Ludwig Curtius

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Ludwig Michael Curtius (born December 13, 1874 in Augsburg , † April 10, 1954 in Rome ) was a German archaeologist .


Curtius was the son of the Augsburg doctor Ferdinand Curtius (* 1844, † 1919) and his wife Therese, born. Göhl from Hindelang (* 1855, † 1939). He studied after graduating from Augsburg College in Sankt Stephan philosophy, law and economics at the universities of Munich and Berlin , before passing a lecture Adolf Furtwängler discovered archeology for himself and in 1896 started studying this subject in Munich with Furtwängler. In 1899 he became a private tutor for his son, the future conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler .

In 1901 Curtius became an assistant at the Royal Antiquarium in Munich, followed by a doctorate in the following year . From 1904 to 1907 he took part in the German excavations on Aegina and in Boğazköy , Turkey , on a grant from the German Archaeological Institute . After his habilitation in Munich in 1907, he became associate professor on July 7, 1908, and finally full professor at the University of Erlangen on January 2, 1913 .

Although he was already a professor, he began the First World War as a simple soldier on the Western Front, but was promoted to lieutenant in the course of the war and served as an intelligence officer in the Balkans , where his knowledge of Greek was useful in contact with partisan groups . Subsequently, on August 1, 1918, he became professor and director of the Archaeological Institute of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau , until in 1920 he succeeded Friedrich von Duhn at the Archaeological Institute of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg . There he expanded the plaster cast collection by numerous, in some cases very expensive, copies, but also concentrated in particular on the expansion of the institute library and the phototek / slide collection. On June 11, 1921, he married Edith von Fransecky , née Wyneken (1885–1932), who had two daughters in Heidelberg . In his first marriage, up to the divorce in March 1921, his wife, who was the daughter of the Prussian Lieutenant General Otto Wyneken, was married to Major General Rudolf von Fransecky (1870–1930). In 1924/1925 Curtius was a member of the Senate and Dean of the Philosophical Faculty of Heidelberg University; In 1925 he turned down a call to the University of Cologne .

Burial place of the archaeologist Ludwig Curtius

In 1928 he became scientific director of the Rome department of the Archaeological Institute of the German Empire , but remained as an honorary professor at the University of Heidelberg. In 1937, the National Socialists put Curtius into early retirement. Nevertheless, Rome remained his second home until his death. The grave of Ludwig Curtius is on the Campo Santo Teutonico in Rome.

In 1952 he became a member of the order Pour le Mérite and was awarded the Great Cross of Merit with Star of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was a member of the German Archaeological Institute , the Austrian Archaeological Institute , the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (from 1935), the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences (from 1921), the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei .

Among his students was Hermine Speier (1898–1989), whom he took with him to Rome when he was transferred in 1928.


His work on Ancient Rome and Ancient Art - The Classical Art of Greece (2 volumes) are formative for the understanding of that time. In Die Wandmalerei Pompei , Curtius disseminated fundamental knowledge.

  • The ancient art. 2 volumes, Berlin 1923–1938. 3rd edition, Darmstadt 1959.
  • Ancient Rome. Vienna 1944.
  • The wall painting of Pompeii. Leipzig 1929 (reprint, Darmstadt 1972).
  • German and ancient world. Life memories. Stuttgart 1950 (autobiography).


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ludwig Curtius: Hindelang and the grandmother . With an essay by Toni Gaßner-Wechs . Ursus-Verlag, Hindelang 2009, ISBN 978-3-9812493-7-8 , p. 3.
  2. Kaestner & von Urach's Genealogical Aristocratic Database: Master Sheet Rudolf von Fransecky ( Memento of the original from January 30, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Wyneken family tree