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Mediterranean encounters

Understand the complexity of the multilingual and multicultural Mediterranean region

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • PhD
Field of studies
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Environmental sciences, Urbanism, Geography
  • CIVIS Hub 2
Course dates
27 June - 1 July and 11-15 July 2022

Mediterranean means “between the lands”. The ancient Egyptians called it the Great Green, the Jews the Great Sea, the Romans Mare Nostrum – our sea, the Muslims Bahr al-Shâm in the Orient and Bahr al-Maghrib in the Occident, the Turks called it the White Sea, and the Germans the Middle Sea. In scholarly literature, it has been known as the Corrupting Sea, the Inner Sea, the Bitter Sea and the Liquid Continent.

In this CIVIS course, we will bring all those meanings to life again. We will examine the history of the Mediterranean Sea, of the people who crossed the sea and lived closed by its shores or in the lands around it in the period ranging from Rome’s fall in 500 CE to the fifteenth century. The story of the Mediterranean is teeming with famous personalities and important facts but the real heroes of our tale are the merchants, the shopkeepers, and the peasants who made possible the transformation of the agrarian economy, commerce, and material life. We will look at the Medieval Mediterranean from a multilinear perspective (Southern Europe, the Maghreb and the Near East) as a vibrant age of transformation rather than as a mere interlude between "the World that had been Rome" and the Early Modern Era.

During the Summer School, the participants will collaborate in an international, transdisciplinary and intermedial manner, and they will have the opportunity to discuss masterpieces of late antique and early medieval material culture.

Main topics addressed

  • Late Antiquity – Early Middle Ages: Problems of Periodization
  • The transformation of the Roman world debate
  • Paradigms of crisis, transformations, continuities
  • The Mediterranean Sea seen from its southern shores
  • Between Roman and Islamic Mediterranean
  • Regions that look seaward: Italy, Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb in the Early Medieval Mediterranean
  • Arabic written sources: an overview
  • Arabic coins: an Introduction
  • Arabic documents: papyri as a source for the Economic history
  • Archives and Archival Practices in the Dār al-Islam
  • Ibn ‘Asākir’s Ta’rīkh Dimashq and Giovanni Villani’s Cronica: the biography of a city and the emergence of the mercantile and trading class in the East and in the West
Location: Rome, Italy ECTS: 4* 
Language: English (B2) Format: Blended
Contact point: N° of CIVIS scholarships: 6
Contact hours:  34 hours Student workload: 66 hours

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. 

This CIVIS course will have a duration of 2 weeks. 27 June to 1 July 2022 will be online and 11 to 15 July 2022 will take place in Rome.

A maximum of 6 international CIVIS students will be accepted in the course in a total of 10 students.


This CIVIS course is open to Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD students from CIVIS Universities studying Historical Studies, Art History, Middle Eastern Studies, African Studies, Egyptology, or Social Sciences.

A B2 level of English is required. 

Schedule of the course


  • Introductory meeting (2 hours)
  • 3 online lectures (2 hours each)

The online course will take place on 4 different days for a total of 8 hours.


The CIVIS course is organised into 6 sessions (2 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon each day) from 9:00-19:00 CET.

Day 1 -  Professors' presentations

Day 2 - MA and PhD candidates' presentations and mentoring sessions

Day 3 - Consortium meeting, which will include guided study visits to the Crypta Balbi collections

Application process

Interested students should send their CV (two pages maximum) and a cover letter indicating their motivation to attend the course to this email address by 1 May 2022.

Selected students will be notified by 25 May 2022.


The participants will be evaluated after regular attendance and active involvement in the course sessions, both online and physical. They will also have to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the relevant bibliography, as well as give a well-documented presentation on a supervised topic. Each student shall submit a written essay after the end of the course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Participation in the lectures (online and in-person) - 30%
  • Preparation and presentation of a paper (individual for PhD students, in groups for MA and BA students) - 30%
  • Individually written paper - 40%


General Eligibility Criteria for CIVIS Courses

Applicants need to be enrolled at their home university in order to be eligible for selection and participation.  If uncertain about your status at your home university (part-time or exchange students etc) please check with your home university’s website or International Office. 

Applicants who will be receiving other Erasmus funds for the duration of the course are not entitled to funding. Participation in the course may still be possible under “zero-grant” status, but applicants should contact their home university in order to confirm this. 

A list of links and contacts for each university can be found in this Q&A.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Arianna D’Ottone Rambach is an associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Sapienza Università di Roma, former Fellow at the Sapienza School for Advanced Studies (SSAS) and Corresponding member of the Académie Royale des Sciences d'Outre-Mer (Bruxelles).
  • Mohamed Ouerfelli is an associate Professor of Medieval History at Aix-Marseille Université, member of the Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Islamic Worlds (IREMAM).
  • Paolo Tedesco is a Lecturer in Late Antique and Medieval History at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. He studied and thought in Rome, Vienna, Princeton, Notre Dame, and Tübingen