Matthew Firth

Matthew Firth is an interdisciplinary HDR student in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences whose research focuses on cultural memory and history writing in medieval world.



Matt has recently been elected an ECR member of the Royal Historical Society (, one of the oldest and most respected scholarly societies in the world; a really extraordinary achievement.

Some fantastic publication wins for 2020 so far:

Matt’s third research article in six months was published as an ‘early view’ by Wiley this month, in advance of the next issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
Co-authored with supervisor, Erin Sebo, the article, Kingship and Maritime Power in 10th‐Century England deconstructs some of the foundation myths that surround the Royal Navy, and proposes new methodologies for assessing the use of maritime military power in pre-modern England.
He also had an article published in June in the open access Royal Studies Journal: The Character of the Treacherous Woman in the passiones of Early Medieval English Royal Martyrs.
This paper examines three historical medieval queens and their legacies. It traces their shifting characters in later histories and religious texts as they began to be perceived as the stereotypical ‘wicked stepmother’ of folklore, and considers the fragmentary nature of history writing in the Middle Ages.

Matt’s article Æthelred II ‘the Unready’ and the Role of Kingship in Gunnlaugs saga Ormstungu (which is less niche than it sounds!) was published in the March issue of The Court Historian.
Considering how Icelandic texts of the 13th and 14th centuries recall Anglo-Icelandic interaction of earlier generations, the article examines how societies remember the past and shape that past in the remembering.
This paper, adapted from one of Matt’s thesis chapters, was awarded The Society for Court Studies Annual Essay Prize.

He has also presented at the King and Queens conference hosted by the University of Miami on 1-3 July, and has been invited to speak in the Monash Centre for Medieval and Renaissance seminar series this semester.

News just in, Research lead by Matt is featured in The Times UK – ‘King Alfred’s claim as first naval victor is set adrift’

Matt is extremely active in many aspects of Flinders’ life. He is a participant in this year’s academic internship program, as well as being the inaugural secretary of the CHASS Postgraduate Association, which has played a significant role in keeping CHASS HDRs connected over recent months, establishing a monthly digital seminar series, and hosting the College’s first fully-online conference on 18th & 19th June.


Matt at the ruins of Lindisfarne priory (a place the Vikings famously attacked in 793)

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