Middle Ages Essay Questions

HNRS 135 Ancient and Medieval History


Study Essay Questions for Second/Final Exam

The final will traditionally resembles the mid-term, although with the extra questions to fill out the two-hour exam period. Remember: in your exams you will be asked to write a clear, legible essay, using complete sentences and paragraphs.  You should plan your essay in advance.  You should use specific details in your essay, such as proper names, dates, and terminology from the CSWC text and the collected source Aspects text.

Brief Answers (traditionally two at 7 minutes each)

  1. How did German rule combine with the Roman heritage in the West?
  2. How did the Carolingian family rise and fall?
  3. How did feudal politics and manorial economics help the West recover at the end of the Early Middle Ages?
  4. How did more centralized governments form in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages? 
  5. How did the reform of monks lead to a reform of the wider Church and the creation of the medieval papacy?
  6. How did popes fight with kings and other religious movements in the High Middle Ages?
  7. How did medieval culture reflect both religion and rationalism? 
  8. How did the revival of trade & towns change the West during the High and Later Middle Ages? 
  9. How do the Later Middle Ages expose the problems of medieval institutions?
  10. How did later-medieval and early-modern monarchs concentrate still more government power? 
  11. How did the Renaissance promote the West's transition into modernity? 
  12. On what issues did the different Protestants carry out their reforms?
  13. How did early-modern reforms in religion culminate in wars over religion?
  14. How did the "Voyages of Discovery" begin colonial imperialism by Europeans?

Short Essay (traditionally one for 20 minutes)

  1. How do Belief, Violence, and Promises interact to create Effective Government?
  2. Were the Crusades a Holy War?
  3. Should the papacy be supreme?
  4. Is the Educational Concept of the Renaissance Still Relevant?
  5. Were Protestant Reforms Good for Christianity?
  6. Did Columbus's Voyages Have a Positive Impact on World History?

Long Essay (traditionally one for 40 minutes)

  1. Discuss the changing attitudes toward religion from the beginning of the Christianity to 1648.  You might consider the following questions: What role did religion play in people's lives?  How did Christianity convert the Roman Empire?  What were the institutions and reforms of medieval Christianity? What groups were outside of and threatened the Christian church? How did the papacy assert its control? How then did the Reformation create Protestant faiths and redefine Catholicism?
  2. Describe the development of political states in Western Europe from the rise of the Greeks to 1648. You might consider the following questions: What political ideas did the Greeks project?  How did Rome transition through several government types?  What kind of governments replaced Roman Imperial rule?  What did the Carolingians do to create unity? What new methods of rule established states in the High Middle Ages? How were these then changed through the Late Middle Ages and by the Commercial Revolution into the Early Modern Period?
  3. Describe the development of economic systems in Western Europe from the Fall of Rome to 1648. You might consider the following questions: What kind of economy replaced the Roman Empire?  What did the Carolingians do to rebuild Europe? What new methods of wealth creation established the High Middle Ages? How were these then changed through the Later Middle Ages, by the Commercial Revolution, and the Voyages of Discovery into the Early Modern Period?
  4. Explain the characteristic social institutions and behaviors which defined the Early Middle Ages (ca. 450-1000). You might consider the following questions: How was the surviving western Roman World different from societies of Byzantium and Islam? How did some Germanic kingdoms succeed in building new stability? What new practices did the Western Christian Church emphasize? What were the Carolingian efforts at civilization and why did they fail? What new forms of medieval political-social-economic relations took their place?
  5. Explain the characteristic institutions and behaviors which defined the High Middle Ages (ca. 1000-1300). You might consider what new ideas, innovations or methods transformed the political structures, the economy, the authority of the Church, education and thought, art and literature.
  6. Explain how Church and State interacted in the Middle Ages.  You might consider the following questions:  What survivals of the Church in the West provided a foundation for the revival of civilization?  How did various political structures during the end of the Early Middle Ages and the beginning of the High Middle Ages relate to the Church, its ideals, and its land?  How did conflict break out in the High Middle Ages between various political and religious rulers? 

Machiavelli Essay (tradtionally 15 minutes)

What specific lessons does Machiavelli offer that matter today?

Comprehensive Essay (tradtionally 30 minutes)

How does the end of the Middle Ages between 1450 and 1648 create the modern West?  You might consider the transforming political policies, changing socio-economic frameworks, revivifying intellectual approaches, diversifying religious institutions, and expanding horizons.

What makes the West "the West" by 1648?  You might consider political, social, economic, cultural, and religious factors that developed from the beginning of human history to make Western Civilization a unique conglomeration of attitudes and practices among its peoples by 1648.


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33 Best Argumentative Essay Topics About The Middle Ages

If there is any time in history that arouses a unique kind of interest in writing historical essay topics, it is the Middle Ages. There were lots of acts and activities that inspired most of the technological inventions and improvements we are experiencing today. And with the development of various technologies, lots of lives then were changed. So, if you have been asked to write an argumentative essay on this time in history, you would surely not run out of ideas to write about because there are lots of fascinating things to write about as shown below.

  • Joan of Arc – Is she an inspiration to modern women?
  • The Hundred Years War – Are there consequences yet untold
  • The continued use of gunpowder – A reflection of the Middle Ages
  • Modern weaponry and the weaponry from the Middle Ages that is still being used
  • Weapons versus Infantry – Which has had the most effect on warfare in the Middle Ages and now
  • Analyzing the reasons behind the lesser population in Portugal and Poland as compared to France and England
  • Burgundy’s Fall – The factors behind it all
  • The kingdoms of the Middle Ages – A look at how their coffers are increased
  • The rationale behind the rise of London, Milan, and Venice in the Middle Ages
  • The Middle Ages – Why England was the only location the gentry could be found
  • The elderly ones – was there any respect for them in the Middle Ages?
  • The Middle Ages – The hardship surrounding the lower class then
  • What kind of treatment was meted out to criminals in the Middle Ages?
  • Was there a reverence for female saints in the Middle Ages?
  • The several reasons why the crusades would not be missing in the history of the Middle Ages
  • Working class women – What were their options in the Middle Ages?
  • The women of the Middle Ages – How they rose to become leaders
  • The development of chivalry in the Middle Ages – Contributing factors
  • The “childhood” concept – Did it really exist during the Middle Ages?
  • Political thoughts of the Middle Ages – Which are still existing today?
  • The Medici – What roles did they play during the Middle Ages and of what importance?
  • The Middle Ages – Top reasons why you should read stories of the crusades
  • The Middle Ages working class – The best trades options that were open to them
  • The importance of marriage in the Middle Ages
  • The Moors and the Jews – The relationship between them
  • Life in the Middle Ages – What led the urban change then?
  • The Middle Ages – Important historical event that says it all
  • The University of the Middle Ages – Determining its driving force then
  • The Middle Ages – Determining the moment that had the most significant impact on it
  • Witchcraft during the Middle Ages – What was their thought then?
  • The exploration cities and trade routes by Venice and Bari – what impact did it have on other European nations’ future explorations?
  • What was the impact of the fall of Constantinople on Europe and Africa?
  • The Roman empire – In what ways did thriving of Christianity contribute to its downfall?

With these essay topics, you would surely not run out of ideas for your upcoming argumentative essay about the Middle Ages.

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