Prof. Dr Marc-Aeilko Aris has been a member of the MGH central board of directors since 2010, headed the MGH as commissarial president from 2014 to 2018, and is currently chairperson of the MGH friends‘ association that he helped to found. The MGH are proud to announce that he was awarded the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 24, 2022.
At the decoration ceremony, which was held in the Fürstengang of the Freising bishop‘s residence, minister of state Dr Florian Herrmann, MdL, prized Aris‘ scholarly achievements, his activities as rector of the Cathedral of Freising, and his dedication to the MGH: „For decades, Prof. Aris has been active throughout the country as one of the leading scholars in the fields of medieval studies, medieval Latin philology, and the history of philosophy. At the same time, he has dedicated himself exceptionally to serving scholarly organisations such as the Albertus-Magnus-Stiftung or the Monumenta Germaniae Historica. For this admirable and selfless life-time achievement, he deserves the highest respect and recognition.“
In his acceptance speech, Marc-Aeilko Aris cited a well-known humility topos attributed to Bernhard of Chartres: „We are like dwarves on the shoulders of giants so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.“ Such an honour, he continues, may indeed only be received in humility and thankfulness for the achievements of those who have paved the way: „I know well my indebtedness to my patrons and instructors and to those who dedicated their labour in the past to the tasks that I am now entrusted with, and I have every reason to be humble. In the books that I have consulted in this matter, one reads how often the topos of dwarves on the shoulders of giants was cited in the Middle Ages and thereafter. In medieval times in particular, it was a matter of good form to always try to outdo the preceding speaker in humility. Adopting this convention, I would say that I feel myself not just like a dwarf sitting on the shoulders of giants, but indeed as one with giants sitting on his shoulders.“
The MGH heartily congratulate Marc-Aeilko Aris on the honour!