The Medieval Hero, East and West (HIST 233)

2021 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
6.00 / 6.00 ECTS (for students admitted in the 2013-14 Academic Year or following years)
Zeynep Nevin Yelçe,
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Interactive lecture
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning
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Designed as an introduction to reading and analyzing epic narratives, this course focuses on four such key types of works re-introduced in writing during the Middle Ages : the Shahnama, the Oghuznama, the Alexander Romance, and the Arthurian Legends. Introduced at the outset will be the main themes and narrative tools employed in the construction of epics; the common features which make a ?hero?; and the relevant historical contexts. These will then be brought to bear on a close examination of the works in question, with the final case study of Alexander and the Romances serving to explore the common aspects of ?Eastern? and ?Western? epics and heroes. The course will conclude with a discussion of the afterlife of these epics.


To teach the basic concepts and issues in medieval epics in order to provide students with skills in text analysis and a comparative look on different cultures through their oral and written narratives.


Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
a. Comprehend the basic concepts and issues in medieval epics
b. Discuss the fundemantal stories and motifs
c. Recognize and interpret a work of art with relavant subject-matter
d. Improve essay-writing and oral self expression skills
e. Research specific interests contributing to the general theme


  Percentage (%)
Final 35
Midterm 20
Assignment 25
Participation 20



John Renard, Islam and the Heroic Image: Themes in Literature and the Visual Arts, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1999.

Dean A. Miller, The Epic Hero, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings, *** Davis (trans.), London: Penguin, 2006 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition).

Zeki Velidi Togan, Oğuz destanı: Reşideddin Oğuznâmesi, tercüme ve tahlili, İstanbul: Enderun Kitabevi, 1982.

Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, London: Penguin, 1986.

Geoffrey Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain, Lewis Thorpe (trans.), London: Penguin, 1977.

Ahmedi, İskendername?den Seçmeler, Yaşar Akdoğan (ed.), Ankara: T.C. Kültür Bakanlığı, 2000.

Pseudo-Callisthenes, The Greek Alexander Romance, Richard Stoneman (ed. and trans.), London: Penguin, 1991.