Staff Directory

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01522 83 7734
University of Lincoln
Brayford Pool
United Kingdom

About Robert Portass

I am a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History in the School of History and Heritage.  I specialise in the social and economic history of medieval Europe from 500 to 1200, with a particular focus on the Iberian Peninsula, which I situate in my teaching and research within the broader context of the Eurasian world. I came to Lincoln in 2014 from the University of Oxford, where I conjointly held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship and a JRF at St Hilda’s College from 2011 to 2014.  My training was conducted at the University of Oxford (MA and DPhil) and the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, where I completed a two-year Masters-level training course with distinction (all instruction in Spanish or Galician).  I retain active research contacts throughout Iberia, including at the Instituto de Estudios Medievais in Lisbon (where I am a Visiting Research Associate) and the Universidad de León. My first monograph, a study of the emergence of a small but dynamic land market in early medieval northern Spain and its transformative effects on peasant society, was published in the Royal Historical Society’s prize series Studies in History (Boydell and Brewer) in 2017.  I am currently working on two further projects: the first is a commissioned monograph for Palgrave Macmillan's Studies in Economic History series, due late 2019, on the economic history of Christian and Muslim Iberia from approximately 700 to 1250; the second is a study of estate management in tenth-century Spain that looks to set my findings within the context of late Roman-style estate management practice. Major forthcoming publications include 'Early Medieval Spain, 800-1100: the Christian Kingdoms and al-Andalus', in S. Mossman (ed.), Debating the Middle Ages, Vol. I (Manchester University Press, 2018 [19,000 words]). I have been elected to a Visiting Fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, for the academic year 2017-18 and I shall be on research leave in Semester B.

Department Responsibilities

Since January 2015 I have been Programme Leader for the MA in Medieval Studies and I am responsible for all administrative and organisational duties related to the programme.  I also teach various modules on the programme, including: Research Methods; Medieval Palaeography and Diplomatic (mostly Visigothic and Carolingian scripts); Medieval Iberia: People, Power and Place; North by Northwest: Comparative Approaches to Northwestern Europe, 750-1000. At BA level, modules I teach, have taught, or provide lectures for include: First Year: - East meets West: Conflict and Coexistence in the Mediterranean, c. 500-1250 - Introduction to Early Modern Visual Culture - The Medieval World (including survey lectures on the Carolingians, the Transformation of the Year 1000, and Social and Economic History) - Critical Thinking and Writing for Historians Second and Third Year: - New Directions in History - A Tale of Two Cities in Medieval Spain: From Toledo to Córdoba - The Forgotten Revolution? The Emergence of Feudal Europe - The Emperor in the Roman World

Subject Specialism

Medieval History; Economic History; History of Spain and Portugal; Peasant Studies; Comparative Approaches to Medieval Societies; Markets and Economic Development; Encounters between the Christian Iberian Kingdoms and al-Andalus


  • DPhil — University of Oxford, 2011
  • Diploma de Estudios Avanzados — Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 2007
  • BA (MA from 2011) — University of Oxford, 2005


  • College of Arts Research Grant (2018) — University of Lincoln,
  • Rising Star Engagement Award (2018) — British Academy,
  • Santander International Mobility Grant (2017) — Santander Universities Group,
  • Visiting Fellowship (2017-18) — King’s College, Cambridge,
  • College of Arts Research Grant (2017) — University of Lincoln,
  • College of Arts Research Grant (2015) — University of Lincoln,
  • Carnevali Small Research Grant (2015) — Economic History Society,
  • Santander International Mobility Grant (2015) — Santander Universities Group,
  • William Golding Research Fellowship (2014-18 - declined) — Brasenose College, Oxford,
  • FCT Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2014-18 - declined) — Portuguese National Research Council,
  • Junior Research Fellowship (2011-14) — St Hilda’s College, Oxford,
  • Early Career Fellowship (2011-14) — Leverhulme Trust,
  • BBVA Scholarship (2009) — British-Spanish Society,
  • Peter Storey Scholarship (2008-11) — Faculty of History/Balliol College, University of Oxford,


I have peer-reviewed for the following journals: Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies Journal of Medieval History Al-Masaq: Journal of the Medieval Mediterranean Asociación Internacional de Estudos Galegos I have also published commissioned translations (Spanish to English) of academic journal articles.

Orcid ID


Research Interests

  • Comparative History

  • History of Spain and Portugal

  • Late Antique Economy and Society

  • Medieval History

  • Social and Economic History

Research Groups Memberships

  • Instituto de Estudos Medievais

Research in the Lincoln Repository

Professional Affiliations

  • Royal Historical Society — Fellow
  • Medieval Academy of America — Member
  • Economic History Society — Member
  • Higher Education Academy — Associate Fellow
  • University of Oxford — Associate Member of Faculty of History (Oxford-IEM Lisbon Exchange Scheme)
  • Instituto de Estudos Medievais, Lisbon, Portugal — Non-Stipendiary Research Associate