Matthew Coulter

PhD Candidate in Medieval History

I graduated in 2017 with a BA in History from Balliol College, Oxford. Subsequently, I spent a year as an exchange student at the Stiftung Maximilianeum in Munich, during which time I studied at the Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU Munich). In 2019 I completed my MPhil at St John’s College, Cambridge, with funding from the Newton College Masters Award. My MPhil Thesis analysed the reception of the 1241 Mongol invasion of Hungary in Austrian charters and annals, with particular reference to the significance of border warfare and dynastic relations between the Duchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary in mediating the reaction to and legacy of this event. My doctoral research continues on the theme of Central European connections, and focuses on the strategies of political communication employed by the German-speaking Saxon towns in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Transylvania.

I am also co-convenor of the Legal and Social History Workshop.

I work on the political and legal history of East-Central Europe in the Late Middle Ages, with a particular focus Hungary and Germany. My primary areas of interest include: premodern communication and diplomacy; written and bureaucratic practices; petitioning; letters and letter collections; frontiers and cross-cultural contact; and gifts and gift-giving.


I have lectured on the subject of 'Late Medieval Town Life' for Paper 14 of Part I and have taught on the subject of 'States' for Historical Argument and Practice (HAP).

'Famulus, Stipendarius, Knesius: Messengers in the Service of the Transylvanian Saxon Towns', Building Urbanity in Transylvania: Patterns of Mobility and Cultural Transfer in Medieval Europe (ca. 1200–1500), Cisnădie, Romania, 7–8 July 2023.

'Dÿ alt gewonheÿt, dÿ sÿ manch hundert jarenn gehabt habenn: Transylvanian Saxon Court Diplomacy in Jagiellonian-Era Hungary', Medieval Central European Research Network (MECERN) Fifth Biennial Conference, Comenius University, Bratislava, 27–9 April 2023.

‘Winning Friends and Influencing People: Transylvanian Saxon Court Diplomacy in Jagiellonian-era Hungary’, German Influence in Medieval Europe (DAAD-sponsored workshop), Heidelberg/Mannheim, 20–1 September 2022.

'Versus partes Transalpinenses: The Transylvanian Saxon Towns and Transcarpathian Political Communication, c. 1467–1526', International Medieval Congress (Session 1115: Crossing Medieval Borders: Multicultural and Contested Spaces II), Leeds, 4–7 July 2022.

'Transylvanian Saxon Elites as Envoys to the Hungarian Royal Court, c. 1486–1526', Twelfth Medieval History Seminar of German Historical Institutes London and Washington DC, Online, 30 September–2 October 2021.

'Patterns of Communication during the 1241 Mongol Invasion of Europe: Insights from the Ottobeuren Letter Collection', The Mongols in Central Europe: The Profile and Impact of their Thirteenth-Century Invasions, Online, 26–7 November 2020 (originally to be held 26–7 March 2020 in Budapest).


Tags & Themes


Key publications

'Patterns of Communication during the 1241 Mongol Invasion of Europe: Insights from the Ottobeuren Letter Collection', Journal of Medieval History 48, no. 4 (2022): 496–523,

'"Hec est quedam profetia que fuit inventa": A Prophecy in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 372', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 17, no. 1 (2020): 39–51, available here