"Mapping Medieval Peoples (MMP)" is a project in cooperation with the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMAFO) financed by ÖAW Innovation Fund "Research, Science and Society", led by Prof. Dr. Walter Pohl and Dr. Veronika Wieser as principal investigators. ACDH-CH team provides the technical infrastructure, to develop and host a digital edition a web application for digital data collection and publication of the data at hand according to current best practices in the field. 

Ethnic entity represents a key category for research into the early Middle Ages, which played an essential role in the formation and reorganization of so-called barbaric kingdoms. Integration and/or exclusion could be used on the basis of ethnic entities as a means to legitimize and stabilize political rule. A clear demarcation of different ethnic characteristics was not possible, just as "roman" and "barbaric" could not be clearly differentiated from one another. Language, clothing and weapons were also not fixed categories for a clear demarcation. Historical research over the past few decades has led to the realization that ethnic entities developed over the course of time and were subject to a wide variety of influences. A number of research questions have arisen: How and when did ethnic terms and their meanings change? At some point in history, did contemporaries share a common understanding of ethnic identity? How powerful were these ethnic attributions in the contemporary context? 

The MMP project aims to build an innovative technical solution able to support answering these research questions through advanced means of analyzing and visualizing the collected data. The web application will allow to author and manage, as well as, to browse and search the data. Furthermore, it will expose a RESTful API for programmatic access to the data. At the heart of the discovery and exploration functionality, an interactive network visualization component, the signature feature of the application, will support revealing hidden relationships between the mentions of ethnonyms and corresponding attributions along the time and space dimension.  

The data basis, collected over the course of several previous projects, is composed of roughly 4.200 text passages of Latin texts in a timespan between 400 und 1200, enriched with categorizations, extracted relevant keywords and other aspects of research interest, and is currently managed and presented in the GENS (Group Terminology and Ethnic Nomenclature a Semantic Base) database. Besides further general curation of the data, deeper enrichment and analysis of selected subsets of the material will be conducted in three case studies: Language of Belonging in Ninth-Century East; Migration Ethnonyms: Reshaping Geography and Ethnography in the Early Middle Ages; and Steppe Peoples. 

Project Duration

1 November 2020 – 31 October 2022



Walter Pohl

Veronika Wieser

Peter Andorfer





IMAFO Project Website