Year 8 Medieval History

A semester-long subject taken by all students, either in first or second semester.


The Year 8 curriculum provides a study of the history from the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period (c.476 CE – c. 1500 CE). This was when major civilisations around the world came into contact with each other. Social, economic, religious and political beliefs were often challenged and significantly changed. It was the period when the modern world began to take shape.

The content provides opportunities to develop historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability. These concepts are investigated within a particular historical context to facilitate an understanding of the past and to provide a focus for historical inquiries.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to answer the following key questions:

  • How did societies change from the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern age?
  • What key beliefs and values emerged and how did they influence societies?
  • What were the causes and effects of contact between societies in this period?
  • What significant people, groups and ideas from this period have influenced the world today?


  • Into the Dark  

The collapse of the Roman Empire in the West; the Vikings; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the Battle of Hastings in 1066 CE; key features of the medieval world; the emergence of ideas and the role of people groups.

  •  Saints, Serfs and Superstitions         

Social, cultural, economic and political features of life; significant cultural developments; crime and punishment; the role of the Catholic Church in everyday life.

  •  The Kingdom of Heaven        

Key aspects of and differences between Islam and Christianity; the First Crusade causes, events and effects; motivations to fight; the effect of Islam on European Society.

  •  What a Piece of Work is a Man        

Renaissance causes and characteristics; the impact on Europe and on the modern world; new technologies, philosophy, art, trade, exploration.


  • Assessment tasks include the student’s personal workbook containing all class notes, activities, homework and handouts; topic tests, research tasks, evidence analysis activities, mind mapping, fieldwork tasks on the Melbourne City excursion, classroom learning activities and participation, and an end-of-semester examination.