Ernst Fabricius

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Ernst Fabricius

Ernst Christian Andreas Martin Fabricius (born September 6, 1857 in Darmstadt ; † March 22, 1942 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German provincial Roman archaeologist and ancient historian . He was a pioneer of Limes research in Germany, thanks to whom this branch of research in Germany developed from a domain of local researchers and amateur archaeologists to a specialist field.


The son of politician and financial statistician August Karl Fabricius and grandchildren of the orientalist Andreas Schleiermacher studied at the University of Strasbourg and the University of Bonn and in 1881 in Strasbourg with the dissertation De architectura graeca Commentationes epigraphicae doctorate . His interest in archeology, and especially in the Limes, was aroused by his father's grandfather, who, as a rent officer at the Arnsburg monastery, had already proven the cohort fort there in 1842. His teachers included Adolf Michaelis , Rudolf Schöll , Heinrich Nissen and Hermann Usener . Fabricius' younger brother was the historian Wilhelm Fabricius .

As a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute , he traveled to numerous Mediterranean countries (Greece and Asia Minor) from 1882 to 1885. In 1884 he and Federico Halbherr discovered the town charter of Gortys in Gortyn ( Gortys ) , an inscription from around 500 BC. BC to 450 BC BC, which consists of 42 stone blocks and comprises a total of 17,000 characters. Fabricius then became an assistant at the Berlin Collection of Antiquities , and after completing his habilitation in 1886, he was also a lecturer in Classical Philology , Archeology and Ancient History at the University of Berlin . During several longer stays in Greece and Asia Minor , he took part in excavations in Pergamon and on Lesbos , Samos and Crete . In the summer of 1888 he accompanied the geographer Heinrich Kiepert on a trip through Greece and Asia Minor; Kiepert returned to Berlin early. From 1888 until his retirement in 1926, Fabricius taught as a professor of ancient history in a newly created chair in Freiburg. At the university he was dean of the faculty, rector and chairman of a commission for the construction of the new university. From 1902 he was head of the Reich Limes Commission . Fabricius had been deputy route commissioner for the Limes section in Hessen-Nassau since 1897, and in 1898 he became head of surveying work. Fabricius was co-editor of the great Limes work The Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes of the Roman Empire , in the context of which he worked on the Seligenstadt fort and the then presumed fort at the Arnheiter Hof . Fabricius was a member of the German Archaeological Institute. From 1940 he was a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , the Berlin, Göttingen (from 1929) and the Heidelberg Academy. Fabricius was an honorary senator and honorary doctor from the University of Freiburg, honorary doctor from the Universities of Athens and Durham. Ernst Fabricius was probably the first to identify traces of ancient wooden buildings in Germany during his numerous own excavations.

In addition to his academic career, Ernst Fabricius was also active in the political field. From 1913 to 1918 he was sent to the First Chamber of the Baden Estates Assembly as a member of the University . Furthermore, Fabricius was involved for many years in the Freiburg branch of the Association for Germanness Abroad , today the Association for German Cultural Relations Abroad , of which he was chairman from 1920 for a few years. Fabricius was a proponent of German colonialism and also publicly advocated Germany's colonial aspirations. He turned down offers to switch to a political career in the Reichstag. Ernst Fabricius was first married to Sophie Lampe from Leipzig, after her death to Mathilde Hirzel from Zurich and had three sons and two daughters. From 1887 Fabricius was involved in "voluntary nursing" and was very active in the organization of the Red Cross during World War I. The family owns two oil paintings by Ernst Fabricius, painted by Ernst Prince von Sachsen-Meiningen in 1923, one in his former house in Freiburg at Goethestrasse 44, which is now owned by his grandson.

The estate of Ernst Fabricius (life documents, correspondence and sketchbooks) is partly in the university archive of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau (C 122), partly still in family ownership. In the Mainz University Library there are two fascicle letters and files about the association “ Pro Vindonissa ” as well as excavations in Switzerland and in Badenweiler .


Fonts (selection)

  • Co-editor: The Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes of the Roman Empire. Commissioned by the Reichs-Limeskommission , Petters, Berlin-Leipzig, Heidelberg 1894–1938
  • The emergence of the Roman Limes in Germany , Lintz, Trier 1902
  • The Romans took possession of Baden , Winter, Heidelberg 1905
  • The Limes from the Rhine to the Lahn. According to the investigations of the route commissioners , Peters, Heidelberg 1915
  • About the Lex Mamilia Roscia Peducaea Alliena Fabia , Winter, Heidelberg 1924 (meeting reports of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Historical Class, born 1924/25, Abh. 1)


Web links


  1. In the DBE and the NDB the wrong date of birth July 9th is given.
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 78.
  3. ^ Ernst Fabricius, speech of January 23, 1907: True and false colonial policy
  4. ^ "Memories" written down by Ernst Fabricius October 1937 to April 1941 (owned by the family)