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Durham University

Department of History

Staff Profile

Ana de Oliveira Dias

Personal web page

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 (email at

About me

My primary areas of research are visual and intellectual culture in early Medieval Iberia. 
I have recently completed a Ph.D. in Medieval History at Durham University, and I did a Masters by Research in Medieval History and a B.A. in Art History at the University of Lisbon (Portugal).

My doctoral research explored the mechanisms through which scriptural and exegetical texts were translated into visual imagery in the context of monastic communities in tenth- and eleventh-century Iberia. In particular, it focused on the case of the copies of Beatus of Liébana's Commentarium in Apocalypsin, having analysed how these were conceptualised as illustrated books set against the broader panorama of early illustrated Apocalypse manuscripts. 

From 2009 to 2014, I held a post as educator at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.

Conference and Seminar papers

Between traditio and renovatio: examining changes in material culture in the illuminations of the Beatus manuscripts (Visual Intersections II - CVAC workshop, Durham University, July 2017).

The textual made visual: the illustrations of the Leonese Beatus manuscripts and their colour (International medieval congress of Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2017).

The illustrations in DCL Hunter 100: makeup, style and artistry (Correction and regulation: perspectives on English compotus from Hunter 100 to Robert Grosseteste, All Soul’s College, Oxford, May 2017).

 The Apocalypse in medieval Iberia: book production, art and imagination (cycle of conferences in Medieval History at Fountains Abbey, January, 2017).

The signs of the times: traditio and renovatio in the illustrations of the twelfth-century Beatus manuscripts (International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 2016). 

The programme of illustrations in Durham Cathedral Hunter 100: style, technique and illuminators (Colloquium 'Context, Compilation and Community: Hunter 100 and the world of science in Medieval Durham, St. John's College, Durham University, May 2015).

Archetype, model and variation: archaism and 'renovatio' in the Beatus of Saint Mamas of Lorvão (2nd edition of Medieval Europe in Motion – Medieval Manuscripts in Motion, Lisbon, March 2015,).

Recreating divine order on vellum: function and meaning of numerology in Beato de Liébana’s Commentarium in Apocalypsin from the scriptorium of Lorvão (5th European Congress of Medieval Studies, Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, Universidade do Porto, July 2013).

 A «ciência numérica» no imaginário medieval: o exemplo das ilustrações do «Beato» de São Mamede de Lorvão (Turres Veteras XVI: o “Imaginário”, Torres Vedras, May 2013).

 Number and geometrical form: medieval imagination in the Commentarium in Apocalypsin of the monastery of Lorvão(International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 2012).

Between chaos and perfection: symbolical aspects in the «mise- en-page» of the Commentarium in Apocalypsin of the monastery of Saint Mamas of Lorvão (26th Irish conference of medievalists, University College Dublin, July 2012).

Os «Mischwesen» nas Tentações de Santo Antão de Hieronymus Bosch – as estruturas do imaginário medieval nos alvores da Época Moderna (Seminário Internacional Tarouca – Cister: o Imaginário e o Património de Cister no Douro, September 2010, Tarouca, Portugal).

Em torno da Claves Regni: do texto à simbólica (Congress Poder Espiritual/ Poder Temporal: As relações Estado – Igreja no tempo da Monarquia (1179-1909), Academia Portuguesa da História, Lisbon, May 2009).

Relevant Professional Experience

Docent at the Department of Education: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon from 2009 to 2014. 

Session Organisation

‘Legitimacy, imagery and imagination: creating and sustaining identities in the High Middle Ages’ – session organization in the International congress on medieval studies of Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2017, session 163.

Research Interests

  • Early Medieval Iberian and European History
  • History of the book
  • Medieval intellectual culture
  • Medieval liturgy and theology
  • Medieval monasticism
  • Medieval visual and material culture


Conference Paper

  • (2013), ‘A «ciência numérica» no imaginário medieval: o exemplo das ilustrações do «Beato» de São Mamede de Lorvão’,, Conference proceedings Turres Veteras Encontro Internacional de História – Turres Veteras XVI: o Imaginário. Torres Vedras, Portugal, Edições Colibri, Torres Vedras, pp. 81-100.
  • (2009), ‘Em torno da Claves Regni: do texto à simbólica’, Poder Espiritual/ Poder Temporal: As relações Estado – Igreja no tempo da Monarquia (1179- 1909). Lisbon, Academia Portuguesa da História, Lisbon, pp. 350-382.

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 (Futurisme, 21): pp. 8-12.