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The transmission of knowledge in the early middle ages

Professor Rosamond McKitterick will join German historians in exploring intellectual exchange and the construction of Latin literary culture in the Frankish regions.  The new project will draw on the remarkable concentration of early medieval manuscripts in the Cambridge University Library, as well as the Hamilton and Phillipps funds in Berlin’s Deutsche Staatsbibliothek.  Recent scholarship has focused closely on manuscript evidence, with each manuscript assessed as a piece of historical evidence in its own right. This has led to a transformation of our understanding, and many new perspectives and discoveries in the study of the early middle ages. This project will offer insights into the uses made by Prussians of the early medieval period as a part of German national history. It will also shed light on historical enterprises such as the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, and British-German links in the nineteenth century. 

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Illustration: the ‘Moore Bede’ Cambridge University Library KK.5.16

The project will offer workshops to introduce graduate students of early medieval history from Cambridge, Berlin and Tübingen to the formation, content and significance of these internationally important collections.  Participants will explore the transmission of knowledge within a European world of intellectual exchange, as well as gain insights into Latin literary culture in the Frankish regions.  Led by Professors McKitterick, Esders and Patzold in collaboration with Dr Suzanne Paul of Cambridge University Library and Dr Eef van Overgaauw of the Handschriftenabteilung in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, the workshops will take place in Berlin in 2016 and Cambridge in 2017.  They represent the beginning of collaboration between the three universities in the field of early medieval European history. The project will bring graduate students from different academic contexts and traditions together to discuss their research and methods, exchange ideas, learn from each other, and form friendships. 

Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge), Stefan Esders (Freie Universität Berlin) and Steffen Patzold (Universität Tübingen)

Supported by the DAAD Cambridge Research Hub with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office (FFO)