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A historian or historian is a scientist engaged in the research and presentation of history . In addition to the representatives of the historical sciences , the ancient, medieval and early modern historians are also referred to as historians, although they are not considered scientists in today's sense - for better delimitation, the terms "historians" or " historiographers " or " historiographers " are often used here which is not mandatory. One form of history is the chronicle . The designationHistorians derive from ancient Greek ἱστορία [ hɪstoˈʁia ] ("exploration", "exploration").


Historian is not a legally protected professional title in Germany and research and teaching are free according to the Basic Law. Accordingly, anyone who deals scientifically or journalistically with historical questions can be called a historian. The Association of Historians in Germany (VHD) only accepts members who have a corresponding university degree or literary work devoted to history. Many historians - provided they work in their actual subject - work as teachers in schools as well as in museums or in archives , as journalists and specialist book authors or as scientists at universities and research institutes. Due to the limited budgets of public institutions, many history graduates work in business these days . There they are mainly active in marketing and management consulting. Entry into the economy, but increasingly also into the public sector, can sometimes only be achieved through additional qualifications and specializations.

The key  qualifications learned during the course - research, analysis and presentation - are of great importance for many employers .

At German universities, history studies can be completed with the academic degrees of Bachelor and Master . These have largely replaced the old Magister degrees and the state examination for teaching. The doctorate to Dr. phil. also applies to historians as evidence of the ability to do independent academic work. According to the guidelines of the German Research Foundation , historians from the doctorate onwards are also qualified, independent scientists. In Germany today, the prerequisite for holding a professorship in the history sciences is as a rule (despite the introduction of the junior professorship ), however, a habilitation is still required .


Historians are often specialized and are then called

  • by epoch: ancient historians, medievalists, modern historians, contemporary historians, etc.
  • by topic: social historians, mentality historians, cultural historians, economic historians, etc.
  • or by region: Byzantinists, Americanists, etc. - here there is often an overlap with the corresponding linguistic and cultural studies; Regional historian.

There are also the historical auxiliary sciences with disciplines such as diplomats , palaeography , chronology , heraldry , numismatics , epigraphy , genealogy , etc. The archaeologists with their scientific approach and also the prehistory and early historians, because this is where the written sources are located, are a little outside of the actual science of history not yet play a role. The beginning of the “real” story is often defined with the onset of a written culture , which is why history is largely a science of letters. Nevertheless, historians are also open to the knowledge of other disciplines.

Historians of the ancient world

The following assignments to Greek or Roman-Latin historiography are based on the language used in the respective works up to 300 AD, not on the origin of the authors.

Greek-speaking historians up to approx. 300 AD

The following list is in alphabetical order. For a chronologically ordered overview cf. List of Greek-speaking historians of the ancient world .

Surname born died
Akusilaos of Argos 2nd half of the 6th century BC Chr. 1st half of the 5th century BC Chr.
Antiochus of Syracuse around 423 BC Chr.
Appianus of Alexandria 2nd century
Aristobulus of Kassandreia 1st half of the 4th century BC In Kassandreia 301 BC Chr.
Arrianus of Nicomedia at 95 175
Cassius Dio 155 in Nikaia (Nicaea) in Bithynia after 229
Charon of Lampsakos approx. 480 BC Chr. – 477 BC Chr. 2nd half of the 5th century BC Chr.
Dinon of Colophon 4th century BC Chr.
Diodor 1st century BC Chr.
Dionysius of Halicarnassus 1st century BC Chr.
Ephorus of Kyme around 400 BC BC, Kyme 330 BC Chr.
Hecataeus of Miletus 550 BC Chr. (?) approx. 485 BC Chr. – 475 BC Chr.
Hecataeus of Abdera 2nd half of the 4th century BC Chr. 3rd century BC Chr.
Hellanikos of Lesbos approx. 490 BC BC / 480 BC Chr. Mytilene ( Lesbos ) around 400 BC Chr. Perperene ( Mysia )
Herodianos around 178, maybe Syria about 250
Herodotus approx. 484 BC BC, Halicarnassus approx. 425 BC Chr.
Jerome of Cardia around 360 BC Chr. after 272 BC Chr.
Hippys of Rhegion
Ion from Chios around 480 BC Chr. around 422 BC Chr.
Callisthenes of Olynthos around 370 BC Chr. around 327 BC Chr.
Clitarchus 4th / 3rd Century BC Chr.
Ktesias of Knidos 2nd half of the 5th century BC Chr. 1st half of the 4th century BC Chr.
Luke 1st century
Megasthenes approx. 350 BC Chr. approx. 290 BC Chr.
Pausanias approx. 115 (Asia Minor) about 180
Pherecydes of Athens 2nd half of the 6th century BC Chr. 1st half of the 5th century BC Chr.
Quintus Fabius Pictor around 254 BC Chr. around 201 BC Chr.
Philinos of Akragas 3rd century BC Chr.
Plutarch at 45 in Chaironeia at 125
Polybios around 201 BC In Megalopolis on the Peloponnese around 120 BC BC, location unknown
Strabo approx. 63 BC In Amaseia in Pontos ( Amasya ) after 23 (26?) AD
Theopompus of Chios around 378 BC Chr./377 BC On Chios between 323 BC BC and 300 BC In Alexandria
Thucydides around 460 BC Chr. between 399 BC BC and 396 BC Chr.
Timaeus of Tauromenion approx. 345 BC BC ( Tauromenion ) approx. 250 BC Chr.
Xanthos the Lydian 5th century BC Chr.
Xenophon of Athens around 426 BC Chr. after 355 BC Chr.

Roman historians up to approx. 300 AD

Surname born died
Gaius Iulius Caesar July 13, 100 BC In Rome March 15, 44 BC Chr.
Cremutius Cordus 25 AD
Marcus Porcius Cato Censorius 234 BC In Tusculum 149 BC In Rome
Publius Annius Florus 2nd century
Flavius ​​Josephus 37/38 in Jerusalem about 100
Junianus Justinus
Titus Livius probably 59 BC In Patavium, today's Padua around 17 AD in Patavium
Marius Maximus approx. 165 AD 230 AD
Cornelius Nepos around 100 BC Chr. around 25 BC Chr.
Velleius Paterculus around 19 BC Chr. at 31
Quintus Curtius Rufus probably 1st century
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus between 70 and 75 AD approx. 130–140 AD
Gaius Sallustius Crispus October 1, 86 BC In Amiternum May 13, 35 BC BC or 34 BC In Rome
Tacitus at 55 after 115
Pompey Trogus 1st century BC Chr.

Late antique historians (approx. 300 to 600 AD)

Surname born died
Agathias at 536 in Myrina around 582 in Constantinople
Ammianus Marcellinus around 330 Antioch on the Orontes / Syria around 395 probably in Rome
Aurelius Victor probably around 320 in one of the North African Roman provinces probably around 390, possibly in Rome
Cassiodorus at 490 in Scylaceum at 583
Eunapios of Sardis 345 420
Eusebius of Caesarea 260 to 264 337 to 340
Eutropius 4th century
Historia Augusta late 4th / early 5th century
Johannes Malalas at 490 in Antioch around 570 in Constantinople
Jordanes probably 552
Marcellinus Comes after 534
Menander protector 6th century
Olympiodorus of Thebes 5th century
Philostorgios at 368 in Borissos probably after 433
Prices at 474
Prokopios of Caesarea around 500 at 562
Theophylactus Simokates early 7th century
Zosimos 2nd half of the 5th century 1st half of the 6th century

Byzantine historians

Surname born died
Theophanes Homologetes around 760 in Constantinople 817/18 in Samothrace
Georgios Monachos late 9th century
Johannes Skylitzes 2nd half of the 11th century
Michael Psellos 1017/18 in Constantinople 1078
Nikephoros Bryennios 1062 in Orestias (Adrianople) 1137 in Constantinople
Anna Komnena 1083 in Constantinople circa 1154
Niketas Choniates around 1150 in Chonai around 1215 in Nikaia

From the Middle Ages to the early modern period

Surname born died
Gregory of Tours 538 or 539 in Riom 594 in Tours
Beda Venerabilis 673 in Wearmouth 735 in Jarrow Monastery
Paul Deacon 725-730 in Friuli 797-799 in Monte Cassino
Einhard approx. 770 in Maingau 840 Seligenstadt Monastery
Nennius 9th century
Regino of Prüm approx. 840 (probably) in Altrip near Speyer 915 in Trier
Liutprand of Cremona approx. 920 972
Widukind by Corvey approx. 925 after 973 in Corvey
Al-Biruni 973 in Kath today Xiva 1048 in Ghazni
Thietmar von Merseburg 976 1018 probably in Merseburg
Rodulfus Glaber around 985 in Burgundy around 1047 in Saint-Germain d'Auxerre
Wipo around 995 possibly in Solothurn after 1046
Hermann von Reichenau 1013 in Altshausen 1054 in Reichenau
Lampert from Hersfeld before 1028 probably in francs before 1085 probably in Hersfeld
Adam of Bremen before 1050 1081-1085
Bruno of Merseburg 1036
Cosmas of Prague around 1045 1125
Fulcher of Chartres 1059 in or near Chartres 1127 in Jerusalem
Geoffrey of Monmouth around 1100 in Monmouth at 1150 in Cardiff
Otto von Freising around 1112 probably in Klosterneuburg near Vienna 1158 in the Cistercian monastery of Morimond
Helmold von Bosau approx. 1120 in the Goslar area after 1177 in Bosau
William of Tire c. 1130 in Jerusalem 1186 in Jerusalem
Arnold von Lübeck 1211 or 1214
Albert von Stade Late 12th century February 5th or 9th after 1264
Saxo Grammaticus around 1140 1220
Burchard von Ursberg before 1177 in Biberach (unclear which) 1230 or 1231, Ursberg Abbey
Matthew of Paris around 1199 in England around 1259
Gotfrid from Cosenza
Salimbene of Parma
Petrus de Ebulo Eboli before 1220
Roger of Wendover Wendover May 6, 1236
Giovanni Villani circa 1280 in Florence 1348 ibid
Nicholas of Butrinto Ligny 1316 in Toul
Beneš Krabice for a long distance July 27, 1375
Jean Froissart around 1337 in Valenciennes around 1410 probably in Chimay
Dietrich von Nieheim around 1345 in Nieheim near Paderborn 1418 in Maastricht
Leonardo Bruni around 1370 in Arezzo 1444 in Florence
Ladislaus Sunthaym around 1440 in Ravensburg 1512/13
Hartmann Schedel 1440 in Nuremberg 1514 in Nuremberg
Johannes Nuhn 1442 in Hersfeld after 1523 in Hersfeld
Philippe de Commynes circa 1447 1511
Wigand Gerstenberg probably 1457 in Frankenberg (Eder) 1522 in Frankenberg (Eder)
Bohuslaus Lobkowicz von Hassenstein 1461 at Hassenstein Castle 1510 at Hassenstein Castle
Niccolò Machiavelli 1469 in Florence 1527 in Florence
Bartolome de Las Casas 1484 in Seville 1566 near Madrid
Johannes Aventinus 1477 in Abensberg 1534 in Regensburg
Francesco Guicciardini 1483 1540
Beatus Rhenanus 1485 in Schlettstatt 1547 in Strasbourg
João de Barros 1496 1570
Philipp Melanchthon 1497 in Bretten 1560 in Wittenberg
Benedetto Varchi 1502 1565
Aegidius Tschudi 1505 in Glarus 1572 in Glarus
Natale Conti 1520 1582
Ubbo Emmius 1547 in Greetsiel 1625 in Groningen
Francis Bacon 1561 in Dublin 1626 in Dublin
Johann Andreas Bose 1626 1674
Samuel von Pufendorf 1632 in Dorfchemnitz / Saxony 1694 in Berlin
Christoph Cellarius 1638 in Schmalkalden 1707 in Halle on the Saale
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1646 in Leipzig 1716 in Hanover
Gottfried Arnold 1666 in Annaberg / Erzgebirge 1714 in Perleberg

Historians of the 18th and 19th centuries

Historians of the 20th and 21st centuries

Historian of non-European cultures

Other cultures have also developed forms of comprehensive historiography, especially in the Islamic world and in today 's People's Republic of China . The oldest tradition of historiography is over 3000 years old and comes from China. The oldest historians are not known by name, but their works already have documentation of the sources used; only with Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian of 1084 is a precise description of the historiographic methods available.

The Islamic history (ilm at-Tarikh) religious origin. History was regarded as a traditional science whose mission was the unadulterated transmission of central religious content. For this purpose, the Arab historians used sophisticated methods of source criticism, which is based on so-called “chains of narrators” ( Isnad ) . In later times one increasingly finds works of secular content.

Arab historians

Chinese historians

Indian historian

Japanese historian

Phoenician historians

See also

Portal: History  - Overview of Wikipedia content on history


Each example

a) by epoch:

b) by subject matter:

c) according to world regions and cultures:

d) Archeology and historical auxiliary sciences:


  • Kelly Boyd (Ed.): Encyclopedia of historians and historical writing. Fitzroy Dearborn, London et al. 1999, ISBN 1-88496-433-8 .
  • Ahasver von Brandt : tool of the historian. An introduction to the historical auxiliary sciences (= Kohlhammer-Urban pocket books. Volume 33). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1958. 11th supplemented edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1986, ISBN 3-17-009340-1 .
  • Rüdiger vom Bruch , Rainer A. Müller: Historikerlexikon. From antiquity to the 20th century. 2nd Edition. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-47643-0 .
  • Ruth Dölle-Oelmüller, Rainer Piepmeier, Willi Oelmüller: Philosophical work books. Volume 4: Discourse History. Paderborn 1983.
  • Fritz Fellner, Doris A. Corradini: Austrian History in the 20th Century. A biographical-bibliographical lexicon (= publications of the Commission for Modern History of Austria. Volume 99). Böhlau, Vienna et al. 2006, ISBN 3-205-77476-0 .
  • Hiram Kümper (Ed.): Historians. A biobibliographic search for traces in the German-speaking area. With a foreword by Angelika Schaser (= writings of the archive of the German women's movement. Volume 14). Archive of the German Women's Movement Foundation, Kassel 2009, ISBN 978-3-926068-15-6 .
  • Anne Kwaschik, Mario Wimmer (ed.): From the work of the historian: A dictionary on theory and practice of historical science. Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1547-0 .
  • Wolfgang Weber: Priest of the Klio. Historical and social science studies on the origins and careers of German historians and on the history of German historical studies 1800–1970 (= European university publications . Series 3, Volume 216). Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1984, ISBN 3-8204-7435-8 .
  • Wolfgang Weber: Biographical lexicon for historical studies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The chair holders from the beginnings of the subject until 1970. Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1984, ISBN 3-8204-8005-6 .
  • Dieter Wolf : Conveying history far from the ivory tower. Historians in the small museum. In: Margot Rühl (ed.): Professions for historians. Scientific Book Society Darmstadt 2004. pp. 119–129.

Web links

Commons : Historians  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Historians  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations