News , Events | 22. Apr. 2024

MGH Autumn Academy, 9-13 September 2024

Charters as Testimonials of Medieval Written Production

Charters are important testimonials of medieval written production. They document an exceptionally efficient system of law and communication that evolved its characteristic formal and material elements in the course of the Middle Ages. This makes charter studies or diplomatics one of the central disciplines of historical studies.

This year‘s MGH Autumn Academy offers participants an in-depth introduction to the specific characteristics of diverse types of charters including royal, imperial, papal, and private charters. 

Central skills such as the reading of medieval handwriting (palaeography), charter studies (diplomatics) in the stricter sense, the study of seals (sigillography or sphragistics), and critical edition methods will be treated in the course. The focus lies on imparting the basic knowledge and practical competence necessary for scholarly work with medieval charters. Our expert instructors will introduce the participants to a variety of topics, sources, and methods, and discuss current research approaches with them. In practical exercises, participants will be working with selected charters under the guidance of the course leaders. Study material will be made available in advance to prepare for the Autumn Academy.

Monday 9th to Friday 13th September 2024
Munich Institute of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Ludwigstrasse 16, 80539 Munich


Monday, 09.09.2024

3 p.m.       Welcoming address, guided tour through the Munich Institute of the MGH, introduction to the subject of charter studies and the basics of palaeography and chronology.

6 p.m.       Reception programme in the rooms of the MGH institute

Tuesday, 10.09.2024

9 a.m.        Imperial and royal charters I, with Prof. Dr Stefan Petersen (Munich): External and internal characteristics of royal charters until the mid-twelfth century

12 a.m.      Lunch

2 p.m.        Royal and imperial charters II, with Dr Katharina Gutermuth (Munich): Charters in the field of tension between north and south. The charters of the elder Hohenstaufen and Frederick II’s „Sonderweg“. Insights into the evolution of imperial charters from the 12th to the 13th century and basic edition methods.

5 p.m.        End of the sitting

Wednesday, 11.09.2024

9 a.m.         Papal charters I, with Prof. Dr Jochen Johrendt (Wuppertal) and Prof. Dr Harald Müller (Aachen): Basic terminology – Transmission – Forms (ca. 1050-1200)

12 a.m.       Lunch

2 p.m.         Papal charters II, with Prof. Dr Jochen Johrendt (Wuppertal) and Prof. Dr Harald Müller (Aachen): Forms of the papal charter (ca. 1150-1300) and their transmission in registers

5 p.m.         End of the sitting

7 p.m.         Evening lecture by Prof. Dr Mark Mersiowsky (Stuttgart): The charters of the Carolingian Age

Thursday, 12.09.2024

9 a.m.          Private charters I, with PD Dr Roman Zehetmayer (St. Pölten): Episcopal and private charters

12 a.m.        Lunch

2 p.m.          Private charters II, with Prof. Dr Magdalena Weileder (Darmstadt): Late medieval notarial charters

5 p.m.          End of the sitting

Friday, 13.09.2024

9 a.m.           Excursion to the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Bavarian State Archive)

11:30 a.m.   Concluding sitting

12:30 a.m.   End of the Autumn Acadamy

Application for the MGH Autumn Academy is open to students in an advanced stage of their studies and Ph.D. students majoring in Medieval history. Applicants should have basic knowledge of palaeography and diplomatics and fluency in the German language. The number of participants is limited to 12. The language of instruction is German. Participation is free of charge and a travel allowance may be granted on application.

Application prerequisites:

  • A good written and spoken command of the German language
  • Latin at the level of the German Latinum (B1)
  • A letter of recommendation by a supervising professor
  • A curriculum vitae and a certificate of university enrolment

To apply, please submit your applications with the above-listed documentation as PDF file to Prof. Dr Stefan Petersen (

Deadline for applications is June 30th, 2024.

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