Theodor Wiegand

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Theodor Wiegand
Wiegand's drawing of the Makestos Bridge in Mysia

Theodor Wiegand (born October 30, 1864 in Bendorf am Rhein , † December 19, 1936 in Berlin ) was a German classical archaeologist .


Theodor Wiegand was born as the eldest son of the doctor Konrad Wiegand and his wife Ida. After graduating from high school in Kassel , he studied art history , archeology and ancient studies at the universities of Munich , Berlin and Freiburg . He joined the traditional student corps Suevia Munich . The connection resulted in several lifelong friendships.

In 1894 he went to Athens , where he took part in the excavations on the Acropolis under Wilhelm Dörpfeld . In 1895 he went to Priene , an ancient town in Asia Minor, as an assistant to the archaeologist Carl Humann . When he fell ill after three weeks, he continued the excavation campaign. After Humann's death in 1896, he was appointed as his successor as excavation manager in Priene and director of the Berlin museums based in Smyrna .

After he had successfully completed the excavation of Priene in 1899, which is also called the "Greek Pompeii " because of the closedness of the city and the good state of preservation of the house floor plans, he dug parts of the ancient metropolis and trading metropolis Milet from 1899 to 1911 in collaboration with Hubert Knackfuß out. Significant preparatory work had to be carried out here, as the excavation site was populated and the swampy area first had to be drained. The hope of finding Wiegand, the archaic city, the Miletus of the natural philosophers Thales and Anaximander , which 494 BC It was destroyed by the Persians during the Ionian uprising and was only to be fulfilled to a limited extent. Instead he came across the Hellenistic - Roman class with their magnificent representative buildings, including the famous market gate of Miletus , today one of the main works of the Pergamon Museum in Berlin .

Marie Wiegand (born von Siemens) on a painting by Max Koner

Further excavations took place in Didyma (1905 to 1911) and on Samos (1910 to 1911). Wiegand's last excavation was the resumption of the investigation of Pergamon in 1927 , where he discovered the arsenals in the castle and uncovered the sanctuary of Asclepius in front of the city . On January 14, 1900, he married Marie von Siemens, a daughter of the banker Georg von Siemens , with whom he had two sons.

Theodor Wiegand was foreign director of the Berlin museums in Constantinople from 1899 to 1911 and also a scientific attaché at the German embassy in Constantinople. As the diplomatic arm of the museums, he represented the archaeological interests of Germany in the Ottoman Empire and coordinated the increasingly extensive German excavations in the Orient, among other things. a. also in Mesopotamia .

In 1912 Wiegand went back to Berlin to take over the management of the antiques department of the museums in Berlin . In 1911/1912 the architect Peter Behrens built the " Haus Wiegand " for Wiegand's family , a representative neoclassical villa in Berlin-Dahlem , in which the German Archaeological Institute now resides.

During the First World War , Wiegand headed the German-Turkish Monument Protection Command as captain of the Landwehr artillery in the Asia Corps , to which the architects Karl Wulzinger , Carl Watzinger and Walter Bachmann belonged. Emergency admissions and surveys from Damascus , Petra and Sinai , among others , are published after the war. From 1917 to 1918 Wiegand was also responsible for completing the German excavation activities in Baalbek , Lebanon , which began in 1898 after the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II , the results of which he published in a three-volume work with de Gruyter from 1921 to 1924 .

Activities in Lebanon took place during the military occupation of this province, which was self-governing until 1915 under an Armenian-Christian governor, by German and Turkish troops, with around 100,000 - 450,000 from the beginning of the war - predominantly Christian residents of the province due to hunger and epidemics as a result an Allied sea blockade and requisitions by the Turkish army died ( famine in Lebanon 1916–1918 ). Wiegand made notes about this catastrophe in his letters later published under the title "Crescent in the Last Quarter".

As director of the antiques department of the museums in Berlin , Wiegand was responsible for the construction and furnishing of the Pergamon Museum on Berlin's Museum Island . In 1916 he acquired the enthroned goddess from Taranto for the Berlin museums and in 1925 the highly archaic Berlin goddess from Keratea , Attica . In 1922 Wiegand was accepted as a full member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences .

In 1930, the year he left civil service, he was elected a foreign member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . From 1931 he was a member of the Pour le Mérite order for science and the arts , and in 1932 he received the Bavarian Maximilian Order for science and art . In the same year he took over the presidency of the Archaeological Institute of the German Empire . In this function he tried in the early phase of the Third Reich to prevent the Rosenberg Office from exerting ideological influence on Classical Archeology, although in 1934 he signed the election call for " German scientists behind Adolf Hitler " in the Völkischer Beobachter .

In 1935 his hometown Bendorf made him an honorary citizen . In the last year of his life he had to accept that his intended appointment of the archaeologist and building researcher Armin von Gerkan as director of the German Archaeological Institute in Athens was thwarted by an intrigue and Walther Wrede, an NSDAP functionary, was given the job.

The grave of Theodor and Marie Wiegand at the Dahlem forest cemetery before clearing (2014)

Theodor Wiegand died in December 1936 at the age of 72 in Berlin from the long-term effects of malaria . The burial took place in the forest cemetery Dahlem (grave location: 014-259). The widow Marie Wiegand born von Siemens was buried there in 1960. In addition, an inscription on the tombstone commemorated their son Werner Wiegand, who died as a soldier in Silesia at the end of World War II .

Theodor Wiegand's final resting place was dedicated to the State of Berlin as an honorary grave from 1990 to 2014 . After the dedication expired, the grave was cleared in 2015 due to lack of space in the cemetery.

Wiegand is the namesake of the Theodor Wiegand Society. Society of Friends of the German Archaeological Institute .


  • Hans Lietzmann , Martin Schede , Carl Weickert , Friedrich Schmidt-Ott : memorial speeches for Theodor Wiegand. Archaeological Institute of the German Empire, Berlin 1937.
  • Gerhart Rodenwaldt : memorial speech for Theodor Wiegand. Special edition from the meeting reports of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Public meeting on July 1, 1937. Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1937.
  • Carl Watzinger : Theodor Wiegand. A German archaeologist. Beck, Munich 1944.
  • Gerhard Wiegand (Ed.): Half moon in the last quarter. Letters and travel reports from old Turkey from Theodor and Marie Wiegand 1895 to 1918. Bruckmann, Munich 1970, ISBN 3-7654-1375-5 .
  • On the trail of antiquity. Theodor Wiegand, a German archaeologist. Catalog for the exhibition of the same name in the Städtisches Museum Bendorf from March 22 to September 30, 1985. City administration, Bendorf 1985, ISBN 3-923888-01-5 .
  • Olaf Matthes: Theodor Wiegand and the acquisition of the "Enthroned Goddess" for the Berlin Museum of Antiquities. In: Thomas W. Gaehtgens, Martin Schieder (Ed.): Patronage. Studies on the culture of citizenship in society. Festschrift for Günter Braun on his 70th birthday (= bourgeoisie, change in values, patronage. Volume 1). Fannei and Walz, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-927574-44-9 , pp. 82-104.
  • Johannes Althoff: A master of realizing. The archaeologist Theodor Wiegand. In: Klaus Rheidt , Barbara A. Lutz (eds.): Peter Behrens, Theodor Wiegand and the villa in Dahlem. von Zabern, Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-8053-3374-9 , pp. 134–159.
  • Charlotte Trümpler : The German-Turkish Monument Protection Command and aerial photo archeology. In this. (Ed.): The big game. Archeology and Politics during the Colonial Period (1860–1940). Book accompanying the exhibition The Great Game - Archeology and Politics, Ruhr Museum, Zollverein World Heritage Site, Essen, February 11–13. June 2010. DuMont, Cologne 2008, ISBN 978-3-8321-9063-7 , pp. 474-483.
  • Justus Cobet : Wiegand, Theodor. In: Peter Kuhlmann , Helmuth Schneider (Hrsg.): History of the ancient sciences. Biographical Lexicon (= The New Pauly . Supplements. Volume 6). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2012, ISBN 978-3-476-02033-8 , Sp. 1307-1309.
  • Ioannis Andreas Panteleon: An Archeology of Directors. The exploration of Milets in the name of the Berlin museums 1899-1914 (= Mediterranean studies. Vol. 5). Schöningh, Paderborn 2015, ISBN 978-3-7705-5676-2 .
  • Johannes Althoff and Frederick Jagust with a contribution by Stefan Altekamp: Theodor Wiegand (1864–1936). In: Gunnar Brands / Martin Maischberger (Hrsg.): Lebensbilder. Classical Archaeologists and National Socialism , Vol. 2.2 (Research Cluster 5, History of the German Archaeological Institute in the 20th Century). Publishing house Marie Leidorf, Rahden / Westfalen 2016, ISBN 978-3-86757-394-8 .

Web links

Commons : Theodor Wiegand  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Theodor Wiegand  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gabriele Mietke: Theodor Wiegand and the Byzantine art. Reichert, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-95490-042-8 , p. 5.
  2. ^ Members of the previous academies. Theodor Wiegand. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, accessed on May 14, 2017.
  3. 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. 258.
  4. ^ Ernst Klee: The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich . Fischer, Frankfurt 2005, ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 587.
  5. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende : Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 . P. 590.
  6. Carolin Brühl: Graves of honor with expiration date . In: Berliner Morgenpost . November 22, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Theodor Wiegand Society. Society of Friends of the German Archaeological Institute (Bonn) .