Peter Classen

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Peter Classen (born September 18, 1924 in Hamburg , † December 23, 1980 in Heidelberg ) was a German medieval historian .

The son of a long-established Hamburg family and brother of Carl Joachim Classen graduated from the Johanneum . After the war he studied history and classical philology in Hamburg, then in Göttingen . His most important academic teachers were Hans Ulrich Instinsky and Hermann Aubin at the historical seminar in Hamburg and Percy Ernst Schramm , Hermann Heimpel and Wilhelm Berges in Göttingen . At Berges he started working in Göttingen in 1950Imperial rescript and royal charter. Doctorate in diplomatic studies on the problem of continuity between antiquity and the Middle Ages . In 1950 Berges brought him to the Free University of Berlin . In 1957, Classen went to Mainz as senior assistant to Eugen Ewig , where he completed his habilitation through Gerhoch von Reichersberg . In 1962 he was appointed to the University of Giessen . In 1966 he received appointments from Hamburg and Heidelberg and chose Heidelberg. There he taught medieval and modern history until 1980. His most important academic students were Neithard Bulst , Johannes Fried and Gerhard Rösch .

His research focus was initially the early Middle Ages, then the great intellectual movements of the High Middle Ages. He paid particular attention to Europe of the 12th and 13th centuries and thereby to the canon status , the Worms Concordat , the origin of the university, the relationship between society and education, early scholasticism , the emerging legal class. Classen was a member of the Constance Working Group for Medieval History . Classen was associated with the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) for over three decades . In 1967 he was sent from the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences (member since 1970) to the central management of the MGH.


  • Gerhoch von Reichersberg. A biography. With an appendix about the sources, their handwritten records and their chronology , Wiesbaden 1960.
  • Burgundio of Pisa: judge, envoy, translator , Heidelberg 1974, ISBN 3-533-02339-7 .
  • Studies and Society in the Middle Ages , published by Johannes Fried, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-7772-8343-6 .
  • Selected essays by Peter Classen , edited by Josef Fleckenstein, Carl Joachim Classen and Johannes Fried (= lectures and research , published by the Konstanz Working Group for Medieval History, Volume XXVIII), Sigmaringen 1983.
  • Charlemagne, the papacy and Byzantium. The establishment of the Carolingian empire , 2nd edition, Sigmaringen 1988, ISBN 3-7995-5709-1 .



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