St John's College Oxford

Professor Mark Whittow

Lecturer in Medieval History


As the University Lecturer in Byzantine Studies my primary responsibility is to the graduates studying for masters degrees and doctorates in the field, but for no other reason than enjoyment, I teach medieval history – British, European, Near Eastern and Global – from about 300 to 1300 AD for both the first year course (Prelims) and papers taken in the second and third years (Finals or Schools). For Finals I also run the Further Subject on “The Near East in the age of Justinian and Muhammad, 527-c.700”, the Special Subject on “Byzantium in the Age of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, 913-59”, and supervise undergraduates doing medieval thesis subjects.

Research Interests

I am a medieval historian and archaeologist with strong interests in comparative and global history. My research focuses on Byzantium, in other words the largely Greek-speaking Roman empire with its capital at Constantinople (modern Istanbul) that prospered for more than a thousand years after the empire came to end in Britain.

Recent interests have included the end of the ancient economy, the social and economic history of the Mediterranean world in the tenth and eleventh century (the so-called Feudal Revolution), and relations between the Byzantine empire and the steppe world.

I am currently completing a project on the Feudal Revolution, and looking ahead to writing on Europe and the Near East in the eleventh century and a Global History of the Middle Ages.