It is during the Middle Ages that modern Europe, indeed, modern Western culture as we know it, comes to be. Classical Mediterranean culture drew from the ancient Middle East, and more directly, from the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. The Middle Ages add the Northlands, Celts, and Germans, and ultimately, Slavs as well, to the mix. And the Middle Ages saw the birth of the immediate predecessors of our own ideas about love and marriage as important concerns in their own right, utterly central to a happy and fulfilling personal life. Beyond that, the Middle Ages saw the composition of some of the greatest and most rewarding literary works ever written, the works of Chaucer and Dante no doubt preeminent among them, but by no means are they alone in their surpassing merits. In this course, we will look at some of those other splendid works-Beowulf, the littleknown, but utterly splendid Njal's Saga, and Sir Gawain the Green Knight among them.