29748 - History of Late Antiquity (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

After completing the course the student should recognize the impact of the Judeo-Christian culture on the transformation of the culture and of the values system in the late Roman and Hellenistic world in the centuries from III to VI A.D. The student should be able to assess the relationships and connections with other disciplines identifying the specific contribution of historical studies He should be able to identify the opportunities for discussion and learning that are mosta appropriate to their abilities and inclinations.

Course contents

'Living in the Cities and Capitals of Late Antiquity. Things, people, ideas, words'.

Through some special insights into people, historiographical problems, epochal events, and minor events that occurred in cities and capitals of Late Antiquity, we will focus on themes that reflect cultural, demographic, and social experiences. A number of perspectives will be integrated, including
a) the theme of the complex processes of encounter of different cultural matrices
b) the theme of the universalism of empires and universal powers (secular and religious)
c) political, cultural and economic aspects
d) Identity, otherness, differences
e) travel and travellers
d) foreigners and languages
e) the female element

The course will be divided into two parts:
Part One (approx. 6 hours): introductory lectures will be preparatory to late antique history and civilisation and will focus on some peculiarities of the period (periodisation, urbanisation, administration and religion) in the light of the most recent historiographical debate.
Second part (approx. 20 hours): special attention will be paid to the analysis of some case studies.
During the course, approximately 4 hours will also be devoted to group work aimed at a better preparation for the final exam and the drafting of the Poster (see Examination Modalities for Frequent Students).

The course structure derives from the continuation of the International Joint Field Work on Late Antiquity project (Unibo and Udem). Partial joint teaching with the University of Palermo (Prof. Marilena Casella) and the University of Turin (Prof. A. Pellizzari), through the use of the Teams and Cisco platforms, is envisaged for A/A 2023/2024. If conditions permit, a study trip is planned at the end of the course to offer students from UNibo, UniPa and UniTo the opportunity to visit some of the late antique Italian capitals (depending on availability and to be decided during the course: Milan, Ravenna, Rome, Aquileia).

For A/A 2023/2024 some connections and lectures/conferences from Vienna (lecture in Italian ) and from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (lecture in Italian) are also planned, with the online presence of some guests from other international universities.

Given the particular structure of the programme, a specific timetable for the scheduled vision conference lectures will be provided during the first lessons.

Calendar lessons visionconference:


  • 12 febbraio 2024: Rocco Viccione (Firenze), Vivere a Costantinopoli, da città di Costantino a Nuova Roma
  • 13 febbraio 2024: Giovanni Alberto Cecconi (Firenze), Le città italiche tardoantiche.
  • 19 febbraio: Giulio Vescia (San Marino), Gallia. Vita e paura.
  • 20 febbraio: Gaetano Spampinato (Postdoctoral Fellow SNSF, Uni Bern), Vivere a Cartagine.
  • 26 febbraio 2024: Marilena Casella (Palermo), Antiochia tra IV e V secolo d.C.


Attendance is recommended for those interested in participating in group activities, including the educational trip, which can only be planned from the middle of the course.




ATTENDING students:

Given the particular nature of the course, attending students will be given teaching materials at the beginning of the course, also available online and on the e-learning platform, on which to prepare the poster for the exam.
Students who intend to attend and wish to have more information on the structure of the course and on how to write a poster and/or who would like to see some posters produced in past A/A courses are invited to contact the lecturer by e-mail, using the institutional e-mail address studio.unibo.it.

NON-ATTENDING students: 

1) B. Girotti, Ch. R. Raschle, Capitals and Cities in Late Antiquity, Milan 2020
2) From the book The New Late Antiquity: A Gallery of Intellectual Portraits, 19th, edited by Clifford Ando and M. Formisano, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2021,  besides the Preface (by the editors) study only the contributions by: P. Blaudeau; G.A. Cecconi; L. Cracco Ruggini and R. Lizzi Testa;A. Giardina; N. Lenski; A. Marcone; I. Tantillo; C.O. Tomasi.




study Introduction (P. Van Nuffelen);  Chapter 1 (Constantinople’s Belated Hegemony di A. Kaldellis); Chapter 4 (Narrative and Space in Christian Chronography: John of Biclaro on East, West and Orthodoxy di M. Humphries).

Non-attending students are requested to contact the professor via e-mail, via institutional email studio.unibo.it.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be held in the oral form by the teacher.
Student participation is required when reflecting on documents.

Assessment methods

A student who attends at least 75% of the lectures is considered to be attending.
NON-ATTENDING students: the examination will be oral. NON-ATTENDING students must answer questions concerning the texts indicated in the "Texts/Bibliography" section.

ATTENDING STUDENTS: For attending students, individual work in the form of a poster is expected. Each student will be assigned a source (documentary, iconographic, normative, literary, historiographic) to be analysed in the light of the methodological indications provided during the lectures.
In the assessment of the test, both for FREQUENT and NON-FREQUENT students, particular account will be taken of the student's ability to know how to orient himself within the sources and bibliographical material of the examination in order to draw the useful information that will allow him to illustrate themes and problems and to know how to link them together.
A sound basic knowledge of the discipline must emerge from both the oral interview and the drafting of the Poster.

Assessment will therefore be based on:

- mastery of content;
- ability to synthesise and analyse themes and problems;
- ability to express oneself adequately and in language appropriate to the subject matter.
The student's attainment of an organic vision of the topics addressed in the lessons together with their critical use, a good mastery of expression and specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence.
A mnemonic knowledge of the subject, together with synthesis and analysis skills articulated in a correct but not always appropriate language, will lead to fair marks.
Formative deficiencies and/or inappropriate language - albeit in the context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to grades that do not exceed sufficiency.
Formative deficiencies, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographical materials offered during the course will lead to negative marks.

Teaching tools

Slides, photocopies, uploaded materials online, e-learning platform with additional teaching materials.

Office hours

See the website of Beatrice Girotti


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