “Was the First Crusade Really a War Against Islam.” Use the primary source documents to supplement as you consider the validity of the author’s claim.   Your paper should consider the author’s argument, his logic, and his support. Your thesis statement should answer the following question:  
Does Morton provide a convincing argument that the First Crusade was not a war of hatred against Muslims?   See the Resources section of the Assignment Page for the below sources: Morton: Was the First Crusade Really a War Against Islam? Pope Urban II’s speech at ClermontLetter #2 – Stephen, Count of Blois and Chartres to his Wife, Adele  
Science/ Medicine /Technology  Medicine – Black Death   Below are excerpts which describe society during and as a result of the plague. Your thesis statement should answer the following question.  
As you consider the people’s attitudes and reactions, how do these responses correlate with a Biblical view of caring for the sick?  
See the Resources section of the Assignment Page for the below sources: Boccaccio: On Avoiding the Black Death (c. 1349-1351)Boccaccio: On Black Death Victims in Florence (c. 1349-1351)Old and New Testament Scripture – Biblegateway.com May also consult Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or other Bible Concordance.

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