German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



Dr Marcus Meer

Medieval History

+44 020 7309

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 Ph.D. at Durham University as a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholar and worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Durham and King’s College London. He holds an MSt in Medieval History from the University of Oxford and a BA in History and Linguistics from the University of Bielefeld.

Research Project

Censoring, Defacing, and Erasing Visual Matters in the European City

Fifteenth-century manuscript illumination commissioned by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, showing the defeated citizens of Ghent relinquishing their guilds’ banners in 1453, which were seized for fear of provoking further insurgencies.

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 too, opposition towards 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
  • Editor of the GHIL Blog
  • Organization of GHIL Lectures/Joint Lectures

Research Interests

  • England and Germany in the later Middle Ages (1300–1530)
  • Comparative history of towns and cities in premodern 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– Research Fellow in Medieval History at the GHIL
2019–2020 Graduate Teaching Assistant, King’s College London
2017–2020 Graduate Teaching Assistant, Durham University
2015–2019 Ph.D. in History, Durham University, in collaboration with the University of Münster
2014–2015 Research Assistant on the project ‘Coats of Arms in Practice’ (Die Performanz der Wappen), University of Münster
2013–2014 MSt in Medieval History, University of Oxford
2010–2013 BA in History and Linguistics, University of Bielefeld

Fellowships, Grants, and Scholarships

2015–2018 Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship

Memberships and Affiliations

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



Articles and Chapters

‘Städtische Wahrnehmungen von Bürgerwappen: Heraldische Kommunikation von symbolischem Kapital in der spätmittelalterlichen Stadt’, in Ben Pope, Manfred Waßner und Tjark Wegner (eds.), Tagungsband der 59. Arbeitstagung des Südwestdeutschen Arbeitskreises für Stadtgeschichtsforschung, (Sigmaringen [in press])

‘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 [in press])

'Heraldry, Corporate Identity, and the Battle for Symbolic Capital in Late Medieval London’, in The London Journal [in press]

with Mario Damen, ‘Heraldry and Territory: Coats of Arms and the Representation and Construction of Authority in Space’, in Mario Damen and Kim Overlaet (eds.), Constructing and Representing Territory in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Amsterdam, 2021), 245–75

‘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 1-2 (Leiden, 2021), 11-38

‘Heraldry Topsy-Turvy: Depictions and Performances of Dishonour and Death’, in Ludmilla Jordanova and Florence Grant (eds.), Writing Visual History (London, 2020), 25-44

‘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), 135–52

‘City and Countryside’, Torsten Hiltmann and Nigel Ramsay (eds.), in A Companion to Medieval Heraldry, (Leiden, forthcoming in 2020)

‘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), 618–45

‘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), 159–86

‘“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), 139–70

‘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


Benjamin Müsegades, ‘Heilige in der mittelalterlichen Bischofsstadt. Speyer und Lincoln im Vergleich (11. bis frühes 16. Jahrhundert), (Beihefte zum Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, Bd. 93)’, Neues Archiv für sächsische Geschichte [in press]

Barbara A. Hanawalt, ‘Ceremony and Civility: Civic Culture in Late Medieval London’, Urban History, 46/4 (2019), 768–70

Jan Keupp and Romedio Schmitz-Esser (eds.), ‘Neue alte Sachlichkeit: Studienbuch Materialität des Mittelalters’, German History, 34/4 (2016), 672–73

Blog posts

mit Stephan Bruhn, ‘Conference Report: The Politics of Iconoclasm in the Middle Ages, 1–2 September 2022’, German Historial Institute London Blog, 15 December 2022 (Read here)

'Workshop on Medieval Germany’, GHIL, 6. Mai 2022, German Historial Institute London Blog, 28 July 2022 (Read here)

'Twelfth Medieval History Seminar’, GHIL, 30 September to 2 October 2021, German Historial Institute London Blog, 11 November 2021 (Read here)

‘Broken Symbols: Display and Destruction during the Attack on the Capitol’, German Historical Institute London Blog, 20 January 2021 (Read here)

‘Heraldry is Vanity! Moral Criticism of Heraldic Commemoration in Germany—A European Phenomenon?’, Heraldica Nova, 24 January 2018, updated 5 July 2018 (Read here)

‘The Heraldry of the Weavers’ Guild of Augsburg: Mythical Origins and Everyday Display of Corporate Heraldry in Clemens Jäger’s “Weberchronik”’, Heraldica Nova, 10 June 2016, updated 25 October 2016 (Read here)