James Hill

James Hill

IMS PG Researcher

Summary: Thesis: Papal relations and influence in the Eastern Mediterranean the fourteenth century.


The papal move to Avignon in 1305 coincided with a period of declining influence outside of the boundaries of Europe following the loss of Acre in 1291. However, in Europe, this was the zenith of a period of papal authoritarianism perhaps best epitomised by the quickly withdrawn proclamations of Boniface VIII.

This project aims to re-examine Papal relations and influence on the Eastern Mediterranean during the Avignon period, and attempt to establish how much the fourteenth century popes were really interested in the East. The project entails considering how much the popes were looking for military or diplomatic solutions with non-Christian nations, how important finding common ground and union with schismatic Churches was to them and also establishing how much influence the popes were able to exert on Catholic Christian powers which interacted in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Previously, James has published on the Norman kingdom of Sicily, offering a reinterpretation of the Catalogus Baronum, a confusing and underused document.

About me

James began his academic career in Leeds back in the heady days of 2006 as an undergraduate in the school of History fresh off his (extended) gap year(s), and stayed to the completion of a masters in the IMS in 2010. Following that, he went to teach on Jeju Island in South Korea. He taught in several high schools and the island's special needs school with the government teaching programme, EPIK. During this time, he published his first journal article and also wrote a series of stories, reports and articles for the regional English language newspaper, the Jeju Weekly. After two years teaching, he felt the need to complete his education, and returned to Leeds in January 2014 with School of History funding for his project.

When he's not doing academic things, James enjoys reading, writing, sports, martial arts, computer games, long walks on the beach, and writing about himself in the third person. He is an instructor at the university Taekwondo club, a librarian and an occasional barman for good measure, too.

Supervisors: Graham Loud (Medieval Studies) and Melanie Brunner (Medieval Studies).