12544 - History of Medieval Political Thought(1)

Course Unit Page


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

Decent work and economic growth Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide the students with a general vision of the evolution of the political thought in the Christian west along the medieval age (VI-XV century).

Course contents

- Papacy, Empire and Kingdoms: ideological fundaments of the Universal Sovereignty and of the national monarchy;

- Absolutism and Constitutionalism;

- the lex regia de imperio;

- the Franciscan tradition;

- the crisis of the Papal Theocracy (Gilles of Rome, John of Paris, Dante, Marsilio);

- The Political Thought of William of Okham;

- Bartolo's Political Thought;

- the Conciliar movement (Conciliarism);

- the Political Thought of Fiftheenth-Century Italian Humanists.


  • R. Lambertini - M. Conetti, Il potere al plurale. Un profilo di storia del pensiero politico medievale, Roma, Jouvence, 2019.
  • B. Pio, Il pensiero politico di Bartolo, in Bartolo da Sassoferrato nel VII centenario della nascita: diritto, politica, società. Atti del L Convegno storico internazionale (Todi-Perugia, 13-16 ottobre 2013), Spoleto, CISAM, 2014, pp. 171-198.


It is also required a select reading among the following studies:

  • B. Pio, Considerazioni sulla 'lex regia de imperio' (secoli XI-XIII), in Scritti di storia medievale offerti a M. C. De Matteis, a cura di B. Pio, Spoleto 2011, pp. 573-599;
  • B. Pio, Giovanni da Legnano. Un intellettuale nell'Europa del Trecento, Bologna, BUP, 2018, chapter I, "Docendo et glossando", pp. 9-40.
  • O. Capitani, Papato e Impero nei secoli XI e XII, in Storia delle idee politiche economiche e sociali diretta da L. Firpo, vol. II/2, Torino 1983, pp. 117-163;
  • R. Lambertini, Il filosofo, il principe e la virtù. Note sulla ricezione e l'suo dell'Etica Nicomachea nel De regimine principum di Egidio Romano, in Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale. Rivista della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino, II/1 (1991), pp. 239-279.
  • J. M. Blythe, Civic Humanism and Medieval Political Thought, in Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and Reflections, edited by J. Hankins, Cambridge 2000, pp. 30-74;
  • P. Gilli, Culture politique et culture juridique chez les Angevins de Naples (jusqu'au milieu du XVe siècle, in Gilli, Droit, humanisme et culture politique dans l'Italie de la Renaissance, Montpellier, PULM, 2014.
  • P. Toubert, La doctrine gelasienne des deux pouvoirs. Propositions en vue d'une revision, in Studi in onore di Giosuè Musca, Bari 2000, pp. 519-540.
  • A. Ryan, Storia del pensiero politico, UTET, Torino, 2017, pp. 119-222 (only for students not attending).

Teaching methods

Lessons (general approach to the subject); reading and comment of the principal sources of the medieval political thought.

Assessment methods

The final exam will be an oral one, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes discussed during frontal lessons (only for students that participated in classwork) as well as those treated in the program's texts. Among the elements that concur in the final evaluation there are: detailed knowledge of the book's content, property of language, and especially the capacity of organizing the information into complex answers showing expositive and critical skills.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.
Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary.
A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Teaching tools

We will use power point slides with images, graphics and geographics maps.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Berardo Pio