The projects of this working group focus on medieval "visions of community" and on the political efforts undertaken to realize these ideals. It was, in particular, Christian societal models, ethnic concepts and imperial traditions of legitimation that had a lasting effect on medieval Europe between 400 and 1200. From an examination of the sources it is clear that these identity-constructs, the product of constantly changing processes of communication, by no means constituted the manifestations of stable communities. Instead, they were much strategic ploys in a process of negotiation that sought to establish a consensus concerning the legitimacy of power and the coherence of social integration.

The comparative approaches employed in the projects allow their results to be applied beyond the confines of the Latin-speaking Middle Ages and compared with parallel societal models elsewhere.



Visions of Community - Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region and Empire in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism (400-1600 CE) (VISCOM)
FWF-Spezialforschungsbereich (SFB)

Approaches to Medieval Ethnicity

Medieval Steppe Peoples – Identities and Ways of Life

Changes in Eurasian Steppes and their Peripheries (CESP)

Last Things: Ideas of Death and Salvation in Early Medieval Ascetic Communities

The Fredegar Chronicle: Composition and Contextualisation

Bible and Historiography in Transcultural Iberian Societies, 8th to 12th Centuries

GENTES – Genesis of Ethnicity and Nations in Textual Evidence for Scandinavia, c.750–c.1000


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Walter Pohl