Karl-Wilhelm Welwei

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Karl-Wilhelm Welwei (born October 17, 1930 in Witten ; † August 25, 2013 there ) was a German ancient historian .

The son of a businessman passed the Abitur at the Witten Oberschule for boys, today's Ruhr-Gymnasium Witten . He studied history, Latin studies and sports science at the University and the Sports University in Cologne . In 1956 he passed the state examination. From April 1957 he was a teacher at the Witten Ruhr Gymnasium. Welwei received his doctorate from Hans Volkmann in Cologne in 1963 with the thesis Kings and Kings in the judgment of Polybius . He completed his habilitation in 1970/71 at the University of Bochum with studies on the use of unfree people in ancient military service . From 1972 until his retirement in 1996 he was professor for ancient history and historical auxiliary sciences in Bochum. Welwei had been a member of the German Archaeological Institute since 1993 . Important academic students of Welweis in Bochum were Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp and Mischa Meier .

Welwei was considered one of the best experts on the history of ancient Greece and also enjoyed an excellent international reputation. Several of his publications, often written for a wider audience, have become standard works (such as The Greek Polis , Athens. From the Neolithic Settlement Area to the Archaic Greater Polis , The Classical Athens. Democracy and Power Politics in the 5th and 4th Centuries as well as a presentation on Sparta ). As the last major study, he published an overall account of ancient Greek history up to the beginning of Hellenism in 2011 . The presentation was voted one of the ten best non-fiction books of the month in January 2012 by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk . Besides ancient Greece, his main research interests were the Roman Empire (republic and early imperial times) and Roman-Germanic relations; on the latter topic, he has edited a collection of sources in two volumes together with medievalists Hans-Werner Goetz and Steffen Patzold . It contains important literary sources on the Teutons up to the time of the Migration Period in a bilingual and annotated edition.

Welwei died on August 25, 2013 and was buried on September 2 of that year in the Protestant cemetery in Witten- Bommern .

Fonts (selection)


  • Kings and royalty in the judgment of Polybius. Cologne 1963 (dissertation, University of Cologne 1964).
  • Unfree in ancient military service. Steiner et al., Wiesbaden et al. 1974–1988 (also: habilitation thesis, University of Bochum 1970/1971);
    • Vol. 1: Athens and Sparta (= research on ancient slavery. Vol. 5). 1974, ISBN 3-515-01918-9 ;
    • Vol. 2: The smaller and medium-sized Greek states and the Hellenistic empires (= research on ancient slavery. Vol. 8). 1977, ISBN 3-515-02643-6 ;
    • Vol. 3: Rome (= research on ancient slavery. Vol. 21). 1988, ISBN 3-515-05206-2 .
  • Athens. From the Neolithic settlement to the archaic Greater Polis. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1992, ISBN 3-534-07541-2 .
  • The Greek polis. Constitution and society in archaic and classical times. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1983, ISBN 3-17-007935-2 (3rd edition, edited by Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp and Mischa Meier. Steiner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-515-07174-1 ).
  • Classical Athens. Democracy and Power Politics in the 5th and 4th Centuries. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt 1999, ISBN 3-89678-117-0 .
  • Polis and Arché. Small writings on social and rulership structures in the Greek world (= Historia . Individual writings. Issue 146). Edited by Mischa Meier . Steiner, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-515-07759-6 .
  • The early Greek period. 2000 to 500 BC Chr. CH Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-47985-5 (2nd, reviewed and updated edition, ibid 2007, ISBN 978-3-406-47985-4 ).
  • Res publica and empire. Small writings on Roman history (= Historia. Individual writings. Issue 177). Edited by Mischa Meier and Meret Strothmann . Steiner, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-515-08333-2 .
  • Sparta. The rise and fall of an ancient great power. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-608-94016-2 .
  • Greek history. From the beginnings to the beginning of Hellenism. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2011, ISBN 978-3-506-77306-7 .
  • Gleanings. Small writings on the history of social and rulership in the Greek and Roman world. Edited by Iris Samotta. Steiner, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-515-09939-4 .


  • with Hans-Werner Goetz : Old Germania. Excerpts from ancient sources about the Germanic peoples and their relationship to the Roman Empire. Sources of ancient history up to the year 238 AD (= selected sources on German history in the Middle Ages. Vol. 1a, 1–2). 2 volumes. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1995, ISBN 3-534-05958-1 .
  • with Hans-Werner Goetz and Steffen Patzold : The Germanic peoples in the migration. Excerpts from the ancient sources on the Germanic peoples from the middle of the 3rd century to the year 453 AD (= selected sources on German history in the Middle Ages. Vol. 1b, 1–2). 2 volumes. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2006-2007, ISBN 3-534-19637-6 (vol. 1), ISBN 978-3-534-19643-2 (vol. 2).


Web links


  1. ↑ Obituary notice. In: Ruhr Nachrichten of August 28, 2013.