The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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BA (St John's College, University of Oxford); MA (Queen’s University); Ph.D. (University of California)
Assistant Professor, Department of History, the Chinese University of Hong Kong


Address: Room 221b, Fung King Hey Building, CUHK, NT, Hong Kong
Phone: (852) 3943 1531

James Morton is an assistant professor specialising in the legal and religious history of medieval Europe and the Middle East. He has a B.A. in Classics from the University of Oxford (St John’s College), an M.A. in Byzantine History from Queen’s University (Canada), and a Ph.D. in Byzantine and Medieval History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Prof. Morton’s research focuses on the relationship between emerging legal systems and the development of religious and cultural identity in the pre-modern Mediterranean world. He is particularly interested in the role of eleventh- to thirteenth-century Christian legal scholarship in the formation of separate Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox denominations within the medieval church. His most recent publications have explored these themes by examining Greek Christian religious and legal institutions under Latin rule in the Norman and Hohenstaufen Kingdom of Sicily.

He is currently writing a book on an unstudied corpus of manuscripts of Greek Christian religious law from southern Italy, entitled Byzantine Law and Religious Culture in Medieval Italy: Understanding the Italo-Greek Nomocanons (10th-14th Centuries). In the future, he hopes to investigate medieval European law and culture in a global perspective, comparing and contrasting it with the experience of the pre-modern Chinese Empire.

Research Interests

  1. The development and interaction of pre-modern legal systems
  2. Religious and cultural identity
  3. Medieval book and manuscript culture
  4. State formation and evolution
  5. Byzantium and its neighbours

Selected Publications

[A] Articles and Book Chapters

  1. ‘A Byzantine Canon Law Scholar in Norman Sicily: Revisiting Neilos Doxapatres’ Order of the Patriarchal Thrones.’ Speculum 92.3 (2017): 724-54.
  2. ‘Latin Patrons, Greek Fathers: St Bartholomew of Simeri and Byzantine Monastic Reform in Norman Italy, 11th-12th Centuries.’ Allegorica 29 (2013): 20-35.
  3. ‘Polyaenus in Context: The Strategica and Greek Identity in the Second Sophistic Age.’ In Polyainos. Neue Studien, edited by Kai Brodersen, 108-32. Berlin: Verlag Antike, 2010.

[B] Book Reviews

  1. Review of Leonora Neville, Anna Komnene: The Life and Work of a Medieval Historian. In Crusades 17 (forthcoming).
  2. Review of Zachary Chitwood, Byzantine Legal Culture and the Roman Legal Tradition, 867-1056. In Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 42.1 (2018): 173-4.
  3. Review of The History by Michael Attaleiates, translated by Dimitris Krallis and Antony Kaldellis. In Religious Studies Review 41.2 (2015): 84-5.