In recent years, the situation with regard to cultural heritage issues in Budapest has become exceedingly complex due to a host of factors: there are the continuing historical and political aspects, the increasing economic possibilities, particularly with regard to tourism and the heritage “business,” and ongoing monument protection concerns. The development of a hierarchy of heritage sites (world heritage, national heritage, local heritage, etc.) has also produced very contradictionary practices concerning the ownership, institutional control, public control and scholarly research opportunities. The future of this city depends to a large extent on the ways in which its unique cultures and cultural heritages are preserved, stimulated and developed in a long-term perspective. Therefore, the course offers an introduction to the most important medieval monuments and sites in Budapest by doing a „walking seminar” in the area of Pest, the Margaret Island, Óbuda and Buda. Each seminar will focus on case studies in different parts of the city and after a short introduction of the given sites we will interpret the given archaeological features, buildings, and heritage sites with the students. Participants will also be confronted with heritage policy issues such as conservation, reconstruction, presentation of heritage sites, and the dissemination of related materials for scholars and the wider public.

Brief Course Description

This course will offer an introduction into the dynamics of the fifteenth-century European diffusion of Renaissance humanism by focusing on the example of Venetian Dalmatia.


Full Course Description

The first decades of the fifteenth century witnessed the transformation of humanism from what had been a pursuit of a handful of literati into a major cultural movement that spread first across the Italian peninsula and before long all over Europe. This course will consider the dynamics of the European diffusion of humanism on the example of Venetian Dalmatia, perhaps the first non-Italian region that witnessed the emergence of local advocates of the movement. Over the course of six sessions the course will first explore the recent approaches to Italian Renaissance humanism and then focus on some of the key features of its European diffusion: the image of non-Italian countries in the eyes of the travelling Italians and the role they played in the diffusion of the movement; the emergence and development of local humanist networks; the role humanists played as political propagandists and the emergence of humanist nationalism; humanist book culture (as part of a workshop in the National Széchényi Library); and, finally, their participation in the Ottoman wars and their image of the Turk. While the lecture part of the sessions will explore these questions by focusing Dalmatian humanism specifically, students will be invited to contribute to the following discussions by reflecting on the parallels to the Dalmatian situation in other European countries, by drawing on their mandatory readings, and, if possible, their previous knowledge.


Learning Outcomes:

The students will become familiar with the recent approaches and debates in the scholarship on Renaissance humanism and will understand the dynamics of the European diffusion of the movement. They will learn how to place Renaissance humanists within the larger social and political worlds they occupied and how to critically approach their classicizing and, from a general historian’s perspective, often obscure works.



Following the introductory session, the sessions 2-6 will be divided into lectures focusing on Dalmatian material and discussions of mandatory readings that will reflect on the wider European context. Participants will be expected to attend sessions prepared and take part in discussions. Each participant will be asked to contribute to the course with a brief (5-10 min) presentation on a humanist of their choice and how his activities and his oeuvre relates to the questions discussed in the course. Grading will be based on attendance (10%), participation (50%) and presentation (40%).

The second half of the fourteenth century marks the beginning of academic education in East Central Europe. In less than two decades, three major centres of learning were founded that are still in existence today: the universities of Prague (1348), Cracow (1364) and Vienna (1365). While their early period was marked by financial difficulties, these universities were the place of high collective ambitions and sharp intellectual oppositions. Wyclif’s realism, taught by Jan Hus at the University of Prague against the German masters but with the active support of Czech secular power (Decree of Kuttenberg 1409), is perhaps the most emblematic among many significant scholarly developments.

In recent years there has been a stimulating revival of interest in the philosophical and theological traditions at Central Europe’s first universities. Text editions and studies are newly devoted to the Aristotelian and Sentences commentaries of the period. This course seeks to be part of this dynamic revival; much more than this, however, it is intended to broaden the current perspective by examining unpublished texts and unacknowledged intellectual developments.

The classes will consider the universities of Prague, Cracow and Vienna in the chronological order of their foundation. We will read medieval teaching material from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Theology (disputed questions, commentaries on Aristotle’s works, on the Bible and the Sentences) and discuss it on the basis of further reading. Students taking the course for credit will have to present an introduction and analysis of reading material of their choice (sixty percent of the final grade), and are also required to participate in the discussions (forty percent of the final grade).

Source material and mandatory articles will be made available as PDF documents online.


Learning outcomes:

The course is designed to provide students with both historical and philosophical knowledge; in a more detailed way it will stimulate

·         - acquaintance with reading medieval teaching matter from the Faculty of Arts and Theology;

·         - knowledge of the related philosophical and theological traditions;

·         - ability to reconstruct and critically analyse arguments;

·         - and ability in reading Latin texts against the English translation.