Wolfgang Seyfarth (historian)

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Wolfgang Seyfarth (born May 21, 1906 in Fürstenwalde ; † February 14, 1985 ) was a German classical philologist and ancient historian .

The son of a bookseller passed his Abitur in 1924 and was then an officer candidate in the Reichswehr . In 1925 he began studying classical philology and history at the University of Berlin , which he finished in 1929. He passed the state examination in 1930 and was then a teacher until 1932. In October 1934 he received his doctorate with a thesis on the subject of investigations into the composition of Tacitus in the histories with Werner Jaeger and Ludwig Deubner . In 1940 he joined the NSDAP ( membership number 8015306). In 1953 Seyfarth became a research assistant at the German Academy of Sciences (DAW). The habilitation took place in June 1960 with the thesis Social Issues of the Late Roman Imperial Era in the Mirror of Theodosianus . After his habilitation, he became head of the Greco-Roman history department at the DAW and its successor at the Central Institute for Ancient History and Archeology of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR. In addition to his work at the Academy, Seyfarth was a lecturer from 1963 and from 1967 professor for Latin and Greek literature and language at the Humboldt University in Berlin . In 1971 he retired.

Seyfarth was particularly concerned with the Roman historiography of the imperial era, particularly late antiquity . Fundamental is his multi-volume edition of the writings of Ammianus Marcellinus within the writings and sources of the Old World , which contains not only the original Latin text and the German translation, but also a scientific commentary.


  • The Codex Fuldensis and the Codex E. des Ammianus Marcellinus. On the question of the handwritten tradition of the work of the last Roman historian. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1962 (treatises of the German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, class for languages, literature and art, born in 1962, No. 2).
  • Social questions of the late Roman Empire as reflected in Theodosianus. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1963 (German Academy of Sciences in Berlin, writings of the Section for Classical Studies, Vol. 33).
  • Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History . Latin and German and with a commentary by Wolfgang Seyfarth. 4 volumes, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1968–1971 ( writings and sources of the old world 21, 1–4; text edition with translation).
  • Roman history. Imperial times. 2 volumes, Akademie Verlag, Berlin 1974. 3rd corrected edition 1980 ( paperback history ).


  • Lothar Mertens : Lexicon of the GDR historians. Biographies and bibliographies on the historians from the German Democratic Republic. Saur, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-598-11673-X , pp. 569-570.
  • Karl Christ : Klio's changes. The German ancient history from neo-humanism to the present. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-406-54181-X , p. 120.