THE REQUIRED TEXTBOOK FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT IS: Cole & Symes’ Western Civilizations, Volume 1 (published by Norton); please make sure you are using the 20th edition.
For this unit’s discussion select one of the primary sources in chapters 8 or 9. As usual, the primary source excerpts are found in our textbook. Briefly summarize the content, fragmentary or otherwise, and answer one or more of the “Questions for Analysis”. Explain why this source is useful for historians in understanding Medieval Civilizations. This discussion is a good drill on interpretation or for more of a fancy term to impress your friends and family–the hermeneutics of historical sources. What does the evidence reveal about the subject at hand? Often we tend to read texts in a way that is familiar to us. That’s fine, for an introductory level such as this class. In the event, you have very little to say about one source, then by all means select a second one.
In this assignment, furthermore, you must consult sources on the internet to help inform your knowledge concerning the primary source documents below. Just let us know where you retrieved the insights at the bottom of your main statement in the Discussion. A simple webpage name or URL (uniform resource locator) is fine. Try to stick to no more than two websites for each primary source (i.e. in other words, for this assignment you should not be consulting more than four websites total). Remember, some websites are more reliable, readable, and lively than others. It’s perfectly acceptable to find a website that is only tangential to your topic, but incredibly useful for what you wish to say in the discussion. Don’t just use the first site you encounter in Google!
Above all, please be sure to place the piece in its appropriate historical context. Address the basics: who? why? where? how? As for the source, you should focus on every word and every sentence of the passage if possible. Better discussions will demonstrate a deep reading of and an interrogation of the sources. Also, remember that sources are usually translations from languages other than modern English. It could be Latin, Old French, German, Arabic, etc. As other discussions, you should, of course, make a comment on at least one of your classmates responses. If one source for you doesn’t generate enough ideas, then write about two sources! What do you think is the meaning and context of the source?

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