Karl Julius Beloch

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Karl Julius Beloch

Karl Julius Beloch (born January 21, 1854 in Petschkendorf , today Pieszków in Lubin-Gmina , † February 1, 1929 in Rome ) was a German ancient historian .

life and work

Beloch, the son of a Silesian manor owner, suffered early from tuberculosis , which forced him to stay in Italy . He studied in Palermo and Rome as well as in Heidelberg and received his doctorate there in 1875. In 1877 he completed his habilitation in Rome and took up an extraordinary professorship for ancient history at the Sapienza there two years later. One of his guest audiences was the later Pius XII.

Beloch was very skeptical of the sources and rather advocated the methodology of a new (often very subjective) reconstruction. In German science he was considered an outsider, especially since he had a violent clash with Theodor Mommsen , who prevented Beloch's appointment to Greifswald; instead, Mommsen's student Otto Seeck took up the professorship there. The self-confident Beloch came to other conclusions than Mommsen in his work The Italische Bund under Rome's Hegemony (1880), in which, among other things, he used statistical methods and critically examined the sources, to which Mommsen responded with a sharp and sometimes hateful reply (cf. Mommsen, Gesammelte Schriften 5, p. 249). Beloch should never forget this, whereby Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff also expressed himself rather disapprovingly about the person of Beloch. And even if Beloch was undoubtedly highly intelligent (his skills, for example as an economic historian, were never denied to him by Mommsen either), he was sometimes very malicious, just as his anti-Semitism was sometimes noticeable.

Due to the dispute with Mommsen, Beloch was never able to gain a foothold in Germany again. In 1889, in an apparently neutrally formulated report, Mommsen prevented Beloch's appointment to Breslau , where Eduard Meyer's vacant professorship was then taken over by Mommsen's student Ulrich Wilcken , although Meyer had favored his friend Beloch. Beloch remained as a full professor in Rome and exercised a very influential teaching activity for the development of Italian antiquity. In 1912 he took up a full professorship in Leipzig , which he gave up the following year due to the health of his wife and returned to Rome. In 1926 he was elected a foreign member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences .

Beloch wrote a multi-volume Greek history (Strasbourg 1893 ff .; a new edition appeared a few years later), the specialty of which was that each of the four main volumes consisted of two sub-volumes. In one of them Beloch gives an account of the events, in the other there was a detailed discussion of how he came to his opinion. His main departure from popular doctrine was that he assumed that no dark centuries existed between the Mycenaean and Archaic periods . His evaluation of Pericles regarding the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War should also be emphasized . The work was very influential and is still considered to be groundbreaking today, despite recent research results.

His work on the demography of the old world ( The population of the Greco-Roman world , Leipzig 1886) is also regarded as a standard work , which, despite some recent findings and some corrections, was probably quite precise. He calculated the population of the empire at the time of Augustus at around 54 million people, with the Greek east of the empire being more populated than the west. He also published a Roman story, among other things .

His daughter Margherita Beloch Piazzolla was a mathematics professor in Ferrara .


Web links

Wikisource: Karl Julius Beloch  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. Mathematical-physical class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 35.