Ethnonyms and the Order of Space in the Frankish Realms | 6th-9th c

International Workshop | Hybrid

Workshop of the Project
Mapping Medieval Peoples
Visualizing Semantic Landscapes in Early Medieval Europe


Mariña Bermúdez Beloso | Universidad de Valladolid
Francesco Borri | Università Ca' Foscari
Andreas Fischer | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen
Thomas Gobbitt | Austrian Academy of Sciences
Cinzia Grifoni | Austrian Academy of Sciences
Christopher Heath | University of Lincoln
Sören Kaschke | Universität zu Köln
Thomas Lienhard | Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Katharina Winckler | Austrian Academy of Sciences


A goal of the project Mapping Medieval Peoples: Visualizing Semantic Landscapes in Early Medieval Europe (MMP) (IMAFO/ÖAW) is the interdisciplinary study of the perception and construction of early medieval gentes and their representation in late antique and early medieval spatial discourse. Developing tools for semantic network analysis and geovisualization, MMP reconstructs the mental maps of medieval authors and their perceptions of peoples and regions. It examines a wide array of texts from different genres in order to elucidate how ethnic terminology, ethnonyms and perceptions of space were intertwined with one other.

The workshop will investigate the discourse on ethnonyms and their spatial locations in a Merovingian and Carolingian perspective and will primarily focus on specific authors and/or narrative clusters showing a strong intertextuality, such as annals or hagiography.

Papers will explore how early medieval authors located ethnonyms within their mental map of contemporary and past realms, borders and spaces beyond. What were the underlying spatial ideas, and what were the motives behind the placement of certain ethnonyms? Where did this knowledge come from, and how was it transformed? By attempting to situate these ethnonyms on a modern map, can we adequately portray the early medieval landscape of power? Or does this force us to confront discursive strategies that reflect the wishes, dreams and ideas of the ruling elites?

Further topics cover ideas of geographies and their reflection in the topographies of power, constructed territories, imagined space(s), lieu de mémoire, Sehnsuchtsorte, non-places, geography of Otherness, frontiers etc. and their connection to ethnonyms in the widest sense.



9:00 – 10:40

Introduction:  Veronika Wieser, Katharina Winckler

Moderator: Maximilian Diesenberger

Merovingian Ideas of Space and Territory

Andreas Fischer: Ethnonyms and Mental Maps: Alemanni and Suebi in Merovingian Historiography.

New Territories (part 1)

Thomas Lienhard: How did the Carolingians Perceive the Dalmatian Coast (1st half of the 9th century)?

10:40 – 10.55 Coffee Break

10:55 – 12:15

New Territories (part 2)

Moderator: Veronika Wieser

Mariña Bermúdez Beloso: ‘What’s in a name?’ About the Regionem Carantanorum, the Karantana Provincia and the Possibilities for Mapping it.

Katharina Winckler: The Carolingian Avaria.

12:15 – 13:20 Lunch Break

13:20 – 14:40

Distribution of Spatial Ideas

Moderator: Laura Gazzoli

Sören Kaschke: Mapping and Re-mapping the Frankish World: The Use of Ethnonyms in the Annales Regni Francorum and its Derivatives.

Cinzia Grifoni: Collecting Knowledge at Bobbio. Peoples and Space in a Late Carolingian Glossary.

14:40 – 15:00 Coffee Break

15:00 -16:20

Lombard Worlds

Moderator: Francesco Borri

Christopher Heath: Finding the Italo-Romans in the Historia Langobardorum of Paul the Deacon.

Thom Gobbitt: Langobard Legal Actors in the Lombard Laws: Ethnonyms, Multi-legalism and Manuscript Contexts.

16:20 – 16:40 Coffee Break

16:40 – 18:00

Moderator: Katharina Winckler

Imaginary Space 

Francesco Borri: Magonia - a Weird Place to End the Day.

Conclusion & Final Discussion



04 Nov 2022
from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Institute for Medieval Reseach
Seminar Room, 1st Floor
Hollandstraße 11-13, 1020 Vienna

organised by Katharina Winckler



Project page 


Programme | PDF