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Department of History

Current Research Students

Ana de Oliveira Dias

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The Apocalypse in early medieval Iberia: the function and impact of the illuminated ‘Beatus’ manuscripts in the Department of History

Contact Ana de Oliveira Dias

PhD project

My Ph.D research focuses on the illuminated corpus of Beatus of Liébana’s Commentary on the Apocalypse, disseminated in Iberia between the eighth and thirteenth centuries. 

I am particularly interested in the challenging questions regarding the function and meaning of the early ‘Beatus’ illuminations; an aspect which I am addressing through the analysis of the modes of representation, such as the depictions of the sacred and the profane, of numbers, animals and beasts, and also instances of ritual iconoclasm. Through these examples, my research will examine the Commentarium’s visual imagery, with particular emphasis on the role of symbols and allegory, so as to elucidate the possible function and impact of these remarkable illustrated manuscripts. The nature of this enquiry – which stands at the intersection of manuscript studies, cultural history, and the visual arts – as well as the interpretation of these illuminations as historical documents, offers an innovative approach to the understanding of medieval Iberian spirituality, mentality and culture.


Research Interests

Medieval Art and Material Culture

Manuscript production and Palaeography

Iberian Medieval Studies

Intellectual Culture


Medieval theology and liturgy

Magic and the supernatural in the Middle Ages

Is supervised by

Research Groups

Research Projects


Conference Paper

  • 2013 '‘A «ciência numérica» no imaginário medieval: o exemplo das ilustrações do «Beato» de São Mamede de Lorvão’,', pp. pp. 81-100
  • 2009 '‘Em torno da Claves Regni: do texto à simbólica’', pp. pp. 350-382

Masters Thesis

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • 2012 ''The Measure of the Future significance and meaning of the number twelve in the illustrations of the Portuguese «Beatus» of the monastery of Lorvão’', Simulacrum - wetenschappelijk tijdschrift voor kunst en cultuur pp. pp. 8-12