Checking date: 03/02/2023

Course: 2022/2023

Origins of the State and of Political Ideas in the Ancient and Medieval World
Bachelor in History and Politics (Plan: 394 - Estudio: 352)

Coordinating teacher: CURNIS , MICHELE

Department assigned to the subject: Humanities: History, Geography and Art Department

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Requirements (Subjects that are assumed to be known)
Being the first year of the Degree, this course does not require prior specific knowledge.
1. Understand that the study of the past constitutes an essential condition for the explanation and understanding of the present, and provides the best possible disposition to face the future. 2. Know the political, social and cultural reality of past times thanks to a comparative historical-critical method. 3. Know and understand the processes of political, social, economic and cultural change in the society of a certain period. 4. Develop the ability to identify, organize and analyze relevant information autonomously, critically and systematically about primary and secondary sources. 5. Develop the ability to debate and formulate critical reasoning. 6. Develop the ability to argue scientifically and historically for a cultural position regarding the problems of the past.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
1. Historiography of State Theories. 2. The transformation of hunting societies into agricultural. Process of social hierarchy: from the village to the city. Chiefdom societies. The emergence of the state and the teologization of inequality. 3. State structures in Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Aegean: the cases of Crete and Mycenae. 4. The polis and its political essays in Archaic Greece. Democracy as an exception. The ligues. 5. Political theories in the Greek world. 6. The structures of the Roman Republic. Imperialism as a model. 7. Theory and practice of the Roman Empire. Political thought in Rome and the transformation of government. The Christian Empire. 8. The state in the Middle Ages: debates on its nature and forms. The theory of the state in the Middle Ages: ideas, authors and texts. 9. The process of formation of the medieval states. The early medieval state: from the Germanic kingdoms to the Carolingian empire (6th-9th centuries). 10. State and Church: a binomial of power and its fight for supremacy in the West. Articulation Church-State in the East. 11. The medieval survival of the Roman Empire: the Byzantine state and its development (6th-15th centuries). 12. Feudalism and power of the king over the territory. Functions of the state, beginnings of popular representation of the power and constitutionality. 13. The Arab state, its history and development in the Mediterranean area (8th-14th centuries). 14. Structures and institutions of the medieval states of Western Europe (10th-14th centuries).
Learning activities and methodology
AF1. THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL CLASSES. Formal presentation of the knowledge that the students must acquire. They will receive the class notes and will have basic reference texts to facilitate the follow-up of the classes and the development of the subsequent work. Exercises, practical problems will be solved on the part of the student and workshops and evaluation tests will be carried out to acquire the necessary skills. AF2. TUTORIALS. Individualized assistance (individual tutorials) or group tutorials (group tutorials) to students by the teacher. AF3. INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP WORK OF THE STUDENT. MD1. MAGISTRAL LECTURES. Presentations by the teacher with the support of audiovisual media, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and the materials and bibliography are provided to complement the students' learning. MD2. PRACTICES. Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the teacher individually or in groups. MD3. TUTORIALS. Individualized assistance (individual tutorials) or group tutorials (group tutorials) to students by the teacher.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 50
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 50
Calendar of Continuous assessment
Basic Bibliography
  • Antony Black. A World History of Ancient Political Thought: A World History of Ancient Political Thought: Its Significance and Consequences. OUP, Oxford. 2009
  • Joseph Canning. A History of Medieval Political Thought. Taylor & Francis. 2005
Additional Bibliography
  • Walter Ullmann. Principles of Government and Politics in the Middle Ages. Routledge. 2010

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.

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