Dr Alex Metcalfe

Senior Lecturer in History

Research Interests

Publications forthcoming (books, authored and edited)

  • Arabic–Greek documents of Norman Sicily: the Monreale Registers. Critical edition and database of the royal registers of men from 1178 and 1182.
  • Medieval magic tricks and illusions in the Islamic world. Historical introduction, critical edition and translation of Zahr al-basātīn fī ʿilm al-mashātīn by al-Zarkhūrī.
  • Vernacular documents from medieval Sardinia. Editions and English translations of the Carta de Logu, the Condaghe of Sanctu Petru di Silki, the Condaghe of Sancta Maria di Bonarcado, and the Carte volgari. With Hervin Fernandez-Aceves and Maurizio Virdis.
  • The Norman Conquest of South Italy and Sicily: The Historia Sicula. Critical edition and translations of the Chronicle of Robert Guiscard, including the Epilogue, Annales Siculi and Continuatio, and the Epistola of brother Conrad. With John Aspinwall and John Thorley.

Publications (books, authored and edited)

  • The Making of Medieval Sardinia, edited with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu [The Medieval Mediterranean Series, vol. 128] (Leiden, 2021). 520 pages. ISBN: 978-90-04-46448-3.
  • I musulmani dell’Italia medievale (Palermo, 2019). Revised, updated, and expanded monograph in Italian. Translation by Francesco Barone. Preface by Ferdinando Maurici. 314 pages. ISBN: 978-88-6485-125-9.
  • The Book in Fact and Fiction in Pre-Modern Arabic Literature (2012), online publication, edited with Antonella Ghersetti. ISSN: 0806-198X. 263 pages.
  • The Muslims of Medieval Italy (Edinburgh, 2009).352 pages. ISBN 978-0-7486-2007-4. Paperback 978-0-7486-2008-1.
  • Muslims and Christians in Norman Sicily. Arabic Speakers and the End of Islam (London and New York, 2003). 286 pages. ISBN 0-7007-1685-8. Paperback: 978-0-415-61644-7.
  • The Society of Norman Italy, edited with Graham A. Loud (Leiden, 2002). 381 pages. ISBN 9004125418.

Publications (articles, book chapters etc):

  • 'North African Dirhams: silver for the Abbasids,' with Thomas Birch, Rasmus Andreasen and Rikke Jensen, in Metallurgy in Numismatics, 7(2024), eds M. Ponting and K. Butcher. In press.
  • 'The jurists of Muslim Sicily: from the Byzantines to the Normans', with Hossameldin Ali, in Oriente Moderno, 104 (2024). In press.
  • ‘Historiography in the making: a name-list of Sicilian Muslims from the Rollus Rubeus cartulary of Cefalù cathedral’, in Rethinking Norman Italy: Studies in Honour of Graham A. Loud, eds Joanna H. Drell and Paul Oldfield (Manchester, 2021), pp. 46–92.
  • ‘Early Muslim raids on Sardinia’, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden, 2021), pp. 126–159.
  • ‘Muslim contacts with Sardinia: from Fatimid Ifrīqiya to Mujāhid of Dénia’, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden, 2021), pp. 240–267.
  • ‘The making of medieval Sardinia: a historiographical introduction’, with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden: Brill, 2021), pp. 1–16.
  • ‘Discovery, invention and supposition. Three case studies from medieval Sardinia’, with H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu, in The Making of Medieval Sardinia, eds A. Metcalfe, H. Fernandez-Aceves and M. Muresu (Leiden, 2021), pp. 17–41.
  • 'Islam in premodern Italy', in the Encyclopaedia of Islam3, Part 2022-2, (2020), pp. 56–59.
  • ‘Before the Normans: identity and societal formation in Muslim Sicily’, in Sicily, Heritage of the World,eds Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs (London, 2019), pp. 102–119.
  • ‘Norman identity and the anonymous Historia Sicula’ (with John Aspinwall), in Sicily, Heritage of the World,eds Dirk Booms and Peter Higgs (London, 2019), pp. 133–141.
  • ‘Messaging and memory: notes from medieval Ifrīqiya and Sicily', in Sicily, al-Andalus and the Maghreb: Writing in Times of Turmoil, a special issue of The Medieval Globe 5/1 (2019), eds Carol Symes and Nicola Carpentieri, pp. 87–104.
  • ‘Language and the written record: loss, survival and revival in early Norman Sicily’, inMultilingual and multigraphic manuscripts and documents of East and West, eds. Giuseppe Mandalà and Inmaculada Pérez Martín, (Piscataway NJ, 2018), pp. 3–31. ISBN: 978-1-4632-0283-5.
  • Prefazione for La moneta come indicatore dell’assetto insediativo della Sardegna bizantina (VI-XI secolo), by Marco Muresu (Perugia, 2018).
  • ‘Idronimia e gestione dell’acqua nella Sicilia arabo-normanna occidentale’, in Sa Massarìa: Ecologia storica dei sistemi di lavoro contadino in Sardegna, eds. Giovanni Serreli, Rita T. Melis, Charles French and Federica Sulas (Cagliari, 2017), pp. 529–578.
  • ‘Dynamic landscapes and dominant kin groups: hydronymy and water-management in Arab-Norman western Sicily’, in Urban dynamics and transcultural communication in medieval Sicily, eds Theresa Jäckh and Mona Kirsch (Heidelberg, 2017), pp. 127–167.
  • ‘The real Król Roger’. Programme notes for the Royal Opera House production of Szymanowski's Król Roger (London, 2015), pp. 24–31.
  • Transkultureller und sozio-religiöser Wandel im muslimischen und frühen normannischen Sizilien in Siziliens Geschichte: Insel zwischen den Welten, eds Wolfgang Gruber and Stephan Köhler (Vienna, 2013), pp. 68–98. ISBN: 978385476-422-9.
  • 'Forgotten Connections: Material Culture and Exchange in the Central and Western Mediterranean, 7th–13th Centuries', with Mariam Rosser-Owen, in Forgotten Connections eds A. Metcalfe and M. Rosser-Owen, a special issue of Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean, 25/1 (2013), pp. 1–8. ISSN 0950-3110.
  • ‘Orientation in three spheres: medieval Mediterranean boundary clauses in Latin, Greek and Arabic’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 22, (2012), pp. 37–55. DOI: 10.1017/S0080440112000059
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 11 (2011) editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume11.htm
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 10 (2010) editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume10.htm
  • ‘The Lands of Twelfth-Century Corleone’, ‘The Christians of Twelfth-Century Corleone’ and ‘Extracts from the Travels of Ibn Jubayr’ in Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation, eds. K. Jansen, J. Drell and F. Andrews (Richmond VA, 2009), 65–70 and 234–40. ISBN: 978-0812241648.
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 9 (2009), editor. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume9.htm
  • ‘Sicilian Arabic’ in The Encyclopaedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics,4 vols, eds K. Versteegh, M. Eid, A. Elgibali, M. Woidich and A. Zaborski (Leiden, 2009), iv, pp. 215–19. ISBN: 978-90-04-14476-7.
  • Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies 8 (2008), ed. with Joseph N. Bell and Lutz Edzard. www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume8.htm
  • ‘Trusting the text as far as we can throw the scribe: further notes on reading a bilingual jarīdat al-ḥudūd from the royal dīwān of Norman Sicily’ in From Al-Andalus to Khurasan: Documents from the Medieval Muslim World, eds P. M. Sijpesteijn, L. Sundelin, S. Torallas Tovar, and A. Zomeño, [Islamic History and Civilization Series: Studies and Texts, vol. 66], (Leiden, 2007), pp. 78–98. ISBN: 90-04-15567-8.
  • Under-Age Rule in the Medieval Islamic World (2007) editor. Themed volume of Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 19/1 (2007), with editor’s introduction. ISSN 0950-3110.
  • Journal of Arabic & Islamic Studies 7 (2007) editor (with Joseph N. Bell). www.lancs.ac.uk/jais/volume/volume7.htm
  • Review of Sheila S. Blair, Islamic Inscriptions (Edinburgh, 1998) in The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 32, (2005), 138–9. Review of Jeremy Johns, Arabic Administration in Norman Sicily: The Royal Dīwān (Cambridge, 2002) in The English Historical Review 119, (2004), pp. 118–20.
  • ‘The Muslims of Sicily under Christian Rule’ in The Society of Norman Italy eds. Graham A. Loud and Alex Metcalfe (Leiden, 2002), pp. 289–317. ISBN: 9004125418.
  • De Saracenico in Latinum Transferri: Causes and Effects of Translation in the Fiscal Administration of Norman Sicily’, Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 13 (2001), pp. 43–86. ISSN: 0950-3110.
  • ‘The Mystery at Chúrchuro: Conspiracy or Incompetence in Twelfth-Century Sicily?’ (with Jeremy Johns), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62/2 (1999), pp. 226–259. ISSN: 0041-977X.

Education, Funding and Academic Awards

  • Principal Investigator: Arts and Humanities Research Council Standard Grant: Power, society and (dis)connectivity in medieval Sardinia (2019–23). Amount awarded: £1,010,796.
  • Visiting Professor, Scuola di Specializzazione in Beni Archeologici, University of Cagliari (May 2018).
  • Visiting Professor, The Oriental Institute, Jagiellonian University, Krakow (March–May 2017).
  • Guest Researcher, Islamic Cultures and Societies Research Unit (ISCRU), Aarhus University, Denmark (Sept 2016–March 2017).
  • Co-investigator of Sardegna fra mare e monti: Il paesaggio storico-culturale del Rio Posada (funded by the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy, 2013–16) in collaboration with Dr F. Sulas and Dr G. Serreli (ISEM-CNR, Cagliari; Prof. C. French (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge); and the Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici delle Provincie di Sassari e Nuoro, Sardegna. Amount awarded: €120,000.
  • Principal Investigator: Research workshop series on Medieval Sardinia 2015–16 (co-financed by the Istituto di Storia dell’Europa Mediterranea; Lancaster University Research Fund, and the Comune di Cagliari). Amount awarded: €7,600.
  • Visiting Researcher, (Short-term mobility scheme), Istituto di storia dell’Europa mediterranea, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (ISEM-CNR), Cagliari, Italy (December 2013).
  • Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College, University of Oxford (2010–12).
  • Research Associate, The Oriental Institute, University of Oxford (2010–12).
  • Research Associate, The Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford (2010–12).
  • Principal Investigator: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2011–12). Amount awarded: £99,228.
  • Visiting Professor, The University of Cyprus (March 2011).
  • Co-investigator: Arts and Humanities Research Council Standard Grant, The Norman Edge: Identity and State Formation on the Frontiers of Europe (2008–11). Amount awarded: £292,431.
  • AHRC Research Leave Scheme Award. (Completion of monograph, 2006–7).
  • Fellow of The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (2007–10).
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Research, Leave Scheme Award Holder (2006–7).
  • Visiting Lecturer at Ca’ Fóscari, University of Venice (April–May 2005).
  • Fellow of The Royal Historical Society (2005–19).
  • British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2001–2004).
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board Postgraduate Award Holder (1997–2000).
  • BA and PhD, Leeds University, Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, (1992–2000).
  • BA and MA, Exeter College, Oxford University, Literae Humaniores (1986–1990).

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