Alexander Demandt

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Alexander Demandt (born June 6, 1937 in Marburg ) is a German ancient historian who publishes primarily on Roman history and Roman cultural history as well as on historical-theoretical topics. From 1974 to 2005 he taught as a professor of ancient history at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute at the Free University of Berlin .

Live and act

The son of the Hessian regional historian and archivist Karl Ernst Demandt studied history and Latin philology in Tübingen , Munich and Marburg . His academic teachers were Joseph Vogt , Karl Friedrich Stroheker , Wolfgang Schadewaldt , Fritz Taeger , Karl Christ and Christian Habicht . 1964 Alexander Demandt was at hawk with a thesis on contemporary criticism and of history in Ammianus Marcellinus doctorate . As an assistant at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main , he received a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute in 1964/65 . In 1966 he became an assistant at the newly founded University of Konstanz , where he received his habilitation in 1970 with a thesis on the subject of Magister militum .

From 1974 to 2005 Demandt was Professor of Ancient History at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute of the Free University of Berlin. The focus of his work lay in the areas of the Roman world and in late antiquity , he also deals with the phenomenon of decline in history, cultural vandalism , the theory of history , the philosophy of history and the history of science . In 1992 Demandt and his wife Barbara published transcripts from lectures by the historian Theodor Mommsen on the Roman Empire , which he found in a Nuremberg antiquarian bookshop. He held his last lecture in office on July 14, 2005. In 2003 Demandt was awarded the Ausonius Prize , and in 2008 he received the Culture Prize of the Wetteraukreis . He has been a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute since 1990 and a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences since 2000 . Since 2007, Alexander Demandt has had several television appearances as an expert in the television documentary series ZDF-History , directed and moderated by Guido Knopp .

In November 2012, Alexander Demandt gave a speech at the opening of the Library of Conservatism in Berlin. With its stock of mainly conservative and right-wing conservative literature, this institution belongs to a network of the New Right, according to scientists . On the occasion of the refugee crisis in Europe from 2015 onwards , the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung 's magazine Die Politische Demokratie ordered an article from Demandt about the fall of the Roman Empire , which he attributed to the failed integration of barbaric refugees. The editors thereupon refused to print the submitted manuscript because they feared Demandt's presentation could "be misinterpreted in the current political situation". The article then appeared in full in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, among others . Some of the experts criticized the fact that the contribution did not correspond to the current state of ancient historical research on the " migration of peoples ".

Together with Max Otte , David Engels , Gerd Morgenthaler and Robert W. Merry, Demandt is a member of the Presidium of the international Oswald Spengler Society founded in 2017 .

Demandt is the father of the art historian Philipp Demandt . He lives in Lindheim in a house that his grandfather bought in 1921.

Fonts in selection


  • Criticism of time and historical image in Ammian's work (= Habelt's dissertation prints . Alte Geschichte series: Issue 5, ISSN  0072-9175 ). Habelt, Bonn 1965.
  • Deformation tendencies in the tradition of ancient solar and lunar eclipses. Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz 1970. ( online )
  • Metaphors for history. Linguistic images and parables in historical-political thinking. CH Beck, Munich 1978, ISBN 3-406-04696-7 .
  • The fall of Rome. The dissolution of the Roman Empire in the judgment of posterity. CH Beck, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-406-09598-4 .
  • Unhappened story. A treatise on the question: What would have happened if ...? (= Small Vandenhoeck series 1501). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1984, ISBN 3-525-33499-0 (several new editions, most recently: ibid 2011, ISBN 978-3-525-30020-6 ; online ).
  • The late antiquity. Roman history from Diocletian to Justinian. 284 - 565 AD (= Handbook of Classical Studies . Section 3: Ancient Orient, Greek History, Roman History. Part 6). CH Beck, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-406-07992-X (2nd completely revised and expanded edition. Ibid 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-55993-8 ).
  • End time? The future of history. Siedler, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-88680-478-X .
  • The ideal state. The political theories of antiquity. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 1993, ISBN 3-412-00892-3 (3rd, revised edition, ibid. 2000, ISBN 3-412-09899-X ).
  • Ancient forms of government. A Comparative Constitutional History of the Old World. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-05-002794-0 .
  • The private life of the Roman emperors. CH Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-40525-8 (2nd, completely revised and expanded new edition. Ibid 1997, ISBN 3-406-42509-7 ; 1st edition. (In the Beck series (= Beck 'sche series 1746)). ibid 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-54774-4 ).
  • Story of history. History of science essays (= Historica minora. Vol. 1). Böhlau, Cologne et al. 1997, ISBN 3-412-15096-7 .
  • Vandalism. Violence against culture. Siedler, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-88680-624-3 .
  • History of late antiquity. The Roman Empire from Diocletian to Justinian 284 - 565 AD. CH Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-44107-6 (abridged version of Die Spätantike , 1989; 2nd, fully revised and expanded edition. Ibid 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57241-8 ).
  • The Celts (= Beck'sche series 2101 CH Beck Wissen ). CH Beck, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-406-43301-4 (7th, revised edition, ibid 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-44798-3 ).
  • Hands in innocence. Pontius Pilate in History. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 1999, ISBN 3-412-01799-X (Licensed edition: (= Herder-Spektrum 4990). Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau et al. 2001, ISBN 3-451-04990-2 ).
  • Great moments in history. CH Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-46649-4 (several new editions, most recently: limited special edition. (= Beck'sche series 4060). Ibid 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-57732-1 ).
  • Above all tops. The tree in cultural history. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2002, ISBN 3-412-13501-1 (also: Albatros, Düsseldorf 2005, ISBN 3-491-96140-8 ; 2nd, revised and expanded edition under the title Der Baum. Eine Kulturgeschichte. Böhlau, Cologne 2014, ISBN 978-3-412-22217-8 ).
  • Time and inopportunity. Philosophical history essays (= Historica minora. Vol. 2). Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2002, ISBN 3-412-16501-8 .
  • Apseudestata. Aphorisms on the logic of life. BWV - Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-8305-1190-6 .
  • Little world history. CH Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50821-9 (several new editions, most recently: 4th edition. (= Fischer 16721). Fischer-Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-596-16721-0 ) .
  • Seven seals. Essays on cultural history (= Historica minora. Vol. 3). Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2005, ISBN 3-412-20305-X .
  • About the Germans. A little cultural history. Propylaen, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-549-07294-3 (3rd, revised edition, ibid 2009).
  • Alexander the Great. Life and legend. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59085-6 .
  • It could have turned out differently. Turning points in German history. Propylaea, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-549-07368-1 .
  • Philosophy of history. From antiquity to the present. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2011, ISBN 978-3-412-20757-1 .
  • Pontius Pilate. CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63362-1 .
  • Turning point. Essays on late antiquity. De Gruyter, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-11-029461-3 .
  • Time. A cultural story. Propylaea, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-549-07429-9 .
  • Marc Aurel. The emperor and his world. CH Beck, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-406-71874-8 .



  • Who is who? The German Who's Who. XLVII. Edition 2008/2009, p. 216
  • Patrick Bahners : He wanted to read about the miracles of 2000. Unhappened history broadens the horizon of the imagination: the ancient historian Alexander Demandt turns eighty. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , June 6, 2017, No. 129, p. 14.
  • Andreas Goltz, Andreas Luther and Heinrich Schlange-Schöningen (eds.): Scholars in antiquity. Alexander Demandt on his 65th birthday. Böhlau, Vienna, Cologne, Weimar 2002, ISBN 978-3-412-02802-2 ; Review in: sehepunkte Issue 3 (2003), No. 10 [1]

Web links


  1. ^ Andreas Müggenburg: In: Karl Christ: To the Caesar image of the fascist epoch . Speeches for an honorary doctorate, FU Berlin (Ed. Press and Information Office of the Free University of Berlin) Berlin 1993, p. 30.
  2. Heimo Schwilk : The true conservative . In: Die Welt , November 26, 2012, No. 277, p. 21.
  3. ^ Samuel Salzborn : Right-wing extremism: manifestations and explanatory approaches. 2nd, updated and expanded edition, Baden-Baden 2015, p. 59 f.
  4. Gideon Botsch , Christoph Kopke , Alexander Lorenz: How does the “Alternative for Germany” act locally? The Brandenburg case study . In: Andreas Zick , Beate Küpper : Anger, contempt, devaluation. Right-wing populism in Germany . Edited for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation by Ralf Melzer and Dietmar Molthagen . Bonn 2015, pp. 146–166, here: p. 163.
  5. Alexander Demandt: Fall of the Roman Empire. The end of the old order. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 23, 2016
  7. Klaus Nissen: Historian Alexander Demandt on immigration. Prevent ghettos ( memento of December 29, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). In: Frankfurter Neue Presse , December 29, 2015.