Dr Sinead O’Sullivan

BA, MA (NUI), DPhil (Oxford) FRHistS   Sinead by the tree in Sydney 2015 4

Senior Lecturer in Medieval History

School of History and Anthropology

Queen’s University Belfast

Email: s.osullivan@qub.ac.uk

Sinéad O’Sullivan, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, studied with Henry Mayr-Harting and gained her DPhil in 2000. Subsequently she was awarded a Wingate Scholarship, a Government of Ireland postdoctoral fellowship and a National University of Ireland postdoctoral fellowship in the Humanities. She joined the School of History and Anthropology at Queen’s in 2005. Since then she has been awarded funded research fellowships by the Scaliger Institute (Leiden), the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust.

Research Interests

Her research focuses on the transmission of learning in the early Middle Ages. Her main focus is on early medieval glosses and their importance.  She has published two books on the reception of Late Antique authors: the first on Prudentius (Brill), the second on Martianus Capella in the series Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (Brepols). She has also co-edited a book on Martianus Capella and Carolingian Scholarship (Brepols) and worked on a digital edition as part of an international collaborative effort. Her current work investigates the significance of glosses for mainstream cultural and intellectual history.


She is happy to receive enquiries from students in any area of early medieval intellectual and cultural history and especially from those interested in medieval glosses and manuscript studies.

Select Publications


Articles and papers

  • ‘Glossing Vergil and Pagan Learning in the Carolingian Age,’ Speculum 93/1 (2018), 132-65.
  • ‘Reading and the lemma in early medieval textual culture,’ in The annotated book in the early Middle Ages: Practices of reading and writing, Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy 38, ed. Mariken Teeuwen and Irene van Renswoude (Brepols, 2017), pp. 371-396.
  • ‘Text, gloss, and tradition in the early medieval West: Expanding into a world of learning,’ in Teaching and Learning in Medieval Europe: Essays in Honour of Gernot R. Wieland, ed. Greti Dinkova-Bruun and Tristan Major, Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 11 (Brepols, 2017), pp. 3-24.
  • ‘Servius in the Carolingian Age: A Case Study of British Library, Harley 2782,’ The Journal of Medieval Latin 26 (2016), 77-123.
  • ‘Problems in Editing Glosses: A Case Study of Carolingian Glosses on Martianus Capella’, in The Arts of Editing Medieval Greek and Latin: A Casebook, ed. Elisabet Göransson, Gunilla Iversen, Barbara Crostini, Brian M. Jensen, Erika Kihlman, Eva Odelman, and Denis Searby, Studies and Texts 203 (Toronto, 2016), 290-311.
  • ‘The oldest gloss tradition on Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii: its form, character and routes of tranmission’ in Clerics, kings and Viking:essays on medieval Ireland in honor of Donnchadh Ó Corráin, ed. E. Purcell, P. MacCotter, J. Nyhan & J. Sheehan (Dublin, 2015), pp. 389-98
  • ‘The sacred and the obscure: Greek in the Carolingian reception of Martianus Capella’, The Journal of Medieval Latin 22 (2012), pp. 67-94
  • ‘The Corpus Martianus Capella: Continental Gloss Traditions on De Nuptiis in Wales and Anglo-Saxon England’, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies  62 (Winter 2011), pp. 33-56.
  • ‘Martianus Capella and the Carolingians: Some observations based on the glosses on books I-II from the oldest gloss tradition’, in E. Mullins, D. Scully (eds), Listen, O Isles, unto me: Studies in Medieval Word and Image in honour of Jennifer O’Reilly  (Cork, 2010).
  • ‘Obscurity, pagan lore and secrecy in glosses to Books I-II from the  oldest gloss tradition’, in Carolingian scholarship and Martianus Capella (see above), pp. 99-121
  • ‘The image of adornment in Aldhelm’s De uirginitate: Cyprian and his influence’, Peritia 15 (Turnhout, Brepols, 2001) pp. 48-57.
  • ‘Aldhelm’s De uirginiate and the Psychomachian tradition’, in K.L. Boardman et al. (eds), Framing the text: reading tradition and image in medieval Europe, Mediaevalia 20 (Binghamton, N.Y., 2001) pp. 313-3.
  • ‘Aldhelm’s De uirginitate: patristic pastiche or innovative exposition’, Peritia 12 (Turnhout, Brepols, 1998) pp. 271-95.

Digital edition

Entry on PURE research portal


Dr Sinead O’Sullivan teaches on the following programmes / modules:


HIS1002 Power, Politics and Religion in Medieval Germany, 900-1250
HIS2047 The Expansion of Medieval Europe, 1000-1300
HIS2049 The Roman Origins of the East and West, 400-800
HIS3079 Kings, Courts and Cultures in Carolingian Europe, 750-900

Postgraduate Taught

MHY7020 Medieval Latin Palaeography and Codicology
MHY7078  John Scottus Eriugena and his World