11379 - Medieval History

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paolo Pirillo

  • Credits 9

  • SSD M-STO/01

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Course Timetable from Feb 11, 2019 to May 15, 2019

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will know the essential characteristics of the political-institutional and socio-economic history of the V-XV centuries focusing on the fundamentals. They will know the main agents ans structures which in this length of time have created both events and phenomena.

Course contents

History of the Middle Ages

The course aims at focusing on the most significant moments of the millenium following the end of the Roman Empire with a close look into the fundamental steps of Italian and European middle ages : from the crisis in the Roman Empire to the Carolingian Empire, the growth of cities, the birth of communes, up to the 14th century crisis and the shaping of national and regional states of the 15th century.

Monographic part. Landscapes of medieval Italy

During the Middle Ages, the territory of the Peninsula was subject to continuous transformation due to the incessant action of men, rural communities and towns. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the long crisis of the countryside and cities, Italian landscapes were affected by slow and progressive transformations that shaped the territory, populating it with castles, villages, churches, towns and cities. After the year 1000, the growth of the municipalities affected the countryside changing it further thanks to the policy of expansion and the action of investment citizens triggering a phase of continuous growth until the great European crisis of the XIV century which decimated the population and triggered processes that would irreversibly change the landscapes by delivering them to subsequent centuries in part to the present day. The monographic section of the course aims to illustrate these aspects.


The student must use the history manual of the Middle Ages: M. Montanari, Storia medievale, in collaborazione con G. Albertoni, T. Lazzari, G. Milani; Collana Manuali di Base, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2019 (or previous editions).

Reference text for the monographic part of the course: R. Rao, I paesaggi dell’Italia medievale, Roma, Carocci Editore, 2015

Teaching methods

Language of instruction: italian with Power Point

Assessment methods

This exam is an oral exam through which the critical and methodological abilities acquired by the student during the course will be evaluated; the student will be invited to discuss the issues addressed during the course. The following abilities will be evaluated positively: a student's ability to familiarize him/herself with bibliographical material and sources with the aim of selecting information from the literature that can be used to illustrate  aspects and areas of culture pertaining to the discipline.

The ability to reach a critical and systematic vision of the discipline and the ability to demonstrate the possession of a descriptive command and of appropriate  field-specific language will be rewarded with a mark of excellence.

A mechanical and/or mnemonic knowledge of the language, a superficial ability to synthesize and analyse information, and/or a language that is correct but not always appropriate will lead to  a moderate mark; knowledge gaps and/or inappropriate language – albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the material required for the exam – will not lead to a pass mark.

Knowledge gaps, inappropriate language and a lack of familiarity with the bibliographical material provided during the course  will not receive a pass mark.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Pirillo