DS: The Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Europe (enrolling now)



Enrolling now at https://www.coursera.org/learn/medieval-europe

Course Designers and Professors

Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila, University of Colorado

Dr. Ana Belen Sánchez-Prieto, Professor, Universidad Complutense de Madrid


Perhaps no other relic of the European Middle Ages captures our imagination more than illuminated medieval manuscripts, or those documents decorated with images and colored pigments. Serving as windows unto a lost world of kings, ladies, faith, war, and culture, they communicate complex visual and textual narratives of Europe’s collective cultural heritage and patrimony. For example, during the late thirteenth century King Alfonso X “The Wise” of Spanish Kingdoms of Castile and Leon commissioned the Cantigas de Santa Maria (the Canticles of Holy Mary). These monophonic poems not only celebrated his devotion to Mary, but also visually depicted miracles attributed to her intercession, machines of war like the trebuchet, and musical instruments such as the lute. In this fashion, illuminated manuscripts are dynamic messages from our communal past.

Knowledge and Skills

In this six-week course, students will explore the material creation, content, and historical context of illuminated medieval European manuscripts. Students will acquire an introductory knowledge of their distinguishing characteristics, their cataloguing and periodization (when they were created), the methods utilized to produce them, and their historical context and value.

Student Achievement

Student achievement will be assessed using not only traditional multiple-choice quizzes, but more importantly will be evaluated based on individual student projects. In their final projects students will either (1) produce a video or documental critique of manuscript or (2) prepare a physical manuscript using medieval methods. The best of these peer-evaluated projects will be posted on the Deciphering Secrets website (www.decipheringsecrets.net), our collective citizen scholarship web presence that encourages and supports our global citizen scholars appreciation and contributions to transcription of medieval manuscripts.

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