Walther Kolbe (historian)

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Ernst Walther Kolbe (born July 28, 1876 in Warnow auf Wollin ; † February 24, 1943 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) was a German ancient historian , epigraphist and university professor .


Walther Kolbe, son of a chief forester, studied history and archeology in Berlin from 1894 (with Theodor Mommsen , Ulrich Köhler , Otto Hirschfeld and Heinrich von Treitschke, among others ) and was awarded a doctorate in 1899. phil. PhD. From 1899 to 1901 he worked as a private tutor and in 1901 passed the state examination for the higher teaching post. In 1901/02 he received a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute , which enabled him to do research in the Mediterranean, including at the German Archaeological Institute in Athens , where he represented the librarian in 1901/02, and at the excavations of Miletus , he did military service from 1903 to 1904 as a one-year volunteer and then traveled back to Greece, mainly for epigraphic research in Laconia and Messenia .

In 1905 Kolbe became a regular associate professor in Rostock , and in 1913 a full professor there. From September 1914 to the end of 1914 he did military service. At the end of 1918 Kolbe taught for one semester at the University of Dorpat and on April 1, 1919, he succeeded Matthias Gelzer at the chair for Ancient History at the University of Greifswald , from where he moved to Freiburg in 1927 as the successor to Ernst Fabricius . He retired at the end of 1942 and died shortly afterwards. After Kolbe's death, Hans Schaefer initially took over the representation in Freiburg until Joseph Vogt succeeded him in the summer semester of 1944 .

Kolbe was a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute , an extraordinary member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and an honorary member of the Athenian Archaeological Society . A focus of Kolbe's activity was the Greek history of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, especially on an epigraphic basis. He made important contributions to the architectural history of the Acropolis of Athens .


  • Inscriptiones Graecae . Vol. 5, 1. Inscriptiones Laconiae et Messeniae . Reimer, Berlin 1913.
  • Contributions to Syrian and Jewish history. Critical investigations on the Seleucid list and on the first two Maccabees . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1926.
  • Thucydides in the light of the documents . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1930.
  • The war guilt question of 218 BC Chr. Born Winter, Heidelberg 1934.
  • The world empire idea of ​​Alexander the great . Hans Speyer, Freiburg 1936.
  • The Aetolian Soteria and Attic Archon Research . Winter, Heidelberg 1943.


Web links

Wikisource: Walther Kolbe  - Sources and full texts


  1. Beginning with a misprint in the obituary by Walter-Herwig Schuchhardt, Gnomon 19, 1943, p. 284, the biographical literature often contains the incorrect indication 1942 for the year of death, for example in Hans Jürgen Rieckenberg:  Kolbe, Walther. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 12, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1980, ISBN 3-428-00193-1 , p. 452 f. ( Digitized version ). However, since Kolbe himself wrote an obituary for Ernst Fabricius , who died on March 22, 1942 ( Historische Zeitschrift 167, 1943, pp. 666–667) and Schuchhardt also states that Kolbe taught until autumn 1942, the information is 1943 (see above e.g. also Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar 1950, Col. 2408) correct.