11379 - Medieval History

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

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

The End of the World in Middle Ages

The second part of the course (monographic) aims to offer the fundamental elements to understand the way of thinking and feeling of the Middle Age’s people towards the expected end of the world, especially with the approach of the year 1000. After that, one of the dominant reasons during all centuries of the Middle Ages remain the fear but also the hope about the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the end of time and the Last Judgment. Also for this reasons, many of the events that struck the European populations were perceived in this way: from the barbarian invasions, to the rising and expansion of Islam. This part of the course (monographic) aims to retrace this cultural, symbolic and religious path.


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).

to this will be added:

1.2 G. Sergi, L’idea di Medioevo. Tra senso comune e pratica storica, Roma, Donzelli, 1998 (o edizioni successive)

2. Monographic part

2.1 J. Flori, La fine del mondo nel Medioevo, Bologna, Il Mulino, Universale Paperpacks, 2010

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