Medieval and Early Modern Studies



Top 20 in the UK in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Late Medieval and Early Modern history at Aberdeen covers research interests in Scotland, England and Ireland; Scotland and its connections with Europe; and North Eastern and East Central Europe.

The Centre for Early Modern Studies (CEMS) promotes and supports this work, aiming to make a substantive contribution to the academic understanding of the emergence of the modern world. One of its growing historical research areas is the composite state and political union in early-modern Europe. The CEMS is part of the Consortium of the Centre for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and is one of three non-North American members.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library subscribes to resources including Early English Books Online; Eighteenth-Century Collections Online; British Parliamentary Papers; State Papers Online 1509–1714; and British Library Newspapers 1600–1900.

Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Within the History department, research interests in the later middle ages include war, borders and peripheries, Latin poetry by women, aspects of female spirituality, and law and landed society. In the early modern period there is a particular emphasis on the history of Poland-Lithuania, social and cultural history, witchcraft and deviance, and urban history.


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work in Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner: Supervision is offered in religious history and the history of women and early modern Scottish Episcopalianism.

Professor Karin Friedrich: Supervision is offered in Military, social, political, religious and intellectual history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, early modern Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Professor Robert Frost: Supervision is offered in Military, social, political, religious and intellectual history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, early modern Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

Professor William Naphy: Supervision is offered in the European and/or Scottish histories of witchcraft, medicine, sexuality, crime, Calvinism/Reformed (especially with regard to social control) in the broad period c. 1450-c. 1700

Dr Frederik Pedersen: Supervision is offered in medieval courts and demography; Scandinavian history (particularly post-Viking)..

PGR Students

Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:

  • Hanna Mazheika, From Text to Network: Confessional Contacts and Migration between Early Modern Britain and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
  • Anna Grudzińska, Nationality and Citizenship in modern Poland
  • Mindaugas Šapoka, The genesis of the 1715 Vilnius Confederation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1710–1715
  • Gerard Bogan, Contemplation and Action in the Early Cistercians
  • Jared Thomley, Charity Under the Cross: Scottish Poor Relief, 1600-1651
  • Daniel Cutts, Layered Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England

The following are some selected publications relating to Medieval and Early Modern Studies by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner

Professor David Dumville

  • 'Frivolity and reform in the Church: the Irish experience, 1066-1166'. Studies in Church History, vol 48, pp. 47-64.    
  • 'Political organisation in Dál Riata', in F Edmonds & P Russell (eds), TOME: Studies in Medieval Celtic History and Law in Honour of Thomas Charles-Edwards. Studies in Celtic History, vol. 31, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, pp. 41-52.
  • 'What is mediaeval Gaelic poetry?', in D Smith & H Philsooph (eds), Explorations in Cultural History: Essays for Peter Gabriel McCaffery. Studies in Cultural History, vol. 1, Centre for Cultural History, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, pp. 81-153.
  • 'Vikings in Insular chronicling', in S Brink & N Price (eds), The Viking World. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 350-367.

Professor Karin Friedrich

  • Obywatele i obywatelskość w wielonarodowej Rzeczypospolitej. in A Nowicka-Jeżowa, J Axer & A Grześkowiak-Krwawicz (eds), Wartości polityczne Rzeczypospoltej Obojga narodów: Struktury aksjologiczne i granice cywilizacyjne. first edn, vol. one, 4, Kultura Pierwszej Rzeczypospolitej w dialogu z Europą. Hermeneutyka wartości, vol. 3, Wydawnicto Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warsaw, pp. 119-150.
  • Political Loyalties in the Commonwealth’s Borderlands. Bogusław Radziwiłł (1620-1669) and the Problem of Treason. in Y Kleinmann, J Heyde, D Hüchtker, D Kałwa, J Nalewajko-Kulikov, K Steffen & T Wiślicz (eds), Imaginations and Configurations of Polish Society: From the Middle Ages through the 20th Century. first edn, vol. one, Poland: Culture - History - Society, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen.
  •  'History, Myth and Historical Identity', in JB Collins & KL Taylor (eds), Early Modern Europe: Issues and Interpretations. first edn, vol. 1, Blackwell Pub., Malden, Oxford, pp. 41-54. 
  • Die Erschliessung des Raumes: Konstruktion, Imagination und Darstellung von Räumen und Grenzen im Barockzeitalter. vol. 2 vols, 1st edn, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden.
  • The Other Prussia: Poland, Prussia and Liberty, 1569-1772 . Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.   

Professor Robert Frost

  • Ukraine-Rusʹ and Poland-Lithuania, 1300–1569. in F Sysyn, M Yurkevych, R Frost & Y Fedoruk (eds), History of Ukraine-Rus' volume four. vol. 4, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, Toronto, pp. xlviii-xcii.
  • Some Hidden Thunder: Hanover, Saxony and the Management of Political Union, 1697–1763. in B Sirota & A Macinnes (eds), The Hanoverian Succession in Great Britain and its Empire. Revolution Reaffirmed. Boydell & Brewer.
  • .kryć się przed psami": Problem dialogu polsko-szkockiego w latach 1550-1707. in I Kąkolewski, P Kondraciuk & M Kopczyński (eds), Od Horodła do Horodła. Unia Horodelska--dzieje i pamięć (1413-2013). Muzeum Zamojskie w Zamośc i Muzeum Historii Polski w Warszawie, Zamość, Warsaw, pp. 63-79.
  • The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania. Volume 1: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569. The Oxford History of Early Modern Europe, vol. 1, 1 edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.     
  • After the Deluge: Poland-Lithuania and the Second Northern War, 1655-1660. Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Professor William Naphy

  • 'From prince-bishopric to city-state: Nationalizing the Church and creating a republic in reformation Geneva', in E Nelson & J Wright (eds), Layered Landscapes: : Early Modern Religious Space Across Faiths and Cultures. Routledge, Oxford, pp. 134-149.    
  • 'Secret pregnancies and presumptions of guilt: infanticide in early modern Geneva, 1558-1642', in K Comerford, K Maag & A Burnett (eds), Politics, Gender, and Belief: The Long-Term Impact of the Reformation - Essays in Memory of Robert M. Kingdon. Librairie Droz.
  • 'Calvin's Geneva', in DK McKim (ed.), Cambridge Companion to John Calvin. Cambridge Companions to Religion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 25-37.
  • Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality. Tempus, Stroud.
  • The Protestant Revolution: From Martin Luther to Martin Luther King Jr. BBC Books, London, United Kingdom.

Some helpful links for further information and resources in Medieval and Early Modern Studies include: