Medieval Veneto, Medieval Europe: Identity and Otherness (MEVE)


For a long time, well-established groups of scholars at the University of Padova have been sharing their competences and diverse backgrounds (historical, historical-political, literary, artistic, musical, philosophical, etc.) to study Medieval civilization, especially in Veneto.
Through scientific meetings and exchanges of experiences and dialogues, such scholars have identified a rich and original cross-sector common ground in the close and complex relation between Veneto and Europe in the Middle Ages, in the framework of a new debate between identity and otherness that may be unprecedented in Europe.
Between the 12th and 14th century, Veneto was the crossroads between the Latin western world and the Byzantine and Slavic Eastern world; a meeting point between several cultural, linguistic, artistic movements and currents of thought, that spread with a very wide diffusion. The same period saw deep political and social changes, with the transition from the curial, secular and ecclesiastical culture to the middle-class and communal one; Universities were built in Bologna, Padova and other centers in the areas of Treviso and Verona, i.e. the widespread territory between the Adige river and the ecclesiastical principality of Aquileia. Gradually, Venice transfers the center of its power to the sea and becomes the main vessel of the relations between Southern and Northern, Eastern and Western Europe. Historiographic texts started to convey the awareness that something was changing. Vulgar literature developed, in different and mixed languages, thanks to the variety in local languages and the subsequent predominance of Tuscan. In Venice, Padova, Verona and other cities, music, plastic and visual arts went through significant changes, using new languages. The University of Padova became the center of philosophical, literary, juridical and scientific culture, strengthening its ties with the classical world and forming new bonds with Arab science (mathematics, medicine, astronomy). Veneto contributed to the establishment of the new Humanism. Through trade routes, research and diplomacy, regional cultural centers established or consolidated relations with Europe, to the West (in Catalonia and Provence), North-West (in France), Center-North (in Germany, which was close because of its - often conflictual - relations with the Empire, and the presence of the Aquileia Patriarchy), Slavic East and the Near, Middle and Far East.Such a complex and interesting context requires a variety of specialised skills and innovative methods to be adequately studied in how its elements connect and interrelate. From this starting point stems MEVE, which has an ambitious goal: the creation of a permanent coordination of research on Medieval subjects at the University. In the framework of this project, the involvement of a significant number of young researchers in Research Units was a priority. Researchers had either already been hired by the University, or involved in research units, or PhD students, or hired thanks to the project. The purpose of this choice was to train young researchers giving them the possibility to engage in an experience employing innovative methods and enter national and international research networks. Several scientific activities derived from this project: fundamental research studies, conferences, monographic and miscellaneous publications. Many studies carried out in the framework of MEVE are about to be published in a new bibliographic collection that has the same title of the project.

Scientific Coordinator:
Dario Canzian

The project ended in:
November 2013

Members of the Research Unit:
Dario Canzian, Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World - DISSGeA
Giovanna Valenzano, Department of Cultural Heritage: Archaeology and History of Art, Cinema and Music – DBC
Francesco Bottin, Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology – FISPPA
Furio Brugnolo, Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies – DISLL