David Coste (ancient historian)

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David Coste (full name David Albert August Conze , born June 12, 1853 in Gramzow , † December 4, 1915 in Berlin-Wilmersdorf ) was a German ancient historian and teacher. He taught at various grammar schools in the Berlin area and was director of the Bismarck grammar school in Wilmersdorf near Berlin from 1896 until his death . Among his scientific publications, the translations of the late antique historians Ammianus Marcellinus , Prokopios of Caesarea and Isidore of Seville are particularly noteworthy.


David Coste came from a Huguenot family that had lived in Magdeburg since the 18th century . His father Adolph Coste (1823–1876) was a preacher in the French Reformed congregation in Gramzow in the Uckermark from 1852 to 1854 , his mother Henriette Charlotte Fournier (1832–1908) also came from a Huguenot family. David Coste attended the Marienstiftsgymnasium in Stettin and passed the school leaving examination there on April 5, 1870. He then studied history and classical philology at the universities of Greifswald , Berlin and Strasbourg . On May 2, 1873 in Strasbourg, Coste challenged Otto Mohr, a member of the Corps Rhenania Tübingen , to a pistol duel for defamation . Coste met his opponent, who died from the gunshot wound. Coste spent until his acquittal on 26 July in imprisonment . Paul Felisch , Admiralty Councilor and member of the student union Leonensia , reports in his memoirs of the pistol duel: When the members of the Rhenania buried their corps brother with their connecting colors blue-white-red, French newspapers reported that the funeral was a French demonstration . Coste, so Felisch, I can take "from the detention centers of his philosophical doctoral examination" and was in July 1873 at the University of Tübingen Dr. phil. PhD . An excerpt from his dissertation on the Battle of Wimpfen (1622) appeared in the historical journal a year later . On March 10, 1875, Coste passed the teaching examination in Latin, Greek, history and geography (for all classes), religion and German (up to lower level II) and French (up to fourth).

From April 1, 1875 to April 1, 1876 Coste did his military service with the 2nd Guards Regiment on foot in Berlin . Later, as a reserve officer, he also took part in courses and exercises with the 4th Guards Regiment on foot in Berlin, received several awards and was promoted to second lieutenant in 1878 and first lieutenant in 1888; In 1892 he received his departure. From April 1, 1876 to April 1, 1877 he completed the probationary year at the Royal French Gymnasium in Berlin . On October 1, 1877, he went to the Friedrichswerder Gymnasium as a regular teacher and on April 1, 1879 to the Askanische Gymnasium , where he worked for eleven years. During this time he dealt intensively with the history of late antiquity and published translations of the historians Ammianus Marcellinus , Prokopios of Caesarea and Isidore of Seville . His colleagues at the Askanisches Gymnasium included the director Woldemar Ribbeck and the senior teacher Max CP Schmidt , who were also scientifically active.

On October 1, 1890, Coste went to the newly founded West-Gymnasium in Berlin-Schöneberg as a senior teacher, which was renamed the Prinz-Heinrichs-Gymnasium in 1893 . At the inauguration of the grammar school on October 18, 1893, he was appointed professor. At the Prinz-Heinrichs-Gymnasium, Coste also belonged to a scientifically well-recognized college: the headmaster Otto Richter and the senior teachers Alfred Brueckner and Paul Graffunder were recognized as archaeologists, Peter Corssen as a philologist and text critic, Emil Engelmann as a local historian and local researcher and Bernhard Kübler as Legal historian.

On April 1, 1895, Coste was appointed director of the higher boys' school in Deutsch-Wilmersdorf near Berlin. This school was promoted to grammar school the following year and Coste was appointed grammar school director on October 1, 1896. In the school year 1897/98 the school was renamed " Bismarck -Gymnasium"; In the same year the school also moved into a new building, which today houses the Goethe-Gymnasium . In the course of the general population development, the number of students at the Bismarck High School increased steadily. Coste received state awards for his achievements, including the Red Eagle Order 4th Class (1894), the appointment to the Privy Councilor (December 20, 1913) and the Eagle of the Knights of the Hohenzollern House Order (1914).

Coste also got involved outside of school for the community. He was a member of the district synod from April 26, 1906 and a city councilor from April 1, 1907. He died on December 4, 1915. His companion Peter Corssen, who from 1898 also was Costes colleague at the Bismarck-Gymnasium, published an obituary.

Mrs. Frieda born Hanssen, whom he married on October 5, 1882, Coste had four daughters. The eldest, Anne-Marie (* 1883), married the mathematician Ernst Jacobsthal in 1948 .

Fonts (selection)

  • The battle of Wimpfen and the four hundred Pforzheimers . Tübingen 1873 (dissertation)
    • Published in excerpt under the title: The four hundred Pforzheimer . In: Historical magazine . Volume 32 (1874), pp. 23-48
  • Excerpts from Ammianus Marcellinus . Leipzig 1879 ( Historian of the German prehistoric times. Second complete edition 3)
  • Procopius, vandal war . Leipzig 1885. 3rd, revised edition 1913
  • Procopius, Goth war. Along with excerpts from Agathias, as well as fragments by Anonymous Valesianus and John of Antioch . Leipzig 1885. 2nd, unchanged edition 1903
  • Isidore's story of the Goths, Vandals, Sueven plus excerpts from the church history of Beda Venerabilis . Leipzig 1887. 3rd edition 1909
  • Attempts to organize lessons in Prima more freely . 2 parts, Wilmersdorf 1907–1908


  • Eduard Muret: History of the French colony in Brandenburg-Prussia, with special consideration of the Berlin community . Berlin 1885
  • Peter Corssen : Memorial speech for David Coste, former director of the Bismarck-Gymnasium . Berlin 1916 (school program)

Web links

Wikisource: David Coste  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Data sheet on the father at genealogy.net (accessed on January 29, 2015).
  2. a b Gymnasium in Germany-Wilmersdorf near Berlin. I. Annual report on the school year 1896/97 by the director Prof. Dr. David Coste . Berlin 1897, p. 15 ( Diglisat der ULB Düsseldorf ).
  3. Na: 8th Strasbourg, July 26th. (Academic.) . In: Johann Friedrich von Cotta (Ed.): Allgemeine Zeitung . July 26, 1873 ( bsb-muenchen.de ).
  4. Paul Felisch: Memoirs. A career in the empire . Eick-Verlag, Kiel 2015, p. 36 .