Dr Mike Carr (BA, MA, PhD)
Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History
I first came to Edinburgh as a Teaching Fellow in Medieval History from 2014-16, before holding a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship from 2016-19. I was appointed Lecturer in 2019 and Senior Lecturer in 2023.
My research and teaching focuses mainly on the Mediterranean, c.1000-1500, especially the interactions between Byzantium, the Islamic world and the Latin West. These are topics that I first encountered during my BA in Ancient History at the University of Birmingham, and then developed further during my MA and PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London.
After finishing my PhD, I was lucky enough to receive two research fellowships from the Institute of Historical Research in London, the second as a Pearsall Fellow in Naval and Maritime History, before spending a year as a fellow at the British School in Rome. My current research is very much a culmination of my interests in the papacy, trade and the maritime history of the medieval Mediterranean.
I welcome enquiries from postgraduates who wish to work on the medieval Mediterranean.
You can hear me talk about my research in the BBC History Extra podcast on Trading and Crusading in the Middle Ages:
And on the Knights Templar for BBC Radio 4's In Our Time and History Hit:
Responsibilities & affiliations
Director of Quality, School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Dissertation Coordinator for History
Edinburgh Centre for Global History
Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies
Centre for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies
- Medieval Worlds: A Journey through the Middle Ages (pre-honours)
- Merchants, Pirates and Crusaders in the Late Medieval Mediterranean (honours option)
- The End of an Empire: The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 (honours special subject)
- Medieval Travellers in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia (MSc option)
- The Trial of the Templars (online MSc option)
- The Sources of Medieval History (MSc core course)
Open to PhD supervision enquiries?
Areas of interest for supervision
I am currently supervising PhD students working on the medieval Mediterranean and I welcome enquiries from prospective students who wish to work on this area.
Areas accepting Research Students in:
Medieval Mediterranean History
Current PhD students supervised
- Alasdair Grant,
- 'Cross-Confessional Captivity in the Later Medieval Eastern Roman World, c.1280-1450'
- (co-supervisor with Niels Gaul and Dimitri Kastritsis, finished 2021)
- Francesco Migliazzo,
- 'From Republic to Lordship. Southern Italian influence on the Northern City-States' Governance and on the Rise of Urban Lords (1265-1343)'
- (co-supervisor with Gianluca Raccagni and Sam Cohn)
- Ming Liu,
- 'Counsel, Counsellors and Kingship in the Works of William of Malmesbury'
- (co-supervisor with Bill Aird)
- Stefano Nicastro,
- 'Genoa in the Islamic Mediterranean: Transmission of Knowledge between terra christianorumand the Dār al-Islām and Islamic Perceptions of a Latin State in the Later Middle Ages'
- (co-supervisor with Marie Legendre)
- Louise Gardiner,
- 'The Royal Letter Book, Edinburgh University Library MS 183'
- (co-supervisor with Sebastian Sobecki, University of Groningen)
- Near East
- Comparative & Global History
- Diplomatic History
- Economic History
- Medieval & Renaissance
My research focuses on the history of the Mediterranean during the period 1000-1500, especially the interactions between Latin, Greek and Islamic cultures. I am particularly interested in the existence of "boundaries" in the Mediterranean and the role which merchants played in crossing them, as well as their participation in crusades, both to the Holy Land, and also in the later period against the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.
I have explored these themes in several journal articles and book chapters as well as my book, Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean, 1291-1352, which was published by Boydell and Brewer in 2015.
I am fortunate that my studies have given me the excuse to conduct regular research trips in the Aegean during the summer months, as well as to work in archives and speak at conferences around Europe, such as in Denmark, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Spain and Romania.
Current research activities
I am currently writing a monograph on the papacy and the regulation of trade with Muslims in the later middle ages, which is partly an adpatation of the findings of my Leverhulme project mentioned below.
I am also co-editing volumes on crusades against Christians, the post-1204 Byzantine world and military diasporas.
From 2019-20 I was a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award-holder (2019-20) for the project Medieval Mediterranean Exchanges: New Approaches and Collaborations (BARSEA19\190017) which brought together postgraduate and early career researchers, along with established academics and heritage professionals, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing those working on medieval Mediterranean exchanges.
In 2016-19 I carried out the research project Managing Otherness: Papal Permissions for Trade with the “Infidel”, 1342-1394 which was co-funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the University of Edinburgh. The project focused on the complexities of western attitudes towards Islam by exploring how the papacy sought to manage otherness through the regulation of trade with Muslims. It did this through the analysis of papal ‘trade licences’, which exempted merchants from the papal ban on trade with Muslims. The project illustrates how the aim of the papacy was ultimately not to halt trade and interaction with Muslims, as is often assumed in scholarship, but to broker and control it, thereby maximising political influence in the Mediterranean and Europe, while simultaneously funding crusades and replenishing the notoriously inadequate papal funds. The project involved extensive research in the Vatican archives, especially of the unpublished papal registers of petitions (Registra Supplicationum), where many trade licences are held.
In addition to this, I am conducting a joint project with Dr Cristian Caselli (University of Gottingen) on the "genre" of apocryphal correspondence between Turkish and European rulers in the fourteenth and fifteenth-centuries.
In 2019-20 I was a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award-holder for the project Medieval Mediterranean Exchanges: New Approaches and Collaborations: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/BARSEA%202019%20Full%20List.pdf
I have participated in several media shows on medieval history and the Mediterranean, including for History Extra, History Hit and BBC Radio 4's In Our Time:
Carr, M., Merchant Crusaders in the Aegean, 1291-1352 (Boydell and Brewer, 2015).
Carr, M., Christ, G. & Sänger, P. (eds), Military Diasporas: Building of Empire in the Middle East and Europe (550 BCE-1500 CE) (London: Routledge, 2022).
Carr, M. and Schenk, J. eds., The Military Orders Volume 6: Culture and Conflict (London: Routledge, 2016).
Carr, M. and Chrissis, N. eds., Contact and Conflict in Frankish Greece and the Aegean, 1204-1453: Crusade, Religion and Trade between Latins, Greeks and Turks (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014).
Carr, M., ‘Friend or Foe? The Catalan as Proxy Actors in the Aegean and Asia Minor Vacuum’, Journal of Medieval Military History 14 (2016) , 163-77.
Carr, M., ‘Crossing Boundaries in the Mediterranean: Papal Trade Licences from the Registra supplicationum of Pope Clement VI (1342-1352)’, Journal of Medieval History 41 (2015), 107-29.
Carr, M., ‘Humbert of Viennois and the Crusade of Smyrna: A Reconsideration’, Crusades 13 (2014), 237-51.
Carr, M., ‘Cyprus and the Crusades between the Fall of Acre and the Reign of Peter I’, in Crusading, Society, and Politics in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Age of King Peter I of Cyprus, ed. A. Beihammer & A. Nicolaou-Konnari (Turnhout: Brepols, 2023), pp. 107-17.
Carr, M. & Grant, A., ‘The Catalan Company as a Military Diaspora in Medieval Greece and Asia Minor’, in Military Diasporas, as above, pp. 176-193.
Carr, M., ‘Modifications to Papal Trade Licences at the Avignon Curia’, in Authority and Power in the Medieval Church c. 1000-1500, ed. T.W. Smith (Turnhout: Brepols, 2020), pp. 205-15.
Carr, M., ‘Between the Papal Court and the Islamic World: Famagusta and Cypriot Merchants in the Fourteenth Century’, in Famagusta Maritima: Mariners, Merchants, Pilgrims and Mercenaries, ed. M. Walsh (Leiden: Brill, 2019), pp. 113-27.
Carr, M., ‘Policing the Sea: Enforcing the Papal Embargo on Trade with “Infidels”’, in Merchants, Pirates, and Smugglers. Criminalization, Economics and the Transformation of the Maritime World (1200-1600), ed. P. Höhn et al. (Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2019), pp. 329-41.
Carr, M., ‘Pope Benedict XII and the Crusades’, in I. Bueno (ed.), Pope Benedict XII (1334-1342): The Guardian of Orthodoxy (Amsterdam: Arc Humanities Press, 2018), pp. 217-40.
Carr, M., ‘Early Contacts between Menteşe and the Latins in the Aegean: Alliances with the Genoese and Conflicts with the Hospitallers (c.1310-12)’, in Menteşeoğulları tarihi, 25-27 Nisan 2012, Muğla: bildiriler, ed. A. Çevik & M. Keçiş (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 2016), pp. 55-64.
Carr, M., ‘Papal Trade Licences, Italian Merchants and the Changing Perceptions of the Mamluks and Turkish Beyliks in the Fourteenth Century’, in G. Christ et al. (eds), Diasporic Groups and Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean (1100‐1800) (Rome: Viella, 2015), pp. 489-97.
Carr, M., ‘In medio Turchorum et aliarum infidelium nationum. Die Zaccaria von Chios’, trans. J. & D. Crispin, in Abrahams Erbe: Konkurrenz, Konflikt und Koexistenz der Religionen im europäischen Mittelalter, ed. K. Oschema, L. Lieb & J. Heil (De Gruyter: Berlin, 2015), pp. 407-17.
Carr, M., ‘Trade or Crusade? The Zaccaria of Chios and Crusades Against the Turks’, in Contact and Conflict, as above, pp. 115-34.
Carr, M. & Chrissis, N., ‘Introduction’, in Contact and Conflict, as above, pp. 1-14.
Carr, M., ‘Between Byzantium, Egypt and the Holy Land: The Italian Maritime Republics and the First Crusade’, in S.B. Edgington & L. García-Guijarro (eds), Jerusalem the Golden: The Origins and Impact of the First Crusade(Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), pp. 75-87.
Carr, M., 'The Hospitallers of Rhodes and their Alliances against the Turks’, in S. Phillips & E. Buttigieg (eds), Islands and Military Orders, c.1291-1798 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp. 167-76.