Fall Semester 2010
Tom Wukitsch – Instructor
Table of Contents
Unit 1: Introduction and the
Unit 2: Barbarians
Unit 3: Gregory and Other Christians
Unit 4: Exarchs and the East
Unit 5: Monastics
Unit 6: Franks and Holy Romans
Unit 7: Economics
Unit 8: Late Architecture
Unit 9: Late Artists and Writers
Unit 10: Cola, Plagues, Other
Unit 1--Medieval Rome
Introduction and the Constantinian legacy.
“The Dark Ages” is the pejorative name that Renaissance humanists gave to the period that started with the “fall” of Rome and ended with their own arrival.
Dark Ages or Darkened ages
In general, "Darkness" was pejoratively applied by snooty Renaissance folks much like "pre-Raphaelites" -- not liking what came in between.
This was particularly true of Italians who thought that what came
In between was German and thus Barbarian.
"Medieval" really just means "middle period"
Early and late Medieval
Different dates in different place -- like all historical period labels.
In "Western Civ", "medieval" is usually applied only to Europe,
but historians of other areas also use the term.
Even in Europe, period names don't always mean the same thing.
Historians usually pick their own parameters
For our purposes, we will try to drop the term "dark ages" but no penalty for
forgetting. We will, however, use Medieval, early and late, for Rome.
We'll use Early Medieval to mean the time between Gregory the Great
(born about 540, Pope from 590 until 604) and ca. 1000.
Late Medieval will mean 1000 through the debatable beginning
of the Renaissance -- we'll decide later when that is.
Although the course is about Rome, we will talk about other places if needed.
Milan, Ravenna, Constantinople, Avignon, etc.
Before starting on the Medieval period, we'll go into some background:
Constantine's legacy -- for better or worse
Barbarians -- anyone non-Roman -- "your barbarian is my cousin"
Benedict and early monasticism
Gregory was a monk and maybe a Benedictine
He wrote a biography of Benedict
Byzantines and their Representatives.
Despite what it sounds like, this isn't a linear history course
There are timelines and an abbreviated history, but we will concentrate on
trends and controlling factors (some of which are people) rather than
We won't always go in chronological order
Benedict, for example, is in the century before Gregory
but will come after him in the course.
And the founders of the other Medieval monastic orders,
Francis and Dominic, will be discussed with Benedict even though
they're late Medieval. Even Ignatius, who was counter-Reformation, will rate a mention.
Krautheimer's Medieval Rome
B. Constantine's legacy
The "Donation of Constantine"
Constantine gives Rome and the Empire to Pope Sylvester 1 -- impious fraud
Extent of the Empire -- map exercise: from Augustus until 1500
Orphan maps? (Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe)
Structures: Church basilicas and rounds
Tituli -- home churches to which someone held title
Ancient Roman Basilicas
Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine
Largest built, curile basilica
Tomb dinners -- an ancient Mediterranean tradition:
Dining/assembly area in front of tombs
Grand triclinia: banquet halls for large numbers of guests
Exposing tombs -- ambulatoria around tombs
Old St. Peter's
Not oldest, but eventually assumed greatest importance.
Funerary chapel (martyrion) expanded into huge basilica
Good example of a semi-round ambulatory cut around a tomb
Perhaps built by Constantine (or Constantius)
Eventually demolished because it would have fallen --
but lasted more than 1000 yrs.
St. John Lateran
"Mother of all churches"
Converted grand tricliniun
Not a tomb church
Medieval Baptistery still standing
"Constantine's bathtub" (Rienzo connection)
Leo 3's Triclinium Mosaic from Palace
Disastrous Palace fires
Renaissance/baroque redecoration of the church
4th Century Titulus Aemilianae built by Pope Miltiades (311-14)
Restored by Pope Honorius 625-638) and by Pope Hadrian 772-95
Basilica built by Pope Leo 4 (847-55).
Sacked by the Norman, Robert Guiscard, in 1048.
Rebuilt on a smaller scale by Pope Paschal 2 (1099-1118).
Monastery and cloister added in the 12th and 13th centuries,
held by Benedictines until the 16th.
Fortress guarding the Lateran (1246, Innocent 4)
and haven for Popes during conflict with the Hohehstaufen
Camaldolese monks got it in 1521 and 40 years later the Augustinians got it.
Now Augustinian nuns.
Fresco finds in late 1990's
5th century (422-23), built on the site of Titulus Sabinae by Peter the Illyrian.