Remarks by the Recipient of the 2015 MEM Lifetime Achievement Award

Bulliet, Richard W.

I enrolled in Professor Giles Constable’s seminar in twelfth-century European history in 1962, my frst year of graduate study at Harvard. He told us to select a cartulary, which he told us was a term for a collection of medieval documents. We were to write a paper based on what we found there. I selected the cartulary of the Guillem family, the lords of Montpellier in southern France. I realized, given my haphazard memory of the Latin I had taken in high school, that I could not expect to read most of the documents. But I noticed that each document ended with a series of names of witnesses, and, the more important the document, the longer the list. Moreover, the names often included the witness’ occupation and the name of his father. So I made the study of major witness families over a sequence of generations the core element of my paper.


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Al-ʿUsur al-Wusta

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August 17, 2022