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Special Issue of Medieval History Journal published

Dec 19, 2017

Prof. Dr. Klaus Oschema and Dr. Christoph Mauntel, Associate Members of the Cluster “Asia and Europe”, coedited the collection “A World of Empires. Claiming and Assigning Imperial Authority in the High and Late Middle Ages” with Dr. Chris Jones. The publication is a special issue of The Medieval History Journal and includes seven articles.

The special issue explores imperial terminologies and the usage of the Latin terms “empire” and “emperor”. While these imperial attributes are used by medievalists most commonly to refer to the Roman Empire, the underlying concept can be traced back to the medieval West. The introductory article by the coeditors Christoph Mauntel, Klaus Oschema and Chris Jones on “Controversial Terminology: Medieval Perspectives on Claiming and Assigning Imperial Status” gives a first insight on the historiographical background of the topic. The editors primarily replicate how both rulers and authors in European Middle Ages referred to the terms of “empire” and “emperor”, either for self-designation or for the description of other regions in the world.

Mauntel and Oschema wrote their contributions to The Medieval History Journal during their time at the Cluster, when they were part of project A 27 “Weltordnungen in Transkultureller Perspektive”. They already presented their findings at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, which they jointly organized in 2014 with co-editor Dr. Chris Jones from the Department of History at the University of Canterbury.

In his article “The ‘Emperor of Persia’: ‘Empire’ as a Means of Describing and Structuring the World”, Mauntel focuses on the Near East and investigates on ethnic denominations in the Islam world. Before all, the usage and evolution of different terms to label empires in Muslim states and their role within the historical formation of empires is analyzed. In “No ‘Emperor of Europe’: A Rare Title between Political Irrelevance, Anti-Ottoman Polemics and the Politics of National Diversity”, Oschema discusses the notion of Europe during the Middle Ages. He reflects on the question how the idea of an “Emperor of Europe” emerged in literature and which implications it sustained.

Prof. Klaus Oschema is leading the Chair of Medieval Studies “Geschichte des Mittelalters unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des späten Mittelalters“ at the Ruhr-University Bochum. His research focuses on the late medieval history of France and of neighboring countries. 

Dr. Christoph Mauntel works for the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in his project “Weltordnungen. Kontinente und Himmelsrichtungen als Kategorien lateinisch-christlicher Welterfassung“.


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