Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


A.Y. Credits
2019/2020 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Guido Dall'Olio Monday and Tuesday after the lesson c/o Area Volponi, via Saffi 15
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures (LM-14 / LM-15)
Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The learning objective is to make the students able to examine historical primary (archival) sources. The sources that the course will take as a basis for learning come from the State Archive of Urbino and were produced by the Bishop's tribunal of Sant'Angelo in Vado (diocese created in 1636).

More specifically, the aims of the course are:

- how to understand and transcribe (edit) a manuscript source of early modern period;

- how to understand and interpret the judicial procedure of the ecclesiastical and lay courts of early modern Italy;

- how to gather information from the historical records;

- how to wite an essay that is at the same time a non fictional story and an analysis of the source.

These knowledges are necessary both for those who will become teachers in secondary schools, and for those who will continue historical studies (PhD or other)


Each week of the course is divided into:

1) an introductory lesson by the professor (usually on Mondays)

2) a teamwork in which each group of students will analize a single document (trial file). Each group has to write an essay on that document. The professor will help and supervise every phase of the students' work, giving information both to the single group and to the whole class.

The main topics are:

1. General introduction on the Italian historical sources

2. The criminal trials (both ecclesiastical and lay) as historical sources

3. Lay and ecclesiastical courts in the early modern period

4. The local context: Urbino from duchy to Papal State; the birth of the new diocese of Sant'Angelo in Vado

5. The working of a lay court: violence and society

6. The working of an ecclesiastical court: control over clergy and laity.

Bridging Courses

A general knowledge of Early Modern European history is strictly recommended.

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

At the end of the course, the students must be able:

- to know the general organization of Italian Archives;

- to read and understand a judicial source of the early modern era;

- to know the criminal judicial procedure of the early modern continental tribunals

- to gather critical information from historical sources;

- to write an essay that is both a story and an analysis of the sources, and that reflects also their historical knowledge obtained through the reading of the secondary sources;

- to formulate historical hypotheses grounded upon historical primary sources.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Supporting Activities

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises) and specific communications from the lecturer can be found, together with other supporting activities, inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

The character of this course strictly requires the access to Moodle.

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment


Lessons given in classroom; teamwork organized during the lessons and kept under the supervision of the professor.


The attendance is mandatory for those students who want to give the exam as attending students (see below).

The other students must refer to the "additional information for non-attending students".

The attending students should have a good knowledge of early modern European history, and a basic knowledge of Latin.

Anyway, the lecturer will provide to put in each group a student who knows Latin.

Course books

The following textbooks are not mandatory and are intended as a help for the writing of the essays (see below).

The professor will give to the students more information upon textbooks (and will also provide to supply writings and articles through Moodle platform).

Therefore, the lecturer suggests not to buy the following books, but to wait for his hints during the lessons.

M. Bellabarba, La giustizia nell'Italia moderna, XVI-XVIII secolo, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2008; 

O. Niccoli, Storie di ogni giorno in una città del Seicento, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2000

G. Romeo, M. Mancino, Clero criminale. L'onore della Chiesa e i delitti degli ecclesiastici nell'Italia della Controriforma, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2013

Marco Cavarzere, La giustizia del Vescovo. I tribunali ecclesiastici della Liguria orientale (secc. XVI-XVIII), Pisa, Pisa University Press, 2012

Textbook for the students who choose to give the exam in English

Thomas B. Deutscher, Punishment and Penance. Two Phases in the History of the Bishop's Tribunal of Novara, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2013

V.A.C. Gatrell, B. Lenman, G. Parker (eds.), Crime and the Law. The Social History of Crime in Western Europe since 1500, London, Europa Publications, 1980 (print on demand available for purchase on line)


The exam consists in the writing of an essay (one for each group of students) that will be corrected by the professor, and then exposed in front of the class (both the essay and its exposition will be evaluated).

During the course the professor will take arrangements with the students about timelines, contents and length of the essays.


1) the essay should be delivered to the professor at least 15 days before the oral exposition;

2) each essay must contain: a) a complete transcription (edition) of the document assigned to each group; b) a critical analysis of the document.

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students


Individual reading and study

Course books

The course books for non-attending students are different, depending on the different cases:

1) If the students have not yet attended a general history course for the early modern period (i.e. if they have not studied an Early Modern European history handbook), then they will study the following texts

a. One manual chosen among the following:

Francesco Benigno, L'età moderna. Dalla scoperta dell'America alla Restaurazione, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2005;


Carlo Capra, Storia moderna (1492-1848), Firenze, Le Monnier, 2004 (fino al capitolo 25 incluso, cioè fino a pagina 320)


b. Another book, chosen among the following

Giampaolo Romagnani, La società di antico regime (XVI-XVIII secolo). Temi e problemi storiografici, Roma, Carocci, 2010


Guido Dall'Olio, Storia Moderna. I temi e le fonti, Roma, Carocci, 2004.

Textbook for the students who choose to give the exam in English:

M. E. Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789, Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2013 (2nd edition)

2) If the students have already attended an early modern history course and they have studied a handbook, then they will study the following texts (please take note that the choice is between a) one huge book, or b) a group of three books, or c) a group of two books:

a. Adriano Prosperi, Tribunali della coscienza. Inquisitori, confessori, missionari, Torino, Einaudi, 1996 (and reprints)


b. R. H. Bainton, La Riforma protestante, Torino, Einaudi, 1960 (e successive ristampe); G. Dall'Olio, Martin Lutero, Roma, Carocci, 2013; R. H. Bainton, Erasmo della cristianità, Firenze, Sansoni, 1970


c. M. Firpo, F. Biferali, Immagini ed eresie nell'Italia del Cinquecento, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2016 ; M. Firpo, Artisti, gioiellieri, eretici. Il mondo di Lorenzo Lotto tra Riforma e Controriforma, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2001.

Textbooks for the students who choose to give the exam in English:

- Lyndal Roper, Martin Luther. Renegade and Prophet, London, Vintage, 2017

It is possible, to ask the professor for a "personalized" syllabus. In this case, the students have to contact the professor by e-mail or talk to him during the office hours.


oral exam. The oral exam aims to assess the basic knowledge of the main problems of the topic and the knowledge of the main methods of research.


The lessons will be given in Italian. The students can ask the professor to give the exam in English.Since the source that will be analyzed are written in seventeenth- and eighteeenth-century Italian, a very good knowledge of Italian language is strictly recommended. A basic knowledge of Latin can be helpful, but it's not requested.

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