My PhD research is a study of medieval knighthood between 1096 and 1204. It aims to use crusader sources from the Holy Land, Spain and the Baltic as a prism through which to track the development of knighthood, and establish whether or not it was synonymous with the concept of nobility.
Crusading armies were uniquely multi-national in flavour, and their sources therefore offer a useful cross-section of the society of Latin Christendom. More than this, they offer significant insights into aspects of medieval warfare, bringing in debates over the prevalence and use of heavy cavalry and the symbolic role of castle-building. In the thesis I look at how developments which occurred on the frontiers of Latin Christendom were transmitted back to its heart.
Even the most superficial change from ecclesiastical authors to secular is detectable to a certain extent across the period, moving from the likes of Albert of Aachen and Robert the Monk to Geoffrey of Villehardouin and Robert of Clari, and each of these sources are interrogated and contrasted.
My thesis focuses on social and military history to look at whether or not the popularised feudal model is accurate, or whether there was another layer of 'poor' knights who were little more than personal retainers for their lords.
My MA thesis was on the perceptions of the Mongols themselves and the way they conducted warfare during their movements west.