Dr Roger John Howard Collins (M.A., D. Litt., F.R.A.S., F.R.Hist.S., F.S.A. Scot.)

Honorary Fellow; Medieval Eurasian History


He studied in the University of Oxford (Queen's and St. Cross Colleges) under Peter Brown and Michael Wallace-Hadrill, and then taught Medieval and Ancient History in the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol. He came to the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities in the University of Edinburgh in 1994, and became an Honorary Fellow in the then Department of History in 1998.

Postgraduate teaching

First Millennium

Research summary


  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Mediterranean
  • Scotland


  • Comparative & Global History
  • Culture
  • Ideas
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Society


  • Antiquity
  • Medieval
  • Eighteenth Century

Current research interests

The history of Spain in the early Middle Ages, the history of the Papacy in all periods, the comparative cultural and religious history of the Eurasian continent and northern Africa in the period c.200-900 CE.

Past research interests

More of the same, plus The Chronicle of the Pseudo-Fredegar and the History vet Gesta Francium, early Carolingian historiography more generally, the history of the Basques, Jacobitism etc

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  1.  Completing a book on the history of Eurasia in the period c.200-900 CE
  2. Completing a book entitled 'The Christian Culture of Islamic Spain' for Anthem Press

Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of International History

A.      BOOKS


1.      Early Medieval Spain: Unity in Diversity, 400-1000 (London: Macmillans, 1983); reprinted in 1988 and in 1991. US edition by St. Martin’s Press. Spanish translation: España en la alta edad media(Barcelona: Editorial Crítica, 1986). Second, revised and partly rewritten edition published in 1995.

2.      The Basques (Oxford and Cambridge Mass.: Blackwell, 1986); a volume in the Blackwells ‘Peoples of Europe’ series.  Spanish translation: Los Vascos (Madrid: Alianza, 1989).  Second enlarged and revised English edition published September 1990 (in paperback); reprinted 1992 and 1994.  French translation: Les Basques, with additional final chapter (Paris: Perrin, 1991). Czech translation: Baskové (Prague: Nakladatelstvi Lidové Noviny, 1997).

3.      The Arab Conquest of Spain, 710-797 (Oxford and Cambridge Mass.: Blackwell, 1989); a volume in the ‘Blackwell History of Spain’ series.  Revised reprint (in paperback) published in 1994, reprinted 1995, and 1998.  Spanish translation: La Conquista Arabe, 710-797, (Barcelona: Crítica, 1991).             

4.      Early Medieval Europe, 300-1000 (London: Macmillans, 1991); a volume in the ‘Macmillan History of Europe’ series; reprinted 1992, 1993.  US edition by St. Martin’s Press. Spanish translation: La Europa de la alta edad media (Madrid: Akal Ediciones, 2000).  Polish translation: Europa Wczesnośredniowieczna (Warsaw: Panstwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1996). Second English edition, revised and rewritten throughout, published 1999.   Czech translation of the second edition: Europa raného středovĕku 300-1000 (Vysehrad, 2006).  Third, revised and rewritten English edition published in 2013.

5.      Law, Culture and Regionalism in Early Medieval Spain (Aldershot: Variorum, 1992).

6.      (with Judith McClure) Bede’s Ecclesiastical History: Introduction and notes, together with translations of Bede’s Letter to Egbert and his Greater Chronicle (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press World’s Classics, 1994; revised reprint 1996, reissued 1999 and continuously thereafter)

7.      Fredegar, vol. 13 in the series Historical and Religious Writers of the Latin West, ed. Patrick J. Geary, (Aldershot: Variorum, 1996)

8.      Oxford Archaeological Guide to Spain (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). Spanish translation:  Guía archeológica: España (Madrid: Acento Editorial, 1999)

9.      Charlemagne (London: Macmillans,1998); North American edition by University of Toronto Press.

10.     Visigothic Spain, 409-711 (Malden MA and Oxford:  Blackwell, 2004); in the ‘Blackwell History of Spain’ series; reprinted 2005.  Spanish translation: La España visigoda, 409-711(Barcelona: Crítica, 2005); Polish translation: Hiszpania w czasach Wizygotów (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Pwn, 2007).

11.     Die Fredegar-Chroniken (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, 2007) = vol. 44 of the MGH Studien und Texte series.

12.     Keepers of the Keys of Heaven: A History of the Papacy (London and New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson in London and Basic Books in New York, 2009); Dutch translation: Sleutel Bewaarders(Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2009); Spanish translation: Los guardians de las llaves del Cielo: una history del Papado (Barcelona: Ariel, 2009).

13.     Caliphs and Kings: Spain, 796-1031 (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, paperback 2014), a volume in the Wiley-Blackwell 'History of Spain' series; Spanish translation: Califas y reyes: España, 796-1031 (Barcelona: Crítica, 2013).

14.     Eurasia Transformed, c.200-900 CE (for Palgrave-Macmillan, due for submission in 2019).




1.      Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to Professor J.M. Wallace-Hadrill (Oxford and Cambridge Mass.: Blackwell, 1983), edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.

2.      Charlemagne’s Heir: New Approaches to the Reign of Louis the Pious (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), edited with Peter Godman.

3.      Medieval Spain: Culture, Conflict and Coexistence (Studies in Honour of Angus Mackay), edited with Anthony Goodman (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002)




1.      ‘Julian of Toledo and the Royal Succession in Late Seventh Century Spain’, in P.H. Sawyer and I.N. Wood (eds.), Early Medieval Kingship (Leeds, 1977), pp. 30-49. 

2.      ‘Mérida and Toledo, 550-589’, in E. James (ed.), Visigothic Spain: New Approaches (Oxford, 1980), pp. 189-219. Reprinted with additional notes in item A.5 above.

3.      ‘Charles the Bald and Wifred the Hairy’, in M. T. Gibson and J.Nelson (eds.) Charles the Bald: Court and Kingdom (Oxford, 1981), pp. 169-189; corrected and revised reprint published by Variorum in 1990.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

4.      ‘Poetry in Ninth Century Spain’, in F. Cairns (ed.), Papers of the Liverpool Latin Seminar, vol. IV (1983), pp. 181-193.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

5.      ‘Theodebert I: Rex Magnus Francorum’, in P. Wormald, D. Bullough, and R. Collins (eds.), Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society (Oxford and New York, 1983) (=III.1 above), pp. 7-33.

6.      With Gordon Campbell: ‘Milton’s Al-Mansur’, Milton Quarterly, vol. 17 (1983), pp. 81-84.

7.      ‘The Basques in Aquitaine and Navarre’, in J. Gillingham and J.C.Holt (eds.), War and Government in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of J.O. Prestwich (Cambridge, 1984), pp. 3-17.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

8.      ‘Sicut Lex Gothorum continet: law and charters in ninth and tenth century León and Catalonia’, English Historical Review, vol. 100 (1985), pp. 489-512.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

9.      ‘Visigothic law and regional custom in disputes in early medieval Spain’, in W. Davies and P. Fouracre (eds.), Early Medieval Dispute Settlement (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 85-104; also Section I of the ‘Conclusion’, pp. 207-14.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

10.     ‘The Autobiographical Works of Valerius of Bierzo: their Structure and Purpose’, in A. González Blanco (ed.), Los Visigodos: Historia y Civilización (Murcia, 1987), pp. 425-442.  Reprinted in corrected form in item A.5 above.

11.     ‘The Vaccaei, the Vaceti, and the Rise of Vasconia’, in Studia Historica (Historia Antigua), vol. VI: memorial volume for D. Marcelo Vigil (Salamanca, 1988), pp. 211-23.  Reprinted in corrected form in item A.5 above.

12.     ‘Doubts and Certainties on the Churches of Early Medieval Spain’, in D.W. Lomax and D. Mackenzie (eds.), God and Man in Medieval Spain: Studies in Honour of J.R.L. Highfield(Warminster, 1989), pp. 1-18.  Reprinted with additional note in item A.5 above.

13.     ‘Pippin the First and the Kingdom of Aquitaine’, in Charlemagne’s Heir: New Perspectives on the Reign of Louis the Pious, eds. Godman and Collins (Oxford, 1990) (=II.2), pp. 363-389.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

14.     ‘The Ethnogenesis of the Basques’, in H. Wolfram and W. Pohl (eds.), Typen der Ethnogenese unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Bayern, vol. I (Vienna, 1990), pp. 35-44.  Reprinted in item A.5.

15.     ‘Literacy and the laity in early medieval Spain’, in R. McKitterick (ed.), The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe (Cambridge,1990), pp. 109-133.  Reprinted in item A.5 above.

16.     ‘El cristianismo y los habitantes de las montañas en época romana’, in  Cristianismo y aculturación en tiempos del imperio romano, (= Antigüedad y Cristianismo vol. VII), ed.     A. González Blanco and J.M. Blázquez Martínez (Murcia, 1990), pp. 551-58.  An English version, ‘Christianity and the Basques’ was published in Law, Culture and Regionalism (Item A.5 above).

17.     ‘¿Donde estaban los arianos en el año 589?’, in El Concilio III de Toledo: XIV Centenario (589-1989 (Toledo, 1991), pp. 211-23.  An English version, ‘King Leovigild and the Conversion of the Visigoths’ was published in Law, Culture and Regionalism.

18.     ‘Julian of Toledo and the Education of Kings’, in Law,Culture and Regionalism in Early Medieval Spain (see section A, item 5 above), 22pp.

19.     ‘Queens Dowager and Queens Regent in Tenth-century León and Navarre’ in Medieval Queenship, ed. J.C. Parsons (New York, 1993), pp. 79-92.

20.     ‘The Christian Kingdoms and the Basques, 718-910’ in The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. II, ed. R. McKitterick, (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 272-89.

21.     ‘The Spanish Kingdoms, 910-1035’ in The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. III, ed. T. Reuter (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 670-91.

22.     ‘The Western Kingdoms, 425-600’, in The Cambridge Ancient History vol. XIV: Late Antiquity: Empire and Successors A.D. 425 - 600, ed. A. Cameron, M. Whitby, B. Ward-Perkins (Cambridge, 2001), 112-34.

24.     ‘Deception and Misprepresentation in Eighth Century Frankish Historiography: Two Case Studies’ in Karl Martel in seiner Zeit, (= Beihefte der Francia 37) ed. J. Jarnut, U. Nonn and M. Richter (Sigmaringen, 1994), pp. 227-47  

25.     ‘Isidore, Maximus and the Historia Gothorum’ in A. Scharer and G. Scheibelreiter (eds.), Historiographie im frühen Mittelalter (Vienna, 1994), 345-58.

26.     ‘Les Basques dans l’histoire. Récurrences et fractures’, in Denis Laborde (ed.), La question Basque (Paris: Editions L’Harmattan, 1999), pp. 79-102.

27.     ‘State of Research: The Carolingians and the Ottonians in an Anglophone world’, The Journal of Medieval History vol. 22 (1996), pp. 97-114.

28.     ‘The Reviser Revisited: Another Look at the Alternative Version of the Annales Regni Francorum’   in A.C. Murray (ed.), After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History (U. of Toronto Press, 1998), pp. 191-211.

29.     ‘Law and Ethnic Identity in the Western Kingdoms in the Fifth and Sixth Centuries’ in Alfred P. Smyth (ed.), Medieval Europeans (London, 1998), pp.  1-23.

30.     ‘Charlemagne and his Critics, 814-829’ in Régine Le Jan (ed.) La royauté et les élites dans l’Europe carolingienne (Lille, 1998), pp. 193-211.

31.     ‘Visigothic Spain’ in Spain: A History, edited by Raymond Carr (Oxford, 2000; various reprints), pp. 39-62.

32.     ‘The Basques: a Case Study’ in Tim Unwin (ed.), A European Geography (London, 1998), pp. 89-91.

33.     ‘The Frankish Past and the Carolingian Present in the Age of Charlemagne’, in Peter Godman, Jörg Jarnut and Peter Johanek (ed.), Am Vorabend der Kaiserkrönung (Berlin, 2002), pp. 301-322.

34.     ‘The Lorsch Annals and Charlemagne’s imperial coronation’, in J. Story (ed.), Charlemagne: Empire and Society (Manchester, 2005), pp. 52-70.

35.     ‘Continuity and loss in Medieval Spanish Culture: the evidence of MS Silos Archivo Monástico 4’, in Medieval Spain: Culture, Conflict and Coexistence (Studies in Honour of Angus McKay), edited by Roger Collins and Tony Goodman (London, 2002), pp. 1-22.

36.     ‘Angus MacKay and the History of Later Medieval Spain’, ibid., pp. vii-xvi.

37.     Commentaria historica ad Consularia Caesaraugustana et ad Iohannis Biclarensis Chroniconin C. Cardelle de Hartmann (ed.), Victoris Tunnunensis Chronicon cum reliquiis ex Consularibus Caesaraugustanis et Iohannis Biclarensis Chronicon,  = Corpus Christianorum Series Latina, vol. CLXXIIIA (Turnhout: Brepols, 2001 recte 2002), pp. 94-148.  Portuguese translation:  João de Santarém, Crónica (Lisbon, 2002), pp. 151-184.

38.     ‘Pippin III as Mayor of the Palace: the Evidence’, in Matthias Becher and Jörg Jarnut (ed.), Der Dynastiewechsel von 751: Vorgeschichte, Legitimationsstrategien und Erinnerung (Münster, 2004recte 2005), pp. 75-91.

39.     (with Judith McClure) 'Rome, Canterbury and Wearmouth-Jarrow: Three Viewpoints on Augustine's Mission', in Simon Barton and Peter Linehan (ed.), Cross, Crescent and Conversion. Studies in Memory of Richard Fletcher (Leiden: Brill, 2008) pp. 17-42.

40.     'Ambrosio de Morales, Bishop Pelayo of Oviedo and the lost manuscripts of Visigothic Spain', in Wisigothica. After M.C. Díaz y Díaz, ed. Carmen Codoñer and Paulo Farmhouse Alberto (Florence: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2014), pp. 609-632.

41.     ‘The Burning of Strathearn’, Newsletter of the Friends of the Perth & Kinross Archives, vol. 40 (2016).

42.     ‘Ambrosio de Morales and the Codex Vetustisimus Ovetensis’, to be published by Boydell & Brewer in 2020 in a volume of essays in honour of Tom Brown. A draft can be found on my publications page on Academia.edu

43.     ‘Oxford 1968-1975: Crucible of Late Antiquity?’, to be published online in honour of Ian Wood.  A draft can be found on my publications page in Academia.edu

44.     ‘Historical Introduction’, in José Carlos Martín-Iglesias (ed.), Bachiarii Opera: de Fide necnon Epistula ad Ianuarium, Corpus Christianorum Series Latina vol. LXIXC (Turnhout, 2019), pp. 5*-33*.

45.     ‘Angus Iain Mackay’, a memoir for The Proceedings of the British Academy (2020); it can be accessed online at https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Memoirs_18-10%20MacKay.pdf

46.     ‘The Sixth-Century Documents of the Monastery of Asán in Context’, in Céline Martin and Juan José Larrea (ed.), Nouvelles chartes visigothiques du monastère pyrénéan d'Asán (Bordeaux, 2021), pp. 19-36.

47.     ‘El Reino de Asturias en la Europa de los siglos VIII a X’, in Javier Rodríguez Muñoz (ed.), Nuevas visiones del Reino de Asturias (Oviedo, 2021), pp. 11-25.

48.       'The Seventh Century' in Jamie Wood et. alii (ed.), The Brill Handbook to Visigothic Spain (forthcoming)

49.      'Making Sense of the Early Middle Ages' in English Historical Review vol. 124 (2009), pp. 641-665.

50.       'Pope John XXII', in Neil Maclennan (ed.), Conquered by No One: A People's History of the Scots who made the Declaration of Arbroath (Old Baberton, 2020), pp. 38-43 and 232-234.