Alexander Callander Murray

Alexander Callander Murray

Professor Emeritus
Historical Studies - History

The areas of Professor Murray's research interests are Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, with particular reference to the Late Roman Empire and Merovingian Gaul. His work largely concerns the social, institutional, and legal history of the period and its medieval and modern historiography. He has written a monograph on kinship, which includes extensive treatment of Lex Salica (1983), edited two books of essays (1998 and 2016) and translated and edited two books of primary source material (2000 and 2006). His articles and chapter-length studies on Merovingian institutions concern the grafio (1986), the centena or hundred (1988), the Edict of Paris and immunity (1994 and 2010), Merovingian diplomas (2005), and the royal placita as alleged records of ‘fictitious trials’ or Scheinprozesse (2011). Two studies deal broadly with the character of the Merovingian State (2001, rpt 2006; and 2016b) and two with the modern construct ‘sacral kingship’ as an alleged attribute of the Merovingian kings (1998 and 2016c). While all these works deal at some length with the historiography of their subjects, dedicated studies on historiography deal with the modern construct of ‘ethnogenesis’ as espoused by Vienna (2002) and the compositional chronology of the Histories of the 6th-century bishop Gregory of Tours (2008 and 2016a). Some early work concerns historical context in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf  (1970 and 1982).

Professor Murray’s publications over the years have appeared under the name Alexander Callander Murray, Alexander C. Murray, and A.C. Murray.

Ph.D., Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto


             Recent Publications

2022. Author. The Merovingians: Kingship, Institutions, Law, and History. Variorum Collected Studies. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge.


             Partial and Chronological List of Publications


1983. Author. Germanic Kinship Structure: Studies in Law and Society in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Studies and Texts no. 65. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. Pp. xii, 256.

1998. Editor. After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History, Essays Presented to Walter Goffart. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Pp. xiii, 318.

2000. Translator/editor. From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: A Reader. Peterborough/Calgary: Broadview Press. Pp. xvi, 678.

2006. Translator/editor. Gregory of Tours: The Merovingians. Peterborough: Broadview Press. Pp. xxxii, 282.

(2016). Editor. A Companion to Gregory of Tours. Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition 63. Leiden: Brill. Pp. xviii, 667.

2022. Author. The Merovingians: Kingship, Institutions, Law, and History. Variorum Collected Studies. (See above Recent.Publications). Collected edition of most but not all the articles listed below.


Refereed Articles and Chapters in Books

1970. “The Lending of Hrunting and the Anglo-Saxon Laws.” Notes and Queries, N.S. Vol. 17, No. 3 (March). Pp. 83-84.

1982. “Beowulf, the Danish Invasions and Royal Genealogy.” In The Dating of Beowulf, ed. Colin Chase. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Pp. 101-111. PB reprint 1997.

1986. “The Position of the Grafio in the Constitutional History of Merovingian Gaul.” Speculum. A Journal of Medieval Studies 61/4 (October). Pp. 787-805.

1988. “From Roman to Frankish Gaul: Centenarii and Centenae in the Administration of the Merovingian Kingdom.” Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought and Religion 44. Pp. 59-100.

1994. “Immunity, Nobility and the Edict of Paris.” Speculum. A Journal of Medieval Studies 69/1. Pp. 18-39.

1998. “Post vocantur Merohingii: Fredegar, Merovech, and ‘Sacral Kingship.'” In After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History (see above, Books). Pp. 121-152.

1998. “Introduction: Walter André Goffart,” and “Walter Goffart Bibliography,” in After Rome’s Fall: Narrators and Sources of Early Medieval History (see above, Books). Pp. 3-16

2001. “Pax et disciplina: Roman Public Law and the Frankish State.” In Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of  Medieval Canon Law, Syracuse, New York, August 13-18, 1996, ed by Kenneth Pennington, Stanley Chodorow and Keith H. Kendall. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Pp. 269-85

2002. “Reinhard Wenskus on ‘Ethnogenesis,’ Ethnicity, and the Origin of the Franks.” In On Barbarian Identity: Critical Approaches to Ethnicity in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Andrew Gillett, Studies in the Early Middle Ages 4 (Turnhout: Brepols). Pp. 39-68.

2005. “The New MGH Edition of the Charters of the Merovingian Kings.” Journal of Medieval Latin 15. Pp. 246-278.

2006. “Pax et disciplina: Roman Public Law and the Frankish State.” In From Roman Provinces to Medieval Kingdoms, ed. Thomas F.X. Noble, Rewriting Histories Series. New York: Routledge. Pp. 376–388. Reprint of an article appearing originally in the Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Medieval Canon Law (2001).

2008. “Chronology and the Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours.” Journal of Late Antiquity 1/1. Pp. 57-202.

2010. “Merovingian Immunity Revisited.” History Compass 8/8. Pp. 913-928.

2011. “So-called Fictitious Trials in the Merovingian Placita,” in Gallien in Spätantike und Frühmittelalter (5.-7. Jh. n. Chr.), ed. S. Diefenbach and G. Mueller, (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter). Pp. 297-327.

2016a. “The Composition of the Histories of Gregory of Tours and Its Bearing on the Political Narrative.” In A Companion to Gregory of Tours, ed. Alexander Callander Murray (see above, Recent Publications). Pp. 63-101.

2016b. “The Merovingian State and Administration in the Times of Gregory of Tours.” In A Companion to Gregory of Tours, ed. Alexander Callander Murray (see above, Recent Publications). Pp. 191-231

2016c. “Gregory of Tours (Hist. II 10) and Fredegar (Chron. III 9) on the Paganism of the Franks: The Relation of the Texts and What They Say.” In Mélanges Pascale Bourgain, ed. Cédric Giraud and Dominique Poirel. In Press.



1985. Anne K.G. Kristensen, Tacitus' germanische Gefolgschaft, Royal Danish Academy 50:5, Copenhagen, 1983. In Scandinavian Studies 57 no. 2, pp. 194-95.

1988. Leopold Hellmuth, Gastfreundschaft und Gastrecht bei den Germanen, Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften: Sitzungsberichte der phil.-hist. Klasse 440, Vienna, 1984. In Speculum 63/1 (Jan.), pp. 163-65.

1989. Herwig Wolfram, History of the Goths, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. In The International History Review 9/3, pp. 529-531.

1991. Patrick J. Geary, Before France and Germany. The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World,  New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. In Speculum,  66/2 (April), pp. 412-13.

1992. Jean Durliat, Les finances publiques de Diocletian aux Carolingiens (284-889), Beihefte der Francia 21, Sigmaringen: Thorbecke Verlag, 1990. In Speculum. 67, no. 4, pp. 959-962.

1995. Sven Rugullis, Die Barbaren in den spätrömischen Gesetzen. Eine Untersuchung des Terminus  barbarus, Europäische Hochschulschriften, Reihe III, Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften 513. Frankfurt am Main/Bern/New York/Paris: Peter Lang, 1992 . In Gnomon, pp. 649-50.

1996. Martin Heinzelmann, Gregor von Tours (538-594): "Zehn Bücher Geschichte", Historiographie und Gesellschaftskonzept im 6. Jahrhundert, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994. In English Historical Review 111, no. 444 (November), pp. 1231-32.

1997. Property and Power in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Wendy Davies and Paul Fouracre. Cambridge: U.P., 1995. In English Historical Review 112, no. 449, pp. 1235-6.

1999. Michael J. Enright, Lady with a Mead Cup: Ritual, Prophecy and Lordship in the European Warband from La Tène to the Viking Age. Dublin/Portland, Oregon: Four Courts Press, 1996. In Speculum 74, no. 4 (October), pp. 1055-56.

2002. Stefan Esders, Römische Rechtstradition und merowingisches Königtum: Zum Rechtscharakter politischer Herrschaft in Burgund im 6. und 7. Jahrhundert. Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte 134. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997. In Speculum 77/2, pp. 516-18.

2002. Matthew Innes, State and Society in the Early Middle Ages: The Middle Rhine Valley 400-1000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. In American Historical Review 107/3, pp. 923-24.

2004. Arne Søby Christensen, Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the History of the Goths: Studies in a Migration Myth. Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen: Copenhagen, 2002. In International History Review 36, pp. 805-06.

2008. Gideon Maier, Amtsträger und Herrscher in der Romania Gothica: Vergleichende Untersuchungen zu de Institutionen der ostgermanischen Völkerwanderungsreiche, Historia Einzelschriften 181, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2005. In Speculum 83/1, 215-16.