Current projects

DFG-Project: Pillars of Royal Rule. Queens and Princes in the Eastfrankish-German realm (9th to the beginning of the 12th century)

© Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte

The project examines the mutual dependency between ruler and political elites in the Frankish-German realm from Carolingian times up to the 12th century especially addressing the tensions arising from the fact that members of the elite – both secular and ecclesiastic – participated in royal rule, e.g. as counsellors and at the same time could wield domination themselves, often in a regional context. Particular interest is devoted to the ruler's wife, who naturally had a special relationship with the ruler, but at the same time also performed functions that corresponded to those of the highest circles of the political elite, such as advising the ruler or intervening on behalf of petitioners with the ruler.

The project ist part of Power and Domination. Bonn Center for Premodern Orders and their forms of communication.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Cooperation partner: Dr. Linda Dohmen

Research assistents: Luise Margarete Jansen M.A., Philipp Merkel M.A.

DFG-Project: Saraceni, Mauri, Agareni, ... in Latin-Christian sources of the 7th to 11th centuries

Rep Sar Screenshot.png
© Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte

In the course of the Arab expansion, which began in the 7th century and led the conquerors to the European mainland, the Islamic religion was spread. Already the emerging geographical proximity promoted contacts between the resident Christian population and the so-called Saracens, who are described comparatively frequently in Latin-Christian works. Research has devoted numerous studies to the Crusade period in particular. Therefore, our image of Islam in the Latin-Christian West today is strongly influenced by the experiences and contacts during the Crusades. In contrast, there are only a few studies to date that focus on the portrayal of the Saracens in Latin-Christian sources of the pre-Crusade period.

The online Repertorium Saracenorum now offers, in the form of a Semantic MediaWiki, a comprehensive collection of reports on Saraceni, Mauri, Agareni, ... in Latin-Christian sources of the 7th to 11th centuries. Each report was individually registered in full text and in translation and scientifically processed. The indexing with categories and attributes facilitates access and search, additional information is integrated by means of Open Linked Data. The Repertorium Saracenorum was developed in cooperation with the Cologne Center for eHumanities, University of Cologne.


Project management: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Research assistents: Dr. Katharina Gahbler, Lukas Müller M.A.

An independent study examines the modes of representation of so-called Saracens from the time of Otto I. It refers to an antagonism laid down in the bible between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael, to which the medieval authors refer, and shows that the discrediting of political opponents with the help of religious enemy images was already an effective and much-used means of political propaganda in the earlier Middle Ages.

Katharina Gahbler, Zwischen Heilsgeschichte und politischer Propaganda. Darstellungsweisen und Darstellungsmuster von Sarazenen aus der Zeit Ottos I. (Historische Studien 514), Husum 2019.

The project was funded by the DFG between 2013 and 2017.
Press release of the University of Bonn from 10.12.2021:

Projects with expired third-party funding

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Managing directors: Dr. Katharina Gahbler, Dr. Mike Janßen.

PR: Christine Beyer, M.A., Achim Fischelmanns, M.A., Jasmin Leuchtenberg, M.A.

The project focuses on the gallic letter collections of Sidonius Apollinaris, Ruricius of Limoges and Avitus of Vienne from the late 5th and early 6th century. Up until today research interests mainly concentrated on individual letters or individual sections of letters but a systematic overall analysis is still lacking. Furthermore in using the term ‚contingency‘ a heuristically promising alternative to the controversial models of decline, continuity and transformation of the Western Roman Empire is introduced by the project. By means of examining the textual representation of contingency and its coping the project studies primarily the perception of the gallo-roman contemporaries and its literary conversion. The methodical approach of the project to analyse the narrational mode of the letter collections allows on the one hand to examine the internal structure of the respective letter collection and its respective immanent developments and on the other hand to compare the three letter collections. Thus providing an as yet missing contribution to the research of literary communication and of possible changes of perception and interpretation patterns in late 5th and early 6th century Gaul.

Publication: Kontingenzerfahrungen und ihre Bewältigung zwischen imperium und regna. Beispiele aus Gallien und angrenzenden Gebieten vom 5. bis zum 8. Jahrhundert, hg. von Matthias Becher - Hendrik Hess, Göttingen 2021.

Project manager: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Research associate: Dr. Hendrik Hess

Project manager: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Co-Project manager: Prof. Dr. Florian Hartmann

Research associate: Dr. Eugenio Riversi (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter); Anja-Lisa Schroll (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin)

Part of the DFG-Schwerpunktprogramms 1173 - "Desintegration und Integration mittelalterlicher Kulturen in Europa"

Project manager: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Research associate: Prof. Dr. Daniel König

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