Professor Walter Pohl

Professor of Medieval History, University of Vienna, Director of the Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Institute for Medieval Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Wohllebengasse 12-14, 1040 Vienna, Austria

Date and Place of Birth: Vienna, 27 December 1953



  • 1981 MPhil at University of Vienna in History and Anglistics.
  • 1984 PhD at University of Vienna in History
  • 1984-86: Course at the Institute of Austrian Historical Research, Staatsprüfung 1986


  • Professional Career:
  • 1985-1990: Forschungsassistent beim Forschungsschwerpunkt „Neue Wege der Frühgeschichtsforschung“ (Herwig Wolfram, Herwig Friesinger, Falko Daim)
  • 1989: Habilitation (Venia docendi) for Medieval History, Habilitationsschrift: „Die Awaren“
  • since 1990: Reseacher (since 1994 scientific officer) at the AAS (until 1997 at the Kommission für Frühmittelalterforschung)
  • 1998 – 2003: Leiter der Forschungsstelle für Geschichte des Mittelalters der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • 2000: Gewählt zum Korrespondierenden Mitglied der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • 2001: Habilitation for historical Auxiliary Sciences; Habilitationsschrift „Werkstätte der Erinnerung – Montecassino und die langobardische Vergangenheit“
  • since 1.1. 2004: Director of the Institute of Medieval Research, AAS
  • 2004: Elected as Real Member of the AAS
  • 2006: Professor for Medieval History and Historical Auxiliary Sceinces at the University of Vienna


  • Academic functions
  • 1993-98:  Member of the Steering Committee of the European Science Foundation (ESF) programme ‘Transformation of the Roman World’ (TRW) and team leader of theme group 1 ‘Imperium, gentes et regna’
  • Corresponding Editor of the journals ‘Early Medieval Europe’ (1991), ‘Millennium’ (2003), ‘Journal of Late Antiquity’ (2007) and of ‘Brill Studies in the Early Middle Ages’ (2003)
  • Member of Programming Comittee of the International Medieval Congress Leeds (1996), of the Scientific Board of CMS (Centre for Medieval Studies) at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague (1998), of the Komission für die Herausgabe der Regesta Imperii of the Academy of Sciences in Mainz (2002), of the Historische Kommission (2002), Kommission für Migrationsforschung (2006), Kirchenväterkommission, Numismatische Kommission, Kommission für Schrift- und Buchwesen des Mittelalters of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2008)
  • Examination of doctoral theses in Cambridge, Paris, Lille, Arezzo, Budapest (CEU)
  • (Major) Grants, Honours, Memberships…
  • Böhlau Price 1989
  • Stipendium at the Austrian Historical Institute in Rome 1995 and 1997
  • Wittgenstein-Price 2004 (highest Austrian scientific award)
  • 2009:  Fellowship at Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Studies
Research Interests: 

The history of the human sense of belonging to a group of other humans, esp. the sentiments of ethnicity and its impact on medieval society. Early Medieval History, esp. the History of the Italian Peninsula and the Lombard kingdom. The History of the so-called Migration Era. The role of steppe empires in medieval Europe. The role of Christianity in Medieval Europe.

  • Eastern Central Europe in the Early Middle Ages: Conflicts, Migrations and Ethnic Processes, Romanian Academy. Institute of Archaeology Ia?i, Florilegium magistrorum historiae archaeologiaeque Antiquitatis et Medii Aevi 3 (Bukarest/Braila 2008) 414 pp.
  • 'Gender and ethnicity in the early middle ages', in: Brubaker, L. and Smith, J.M.H. (eds.) Gender in the Early Medieval World: East and West, 300-900 (Cambridge 2004), pp. 23-43. Reprinted in: Noble, T.F.X. (ed.) From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms, Rewriting History (London/New York 2006), pp. 168-88
  • 'Das Papsttum und die Langobarden', in: Becher, M. and Jarnut, J. (eds.) Der Dynastiewechsel von 751. Vorgeschichte, Legitimationsstrategien und Erinnerung (Münster 2004), pp. 145-62
  • 'Migrazioni e comunicazione', in: Comunicare e significare nell’alto medioevo, Settimane di studio del Centro Italiano di Studi sull’alto medioevo 52 (Spoleto 2005), pp. 1137-64
  • 'Aux origines d’une Europe ethnique: Identités en transformation entre antiquité et moyen âge', in: Annales: Histoire, Sciences sociales 60/1 (2005), pp. 183-208
  • 'Justinian and the barbarian kingdoms', in: Maas, M. (ed.) The Age of Justinian (Cambridge 2005), pp. 448-76
  • 'Staat und Herrschaft im Frühmittelalter: Überlegungen zum Forschungsstand', in: Airlie, S. Reimitz, H. and Pohl, W. (eds.) Staat im Frühen Mittelalter, Forschungen zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 11 (Wien 2006), pp. 9-38
  • 'Varietà etnica nell’Europa meticcia dell’alto medioevo', in: Cracco, G., Le Goff, J.,  Keller, H. and Ortalli, G. (eds.) Europa in costruzione. La forza delle identità, la ricerca di unità (secoli IX-XIII) (Bologna 2006), pp. 55-72
  • 'Alienigena coniugia: Bestrebungen zu einem Verbot auswärtiger Heiraten in der Karolingerzeit', in: Pe?ar, A. and Trampedach, K. (eds.) Die Bibel als politisches Argument, Historische Zeitschrift, Beiheft 43 (München 2007), pp. 159-88
  • 'Liturgie di guerra nei regni altomedievali', in: Rivista di Storia del Cristianesimo 5, 1 (2008), pp. 29-44
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