87751 - History of the Near East in the Middle Ages (1)

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Docente: Irene Bueno
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: M-STO/01
  • Language: Italian

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will have acquired a thorough knowledge of the main historical, cultural, and religious problems concerning the Near East in the medieval period, regarding both the specific geo-historical context and its interactions with the Christian West, the Islamic world, the Byzantine area, and the Mongol territories in Asia. Students will be able to place political, religious, and cultural phenomena in their historical context and investigate their relations critically, looking comparatively at the European historical and political context. They will be able to recognize and analyse documentary and textual sources pertaining to this area, and will also learn to listen, understand and debate respectfully with different cultures and viewpoints, spotting the tie-ups among different disciplines.

Course contents

The first part of the course provides an introduction to the religious and institutional history of the Eastern Mediterranean in the medieval era, focusing especially on the relations between religious and political configurations and on the religious plurality, which characterizes the region under consideration. The presence of plural communities in the Eastern Mediterranean will receive particular attention, in order to evaluate the significance of Christian-Muslim interactions in the region especially in the 11th-15th centuries.

The second part of the course will particularly focus on the phenomenon of crusades, placed at the crossroad of political, religious, cultural, and economic factors and regarded as a major occasion of transmediterranean interaction in the pre-modern era. The course aims to discuss the issue of the theological legitimation of violence and analyze the historical and historiographical elaboration of the ideas of crusade and holy war. It will then offer an overview of the major events and introduce various interpretative lines in the light of the recent scholarship.


Attending students:

In addition to class notes and materials (available on Virtuale), attending students will prepare the following readings:

  1. Jean Flori, Le crociate, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015.

  2. Christopher Tyerman, L’invenzione delle crociate, Torino, Einaudi, 2000.

  3. Suggested readings to integrate class notes: Storia d'Europa e del Mediterraneo. Dal Medioevo all'età della globalizzazione. Sezione IV, Il Medioevo (secoli V-XV), a cura di S. Carocci, vol. VIII: Popoli, poteri, dinamiche, Roma, Salerno Editrice, 2006, pp. 129-166, 215-256, 449-551.

Non-attending students (programme to be discussed with the teacher in advance):

  1. Daniel Baloup, David Bramoullé, Bernard Doumerc, Benoit Joudiou, I mondi mediterranei nel Medioevo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2020.

  2. One of the following books:

  • Jonathan Riley-Smith, Breve storia delle crociate, trad. di Marina Bianchi, Milano, Mondadori, 1994.

  • Claude Cahen, Oriente e Occidente ai tempi delle Crociate, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1986.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures, class discussion.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Students are required to attend the course regularly and participate actively in class discussions. Class attendance is compulsory. Please note that those who will miss more than 5 classes will have to take the exam as non-attending students or will be required to do additional work in agreement with the teacher.

The preparation of the reading materials by attending and non-attending students will be evaluated on the basis of an oral exam. Students will be asked questions aimed to evaluate their knowledge of the bibliography, critical skills, command of the specific language of the discipline, and capacity of re-organizing the acquired information.

Evaluation criteria:

In-depth knowledge of the reading materials, with good analytical and critical skills and command of the specific language will qualify for a good/excellent mark.

Acceptable and more mechanical knowledge of the reading materials, and/or not always appropriate use of the language will lead to a sufficient/fair mark.

Fragmentary knowledge of the reading materials, weak critical skills, and/or insufficient command of the specific language and will lead to a failure or to a pass mark.

Teaching tools

Frontal lectures will be supported by Power Point presentations aimed to show visual and textual materials.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Irene Bueno


Reduced inequalities

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.