Verena Krebs, author of Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy

Dr Verena Krebs

I currently hold the W1 Professorship (non-tenure track) “Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements” at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, where I also co-direct the Bochum Centre for Mediterranean Studies.

In 2014, I obtained a bi-national PhD in history from the universities of Konstanz, Germany, and Mekelle, Ethiopia, followed by three years doing a post-doc in Jerusalem (2014—2017). My primary research focus is on the late medieval Solomonic Kingdom of Ethiopia and its connections to the wider Mediterranean region.

In 2021, I published my first academic monograph "Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy" with Palgrave Macmillan, which received considerable international media attention — for a scholarly book not intended as a crossover volume — after its release. I am currently completing a second book that examines Solomonic patronage and courtly collecting in the late 15th and early 16th century preliminarily titled "Africa Collecting Europe". While both works share some DNA with my PhD research (published on microfiche), they are conceived and written as original, fully independent studies shedding new light onto the cultural history of late medieval Solomonic Ethiopia.

Together with with  Dr Yonatan Binyam (Penn State University / UCLA), I am also working on a handbook titled Ethiopia and the World, 500-1530. This book offers an accessible introduction for non-specialist historians and other interested readers to the history the Ethiopian-Eritrean highland plateau and its relations to Afro-Eurasia across the medieval millennium. It will be published by Cambridge University Press as part of the Elements in the Global Middle Ages Series, edited by Geraldine Heng and Susan J Noakes, in late 2022. 

Over the past decade, I have been a visiting researcher at the Institute for Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and the Department of History and Heritage Management at Mekelle University, Ethiopia. I have also led several fieldwork research initiatives in both the Amhara and Tigray regions of Ethiopia. 

In my capacity as a professor for medieval history at Bochum, Germany, I have taught seminars and courses on the Global Middle Ages, the History of the Black Death in Afro-Eurasia in the 1300s, various aspects of North-East African History (1100—1550), the great 14th-century traveler Ibn Battuta as well as trade between the between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. 

Academic Positions 

since Oct 2017

  • W1 / Junior Professor, History Department, Ruhr-University Bochum (non-tenure track) “Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements”

since Oct 2019

  • Assistant Executive Director, Centre for Mediterranean Studies (ZMS), Ruhr-University Bochum

Oct 2014—Sept 2017

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Sept 2015—Aug 2018

  • Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Religious Studies, Ruhr-University Bochum, project ‘Jews and Christians in the East: Strategies of Interaction between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean (JewsEast)’, funded by the European Research Council.


  • Dr. phil. / PhD  (with highest honours, “summa cum laude”) in History,University of Konstanz, Germany, and Mekelle University, Ethiopia (Oct 2010—Dec 2014), bi-national degree (co-tutelle). Thesis title: ‘Windows onto the World: Culture Contact and Western Christian Art in Ethiopia, 1400—1550’. Recipient of the award for Best PhD Thesis completed  at the University of Konstanz in the academic year 2014/15, awarded by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft, published on microfiche (2018).

  • MA (History and Medieval History), University of Konstanz, Germany (Oct 2007—April 2010, visiting student at the University of York from October 2008 to May 2009). Dissertation title: ‘Das christliche Königreich Äthiopien: Kontakt zur westlichen christlichen Welt’. Awarded with distinction.

  • BA (Literature, Art, and Media Studies), University of Konstanz (Oct 2004—Jul 2007). Major in Literature, Art and Media Studies, Minor in History. Awarded with distinction.