Research Projects


Medioevo veneto, Medioevo europeo. Identità e alterità

Medieval Veneto, Medieval Europe: Identity and Otherness




Data avvio: 1 November 2009



Consolidated groups of scholars with a range of skills and study perspectives (history, political-history, literary, art, music, philosophy, etc.) placing the study of medieval civilisation in general and that of the Veneto in particular in the centre of their work have been based at Padua university for some time. By means of academic meetings, exchanges of expertise, debates and discussions these scholars have identified a fertile and original shared integrated interdisciplinary research field in the very close and complex relationship which links the history of Veneto culture and civilisation with those of Europe in an original identity-otherness dialectic which in all likelihood has no parallels in the European context. From the 12th to the 14th centuries the Veneto was, in fact, a true crossroads in European history and civilisation, a mediator between the Latin West and the Byzantine and Slavic East, a place of meeting and confluence between a multiplicity of cultures and languages, art and thought whose area of circulation was enormous. In these same centuries, profound political and social changes took place with the passage from Curia, secular and ecclesiastical culture to bourgeois and city state culture. The universities of Bologna, Padua and other towns in the Verona and Treviso marches sprang up in the vast land area encompassed by the Adige River and the ecclesiastical principality of Aquilieia. Venice progressively shifted the centre of regional power seawards and became the main intermediary in relationships between southern and northern Europe, between East and West. Historiographical writings conscious of the changes underway came to the fore. Vernacular literature made itself felt in multiple and combined languages with the progressive emergence of local linguistic variety and the subsequent affirmation of Tuscan. By means of Venice, Padua, Verona and other towns, profound changes took place in the fields of the plastic and visual arts and music via new languages. Padua University became the heart of philosophical, literary, legal and scientific culture, re-established contacts with Classicism and instituted new ones with the Arab sciences (mathematics, medicine and astronomy). The Veneto area contributed to the birth of early Humanism. By means of trade, study and diplomatic networks the various regional cultural centres established or consolidated European contacts in a westward (Catalonia and Provençal areas), north-westward (French area), central northward (Germanic area, a neighbour in relationships, including conflictual ones, with the Empire and the presence of the Patriarchate of Aquileia), eastwards with the Slavic world and with the near, middle and far East. This is a research context of such complexity and, at the same time so stimulating in its individual features, that it requires the application of variegated and specialist skills and innovative methodologies to be adequately studied in all its elements of connection and inter-relation. This is how MEVE was born, a project with an ambitious goal - the creation of a permanent co-ordination in the university's medievalist research. In the context of this project, the desire to incorporate a significant number of young researchers into the individual research units took on primary importance, both those who were already part of the university and those forming part of research groups together with doctoral students belonging to the university's Macro-area schools with the addition of those recruited ex novo. The intention has been to train new research recruits and offer them the chance for innovative methodological work and to integrate into national and international relationship networks. The project has breathed life into a great many academic initiatives: base research, study conferences and monograph and miscellaneous publications. Much of the study carried out in the MEVE context is in the course of printing in a new bibliographical collection whose publication is imminent with the same title as the project itself.