Dietmar Kienast

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Dietmar Kienast (born August 22, 1925 in Berlin ; † February 13, 2012 in Olching near Munich ) was a German ancient historian .

Kienast's father was the Germanist Richard Kienast . He attended the humanistic grammar school from 1935 to 1944 in Berlin and Heidelberg. From 1944 to 1947 he studied Ancient History and Classical Philology at the University of Heidelberg and in the summer semester of 1949 and in the winter semester of 1949/50 at the University of Hamburg . He had to interrupt his studies from August 1944 to August 1946 due to military service and being a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. Kienast received his doctorate in the summer semester of 1953 in Heidelberg under Hans Schaefer with a thesis on Marcus Porcius Cato Censorius . Today the work is considered the best introduction to Cato's life, in which many prejudices about the person were also relativized. From the beginning of 1956 to March 1958, Kienast was Hans Ulrich Instinsky’s assistant at the University of Mainz . Then he went to Munich and worked on the "Antique coin catalog". In July 1958 he became Konrad Kraft's assistant at the University of Frankfurt am Main . His habilitation took place in 1963 at Kraft with the work investigations into the war fleets of the Roman Empire . Since 1963 he has also worked as a private lecturer in ancient history in Frankfurt . For one semester he was a substitute professor for ancient history at Saarland University . In 1965 he was appointed full professor to the ancient history chair in Marburg . From 1972 until his retirement in 1990 he taught at the University of Düsseldorf . In December 1983 Kienast became a full member of the German Archaeological Institute .

Kienast researched every period of ancient history, from the Archaic Age of the Greeks to late antiquity. His unusual scientific breadth is also evident in his confident handling of numismatic, epigraphic and archaeological evidence. For the Roman Empire, Kienast was considered a leading expert. His Roman Imperial Table , which ended with the division of the empire in 395, became a standard work in ancient history research and teaching. The individual rulers are dealt with in chronological order. The work provides information on birth, origin, career and assumption of power. This is followed in tabular form with the most important dates of the reign and the enumeration of the consulates , the tribunician power , the imperatorial acclamations and the winning names. The individual rulers are followed by a calendar of dates from the imperial period (pp. 345–374) and family tables for the ruling families (pp. 377–382).

The Augustus biography published in 1982 was the first modern account of the Augustan era and was expressly not intended to be a biography, but a study of the Augustan era. It is considered "essential for the scientific study of Augustus", as the ancient historian Heinrich Schlange-Schöningen judged. The fifth edition was published in 2014. Unlike most of the ancient historians of his time, Kienast was less interested in detailed problems than in the broader context of ancient history. His academic students include Frank Bernstein and Ruprecht Ziegler .

Kienast died at the age of 86 on February 13, 2012 in Olching near Munich. He could no longer complete a story of the Persian Wars.


  • Cato the censor. His personality and his time. With a critically reviewed reprint of Cato's speech fragments. Quelle and Meyer, Heidelberg 1954 (at the same time: Heidelberg, University, dissertation, 1953).
    • under the title Cato the Censor. His personality and his time. With a copy of some of Cato's speech as an attachment. Unchanged reprint of the 1st edition published by Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg, in 1954, with a bibliographical afterword added. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1979, ISBN 3-534-07146-8 .
  • Investigations into the war fleets of the Roman Empire (= Antiquitas . Series 1: Treatises on ancient history. Vol. 13). Habelt, Bonn 1966 (at the same time: Frankfurt am Main, University, habilitation paper from June 12, 1963).
  • Small fonts. Edited by Raban von Haehling , Otfried von Vacano and Ruprecht Ziegler . Scientia-Verlag, Aalen 1994, ISBN 3-511-00270-2 .
  • Roman imperial table. Basic features of a Roman imperial chronology. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1990, ISBN 3-534-07532-3 (5th edition (unchanged reprint of the 2nd revised and expanded edition 1996). Ibid 2011, ISBN 978-3-534-24672-4 ).
  • Augustus. Princeeps and Monarch. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1982, ISBN 3-534-07058-5 (5th edition, compared to the 4th edition with a foreword. Von Zabern, Darmstadt 2014, ISBN 3-8053-4844-4 ).


  • Bruno Bleckmann (Ed.): Herodotus and the era of the Persian Wars. Realities and fictions (= European histories. Vol. 14). Colloquium on the 80th birthday of Dietmar Kienast. Böhlau, Cologne et al. 2007, ISBN 978-3-412-08406-6 .
  • Ruprecht Ziegler: Dietmar Kienast † . In: Gnomon . Vol. 85, 2013, pp. 477-479.

Web links


  1. See the discussion by Helmut Freis in: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum 3, 1999, pp. 301–302.
  2. ^ Heinrich Schlange-Schöningen: Augustus. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-16512-8 , p. 148.