The Middle Ages and the Renaissance¿two historical periods associated with splendor and crisis, with the harshness of war and with the beauty of the most refined arts, and also with magic and superstition¿have fascinated the modern imagination for a very long time. Not surprisingly, many filmmakers have been inspired by these historical periods. This course will analyze different representations of the Italian Middle Ages and the Renaissance on film, from the ones striving for historical accuracy to comic and satiric renditions. The course will integrate the movies with primary and secondary sources that explore different aspects of the history, the culture, and the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Italy. Students will use historical film to reflect on the origins (in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance) of issues that are of paramount importance to our world, such as encounters between different cultures and populations, the development of the modern notion of politics and of the State, the evolution of the role of women in society, and the birth of the modern notion of scientific knowledge.