Karl Christ

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Karl Christ (born April 6, 1923 in Ulm / Donau, † March 28, 2008 in Marburg ) was a German ancient historian . The " Nestor of the German Ancient History" is considered to be the "pioneer of the history of science and reception of his subject".


The son of a businessman passed his Abitur in 1940 at the humanistic high school in his hometown. He was only able to turn to science in 1948 after his subsequent military service until 1944 and the Soviet captivity . Until 1954, he studied classical studies and geography at the universities of Tübingen and Zurich . In Tübingen he was supported primarily by Joseph Vogt , in Zurich by Ernst Meyer . It was also Vogt who did his doctorate on Drusus in 1953. After the state examination for the higher teaching post in 1954, he worked in numismatics until 1958 as part of a scholarship from the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy . A topic from this area was also the basis of Fritz Taeger's habilitation in Marburg in 1959. He remained loyal to this university - despite calls to Aachen (1966) and Zurich (1968) - from 1965 to his retirement in 1988 as a full professor. His students included Klaus Bringmann , Alexander Demandt , Dieter Flach , Peter Kneißl , Hartmut Leppin and Volker Losemann .

In 1957 Karl Christ was elected a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI). Since 1966 he was also a member of the Historical Commission for Hesse . From 1984 he belonged to the Accademia di scienze morali e politiche Napoli , from 1993 to the Instituto Lombardo . On May 18, 1993, he was honored with an honorary doctorate from the Free University of Berlin . Christ was married and had three children.

For his 85th birthday on April 6, 2008, the University of Marburg had planned a festive colloquium, which was then held a few days before "in honor and in memory" because of the death of the recipient.

Scientific work

Since his doctorate, the focus of Karl Christ's work in research and teaching has been on Roman history. Many of his books, some of which have been published in several editions and in translation, are now considered standard works, especially the “History of the Roman Empire” from 1988. His main merit, however, is that he inaugurates the history of his subject in Germany Has. His research in this area ranges from the 18th century to the period after the Second World War; shortly before his death he was able to present a biography of the historian and poet Alexander Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg . This book concludes the preoccupation with the time of National Socialism , for which Christ's work meant a completely new approach - a task that is all the more difficult since many of the stressed scientists are still alive or at least their students are active in chairs and in influential positions in science administration and funding were.

Karl Christ Prize

The Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and the University of Bern launched a Karl Christ Prize in 2012 , which was presented to Wilfried Nippel for the first time in 2013 . Every two years, the award honors “outstanding scientific achievements in the field of ancient history and its neighboring disciplines as well as the history of science and reception in antiquity”.

Fonts (selection)

  • Nero Claudius Drusus. Tübingen 1953 (unprinted dissertation).
  • Drusus and Germanicus. The entry of the Romans into Germania. Schöningh, Paderborn 1956.
  • Antique coin finds from southwest Germany. Coin finds, money economy and history in the area of ​​Baden-Württemberg from Celtic to Alemannic times (= Vestigia . Contributions to ancient history. Vol. 3, 1–2). 2 volumes (Vol. 1: Investigation. Vol. 2/5: Notes, Tables, Maps, Diagrams and Tables. ). Quelle & Meyer, Heidelberg 1960.
  • The coins found in the Roman period in Germany. 4 volumes, Mainz 1963/1964.
  • The Greeks and the money . In: Saeculum , Vol. 15, 1964, pp. 214-229. ISSN  0080-5319
  • Ancient numismatics. Introduction and bibliography. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1967 (3rd, unchanged edition, ibid 1991, ISBN 3-534-03707-3 ).
  • From Gibbon to Rostovtzeff. Life and work of leading ancient historians of the modern age. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1972, ISBN 3-534-06070-9 (3rd edition expanded to include a supplement. Ibid 1989).
  • Roman history. Introduction, source studies, bibliography. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1973, ISBN 3-534-04908-X . (5th edition, ibid 1994, ISBN 3-534-04908-X ).
  • as editor: Hannibal (= ways of research . Vol. 371). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1974, ISBN 3-534-06077-6 .
  • Crisis and Fall of the Roman Republic. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1979, ISBN 3-534-08061-0 (8th edition, (unchanged reprint of 7th edition 2010). Ibid 2013, ISBN 978-3-534-20041-2 ).
  • The Romans. An introduction to their history and civilization. Beck, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-406-04453-0 (3rd, revised edition, ibid 1994, ISBN 3-406-38504-4 ).
  • Roman history and German history. Beck, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-406-08887-2 .
  • Roman history and history of science. 3 volumes. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1982–1983;
  • as editor: Sparta (= ways of research. Vol. 622). Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1986, ISBN 3-534-08809-3 .
  • History of the Roman Empire. From Augustus to Constantine. Beck, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-406-33327-3 (6th edition with updated bibliography. Ibid 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59613-1 ) (Russian translation 1997).
  • New Profiles of Ancient History. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1990, ISBN 3-534-10289-4 .
  • Caesar. Approaches to a dictator. Beck, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-406-38493-5 .
  • Greek history and history of science (= Historia. Individual writings . Vol. 106). Steiner, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-515-06915-1 .
  • From Caesar to Constantine. Contributions to Roman history and its reception. Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-40521-5 .
  • Hellas. Greek history and German history. Beck, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-45312-0 .
  • The Roman Empire. From Augustus to Diocletian. Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-47052-1 (4th edition, ibid 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-47052-3 ).
  • Sulla. A Roman career. Beck, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-406-49285-1 (Unchanged reprint, 4th edition. Ibid. 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-61724-9 ; in Spanish: Sila. Herder, Barcelona 2006, ISBN 84-254 -2415-1 ).
  • Hannibal. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2003, ISBN 3-534-15414-2 (Italian translation 2005, Spanish translation 2006).
  • Pompey. The general of Rome. Beck, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-406-51543-6 ( review by Stefan Rebenich ) (Spanish translation 2006).
  • Klio's changes. The German ancient history from neo-humanism to the present. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54181-X .
  • The other Stauffenberg. The historian and poet Alexander von Stauffenberg. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-56960-9 .


Web links


  1. ^ Philipps University of Marburg: Life achievement of Karl Christ (1923-2008) honored .
  2. ^ Losemann (ed.): Ancient history between science and politics. 2009. The publication of the conference proceedings is accompanied by a complete list of Christ's writings - 589 issues, including reviews and newspaper articles - as well as a list of supervised doctorates (23) and post-doctoral theses (3).
  3. The essay: On the development of ancient history in Germany is considered programmatic . In: History in Science and Education . Vol. 10, 1971, pp. 577-593. The text was originally the core of an application to the German Research Foundation , which was not even dealt with there.
  4. His student Volker Losemann presented a first comprehensive presentation as a dissertation as early as 1975, published in abbreviated form as: National Socialism and Antiquity. Studies on the development of the subject of Ancient History 1933–1945 (= Historical Perspectives. Vol. 7). Hoffmann & Campe, Hamburg 1977, ISBN 3-455-09219-5 . The publisher already shows that the publication was not without problems.
  5. ^ Department for Ancient History and Reception History of Antiquity. Karl Christ Prize for Ancient History. Retrieved December 28, 2016 .