Catherine Holmes

Catherine Holmes

A.D.M. Cox Old Members’ Tutorial Fellow in Medieval History; Associate Professor of Medieval History

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I teach a wide range of the survey courses and specialist options in medieval history. The survey courses for which I offer tutorials include several first- and second-year options in General History between 900 and 1500 C.E. (i.e. European and Global history). For some of these papers, I provide History Faculty lectures. I also offer tutorials in the principal survey paper in late medieval British history (British III), as well as in a number of specialist options: ‘Chivalry and the Hundred Years War’ (for first years); ‘The Crusades’ (for second years); ‘Byzantium in the Age of Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ (for third years). I also supervise undergraduate dissertations in Byzantine, Mediterranean and Global medieval history. In graduate teaching, I supervise theses and essay topics regularly for the master’s courses in Medieval History, Medieval Studies, and Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Together with colleagues in the Faculty I am planning an option for MSt students in ‘The Global Middle Ages’. I supervise doctoral students in the fields of Byzantine political and cultural history (after 850 C.E.) and Mediterranean cultural and political history from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries (with a particular focus on the eastern Mediterranean).


In my research I look to integrate the specialist field of Byzantine studies with the study of the history and culture of other regions of the medieval world. My early research focused on the history and culture of Byzantium in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Subsequently my interests moved on to the wider eastern Mediterranean world of the later medieval centuries (13th to 15th), investigations which often focused on the relationship between politics and religious identity. Thinking about how to understand the medieval Mediterranean has increasingly led me towards global history. Together with Naomi Standen (Professor of Medieval History at Birmingham and a historian of medieval China), I have led a large network of scholars in an AHRC-funded network project ‘Defining the Global Middle Ages’ (2012-15), an initiative which we are now writing up as a book: Before Columbus. Towards a Global Middle Ages.  I am also involved in another collaborative cross-cultural project which examines political culture in the medieval West, Byzantium and the Islamic world. This project ties in with my longstanding interest in the intersections between politics, literary culture and communication. Since 2011 I have also been one of the editors of The English Historical Review.

Selected Publications

‘Global Byzantium: a Whirlwind Romance or Fundamental Paradigm Shift’, in L. Brubaker, R. Darley and D. Reynolds (eds.), Global Byzantium (forthcoming 2018/19)

(ed.) with N. Standen, The World Before Columbus. Towards a Global Middle Ages (due 2018): co-written introduction; co-written chapter on politics

(ed.) with J. Shepard and B. Weiler, Political Culture in Three Spheres: the Medieval West, Byzantium and the Islamic World (due 2018/19)

(ed.) with J. Harris and E. Russell, Byzantines, Latins and Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean World after 1150 (Oxford, 2012), for which I wrote the introductory chapter as well as the chapter ‘Shared Worlds? A Question of Evidence’

‘Political Literacy’, in P. Stephenson (ed.) The Byzantine World (London: Routledge, 2010)

‘Compilation Literature and Byzantine Political Culture in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 64 (2010)

‘Treaties between Byzantium and the Islamic World’, in in P. De Souza and J. France (eds.), War and Peace in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 2008)

Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976-1025) (Oxford, 2005)

‘The Byzantine Eastern Frontier in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries’, in D. Abulafia and N. Berend (eds.), Medieval Frontiers: Concepts and Practices (Aldershot, 2002)

(ed. with J S Waring), Literacy, Education and Manuscript Transmission in Byzantium and Beyond (Leiden, 2002)

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