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Dr Ana de Oliveira Dias

Lecturer (History 300-700 CE)

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Lecturer (History 300-700 CE) in the Department of History  



My research focuses on the intellectual and visual culture of early medieval Iberia, the western Mediterranean, and Continental Europe, ca. 600-1000 CE. 

I studied medieval history and art at the Faculdade de Letras, University of Lisbon (BA and Mres) and received my Ph.D. in Medieval History from Durham University in 2019. Before returning to Durham as a lecturer, I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of English Studies (University of London) and a visiting research fellow at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library (University of Manchester).

My publications consider various aspects of late-antique and early medieval visual and intellectual culture as evidence to explore the cultural and religious history of the period. I am currently preparing my first monograph titled Painting the Apocalypse in Medieval Iberia, in which I explore the mechanisms through which the symbolic language of Revelation was interpreted and translated into visual imagery within the monastic communities of early medieval Iberia. This work challenges traditional interpretations about the creation and function of the Beatus illuminations and offers a new framework with which to analyse cognitive processes behind copying and engaging with Scripture in its textual and visual form. 

 In addition to this work, I have held a position at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (2009-2014).

Other Activities

I am a fellow of the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies and resposible for directing and leading the Durham-IMEMS Latin Palaeography School.

I am also a honorary research fellow at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, where I continue collaborating with the CULTIVATE MSS project, which explores how the trade in medieval manuscripts between 1900 and 1945 affected the development of ideas about the nature and value of European culture during this period.


Research interests

  • Iberia/ Mediterranean world/ Continental Europe ca. 500 -1000
  • Late antique /early medieval History
  • Late antique / early medieval visual culture
  • Late antique /early medieval intellectual culture
  • Late antique / early medieval monasticism
  • Manuscript studies
  • 19th/ 20th century reception of medieval manuscripts and objects

Research Projects


Book review

  • (2021). Review of Illuminated Manuscripts from Europe in the Calouste Gulbenkian Collection (Lisbon, 2020), Journal of the History of Collections, 33: 2 (2021), 396-97.

Edited Journal

  • (2020). Ana de Oliveira Dias, ‘The Iberian Peninsula and the trans-Pyrenean world: assessing cultural change through the representations of dress and horsemanship in manuscript illumination’, Anuario de Estudios Medievales 50: 2 (2020), 799-825 (in English).
  • (2015). ‘Commentarium in Apocalypsin: o número e a forma geométrica na tradição simbólica das ilustrações do «Beato» de São Mamede de Lorvão’, Eikón / Imago 4: 2 (2015), 211 – 310 (in Portuguese).

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • (2022). Podcast: The Cost of Culture - the hidden history of book collecting - CULTIVATE MSS project, Institute of English Studies, University of London (forthcoming).
  • (2021). 'Unexpected treasures from early medieval Spain: the Visigothic manuscripts in the Rylands' - John Rylands Research Institute and Library blog.