Matthew Parker


Matthew is a doctoral candidate in the History Department, focusing on 12th and 13th century Italian communes. His research interests include the Mediterranean world, commercial networks, intercultural encounters, and the crusades. He is currently writing his dissertation on the impact of the Battle of Meloria (1284). This naval battle, in which the Genoese decimated the fleet of Pisa, has been commonly taken as the turning point in Pisan history, after which the commune ceases to be a major player in the Mediterranean both economically and militarily. Though the Pisans did rebuild their harbor, they did not rebuild the centuries-old shipbuilding industry. Matthew's research delves into 30 years of notarial documents to explain why such a major component of Pisan life and identity was suddenly abandoned after a single military defeat.

In 2013, Matthew was awarded an Exploratory Travel and Data Grant by the Economic History Association to fund archival research in Pisa and Florence. That same year he also received the Brennan Summer Fellowship from Saint Louis University. He is currently a research assistant for Dr. Thomas Madden. For the last two years he has been instrumental in running the technical aspects and marketing for the Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University, in addition to performing similar services for smaller events hosted by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Prior to Saint Louis University, Matthew received a B.A. in History and Economics from Emory University. He has been an avid outdoorsman and rock climber for over two decades and a half-marathoner for almost ten years.

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