Gerd Tellenbach

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Gerd Tellenbach (1903–1999) was a German historian and scholar of medieval social and religious history, particularly of the Papacy and German church during the Investiture Controversy and reform movements of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Tellenbach also made groundbreaking contributions to the study of the medieval nobility and helped establish a new field of research dedicated to mapping social networks and familial ties among medieval elites (Personenforschung). After studying history at the universities of Freiburg and Heidelberg, he taught in Gießen, Münster, and finally the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, where he served as Rektor (chancellor) in 1949–1950 and again in 1957–1958. From 1962 to 1971, he was director of the German Historical Institute in Rome, a state-sponsored research center dedicated to German-Italian studies and the history of the Papacy in the Middle Ages.

Scholarly influence

Given his extraordinarily long and productive career, Tellenbach ranks as one of the most influential German historians of the twentieth century. At Freiburg, as well as during his tenure as director of the German Historical Institute in Rome, he trained and served as a mentor to a large number of students of medieval history who went on to receive important academic chairs throughout Germany. His most famous student was Karl Schmid (1923–1993), who further developed Tellenbach's research on medieval noble families and pioneered important new...
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