MEDIEVAL HISTORY
cod. 1000230

Academic year 2017/18
1° year of course - Second semester
Professor
GENTILE Marco
Academic discipline
Storia medievale (M-STO/01)
Field
Discipline storiche
Type of training activity
Basic
36 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit
in ITALIAN

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide students with basic knowledge of the main issues and events related to medieval Europe. It also aims to provide insights on specific issues and to define some of the fundamental concepts of medieval history (such as fief, vassal, heresy, knighthood, ecclesiastical benefice, etc.), together with basic elements of historical geography.
During the course, the student learns to
- Understand the key facts and figures, as well as the most important political and ecclesiastical institutions, the most significant forms of social, economic and ecclesiastical organization of the medieval period, and to place each element in time and space
- Communicate and discuss the concepts learned during the course, with particular attention to the accurate use of language, concepts and categories, and the appropriate use of the specific vocabulary of the historical discipline
- Develop the practice of considering the political, institutional, social and economic relations and the ideologies not as a natural given, but as the result of changes that have taken place in specific contexts, and to apply the notion of context to the analysis of a text, and, more generally, to any social and political phenomenon and to any artistic and cultural form of expression

Prerequisites

Basic notions of Italian and European Geography learned at secondary school

Course unit content

The course aims to provide students with information and the basic tools for a critical understanding of the economic, social, cultural and religious life between the third and fifteenth centuries. Particular attention will be paid to the political and institutional forms of organization of the human communities which, during the Middle Ages, shaped the specific characteristics of the European area.
The course is structured according to the thematic pattern well established in the discipline, and roughly follows a chronological order. The main topics examined will be: the late Roman Empire and its sunset; the barbarian migrations and kingdoms; the Byzantine and Islamic Mediterranean; Carolingian Europe; post-Carolingian Europe and local power; the diffusion of Christianity; the reform of the Church and the Papal monarchy; European economic growth around 1000 AD; the diffusion of feudal bonds and European expansion; Papacy, Empire and kingdoms; the cities and the communes; the crisis of the later Middle Ages; the decline of the “universal powers”; the European states; the Italian states.
During the classes and exercises, texts and sources will be discussed and historical maps will be shown.

Full programme

ART AND PERFORMING ART HERITAGE

The students in Art and Performing Art Heritage are required to study carefully the reference book
A. Zorzi, Manuale di storia medievale, UTET, Torino 2016

As a further reading, the students will choose one of the following two books:
G. Milani, L’uomo con la borsa al collo. Genealogia e uso di un’immagine medievale, Vella, Roma 2017
M. Bacci, Investimenti per l'aldilà. Arte e raccomandazione dell'anima nel Medioevo, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2011

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND CIVILISATIONS

The students n Modern Foreign Languages and Civilisations are required to study carefully the reference book
A. Zorzi, Manuale di storia medievale, UTET, Torino 2016

As a further reading, the students will choose two of the following nine chapters of the volume
La Storia, I grandi problemi dal Medioevo all'Età Contemporanea, a cura di N. Tranfaglia e L. Firpo, vol. II, Il Medioevo, 2, Popoli e strutture Politiche, UTET, Torino 1986:

VII. R. Mantran, L’espansione araba e il mondo musulmano, pp. 197-230
IX. A.A. Settia, L’espansione normanna, pp. 263-285
X. A.A. Settia, Le incursioni saracene e ungare, pp. 287-306
XI. G. Tabacco, L’impero romano-germanico e la sua crisi (secoli X-XIV), pp. 307-338
X C. Carozzi, Le monarchie feudali: Francia e Inghilterra, pp. 339-367
XIX. G.G. Merlo, I mongoli da Gengis Khan a Tamerlano, pp. 553-574
XX. A. Gallotta, Gli ottomani, pp. 575-595
XXI. J. Macek, Il mondo slavo, pp. 597-621
XXII. J. Gautier Dalché, La “Reconquista” in Spagna, pp. 651-671

Bibliography

A Zorzi, Manuale di storia medievale, UTET, Torino 2016

G. Milani, L’uomo con la borsa al collo. Genealogia e uso di un’immagine medievale, Vella, Roma 2017
M. Bacci, Investimenti per l'aldilà. Arte e raccomandazione dell'anima nel Medioevo, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2011
La Storia, I grandi problemi dal Medioevo all'Età Contemporanea, a cura di N. Tranfaglia e L. Firpo, vol. II, Il Medioevo, 2, Popoli e strutture Politiche, UTET, Torino 1986

Teaching methods

During the classes the teacher will introduce – roughly in chronological order - the main issues and themes of medieval history, using both the reference bibliography and other texts for the study of particular aspects. During the practical classes significant historiographical texts and documentary sources will be examined to enable students to use the sources themselves and to stimulate discussion on the topics covered. Historical maps will also be shown, to help students to frame the events in space.

Assessment methods and criteria

The knowledge and skills acquired during the course will be assessed through an oral examination in Italian. The examination will start with a simple test to assess the student’s ability to put people and events in the correct space and chronological order.
The knowledge and skills verified by the examination are:
a) The ability to place key events, characters and the social and cultural development in correct chronological order. b) The lexical precision in describing specific phenomena of the Middle Ages and, more generally, the use of the specific language of the historical disciplines. c) Adequate ability to study independently and critically revise the contents learned during the course and through the study of the texts, as well as the aptitude to link structures and dynamics, and to identify causal relationships. d) The ability to establish connections between events and phenomena typical of the medieval period and the contemporary world.
In order to verify the achievement of such knowledge and skills, oral test questions are designed to assess (aside from the knowledge itself) the ability to apply the skills developed independently and originally, lexical precision, and the ability to deal with complex issues by building complex arguments.
Failure is determined by the inability to understand the basic elements of the course, particularly with regard to the placement of events and characters in the correct temporal and spatial context; by the inability to express himself/herself in correct Italian; by the inability to explain specific concepts and phenomena related to the Middle Ages with adequate lexical precision; by the lack of preparation and knowledge of the texts in the programme. Sufficient performance (18 to 23/30) is determined by the student’s ability to place events and characters in the correct spatial and temporal context; by the ability to explain the concepts and phenomena typical of the Middle Ages with adequate lexical precision; by the ability to reprocess the information by making independent judgments. Medium marks (24 to 27/30) are given to the student who shows a level more than sufficient (24 to 25/30) or good (26 to 27/30) according to the indicators listed above. Higher scores (28 to 30/30 or 30/30 cum laude) are awarded to students who demonstrate a very good or outstanding level according to the indicators listed above; as well as the ability to articulate discourses; the ability to formulate personal and original judgments; the ability to identify and explain cause-effect relationships; the ability to identify links between spatial and temporal contexts (and also political, social, economic and cultural phenomena) distant in time and space.

Other information

The maps and the texts discussed during the classes will be made available on the e-learning website Elly.