Dr Alan V. Murray

Dr Alan V. Murray

Senior Lecturer in Medieval Studies and Editorial Director, International Medieval Bibliography

+44 (0)113 343 3617

Summary: The Crusades and the Latin East; Medieval Warfare, Tournaments and Chivalry; The Medieval Baltic Region; History and Literature of Medieval Germany.

Location: 407 Parkinson Building



I come from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. I studied Ancient, Medieval and Modern History and German Language and Literature at the University of St Andrews, where my teachers included Donald Bullough, Hugh Kennedy and Geoffrey Parker (History) and Jeffrey Ashcroft and Harry Jackson (German). After completing my MA, I taught English at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. I returned to St Andrews to undertake research and wrote my doctoral thesis on the origins of the nobility of the kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1131, while also studying History and Folk Studies (Volkskunde) at the University of Freiburg in Germany. I joined the International Medieval Bibliography at Leeds in 1988. I have since become Editorial Director of the project and Senior Lecturer in Medieval Studies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a regular member of the Baltische Historische Kommission. I also belong to the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, the Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft and the Scottish Place-Names Society.

Research Interests

My main research interests relate to the following areas:

1. The Crusades to the Holy Land and the Frankish states and settlement in Palestine and Syria, 1095-1291.

2. The Christianisation of the Baltic region (12th-14th centuries), especially the history and historiography of the Sword Brethren and the Teutonic Order, and questions of mission and communication.

3. Warfare in the later medieval and early modern periods, especially tactics, weaponry, logistics, siege warfare, morale and military music

4. The medieval tournament, especially its development from the mass tourney into distinct forms such as the joust, pas d'armes, round table and foot combat.

5. Medieval German language and literature, especially chronicles, crusade literature (Kreuzzugsdichtung) and literary patronage.

I am especially interested in pragmatic issues and in prosopographical approaches. Several of my publications have appeared in German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Estonian and Slovene.

Current Research Projects

I am currently working on aspects on a biography of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and on tournaments in the German-speaking countries, especially in the Frauendienst of the Styrian knight Ulrich von Liechtenstein.

Postgraduate Supervision

I am happy to supervise students who wish to work on any aspects of the subjects listed above. Click on the link to the left for a list of current and past research students.

Undergraduate Teaching

I teach on the first-year core module on Medieval Europe, as well as the elective Introduction to Medieval European Literature. I also contribute to the team-taught Level 2-3 elective on Magic and the Supernatural. In the last two years I have offered a new Level 3 module on the Baltic Crusades.

Postgraduate Teaching

I teach on the following modules which are offered within the MA programmes in Medieval Studies and Medieval History:

  • The Medieval Tournament: Combat, Chivalry and Spectacle in Western Europe, 1100-1600 (MEDV5330)

  • Warfare in the Age of the Crusades (1095-1204) (MEDV5260)

  • Vikings, Saxons and Heroic Culture (MEDV5250)

  • Research Methods and Bibliography (MEDV5110)

The option on Warfare in the Age of the Crusades relates directly to my main research interests. The option on the Medieval Tournament is taught jointly with Karen Watts, curator emerita at the Royal Armouries, and is to our knowledge the only dedicated postgraduate course on tournaments in existence.  

External Academic and Professional Activity

  • Editorial Board Member for the journals Medieval Prosopography, Al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, and Ordines Militares: Yearbook for the Study of the Military Orders.
  • General Editor of the publication series Outremer: Studies in the Crusades and the Latin East (see separate page for more information).
  • Invitations to speak at conferences, seminars and workshops and to give invited lectures, e.g. Budapest (2007), Aalborg (2007), Copenhagen (2007), Krems (2007), Tallinn (2008), St Louis (2009), Odense (2009), Birmingham (2010), Miami (2010), Reichenau (2010), Canterbury (2012), Galway (2012), Groningen (2013), IHR London (2013), Canterbury (2013), Jerusalem (2014), Cambridge (2015), Brixen/Bressanone (2015), Rome (2015), Kiel (2016), Zürich (2016), Konya (2016), Odense (2016), Marburg (2017).
  • External examiner for research degrees at Southern Denmark University (Odense), University of St Andrews, Central European University (Budapest), Trinity College Dublin, Queen Mary University of London, and NUI Galway.
  • Reviews in Catholic Historical Review, Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale, Crusades, English Historical Review, German History, Jahrbuch für Volksliedforschung, History, Journal of Baltic Studies, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Mediaevistik, Medieval Life, Medieval Prosopography, Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire, Speculum, Times Higher Education, War in History.