Dr Sophia Moesch

  • The Carolingian Empire
  • The Byzantine Empire under the Macedonian Dynasty
  • Late Antique and Early Christian Political Thought

My previous research, in particular my doctoral project Augustine of Hippo and the Art of Ruling in the Carolingian Imperial Period, has focused on the history of Western political thought from c. 400–c. 900 AD. It has offered a philological-historical approach, which viewed the Latin texts as political discourses defined by content and language. My research has been interdisciplinary, considering its historical and political components, and its philological orientation.

My current project Developing Principles of Good Governance: Latin and Greek Political Advice during the Carolingian and Macedonian Reforms aims to link my knowledge of the late antique and early medieval Latin West with the Greek East. The focus of the interdisciplinary and trans-epochal research is expanded to include an intercultural comparison.

On the Latin side, the research considers the Via regia of Smaragdus of Saint-Mihiel and the letters of Lupus of Ferrières to Charles the Bald. On the Greek side, it includes the letter of Photios I of Constantinople to Boris I of Bulgaria and the (Pseudo-Basil) κεφάλαια παραινετικά of Basil I the Macedonian to Emperor Leo VI the Wise. I ask how political advisers legitimised power during these two critical periods in the early medieval West and East. I also examine how dynastic and political circumstances shaped political advice and what the stylistic means were by which advisers laid stress on the rulers’ intellectual authority and authority in religious affairs. Overall, the project is an exploration of the sources of these political texts and discusses questions relating to the Old Testament, Greek, Roman and patristic influences on medieval Western and Eastern ideas of kingship. The research also involves tracing Latin and Greek intertextual connections and is a comparison of two cultural systems, of sources, and of ideas.

The political thought I explore in the Carolingian and Byzantine political advice texts will remain undefined throughout my work, which is a key contribution of my research to the field. It has been established that many late antique and early medieval thinkers (including the Church Father Augustine) were not systematic philosophers in regard to their political thought. I therefore support a more modular and situational thinking about political advice and state’-‘church’ relations, which is in line with recent research.

Peer-reviewed Books/Monographs

Mösch, Sophia: Augustine and the Art of Ruling in the Carolingian Imperial Period: Political Discourse in Alcuin of York and Hincmar of Rheims. Routledge. Accepted.


Publications in Peer-reviewed Journals

Mösch, Sophia: Augustinian Thought in Alcuin’s Writing: A Philological-Historical Approach. History of Political Thought 39 (1), 2018, 33-53.

Mösch, Sophia: Les Annales Mettenses Priores et Alcuin d'York. Le discours politique sur l'accession de Charlemagne au pouvoir, in: Presses universitaires de Nancy – Editions Universitaires de Lorraine (eds.): Charlemagne, les Carolingiens et Metz: Représentation, recomposition et instrumentalisation du passé du Moyen Âge au XXe siècle. Nancy 2017, 65-81.


Contributions to Books

Mösch, Sophia: What NANSO Posters from Cape Town Reveal, in: Miescher, G., Rizzo, L., Silvester, J. (ed.): Posters in Action: Visuality in the Making of an African Nation. Basel 2009, 75-86.

List of site pages