Friedrich August Wolf

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Friedrich August Wolf
Friedrich August Wolf, portrait by Johann Wolf, 1823

Friedrich August Christian Wilhelm Wolf (born February 15, 1759 in Hainrode ; † August 8, 1824 in Marseille ) was a German classical philologist and scholar.


Friedrich August Wolf was the son of a cantor in Hainrode in the Prussian office of Lohra . In 1768 the family moved to the nearby imperial city of Nordhausen , where the father worked as a girl teacher and later as an organist. Friedrich August Wolf attended the Nordhäuser Gymnasium and studied philology in Göttingen from 1777 . After two years of study, he went to Ilfeld as a collaborator on recommendation . In 1782 he married and became rector of the city school in Osterode , where he stayed for a year. Since 1783 he was a Freemason member of the lodge to the golden circle in Göttingen, later he also appears in the lists of the lodge to the three swords in Halle.

In 1783 Wolf took over a professorship in Halle , initially for philology and pedagogy , from 1784 for philology and eloquence . In 1787 he founded the philological seminary there. In 1793 he became a member of the Masonic lodge to the three swords in Halle. On February 21, 1799, Wolf was elected almost unanimously as a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. In 1805 he was given the title of Privy Councilor .

Medal Friedrich August Wolf 1840

After Napoleon Bonaparte closed the university in Halle in 1806, Wolf moved to Berlin in April 1807 and has worked at the academy since then, without changing his status as a foreign member. In 1810 he became director of the scientific deputation for the section of public education in the ministry and professor of classical philology. In 1812 he was made an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Since 1819 he was a foreign member of the Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres . In April 1824 he traveled to France, where he died.

In honor of his work in philology, a medal was dedicated to him by the Assembly of German Philologists and School Men in 1840. In Nordhausen a street in which he lived was named after him and a memorial plaque was attached to his house, Wolfstraße 7; The street and house were destroyed in the air raids on Nordhausen in 1945.


His main work is his work Prolegomena ad Homerum , which was written in 1795 and remained fragmentary , in which he critically examined the works of Homer for their origin and cast him into doubt as the only author ( Homeric question ). The archeology owes Friedrich August Wolf her new recognition as a universal discipline, in the sense of humanism (the ultimate purpose of existence is the formation of individuality), which he closely associated with Wilhelm von Humboldt , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller justified. Classical philology should also play an essential role in the school system and help people achieve a harmonious education.

Fonts (selection)

  • Antiques of Greece. Hammerde, Halle 1787.
  • Prolegomena ad Homerum. Hall 1795.
    • Prolegomena to Homer. 1795 . Reclam, Leipzig [1908] (German).
    • Prolegomena to Homer. 1795 . Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ 1985. ISBN 0-691-10247-3 .
  • Presentation of ancient science. Berlin 1807. (Reprinted by Acta Humaniora. Weinheim 1986) ISBN 3-527-17552-0 .
  • Friedrich August Wolf, Philipp Buttmann : Museum of Ancient Studies. Realschule bookstore, Berlin 1807, 1st volume.
  • Friedrich August Wolf, Philipp Buttmann: Museum of Ancient Studies. Realschule bookstore, Berlin 1810, 2nd volume.
  • (Ed.): Literary analects excellent for all literature and art, their history and methodology. 4 parts, GC Nauck, Berlin (1816 and 1818).
  • Encyclopedia of Philology . Expedition d. Europ. Overseer, Leipzig 1831.
  • Small fonts in Latin and German. Olms, Hildesheim 2003.

Known students


Web links

Wikisource: Friedrich August Wolf  - Sources and full texts
Commons : Friedrich August Wolf  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Geographical statistical-topographical lexicon of Upper Saxony , Stettinische Buchhandlung, 1803, p. 29
  2. a b For the 150th birthday of a famous Hohensteiner . in: home country. Illustrated sheets for the local history of the Grafschaft Hohenstein district, the Eichsfeld and the adjacent areas , 1909. ( digitized version )
  3. ^ Friedrich August Eckstein: History of the Masonic Lodge in the Orient of Halle. A ceremony for the secular celebration of the lodge to the three swords . Gebauer Buchdruckerei, Halle 1844, p. 251 ( digitized version )
  4. ^ Adolf Harnack : History of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin, edited on behalf of the Academy. , Berlin 1900: From the Death of Frederick the Great to the Present, Vol. 1, Part 2http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dgeschichtederk0102harn~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn6~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D%27%27Vom%20Tode%20Friedrichs%20des%20Gro% C3% 9Fen% 20to% 20for% 20present% 2C% 27% 27% 20Bd.% 26nbsp% 3B1% 2C% 20part% 26nbsp% 3B2 ~ PUR% 3D , pp. 532f., Note 2.
  5. Stefan Krmnicek, Marius Gaidys: Taught images. Classical scholars on 19th century medals. Accompanying volume to the online exhibition in the Digital Coin Cabinet of the Institute for Classical Archeology at the University of Tübingen (= From Croesus to King Wilhelm. New Series, Volume 3). University Library Tübingen, Tübingen 2020, pp. 69–71 ( online ).