World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Chris Wickham

Christopher John Wickham, FBA, FLSW (born 18 May 1950) is Chichele Professor of Medieval History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College. He was Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Birmingham from 1997 to 2005.


Wickham was educated at Millfield and at Keble College, Oxford, where he obtained first a BA and then in 1975 a DPhil with a thesis entitled Economy and society in 8th century northern Tuscany.

He spent nearly thirty years of his career at the University of Birmingham, as Lecturer (1977–87), Senior Lecturer (1987–89), Reader (1989–93), and Professor of Medieval History (1993–2005). In 2005 he was appointed Chichele Professor of Medieval History in the University of Oxford and Fellow of All Souls College.

In 1998 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy.

He is a member of both the Labour Party and Democratici di Sinistra (Democrats of the Left).

He is married to fellow medieval historian, Leslie Brubaker.


His main area of research is Medieval Italy - and more specifically Tuscany and central Italy - from the end of the Roman empire through to about 1300. His emphasis has largely been social and economic, though he has undertaken study into the legal and political history of the area as well. More generally Wickham has worked under a modified Marxist framework on how European society changed from late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, and has pioneered comparative socio-economic analysis in this period.

In 2005 his work Framing the Early Middle Ages was published, which claims to be the first synthesis of early medieval European history since the 1920s. It is exceptional for its use of hitherto unincorporated evidence from both documentary and archaeological sources as well as its bold use of comparative methods and rejection of national narratives. It has been recognised by various prizes, including the Wolfson History Prize in 2005, the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2006 and the American Historical Association awarded its James Henry Breasted Prize in January 2007. He has recently just edited Marxist History Writing for the Twenty-First Century, a volume that sees various academics discuss the status and profile of Marxist historiography, and has now produced a general history of early medieval Europe, published by Penguin, which examines cultural, religious and intellectual developments of the period not covered in his previous socio-economic study.


  • Debrett's People of Today (12th edn, London: Debrett's Peerage, 1999), p. 2090.

Published works


  • Economy and society in 8th century northern Tuscany (1975)
  • Early medieval Italy: central power and local society, 400–1000 (1981)
  • The mountains and the city: the Tuscan Apennines in the early Middle Ages (1988)
  • City and countryside in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy: essays presented to Philip Jones edited by Trevor Dean and Chris Wickham. (1990)
  • Land and power: studies in Italian and European social history, 400–1200 (1994)
  • Community and clientele in twelfth-century Tuscany: the origins of the rural commune in the plain of Lucca (1998)
  • Courts and conflict in twelfth-century Tuscany (2003)
  • Framing the early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean 400–800 (2005)
  • Marxist History-Writing for the Twenty-First Century (2007; editor)
  • The Inheritance Of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 (2009)

Recent major articles

  • 'Un pas vers le moyen âge' in Les campagnes de la Gaule à la fin de l'Antiquité (ed. P. Ouzoulias et al.), (Antibes, 2001) pp. 555–67
  • 'Medieval studies and the British School at Rome', Papers of the British School at Rome. Vol lxix (2001) pp. 35–48
  • 'Paludi e miniere nella Maremma toscana, XI-XIII secoli' in Castrum 7 (ed. J.-M. Martin), (Rome, 2001) pp. 451–66
  • (with E. Fentress), 'La valle dell'Albegna fra i secoli VII e XIV' in Siena e Maremma nel Medioevo (ed. M. Ascheri), (Sienna, 2001) pp. 59–82
  • 'Rural economy and society' in Italy in the early Middle Ages (ed. C. La Rocca), (Oxford, 2001) pp. 118–43
  • 'Society' in The Early Middle Ages (ed. R. McKitterick), (Oxford, 2001) pp. 59–94
  • 'Una valutazione sull'archeologia medievale italiana', Quaderni storici. Vol cvi (2001) pp. 295–301
  • 'Comunidades rurales y señorio debil: el caso del norte de Italia, 1050-1250' in Comunidades locales y poderes feudales en la Edad media (ed. I. Álvarez), (Logroño, 2001) pp. 395–415

External Links

  • The Inheritance of Rome by Chris Wickham - review
  • Speeding through the centuries (Another Review)

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.