xcartoonheart
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I will be a fresher at Oxford this coming October and need some advice about choosing History papers.

I'm currently deciding between General History 1 - 370-900: Transformation of the Ancient World and General History 2 - 1000-1300: Medieval Christendom and its Neighbours

I've never studied medieval history or even early modern before and so have really no clue about what I'd enjoy. So far, I lean towards cultural/social/intellectual history but of course would also like to explore a little more. So if anyone has opinions/experiences with either of these papers it would be extremely helpful!!


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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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colourtheory might be able to advise :yes:
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colourtheory
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(Original post by xcartoonheart)
I will be a fresher at Oxford this coming October and need some advice about choosing History papers.

I'm currently deciding between General History 1 - 370-900: Transformation of the Ancient World and General History 2 - 1000-1300: Medieval Christendom and its Neighbours

I've never studied medieval history or even early modern before and so have really no clue about what I'd enjoy. So far, I lean towards cultural/social/intellectual history but of course would also like to explore a little more. So if anyone has opinions/experiences with either of these papers it would be extremely helpful!!


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Hey! I studied General History 1 as one of my prelim papers having never studied anything earlier than 1500, and I loved it!

Gen 1 covers topics that include the fall of Rome, the rise of the barbarian kingdoms, the rise of the Carolingian and Merovingian kingdoms, texts and education, trade in the post Roman world, the vikings, Byzantium, and the rise of the later Abrahamic religions (Islam and Christianity). The scope for the paper is huge and there are questions in the paper that cover everything from the fall of Rome to the power and social position of women. The exact topics that you prepare for will be decided between you and your tutors so you can take a fairly heavy social approach if that's what you're interested in.

The module director Conrad Leyser is actually my personal tutor at Worcester. He opens and closes the lecture series by taking students through some of the biggest and most wide ranging transformations within the era, so if you're interested in learning about the transition between the ancient and medieval worlds this is a great unit.

Let me know if you have any questions

Edit: We also covered the Carolingian Renaissance which is all about texts, literature, and the construction of minuscule manuscripts and the invention of the bound book.
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flywithemma
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(Original post by xcartoonheart)
I will be a fresher at Oxford this coming October and need some advice about choosing History papers.

I'm currently deciding between General History 1 - 370-900: Transformation of the Ancient World and General History 2 - 1000-1300: Medieval Christendom and its Neighbours

I've never studied medieval history or even early modern before and so have really no clue about what I'd enjoy. So far, I lean towards cultural/social/intellectual history but of course would also like to explore a little more. So if anyone has opinions/experiences with either of these papers it would be extremely helpful!!


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(Original post by colourtheory)
Hey! I studied General History 1 as one of my prelim papers having never studied anything earlier than 1500, and I loved it!

Gen 1 covers topics that include the fall of Rome, the rise of the barbarian kingdoms, the rise of the Carolingian and Merovingian kingdoms, texts and education, trade in the post Roman world, the vikings, Byzantium, and the rise of the later Abrahamic religions (Islam and Christianity). The scope for the paper is huge and there are questions in the paper that cover everything from the fall of Rome to the power and social position of women. The exact topics that you prepare for will be decided between you and your tutors so you can take a fairly heavy social approach if that's what you're interested in.

The module director Conrad Leyser is actually my personal tutor at Worcester. He opens and closes the lecture series by taking students through some of the biggest and most wide ranging transformations within the era, so if you're interested in learning about the transition between the ancient and medieval worlds this is a great unit.

Let me know if you have any questions

Edit: We also covered the Carolingian Renaissance which is all about texts, literature, and the construction of minuscule manuscripts and the invention of the bound book.

I'd totally back up what colourtheory said - for my A Levels, I didn't study anything pre 1800, and GH1 was my favourite module that I sat during my whole time at Oxford! It's a really nice paper with a huge scope to focus on whatever you're interested in within a really broad period, which has cultural/intellectual/political/social/religious history, as well as elements of art history and archaeology. The lecture series that accompanies it is also really great - highlights for me included Bryan Ward-Perkins passing pieces of Roman pottery around the lecture room! I fell in love with the early medieval period pretty much solely as a result of GH1, and am now applying for a PhD on the period...As it's such a nice, broad paper, it could also be a good choice to test out whether you do like medieval history, and if it turns out you don't, you won't have to do any more!
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laquisha
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Hi, I'm also in a similar predicament- I have to choose my British History paper, but am currently stuck between British History III- 1330-1550 and British History VI 1815-1924. British History VII- Since 1900 also seems interesting, but with the lack of an end date it seems like it may be tricky to revise for. I've already studied quite a bit of 17th century British History at A level which I really enjoyed, but don't have much of a preference between early modern or modern. If anyone has experience of any of these courses, I would really appreciate hearing a little more about them! Thanks
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colourtheory
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(Original post by laquisha)
Hi, I'm also in a similar predicament- I have to choose my British History paper, but am currently stuck between British History III- 1330-1550 and British History VI 1815-1924. British History VII- Since 1900 also seems interesting, but with the lack of an end date it seems like it may be tricky to revise for. I've already studied quite a bit of 17th century British History at A level which I really enjoyed, but don't have much of a preference between early modern or modern. If anyone has experience of any of these courses, I would really appreciate hearing a little more about them! Thanks
I'm doing BH3 this Michaelmas! I did BH5 for my prelims. BH3 is peasants revolt, the Black Death, late medieval economies, War of the Roses, early Tudor period etc.

A lack of end date is no issue, you're not suddenly going to get a random question on something that happened week before your prelims paper. You'll have covered specific topics within your term's essays and then answer related questions in your exam

Your tutor is usually more than willing to concentrate on the specific topics that interest you within a specific period, particularly during Final Honours School. However, they may also have a clear idea of what they're going to cover with you during your tutorials. The key is to talk to your tutor before hand about some of the developments within the period and then together you can decide on which essays you're going to write.

You get heavily penalised though if you write overlapping answers in your exams, so it's best to cover a range of topics
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xcartoonheart
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(Original post by flywithemma)
I'd totally back up what colourtheory said - for my A Levels, I didn't study anything pre 1800, and GH1 was my favourite module that I sat during my whole time at Oxford! It's a really nice paper with a huge scope to focus on whatever you're interested in within a really broad period, which has cultural/intellectual/political/social/religious history, as well as elements of art history and archaeology. The lecture series that accompanies it is also really great - highlights for me included Bryan Ward-Perkins passing pieces of Roman pottery around the lecture room! I fell in love with the early medieval period pretty much solely as a result of GH1, and am now applying for a PhD on the period...As it's such a nice, broad paper, it could also be a good choice to test out whether you do like medieval history, and if it turns out you don't, you won't have to do any more!

(Original post by colourtheory)
Hey! I studied General History 1 as one of my prelim papers having never studied anything earlier than 1500, and I loved it!

Gen 1 covers topics that include the fall of Rome, the rise of the barbarian kingdoms, the rise of the Carolingian and Merovingian kingdoms, texts and education, trade in the post Roman world, the vikings, Byzantium, and the rise of the later Abrahamic religions (Islam and Christianity). The scope for the paper is huge and there are questions in the paper that cover everything from the fall of Rome to the power and social position of women. The exact topics that you prepare for will be decided between you and your tutors so you can take a fairly heavy social approach if that's what you're interested in.

The module director Conrad Leyser is actually my personal tutor at Worcester. He opens and closes the lecture series by taking students through some of the biggest and most wide ranging transformations within the era, so if you're interested in learning about the transition between the ancient and medieval worlds this is a great unit.

Let me know if you have any questions

Edit: We also covered the Carolingian Renaissance which is all about texts, literature, and the construction of minuscule manuscripts and the invention of the bound book.
Thank you so much to the two of you for your help! I have decided to go for Gen 1, but have just received a rather daunting reading list I was just wondering how much pre-reading you did for this paper, and any particular books you thought were invaluable.
I only really have time for a dip into a general overview text and even then that might be pushing it The general books on the reading list are J. Herrin, The Formation of Christendom and C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome: A History ofEurope from 400 to 100, but come up on amazon as quite expensive even when I look at the used section so what I'm really hoping is they're not essential.
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colourtheory
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(Original post by xcartoonheart)
Thank you so much to the two of you for your help! I have decided to go for Gen 1, but have just received a rather daunting reading list I was just wondering how much pre-reading you did for this paper, and any particular books you thought were invaluable.
I only really have time for a dip into a general overview text and even then that might be pushing it The general books on the reading list are J. Herrin, The Formation of Christendom and C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome: A History ofEurope from 400 to 100, but come up on amazon as quite expensive even when I look at the used section so what I'm really hoping is they're not essential.
The only book I managed to get around to pre-reading was Peter Brown's The World of Late Antiquity. You'll get round to reading Wickham and Herrin during Hilary when you actually study Gen 1 and have to do the essays (I'm surprised they sent you the reading list this early!)

You only need to read one small general text, like the one by Brown, as an introduction and you should be set. I got 75% (a v. high first) on the exam so I couldn't have been too far off the mark. I don't mean to boast, just to calm your mind a little
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flywithemma
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(Original post by xcartoonheart)
Thank you so much to the two of you for your help! I have decided to go for Gen 1, but have just received a rather daunting reading list I was just wondering how much pre-reading you did for this paper, and any particular books you thought were invaluable.
I only really have time for a dip into a general overview text and even then that might be pushing it The general books on the reading list are J. Herrin, The Formation of Christendom and C. Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome: A History ofEurope from 400 to 100, but come up on amazon as quite expensive even when I look at the used section so what I'm really hoping is they're not essential.
I read Ward Perkins' 'The Fall of Rome' before starting Gen 1 - I really enjoyed it, it's short, and it set the scene well for the beginning of the period of study, and also introduced the various sorts of evidence you'll encounter during the paper (I think...it's been four years since I was starting first year!). As far as I can remember, that was the bulk of my pre reading - I also read a bit of Procopius because I wanted to see what the primary sources were going to be like, and then also bought and briefly looked at Collins' 'Early Medieval Europe', which was an overview of the whole period. There probably isn't much point looking at more than one overview book though, and they're probably all as good as the each other! Just because he's really awesome/at Oxford I'd maybe suggest Wickham if you were to only buy one. I found it was quite nice to have an overview book of my own so that I could dip in/refresh myself on key events and issues and stuff during term and during revision, so it was definitely worth the price.
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