This autumn and winter again, the MGH are proud to invite you to join us in our online lectures covering a wide spectrum of interesting topics. Continuing the series „Lectures in the History of Medieval Research“, Prof. Dr Reinhard Blänkner focuses on the controversial figure Otto Brunner on November 24, 2022, while Dr Kerstin Thieler investigates Percy Ernst Schramm’s ambivalent relationship to the Nazi past on March 23, 2023.
In the series „Back to the sources“ showcasing MGH editors and their current research projects, Philipp T Wollmann presents his work on litterae clausae in the chancery of Emperor Frederick II on January 26, 2023; Dr Levi Roach draws our attention to a unduly neglected original charter of Otto I on February 23; and on April 20, 2023, Anna C. Nierhoff informs us about the reception and use of the Bamberg World Chronicles in later historiography.
All lectures will be held on Thursdays, beginning at 6 p.m. in the form of online presentations on the internet platform Zoom. To participate, please register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. After registration, we will supply you with further information and the login password ca. three days prior to the presentation.
November 24, 2022: Otto Brunner (1898-1982). Denkwege auf der Suche nach Ordnung (paths of thought in the quest for order)
Otto Brunner was one of the most influential historians in the 20th-century German-language intellectual world. His scholarly works were widely read and received not only by historians, but also in humanities studies and the social sciences in general. His intellectual involvement with National Socialism, however, has polarised the later reception of his writings in historical circles. Putting aside apologetic or denunciatory interpretations, the lecture investigates Brunner’s work under the aspects of continuity, discontinuity, and transformation as related to the central problem of „order“ in the multifaceted contexts of the 20th century.
Prof. emeritus Dr Reinhard Blänkner is Senior Scholar at the Faculty of Social and Cultural Sciences at the Europa-Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). In the context of his research on Otto Brunner, he has published a number of studies in preparation for a monograph treatment of Brunner’s work and influence in the contexts of interdisciplinary studies and the political upheavals of the 20th century.
January 26, 2023: Verschickte Friedrich II. geheime Botschaften? Überlegungen zur Verwendung von litterae clausae und cedulae interclusae im 13. Jahrhundert (Did Frederick II send secret messages? Reflections on the use of litterae clausae and cedulae interclusae in the 13th century)
According to Paulius Rabikauskas, letters that were issued folded and sealed – litterae clausae or letters close, as they are known – contained primarily secret or private messages. This theory is difficult to verify, however, since there are few letters close preserved in their original form. Most of the existing litterae clausae were issued by the papal chancery. A recent analysis of their contents from the 13th to the 15th century by Christoph Egger and Werner Maleczek has revealed that they in fact treated a broad range of subjects. By contrast, there is thus far not one single example of letters close issued by the imperial chancery to be found in the Diplomata edition of the charters of Frederick II. There is, however, some evidence of the contents of such letters close in the remaining fragments of the imperial registry and in the so-called Summa dictaminum of Petrus de Vinea. On this basis, the lecture investigates the use and content of litterae clausae in the chancery of Frederick II.
Philipp T. Wollmann studied history, art history, and cultural history in Augsburg and Munich and is currently writing his Ph.D. on delegated papal jurisdiction in Bavaria and Austria under the guidance of Prof. Dr Martina Hartmann. Since 2019 he works for the MGH, assisting Karl Borchardt in the edition of the Summa dictaminum of Petrus de Vinea.
February 23, 2023: D O I. 161: Eine vernachlässigte Originalurkunde Ottos des Großen (A neglected original charter of Otto the Great)
The year 2020 was sensational for Ottonian charter studies: Besides the widely hailed discovery of an original charter of Emperor Otto II (MGH D O II. 284) in the Stadt- und Stiftsarchiv Aschaffenburg, Laurent Morelle also found two further previously overlooked Ottonian charters in the archive of the Duke of Arenberg. While such new finds deservedly draw much scholarly attention, there is some danger that earlier discoveries are being forgotten. In his lecture, Levi Roach addresses one such „neglected“ original charter, a customs charter for the bishopric of Worms identified in the MGH Diplomata under the number D O I 161. The charter was mentioned by Paul Kehr in 1931 and cursorily discussed by Hartmut Hoffmann in connection with the infamous Worms forgeries. On closer investigation, however, it appears that the charter has more to it than meets the eye.
Levi Roach studied in Cambridge and Heidelberg, finishing his Ph.D. in Cambridge in 2011. Since 2012, he is an associate professor for medieval history at the University of Exeter. In August 2022, he was awarded the MGH Fellowship of the MGH friends association Pro arte edendi e.V. for his research project on the charters of the Ottonian emperors.
March 23, 2023: „Schramm drüber“? Der Mittelalterhistoriker Percy Ernst Schramm (1894-1970) und seine Beschäftigung mit der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus („Schramm drüber“? The medieval historian Percy Ernst Schramm and his occupation with the Nazi past)
The lecture investigates Percy Ernst Schramm’s ambivalent treatment of the time of Nazi rule. Having himself been a member of the NSDAP, Schramm temporarily lost his professorial chair after the war and, after his reinstatement, devoted much energy to the National Socialist legacy and his own rehabilitation. Schramm’s personal activities and familial persecution experiences during Nazi rule stand in contrast to his social engagement in the post-1945 re-evaluation of that period. In particular, his choice of topics rendered him vulnerable to public criticism during the 60s, as the Nazi legacy became the subject of broader interest. Schramm’s bestowment of the Order Pour-le-Mérite on Erwin Panofsky, a former colleague who had emigrated to the USA, in Munich led him to finally confront his own personal NS-history.
Dr Kerstin Thieler completed her Ph.D. under Bernd Weisbrod in Göttingen in 2013 with a doctoral thesis on the control of political views through local NSDAP functionaries. Currently working at the Universität zu Köln (Cologne), her research projects focus on confronting National Socialism in the culture of remembrance, the history of the Cologne university in the 20th century, and the links between the recruitment of elites and democratisation processes in the early FRG.
April 20, 2023: Auf verschlungenen Wegen – Eine Spurensuche zur Rezeption der Bamberger Weltchroniken (On convoluted paths – searching for traces of the reception of the Bamberg world chronicles)
Written at the turn of the 11th to the 12th century, the works of Frutolf of Michelsberg and his continuators strongly influenced later historiographical works. In following centuries, the complex of chronicles now subsumed under the term „Bamberger Weltchronistik“ was diversely continued, paraphrased, partially incorporated into other annals or chronicles, and transmitted in the form of excerpts. The lecture focuses on these multifarious and sometimes overlapping paths of reception.
Anna Claudia Nierhoff studied medieval, ancient and oriental history at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. Since 2021 she works at the MGH and is currently writing her Ph.D. thesis on the reception of the Bamberg World Chronicles („Die Rezeption der Bamberger Weltchronistik. Studien zur Wirkungsgeschichte der Chroniken von Frutolf und seinen Fortsetzern“).