Department of Humanities

Visiting address
112 Howard, Digby Stuart

Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 3242


Main areas of research
  • the history of crime and criminal justice in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance
  • social history of Italy in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance
  • environmental history (cultural history of the weather)

I welcome prospective PhD students in the history of medieval crime and justice, or in late medieval Italian social and political history.

Convening and editing

Co-editor, Papers of the British School at Rome : we invite submission of high-quality papers in all periods of Italian history

Series co-editor, AUP Pre-modern Crime and Punishment : we invite submission of book proposals for this series


Co-convenor of the 'Late-medieval and early modern Italy' seminar at the Institute of Historical Research (University of London). Click here for our latest programme of seminars.



Doctoral research, under the supervision of Philip Jones ... first book (Land and Power in Late Medieval Ferrara, OUP 1987) ... numerous papers on Ferrarese history, for example on Ferrarese chronicle-writing (in Phaeton's Children, ed. Looney & Shemek, 2006).

Crime and justice

Numerous projects completed with external funding (British Academy, Leverhulme Trust) ... starting in Ferrara, then in the neighbouring city of Bologna, and eventually more widely in Italy and Europe. To date, three books, one co-edited collection (Crime, Society and the Law, with Kate Lowe) and numerous papers, on revenge, insult, domestic violence, theft, fornication, sodomy, pacification.

Textbook and book of texts

My source-book, The Towns on Italy in the Later Middle Ages was published by Manchester University Press in 2000, and I have also updated Daniel Waley's classic textbook, The Italian City-Republics (4th edn, Longman, 2010). Contributions on the signori of the thirteenth-fourteenth century Italy in the Short Oxford History of Italy, Italy in the Central Middle Ages, ed. D. Abulafia (2004), and in New Cambridge Medieval History, vol 5, ed D. Abulafia (1999).

Currrently working on ...

New papers on crime and criminal justice: variously on homicide, suicide, bigamy, Jews,  prisons and policing.



A study of on the representation of crime in diplomatic reports and ambassadorial correspondence in fifteenth-century Italy: a new source for the history of crime. 

My paper on sodomy in Renaissance Bologna will appear in Renaissance Studies, probably early 2017.

I am co-editing with Kate Lowe a volume on murder in the Renaissance, which aims to explore and analyse the social, political and cultural presence of homicide in Renaissance Italy, by examining the many types of murder and its representations.



Research outputs

  1. Police forces in medieval Italy: Bologna 1340-1480

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. A Protected Minority? Jews and Criminal Justice: Bologna 1370-1500

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Eight varieties of homicide: Bologna in the 1340s and 1440s

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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