27269 - History of Late Antiquity (1)

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Gender equality Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student knows the historiographic debate on periodization in the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages. He is able to evaluate the concept of Late Antiquity and, more generally, to apply the analysis models that generated it . He specifically knows at least one topic and a significant problem of the period, in the political, institutional, social, economic or religious context

Course contents

Some problems of the history of the late antiquity;Sociality, Ethics and politics, school and vocabulary; gender and late antiquity.

First week: School / culture in late antiquity: the strength of classical culture and its survival in late antiquity: literary, rhetorical, and philosophical tradition have remained a peculiar feature of imperial elites?
Second Week: Vocabulary: the new Late Antiquity Lexicon
Third week: Sociality: Dialectics of Power, Relation between Culture / Power , Relation between Court/Culture / Emperor Culture, Imperial Bureaucrats Culture.

Fourth week:Ethics and politics: ambition and glory, ambition and cupiditas, aviditas, lust and suffragatio through readings chosen by the Historia Augusta, by the Breviary of the 4th century A.D. and by Ammiano Marcellino.

Fifth week:Gender and late antiquity. Case studies: the presence of so-called "collateral" of influential female characters in the court of the 4th century AD will be highlighted In particular, the events at the court of Constantius II, of Giuliano, Graziano, Valentiniano and Valente will be analyzed.

Advise for the Students: The last lesson of the course is partly devoted to the exemplification of the exam.

First lesson: 09/23/2018



 R. Pfeilschifter, Il Tardoantico, PBE, Torino, 2015


2 articles from

La famiglia tardoantica, Società, diritto, religione. A cura di V.Neri e B. Girotti, Milano 2016.



R. Pfeilschifter, Il Tardoantico, PBE, Torino, 2015 

three (3) chapters/essays from the following book:

La famiglia tardoantica, Società, diritto, religione. A cura di V. Neri e B. Girotti, Milano 2016.

Non attending students have to study also

four (4) essays/articles among those listed and available in pdf in the teaching materials online

Caution: Students not attending shall always write to the teacher by institutional e-mail   (name.surname@studio.unibo.it) this way they will not run the risk of their mails being blocked by the anti-spam filters.

Teaching methods

Oral lessons.

Teaching and source materials will be distributed in advance to foster discussion in class, comparing different interpretations. Students are encouraged to participate and contribute with their own analysis of literary texts.
Students can agree also on additional texts to be analyzed.


Assessment methods

Oral examination

Oral exam. The examination consists of an assessment of the knowledge acquired during the course through the comments of a few texts chosen from all those in the program and educational materials and the verification of the ability to concisely and critically expose the topics addressed at the base of the contents of exam bibliography and provided educational materials.
The interview will have to emerge a solid basic knowledge of the discipline.

The assessment will therefore be based on:
- Mastery of content;
- Synthesis and analysis of issues and problems;
- Ability to express themselves adequately and with language appropriate to the subject matter.

The achievement by the student the ability to comment comprehensively the steps and to express an organic vision of the topics discussed in class with a good mastery of expression and specific language will be evaluated with marks of excellence. A mnemonic knowledge of matter, together with capacity of synthesis and analysis articulated in a proper language, but not always appropriate, lead to discrete evaluations. training gaps and / or inappropriate language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of exam material - will lead to votes that will not exceed sufficiency. training gaps, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographic materials offered during the course will be evaluated negatively.

Teaching tools

Teaching tools will be furnished at lesson. Mainly we  will read  passages of ancient authors.

Photocopies, slides, text in the original language and in translation; pdf of modern historiography and contemporary contributions. The lectures will be supported by power point presentations. The teaching material presented in class will be made available to students (upon request, for not attending).

Office hours

See the website of Beatrice Girotti