Medieval History (i) (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Marco Stoffella
Marco Stoffella
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
CuCi IB dal Nov 9, 2020 al Jan 9, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The introductory course of Medieval History pursues the objective - shared with other teachings of the historical area - to enable the student to critically evaluate a historical testimony, placing it in the spatial and temporal coordinates of the European Middle Ages. The aim of the advanced course of Medieval History is to guide the student to the critical analysis of historical sources and to develop his / her capacity to analyze a historical problem in its complexity. Overall, the two courses - introductory and advanced - aim to provide students with the necessary skills to orient themselves independently in a problem of medieval history. In the introductory course, therefore, the teacher underlines some aspects that will be then deepened and recalled in the progress course. During the advanced course, a direct analysis of medieval sources and documents is foreseen (translated into Italian).


After a short introduction, during which general concepts like Middle Ages, historical sources, and typologies of sources will be discussed, the course will synthetically analyse the following topics:

- Late Antiquity and the diffusion of Christianity (the growth of new religious communities that became a fundamental element in the Roman Empire and at the same time a tool of government)
- Western Europe in the early Middle Ages and his regna (the end of the Western Roman Empire, migrations, the birth of new political kingdoms based on ethnic distinctions)
- the Byzantine and Islamic Mediterranean (the progressive rupture of the unity of the Mediterranean See under the Arabic expansion and the role of Byzantium)
- Carolingian Europe (Lombard Italy, the Frankish expansion, Charlemagne and the roots of contemporary Europe)
- the seigniorial order (post-Carolingian Europe, the “feudal society”, the control over work and security in the cities and in the countryside)
- Church reforms (the ideological and political conflicts related to the growth of papal prestige and of the Communal autonomy)
- Empire and Papacy in the Late Middle Ages (conflicts related to different concepts and practice of power between political and spiritual authority)
- political institutions of the Late Middle Ages (political experimentations in order to give equilibrium to representation and participation within society)
- society and culture in the Middle Ages (the various aspects related to knowledge, its access and its administration)
- Religious experiences in the Middle Ages (principal religious movements that led to reforms and to very different experiences) - the economies of the Middle Ages (the organisation of work and commerce, with a long lasting perspective)

In the last section of the course the outstanding figure of Charlemagne will be shortly taken into exam, starting with the analysis of the book in the program. The Veronese context will also be analysed through the study of some original sources that will be introduced, commented and translated by the lecturer. These last lectures will also be followed by two didactical excursions to which students are asked to take part. The taking part to these activities will be positively evaluated during the final exam.
Students attending the lectures will receive at the beginning of the course a complete calendar of the didactical activities, with date and subjects of every single lecture. During the academic year the lecturer will receive students during the office hours, published on the web page and in the announcements place; students are recommended to fix via e-mail an appointment with the lecturer.

All students, attending the lectures or not, will be asked to study the introductory book: G. Sergi, L’idea di medioevo. Fra storia e senso comune, Rome, Donzelli, 2005.

All students must learn the Medieval History thorigh a manual, to be chosen among the following titles: G. Vitolo, Medioevo. I caratteri originali di un’età di transizione, Milan, Sansoni, 2000; G. Albertoni, S.M. Collavini, T. Lazzari, Introduzione alla storia medievale, Bologna, il Mulino, Nuova Edizione 2020; A. Zorzi, Manuale di storia medievale, Novara, Utet, 2016. Students with good school knowledge can choose the more complex: R. Bordone, G. Sergi, Dieci secoli di medioevo, Torino, Einaudi, 2009.
The program is completed by the study of: A. Barbero, Carlo Magno. Un padre dell’Europa, Bari, Laterza, 2000.
Students attending lectures, and the one inscribed to the course, will receive didactical material related to the lectures on the e-learning platform; these materials are considered part of the exam program.

Students not attending lectures can receive help by the lecturer in order to define the program and to study the manual. All students not attending lectures will be asked to choose an additional book among the following titles: P. Brown, Il riscatto dell’anima. Aldilà e ricchezza nel primo cristianesimo occidentale, Torino, Einaudi, 2015; T. Lazzari, Le donne nell’alto Medioevo, Milano-Torino, Bruno Mondadori, 2010; S. Gasparri, Voci dai secoli oscuri. Un percorso nelle fonti dell’alto medioevo, Roma, Carocci, 2017; M. Costambeys, M. Innes, S. Maclean, The Carolingian World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011; A.A. Settia, Castelli medievali, Bologna, il Mulino, 2017; J.M.H. Smith, L’Europa dopo Roma. Una nuova storia culturale 500-1000, Bologna, il Mulino, 2008; C. Wickham, Sonnambuli verso un nuovo mondo. L’affermazione dei comuni italiani nel XII secolo, Roma, Viella, 2017; G. Milani, I comuni italiani. Secoli XII-XIV, Bari, Laterza, 2005; P. Grillo, Le guerre del Barbarossa. I comuni contro l’imperatore, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2014; J.C. Maire Vigueur, E. Faini, Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (secoli XII-XIV), Milano-Torino, B. Mondadori, 2010; A. Zorzi, Le signorie cittadine in Italia (secoli XIII-XV), Milano-Torino, B. Mondadori, 2010; P. Freedman, Il gusto delle spezie nel Medioevo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009; C. Wickham, L’Europa nel Medioevo, Roma, Carocci, 2020; N. D’Acunto, La lotta per le investiture. Una rivoluzione medievale (998-1122), Roma, Carocci, 2020; L. Provero, Contadini e potere nel Medioevo, Roma, Carocci, 2020; G. Melville, Le comunità religiose nel Medioevo. Storia e modelli di vita, a cura di N. D’Acunto, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2020; B. Zeller, C. West, F. Tinti, M. Stoffella, N. Schroeder, C. van Rhijn, S. Patzold, T. Kohl, W. Davies, M. Czock, Neighbours and Strangers. Local societies in early medieval Europe, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2020. The choice of the additional text can be made autonomously; differently it can be discussed with the lecturer during office hours or per e-mail.

Didactical methods:
frontal lectures on main subjects will be followed by discussions with students; on some subjects texts and sources will be read and analysed, followed by a discussion on their content.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Barbero, Alessandro Carlo Magno. Un padre dell’Europa Laterza 2000
Settia, Angelo A. Castelli medievali Il Mulino 2017
Provero, Luigi Contadini e potere nel Medioevo Carocci 2020 9788819000678
Gasparri, Stefano Desiderio Salerno 2019
Meier, Misha Giustiniano Il Mulino 2007
Keller, Hagen Gli Ottoni. Una dinastia imperiale fra Europa e Italia (secc. X e XI) Carocci 2012
Milani, Giuliano I comuni italiani. Secoli XII-XIV Laterza 2005 9788842072478
Freedman, Paul Il gusto delle spezie nel Medioevo Il Mulino 2009 8815246711
Brown, Peter Il riscatto dell’anima. Aldilà e ricchezza nel primo cristianesimo occidentale Einaudi 2016
Vigueur, J.C. Maire; Faini, Enrico Il sistema politico dei comuni italiani (secoli XII-XIV) Bruno Mondadori 2010 8861592155
Albertoni, Giuseppe; Collavini, Simone M.; Lazzari, Tiziana Introduzione alla storia medievale. Seconda edizione il Mulino 2020 978-88-15-28456-3
Gasparri, Stefano Italia longobarda. Il regno, i Franchi, il papato Laterza 2012
D'Acunto,Nicolangelo La lotta per le investiture. Una rivoluzione medievale (998-1122) Carocci 2020 9788829000708
Melville, Gert Le comunità religiose nel Medioevo. Storia e modelli di vita Morcelliana 2020 9788837232849
Lazzari, Tiziana Le donne nell’alto Medioevo Bruno Mondadori 2010 8861592198
Grillo, Paolo Le guerre del Barbarossa. I comuni contro l’imperatore Laterza 2014 9788858111710
Zorzi, Andrea Le signorie cittadine in Italia (secoli XIII-XV) Bruno Mondadori 2010 9788861592230
Smith, Julia M.H. L’Europa dopo Roma, Una nuova storia culturale 500-1000 Il Mulino 2008
Wickham, Chris L’Europa nel Medioevo Carocci 2020 9788843099719
Giuseppe Sergi L’idea di medioevo. Fra storia e senso comune Donzelli 2005
Zorzi, Andrea Manuale di storia medievale Utet 2016
Vitolo, Giovanni Medioevo. I caratteri originali di un’età di transizione Sansoni 2000
Wickham, Chris Sonnambuli verso un nuovo mondo. L’affermazione dei comuni italiani nel XII secolo Viella 2017
Costambeys Marios, Innes Matthew, MacLean Simon The Carolingian World Cambridge University Press 2011
Gasparri, Stefano Voci dai secoli oscuri. Un percorso nelle fonti dell’alto medioevo Carocci 2017

Assessment methods and criteria


The target of the final oral exam is to verify the achievement level of the final aim of this course. The oral exam will be divided into two parts: in the first part students will be asked to answer to general questions on the main topics of the Middle Ages, on the topics discussed during lectures or on topics acquired through books that might substitute the missed lectures. If the first part will be successfully concluded, in the second part questions will be asked on the books chosen by students.

Further information
The attendance of lectures is welcomed. Students not attending lectures will be asked to write an e-mail or to meet the lecturer before exams in order to avoid misunderstandings and/or to choose the topic of their paper.