Dieter Mertens (historian)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dieter Mertens (born January 9, 1940 in Hildesheim ; † October 4, 2014 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German historian . From 1991 to 2005 he taught as a professor for medieval history at the University of Freiburg .


Dieter Mertens studied history and Latin at the Universities of Freiburg and Münster . The state examination in history and Latin in Freiburg in 1967 was followed there by his doctorate under Otto Herding (1971). The dissertation, published in 1976, dealt with the reception of the works of the Carthusian Jakob von Paradies. His habilitation took place in Freiburg in 1977. The habilitation thesis Reich and Alsace at the time of Maximilian I. Investigations into ideas and regional history in the south-west of the empire at the end of the Middle Ages remained unprinted. From 1966 to 1968, Mertens was a research fellow at the German Research Foundation . From 1973 to 1979 he did research as an assistant at the Institute for Historical Regional Studies at the University of Freiburg.

In 1979 Mertens received the Heisenberg scholarship , and in 1980/81 a substitute professor at the University of Augsburg (medieval history). From 1984 to 1991 he held the chair for middle and modern history with a focus on regional history and historical auxiliary sciences at the University of Tübingen . At the same time he was director of the Institute for Historical Regional Studies and Historical Auxiliary Sciences in Tübingen (as successor to Hansmartin Decker-Hauff ). In 1991 he was appointed to the chair of medieval history in Freiburg as the successor to Karl Schmid and remained there until his retirement in 2005.

Mertens had been a member of the commission for historical regional studies in Baden-Württemberg since 1985 and was deputy chairman there between 1995 and 2005. He has also been a full member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences since 1999 and a member of the Wolfenbüttel working group for Renaissance research since 2001.


Mertens - like his teacher Herding - has made a name for himself above all in the field of humanism research. His most important contribution to this was the co-editing of the monumental edition of Jakob Wimpfeling's correspondence .

Mertens presented a wealth of articles on people from Alsatian and Swabian humanism and on the history of the universities of Tübingen and Freiburg, but also important studies and overview presentations on the history of the Württemberg region. He dealt in particular with the early history of the Lords of Württemberg , with regard to their origin he made plausible that they could be relatives of the Salians .

Mertens became known to a larger audience at the beginning of November 2006 when he succeeded in proving in the Baden manuscripts and cultural goods dispute (2006–2009) between the state of Baden-Württemberg and the House of Baden that - contrary to the view of the state government of Baden -Württemberg under Prime Minister Guenther Oettinger - the Margrave panel of Hans Baldung Grien is not part of the house bathing, but since 1930 the country.

For this proof, but especially for his life's work, Mertens was awarded the Schiller Prize of the city of Marbach am Neckar in 2007 .


  • A complete list of publications appeared in: Sabine Holtz, Albert Schirrmeister, Stefan Schlelein (ed.): Humanisten edieren. Scholarly practice in the southwest in the Renaissance and the present (= publications of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg. Volume 196). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 3-17-023380-7 , pp. 245-265.
  • Humanism and national history. Selected essays , 2 volumes, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2018 (= publications by the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg. Series B, Research, Volume 218), ISBN 978-3-17-034359-7 .


  • Jürgen Dendorfer , Birgit Studt (ed.): In memory of Dieter Mertens. Speeches and lectures at the funeral service in the Liebfrauenkirche zu Günterstal (October 17, 2014) and the academic memorial service at the Albert-Ludwigs-University (November 13, 2015) (= Freiburg contributions to the history of the Middle Ages. Volume 2). Thorbecke, Ostfildern 2019, ISBN 978-3-7995-8551-4 .
  • Birgit Studt: work on humanism. On the death of the Freiburg historian Dieter Mertens. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . October 9, 2014, No. 234, p. 12.
  • Sabine Holtz: Obituary for Dieter Mertens (1940–2014). In: Journal for Württemberg State History . Volume 74, 2015, pp. 355-360.
  • Volker Rödel: Obituary for Dieter Mertens (1940-2014). In: Journal for the history of the Upper Rhine . Volume 163, 2015, pp. 377-380.
  • Eike Wolgast : Obituary for Dieter Mertens (9/1/1940 - 4/10/2014). In: Yearbook of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences for 2014. Heidelberg 2015, pp. 357–362 ( online ).
  • Thomas Zotz : Obituary for Prof. Dr. Dieter Mertens (1940-2014). In: Alemannisches Jahrbuch. Volume 61/62, 2013/2014, pp. 318-320 ( online ).
  • Thomas Zotz: Obituary Prof. Dr. Dieter Mertens (1940-2014). In: Schau-ins-Land. Annual journal of the Breisgau history association Schauinsland. 133, 2014, pp. 191-192 ( online ).

Web links


  1. Cf. also Dieter Mertens: Jakob von Paradies. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 4, 1983, Col. 478-487.
  2. Birgit Studt: Work on Humanism. On the death of the Freiburg historian Dieter Mertens. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. October 9, 2014, No. 234, p. 12.
  3. Dieter Mertens: To the early history of the lords of Württemberg. Formation of tradition - history of research - new approaches. In: Journal for Württemberg State History. Volume 49, 1990, pp. 11-95.
  4. Dieter Mertens: The Baldung-Grien-Code. Who wants to buy a picture that already belongs to them? Günther Oettinger hits eight million on the head. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. November 2, 2006, No. 255, p. 39. See also the weblog Archivalia .