Dr Gianluca Raccagni

Senior Lecturer; Medieval History, Coordinator of the History and Games Lab


I graduated in Medieval History at the University of Bologna and moved for my postgraduate studies to the University of Cambridge, where I subsequently held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Teaching Associateship at Gonville and Caius College. I then joined the University of Edinburgh after a  brief spell as Canon Foundation Research Fellow at the Department of Occidental History of the University of Tokyo.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Coordinator of the History and Games Lab

Undergraduate teaching


  • The Crusades and Medieval Society
  • Dante's Inferno: Medieval Society, Sin, and Eternal Damnation
  • Damnation and Redempion in the Medieval World: A Journey through Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio

Postgraduate teaching

  • Gamifying Historical Narratives (fusion on-site) (Edinburgh Futures Institute)
  • The Crusades and the Euro-Mediterranean World of the Central Middle Ages (HCA)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome the opportunity to supervise postgraduate research on any aspect of European and Mediterranean political culture in the central Middle Ages as well as Historical Games Studies and Design.

Research summary

  • Mediterranean encounters and links with the Nordic World
  • Political culture, with special emphasis on Communal Italy, the Papacy, and the Holy Roman Empire

  • The Crusades
  • Connections between academic research and the creative industries, and especially game design


  • Europe
  • Mediterranean
  • Nordic World


  • Ideas
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Society
  • Warfare
  • Natural Environment
  • Built Environment
  • Gamification


  • Central Middle Ages (1000-1300 )

Current research interests

I am currently the principal investigator of an international and collaborative research project entitled 'A Viking in the Sun: Harald Hardrada, the Mediterranean, and the Nordic World, between the Late Viking Age and the Eve of the Crusades'. It focuses on the status of the Norwegian Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson as probably the best-documented frontiers-crosser extraordinaire of the early eleventh century, using his experiences and encounters, as well as their legacies, as a case study for a wide-ranging exploration of the Mediterranean and its links to the Nordic World in the intensively liminal period between the late Viking Age and the eve of the crusades. You can find more information on this project here : https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/hardrada/ I am also involved in a regeneration project with the Italian municipality of Gradara, in the Marche region, which is funded by the EU and the Italian Government. I lead the gamification of its cultural heritage, especially by supervising the creation and gamification, through research-led forms of interactive storytelling, of a playable model of the town as it looked in the middle ages. You can find more information about this project here: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/gradaramodel/

Past research interests

My past research projects include studies of political culture in Communal Italy and its engagement with the crusades.

Knowledge exchange

I enjoy and welcome collaborations with the creative industries, and they are embedded in my current research project (see their website above for more information).

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  • A Viking in the Sun: Harald Hardrada, the Mediterranean, and the Nordic World, between the Late Viking Age and the Eve of the Crusades: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/hardrada/
  • The Gradara Model Project: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/gradaramodel/
  • The Italian City Communes of the Interior and the Crusades
  • Crusades Against Christians in the Middle Ages
  • Uses and perceptions of the Peace of Constance (the Magna Carta of the Lombard cities) in the 13th century
  • The Second Lombard League and the Italian Crusades

Current project grants

The Gradara Model Project is funded by the Next Generation EU scheme and by the Italian Ministry of Culture

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Gianluca Raccagni.

Books - Authored

Raccagni, G. (2010) The Lombard League 1167-1225. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Academic Journals

Raccagni, G. (2016) The crusade against Frederick II: A neglected piece of evidence. The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 67(4), pp. 721-740DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S002204691600066X

Raccagni, G. (2016) When the emperor submitted to his rebellious subjects: A neglected and innovative legal account of the 1183-Peace of Constance. The English Historical Review (EHR), 131(550), pp. 519-39DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cew173

Raccagni, G. (2014) English views on Lombard city communes and their conflicts with Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. Quaderni Storici, 145, pp. 183-218DOI: https://doi.org/10.1408/76676

Raccagni, G. (2013) Reintroducing the emperor and repositioning the city republics in the ‘republican’ thought of the rhetorician Boncompagno da Signa. Historical Research, pp. 579-600DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2281.12033

Raccagni, G. (2013) The teaching of rhetoric and the Magna Carta of the Lombard cities: the Peace of Constance, the Empire and the Papacy in the works of Guido Faba and his leading contemporary colleagues. Journal of Medieval History, 39(1), pp. 61-79DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03044181.2012.745446

Raccagni, G. (2012) Tra Lega Lombarda e pars Ecclesie. L’evoluzione della seconda Lega Lombarda e la leadership dei legati papali negli anni a cavallo della morte di Federico II (1239-1259) [Between Lombard League and Pars Ecclesie. The Second Lombard League and the Leadership of Papal Legates in the years around the death of Emperor Frederick II 1239-1259]. Società e storia, 35(136), pp. 249-275

Raccagni, G. (2011) A Byzantine title in a post-Byzantine world: local aspirations and the theory of translatio imperii in the use of the exarchal title by the archbishops of Ravenna through the Middle Ages. Mediterranean historical review, 25(2), pp. 133-146DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09518967.2010.536672

Raccagni, G. (2006) Le legazioni del cardinale Ildebrando Crasso a Ravenna e lo scontro tra Alessandro III e Federico I (1152-1178). Ravenna Studi e Ricerche, 13, pp. 50-78

Book Chapters

Raccagni, G. (2023) Gregory IX and the 'Lombard Question'. In: Smith, D. (ed.) Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241): Power and Authority. Amsterdam University Press

Raccagni, G. (2021) Beyond the Polis. In: Napolitano, D. and Pennington, K. (eds.) A Cultural History of Democracy in the Medieval Age. Bloomsbury, pp. 193-212DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350042766.ch-010

Raccagni, G. (2016) An exemplary revolt of the central middle ages?: Echoes of the first Lombard League across the Christian world around the year 1200. In: Firnhaber-Baker, J. and Schoenaers, D. (eds.) The Routledge History Handbook of Medieval Revolt. Routledge, pp. 130-151DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315542423

Raccagni, G. (2013) The Appellate Jurisdiction, the Emperor and the City – Republics in Early 13th-Century Northern Italy. In: Law and disputing in the Middle Ages: Proceedings of the 9th Carlsberg Academy Conference on medieval legal history. DJØF Publishing, pp. 181-200

Raccagni, G. (2008) ‘Il diritto pubblico, la Pace di Costanza e i libri iurium dei comuni’. In: Gli inizi del diritto pubblico europeo, II. Da Federico I a Federico II. Die Anfänge des öffentlichen Rechts, II. Von Friedrich Barbarossa zu Friedrich II. Bologna and Berlin: Il Mulino, pp. 309-39

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Member of the scientific committee of the project Rigenerazione e rifunzionalizzazione del borgo di Gradara per un rinascimento dell'artigianato storico e artistico.