German Historical Institute London

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London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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Dr Marcus Meer

Marcus Meer joined the GHIL in May 2020. He is a historian of communication and visual culture, with a special focus on the towns and cities of England and the German-speaking lands. He completed his PhD at the University of Durham as a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar and worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Durham and King’s College London. He holds a MSt in Medieval History from the University of Oxford and a BA in History and Linguistics from the University of Bielefeld.

Email: m.meer(ghi)

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7309 2041

Research Project

Censoring, Defacing, and Erasing Visual Matters in the European City (1300–1500)

The sentiment that visual matters—from statues and flags to dress and cartoons—ought to disappear is neither an innovation of current ‘fallisms’ nor a niche obsession of religiously motivated iconoclasts during the early medieval Byzantine iconomachy and the ‘stripping of the altars’ of the early modern reformations. In the late medieval city also, opposition toward and action against visual matters were versatile means of communication, capable of reproducing, reinforcing, and challenging powerful individuals, political institutions, social hierarchies, and urban spaces. Practices of censoring, defacing, and erasing the visual—perceived to evoke persons, structures, and claims deemed objectionable, or feared to undermine a cherished status quo—served townspeople (and their noble antagonists) as powerful weapons in the socio-political conflicts that divided urban societies in the later Middle Ages.

Responsibilities at the GHIL

Research Fellow in Medieval History

Research Interests

  • England and Germany in the later Middle Ages (1300–1530)
  • Comparative history of towns and cities in pre-modern Europe
  • Visual communication of identities, institutions, and spaces
  • Interactions of texts, images, objects, and rituals
  • Intersections between urban and noble culture
Education and Academic Background
2020–today Research Fellow in Medieval History at the GHIL
2019–2020 Graduate Teaching Assistant, King’s College London
2017–2020 Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Durham
2015–2019 PhD in History, University of Durham, in collaboration with the University of Münster
2014–2015 Research Assistant at the ‘Coats of Arms in Practice’ (Die Performanz der Wappen) project, University of Münster
2013–2014 MSt in Medieval History, University of Oxford
2010–2013 BA in History and Linguistics, University of Bielefeld
Honours and Distinctions
2015–2018 Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, University of Durham
  • AHRC Research Network ‘Inheriting the Family: Emotions, History, and Heritage’


Articles and Chapters within Edited volumes
‘Seeing Proof of Townsmen on the Move: Coats of Arms, Chivalric Badges, and the Visual Communication of Travel in the Later Middle Ages’, Journal of Early Modern History, 25 (2021) [forthcoming]

‘Heraldry Topsy-Turvy: Depictions and Performances of Dishonour and Death’, in Ludmilla Jordanova and Florence Grant, Writing Visual History (London, 2020) [forthcoming]

‘History on the Walls and Windows to the Past: Heraldic Commemoration of Historical Identity in Late Medieval English and German Town Halls’, in Torsten Hiltmann and Miguel Metelo de Seixas (eds.), Heraldry in Medieval State-Rooms (Ostfildern, 2020), 135–152 [forthcoming]

‘City and Countryside’, in: A Companion to Medieval Heraldry, ed. by Torsten Hiltmann and Nigel Ramsay, (Leiden, 2020) [forthcoming]

‘Heraldic Display and Urban Space: The Visuality and Spatiality of Heraldic Conflict in Late Medieval Augsburg’, in Torsten Hiltmann and Laurent Hablot (eds.), Heraldry in the Medieval City: The Case of Italy in the European Context (Ostfildern, 2020)

‘Reversed, Defaced, Replaced: Late Medieval London and the Heraldic Communication of Discontent and Protest’, Journal of Medieval History, 45.4 (2019), 618–645

‘Heraldry, Historiography and Urban Identity in Late Medieval Augsburg: The “Cronographia Augustensium” and the Gossembrot Armorial’, in Lisa Demets, Tineke Van Gassen, and Bram Caers (eds.), Urban History Writing in Northwest Europe (15th-16th Centuries) (Turnhout, 2019), 159–186

‘“Todos los ciuidadanos toman armas a su plazer”: Heraldic Self-Representation and Commemoration in Town Houses and Urban Churches’ (England and Germany in the Late Middle Ages), Armas e Troféus: IX Série, 20 (2018), 139–170

‘Wappen, Rituale und Konflikte: Heraldische Kommunikation und die visuelle Kultur der spätmittelalterlichen Stadt in Deutschland und England’, Mitteilungen der Residenzen-Kommission der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen: Neue Folge: Stadt und Hof, 7 (2018), 41–56

Reviews and Miscellaneous Publications
Review of ‘Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London’ by Barbara A. Hanawalt, Urban History, 46.4 (2019), 768–770

Review of ‘Neue alte Sachlichkeit: Studienbuch Materialität des Mittelalters’ edited by Jan Keupp and Romedio Schmitz-Esser, German History, 34.4 (2016), 672–673

‘Heraldry is Vanity! Moral Criticism of Heraldic Commemoration in Germany—A European Phenomenon?’, in Heraldica Nova, 2018,

‘The Heraldry of the Weavers’ Guild of Augsburg: Mythical Origins and Everyday Display of Corporate Heraldry in Clemens Jäger’s “Weberchronik”’, in Heraldica Nova, 2016, <http://>