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Regular version of the site

Medieval City

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
4 year, 1, 2 module


Вовин Алексей Александрович

Course Syllabus


The course focuses on social-political phenomenon of medieval European Commune. Communal urban forms appeared in Europe in the late eleventh century and rapidly spread across most of Latin World. The political and social practiced produced by communes changed the face of Medieval Europe where the vertically organized society turned into horizontally organized one. That was one of the most important steps toward Modern Time, even if the communes themselves hardly could survive in Early Modern Time. Such ideas as Rule of Law, Human Rights etc are deeply rooted in medieval communal practices. Moreover, Renaissance origins are also strictly connected to communal cities. So, the medieval urbanism as complex phenomenon should be considered a kind of 'Modernity before Modern Time itself' and its understanding is a good tool to comprehend better the Modern History.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main course goal is student's knowledge of modern historiography conceptions on medieval urban history as well as her\his comprehension of the role which played medieval commune in the History of Western Civilization
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The student studies history and historiography of European medieval city
  • The student can compare the different types of premodern unrban synoikism
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Medieval Commune and Ancient Polity: Florence vs Athens
  • Concept of Medieval City through Historiography
  • Origins of Commune
  • Institutions of Early Commune and its Georaphy
  • Communal Cores (Northern-Central Italy and Flanders) and Periphery
  • Corporations and their Role in Communal Movement
  • Patricians and commoners
  • Crisis of Thirteenth Century
  • High Commune and its Features
  • Concept of Medieval City-State
  • Russian Case
  • Medieval Communes and Culture
  • Sixteenth Century and End of Communal Era
  • Late Communes and Influence of Communal Practices on Modern Democracies
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar's activity
    A student's activity during course's seminars lead to a mark '+'. A student can get only one '+' for one seminar. At the course final a ranking system is applied: the student(s) with maximum number of '+' get(s) the mark '10' for their activity, the second place gets '9' etc up to the last positive mark '4'
  • non-blocking Final essey
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.2 * Seminar's activity + 0.6 * Final essey


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bouchard, C. B. (2007). The New Cambridge Medieval History. Vol. 1: c. 500-c. 700. Canadian Journal of History, 42(1), 85. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjh.42.1.85
  • Hansen, M. H. (2006). Polis : An Introduction to the Ancient Greek City-State. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=208572
  • Rennen, W. (2007). CityEvents : Place Selling in a Media Age. [Amsterdam]: Amsterdam University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=259121
  • Reynolds S. Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997
  • S. Evinç TORLAK, Tanzer ÇELIKTÜRK, Onur KULAÇ, & Recep ARSLAN. (2016). A Medieval Islamic City: Case of Cordoba. https://doi.org/10.15637/jlecon.124
  • Wickham, C. (2015). Sleepwalking Into a New World : The Emergence of Italian City Communes in the Twelfth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=883277
  • История хозяйства. Город, Вебер, М., 2001

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • The medieval town, Mundy, J. H., 1958
  • The rise of medieval towns and states in East Central Europe : early medeival centres as social and economic systems, Machacek, J., 2010
  • Writing and the administration of medieval towns: medieval urban literacy 1, , 2014
  • Городская коммуна средневекового Пскова, XIV - начало XVI в., Вовин, А. А., 2019
  • Новгородское вече, Лукин, П. В., 2018
  • Средневековые города Бельгии, Пиренн, А., 2001