Project Team

Alexander O'Hara


Former Project Investigator  

Department of History • University of Vienna

Alexander O’Hara is a Research Fellow in the Institut für Mittelalterforschung at the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews. He received his doctorate from the University of St Andrews where he held a Donald Bullough and a Carnegie Scholarship. He completed his research Masters at the University of Oxford in 2005 and was a Norwegian Government Research Scholar at the University of Oslo from 2002 to 2003. His research focuses on the inter-relationship between monastic groups and secular elites in the Early Middle Ages, the transformation of the Frankish world in the seventh century, the cult of the saints in the Early and High Middle Ages, early medieval hagiography and its manuscript transmission, and with the Irish monastic founder, Columbanus, and his biographer, Jonas of Bobbio. He has completed a new translation of Jonas of Bobbio’s Life of Columbanus and His Disciples and a monograph on Jonas of Bobbio is in preparation. He was awarded a Research Grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for The Columbanian Network: Elite Identities and Christian Communities in Early Medieval Europe (550 – 750). This project, which runs from 2013 to 2016, explores how the role of monasteries and their relationship to the social world around them was transformed as monastic institutions became more integrated into social and political power networks. The project focuses on one of the central actors in this process, the Irish ascetic exile and monastic founder, Columbanus (c. 550 – 615), and the monastic network he and his Frankish disciples established in Merovingian Gaul and Lombard Italy.

Selected Publications:

  • ‘Patria, Peregrinatio, and Paenitentia: Identities of Alienation in the Seventh Century’, forthcoming in Walter Pohl & Gerda Heydemann (eds.), Post-Roman Transitions. Christian and Barbarian Identities in the Early Medieval West, CulturalEncounters in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages 14 (Turnhout, 2013).
  • ‘Aristocratic and Monastic Conflict in Tenth-Century Italy: The Case of Bobbio and the Miracula Sancti Columbani’ (with Faye Taylor), forthcoming in Viator 44 (2013).
  •  ‘Columbanus and Jonas of Bobbio: New Textual Witnesses’, Peritia 22/23 (2012), 188-190.
  • ‘Constructing a Saint: The Legend of St Sunniva in Twelfth-Century Norway’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 5 (2010), 105-121.
  • ‘The Audience of the Vita Columbani in Merovingian Gaul’, Early Medieval Europe 17 (2009), 126-153.
  • ‘Death and the Afterlife in Jonas of Bobbio’s Vita Columbani’, in Peter Clarke and Tony Claydon
  • (eds.), The Church, the Afterlife and the Fate of the Soul, Studies in Church History 45 (Woodbridge, 2009), 64-73.