Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: Gaetano Maria ARENA

Expected Learning Outcomes

The expected learning objectives, declined according to the Dublin Descriptors, are the following:

1. Knowledge and understanding (DD1)

The course aims to provide the student with knowledge and useful tools for both understanding and interpreting the history of marginals in the late ancient West (Italy, Gaul, Spain, North Africa) between the 3rd and 6th-7th centuries AD both for the identification and definition in a sociological and above all historiographical context of the various social subsets, to which the condition of “marginality” can be recognized (beggars, strangers, prostitutes, actors, gladiators, magicians, astrologers, fortune-tellers, thieves, brigands, prisoners), through the indispensable help of certain types of sources (legal texts, homilies, hagiographic narratives), generally an expression of the point of view of the dominant culture: giving ample space to the direct use of sources achieves multiple educational objectives, as contributes to the development in the student of the ability to know theories and models in a historical and geographical context to interpret educational and training events, to know the relationship systems between synchrony and diachrony, to grasp the space-time and cause-effect links, to establish interdisciplinary connections through the methodology of historical research, evaluating long-lasting events and processes in the historical-sociological context.

2. Applying knowledge and understanding (DD2)

Through the study of the discipline applied to the different socio-economic, political and cultural contexts the student will acquire the skills to connect the theoretical and methodological contents learned with the interpretation of past, present and future events and processes, to use methodologies appropriate to the educational objectives, identify and foresee any rehabilitative, rehabilitative and/or social reintegration systems and above all identify in the sociological context the mechanisms of exclusion and/or inclusion implemented within late ancient Roman society, the possible interrelationships between different groups of marginal, the links and the conflicts between the different social strata, the system of cultural values ​​and the collective imagination, the implementation or not of methods of recovering deviance, the possible provision of rehabilitation, rehabilitation and/or work reintegration systems, the moral condemnation or repression attitudes by the Church and the State.

3. Making judgements (DD3)

The acquisition of the disciplinary contents will develop in the student the awareness and maturity necessary to express, with full autonomy of judgment, points of view and opinions through the ability to re-elaborate, deepen and critically rethink the contents learned, to grasp the link between objectives and results of research, translate the analysis of learning contexts into the formulation of objectives and proposals for change and/or transformation, sift and classify increasingly complex data and above all evaluate the different acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation, marginalization) in relations between the “dominant” culture and the “other” cultures.

4. Communication (DD4)

The careful analysis of the disciplinary contents will offer the student the necessary instrumentation to correctly communicate the meaning of their ideas and actions, confront on a dialogical level with different interlocutors (specialists or not), motivate, in oral and written form, objectives, procedures and methodologies, to enhance the different points of view and above all to appropriately use the technical vocabulary of the discipline, adequately using the expressive means typical of sectoral languages.

5. Lifelong learning skills (DD5)

The course aims to provide student with the necessary tools not only to increase their knowledge in relation to the increased awareness of their training needs, but also to refine their skills in the study of increasingly complex topics and above all to broaden and perfect their ability to learn and use innovative methodologies to cope with new problems.

Course Structure

Frontal lessons.

Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the Syllabus.

Required Prerequisites

General knowledge of ancient history (especially imperial and late antique), the basic coordinates of history (time and space) and the meaning of 'document'. Use of the historical atlas.

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance is not compulsory, but definitely advisable, both because the contents of the lectures will be punctually supported by the projection of slides and supplemented by the lecturer's explanation, and because comprehension of the aforementioned contents will be periodically checked in the classroom through appropriate formative feedback (reading, analysis and commentary on a historical document; drafting of conceptual maps).

Detailed Course Content

  • the contributions of contemporary sociology and history to the study of “marginality” in the Roman world;
  • the socio-economic aspects of marginality: the poor;
  • the Latin lexicon of begging in the pagan and Christian world;
  • the values of evergetism and almsgiving; social identity of beggars and places of begging; reception facilities and the types of recipiens; the almsgiving ecclesiastical organization: typologies, forms and times;
  • the socio-economic aspects of marginality: the strangers (vagrants, seasonal workers, shepherds, fugitives colonists, monks and pilgrims);
  • the legal aspects of marginality: the infames (prostitutes and pimps, actors and gladiators) and the operators of the occult (fortune tellers, magicians and astrologers);
  • the criminals (thieves, robbers and prisoners). Judicial uses of the prison; location, structure and organization of places of detention.

Textbook Information

  • V. Neri, I marginali nell’Occidente tardoantico. Poveri, ‘infames’ e criminali nella nascente società cristiana, Bari Edipuglia 1998, ISBN 88-7228-208-X, pp. 7-500.
  • F. Cenerini, Doppiamente marginali: le donne schiave in alcuni documenti epigrafici, in C. Giuffrida-M. Cassia-G. Arena (a cura di), Roma e i 'diversi'. Confini geografici, barriere culturali, distinzioni di genere nelle fonti letterarie ed epigrafiche fra età repubblicana e Tarda Antichità, Milano Le Monnier Università 2018, ISBN 978-88-00-74979-4, pp. 270-281.
  • A. Buonopane, Bullismo omofobico sui muri di Pompei?, in C. Giuffrida-M. Cassia-G. Arena (a cura di), Roma e i 'diversi'. Confini geografici, barriere culturali, distinzioni di genere nelle fonti letterarie ed epigrafiche fra età repubblicana e Tarda Antichità, Milano Le Monnier Università 2018, ISBN 978-88-00-74979-4, pp. 282-298.
  • G. Arena, Il fuoco, la croce, le bestie: i supplicia dei latrones fra punizione, vendetta e terrore, in Annali della Facoltà di Scienze della Formazione di Catania 3, 2004, pp. 55-77 (disponibile on line all’indirizzo http://ojs.unict.it/ojs/index.php/annali-sdf/article/view/79/67).
  • G. Arena, Un “fiume di fogna”: il Tevere, Giovenale e la piscatrix Aurelia, in Thiasos 11, 2022, pp. 75-95 (disponibile online all’indirizzo http://www.thiasos.eu/en/un-fiume-di-fogna-il-tevere-giovenale-e-la-piscatrix-aurelia/).
  • G. Arena, Il papa, il vescovo e le meretrici: un postribolo pubblico a Siracusa in età protobizantina?, in Historiká 10, 2020, pp. 187-201 (disponibile online all’indirizzo https://www.ojs.unito.it/index.php/historika/article/view/5678).

    Course Planning

     SubjectsText References
    1The concept of marginality in contemporary sociology and historiography. The field and the problems of research.Neri, Introduzione.
    2Beggars.Neri, Parte I, Capitolo 1.
    3Almsgiving and beggars.Neri, Parte I, Capitolo 2.
    4Foreigners.Neri, Parte I, Capitolo 3.
    5Aurelia, the piscatrix.Arena 2022, pp. 75-95.
    6Doubly marginal: women slaves.Cenerini, pp. 270-281
    7The infamous and forbidden professions.Neri, Parte I, Capitolo 4.
    8The pope, the bishop and the harlots.Arena 2020, pp. 187-201.
    9Homophobic bullying.Buonopane, pp. 282-298
    10Thieves.Neri, Parte II, Capitolo 5.
    11Brigands.Neri, Parte II, Capitolo 6.
    12Isaurian banditism.Arena 2004, pp. 55-77.
    13Prisoners.Neri, Parte II, Capitolo 7.
    14Conclusions.Neri, Conclusioni.

    Learning Assessment

    Learning Assessment Procedures

    A multiple-choice test will be administered on the Microsoft Teams platform only. The test will focus on the contents of the text by V. Neri, I marginali nell'Occidente tardoantico. Poveri, 'infames' e criminali nella nascente società cristiana, Bari Edipuglia 1998, pp. 7-500. Further operational indications will be made known through a specific notice published in Studium.

    Students must pass this test with a mark of at least 18/30 in order to then be able to take the oral test on the remaining part of the programme at the official appeal.

    Students who have not chosen to take this test or who, despite having taken it, have not obtained at least a sufficient mark, may of course take the oral examination on the whole programme at the official appeal.

    The evaluation of the test averages out in the formulation of the final grade.

    Final examination: oral.

    Should conditions require it, the learning assessment may also be conducted electronically.

    The following assessment criteria will be adopted for the awarding of marks (both for the questionnaire administered on Microsoft Teams and for the final oral test):

    - ability to independently rework and critically deepen the acquired content

    - ability to make appropriate use of expressive means

    - ability to use the technical vocabulary of the discipline appropriately

    - ability to grasp space-time and cause-effect connections

    - ability to establish interdisciplinary connections through the methodology of historical research

    Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

    The questions will focus on the content presented in class by the lecturer and analytically indicated above among the topics of the syllabus. These topics do not only represent the core and merely exemplify the various questions posed during the examination, but also constitute the cue necessary to verify in each individual student the capacity for in-depth study and autonomous rethinking, expressive and lexical skills, and the ability to make interdisciplinary connections.