Hermann Frankel

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Hermann Ferdinand Fränkel (born May 7, 1888 in Berlin , † April 8, 1977 in Santa Cruz , California ) was a German - American classical philologist .


Frankel's father Max was a classical philologist and librarian at the Berlin museums as well as an employee of the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum , his grandfather the orientalist Ferdinand Benary . As a result, Fränkel came into contact with antiquity at a very young age . After graduating from high school, he studied classical philology and German in Berlin, Bonn and Göttingen. His teachers included renowned classics such as Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff , Franz Bücheler and Friedrich Leo . 1915 Frankel at the Georg-August University of Göttingen with the study De Simia Rhodio to Dr. phil. PhD. In the same year he married Lilli, the sister of his colleague and namesake Eduard Fraenkel .

After an interruption of his training, during which he took part in the First World War as a cavalryman , he completed his studies in 1920 with the state examination for higher education. A little later he completed his habilitation with a thesis on the parables in Homer . During his time as a private lecturer, Fränkel received the title of adjunct professor at the University of Göttingen , but because of his Jewish descent he was not offered a full professorship, although many of his well-known colleagues and students such as Bruno Snell advocated him.

After the National Socialists came to power and the intensification of racial discrimination , Fränkel and his family emigrated to the USA via England in 1935. There he received a substitute professorship at Stanford University , which was converted into a full professorship due to the positive feedback from his students and colleagues . In addition, Fränkel held several lectures and lectures as a guest lecturer, including at the University of California in Berkeley. After his retirement in 1953, he tried to get an appointment to Göttingen because his retirement salary was very low. These efforts were in vain, and Frankel even had to fight for his retirement pension as a professor, which was only granted to him in February 1957. He accepted various visiting professorships, including at Cornell University and from 1955 to 1960 in Freiburg im Breisgau , since 1956 as an honorary professor. In 1956 he was elected a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen and in 1970 of the British Academy .


Fränkel is considered a subtle interpreter of Greek poetry and philosophy. He researched intensively on the style development from early Greek poetry. In 1923 he presented a detailed stylistic investigation of the works of Sappho , Alkaios , Archilochus and Anacreon with his work A Style Peculiarity of Early Greek Literature . With his approach of viewing the literary work of art as a unity of style and content, he was far ahead of the classical philology of his time. In 1951, a further study on the style development and philosophy of Greek archaicism was published in the series Philological Monographs with Poetry and Philosophy of Early Hellenism . In addition, Fränkel also dealt with the Latin poets, above all Ovid . In the last years of his life, he was particularly interested in Apollonios of Rhodes and in ancient grammar. His last work was Grammar and Linguistic Reality , published in 1974 .

Fonts (selection)

  • The Homeric parables. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1921.
  • Parmenides Studies. Weidmann, Berlin 1930.
  • Ovid. A Poet Between Two Worlds. University of California Press, Berkeley 1945.
  • Poetry and Philosophy of Early Hellenism. American Philological Association, New York 1951.
  • Ways and forms of early Greek thought. Beck, Munich 1955.
  • Paths of Science to Reality. HF Schulz, Freiburg 1957.
  • Apollonius Rhodius: Argonautica. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1961 (in the Oxford Classical Texts series ).
  • Introduction to the critical edition of the Argonautika des Apollonios. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1964.
  • Notes to the Argonautica of Apollonios. Beck, Munich 1968.
  • Grammar and language reality. Beck, Munich 1974.


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