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Prof. Dr. Karl Ubl

Professor of Medieval History (Early and High Middle Ages)

Department of History
50923 Köln

Contact Information

Office: Philosophikum 4.108
Phone: 0221 4702717

email: karl.ubl(at)

Office Hours

Monday: 2-4 pm


31.7., 14-16 Uhr

7.8., 14-16 Uhr

18.9., 14-16 Uhr

Research Interests

My research is centered on reconstructing discourses about normative orders in the Middle Ages. My first book is an intellectual biography of the philosopher and theologian Engelbert of Admont (ca. 1250-1331). I was interested in the way he adopted Aristotelian ideas into his writings, and in the strains the reception of the Greek philosopher's ethics put on his traditional Christian worldview. I continued to study Engelbert in the critical edition of his Speculum virtutum published by the MGH in 2004. Subsequently, I published articles on the history of education, heresy and political thought in the later Middle Ages. This gave rise to a joint publication with William J. Courtenay on the Trial of the Templars and the relation between the French king and the masters of theology (2010). With my habilitation on the incest prohibition, published in 2008, I switched over to the study of the Early Middle Ages. The discourses about normative orders, however, continued to be at the center of my research. In my book on incest I tried to demonstrate that incest prohibitions have to be considered as part of a royal and episcopal strategy to establish an interregional marriage market and to counter the trend towards regionalization in the large kingdoms of the early middle ages. My latest book is dedicated to the biography of a law-book, the Frankish Lex Salica (2017), dealing with the function and symbolic meaning of codification after the Fall of Rome.


1991-1995 studies in history and philosophy, University of Vienna and Harvard University -- 1992-1995 programme in Historical research, auxiliary sciences and archival studies, Institute of Austrian Historical Research, Vienna -- 1999 phD, Heidelberg University -- 2000-2001 GRF project, critical edition of Speculum virtutum of Engelbert of Admont -- 2001-2007 Assistant, University of Tübingen -- 2007 Habilitation in Medieval History, University of Tübingen - 2007-2008 Heisenberg fellow, GRF -- 2008-2011 Lecturer, University of Tübingen --  03/2010 Visiting Professor, Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille -- 2010-2011 Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton -- since 2011 professor of Medieval History, University of Cologne -- 03/2014 Visiting Professor, Ecole pratique des hautes études/Sorbonne -- 04-06/2015 Summer visitor, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton -- 09/2019-01/2020 Fellow, Shelby Cullom Davis Center, Princeton University

Research Projects



Engelbert von Admont. Ein Gelehrter im Spannungsfeld von Aristotelismus und christlicher Überlieferung (Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung Erg.-Bd. 37, Wien/München 2000)

Engelbert von Admont: Speculum virtutum (MGH Staatsschriften des späteren Mittelalters 1, 2, Hannover 2004)

Inzestverbot und Gesetzgebung. Die Konstruktion eines Verbrechens (300-1100) (Millennium-Studien 20, Berlin/New York 2008)

[co-author: William J. Courtenay] Gelehrte Gutachten und königliche Politik im Templerprozeß (MGH Studien und Texte 51, Hannover 2010)

Die Karolinger. Herrscher und Reich (C.H.Beck Wissen, München 2014)

Sinnstiftungen eines Rechtsbuchs. Die Lex Salica im Frankenreich (Quellen und Forschungen zum Recht im Mittelalter 9, Ostfildern 2017)

[co-author: Semih Heinen] William of Ockham: Dialogus, Part 3, Tract 2 (Auctores Britannici Medii Aevi 33, Oxford 2019)

Köln im Frühmittelalter. Die Entstehung einer heiligen Stadt, 400-1100 (Geschichte der Stadt Köln 2, Köln 2022)

list of publications


  • Advisory Board Historische Zeitschrift (since 2011)
  • Konstanzer Arbeitskreis für Mittelalterliche Geschichte e.V. (since 2014)
  • Advisory Board Monumenta Germaniae Historica (since 2015)
  • Review Board History, German Research Foundation (2016-2019)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Institut für Mittelalterforschung der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (since 2017)
  • Kommission Regesta Imperii,  Mainzer Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur (since 2017)
  • Board, Förderverein Geschichte in Köln (since 2017)
  • Advisory Board, Historisches Archiv der Stadt Köln (since 2017)
  • vice-spokesman, Research Training Group "Dynamics of Conventionality" (since 2018)
  • Board, Gesellschaft für Rheinische Geschichtskunde (since 2019)
  • Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (2023)