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Program in Medieval Studies


D. Vance Smith

Executive Committee

Marina S. Brownlee, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, Comparative Literature

Daniel Heller-Roazen, Comparative Literature

William C. Jordan, History

Helen Sheppard Kay, French and Italian

Sara S. Poor, German

Gideon A. Rosen, Philosophy, ex officio

D. Vance Smith, English

Associated Faculty

Peter R. Brown, History

Mark R. Cohen, Near Eastern Studies

Michael A. Cook, Near Eastern Studies

Pietro Frassica, French and Italian

John F. Haldon, History, Hellenic Studies

Andras P. Hamori, Near Eastern Studies

Thomas F. Leisten, Art and Archaeology

Simone Marchesi, French and Italian

Helmut Reimitz, History

Peter Schäfer, Religion

Ronald E. Surtz, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Rob C. Wegman, Music

Nino Zchomelidse, Art and Archaeology

Sits with Committee

Colum P. Hourihane, Index of Christian Art

Donald C. Skemer, Firestone Library

Alan Stahl, Firestone Library

The Program in Medieval Studies encourages the interdisciplinary study of the European Middle Ages: its art, literature (Latin and vernacular), music, religion, science, philosophy, politics, and economic and social structures. Supported by the vast resources for medieval studies at Princeton (including an outstanding medieval manuscript collection and the photographic archive known as the Index of Christian Art), the program sponsors three courses: an introductory course, an upper-level seminar, and a (noncredit) thesis writers' colloquium for seniors. Approximately another 40 courses directly relevant to medieval studies are listed following this description.

Admission to the Program

During the freshman or sophomore year each student who wishes to enroll in the program should take MED 227 The World of the Middle Ages or discuss with the director what other kinds of preparation might be acceptable instead. At the time of the selection of a major in a department, a student wishing to obtain a certificate in medieval studies at graduation should also seek admission to the program from the director.

Program of Study

MED 227 (or some equivalent) is required, as is, in the senior year, the thesis writers' colloquium. In addition, the student should take and pass four courses listed in the roster of courses following this description. (They should not all be from the same department.) It is also highly recommended that a student take MED 412 Topics in Medieval Studies, a seminar whose subject and faculty change yearly. The senior thesis and at least one junior paper must deal directly with the European Middle Ages. The student's course of study must receive the prior approval of the departmental representative (in the major) and the director of the Program in Medieval Studies.


Most students, especially those interested in pursuing medieval studies at the graduate level, are urged to take Latin, including medieval Latin, or Greek. But many students will be interested in the vernacular traditions; in the absence of competency in Latin or Greek (or as a supplement to competency), students will need to demonstrate appropriate proficiency in another medieval language (for example, Old English) or in one of the major modern European languages to the 207 level: Russian, German, French, Spanish, Italian. In no case will a student be eligible for a certificate if he or she has failed to fulfill the language requirements as described here.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill all requirements of the program will receive a certificate of proficiency in medieval studies upon graduation.

Senior Thesis Colloquium. Separate from any other departmental requirements, this noncredit colloquium will regularly bring together all seniors in the program in order to discuss mutual problems of data, research strategies, organization, and writing. In consultation with the director of the colloquium, each student will choose a date to report to and discuss with the other members of the colloquium his or her work-in-progress.


MED 227 The World of the Middle Ages (also HUM 227)   Fall LA

An introduction to medieval Europe from late Antiquity to 1400. The course focuses on themes such as collective mentalities and dominant social practices, and addresses major forms of cultural expression in various media. Two 90-minute lectures. D. Smith

MED 303 Dante's Inferno (see ITA 303)

MED 304 Dante's "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso" (see ITA 304)

MED 329 Sex and Gender in the Ancient World (see CLA 329)

MED 412 Topics in Medieval Studies   Spring LA

An intensive seminar devoted to a particular aspect of European medieval life and culture. Topics change yearly. One three-hour seminar. S. Anderson