Gerhard Dobesch

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Gerhard Dobesch (born September 15, 1939 in Vienna ) is an Austrian ancient historian .


From 1957 to 1962 Dobesch studied Ancient History , Classical Philology and Classical Archeology at the University of Vienna . He attended additional courses in Egyptology , Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Numismatics . On December 17, 1962 he was promoted to Dr. phil. doctorate , on June 19, 1963 he passed the teaching examination in Latin and Greek for the teaching profession in secondary schools.

During his studies he worked as a tutor and intern on excavations ( Magdalensberg ). For three months he was an unpaid trial teacher for Latin and ancient Greek at a Viennese grammar school, but he gave up this job prematurely when he was offered an assistant position. Even as a high school student, he wanted to embark on a full-time academic career.

He took up the position of university assistant at the then Institute for Ancient History and Classical Archeology at the University of Vienna on December 1, 1963, and his area of ​​responsibility included looking after the institute's library. He also had a teaching assignment for the compulsory history course for student teachers at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna .

His habilitation process took place in the 1967 summer semester. The new scientific finding was that the idea of ​​an Argeadic supremacy was first conceived by Isocrates. On July 15, 1967, Dobesch was granted the license to teach as a university lecturer in ancient history.

In 1972 he became a corresponding member of the Austrian Archaeological Institute .

From 1973 to 1976 he was a full professor for ancient history and antiquity at the University of Graz . In the summer semester of 1974 he gave a lecture on the history of Austria in antiquity . At that time he recognized that a collection and methodical synthesis of all messages for all Celtic areas was still pending. For this purpose he initiated a project and awarded dissertations for it .

On 31 January 1976 he was appointed as successor to Artur Betz ordinary university professor of Roman history, archeology and epigraphy called back to Vienna in the summer semester 1976, he represented also his former Grazer professorship . He retired on September 30, 2007.

In 1980 he became a corresponding member of the philosophical-historical class of the Austrian Academy of Sciences , in the same year deputy head of the Celtic Commission until it was merged with the Prehistoric Commission in 1997. In 1984 he became a real member of the philosophical-historical class of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1988 he was elected Chairman of the Asia Minor Commission and Deputy Chairman of the Mycenaean Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1997 he was elected deputy chairman of the Prehistoric Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2002 he became deputy chairman of the Numismatic Commission. He held the chairmanship until the commission was disbanded in 2012.

In 1998 he became a real member of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and Socio Straniero dell ' Istituto Nazionale di Studi Etruschi e Italici .

In 2005 he became a member of the “Tyche” association for the promotion of ancient history in Austria.

Research priorities

  • Entire area of ​​ancient history, cultural and intellectual history with an emphasis on questions of universal history.
  • The transition from republic to imperial times, especially Caesar, Cicero and Augustus. His theses on Caesar are widely recognized and have been received for decades.
  • Celtic and Germanic “Barbaricum”, especially the structures of politics and history
  • Problems of late antiquity: Here he made a significant contribution to research into the complex of topics. He comes to the conclusion that the term “barbarians” does not refer to uncultivated people, but to foreign cultivated people. That is why it is necessary to change our concept of barbarians. In the peoples of the north and east, peculiarities are recognizable, but we lack the necessary knowledge of poetry and mythology. Like the areas of the Mediterranean and the Middle East dominated by cities, the Barbaricum forms its own oikumene and despite multiple contacts, these separate cultures, which did not form uniform sizes, lived largely side by side.
  • Druids
  • Formerly also: Greek history of the 4th century BC Chr.

Methods / approaches

Dobesch not only applies the usual methods of ancient history and other ancient studies, but also methods of sociology and the history of ideas depending on the topic. The central starting point, however, is always the most precisely checked and evaluated source material, which also determines the result. He therefore rejects approaches such as feminism etc. Partiality cannot be completely ruled out, but it can be minimized through ongoing critical questioning of one's own research results. Trends in research should also be critically questioned. Living with lectures and similar occasions is essential for successfully conveying the respective material, however, it is always important to ensure that you do not “fall in love with your own theories”. It also deals with modern topics such as the integration process in the Roman Empire and also allows modern topics in student theses such as women's studies.

The combination of quality and the highest scientific level on the one hand and tension, entertainment and comprehensibility on the other hand in research and teaching is a central concern of his.

Publications (selection)

  • The proverbs of Greek sagas . Dissertation, Vienna 1962
  • The apotheosis of Caesar and his struggle for the title of king . Vienna 1966
  • The Panhellenic idea in the 4th century BC And the 'Philip' of Isocrates . Habilitation thesis, Vienna 1967
  • The Celts in Austria according to the oldest reports of antiquity . Vienna 1980, ISBN 3-205-07136-0
  • From the outer proletariat to the bearer of culture . Geographica Historica 6, Amsterdam 1994
  • The European “Barbaricum” and the zone of Mediterranean culture . Tyche Supplement Volume 2, Vienna 1995
  • Selected writings , Volume 1: Greeks and Romans, Volume 2: Celts and Teutons. Edited by Herbert Heftner and Kurt Tomaschitz, 2 volumes, Cologne 2001 (reviewed new edition of small writings)

Editor and co-editor:


  • Wolfgang Hameter: The Institute for Ancient History, Classical Archeology and Epigraphy . In: Die Monatsscherbe 6, 1988, p. 10ff
  • Well Prof! - Professor analysis of the working group history from SS 1996 . Vienna no year, p. 15
  • Herbert Heftner , Kurt Tomaschitz (Ed.): Ad fontes! - Festschrift for Gerhard Dobesch on his 65th birthday . Vienna 2004
  • Igor Lisovy, Kurt Tomaschitz: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Dobesch: Vita et Bibliographia . České Budějovice 2004 (with list of publications)
  • Kurt Tomaschitz, Igor Lisovy: The ancient history in Vienna and the current Austrian research on the ancient Barbaricum . In: Studia humaniora Tartuensia 6.B.1 (2005) pp. 1–11 ( PDF )

Web links