Focus in research and teaching

Middle Ages section

Teaching in the Middle Ages section provides insights into the history of Early, High and Late Middle Ages with a special focus on the individual research interests of our teaching staff. Additionally, we train skills in related complementary historical sciences (especially paleography, codicology and archaeology), including their digital aspects.

Research interests

In our research, we currently focus on the early and late medieval history of the Holy Roman Empire, geographically corresponding to the territory of today's Germany, Eastern France, Western Poland, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Northern and Central Italy with a special emphasis on the following topics:

  • Cultural, urban and mobility history
  • Historical disaster and climate research (see below for more information)
  • Environmental and infrastructure history
  • Historical anthropology, ceremonial and ritual

Historical disaster research

A major focus of Darmstadt's medieval studies is historical disaster research. It addresses the interaction of environment and society through the example of extreme events such as earthquakes, epidemics, storm surges, tsunamis, floods or volcanic eruptions.

What are the social processes before, during and after the disaster? We gain a better understanding of historical disasters and their social response.

We base our research on reports on natural extreme events: a good example is the inscription plaque on the world-famous “Old Bridge” of Florence in memory of a catastrophic flood in November 1333 (see picture in the header).