Professor Simon MacLean

Professor Simon MacLean

MA, MPhil (Glasgow), PhD (London), FRHS

Contact Details

E-mail -
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 463313
Fax - +44 (0)1334 463334

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews



Teaching and Research Interests

I came to St Andrews in 2002 via a Research Fellowship at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Before that, I studied History at the Universities of Glasgow (MA, MPhil) and London (PhD). My research deals with the Carolingian Empire, a huge political unit which included about a million square kilometres of Western Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries. I began my research career with a study of one of the last and least emperors of the Carolingian dynasty, Charles III ‘the Fat’ (d.888). This work kindled my interest in topics such as historical writing, political identities, and queenship. More recently, I've been working on the post-Carolingian era of the tenth and eleventh centuries. This is a fascinating period of European history in which we see elites and intellectuals attempting to negotiate the implications of the end of the empire (which died with Charles the Fat) and reconcile them with the fast-changing new world in which they lived. One of the oft-noted features of this era is the prominence of queens and other powerful women, and this was the subject of my most recent book Ottonian Queenship. I am a Principal Investigator on the HERA-funded research project After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Crisis of the Carolingian Empire, c.900-1050. This runs from 2016 to 2019 and my role involves co-writing (with Prof Sarah Hamilton) a book on tenth-century Europe as a whole. This is my main current project.

I have supervised several PhDs on these and related topics, and am interested to hear from prospective students with ideas for projects in European history from the eighth to twelfth centuries.

Main Publications


  • Ottonian Queenship (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2017)
  • The Carolingian World (co-authored with M. Costambeys and M. Innes) (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2011), 505pp
  • History and Politics in Late Carolingian and Ottonian Europe: the Chronicle of Regino of Prum and Adalbert of Magdeburg (Manchester University Press: Manchester, 2009), 328pp
  • Atlas of Medieval Europe (2nd ed., Routledge: London, 2007) (ed., with D. Ditchburn and A. Mackay), 339pp
  • Representations of Power in Medieval Germany, c.800-1500 (Brepols: Turnhout, 2006) (ed., with B. Weiler), 350pp
  • Kingship and Politics in the Late Ninth Century: Charles the Fat and the End of the Carolingian Empire (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2003), 286pp [Details]


  • 'Waltharius: Treasure, Revenge and Kingship in the Ottonian Wild West', in K. Gilbert and S.D. White (eds), Emotion, Violence, Vengeance and Law in the Early Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of William Ian Miller (Leiden, 2018), pp. 225-51
  • 'The Carolingian Past in Post-Carolingian Europe', in J. Hudson and S. Crumplin (eds.), The Making of Europe. Essays in Honour of Robert Bartlett (Brill: Leiden, 2016), pp. 11-28
  • 'Cross-Channel Marriage and Royal Succession in the Age of Charles the Simple and Athelstan (c.916-936)', in Medieval Worlds 2 (2015), pp. 26-44.
  • ‘Palaces, Itineraries and Political Order in the Post-Carolingian Kingdoms’, in A. Rodriguez and J. Hudson (eds.), Diverging Paths? The Shape of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam (Brill: Leiden, 2014), pp. 291-320
  • ‘Shadow Kingdom: Lotharingia and the Frankish World c. 850-1050’, History Compass 11/6 (2013), pp. 443-57
  • ‘Recycling the Franks in Twelfth-Century England: Regino of Prüm, the Monks of Durham and the Alexandrine Schism’, Speculum 87 (2012), pp. 649-681
  • 'Monastic Refom and Royal Ideology in the Late Tenth Century: Edgar and Aelfthryth in Continental Perspective', in C. Leyser, D. Rollason and H. Williams (eds.), England and the Continent in the Tenth Century: Studies in Honour of Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947) (Brepols: Turnhout, 2011), pp. 255-75
  • 'Legislation and Politics in Late Carolingian Italy: the Ravenna Constitutions', Early Medieval Europe 18 (2010), pp. 394-416
  • 'Britain, Ireland and Europe, c.900-c.1100', in P. Stafford (ed). A Companion to the Early Middle Ages. Britain and Ireland, c.500-1100 (Blackwell: London, 2009), pp. 358-75
  • 'Insinuation, Censorship and the Struggle for Late Carolingian Lotharingia in Regino of Prum's Chronicle', English Historical Review 124 (2009), pp. 1- 28
  • 'Reform, Queenship and the End of the World in Tenth-Century France: Adso's "Letter on the Origin and Time of the Antichrist" Reconsidered', Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire / Belgisch tijdschrift voor filologie en geschiedenis 86 (2008)
  • ‘Making a Difference in Tenth-Century Politics: King Athelstan’s Sisters and Frankish Queenship’, in P. Fouracre and D. Ganz (eds.), Frankland. The Franks and the World of Early Medieval Europe (Manchester UP: Manchester, 2008), pp. 167-90
  • ‘Apocalypse and Revolution: Europe around the Year 1000’, Early Medieval Europe 15 (2007), pp. 86-106
  • '“After his death a great tribulation came to Italy…” Dynastic Politics and Aristocratic Factions after the Death of Louis II, c.870-c.890’, Millennium Jahrbuch 4 (2007), pp. 239-60
  • ‘Ritual, Misunderstanding and the Contest for Meaning: Representations of the Disrupted Royal Assembly at Frankfurt (873)’, in S. MacLean and B. Weiler (eds.), Representations of Power in Medieval Germany, c.800-1500 (Brepols: Turnhout, 2006), pp. 97-120
  • ‘Introduction’ (with B. Weiler), in S. MacLean and B. Weiler (eds.), Representations of Power in Medieval Germany, c.800-1500 (Brepols: Turnhout, 2006), pp. 1-14
  • ‘Queenship, Nunneries and Royal Widowhood in Carolingian Europe’, Past and Present 178 (2003), pp. 3-38
  • ‘The Carolingian Response to the Revolt of Boso, 879-87’, Early Medieval Europe 10 (2001), pp. 21-48
  • ‘Charles the Fat and the Viking Great Army: the Military Explanation for the End of the Carolingian Empire’, War Studies Journal 3 (1998), pp. 74-95

Administrative Duties

Head of School

Research Students

Current students

  • Giulia Zornetta, Politics and Law in Southern Italy, 8th-11th century (co-tutelle with University of Padova)
  • Frances Murray, Crying Rulers in the Early Middle Ages

Completed students

Teaching Duties

Participates in the teaching of First and Second Level Mediaeval History and offers the following Honours courses:



Other Publications

Kingship and Politics

Representation of Power