Memorial for Prof. Hans Eberhard Mayer

25 Oct 2023 12:44 PM | Kyle Lincoln (Administrator)

From Prof. Jonathan Phillips

I am deeply saddened to convey the news that Professor Hans Eberhard Mayer has died at the age of 91. 

What a giant of the subject we have lost. A glance at his extraordinary output reveals his startling levels of productivity and sheer, consistent excellence and innovation. His myriad books, articles, edited collections and, especially, editions of texts, have provided a baseline of research and insight that we are all indebted to. From his posts at the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (1956-67) and then the University of Kiel (1967 onwards), he authored (amongst many, many others), an edition of the Itinerarium peregrinorum, seminal articles on King Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Queen Melisende of Jerusalem, as well as his textbook, Geschichte der Kreuzzüge, eventually published in 10 editions, with an English translation in 1972 (second edition 1988). Mayer's expertise in the chancery of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem yielded the 2 volume Die Kanzlei der lateinischen Könige von Jerusalem (1996), and then, in 2010​, the huge 4 volume Die Urkunden​der lateinischen Könige von Jerusalem (2010), an utterly essential resource for anyone engaging with our subject. He was also a prolific reviewer, his razor-sharp mind (and trusty typewriter) audited a vast number of publications; an anxious moment for an author as the slightest slip was duly registered and corrected - although a (relatively) clean bill of health was, of course, a mark of particular esteem.

In 1997, Professor Mayer was honoured with a Festschrift, Montjoie: Studies in Crusade History in Honour of Hans Eberhard Mayer (Ashgate), from which we have taken the inset classic photo below. He was also, in 1980, one the founding members of the SSCLE.

We will publish a full appreciation in a forthcoming issue of Crusades.

Best wishes,


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