Postdoctoral Fellow (Berlin)
BA, MPhil (Cambridge)
I received my doctorate in 2016, after a BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic and a MPhil in Medieval History, both at the University of Cambridge. My thesis, ‘Hostages in Early Medieval Britain’, funded by Trinity College Cambridge and supervised by Professor Simon Keynes, explores evidence for the practice of hostage-giving across early medieval Europe, arguing that hostages represented to medieval rulers and elites a vital aspect of peacemaking. This polysemic practice presented an equally important tool to early medieval authors, who used hostages to alternately praise and diminish rulers of the era.
Now based in Berlin, my contribution to the HERA-sponsored project ‘After Empire’ explores the use and understanding of law in tenth- and eleventh-century Western Europe. I wish to probe how early medieval authors connected the transmission and enforcement of law with the praxis of rulership, asking whether the absence of a significant body of royally-promulgated legislation in c. 900–1050 led to a shift in focus in written culture from the creation of law to its enforcement, and to the ability of kings to eradicate the lawless from society. The flipside to this question is whether writers framed the actions of those rebelling against royal power increasingly in terms of lawlessness and the violation of law.