Canonieke verzameling in een manuscript
Canonieke verzameling in een manuscript

ERC Consolidator Grant for Sven Meeder for research on medieval social norms

Assistant Professor of Medieval History Sven Meeder receives a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The two-million-euro grant will allow him to launch a new research project.

The ERC Consolidator Grant is designed to support researchers at the stage in which they aim to set up their own independent research team and research programme. The ERC Grant is worth two million euros.

With this grant historian Sven Meeder can start the project SOLEMNE - The Social Life of Early Medieval Normative Texts. Many of the surviving medieval Western texts were written or commissioned by members of the elite or the clergy. As a result, they often give a limited and distorted image of the opinions of ordinary people. In order to gain insight into medieval ideas about social norms, historian Sven Meeder will examine collections of canon law (lines of ecclesiastical or religious texts) in an innovative way.

Insight in social norms

The manuscripts of canonical collections that he will examine focus not only on religious and ecclesiastical laws, but also touch on social, moral, political and economic issues. Medieval scholars compiled these types of collections by electing to copy or not copy specific texts and by copying specific combinations of these texts. As a result of this process, these combinations of rules (canons) provide insight into the views on social norms and societal ideals from that period. Meeder examines canons in order to gain a better understanding of what people thought about such social issues as economic inequality, murder and theft, social hierarchies, sexual behaviour and gender relations.

Smart database

In addition to the well-known ‘major’ canonical collections, the Meeder also studies so-called canonical florilegia: these are short moral texts that were probably used in local communities that were primarily home to a lay population. Gathering the information from large numbers of manuscripts and collections and putting it into a smart database will provide insight into how social ideas were spread and how they changed between around 500 and 1200 CE.


Contact information

For further information, please contact Dr Meeder, S.M. (Sven)  or team Science communication via +31 24 361 6000 or media [at] (media[at]ru[dot]nl).

Contact information