Professor Alan V. Murray

Professor Alan V. Murray


I come from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. I studied Ancient, Medieval and Modern History and German Language and Literature at the University of St Andrews, where my teachers included Donald Bullough, Hugh Kennedy and Geoffrey Parker (History) and Jeffrey Ashcroft and Harry Jackson (German).

After completing my MA, I taught English at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. I returned to St Andrews to undertake research and wrote my doctoral thesis on the origins of the nobility of the kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1131, while also studying History and Folk Studies (Volkskunde) at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

I joined the International Medieval Bibliography at Leeds in 1988. I have since become Director of the project and Professor of Medieval European History. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a regular member of the Baltische Historische Kommission. I also belong to the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East, the Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft and the Scottish Place-Names Society.


  • Director, International Medieval Bibliography

Research interests

My main research interests relate to the following areas:

1. The Crusades to the Holy Land and the Frankish states and settlement in Palestine and Syria, 1095-1291, especially prosopographical approaches.

2. The Christianisation of the Baltic region (12th-14th centuries), especially the history and historiography of the Sword Brethren and the Teutonic Order, and questions of mission and communication.

3. Warfare in the later medieval and early modern periods, including tactics, weaponry, logistics, siege warfare, morale and military music.

4. The medieval tournament, especially its development from the mass tourney into distinct forms such as the joust, pas d'armes, round table and foot combat.

5. Medieval German language and literature, especially chronicles, crusade literature (Kreuzzugsdichtung) and literary patronage.

Several of my publications have appeared in German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Estonian and Slovene. I recently published a biography of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (1118-1131), which received the Verbruggen Prize awarded by De Re Militari (The Society for Medieval Military History). 

I am currently working on two projects:

(1) A longer study of tournaments in the German-speaking countries, particularly in the Frauendienst of the Styrian knight Ulrich von Liechtenstein. 

(2) Aspects of the Middle High German epic the Nibelungenlied, in particular its depictions of combat and the modern reception of the poem in England and Scotland.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Medieval History
  • MA in Medieval History and German Language and Literature

Professional memberships

  • Royal Historical Society (Fellow)
  • Baltische Historische Kommission
  • Scottish Place-Names Society
  • Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft
  • Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East

Student education

Undergraduate teaching

I contribute to team-taught modules on the Middle Ages at Levels 1 and 2. I also teach a Level 2 module on the Crusades and the Crusader States and a Level 3 module on the Baltic Crusades.

Postgraduate teaching

I normally teach on the following modules which are offered within the MA programmes in Medieval Studies and Medieval History:

  • The Medieval Tournament: Combat, Chivalry and Spectacle in Western Europe, 1100-1600 

  • Warfare in the Age of the Crusades (1095-1204)

  • Research Methods and Bibliography

The option on Warfare in the Age of the Crusades relates directly to my main research interests. The option on the Medieval Tournament is taught jointly with Karen Watts, curator emerita at the Royal Armouries, and is to our knowledge the only dedicated postgraduate course on tournaments in existence.  

Research groups and institutes

  • War Studies

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>