Michael Lower

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Contact Me


Department of History
1122 HellerH

271 19th Ave S


My research focuses on religious difference, violence, and Mediterranean culture in the classic era of crusading and jihad, from about 1050 to 1500. My first book, The Barons’ Crusade: A Call to Arms and Its Consequences (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), explored the role of crusading warfare in the formation of Latin Christian identity in thirteenth-century Europe. I am currently working on two larger projects that bring my interest in violence and religious difference into the Islamic Mediterranean: a history of the Tunis Crusade of 1270, the last major expedition led by a European monarch in aid of the Holy Land; and a history of mercenaries who crossed the religious divide in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. I am also pursuing several smaller research projects that investigate how local actors engaged with prevailing norms of interreligious relations in the medieval Mediterranean. I focus on issues that raise questions of coercion, control, and agency, such as tribute payments, military assistance to non-believers, and conversion. I teach classes on medieval Europe and the Islamic Mediterranean. I work with a strong cohort of graduate students who share my interest in bringing diverse Mediterranean perspectives into productive dialogue. Many of my advisees research and write about the crusader states of the Near East, but there are some excellent projects underway on medieval North Africa and Iberia as well. In addition to my medieval Mediterranean offerings at the undergraduate level, I teach a class on the global history of modern soccer.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1999.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Medieval Mediterranean
  • the Crusades
  • Christian-Muslim Relations
  • North Africa
Courses Taught
  • Hist3412 -- Soccer: Around the World with the Beautiful Game
  • Hist5900 -- Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the Middle Ages
  • Hist 1031W -- Europe and the World: Expansion, Encounter, and Exchange to 1500
  • Hsem 3070 -- European Lives
  • Hist 3608W / Mest 3610 – History of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages
  • Hist 3613 -- History of the Crusades
  • Hist 3618 / Mest 3610 – The Dark Ages Illumined: Medieval Europe to 1050
  • Hist 3619 / Mest 3610 – Chivalry, Crisis, and Revival: Medieval History, 1050-1500.
  • Hist 5612 -- Proseminar in Medieval History
  • Hist 5614 / Mest 5610 – The Medieval Church
Research & Professional Activities


  • The Tunis Crusade: The Mediterranean World in the Age of the Last Crusader King: Book Project, 1993 - Present
  • Fighting for the Enemy: The Mercenary between Christianity and Islam: Book Project, 2010 - present
  • Lower, Michael. The Barons' Crusade: A Call to Arms and Its Consequences. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. Image
  • Lower, Michael “Medieval European Mercenaries in North Africa: The Value of Difference,”Journal of Medieval Military History 14 (2016): 105-21.
  • Lower, Michael “Christian Mercenaries in Muslim Lands: Their Status in Medieval Islamic and Canon Law,” in The Crusader World ed. Adrian Boas (London: Routledge, 2015), 419-33.
  • Lower, Michael. "The Papacy and Christian Mercenaries of Thirteenth-Century North Africa," Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies 89 (2014): 601-31. Download
  • Lower, Michael T. “Louis IX, Charles of Anjou, and the Tunis Crusade of 1270,“ in The Crusades: Medieval Worlds in Conflict, ed. Thomas F. Madden, James L. Naus, and Vincent Ryan (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011), 173-93.
  • Lower, Michael T. “Urban II’s Call to Crusade,“ in Milestone Documents of World History: Exploring the Primary Sources that Shaped the World, ed. Brian Bonhomme, 4 vols. (Dallas: Schlager Press, 2010), 2: 497-512. Download
  • Lower, Michael. "Ibn al-Lihyani: sultan of Tunis and would-be Christian convert." Mediterranean Historical Review 24 (2009): 17-27. Download
  • Lower, Michael. "Conversion and St Louis's Last Crusade." The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 58 (2007): 211-231. Download
  • Lower, Michael. "Tunis in 1270: A Case Study of Interfaith Relations in the Late Thirteenth Century." The International History Review 28 (2006): 504-514.
  • Lower, Michael. ""Negotiating Interfaith Relations in Eastern Christendom: Pope Gregory IX, Bela IV of Hungary, and the Latin Empire"." Essays in Medieval Studies 21 (2004): 49-62. Download
  • Lower, Michael. "'The Burning at Mont-Aimé: Thibaut IV of Champagne's Preparations for the Barons' Crusade"." Journal of Medieval History 29 (2003): 95-108. Download
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship Graduate School University of Minnesota, 2014 - 2015
  • Single-Semester Research Leave, University of Minnesota, 2014 - 2014
  • Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship Supplemental Award, 2012 - 2012
  • Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, 2010 - 2011
  • Imagine Fund SIngle Course Release, 2009 - 2010
  • Imagine Fund Research Grant, 2009 - 2009
  • Solmsen Residential Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006 - 2007
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship, Graduate School, University of Minnesota, 2006 - 2008
  • Sabbatical Supplement, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2006 - 2007
  • Single Semester Leave, Graduate School, University of Minnesota, 2002 - 2003
  • McKnight Summer Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2001, 2008.
  • Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, Graduate School, 2001, 2008.