Click here to start your application. Apply now

About Dr Lars Kjaer

Dr. Lars Kjaer works on elite life and culture in medieval Europe, especially the period from c. 1000 to c. 1300. He has a background in social anthropology and is interested in the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary research. His first book, The Medieval Gift and the Classical Tradition: Ideals and the Practice of Generosity in Medieval England, 1100-1300 was published by Cambridge University Press in 2019 (paperback in 2020).

In October 2022 he published a biography of King Valdemar I ‘the Great’ of Denmark with the major Danish publisher Gad. The biography offers a new and more critical portrait of the famous medieval king and emphasises his international links, his childhood in Kyiv and connections across Europe. The biography received 5-star reviews in Danish newspapers, it was the subject of a special issue of the popular history magazine, Politiken Historie and has led to new debates about Denmark’s medieval past.

He has published over two dozen peer-reviewed books, articles and books chapters on medieval history. Subjects include English and Scandinavian history, the crusades, the role of ritual and gifts in medieval society and the history of London.

In 2021-2024 Lars will be part of the international research project ‘Ambiguities of Hospitality: Intercultural Integration and Conflict in Host-Guest Relations on the European Borderlands, c. 1000-1350’ financed by the Swedish Research Academy.

Lars has created and teaches the course World History and is happy to supervise dissertations on any subject in the global middle ages.

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019)
PhD in History, University of Cambridge (2013)
MPhil in Medieval History, University of Cambridge (2008)
BA in History and Social Anthropology, Aarhus University (2007)


Project Website:

Dr Lars Kjaer's Research

Lars Kjaer has worked on political life and culture in Medieval Europe, and on the role of rituals, hospitality and gifts in medieval society. He has also published on the history of the crusades, looking at the background of crusaders and cross-cultural encounters during the crusades.

Current projects include a study of the role of saints and relics in political life in medieval Denmark and a book on political life and thought in medieval Denmark from the eleventh to the thirteenth century.

Selected Publications


Valdemar den Store. Borgerkrigens barn (Copenhagen: Gad, 2022):

The Medieval Gift and the Classical Tradition: Ideas and the Practice of Generosity in Medieval England, 1100-1300 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)

with Michael Bregnsbo and Jørgen Sevaldsen, London: Porten til Verden (Copenhagen: Gad, 2021).

Edited Volumes:

Gift Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1300-1600: Gifts as Objects, editor with Gustavs Strenga (London: Bloomsbury, 2022).

Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500: Essays in Honour of Professor Michael H. Gelting, editor with Niels Lund and Kerstin Hundahl (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2014).

Feasts and Gifts of Food in Medieval Europe: Ritualised Constructions of Hierarchy, Identity and Community, editor with A J Watson, special issue of the Journal of Medieval History 37:1 (2011).

Journal articles

‘Difficult Gifts: Gifts to and from the Popes in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England’, Journal of Medieval History (forthcoming),

‘Conquests, Family Traditions and the First Crusade’, Journal of Medieval History (2019), 1-27.

‘I Fear Greeks, even when they bear Gifts: The Gifts of Alexios I and the Histories of the First Crusade’, Viator 49 (2018), 25-49.

‘Valdemar 2. Sejr, Matthew Paris og den engelske invasionsfrygt, 1240-41’, Historisk Tidsskrift 118:1 (2018), 21-49.

‘Political Conflict and Political Ideas in Twelfth-Century Denmark’, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 13 (2017), 61-100.

‘Tilfangetagelsen af Valdemar II Sejr i Dunstableårbogen’, Historisk Tidsskrift, 113:2 (2014), 342-50.

‘Food, Drink and Ritualised Communication in the Household of Eleanor de Montfort, February to August 1265’, in Journal of Medieval History 37:1 (2011), pp. 75-89.

‘Feasts and Gifts: Sharing Food in the Middle Ages’, with A J Watson, Journal of Medieval History 37:1 (2011), pp. 1-5.

 Book Chapters

‘Food, Peacemaking, and Maintenance in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England’, in Peacemaking and the Restraint of Violence in High Medieval Europe, ed. Simon Lebouteiller and Louisa Taylor (forthcoming).

‘Gifts and Gift Giving in Gesta Danorum’ in A Companion to Saxo Grammaticus, ed. L.B. Mortensen and T.K. Heebøll-Holm (forthcoming).

‘Introduction: The Matter of the Gift’, in Gift Giving and Materiality in Europe, 1-16.

‘Remembering the Vikings in Thirteenth-Century England and Denmark’, Thirteenth Century England XVII, ed. A.M. Spencer and C. Watkins (Woodbridge, Boydell, 2021), 1-21.

‘Glory and Legitimation in the Aristocratic Hall’, in Wojtek Jezierski, Kim Esmark, Hans Jacob Orning, Jón Viðar Sigurðsson (eds.), Nordic Elites in Transformation, c. 1050–1250, Volume III: Legitimacy and Glory (London, Routledge, 2020), 154-74.

‘Cæsar i middelalderen: Cæsars ånd’, in Trine Arlund Hass and Trine Grove Saxkjær (eds.),
Cæsar: manden og myten (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2020), 167-84.

‘Magnates, Ritual and Commensality at Royal Assemblies: Bogo de Clare and Edward I’s Easter Parliament 1285’, in A. King and A. Spencer (eds.), Edward I: New Interpretations (Woodbridge, York Medieval press, 2020), 66-83.

‘Writing Reform and Rebellion’ in Baronial Reform and Revolution, 1258-1267, ed. A. Jobson (Woodbridge, Boydell, 2016), 109-24.

‘Feasting with Traitors: Royal Banquets as Rituals and Texts in Medieval Scandinavia’ in L Hermanson, W Jezierski, H J Orning and T Småberg (eds), The Power of Practice. Rituals and Politics in Medieval Scandinavia c. 650-1350 (Boydell, Woodbridge, 2015), 269-94.

‘Rusty Knives, Runes and Vikings: The Valdemarian Kings and the Danish Past a Comparative Perspective’ in K Hundal, L Kjær and N Lund (eds), Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Professor Michael H. Gelting (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2014), 255-68.

with Kerstin Hundahl, ‘Introduction’ in Denmark and Europe in the Middle Ages: Essays in Honour of Professor Michael H. Gelting, ed. K. Hundal, L. Kjær and N. Lund (Aldershot

‘Druk, kongedrab og kongemagt i højmiddelalderens Danmark’, in K H Andersen and S Pajung (eds), Drikkekultur i middelalderen (Aarhus University Press, Aarhus, 2014), 127-48.

‘Matthew Paris and the Royal Christmas: Ritualised Communication in Texts and Practice’ in J Burton, P Schofield and B Weiler (eds), Thirteenth-Century England XIV (Boydell, Woodbridge, 2013), 141-54.

‘Gaver og Gæstebud: Avaritia og Liberalitas i Gesta Danorum’, in P Andersen and T Heebøll-Holm (eds), Nye Perspektiver på Saxo Grammaticus (Aarhus University Press, Aarhus, 2012), 183-213.

Dr Lars Kjaer's Teaching

Lars teaches world history, ancient and medieval history through small group tutorials and lectures. Lars teaches the following courses at Northeastern University London:

World History

This first-year undergraduate course designed by Dr Kjaer takes a broad and deep view of human history, from the emergence of homo sapiens to the challenges of the twenty-first century. It incorporates the full global sweep of human history focusing on the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Medieval Europe, 1000-1300: Faith and Power
A first-year undergraduate course designed by Dr Kjaer that investigates the transformations in religious and political life in medieval Europe between the years 1000 and 1300. The focus of the course is the interconnections between these two spheres, religious and political.

From Roman Empire to Medieval Kingdoms, 300-1000
A first-year undergraduate course designed by Dr Kjaer. The course explores the history of the later Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity, before moving on to exploring the fall of Rome and the rise of the barbarian successor states.

Britain and the World
A first-year undergraduate course designed by the Northeastern University London History Faculty and team-taught, which takes in human history from the beginning till now. Dr Kjaer has lectured on ancient and medieval history..

The Crusades and the Expansion of Europe, 1000-1200
Lars Kjaer designed this third-year course on the background and development of the crusades in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The course focuses on the forces that shaped the crusades and the cultural encounters and developments that occurred in Europe and the Middle East in this period.

The Royal Court: Ritual, Culture & Power in Medieval England, 1150-1300
This MA depth-study explores the novel ways in which historians are now approaching political life and ideas in the middle ages while also introducing students to the great diversity of primary sources that the period offers.