Georg Wissowa

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Georg Wissowa in a photo from 1908

Georg Otto August Wissowa (born June 17, 1859 in Neudorf , Neumarkt district , province of Silesia ; † May 11, 1931 in Halle an der Saale ) was a German classical philologist who worked as a professor at the University of Marburg (1886–1895) and the University of Halle (1895-1924) worked. His main area of ​​work was the study of the Roman religion .


Georg Wissowa, grandson of the grammar school director August Wissowa (1797–1868) and son of the court assistant professor Otto Wissowa (1818–1870), studied classical philology at the University of Wroclaw from 1876 after attending the Catholic St. Matthias grammar school in Wroclaw August Reifferscheid . He received his doctorate in 1880 with a thesis on the sources of Macrobius ' Saturnalia . He then went to the University of Munich for a year to expand his knowledge of archeology with Heinrich Brunn . In 1882 he completed his habilitation in Breslau with a thesis on the Roman representations of Venus and went on a research stay in Rome for a year with a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute .

From 1883 on, Wissowa taught as a private lecturer in Breslau and during this time came into contact with Theodor Mommsen . In 1886 he was offered an extraordinary professorship at the University of Marburg, where he took over the leadership of the proseminar. In 1890 he was appointed full professor. The German Archaeological Institute appointed him a full member in 1892.

In 1895 Wissowa succeeded Heinrich Keil on the chair for Latin studies at the University of Halle. In 1917 the Bavarian Academy of Sciences elected Wissowa as a corresponding member of its philosophical-historical class. After suffering a stroke in 1923, he was only able to work scientifically with great difficulty. In 1924 he was released from his teaching duties. He died on May 11, 1931 at the age of 71.


Since his habilitation, the focus of Wissowa's research work has been the Roman religion, to which he devoted numerous papers published in an anthology in 1904, but above all a systematic presentation in the context of the handbook of classical antiquity , which first appeared in 1902, in a revised edition in 1912. He also worked he contributed to Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher's detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology and published a revision of Ludwig Friedländer's moral history of Rome .

Wissowa was best known as the editor of the new edition of Paulys Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity , which is named after the founder August Friedrich Pauly and since then also Pauly-Wissowa . He took over the publishing house in 1890 after Otto Crusius returned it. Wissowa tried successfully to find suitable scientists for various thematic areas. The first volume appeared in 1893. However, it quickly became apparent that the work would not be completed in the planned time of twelve years (it was not completed until 1978 after 66 half-volumes and 15 supplementary volumes). For this reason, Wissowa published a first supplement volume in 1903 to compensate for the obsolescence of the first volumes. He was in charge of twelve half-volumes (volumes 1.1 to 6.2), a thirteenth (7.1, published 1910) together with Wilhelm Kroll , to whom he ceded the editor of the real encyclopedia in 1906.

From 1914 to 1922 Wissowa was editor of the magazine Hermes together with Carl Robert . He was twice dean of the philosophy faculty in Halle and rector of the university in 1908/09. In addition, from 1902 he belonged to the " Spirituskreis " of influential professors founded by his friend Eduard Meyer . From 1891 he was a full member of the German Archaeological Institute, from 1907 a corresponding member of the Academies of Sciences in Munich and Göttingen. In 1911 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wroclaw.



  • Franz Gundlach: Catalogus professorum academiae Marburgensis 1527-1910. Marburg 1927, p. 340f.
  • Otto Kern: Georg Wissowa. Commemorative speech on behalf of the Institute for Classical Studies in the Robertinum in the auditorium of the United Friedrichs University in Halle-Wittenberg on June 17, 1931 (= Hallische Universitätsreden. Volume 51). Hall 1931.
  • Otto Kern: Georg Wissowa †. In: Gnomon . Volume 7, 1931, pp. 398-400.
  • Otto Kern: Georg Wissowa. In: Annual report on the progress of classical antiquity. Volume 245, 1934, Nekrologe, pp. 120–145 (with list of publications; = Biographisches Jahrbuch für Altertumskunde , 60th year).
  • Franz Zimmermann : Scholar and Book Trade. In: Börsenblatt for the German book trade. Volume 108, 1941, pp. 70 f.
  • Gert Audring (Ed.): Scholars' everyday life . The correspondence between Eduard Meyer and Georg Wissowa (1890–1927). Hildesheim 2000.
  • Francesca Prescendi: Les dieux "vraiment" romains de Wissowa. In: Archives for the history of religion. Volume 5, 2003, pp. 4-15.
  • Wolfhart Unte : Georg Wissowa (1859–1931) as a promoter of classical antiquity. In: Yearbook of the Silesian Friedrich Wilhelms University in Breslau. Volume 40/41, 1999/2000, pp. 327-356. Reprinted in: Ders .: Heroes and Epigones . Scripta Mercaturae, St. Katharinen 2003, ISBN 3-89590-134-2 , pp. 367-398.
  • Jörg Rüpke : Fasti sacerdotum. The members of the priesthoods and the sacred functional staff of Roman, Greek, Oriental and Judeo-Christian cults in the city of Rome from 300 BC. BC to AD 499 Part 3: Source studies and organizational history. Wiesbaden 2005, pp. 1557-1566.
  • Jonathan Groß: A delinquent author and a troubled editor. The correspondence between Friedrich Carl Andreas and Georg Wissowa from the early days of RE. In: Annual issue of the Göttingen Friends of Ancient Literature Association. 9th year, 2010, pp. 10–20 ( PDF ).
  • Anika Söltenfuß: Wissowa, Georg. In: Peter Kuhlmann , Helmuth Schneider (Hrsg.): History of the ancient sciences. Biographical Lexicon (= The New Pauly . Supplements. Volume 6). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02033-8 , Sp. 1328 f.

Web links

Wikisource: Georg Wissowa  - sources and full texts


  1. ^ Hans-Thomas Krause: Georg Wissowa. Classical philologist . In: Central German yearbook for culture and history . Volume 16, 2009, p. 224.