News | 21. Jun. 2022

Prof. Dr Michael Menzel awarded the MGH’s Freiherr vom Stein Medal

On May 30, 2022 a solemn celebration was held in honour of Michael Menzel on the occasion of his retirement from the post of director of the MGH branch at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAdW) with honorific addresses by the president of the BBAdW, Prof. Dr Dr h.c. mult. Christoph Markschies, and MGH president Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Martina Hartmann. In his laudatory speech for Dr Menzel, Prof. Dr Johannes Helmrath praised his colleague at the Berlin Humboldt University for his many and various scholarly achievements.

In her address, MGH president Martina Hartmann hailed the twenty years of work on the Constitutiones series at the MGH branch in Berlin under Michael Menzel’s direction as a great success both for the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in Munich and for the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy. In her judgement, Michael Menzel was responsible for cultivating a productive working atmosphere that facilitated the publication of voluminous editions in regular periods of time. In recognition of his achievements, she awarded the honouree the MGH’s Freiherr vom Stein medal and expressly included his co-workers in her thanks.

Michael Menzel responded with an acceptance speech prizing the importance of editorial work. In his words, the production of critical editions and regesta is fundamental research work „for scholarly eternity“. At the same time, he emphasised the challenges of editorial work: “Editions demand stamina and great austerity on the part of their editors.“ He recorded that, as he took up the post in Berlin in 2003, the MGH series Constitutiones, which had been initiated in 1875 under Theodor Mommsen, required to completion „only“ the sources from the reigns of Emperors Louis IV and Charles IV. The word „only“ was, however, a matter of relativity, considering the flood of source material transmitted from the fourteenth century on. Menzel thanked his co-workers for their collective efforts to get a grasp of the overwhelming quantity of charter copies and vowed to see this challenging edition project to completion. „Until then, it remains a Herculean task, but this team can move mountains. We can do it!

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