Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher

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Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (born February 12, 1845 in Göttingen , † March 9, 1923 in Dresden ) was a German classical philologist and grammar school teacher , best known as an explorer of Greek and Roman mythology .

Live and act

The son of the economist Wilhelm Roscher studied after attending the Prince's School St. Afra in Meissen from 1864 in Goettingen and Leipzig and was in 1868 Friedrich Ritschl with the dissertation De aspiratione vulgari apud Graecos doctorate . During his studies in Leipzig he founded a philological association with Wilhelm Wisser , Richard Arnold and Friedrich Nietzsche . From 1869 he worked as a grammar school teacher in Bautzen , from 1871 at the Princely School in Meißen and from 1882 as vice-principal at the grammar school in Wurzen ; In 1894 he became the principal of this school. After his retirement in 1905, Roscher moved to Dresden. Repeated study trips took him to Italy , France , Dalmatia , Montenegro , Greece and Asia Minor .

From 1884 Roscher published the detailed encyclopedia of Greek and Roman mythology , the most comprehensive work of this kind, which had set itself the task of presenting the Greco-Roman myths and cults as objectively and completely as possible, taking the monuments into account. The articles for the encyclopedia were mainly written by classics who were in school service, plus a number of university scholars.

The lexicon, often only cited briefly as the Roscher , is still considered a fundamental work today; it consists of six volumes that appeared between 1884 and 1937. After Roscher's death in 1923 it was published by Konrat Ziegler . It was not replaced until 1981 by the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae .

Roscher became a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences in 1891 . The University of Athens awarded him an honorary doctorate .


  • Studies on the comparative mythology of the Greeks and Romans . Vol. 1: Apollon and Mars , Leipzig 1873; Vol. 2: Juno and Hera , Leipzig 1875.
  • The feeling of nature of the Greeks and Romans . Meissen 1875.
  • Hermes the wind god . Leipzig 1878.
  • The Gorgons and their relatives . Leipzig 1879.
  • Nectar and ambrosia . Leipzig 1883.
  • Selene and relatives . Leipzig 1890.
  • The number 50 in myth, cult, epic and tactics of the Hellenes and other peoples, especially the Semites. Leipzig 1917 (= treatises of the Saxon Society of Sciences: philological-historical class , 33, 5).


Web links

Wikisource: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher  - Sources and full texts