11379 - Medieval History

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Paolo Pirillo

  • Credits 9

  • SSD M-STO/01

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

  • Course Timetable from Feb 08, 2022 to Apr 28, 2022

Academic Year 2021/2022

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

General section. 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 section. City and countryside in fourteenth-century Italy

The second part of the course (monographic) aims to offer the fundamental elements to understand the living conditions, the social structures, the organisation of work, the relationship between the cities and the countryside in the years of maximum demographic, economic and political growth of the communal cities. Lessons will focus on the examination of the contents and symbolic, cultural and political values of Ambrogio Lorenzetti's frescoes painted in 1338 for the Republic of Siena, depicting the city and its countryside. A world illustrated in its most important and significant details: a pretext for a broad picture of the realities and relationships between city and countryside at the end of the Middle Ages.



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).

Monographic section

2.1 Gabriella Piccinni, La campagna e le città (secoli XII-XIV), in A. Cortonesi, G. Pasquali, G. Piccinni, Uomini e campagne nell’Italia medievale, Laterza, Roma-Bari, 2000, pp. 123-183 (the text will be available in the course materials)

2.2 Patrick Boucheron, Scongiurare la paura. La forza politica delle imagini, Jaca Book, Milano, 2018



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.

Teaching tools

For almost all the lessons of both parts (institutional and didactic), the course will make use of texts and images displayed on Power Point.

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Pirillo