This page lists a number of essays and papers that I have produced over the years as part of university coursework or otherwise. They have only been minimally edited for publication, but might be of interest. If anyone should find them useful for any purpose, a citation or link to this page would be greatly appreciated. Questions and criticisms are as always welcome in the comments or at


Conflict or Accommodation? Perceptions of Ethnicity in the Letters of Sidonius Apollinaris
(Course essay, University of York, January 2009)

Roman society in Gaul witnessed a significant upheaval in 418 when the Gothic forces commanded by Athaulf were granted control of the province of Aquitaine.Whereas the Gallo-Roman aristocracy had earlier turned to Rome for political patronage and legitimacy, by the middle of the 5th century, the increasing disintegration of the Empire had made this impossible. While many aristocrats turned to the Gothic court in response, others sought positions in the Gallic Church instead. The essay examines how these events shaped and influenced the identities of the Gallo-Roman aristocracy, as well as their perceptions of their Gothic neighbours.

Inquisitors and Scribes – Mikhail Bakhtin and the Languedoc Inquisition
(Course essay, University of York, April 2009)
Employs the theoretical framework of the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin to interpret a group of Inquisition records from mid-13th century Languedoc. Shows how the Bakhtinian approach to narrative can help the historian avoid a number of pitfalls when dealing with these complex sources.

The Origins and Reception of the ‘Medical Canons’ of the Fourth Lateran Council (April 2009)
(Course essay, University of York, April 2009)
Although the canons from the 1215 Fourth Lateran Council mostly addressed questions of theology and canon law, they also touched on other aspects of medieval life, such as the practice of medicine. The essay traces the ideological roots of these ‘medical canons’ to the theologians of mid-12th century Paris and, based on the evidence of English councils that followed in the wake of the Fourth Lateran Council, examines how they were later implemented and what this process can tell us about the practice of medicine in medieval England.

Inquisitors and Scribes

Mikhail Bakhtin and the Languedoc Inquisition