29466 - Civilization of the High Middle Ages (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page


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

Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student acquires the necessary critical knowledge of the original characteristics of the culture and society of the early Middle Ages (V - X centuries), applying the appropriate tools and highlighting the differences and peculiarities compared to previous and subsequent eras. He is able to communicate in written and/or oral form by accurately documenting the conclusions of his historiographical path.

Course contents

Cities in the early Middle Ages: spaces, texts, powers

The history of Italian cities in the early Middle Ages still suffers from the reflections of the 19th-century myth that identified the peninsula's urban autonomies as the mark of national identity. And so the early medieval cities, their political organisation and their very urban structures have often been read as a premise for the development of the city communes or - in other ways - as fragile remains of the crisis of the Roman empire, denying them in both cases a historical existence of their own.

The course aims to restore the early medieval cities of the Italic kingdom to their precise historical-political context: up to the 11th century, these cities were not autonomous, but were fully included in the frameworks of the reign of the Lombards first, then of the Carolingians, or in territorial systems that initially depended on Byzantium and, later, on supra-regional local authorities of ecclesiastical matrix. Completely new cities in relation to their eventual Roman settlement, they cannot be studied in their own right, but must be placed in the contexts of the kingdoms and potentates to which they belonged, paying particular attention to the geopolitical networks in which they were embedded.


This course is a module of the course Origin of Europe and is fully integrated with the module History of Medieval Europe.

Attending students in the MA in Historical and Oriental Studies cannot take just one module, and the syllabus below applies to the entire Origin of Europe course.

Attending students will have to read, study and present in class, in small groups, an essay on the topic of the course; they will also have to produce a short written paper (12,000 characters) analysing the data obtained in the semantic indexing of published sources.

For non-attending students there will be a written and an oral test.

The written test will be based on S. Gasparri, C. La Rocca, Tempi barbarici. L'Europa occidentale tra antichità e Medioevo (300-900), Roma, Carocci, 2012.

G. Albertoni, L'elefante di Carlo Magno, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2020.

I. Barbiera, Memorie sepolte. Tombe e identità nell'alto medioevo (secoli V-VIII), Roma, Carocci, 2012.

E. Bozoky, Attila e gli Unni. Verità e leggende, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2014.

M. Campanini, Maometto. La vita e il messaggio di Muhammad il profeta dellIslam, Salerno, Salerno Editrice, 2020.

S. Gasparri, Desiderio, Salerno, Salerno Editrice, 2019.

P. Geary, In principio erano le donne, Roma, Carocci, 2018.

B. Jussen, I franchi, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015.

H. Keller, Gli Ottoni. Una dinastia imperiale tra Europa e Italia (secc. X e XI), Roma, Carocci, 2012.

W. Pohl, Le origini etniche dell'Europa: barbari e romani tra antichità e Medioevo, Roma, Viella, 2011.

G. Ravegnani, Teodora, Salerno, Salerno Editrice, 2016.

A. Vanoli, La Sicilia musulmana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2016.

Teaching methods

The course is a module of the Origine dell'Europa course and is fully integrated with the module Storia dell'Europa medievale.

It is not possible for students of the Magistrale in Scienze storiche e orientalistiche to attend a single module.

After a few lectures introducing the theme of the course, students will be asked to read small essays, not always in Italian, and present them to the class in small groups. When possible, the authors of the essays will be present at these presentations.

Regular attendance and active participation of the students in the lessons is therefore required.

This will be followed by lessons dedicated to the filing of sources in xml format, i.e. semantic tagging, and participation in the implementation of the "Fiscus" database.

The students, divided into small groups, will be guided to prepare the database necessary to elaborate, at the end of the course, a short written work focused on the analysis of the data obtained and on the study of secondaries sources.

Assessment methods

This course (6CFU) is a component of the integrated course Origini dell'Europa C.I. (1) LM.
Attending students must attend both components (Civiltà dell'Alto medioevo and Storia dell'Europa medievale) of the integrated course.
Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.
Attending students will have to present to the class, in small groups, the results of the reading of some scientific essays assigned to them.
At the end of the course, they will write a paper, which will be discussed in a reserved examination section, and which will be the only final exam of the integrated course and, therefore, of both courses.
The assessment of the papers will be based both on the completeness and formal accuracy of the text and on the ability to critically analyse the themes and problems.

Non-attending students will have to take only one written test, common to both courses, followed by one oral test. The written test and the oral test can be taken in the same appeal or in different appeals.

To take the oral test you must have taken the written test and passed it with a score of at least 18/30.

The written test is designed to test your knowledge of the manual and comprises five open questions, which require precise answers and a good ability to summarise; the first question will be marked out of 10 and the others out of 5. The maximum possible result is 30/30.

The following will be assessed:

- The mastery of the contents

- The ability to synthesise and analyse themes and concepts

- The ability to communicate adequately and in a language proper to the subject.

The student's attainment of an organic vision of the themes addressed by the textbook, their critical use, a good mastery of expression and the use of specific vocabulary will be assessed with the higest grades.

A mnemonic knowledge of the subject, together with the ability to synthesise and analyse with a correct language but not always appropriate, will lead to intermediates grades.

Inadequate knowledge and/or inappropriate language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the course's material - will lead to grades not exceeding sufficiency.

Inadequate training, inappropriate language and lack of orientation within the textbook content will be assessed negatively.

The oral test, also common to both courses, is a free conversation aimed at assessing your knowledge of the two books you have chosen, one for each course.

The interview will assess the knowledge acquired, the ability to synthesise and the critical skills developed by the student on the examination bibliography.

The assessment of the test will take into account, in particular, the student's ability to orientate himself within the bibliographical material of the examination in order to draw useful information that will allow him to illustrate themes and problems and to be able to link them together.

The following will be assessed

- The mastery of the contents

- The ability to synthesise and analyse themes and concepts

- The ability to express oneself adequately and in language appropriate to the subject matter.

The student's achievement of an organic vision of the themes addressed in the bibliography together with their critical use, a good mastery of expression and specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence.

A mnemonic knowledge of the subject, together with the ability to synthesise and analyse in correct, but not always appropriate, language, will lead to to intermediates grades.

Inadequate training and/or inappropriate language - albeit in a context of minimal knowledge of the examination material - will lead to grades not exceeding sufficiency.

Formative deficiencies, inappropriate language, lack of orientation within the bibliographical material will lead to negative marks.

The maximum score awarded in the oral test is 30/30.
The final exam grade will be the average between the result of the written test and the result of the oral test.

At the teacher's discretion, a mention of praise may be added.

Teaching tools

"Virtuale", the University's repository, will be used to share tools to support teaching: power points summarizing the contents of the lessons, pdf files of sources and proposed readings.

Office hours

See the website of Tiziana Lazzari