Paulys Realencyclopedia of Classical Antiquity

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The RE fills a shelf. Right below the "Ur-Pauly".

Paulys Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity , also Pauly-Wissowa (abbreviated P.-W. ) or Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll , mostly just called RE , is an extensive and comprehensive encyclopedia on antiquity , which was published from 1893 to 1978. It was conceived as a complete revision of the "Ur-Pauly", the real encyclopedia of classical antiquity (1837–1864) founded by August Friedrich Pauly .

In addition, Der Kleine Pauly (1964–1975) appeared as a compact, modernized edition that was also affordable for private individuals. From 1996 Der Neue Pauly was published in 12 volumes, which are supplemented by three volumes of the history of reception and science as well as a series of supplements.

The "Ur-Pauly"

Frontispiece of the third volume, the last one Pauly saw to be published.

August Friedrich Pauly founded the real encyclopedia of classical antiquity in 1837 in alphabetical order . Originally, high school professor Pauly only wanted to create an aid for teachers and students. He won 17 co-authors for his work. The oriental fringes were only considered if there were Greek or Latin sources. After the death of the publisher Pauly (1845), Ernst Christian von Walz (1802-1857) and Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel (1820-1878) continued his work, gained more employees and brought Pauly to a higher scientific level. Marginal cultures and Byzantine studies were now given greater consideration. By 1852 there were six volumes in seven sub-volumes.

From 1864–1866, Teuffel began to rework the first volume at the suggestion of the Metzler Verlag , in which the Real Encyclopedia appeared. Already at that time a lot of new knowledge had accumulated, so that the first volume was now being edited in two parts. No further revisions were planned, so the project was only continued with the revision by Georg Wissowa . In the end, the “Ur-Pauly” consisted of eight partial volumes.

Teuffel lists the 48 employees in the afterword to volume 6: Otto Abel , Johann Christian Felix Bähr , Wilhelm von Bäumlein , Anton Baumstark , Wilhelm Adolf Becker , Ludwig Oskar Bröcker , Karl Georg Bruns , Karl von Cleß , Karl Alois Fickler , Albert Forbiger , Karl Fortlage , Ludwig von Georgii , Franz Dorotheus Gerlach , Georg Friedrich Grotefend , Karl Ludwig Grotefend , Adolf Haakh , Wilhelm Heigelin , Adolph Helfferich , Friedrich Jacobs , Otto Keller , Heinrich Kern , Wilhelm Koner , Otto Köstlin , Karl Krafft , Johann Heinrich Krause , Theodor Ladewig , Ernst Heinrich Meier , Karl Ludwig Friedrich Mezger , Karl Wilhelm Müller , Karl Wilhelm Nitzsch , Ludwig Oettinger , Wilhelm Matthäus Pahl , August Friedrich Pauly, Ludwig Preller , Wilhelm Rein sen. , Rudolf von Roth , Gustav von Rümelin , Karl Steinhart , Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich Tafel , Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel, Julius August Wagenmann , Ernst Christian Walz, Anton Westermann , Friedrich Wieseler , August Witzschel , Karl Zell and Eduard Zeller .

In addition to the work of scientists such as August Boeckh , Leopold von Ranke , Johann Gustav Droysen , Eduard Gerhard , Theodor Panofka , Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker , Ludwig Ross , Friedrich Ritschl , Immanuel Bekker , Otto Jahn , Ernst Curtius , Karl Otfried Müller and Theodor Mommsen, Pauly underpinned with its lexicon the primacy of German classical studies, which was only lost through the racial politics of the Nazis and the Second World War. The Pauly was in the first form an epochal masterpiece, which was not only impetus for the following operations, but also for other encyclopedias, such as Friedrich Lübkers Reallexikon of classical antiquity for high schools .

The re

Origin and scope

On the basis of the "Ur-Pauly" - after the originally intended publisher Otto Crusius had refused - Georg Wissowa re-published from 1890: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity. New processing. Edited by Georg Wissowa [later ...] with the participation of numerous experts, continued by Wilhelm Kroll and Karl Mittelhaus .

According to the original plan, the project should be completed within ten years; In fact, it was 78 years in which four other editors continued Wissowa's work: Wilhelm Kroll (1906–1939), Karl Mittelhaus (1939–1946), Konrat Ziegler (1946–1974, from 1958 to 1961 with Walther John ) and Hans Gärtner ( 1974-1980). The lexicon was initially published by JB Metzler , and later by Druckermüller . Today all rights are again with Metzler-Verlag, which was taken over by Springer-Verlag in 2015.

As it soon became foreseeable that the goal could not be achieved as quickly as assumed, and there was fear of endangering the work in its entirety, Wilhelm Kroll began in 1914 (this volume appeared parallel to the first supplement) with the support of Kurt Witte (1911-1923) ) a second row beginning with the letter R. The volumes in the second series appeared at a large time lag (three to four years) compared to the first.

The Pauly-Wissowa is after the completion of the new edition, which took place in 1978, from 68/2 volumes and 15 supplementary volumes; There is also a register of supplements and supplement volumes from 1980 (including an appreciation of Konrat Ziegler's work by Hans Gärtner). Also in 1980 an index by John P. Murphy was published in the USA. In 1997, a general index in two parts (alphabetical and systematic part) was published, and in 2000 a systematic subject and search index on CD-ROM.

Since 2007, an online version of the public domain parts of RE has been created at Wikisource .


RE is the world's most comprehensive reference work in the field of ancient, historical and allied sciences. In total, over 1100 authors contributed articles and supplements to the project.

The RE articles were usually written by experts who are recognized for the respective topic, although some articles have the character of smaller monographs due to their length ( e.g. Matthias Gelzer's Cicero as a politician ); some articles then appeared as a separate reprint (e.g. Albin Lesky's Homeros or Berthold Rubin's Prokopios von Caesarea ). A number of articles are now wholly or partially out of date, and sometimes there are also very idiosyncratic ones. In addition, the volumes produced between 1933 and 1945 are not always free from National Socialist ideology (cf. Fritz Schachermeyr's article on Peisistratos ).

Many biographical articles about people from the Roman Republic come from Friedrich Münzer ; for the late antiquity wrote Otto Seeck , Wilhelm Ensslin , Berthold Rubin and Adolf Lippold (also for the little ones Pauly wrote several articles) some of the most important items. Some of them were not satisfied with the communis opinio in their articles , but instead championed their own hypotheses, including the Latinist Franz Skutsch and the now forgotten ancient historian Valerian von Schoeffer .

Although the research status of RE is in large parts no longer representative of modern research, it is, in its entirety, a fundamental work that has not been outdated, especially since it usually makes almost all of the literary sources known at the time accessible. However, its use is somewhat problematic for laypeople, since certain procedures - such as the classification of Roman personalities under their gentile names or the classification of the ancient Greek lemmas in the Greek language and script - required a classical education, which today at most experts still have. Basically: What was known about antiquity when the volumes of the RE were written in alphabetical order can usually be found there. One will not look in vain for subjects or people unless they were discovered later. Even then, the articles can be in the form of supplements, as in the case of the goddess Aphaia . The RE is still an indispensable working tool, not only for German-speaking antiquaries.

Bernhard Kytzler wrote in 1979 in the time :

“No other subject in the humanities has anywhere near equivalent large-scale documentation; no other country has so much knowledge of the Old World in its language. [...] as a lexical achievement, the monumental large edition remains a unique merit: it offers a testimony to German erudition, which, as a perhaps unrepeatable monument to the interaction of meticulousness and perseverance, acumen and wealth of knowledge, tenacity and determination, will also be admired by later generations. "

Or in the words of Wolfgang Schuller :

"The RE [...] is an unrivaled complete work, of which it is actually a miracle that it was able to be completed despite the catastrophes of the 20th century."

Little Pauly (KlP)

On the basis of Pauly-Wissowa , Der Kleine Pauly was created between 1964 and 1975 . Lexicon of antiquity. Based on Pauly's real encyclopedia of classical antiquity with the participation of numerous scholars, edited by Konrat Ziegler , Walther Sontheimer and Hans Gärtner in five volumes. The articles were usually much shorter; they have been rewritten by recognized experts and provided with more up-to-date literature references (which are, of course, now partly obsolete). The Little Pauly has earned a reputation as sober, reliable reference work quickly and is still quite quoted today, although now the state of research is partially obsolete. As in the case of RE, the proximity to the sources of most of the articles should be positively emphasized, which to this day enables rapid orientation about the most important ancient evidence on a topic. It must be noted that there are corrections and additions at the end of each volume and that at the end of the fifth and last volume there are additional corrections for all previous volumes.

Unlike the "big brother", the RE, the little Pauly devotes himself much more intensively than these to "peripheral areas" of classical antiquity, such as Christianity , ancient Near Eastern studies or Byzantine studies .

In the German paperback publisher is Little Pauly early appeared in a paperback edition. It is widespread among scientists, students, teachers and sometimes even pupils.

The New Pauly (DNP)


After reacquiring all rights to RE, JB Metzler Verlag began in 1996 to publish a new encyclopedia on antiquity: Der Neue Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity .

Unlike its predecessors, Der Neue Pauly also focuses on classical antiquity, but broadens the spectrum considerably. The roots and foundations of the Greco-Roman world in the ancient oriental and Egyptian cultures were now included in greater detail, as well as interactions with neighboring peoples and cultures ( Iranians , Semites , Celts , Germanic peoples , Slavs ), and Byzantine studies were also included. Likewise, the ancient Judaism , the early Christianity and the emerging Islam were discussed. The transformation of the Old World in the context of late antiquity is also given greater consideration, which is why the period up to the year 600 is now treated more intensively. Late antiquity had certainly already been dealt with in the RE and the KlP, but the epoch now takes up more space, in line with the research interest that has grown strongly since 1970.

The special thing about the New Pauly is that not only the treatment of antiquity has found its place in it, but also that separate volumes on the reception of antiquity have been published ( reception and science history ). As with previous editions of Pauly , the original conception of the work had to be modified. Originally it was planned to publish twelve volumes of the Lexikon der Antike , three volumes for reception and a register volume arranged according to subject groups. In fact, 18 volumes of the lexicon and an index volume on the first area of antiquity , which also contains lists and tables. Originally, additional information, in particular lists of rulers from antiquity, was provided for this volume. Due to the size that this part would have been, it was waived. A number of supplement volumes have been brought into being for this purpose.

The first of initially a total of seven supplements have been published since 2004. The first volume took up the rulers' lists and added chronologies and more. In addition, a second register volume was created for the reception volumes of the lexicon. Other volumes were devoted to the transmission history of mythological materials or ancient works and their reception, but an atlas of the ancient world was also published. Due to the success of these supplement volumes, which fill the gaps that New Pauly could not or did not want to fill, a second series with seven more supplement volumes was started in 2013, which are devoted to prehistory, the pre-Greek-Roman cultures or the Byzantine Empire, or certain periods of reception, such as Renaissance humanism and the 18th century. With the military history, a special topic is examined in more detail for the first time, with a lexicon on the Germanic tribes for the first time a so-called "marginal people" of classical antiquity. The second row of the reception volumes should be completed by 2017, but this was delayed by several years. In total, over 1,600 authors contributed around 30,000 articles and supplements to the New Pauly.


The work is now structured as follows:

The new Pauly
  • Volumes 1–12: Antiquity A – Z
    • Volume 1: A – Ari (1996)
    • Volume 2: Ark – Ci (1997)
    • Volume 3: Cl – Epi (1997)
    • Volume 4: Epo – Gro (1998)
    • Volume 5: Gru-Iug (1998)
    • Volume 6: Iul – Lee (1999)
    • Volume 7: Lef-Men (1999)
    • Volume 8: Mer – Op (2000)
    • Volume 9: Or – Poi (2000)
    • Volume 10: Pol – Sal (2001)
    • Volume 11: Sam – Tal (2001)
    • Volume 12/1: Tam – Ve (2002)
    • Volume 12/2: Ven – Z and supplements (2002)
  • Volume 13–15: Reception and History of Science AZ (Volume 15 in 3 volumes)
    • Volume 13: A-Fo
    • Volume 14: Fr – K
    • Volume 15/1: La – Ot
    • Volume 15/2: Pae – Sch
    • Volume 15/3: Sco – Z and supplements
  • Volume 16: Register. Lists. Tables [registers for the ancient volumes of the New Pauly; Register for the reception part volume 4 of the supplements]
The New Pauly - First line of supplements

Subjects and editors

Unlike its predecessors, the Neue Pauly was published decentrally, which means that, in addition to the two editors Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider, there were subject editors who could work on their subject areas more or less independently. In contrast to the RE, which only described a Classical Classical Studies in its title , it took into account the division of Classical Studies into many different sub-areas. The departments and their editors are:

The managing editors of the reception volumes were Manfred Landfester and Helmuth Schneider, subject editors for the individual areas:

Brill's New Pauly

An English version of the New Pauly ( Brill's New Pauly ) has also been published since 2002 . Christine F. Salazar (antiquity) and Francis G. Gentry (reception) are responsible for the English translation . DNP and Brill's New Pauly are both printed and published online.


Various reviews of the first published volumes criticized u. a. the selection of literature references and the quality of some of the articles where the deadline pressure is noticeable. The first two volumes were not recommended unreservedly for use due to editorial, orthographic, and sometimes factual deficiencies; from the fourth volume onwards, these deficiencies were largely remedied. From the start, the images and maps as well as “umbrella articles” on overarching topics such as architecture, religion, sexuality and so on were rated positively; mostly reliable and up-to-date are the prosopographical information (information on historical persons), which otherwise can only be deduced from special literature. The technical terminology is explained, ancient words are translated and therefore also accessible to non-specialists.

The New Pauly does not replace the RE in terms of detail, nor does the Little Pauly in terms of clarity and affordability . The scientific meaning is therefore assessed very differently in the professional world, but in practice the lexicon is often used due to the updating of the state of research and the literature, especially in university teaching. There is currently no interdisciplinary lexicon that has been created to a comparable extent in a similarly short time and thus, with the not inconsiderable restrictions mentioned, reflects the breadth of current research. The joke article " apopudobalia " written by Mischa Meier in the first volume of the New Pauly became famous .



  • Konrat Ziegler (Hrsg.): Pauly's Real-Encylopädie der classischen antiquity. Revised work, started by Georg Wissowa, continued by Wilhelm Groll and Karl Mittelhaus. Stuttgart 1894–1963 (1st row I – XXIX), 1914–1972 (2nd row I – X) and 1912–1978 (supplementary volumes), register by Hans Gärtner and Albert Wünsch, Munich 1980.
  • Konrat Ziegler: Der Kleine Pauly , Lexikon der Antike (in 5 volumes) on the basis of Pauly's Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity, edited and edited by Konrat Ziegler and Walther Sontheimer with the participation of numerous scholars. dtv, Munich 1979, ISBN 3-423-05963-X .
  • The new Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity (DNP). Edited by Hubert Cancik. Metzler, Stuttgart 1996–2010, ISBN 3-476-01470-3 (16 volumes in 19 sub-volumes and 6 supplement volumes published)
  • Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider, Manfred Landfester (eds.): The new Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity, anniversary edition. Metzler, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-476-02223-3 (Classical antiquity and its reception history: 13 volumes of antiquity A - Z, 5 volumes of reception and science history, 1 register volume)
  • Hubert Cancik and Helmuth Schneider (Eds.): New Pauly Online , German and English version, which is continuously updated. Brill, suffering
  • Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider, Manfred Landfester (eds.): The new Pauly. Encyclopedia of Antiquity, special edition. WBG (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft), Darmstadt 2015, ISBN 978-3-534-26764-4 (Classical antiquity and its reception history: 18 volumes, 1 register volume, including additional volume Historical Atlas of the Ancient World )

Secondary literature

  • Johannes Irmscher : A company of the century came to an end, Pauly-Wissowa. In: Philologus 129, 1985, pp. 133-142.
  • Hubert Cancik, Matthias Kopp: "The New Pauly". EDP-supported editing and production of an encyclopedia . In: Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung 23, 1998, pp. 128–136 ( PDF, 458 kB )
  • Wolfhart Unte : Georg Wissowa (1859–1931) as a promoter of classical antiquity . In: Yearbook of the Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Breslau 40/41, 1999/2000, pp. 327–356 (reprinted in: Wolfhart Unte: Heroen und Epigonen. Scholars' biographies of classical antiquity in the 19th and 20th centuries , St. Katherinen 2003, pp. 367-398).
  • Manfred Landfester : Antiquity - an encyclopedic project. The "New Pauly". Part II is published in Giessen . In: Mirror of Research. 18, 2001, issue 1, pp. 70-75 ( PDF, 1257 kB ).
  • Udo W. Scholz : The Breslau classical philology and the real encyclopedia of classical antiquity . In: Yearbook of the Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Breslau 62–64, 2001–2003, pp. 311–326.
  • Eckart Mensching : On the creation of a sequel: The "RE" or the "Pauly-Wissowa". In: Latin and Greek in Berlin and Brandenburg 47, 2003, pp. 142–157 (reprint in Eckart Mensching: Nugae zur Philologie-Geschichte XIII . Technical University, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-7983-1938-3 , pp. 9– 33).
  • Carl Joachim Classen : "Vita brevis - ars longa": Pauly's beginnings and Wissowa-Kroll-Ziegler's monumental achievement . In: Eikasmós 21, 2010, pp. 423–437 ( PDF, 216 kB ).

Web links

Commons : Paulys Realencyclopadie der classical antiquity  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Subpage "Authors"  - Register of authors


  1. ^ Paulys Realencyclopadie der Classischen Antiquity on Wikisource.
  2. See the revised register of authors at Wikisource .
  3. Bernhard Kytzler: Cathedral of erudition. In: The time. Hamburg 1979, 6 (February 2), p. 39.
  4. Wolfgang Schuller: Introduction to the history of antiquity. Ulmer, Stuttgart 1994, p. 140.
  5. Brill's New Pauly and New Pauly Online on the publisher's website (the supplements only in English)