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Unit of study_

HSTY1002: Age of Empires

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

In this unit you will develop the analytical skills to understand historical change. We will examine political, economic, social and cultural trends in a range of regions across a large span of time, c. 1000-1750 AD. Topics covered include Christianity and Islam, varieties of states and empires, and political transformations. We will examine the significance of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, and consider what these episodes look like in a global context.

Unit details and rules

Unit code HSTY1002
Academic unit History
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator John Gagne,
Lecturer(s) Helene Sirantoine,
John Gagne,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Online exam
Assessment instructions will be made available on Canvas in due time.
30% Formal exam period 1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Participation Tutorial participation
10% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment Primary source analysis: iconographic document
Assessment instructions can be found on Canvas.
30% Week 06
Due date: 12 Apr 2021 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO6 LO5 LO3
Assignment Primary source analysis: short text
Assessment instructions can be found on Canvas.
30% Week 11
Due date: 17 May 2021 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO6 LO5 LO3

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to 'Age of Empires' Lecture (2 hr)  
No tutorials in Week 1 Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 02 At the dawn of the Middle Ages: the Carolingian Empire (mid-8th to 10th c.) Lecture (2 hr)  
How to govern an early medieval empire? Carolingian capitularies (779-802) Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Byzantium: a history of imperial decline? Lecture (2 hr)  
Portraying the Byzantine emperor at Hagia Sophia Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 The early Islamic world: from Caliphate to Caliphates (1st to mid-7th c AH / 7th to mid-13th c. CE) Lecture (2 hr)  
Muhammad, Prophet of God and Statesman Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Who’s the most imperial of them all? Popes vs Emperors up to the Investiture Controversy Lecture (2 hr)  
Fight in writing: the letters of Pope Gregory VII and Emperor Henry IV during the investiture controversy Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 Forgotten empires of Africa: Mali in the 13th –14th centuries Lecture (2 hr)  
An African town in the Empire of Mali: Timbuktu Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 07 Imperium Redivivus: Renaissance of Empire Lecture (2 hr)  
Italians revisit Roman antiquity Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Golden Kingdoms: South & Central Americas Lecture (2 hr)  
Clash of Empires between Inca, Aztec, and Habsburg Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Osman’s Children: The Ottomans Lecture (2 hr)  
Ottoman Conquest & Magnificence Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Reading week (no lecture, no tutorials) Individual study (3 hr)  
Week 11 Alexander’s Heirs: The Safavids & Mughals Lecture (2 hr)  
Global Diplomacy in the Seventeenth Century Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Nature’s Dominion: Environment, Oceans, and Empire Lecture (2 hr)  
Indigenous Laws, Lands, and Waters Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 13 (1) Ending Empires; (2) A guide to the exam. Lecture (2 hr)  
TBD Tutorial (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Lecture recordings: Lectures will be recorded and made available to students on Canvas. Students are responsible for making sure that they access lectures recordings prior to attending their weekly tutorials.
  • Tutorials: Students are responsible for coming prepared to their weekly tutorial. Details of required readings and preparation are available on Canvas.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of more than one period, place, or culture of the pre-modern era
  • LO2. demonstrate an understanding of the variety of approaches to interpreting the past, particularly political, cultural, social and intellectual
  • LO3. identify and be familiar with written, visual and digital primary sources belonging to the pre-modern era
  • LO4. examine historical issues by undertaking research that begins with a problem and establishes its historical context
  • LO5. analyse historical evidence, scholarship and changing representations of the past using the skills of sifting through information to weigh its significance and close reading of various texts
  • LO6. construct an evidence-based argument or narrative in oral and written form.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Since this unit was last offered, the lectures and tutorials schedule, as well as the assessment structure, have been updated.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.