PV1B125 Peasants, Wars and Lots of Treaties. The Medieval Swiss Confederation

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2020
Extent and Intensity
0/1/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Dr. phil. Heinrich Speich, MAS (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Petr Elbel, Ph.D.
Department of Auxiliary Historical Sciences and Archive Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Olga Barová
Supplier department: Department of Auxiliary Historical Sciences and Archive Studies - Faculty of Arts
Fri 28. 2. 10:00–12:40 B2.42, Fri 6. 3. 10:00–12:40 B2.42, Fri 3. 4. 10:00–12:40 B2.42, Fri 22. 5. 10:00–12:40 B2.42
English. Knowledge in palaeography and diplomatics are not required, passive knowledge of German is helpful.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
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Course objectives
The medieval Swiss Confederation as a research topic seems far away and unimportant for East-Central European students. There are though many similarities. Basically, Swiss History is often dealt with under the plea of being a “special case” in European history. The course-topic is to investigate whether the introduced processes and related events are of general-importance or rather of regional significance. The Swiss Confederation is considered the reference-model to test general medieval concepts such as the fief-system, conflict-resolution strategies, the evolving city-states or the politically emerging rural communities. As a result, (national) historiography is questioned for its accuracy to embed Swiss events and structures into a transnational European History.
Learning outcomes
Students are enabled to: - enumerate the basics on Swiss medieval history
- describe the most common research topics and research outcomes relating to specific Swiss themes: cities, rural communities, treaties, warfare and the formation of the Confederation
- distinguish the main phases of Swiss medieval historiography
- describe motives and narrative techniques of nation state-historiography
  • • 1. Basic knowledge: space, structures and events, historiographical introduction. Exercise: “from 13.15h to 15.15h: The Swiss watch on medieval battles”
  • • 2. To the origins of the Confederation: of abbeys, lords, peasants and urban elites. Exercise: “Federal Charters” from 1291 to 1513
  • • 3. Alliance, agreement, contract, treaty, friendship and combourgeoisie: The art of contracting. Exercise: bilateral alliances between Bern and Fribourg
  • • 4. Confederates. The Burgundian wars and the ultimate test of the alliance-system. Exercise: analysis of the treaty of Stans 1481. Final discussion.
Teaching methods
Students are expected to read texts beforehand. They should participate actively in the discussions.
Assessment methods
1.) transcriptions and translations
2.) Short written exam: text-analysis of a charter (30’)
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials

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