Dr Sarah Greer

Dr Sarah Greer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
B.A (Hons), M.A. (Auckland), Ph.D (St Andrews)


Contact Details
E-mail: slg6@st-andrews.ac.uk




After completing my MA on female monasticism in sixth- to eighth-century Francia at the University of Auckland, I began my PhD in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews in September 2013.  My research was funded by a Marie Skłowdowska-Curie Fellowship as part of the ‘Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom’ Innovative Training Network (pimic.eu). I submitted my PhD in 2016 and was fortunate enough to be awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at St Andrews working with Professor Simon MacLean on the HERA-funded research project ‘After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Tenth Century’.  

My doctoral research focused on the development of royal female monasteries in Saxony from c. 852 to 1024, examining how memory was used at these sites to alter the relationships between these institutions and the rulers of their region. I am currently completing a monograph on the subject. During my postdoctoral fellowship, my research has explored the interplay between memory, gender and politics, ranging from examining the role of Ottonian women in the German Empire’s succession crisis of 1002 to charting the evolution of Carolingian genealogical diagrams. I have also begun to explore the role of royal mausolea in the post-Carolingian world, particularly focusing on the historical writing of Odorannus of Sens.

Grants and Awards

Marie Skłowdowska-Curie Doctoral Research Fellowship (St Andrews), 2013-2016
HERA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (St Andrews), 2016-2019


‘The disastrous feast at Werla: political relationships and insult in the succession contest of 1002’, German History 37:1 (2019), pp. 1-16.

Book Reviews

‘Review of The Bride of Christ Goes to Hell: Metaphor and Embodiment in the Lives of Pious Women, 200-1500, by Elliot, Dyan, (The Middle Ages Series. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) pp. x + 662.’ Journal of the Australian Early Medieval Association 10 (2014), 105-7.

Selected Conference Papers

  • February 2019, ‘All in the family: creating a Carolingian genealogy in the eleventh century’, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies Seminar Series, University of Edinburgh.
  • October 2018, ‘Devoted to canonical custom’: the impact of the 816/9 reforms on the growth of Saxon female monasticism’, Categorising the Church II: Clerical and Monastic Communities in the Carolingian World (8th-10th centuries), Université de Poitiers.
  • September 2018, ‘Hrotsvitha the Historian: rewriting the past in the Primordia Gandesheimensis’, Medieval and Ancient History Research Seminar Series, University of Sheffield.
  • July 2018, ‘Beyond Queenship? Mathilda of Quedlinburg and the possibilities of rule by royal daughters’, Æthelflæd 1100, Tamworth.
  • April 2018, ‘The rise of Ottonian imperial abbesses: a reconsideration’, Verbis et Exemplis: Queens, Abbesses and Other Female Rulers in Comparison, 800-1200, The University of Notre Dame (USA) in London.
  • October 2017, ‘Quedlinburg and Magdeburg: Constructing Legitimacy in the Reign of Otto I’, German History Society Annual Conference, University of St Andrews.
  • July 2017, ‘Sophia the Proud? Gender and imperial identity in the Gandersheim Conflict’, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds.
  • May 2017, ‘Queen Mathilda and Quedlinburg: the evolution of a foundation story’, After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Crisis of the Carolingian World, c. 900 – 1050 Inaugural Conference, Freie Universität Berlin.
  • July 2016, ‘Guess who’s coming to dinner: the stolen feast at Werla and the succession dispute of 1002’, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds.
  • July 2015, ‘Reassessing the past in the Primordia of Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim’, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds.
  • May 2015, ‘Bride-taking and law-breaking: justice and gender in the regency of Mathilda of Quedlinburg’, Gender and Transgression in the Middle Ages Postgraduate Conference, University of St Andrews.
  • April 2015, ‘Ottonian female rulership and the regency of Mathilda of Quedlinburg’, Adel und Herrschaft im 10. Jahrhundert westlich und östlich des Rheins, Deutsches Historisches Institüt, Paris.


I teach on the second semseter module ME2901 Early Medieval Europe, 400-1000  (evening degree programme).


Main Publications