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Course Description

The course pursues a thematic approach to the most frequently occurring form of leadership in human history: monarchy. It examines some of the almost inexhaustible body of sources and evidence for this essentially primitive institution. Students confront problems of categorization and formulation of criteria for assessing and classifying types of monarchic leadership, by examining individual leaders and dynasties in their historical context.

Course Objectives

  • A comprehensive sense of the history of monarchy in the Near East and Europe, but also in the world at large, from the first historical manifestation of royal figures in literary sources (about 2500 B.C.E.) to the present.

  • Emphasis on substantive historical data and detail with reference to monarchy. The assignments will stress retention of specific historical details in support of well-organized interpretative answers.

  • Increasing the skills of students in formulating and recognizing thematic aspects of history relating to monarchy. There will be three assigned papers, one early in the semester and the other at the end. They will be structured around the reading of primary sources and student orientation in the recognition and analysis of historical problems and their interpretations. The tutor will emphasize good writing and interpretative skills Texts and Readings The students will be required to examine excerpts from the following primary sources: Hammurabi's Laws, extracts from the Old Testament relating to kingship,  Res Gestae Diui Augusti (Deed of the Divine Augustus) and Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne. Supplemental readings will also be assigned in a regular sequence.



Required Textbook

There is NO compulsory set text for this course. The course will be based upon the intensive reading of primary sources (plenty of them, more than those mentioned in this syllabus) and on teaching modules, discussions, and occasional quizzes.


Component Percentage
Weekly discussions 20%
Two written essays 40%
Final research paper 40%
Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.