04360 - Byzantine History

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The purpose of the Course consists on to transmit a large kknowledge of the eastern-roman civilization (IV-XV Century), with particular regard to the italian territories (e.g. high adriatic and venetian territories, the Romania, Rome, Southern Italy and the isles). The study of ancient and modern literature shall be useful to understand why contestualizying italian specificity in the byzantine history is important for better understand our history.

Course contents

I. First Part: in general

main lines of the history of Eastern-Roman Empire; geography; civilization; periodization; events, characters; literature for the knowledge of importance of italian byzantine cultural Heritage and his restoration; political ideology.


2. Second Part: monographic

Examples of surviving of the byzantine component in ideological and artistic italian background: the so called "venetian Byzantinism", the normand-byzantine sicilian mosaics, the memory of Byzantium after Byzantium in Italy (the case of Venice and Florence, in particular). it is important also the matter of bibliology and museology.


1. For concerning Part I., in general, is important to read an historical Atlas and a manual: G. OSTROGORSKY, Storia dell'impero bizantino, Torino, Einaudi, many times redited, but are available also C. MANGO (Roma-Bari, Laterza, every edition), A.P. KAZHDAN (Roma-Bari, Laterza, every edition), R.-J. LILIE (Roma, Newton Compton, 2017),or an Introduction to Byzantine History: G. RAVEGNANI, Introduzione alla storia bizantina, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2005. Particularly important, for Italian byzantine hstory, is S. COSENTINO, Storia dell'Italia bizantina. Da Giustiniano ai Normanni (secc. VI-XI), Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2009.

For history of political ideology: A. CARILE, Materiali di storia bizantina, Bologna, Lo Sacarabeo, 1994; ID., Immagine e realtà nel mondo bizantino, Bologna, Lo Sacarbeo, 2000; ID., Teologia politica bizantina, Spoleto, Fondazione Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo, 2008.

2. For concerning the monographic section, titles of books and materials shall be indicate during the lessions. For a firt approach, generally speaking, see G. RAVEGNANI, Andare per l'Italia bizantina, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016, G. VESPIGNANI, La memoria negata. Bisanzio e l'Europa, Spoleto, Fondazione CISAM, 2016;  ID., La Cronachistica veneziana come fonte pe rlo studio delle rallazioni tra Venezia e Bisanzio, Spoleto, CISAM, 2017.

All books indicated are easy to found in the Libraries of the Campus of Ravenna, as well as in the libraries of Bologna On the contrary, shall be fourished during the lessions.

Teaching methods

Teaching methods consists in indicate teaching material and  bibliography. Shall be invited italian or strangers experts for conferences or seminar lessions: students are invited to partecipate.

Assessment methods


Assessment methods consists in an oral verify 1) about basic knowledge of the institutional programme and of the themes developed during lessons; 2) about capacities of connecting severals arguments developed during the lessons; 3) about knowledge of all thousand years of Byzantine civilization in their connections with an historical development; 4) about discussing capacities and critical methods of the student; 5) and, finally, about oral capacity of argumenting logically and methodologically of the student.

Final assessment depend by following notes: 1) negative valuation: low knoledge and capacity of understanding problems and their connections; 2) sufficient evaluation: sufficient basic knoledge, but low capacity of connecting each others the historical problems; 3) good evaluation: good capacity to understand historical problmes and knoledge of institutional program; 4) excelent evaluation: complete knowledge of the institutional program, capacity od connecting historical problems properly and methodology of using several matherial received during lessons.

Teaching tools

Teaching tools consists in programm of the lessions and material of study examinated.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Giorgio Vespignani