Dr Gregory Lippiatt
Lecturer in Medieval History (E&R)
I am an historian of aristocratic government in the High Middle Ages and its intersection with Christian reform movements, particularly the crusades. My work focusses on the ways in which barons attempted to use their lordship to create an idealised Christian republic, at times through the imposition of military force.
I am currently preparing a major project and monograph for Oxford University Press on the Statutes of Pamiers (1212), a crusader constitution for the Midi.
I am a member of the Centre for Medieval Studies. My research concentrates on the ways in which governments attempted to realise the ideal Christian republic on earth from the late eleventh to the early fourteenth centuries. Most work in this area has been directed at the level of royal administration, especially that of King (later Saint) Louis IX of France. My own interests focus instead on the exercise of government by barons, who are too often overlooked as engines of government and reform.
The crusades were an important vehicle for the communication and implementation of Christian reform in this period, and my work studies these expeditions – both to the Levant and within Christendom – and their subsequent political legacy from this perspective. Preaching often inspired political prescription and proscription at home before crusaders marched off to usher in Christ's kingdom on earth and save their souls in the process. Around the Mediterranean, these crusaders and their descendants found themselves ruling over, competing with, and learning from diverse alien communities, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. Even in western Europe, 'knights of Christ' set out to confront heretics, schismatics, and imperialist partisans against whom they directed reformist principles. My research therefore explores how the high medieval aristocracy's engagement with the crusades as an expression of reform created a mixture of power, paternalism, and persecution.
External collaborating member, Centre d'Études Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale, Université de Poitiers (2016-present)
I am interested in discussing proposals from potential research students on any relevant subject in my research expertise. In particular, I would be keen to supervise students working on:
- The crusades
- High medieval aristocracy (especially in France, the Midi, and Sicily)
- Medieval government and Christian reform
- Interactions between clergy and laity in the shaping of reform ideas
- Heresy and its persecution
- Cross-cultural contact in the Mediterranean
If you are interested in working on a potential doctoral project, please email me a 500-word outline of your proposed topic with your CV so we can start discussing your ideas.
External impact and engagement
In addition to giving talks on the crusades to school and community groups, I have contributed articles on medieval subjects to the popular Spanish military history magazine Desperta Ferro and the Roman Catholic monthly devotional Magnificat. I am currently advising the Oxford Story Museum on their permanent exhibition dedicated to, among others, the medievalist, children's author, and Christian apologist Prof. C.S. Lewis.
Contribution to discipline
- HIH2001 - Doing History: Perspectives on Sources
- HIH3005 - General Third-Year Dissertation
- HIH3322 - Crusades in Christendom, 1179-1588: Sources
- HIH3323 - Crusades in Christendom, 1179-1588: Context
- HIH3632 - Violence
- HISM042 - Working with Medieval Manuscripts and Documents
- HISM045 - Medieval Masterclass
- HISM180 - Dissertation in Medieval Studies
- HISM400 - Dissertation in History
After completing my undergraduate studies in history and English at the Virginia Military Institute, I won a Rhodes Scholarship to Hertford College, University of Oxford, where I completed my D.Phil. under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Tyerman. My thesis on Simon of Montfort and baronial government was adapted for publication with OUP and appeared in 2017. I spent two years at the University of East Anglia as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow working on French baronial government around the Mediterranean in the thirteenth century before arriving at the University of Exeter in 2019.