The aim of the course is to promote the acquisition of historical and cultural-historical notions and methodological tools that enable students of the Master's degree to draw on the heritage of Byzantine civilisation and to deal with the various aspects of the Byzantine millennium, which stretches between the Late Antiquity and the end of what in the West is known as the Middle Ages, and of the historical and ideological transcendence of the Byzantine state in the political thought of the modern and contemporary age.
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Mutuazione: 20710439 STORIA E CIVILTA' BIZANTINA L.M. in Religioni, Culture, Storia LM-64 RONCHEY SILVIA


1453: The 55 days that Changed the World (“Ci sono luoghi in cui la storia è inevitabile come un incidente automobilistico — luoghi in cui la geografia provoca la storia. Uno è Istanbul, alias Costantinopoli, alias Bisanzio”. Iosif Brodskij)

Byzantine History and Civilisation LM module, which primarily targets Art History; Archaeology; Religions, Cultures, History; History and Society; Philology, Literatures and History of Antiquity students, examines the fall of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks on 29 May 1453, following fifty-five days of siege led by the young and ambitious Sultan Mehmet II Fatih.
A topographical survey of the Byzantine capital will be provided in the course: Using maps, a faithful reconstruction of the city on the eve of its fall will be presented, highlighting the defensive structures, including the great Theodosian walls, the sea walls around the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn, and the walls surrounding the imperial palace of the Blacherne.; finally, the harbour, which was barred to enemy ships in the event of an attack by stretching a long chain from Constantinople to Pera/Galata in front). After that, the course will clearly reconstruct the various phases of the siege and the final battle, illustrating the findings of the research conducted by the chair of Byzantinistics at Roma Tre and corroborated by articles published and presentations given in national and international scientific contexts. These findings contradict the widely held view that the victory of the Turks was inevitable, due to superior numerical strength and armament, or even due to the "will to fall" (Braudel) of an exhausted Byzantium on a political level.
For the conclusion of the course, students will have the opportunity to attend an educational trip to Patmos (May 1-6, 2024), organized in collaboration with the Byzantine Chair of the Saras Department at the Sapienza University of Rome. The main purpose of the event will be to present on site to the participants various elements illustrated during the course of the lectures, with special emphasis on the celebration of the Orthodox Easter (η Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα).

Core Documentation


- S. Ronchey, Lo Stato bizantino, Torino, Einaudi, 2002
- A. Pertusi (a c. di), La caduta di Costantinopoli, 2 voll., Fondazione Lorenzo Valla / Mondadori, Milano 1976

Type of delivery of the course

In person



Type of evaluation

Oral exam