Josef Wiesehöfer

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Josef Wiesehöfer (born April 5, 1951 in Wickede / Ruhr ) is a German ancient historian whose research focus is the history of the ancient Persian Empire and its contacts with the Greco-Roman world.


In 1969 he took a degree in History and English at the University of Münster , where he in 1977 in Ancient History with a thesis on the Persian Great King I. Darius and the pretender to the throne Gaumata doctorate was. After completing his dissertation, Wiesehöfer worked in Münster as a research assistant for Ruth Altheim-Stiehl for nine years , then for three years at the Distance University in Hagen . In 1988 he completed his habilitation in ancient history at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg with an investigation into Persis in the early Hellenistic period. In 1989 Wiesehöfer became Professor of Ancient History at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel , where he worked until his retirement in 2016. Hilmar Klinkott was his successor .

Wiesehöfer became internationally known for his work on pre-Islamic Persia , which was translated into numerous languages, including English, French and Italian. Wiesehöfer is committed to integrating research into the Ancient Orient , which most ancient historians have no longer been considered a subject of the subject since the 19th century, more strongly into ancient history.

In addition to ancient Iran, Wiesehöfer's research interests are above all the contacts between the Greco-Roman world and its eastern neighbors - a topic that is undisputedly part of ancient history. In 2006 he organized an international conference on the Greek author Ktesias von Knidos , who lived in the 4th century BC. Had written an influential work on the Achaemenid Empire . Wiesehöfer is also active in the field of the history of science; in 2005 he published an anthology on Theodor Mommsen .

Wiesehöfer is (co-) editor of various series of publications (for example Oriens et Occidens , Achaemenid History , Asia and Africa , Oikumene ), member of the advisory board of the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy and of Chiron and author of numerous essays and monographs, among them above all The ancient Persia (Düsseldorf / Zurich 1993) is internationally regarded as a standard work and has seen several editions and translations, including into English ( Ancient Persia , London 1996). He presented a short version in 1999 under the title The early Persia in the series CH Beck Knowledge . He is also one of the authors of the Encyclopædia Iranica . His academic students include Monika Schuol and Henning Börm .

Wiesehöfer is a member of the board of the Corpus Inscriptionum Iranicarum (London), a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute , a corresponding member of the Philological-Historical Class of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen and a principal investigator of the Kiel Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes . In 2012 he was accepted as a full member of the Academia Europaea and in 2019 as a corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences .



  • The uprising of Gaumāta and the beginnings of Darius I (= Habelt's dissertation prints . Old History series. H. 13). Habelt, Bonn 1978, ISBN 3-7749-1477-X (also: Münster, dissertation, 1977).
  • Ancient Persia. From 550 BC To 650 AD. Artemis & Winkler, Munich et al. 1994, ISBN 3-7608-1080-2 (several editions).
  • The "dark centuries" of Persis. Studies on the history and culture of Fārs in the early Hellenistic period (330–140 BC) (= Zetemata . H. 90). CH Beck, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-406-37619-3 (also: Heidelberg, University, habilitation paper, 1987).
  • Early Persia. History of an ancient world empire (= Beck'sche series. 2107). CH Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-43307-3 (several editions).

Editorships (selection)

  • The Parthian Empire and its testimonies. = The Arsacid Empire. Sources and Documentation (= Historia . Individual writings. H. 122). Contributions from the international colloquium, Eutin (June 27-30, 1996). Steiner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-515-07331-0 .
  • with Henning Börm : Theodor Mommsen. Scholar, politician and man of letters. Steiner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08719-2 .
  • with Philip Huyse: Eran ud Aneran. Studies on the relations between the Sasanid Empire and the Mediterranean world (= Oriens et Occidens . Vol. 13). Contributions from the international colloquium in Eutin, 8. – 9. June 2000. Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-515-08829-6 .
  • with Norbert Ehrhardt and Henning Börm: Monumentum et instrumentum inscriptum. Inscribed objects from the imperial era and late antiquity as historical evidence. Festschrift for Peter Weiß on his 65th birthday. Steiner, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-515-09239-5 .
  • with Henning Börm: Commutatio et contentio. Studies in the late Roman, Sasanian and early Islamic Near East. In Memory of Zeev Rubin (= series history. Vol. 3). Wellem-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-941820-03-6 .
  • with Robert Rollinger and Giovanni B. Lanfranchi: Ktesias' World. = Ctesias' World (= Classica et Orientalia. Vol. 1). Harrasowitz, Wiesbaden 2011, ISBN 978-3-447-06376-0 .


  • Carsten Binder, Henning Börm , Andreas Luther (Eds.): Diwan. Studies in the history and culture of the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Studies on the history and culture of the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean in antiquity. Festschrift for Josef Wiesehöfer on his 65th birthday. Wellem, Duisburg 2016, ISBN 3-941820-24-9 (honorable sketch on the life and work of Wiesehöfer on pp. 1–4).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Directory of members: Josef Wiesehöfer. Academia Europaea, accessed July 27, 2017 .