Publication! Ottonian Queenship by Simon MacLean

Simon MacLean’s new publication Ottonian Queenship has just been released by Oxford University Press. From the website:

This is the first major study in English of the queens of the Ottonian dynasty (919-1024). The Ottonians were a family from Saxony who are often regarded as the founders of the medieval German kingdom. They were the most successful of all the dynasties to emerge from the wreckage of the pan-European Carolingian Empire after it disintegrated in 888, ruling as kings and emperors in Germany and Italy and exerting indirect hegemony in France and in Eastern Europe. It has long been noted by historians that Ottonian queens were peculiarly powerful – indeed, among the most powerful of the entire Middle Ages. Their reputations, particularly those of the empresses Theophanu (d.991) and Adelheid (d.999) have been commemorated for a thousand years in art, literature, and opera. But while the exceptional status of the Ottonian queens is well appreciated, it has not been fully explained. Ottonian Queenship offers an original interpretation of Ottonian queenship through a study of the sources for the dynasty’s six queens, and seeks to explain it as a phenomenon with a beginning, middle, and end. The argument is that Ottonian queenship has to be understood as a feature in a broader historical landscape, and that its history is intimately connected with the unfolding story of the royal dynasty as a whole. Simon MacLean therefore interprets the spectacular status of Ottonian royal women not as a matter of extraordinary individual personalities, but as a distinctive product of the post-Carolingian era in which the certainties of the ninth century were breaking down amidst overlapping struggles for elite family power, royal legitimacy, and territory. Queenship provides a thread which takes us through the complicated story of a crucial century in Europe’s creation, and helps explain how new ideas of order were constructed from the debris of the past.

Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana 25th meeting – Friday 21 April 2017

Friday 21 April 2017, Parliament Hall, South Street, St Andrews

Dancing theologians; Franciscans and Dominicans; the wisdom of Solomon; a celestial light show; the heavens of the Sun and Mars: Paradiso cantos 11-14.

The twenty-fifth meeting of the LDA continues the series with a day of lectures on the next three cantos of Dante’sParadiso, again bringing leading Dante Scholars to St Andrews.

Dante’s journey continues through the heavens of the Sun and Mars, where he is told about the founders of the Franciscan and Dominican orders, and the decline of their followers in his time and Solomon’s wisdom as a ruler, which prefaces a warning against hasty judgements. The whirling circles of light in formed by the souls in the Heaven of the Sun are followed those of warriors in the heaven of Mars, formed in the shape of the cross.

Dr Paola Nasti (University of Reading), Dr Robert Wilson (University of St Andrews), Professor Eugenio Refini (Johns Hopkins University) and Professor Erminia Ardissino (Università degli studi di Torino) will read and comment on Cantos 11 to 14 of Paradiso.

As always, the Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana is open to all and entry is free.

Those unable to attend for the full day are very welcome to attend whichever lectures they can and the programme is organized to accommodate that.

The full programme and times are on the website.

For further information and the full programme visit

You can also follow the lectura on facebook:

Chris Given-Wilson Shortlisted for Wolfston History Prize

Professor Emeritus Chris Given-Wilson’s Henry IV has been shortlisted for the prestigious Wolfson History Prize.

Established in 1972, the Wolfson History Prize aims to recognise and reward the best historical writing produced in the UK. The annual prize of £40,000 is awarded to the author whose book is judged to best combine readability and excellence in research.

It is the first time that the Prize has issued a shortlist in its 45 year history. Each shortlisted author will receive £4,000. The overall winner will be revealed at a reception at Claridge’s on Monday 15 May 2017 and will receive a total prize of £40,000.

For a list of all shortlisted works and for more information, visit:

Event 19th April: MUSA’s Glamourous Shiny Stuff

Bedazzled: MUSA’s Glamourous Shiny Stuff (19th April, 5.30-6.15pm)

Tales from medieval times often revolve around treasures, relics and the Holy Grail. Discover how and why shiny objects like the medieval maces held such power and charisma on this informal tour of MUSA. Presented by Bettina Bildhauer, Director of the St Andrews Institute of Mediaeval Studies, in conversation with Alison Hadfield, Learning and Access Curator. Free, but booking required.  To book events call 01334 46 1660 or email

Jiazhu Hu Gives Paper at ICLS Conference

On 10 April 2017 Jiazhu Hu gave a paper entitled ‘Messengers in Late Middle English Literature’ at the ‘At the Margins of the Court’ conference (the 2017 meeting of the British Branch of the International Courtly Literature Society). Jiazhu’s paper, ‘Messengers in late Middle English Literature’, drew on research into the role of the messenger in late medieval England undertaken for her MPhil thesis.

Bettina Bildhauer Awarded Leverhulme Research Fellowship

Professor Bettina Bildhauer has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in the amount of approximately £49,000 for 11 months. This Fellowship is for the academic year 2017-18 for her project The Untold Stories of Medieval Things. This project aims to analyse some of the medieval conceptions of materiality and thing-ness as transmitted in literary narratives in German, set in their global context.

John Hudson Awarded European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’

Professor John Hudson has been awarded a European Research Council ‘Advanced Grant’ of over two million Euros for a project entitled ‘Civil Law, Common Law, Customary Law: Consonance, Divergence and Transformation in Western Europe from the late eleventh to the thirteenth centuries’. The project will employ four post-doctoral fellows and two PhD students.

For more information, visit the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research website.

Ian Johnson to speak at conference on ‘The Medieval Translator’

From 15th to 18th March 2017 Ian Johnson will be attending the Eleventh Cardiff Conference on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages, The Medieval Translator: Medieval Translations and their Readership, hosted by the Austrian Academy of Sciences/ÖAW, Institute for Medieval Research, Vienna. Ian will be speaking on “Rendering Readers’ Soulscapes: Variant Translation of Interiority in Late Medieval English and Scottish Literary Culture”. This paper addresses the issue of how in late medieval English and Scottish literary culture each choice of translation — down to the smallest preposition, modulation of tone or shift of voice — affects the configuration of reader interiorities, especially in contemplative, meditative or allegorical works.

Medieval French Research Seminar 20th April

Prof. Bill Burgwinkle (Cambridge): “Thirteenth-century troubadour poetry and the rise of post-evental thinking”

Thursday 20th April (week 11), 5.15pm, Buchanan Building, Room 216 (TBC)

The importance that is claimed for troubadour poetry often involves its status as the ‘first’: first vernacular lyric poetry preserved in Europe; earliest vernacular poetry composed by a woman; earliest preserved melodies for a ‘secular’ composition; first explicitly non-religious verse, and plenty of it (some 2500 songs from a period of roughly a century); first to deal almost exclusively with love and the erotic without offering apologies.  That this material has survived, was copied in luxury manuscripts, was imitated widely, and still resonates is amazing and I do not question that; but that is not what interests me most about this production or this phenomenon.  Instead, I want to look at fin’amors as a sample of discourse or a discursive formation (à la Foucault), and read it as emerging from an ‘event’ (à la Badiou).  It is when that discourse founders, when the rituals which uphold these beliefs begin to weaken and cracks appear in the notion that there can be just one account of that event—that is when things get most interesting.  For that we should look to the borders of Occitania, in what is now northern Italy and Catalonia.  It is in those regions and in some of the poets who hailed from the Piedmont, Genoa, and South of the Pyrenees that we find some of the most intriguing material and it is on those spaces and poets that I will focus in this paper.

Publication! Medieval St Andrews

Medieval St Andrews: Church, Cult, City edited by Michael Brown and Katie Stevenson has just been published by Boydell. It contains 15 essays including pieces by Julian Luxford, Bess Rhodes, Roger Mason, Richard Fawcett and Norman Reid all of St Andrews.

From the website:medieval-st-andrews-2

St Andrews was of tremendous significance in medieval Scotland. Its importance remains readily apparent in the buildings which cluster the rocky promontory jutting out into the North Sea: the towers and walls of cathedral, castle and university provide reminders of the status and wealth of the city in the Middle Ages. As a centre of earthly and spiritual government, as the place of veneration for Scotland’s patron saint and as an ancient seat of learning, St Andrews was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland.
This volume provides the first full study of this special and multi-faceted centre throughout its golden age. The fourteen chapters use St Andrews as a focus for the discussion of multiple aspects of medieval life in Scotland. They examine church, spirituality, urban society and learning in a specific context from the seventh to the sixteenth century, allowing for the consideration of St Andrews alongside other great religious and political centres of medieval Europe.

You can read more about this publication here: