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Mikhail Boytsov

  • Tenured Professor (2014)
  • Mikhail Boytsov has been at HSE University since 2011.

Academic biography

Professor Mikhail Boytsov was trained as medieval historian and the Lomonosov Moscow State University, where he also earned his PhD and the advanced postdoctoral degree of Doctor of Sciences (see Education&Degrees below). He came to the Higher School of Economics after teaching for more than two decades at the Faculty of History of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Professor Boytsov has been on the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für historische Forschung and has been co- editor of the Russian historical almanac Casus. As an expert on political symbolism in the Middle Ages, Professor Boytsov also takes credit for elaborating the methodological framework of 'potestary imagology' (see Research interests).

Research interests

Professor Mikhail Boytsov is engaged in research on a wide range of topics in the political and cultural history of medieval Europe. At the centre of his interests are the many and intricate ways in which ceremonial symbolism fuses with, and undergirds, patterns of political power in medieval West and beyond. Professor Boytsov has introduced and elaborated the analytical lens of 'potestary imagology', i.e. the methodology of approaching images—in art, ritual, and contemplative writings—as channels through which different actors of power in the Middle Ages would structure political messages and instill them on population.

Professor Boytsov has written extensively on the political underpinnings of ritualized actions across medieval Europe. One of his particular interests lies in establishing various routes through which models and symbols of God-sanctioned power travelled between regions. But in the centre of his interest remains the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries. By tracing the complex ways of symbolical interrelations and adaptations of power symbols between the rising and falling medieval empires, Professor Boytsov consistently reveals yet another strand of the ongoing translatio imperii and the complex processes of influence and exchange that have contributed to the making of today's Europe as a fundamentally shared space of cultural and political interaction.

Education, Degrees and Academic Titles

  • 2015
  • 2011

    Doctor of Sciences* in World History
    Lomonosov Moscow State University
    Thesis Title: Political Ceremonial in the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th – early 16th Centuries

  • 1994
    Associate Professor
  • 1987

    Candidate of Sciences* (PhD) in World History
    Lomonosov Moscow State University
    Thesis Title: Imperial Assemblies in Germany in the 2nd Half of the 14th Century

  • 1986

    Doctoral programme in 07.00.03 General history
    Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of history

  • 1983

    Degree in History
    Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of History

* Candidate of Sciences
According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, Candidate of Sciences belongs to ISCED level 8 - "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar. Candidate of Sciences allows its holders to reach the level of the Associate Professor.
* Doctor of Sciences
A post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates in ISCED 2011.

Awards and Accomplishments

Best Teacher – 2022, 2020, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012

Editorial board membership

  • 2009: Member of the Editorial Council, Zeitschrift für historische Forschung.

  • 1996–2014: Editor-in-chief, Казус. Индивидуальное и уникальное в истории.



Chapter Boytsov M. Performative Self-representation of City Governments, in: Patterns in the History of Polycentric Governance in European Cities. From Antiquity to the 21st Century. Berlin, Boston : De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2024. doi P. 97-122. doi


Chapter Bojcov M. A. Das Goldene Tor von Vladimir, Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa und die Rätsel von Vasilij Tatiščev, in: StauferDinge. Materielle Kultur der Stauferzeit in neuer Perspektive. Festschrift für Knut Görich. Regensburg : Schnell und Steiner, 2022. Ch. 10. P. 68-88.



Book Бойцов М. А., Шукуров Р. М. История Средних веков. Западная Европа, Византия и ранний ислам Ч. 2. Екатеринбург : Артефакт, 2020.





















Article Бойцов М. А. Вперед, к Геродоту!  // Казус. Индивидуальное и уникальное в истории. 1999. № 2. С. 17-41.



Article Бойцов М. А. Ритуал императорских похорон в Германии конца XV в. // Средние века. 1996. № 58. С. 149-155.



Article Бойцов М. А. Латинская Америка глазами немецкого конкистадора  // Средние века. 1992. № 55. С. 7-10.



Book "К чести России". Из частной переписки 1812 года / Сост.: М. А. Бойцов. М. : Современник, 1988.


  • 2022
    The German Influence in Medieval Europe (Гейдельберг и Мангейм). Presentation: Did Friedrich Barbarossa reform the Old Russian Architecture?
  • 2019
    Maximilian I. (1459-1519) und Musik. Reale Präsenz vs. virtuelle Kommunikation (Ганновер). Presentation: Die Kanzleiharmonie König Maximilians
  • Der Tod des Königs: Realität, Literatur, Repräsentation / La mort du roi: réalité, littérature, représentation (Фрибур). Presentation: Aromatibus conditur. Zu welchem Zweck und mit welchen Mitteln wurden die königlichen Leichen konserviert?
  • Лицо в средневековой культуре Востока и Запада (Санкт-Петербург). Presentation: The Face of the Dead. Political Rituals in Medieval Empire
  • Вызов времени: становление централизованных государств на Востоке и Западе Европы в конце XV – XVII в. (Калуга). Presentation: Гробница императора как опора династии
  • 2018
    Mission als transkulturelles und transnationales Phänomen (Шанхай). Presentation: Mission und Gewalt im europäischen Mittelalter
  • Русь конца XV - середины XVIII в.: natio vs confessio (Варшава). Presentation: Братство с Римскими царями. Московский князь между Константинополем и Римом. 1489 г.
  • 2017
    Великое стояние на реке Угре и формирование Российского централизованного государства: локальные и глобальные контексты (Калуга). Presentation: Что знали при дворе Ивана III о «конституции» Священной Римской империи?
  • Топография восточнославянских "мест памяти" кон. XV - сер. XVIII вв. (Москва). Presentation: Александр Македонский и московиты
  • Democracy Today. Lessons from the German Past and Present (Кембридж). Presentation: Die deutschen Wege zu Demokratie in den (post)sowjetischen Interpretationen
  • 2016
    ‘What is the city but the people?’ Urban Identities between the Civic and the Ethnic (Оксфорд). Presentation: The City as a Female: from Late Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages
  • Образ и символ в иудейской, христианской и мусульманской традиции (Москва). Presentation: ‘Surge illuminare Jerusalem!’ Библейские мотивы в средневековых коронациях
  • Glaubensfragen. 51. Deutscher Historikertag (Гамбург). Presentation: Das Privilegium maius 1359: eine höchst glaubwürdige Fälschung
  • The Future of German Studies in British, Russian and Other International Contexts (Кембридж). Presentation: Deutsche Geschichte? Wozu denn?
  • Images of the Good Christian Ruler in the Mediterranean and the Near East (4th-10th Centuries) (Франкфурт-на-Майне). Presentation: Der gute sündige Herrscher. Ambrosius von Mailand und Theodosius I.
  • Карл IV Люксембург и Европа XIV в. (Москва). Presentation: Вызов императору. Как Карлу IV пришлось бороться с Юлием Цезарем и Нероном
  • 2015
    Неофициальная медиевистика и советский "культурный поворот" (Москва). Presentation: Спекулятивные соображения о причинах популярности "Категорий средневековой культуры"
  • Образ и символ в иудейской, христианской и мусульманской традиции (Москва). Presentation: Посох Моисея и одеяния первосвященника среди инсигний христианских государей
  • Jan Hus: † 6. Juli 1415. Ein Rückblick nach 600 Jahren (Мюнхен). Presentation: Die Hussiten im russischen und sowjetischen historischen Bewusstsein
  • Власть и ее пределы ( К 800-летию Великой хартии вольностей) (Москва). Presentation: Ограничение власти правителя:  символические формы выражения в Средние века
  • 2014
    Stand und Perspektiven der Sozial- und Verfassungsgeschichte zum römisch-deutschen Reich. Der Forschungseinfluss Peter Moraws auf die deutsche Mediävistik (Гисен). Presentation: Elemente der politischen Retrospektion in der Goldenen Bulle von 1356
  • Образ и символ в иудейской, христианской и мусульманской традиции (Москва). Presentation: Помазание на царство: от Саула до Шатуфенов и далее
  • XXI Международный медиевистический когресс (Лидс). Presentation: The Golden Bull of 1356: A 'Constitutional Project' for the Future or a Pragmatic Reaction to the Past?
  • II Чтения памяти Геннадия Григорьевича Литаврина (Москва). Presentation: Шлем Константина Великого и гвоздь Истинного Креста
  • Церковное первенство на Западе и Востоке (Москва). Presentation: "Код Амвросия": как епископ впервые потребовал покаяния от императора
  • Культ святых в средневековой христианской культуре Запада и Востока Европы: религиозное, политическое, социальное (Москва). Presentation: Первые святые покровители империи Оттонов
  • 2013

    Сословное представительство в России в контексте европейской истории (вторая половина XVI - середина XVII в.) (Москва). Presentation: "Сословно-представительная монархия": ошибка в переводе?

  • К 400-летию дома Романовых. Монархии и династии в истории Европы и России (Санкт-Петербург). Presentation: Символическая множественность и символическое единство. Способы представления империи в иконографии и политическом церемониале

Courses (2023/2024)

Courses (2022/2023)

Courses (2021/2022)

Courses (2020/2021)

Courses (2019/2020)

"Guest positions" abroad

Visiting research fellow at the Central European University (Budapest), Department of Medieval Studies (March - April 1998); visiting professor at the University of Bern, Institute of History (2000), visiting professor at the University of Wales, Department of History & Welsh History at Aberystwyth (2003), visiting professor at the University of Augsburg, Institute of History (2005), visiting Grant Scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Wassenaar (2007), visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg, Historical seminar and member of the Sonderforschungsbereich 619 „Ritualdynamik“ (2008), visiting Grant Scholar at the Exzellenz-ClusterReligion und Politik in Vormoderne und Moderne“, University of Münster (2009, 2013), visiting Grant Scholar at the Zentrum für Mittelalter- und Renaissancestudien of the Ludwig and Maximilian University in Munich (2010), visiting Grant Scholar at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, programme “Research in Paris” (2011), Honorary Research Associate in the Department of History, University College London (2013), Christian Wolff professor at the Martin Luther University in Halle and Wittenberg (2014).


Member of the "Majestas" Society (1994 - 2004),

member of the International academic advisory board of the Max Planck Institute of History in Göttingen (2001 - 2006),

corresponding member of the Central Directorate of the German Research Institute of the Middle Ages Monumenta Germaniae Historica (since 2012),

member of the Academic advisory board of the German Historical Institute in Moscow (since 2013)


Main Fellowships

Research scholarships of the Volkswagen-Stiftung (1991, 1995), the DAAD (1991 - 1993), the Georg-Eckert-Institut für Internationale Schulbuchforschung (1993), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2000-2002), the Max Planck Society (1997, 2000, 2003 - 2006), the Mairie de Paris (2011) and others.

Timetable for today

Full timetable

Both Quiet and Noisy: HSE University Opens Its Largest Coworking Space for Students Yet

A meeting room, a presentation hall, a quiet zone for individual study, areas for discussing group projects—the new space will become the main attraction for all those who study at the HSE building on Staraya Basmannaya. HSE News Service attended the coworking opening ceremony and learned whether it is possible to sleep there, where HSE’s psychological hub is located, whether Mikhail Boytsov’s ID card works, and what students think about the new place.

Studying the Middle Ages Is Fascinating

The recently launched Master's Programme in Medieval Studies is the only Master’s degree in Russia fully dedicated to medieval studies. HSE News Service spoke with Juan Sota, a second-year student of the programme, about its unique features, interacting with professors, and his research interests and aspirations.

HSE Ranks Among the World’s Top 50 Universities in Three QS Subject Rankings

HSE University has expanded its presence in the top 50 of QS subject rankings, placing in two additional subject rankings. HSE is represented in 4 of the 5 broad subject areas ranked by QS, and it has significantly improved its performance from last year in almost half of the individual subjects rankings in which it is included.

Project Work at the Faculty of Humanities to Comprise a Three-Tier Structure

Project work in the Faculty of Humanities can be divided into three categories of varying scale. Megaprojects bring together employees of different HSE faculties and campuses; projects bring together employees at the faculty level; and more localized projects, which have been tentatively defined as initiative projects, are implemented by teams on an initiative basis. This project work structure and other issues were discussed on Wednesday, July 29 at a meeting of the HSE University administration.

Changes in Store for HSE’s Faculties of Law and Humanities

The Academic Council has approved changes to the Faculties’ structure

HSE Faculties of Law and Humanities to Be Restructured

The HSE University administration has approved proposed structural changes to the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of the Humanities. The changes will streamline managerial processes and better facilitate the faculties’ pursuit of research and educational objectives. The changes will take effect at the start of new academic year on September 1, 2020.

Interview with Mikhail Boytsov, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities

Prof. Boytsov discusses the Faculty’s main achievements of 2019, new academic programmes, and plans for the new year.

Two International Students Receive HSE Silver Nestling Awards

At last week’s Golden HSE Award Ceremony, the winners of the Silver Nestling Award included two international students: Yunying Pei (China) of the Dual Bachelor’s Programme in Data Science and Business Analytics, and Juan Sota (Spain) of the Master’s Programme in Medieval Studies. HSE News Service spoke to the two students about their courses, speaking Russian, and the reactions their families and friends had when they told them they won the Silver Nestling Award.

Microhistory Days at HSE

This April, Microhistory Days took place at HSE. The event coincided with the visit to the School of History of Prof. Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon (Reykjavík Academy in Iceland) and Dr. István Szijártó (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest), renowned experts in microhistory, founders of the Microhistory Network, and authors of What is Microhistory? Theory and Practice, a comprehensive analytical monograph.

‘As long as we think about the Middle Ages as a dark time, we will remain dark ourselves’

Every era builds its own version of the Middle Ages, and the modern age is no exception. Oleg Voskoboynikov, the youngest full professor at the Higher School of Economics, talks about the reason for the popularity of metaphors that refer to that era, why the ‘Suffering Middle Ages’ group on VKontakte [Russia’s largest social media site — Ed.] is not the same thing as medieval studies and how the desire to be different from everyone else can lead a student to study the Middle Ages.

‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ Prove Interest in Middle Ages 

From October 7-9, the second annual ‘Dynamic Middle Ages’ school of young medievalists took place in Moscow. After its conclusion, participants talked about what they find interesting in the Middle Ages and the parallels they see between those times and today.

12 HSE Professors Awarded Tenure

On September 26 twelve HSE faculty members were promoted to Tenured Professors.

Advancing Medieval Studies in Halle

Mikhail Boytsov, Professor in the HSE’s Faculty of History, recently held the Christan Wolff professorship at the Martin Luther University in Halle and Wittenberg. He spoke with the HSE news service about his experience working in Germany and his plans for future research.