Medieval History (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Marco Stoffella
Marco Stoffella
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 2A, Sem. 2B

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Conoscere le basi concettuali, metodologiche e culturali per comprendere gli aspetti salienti della storia della civiltà europea nel medioevo. Comprendere come lo studio della storia medievale possa aiutare a interpretare e a capire il presente, attraverso l’acquisizione di specifiche competenze metodologiche. Conoscere il medioevo per aumentare la capacità di leggere la realtà attuale in una prospettiva disciplinare multidimensionale, e di rafforzare la capacità di analisi anche nella pratica della progettazione educativa. Attraverso la comprensione dell’attualità di molti aspetti della storia medievale, potenziare negli studenti la capacità di maturare un’autonoma capacità di studio critico dei testi.


Prerequisites: Students are asked to already have a general knowledge of the medieval history according to their secondary school career, and a curiosity on our past and its many different aspects.

Programm: After a short introduction, during which general concepts like Middle Ages, historical sources, and typologies of sources will be discussed, the course will synthetically analyse the following topics:

- Late Antiquity and the diffusion of Christianity (the growth of new religious communities that became a fundamental element in the Roman Empire and at the same time a tool of government)
- Western Europe in the early Middle Ages and his regna (the end of the Western Roman Empire, migrations, the birth of new political kingdoms based on ethnic distinctions)
- the Byzantine and Islamic Mediterranean (the progressive rupture of the unity of the Mediterranean See under the Arabic expansion and the role of Byzantium)
- Carolingian Europe (Lombard Italy, the Frankish expansion, Charlemagne and the roots of contemporary Europe)
- the seigniorial order (post-Carolingian Europe, the “feudal society”, the control over work and security in the cities and in the countryside)
- Church reforms (the ideological and political conflicts related to the growth of papal prestige and of the Communal autonomy)
- Empire and Papacy in the Late Middle Ages (conflicts related to different concepts and practice of power between political and spiritual authority)
- political institutions of the Late Middle Ages (political experimentations in order to give equilibrium to representation and participation within society)
- society and culture in the Middle Ages (the various aspects related to knowledge, its access and its administration)
- Religious experiences in the Middle Ages (principal religious movements that led to reforms and to very different experiences) - the economies of the Middle Ages (the organisation of work and commerce, with a long lasting perspective)

In the last section of the course the outstanding figure of Charlemagne will be shortly taken into exam, starting with the analysis of the book in the program.
The deeds of the emperor and Carolingian Europe, with a special attention to North and Central Italy, will be studied during the Laboratory that will develop some aspects discussed already during lectures. The Veronese context will also be analysed through the study of some original sources that will be introduced, commented and translated by the lecturer. These last lectures will also be followed by two didactical excursions to which students are asked to take part. The taking part to these activities will be positively evaluated during the final exam.
Students attending the lectures will receive at the beginning of the course a complete calendar of the didactical activities, with date and subjects of every single lecture. During the academic year the lecturer will receive students during the office hours, published on the web page and in the announcements place; students are recommended to fix via e-mail an appointment with the lecturer.

READINGS: All students, attending the lectures or not, will be asked to study the introductory book: G. Sergi, L’idea di medioevo. Fra storia e senso comune, Rome, Donzelli, 2005.

All students must learn the Medieval History thorigh a manual, to be chosen among the following titles: G. Vitolo, Medioevo. I caratteri originali di un’età di transizione, Milan, Sansoni, 2000; T. Lazzari, G. Albertoni, Introduzione alla storia medievale, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015; A. Zorzi, Manuale di storia medievale, Novara, Utet, 2016. Students with good school knowledge can choose the more complex: R. Bordone, G. Sergi, Dieci secoli di medioevo, Torino, Einaudi, 2009.
The program is completed by the study of: A. Barbero, Carlo Magno. Un padre dell’Europa, Bari, Laterza, 2000.
Students attending lectures, and the one inscribed to the course, will receive didactical material related to the lectures on the e-learning platform; these materials are considered part of the exam program.

Students not attending lectures can receive help by the lecturer in order to define the program and to study the manual. All students not attending lectures will be asked to choose an additional book among the following titles: P. Brown, Il riscatto dell’anima. Aldilà e ricchezza nel primo cristianesimo occidentale, Torino, Einaudi, 2015; T. Lazzari, Le donne nell’alto Medioevo, Milano-Torino, Bruno Mondadori, 2010; S. Gasparri, Voci dai secoli oscuri. Un percorso nelle fonti dell’alto medioevo, Roma, Carocci, 2017; M. Costambeys, M. Innes, S. Maclean, The Carolingian World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011; A.A. Settia, Castelli medievali, Bologna, il Mulino, 2017; J.M.H. Smith, L’Europa dopo Roma. Una nuova storia culturale 500-1000, Bologna, il Mulino, 2008; C. Wickham, Sonnambuli verso un nuovo mondo. L’affermazione dei comuni italiani nel XII secolo, Roma, Viella, 2017; G. Milani, I comuni italiani. Secoli XII-XIV, Bari, Laterza, 2005; P. Grillo, Le guerre del Barbarossa. I comuni contro l’imperatore, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2014; J.C. Maire Vigueur, E. Faini, Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (secoli XII-XIV), Milano-Torino, B. Mondadori, 2010; A. Zorzi, Le signorie cittadine in Italia (secoli XIII-XV), Milano-Torino, B. Mondadori, 2010; P. Freedman, Il gusto delle spezie nel Medioevo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009. The choice of the additional text can be made autonomously; differently it can be discussed with the lecturer during office hours or per e-mail.

Didactical methods : frontal lectures on main subjects will be followed by discussions with students; on some subjects texts and sources will be read and analysed, followed by a discussion on their content.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Barbero, Alessandro Carlo Magno. Un padre dell’Europa Laterza 2000
Settia, Angelo A. Castelli medievali Il Mulino 2017
Bordone Renato, Sergi Giuseppe Dieci secoli di medioevo Einaudi 2009
Milani, Giuliano I comuni italiani. Secoli XII-XIV Laterza 2005 9788842072478
Freedman, Paul Il gusto delle spezie nel Medioevo Il Mulino 2009 8815246711
Brown, Peter Il riscatto dell’anima. Aldilà e ricchezza nel primo cristianesimo occidentale Einaudi 2016
Vigueur, J.C. Maire; Faini, Enrico Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (secoli XII-XIV) Bruno Mondadori 2010 8861592155
Lazzari Tiziana, Albertoni Giuseppe Introduzione alla storia medievale Il Mulino 2015
Lazzari, Tiziana Le donne nell’alto Medioevo Bruno Mondadori 2010 8861592198
Grillo, Paolo Le guerre del Barbarossa. I comuni contro l’imperatore Laterza 2014 9788858111710
Zorzi, Andrea Le signorie cittadine in Italia (secoli XIII-XV) Bruno Mondadori 2010 9788861592230
Smith, Julia M.H. L’Europa dopo Roma, Una nuova storia culturale 500-1000 Il Mulino 2008
Giuseppe Sergi L’idea di medioevo. Fra storia e senso comune Donzelli 2005
Zorzi, Andrea Manuale di storia medievale Utet 2016
Vitolo, Giovanni Medioevo. I caratteri originali di un’età di transizione Sansoni 2000
Chris Wickham Sonnambuli verso un nuovo mondo. L’affermazione dei comuni italiani nel XII secolo Viella 2017 9788867286546
Costambeys Marios, Innes Matthew, MacLean Simon The Carolingian World Cambridge University Press 2011
Gasparri, Stefano Voci dai secoli oscuri. Un percorso nelle fonti dell’alto medioevo Carocci 2017

Assessment methods and criteria

Modalità di valutazione: the oral exam consists in questions on subjects that are to be found in books and manuals in the program, as well as in the didactical material on the e-learning platform (free access will be given only to those students who will attend lectures). The exam will last the necessary amount of time in order to determine an adequate knowledge of contents, as well as the ability of express them appropriately, the ability to create links between different subjects, the ability of analysis and of reasoning. The active participation to lectures and to further analysis will be positively evaluated. An in-itinere exam could be agreed with the lecturer at the beginning of the course in order to facilitate the final exam. The finale evaluation is counted in thirtieth, and will be expressed on the entire program.

Erasmus students are asked to write or to visit the lecturer at the beginning of the course in order to choose the best didactic activities and the final exam methodology.