Interesting Ideas To Explore In A Medieval History Dissertation

When writing a dissertation on medieval history a lot the hard work comes in developing a good topic. A great research idea can make completing a dissertation much easier, as your interest in the topic can usually fuel your effort to learn more about the subject. This usually leads to better writing and thus a more enjoyable read. Here are some really interesting ideas to explore for a dissertation on medieval history:

  1. Explain the ways in which the “middle ages” actually tells us more about the Renaissance period that followed. Do you think that this represents an unfair view of the lack of importance of the period defined as the middle ages?
  2. How was the black plague able to spread so rapidly throughout Europe and leave an estimated 20 million people dead? Considering that this was about 30 percent of the world’s population at the time, how close did humans come to extinction?
  3. What role did the Catholic Church have during the middle ages? Did its power expand or retract during this period and what can be said about how the period affected the institution’s evolution towards the state it is in now?
  4. Provide a critical analysis of the system of tithing 10 percent of yearly earnings and how this helped set the groundwork for many present day systems of taxation throughout Europe and other parts of the world.
  5. Describe art and architecture in terms of the ways they were used to show devotion to the Catholic Church. How did this lay the foundation for what would become the European Renaissance?
  6. What were the major factors behind feudalism’s success? Why did it survive for centuries after the medieval period in some parts of Europe while failing in other parts? How important was agriculture to the system’s success?
  7. What role did women have throughout Europe in the middle ages? How did their roles in society and the family shape the way gender roles evolved throughout the centuries immediately following the Middle Ages?
  8. Choose a specific country or region and describe how its culture and society developed differently than in other parts of Europe. What were the major contributing factors that made this place different from the rest?
  9. How important was trade with Asia and Africa to Europe during the Medieval period? Do you think that if other parts of the world had attempted to invade Europe at this time the balance of the world would have been different in the following centuries?
  10. Compare and contrast two influential medieval scholars. What contributions have each made to this area of study and how have their ideas survived?