Expanding the Digital Atlas – More Reflections from the Research Team

Work continues on the Digital Atlas of medieval ecclesiastical jurisdictions. Here Stanford undergraduate Lauren Schlansky (’19), who started working on the atlas in January 2019, reflects on her contribution:

“I joined the project about a year after its creation. Using existing maps and records, my predecessors on the project were able to create a digital map of diocesan boundaries in late medieval Europe. My primary role in the project has been to represent on a new layer of the map provincial jurisdictions in Medieval Europe between 1200 and 1500, and to accurately reflect the changes in jurisdiction between the different provinces. The provinces, which encompassed and presided over multiple dioceses, frequently gained and lost jurisdiction over different dioceses, making their representation on a single map challenging. The dynamic and interactive aspect of this map, however, affords us the ability to trace the changes in jurisdiction in Medieval Europe over time on a single map. Using the mapping software ArcGIS, I created multiple shapefiles for each province, in which each shapefile represents the province’s new boundary for a particular period of time. With a click of a button on the map, we can progress temporally — from 1200 to 1300, for example — and visually track the changes in provincial boundaries. Together, the digital map and the textual corpus of local ecclesiastical legislation, to which the map is connected, will allow us to better understand the movement and influence of laws, as new laws were promulgated or ignored by different regional, provincial, and diocesan jurisdictions over time.”


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