All Scholars

USENER, Hermann Carl

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  • Date of Birth: October 23, 1834
  • Born City: Weiburg
  • Born State/Country: Germany
  • Parents: Georg Friedrich, Landoberschultheiss for duchy of Nassau, & Charlotte Henriette Caroline Vogler U.
  • Date of Death: October 21, 1905
  • Death City: Bonn
  • Death State/Country: Germany
  • Married: Caroline Dilthey, 1866
  • Education:

    Study at Heidelberg, 1853; Munich, 1853-4; GöAnalecta Theophrasta (Bonn, 1858)ttingen, 1855 Ph.D., Bonn, 1858.

  • Dissertation:

    Analecta Theophrasta (Bonn, 1858).

  • Professional Experience:

    Adjunct, Joachimsthalische Gymnasium, Berlin, 1858-61; extraordinarius, classical philology, Bern, 1861-3; ordinarius, Greifswald, 1863-6; Bonn, 1866-1902; Ordden pour le Mérite, 1891.

  • Publications:


    Quaestiones Anaximeneae (Göttingen, 1856 = Kleine Schriften 1:1-49); Alexandri Aphrodisiensis quae feruntur problematonrum liber III et IIII = Jahresbericht über das Königl. Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium, etc. (Berlin, 1859); Scholia in Lucani Bellum Civile I: Commenta Bemensia (Leipzig, 1869; repr. Hildesheim, 1967); Syriani in metaphysica commentaria (Berlin, 1870; reprinted in Aristoteles Opera IV, ed. O. Gigon (Berlin, 1961); Anecdoton Holderi: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte Roms in ostgothischer Zeit = Festschrift zur Begrüssung der XXXII Versammlung deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner zu Wiesbaden (Bonn, 1877; repr. Hildesheim, 1969); Acta S. Timothei. = Natalicia regis augustissimi Guilelmi imperatoris Germaniae, etc. (Bonn, 1877); Stephani Alexandrini quod fertur opusculum apotelesmaticum (Bonn, 1879); Legenden der Pelagia = Festschrift für die XXXIV Versammlung deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner zu Trier (Bonn, 1879; the preface is reprinted in VA [below]: 189-215); Acta S. Marinae et S. Christophori. = Festschrift zur fünften Säcularfeier der Carl-Ruprechts-Universität zu Heidelberg (Bonn, 1886); Altgriechischer Versbau. Ein Versuch vergbichender Metrik (Bonn, 1887); Epicurea (Leipzig, 1887; repr. Stuttgart, 1966); Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen. Erster Teil: Das Weihnachtsfest, Kapitel I bis III. Zweiter Teil: Christlicher Festbrauch (Bonn, 1889; revised and enlarged ed. edited by Hans Lietzmann, Bonn, 1911; reprinted Bonn, 1969; repr. Hildesheim, 1972 [together with Sintfluthsagen]); Dionysii Halicarnassensis librorum de imitatione reliquiae epistulaeque criticae duae = Natalicia regis augustissimi Guilelmi II, etc. (Bonn, 1889); Der heilige Theodosios. Schriften des Theodoros und Kyrillos (Leipzig, 1890); Acia M. Anastasii Persae (Bonn, 1894); Götternamen. Versuch einer Lehre von der religiösen Begriffsbildung (Bonn, 1896; reprinted with preface by Eduard Norden, 1929; 3d ed. with preface by Martin P. Nilsson, Frankfurt, 1948); Die Sintfluthsagen. (Bonn, 1899; reprinted Hildesheim, 1972 [together with Das Weihnachtsfest]); Dionysii Halicarnasei Opuscula,with L. Radermacher, vol. 1 (Leipzig, 1899); Der heilige Tychon, ed. A. Brinkmann (Leipzig & Berlin, 1907); Vorträge und Aufsätze, ed. A. Dieterich (Leipzig & Berlin, 1907; 2d ed., 1914); Kleine Schriften I: Arbeiten zur griechischen Philosophie und Rhetorik, grammatische und textkritische Beiträge, ed. K. Fuhr (Leipzig & Berlin, 1912; reprinted Osnabrück, 1965); Kleine Schriften II: Arbeiten zur lateinischen Sprache und Literatur, ed. P. E. Sonnenburg (Leipzig & Berlin, 1913; reprinted Osnabrück, 1965); Kleine Schriften IV: Arbeiten zur Religionsgeschichte, ed. R. Wünsch (Leipzig & Berlin, 1913; reprinted Osnabriick, 1965); Kleine SchriftenIII: Arbeiten zur Griechischen Literaturgeschichte, Geschichte der Wissenschaften, Epigraphik, Chronologie, ed. L. Radermacher, W. Kroll, F. Koepp, & A. Wilhelm (Leipzig & Berlin, 1914; reprinted Osnabrück, 1965); Dreiheit: ein Versuch mythologischer Zahlenlehre (Hildesheim 1966 = RhM NF 58 (1903) 1-48, 161-208, 321-364); Glossarium Epicureum, ed. M. Gigante & W. Schmid (Rome & Bari, 1977).


    All important articles, speeches, and small treatises have been incorporated in Kleine Schriften (KS) and the collection of Usener’s more general articles, Vorträge und Aufsätze (VA), except for his biographical sketches of Jacob Bernays and Alfred Fleckeisen, which have appeared in the ADB 46 (1902) 393-404 and 48 (1904) 576-583, respectively.

  • Notes:

    Hermann Usener was among the greatest German classical scholars of the last decades of the nineteenth century. His writings covered most aspects of the whole period of classical antiquity, reaching even into the earlier Middle Ages, and opened up new vistas in many different areas, such as Greek rhetoric, Epicurean philosophy, classical folklore, the continuity between pagan and Christian religions, and Greek mythology. Moreover, with his colleague Franz Bücheler (1837-1908), he attracted to Bonn the great majority of those students who would establish Germany as the leading country in classical scholarship in the first half of this century.

    Hermann Carl Usener was born in Weilburg, in the then still independent Herzogtum of Nassau, in 1834. His father, Georg Usener (1789-1855), occupied the position of Landoberschultheiss, a high position in the administration of the duchy. In 1844 Usener entered the Landesgymnasium, where he received his instruction in Greek from Rudolf Krebs (1804-1881), for whom he would arrange an honorary doctorate in Bonn in 1876, and in Latin from Alfred Fleckeisen (1820-1899), the later editor of the so-called Fleckeisen’s Jahrbücher für Philologie und Pädagogik, who roused his enthusiasm for the classics and remained a lifelong fatherly friend after Usener opened up his heart to him at the age of fourteen (Mette, 17-18). It was probably under the influence of Fleckeisen, a pupil of the Latinist Friedrich Ritschl (1806-1876), that Usener graduated with an “excellent” in Latin and a “very good” in Greek. At school Usener had already shown his varied interest by Latin orations on “The Reason for the Decline of the Latin Language after the Augustan Age” and “Niebuhrius exemplum adolescentibus studiosis propositum,” his Abiturientenrede (cf. Schnell).

    Equally important for his later development were the holidays with his half- brother Carl, a pastor. In the preface to his Weihnachtsfest (below), which he dedicated to his brother, Usener recalls how he walked with his rucksack along the river Weil to the old vicarage in Laucken. There, in his brother’s theological library, he found the writings of the critical Tübingen school, which gave him the idea that “the history of religion must become my life’s task” (vii); the main influence being the writings of the young Eduard Zeller (1814-1908), who had started his career as Privatdozent in theology in Tübingen, as Usener repeatedly acknowledged in (unpublished) letters to Zeller (cf. Bibliography). Notebooks preserved in the Bonn library show that at the age of eighteen he had already read Grimm’s Märchen, Creuzer’s Symbolik,and Lobeck’s Aglaophamus.

    In the summer of 1853 Usener moved to Heidelberg, where he attached himself especially to K. L. Kayser (1806-1872), whose posthumous Homerische Abhandlungen (1881) he would later edit in exemplary fashion. Kayser evoked in Usener an interest in rhetoric and referred him therefore to Munich, to Leonhard Spengel (1803-1880), the foremost authority in this field. Having arrived in the winter of 1853, he stayed only two semesters in Munich and spent the next year at home. In the summer of 1855 he took up his studies in Göttingen, where, around the following New Year’s, philologists Karl Friedrich Hermann (1804-1855) and Friedrich Schneidewin (1810-1856) both suddenly died. The seminar dedicated to their memory resulted in Usener’s first work, Quaestiones Anaximeneae (1856), a fruit really of his Munich stay and the first of a series of studies on ancient rhetoric. In the later 1860s he conceived the plan of a complete edition of the rhetorical works of Dionysius of Halicarnassus (cf. Aspetti: 107) and published many preparatory studies (Vorarbeiten) for this project, but in the end only cooperated with his pupil Ludwig Radermacher (1867-1952) in the first volume of the Teubner edition of Dionysius’ Rhetorica (1899), the history of religion having gradually become his main focus of attention (see below). It is still the standard edition, despite the fact that, as Wilamowitz points out in his Sappho und Simonides (1913, 80-81, note also 154-55), the inscriptions had been neglected in the constitution of the text.

    In the autumn of 1857 Usener moved to Bonn, where at the time the best classical scholars of Germany were teaching. Friedrich Welcker (1784-1868) was still working on his opus magnum, Griechische Götterlehre (3 vols., 1857-63), and although Usener did not become his pupil in the strict sense of the word, he seems to have been indebted to him in his attention to the relation of myth and ritual, the continuity of ancient religious usages in Christianity, and his openness to the comparative method (cf. Henrichs, 1986: 223-229). Contrary to Welcker, Usener rarely worked intensively with archaeological materials, except for coins, which he knew well through his friendship with the great numismatist Friedrich Imhoof-Blumer (1838-1920). In the one case where he did so—-in a stupendously learned discussion of the comparison in II. 11.473ff—he ventured only to add a word to Welcker’s discussion veneratione tanto viro debita (first published in 1875 = Kleine Schriften [KS] 3:446). Even when, in a memorable autobiographical passage in his Götternamen, Usener rejected Welcker’s Urmonotheismus, he still spoke of him as “he who is the teacher of us all, even of those who do not know it” (273).

    Of the other professors, Otto Jahn (1813-1869) did not make much impact on Usener, but he was attracted to Ritschl, who admitted him to the “Philologisches Seminar.” Usener was not particularly interested in archaic Latin literature (KS 2:251), Ritschl’s specialty, but in Ritschl’s seminar he met Franz Bücheler. In November of the same year they prepared with the other sodales a greatly improved edition of the London palimpsest of Granius Licinianus, only a year after the editio princeps. The cooperation with Bücheler was so successful that Usener immediately thought of him as Otto Jahn’s successor in 1869.

    In an unpublished letter of 27 June 1857 to Jacob Geel (1789-1862), the librarian of the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden, Ritschl mentions that he had proposed to Usener as the subject for his thesis Catalogus criticus librorum a Theopkrasto scriptorum (UB Leiden BPL 2426). But it was C. A. Brandis (1790-1867), the professor of philosophy and author of “Kenner der peripatetischen Lehre” (KS 1:95), who instilled in Usener the love for ancient philosophy, in particular the transmission of philosophical doctrines. Already in March 1858 he submitted his thesis, Analecta Theophrastica (KS1:50-90), which was dedicated to Ritschl, his Doktorvater, and Brandis. Despite its small size (fifty pages), the thesis contained pioneer research in the tradition of Theophrastus’ writings and the collection of his fragments. It also provided the model for the most impressive studies along similar lines, his own Epicurea (1877), Wilamowitz’s Antigonos von Karystos (1881), H. von Arnim’s Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta (1903) and, above all, Hermann Diels’ Doxographi Graeci (1879) and Die Fragments der Vorsokratiker (1st ed., 1903).

    In these years Usener met Wilhelm (1833-1911) and Carl (1839-1907) Dilthey, sons of the court preacher of Nassau, who would remain his lifelong friends. In 1856 Wilhelm had become teacher at the Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium in Berlin, with Wilamowitz’s Pforte one of the most prestigious schools of Prussia, and through him Usener was appointed as Adjunkt after his doctorate (1858-1861). Both read Plato together, while Usener continued his studies of the Greek philosophers (collected in KS I) and, having already studied the commentaries on Aristotle for his thesis (“perlegit, non perlustravit,” thus Ritschl in the letter quoted above), he prepared an edition of Syrianus’ commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, which he finally published in 1870 (KS 3:199). In 1860 he pronounced the oration on the occasion of the birthday of Friedrich Wilhelm IV (1795-1861), in which he rejected the rationalistic approach to philology of Gottfried Hermann (1772-1848), Ritschl’s model, expressing great admiration for August Boeckh’s (1785-1867) “Gesamtauffassung des hellenischen Altertums” (KS 3:215-226). In fact, already in early 1859 Wilhelm Dilthey had noted that Usener no longer was a “Ritschelianer,” as he manifested more and more interest in the “Sachlichhistorische” (Misch: 77). However, Usener remained an admirer of Ritschl all of his life, and the latter helped him to become Professor Extraordinarius at the University of Berne (1861-1863), an appointment customarily combined with a position at the local Kantonsschule. His stay in Berne enabled him to observe the rich local folklore, which he later boldly, if unnoticed, used to explain the origins of Attic comedy (1873 = KS 3:43).

    Despite heavy teaching, Usener started an investigation into the manuscript tradition of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and discovered in the library of Berne various interesting manuscripts, in particular one of Lucan’s scholia, which he finally published in 1869 and dedicated to Ritschl; an intended second volume never materialized. The scholia are not particularly important, but for Usener’s concept of philology there was nil in studiis parvum (1873 = KS 3:23) and, characteristically, he later reproached Cobet for a lack of a “sense of duty” (Pflichtgefühl) in having neglected the manuscripts of Simplicius in favor of the Attic orators (1892 = KS 3:198).

    In 1863 Usener moved as Ordinarius to Greifswald, where he mainly had to teach Latin, which, together with the support of Otto Jahn, helped him to become Ritschl’s successor in Bonn in 1866; at the same time, Jacob Bernays (1824-1881) was appointed Extraordinarius. In his youth Usener had copied out Bernays’s articles in order to have a complete collection of them, and after Bernays’s death he would edit in exemplary fashion his Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1885, 2 vols.). The admiration is not surprising, as they had much in common: interest in early Christian literature and the recovery of the lost writings of ancient philosophy. In the same year, 1866, Usener married Lilly Dilthey (1846-1920), the sister of his friends; she gave him four children and provided him with the right atmosphere for his studies.

    Still, the first years in Bonn were not easy. The fateful quarrel between Jahn and Ritschl, which had led to Ritschl’s departure to Leipzig with Erwin Rohde (1845-98) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), had poisoned the atmosphere, and Usener had not yet established himself in the eyes of the students. The situation greatly improved after Jahn’s death in 1869, even though Bonn lost again some of its brightest pupils: Wilamowitz, who left immediately for Berlin, and Carl Robert (1850-1922), who followed him after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Usener now managed to have his old friend Bücheler appointed, whose arrival, besides clearing the atmosphere, had one other important effect. Commenting on Usener’s appointment, Mommsen (Theodor Mommsen—Otto Jahn Briefwechsel 1842-1868, edited by L. Wickert [1962] 349-350) had written: “Usener is, to be sure, a good fellow and also quite intelligent, but he is hardly equal to this position and especially weak in Latinis. But you will certainly have a good colleague in him, I believe”; indeed, the volume with the Latina is the least impressive of his Kleine Schriften. After 1870 Usener wrote only occasionally on Latin literature. Bücheler’s specialization in this area had made the way free for more pressing interests.

    Usener now dedicated all his energy to teaching in the Philologische Seminar, which at the time counted ten members. His pupil Hans Lietzmann (1875-1942; cf. KS 3:342-45 = Wesen un Rangder Phiblogie: 57-59) has given a lively sketch of the impression his appearance made on the students: “The broad-shouldered figure with the powerful head, from which two bright eyes flashed forth beneath bushy eyebrows, evoked in everybody the feeling that he was standing before a prince in the realm of scholarship.” His (Latin!) lectures were not so much appreciated for their delivery—Usener often spoke jerkily and in anacoloutha—as for their insights and the problems they raised. His “cool dignity” (kühle Vomehmheit) and “sober matter-of-factness” (nuchteme Sachlichkeit) (Lietzmann) at first intimidated students, but to those who opened up to him he would show permanent friendship. Bücheler’s more accessible personality and livelier teaching complemented Usener in a fortunate way. Together they would make Bonn famous and attract the best students of Germany for over 30 years. Among Usener’s own pupils were Hermann Diels (1848–1922; thesis, De Galeni historia philosopha, 1870, dedicated to Usener), Georg Kaibel (1849-1901; De monumentorum aliquot Graecorum carminibus,1871), Friedrich Leo (1851-1914; Quaestiones Aristophaneae, 1873), Eduard Schwartz (1858-1940; De Dionysione Scytobrachione, 1880) Albrecht Dieterich (1866-1908; Papyrus magica musei Lugdunensis, etc., 1888), and Richard Heinze (1867-1929; De Horatio Bionis imitatore 1889)—to mention only the most famous.

    In the later 1860s Usener published a variety of mainly critical notes covering an extremely wide field from Hesiod to Eustathius, if not always convincingly. As Jahn observed, sharply but not without reason: “Unfortunately, the gods have denied his erudition the gift of probability” (quoted by Wilamowitz, Erinnerungen, 92). Important for Usener’s development was the publication of his Kallone (1868 = KS 4:1-93), in which he started from a passage in Aristophanes to end up, totally unconvincingly, in lunar myths. Methodologically, this first attempt at Greek mythology is indebted to the ruling paradigm that explained everything in terms of the natural phenomena (“Alles sollte Lichtgott sein,” Wilamowitz, ibid.), and Usener would never completely abandon this approach. Evidently, he now felt ready to teach Greek religion, and the next winter he announced as his program Religionis Graecorum historiam mythologiamque exponent quater. Unfortunately, Hermann Diels’s copy of these lectures, most copies of other lectures by various pupils, and Usener’s own notes were lost in a bomb attack on Bonn in October 1944.

    In 1873 Usener lectured on Greek and Italic mythology, the fruits of which appeared in an uncommonly rich article on Anna Perenna and Mamurius Veturius (1875 = KS 4:93-143). Basing himself on a very wide reading of European folklore, he argued that these minor Roman mythical figures were really ancient Jahresgötter. The study also shows his first wrestling with the problem of the relationship between myth and ritual—a problem so prominent in modern discussions. Very perceptively he already distinguished between the “Formula of myth” (“Anna finds her end in the river”) and the “Formula of ritual” (“Anna or her image is thrown into the river”: 120), and noted that “myth can proceed in a somewhat more drastic and free way than custom.” (142). Yet it remains the main weakness of his method that virtually until the end of his life he always assigned mythology priority, although on occasion he realized the truth: the Kouretes “have been transferred from cult into myth” (1894 = KS 4:190).

    In 1876 Usener published a small treatise demonstrating the dependence of Byzantine astronomy on Persian doctrines (KS 3:247-371), soon followed by various editions of Stephanus Alexandrinus’ astronomical work (1879; 1880 = KS 3:247-322). An unpublished letter to W. G. Pluygers (1812-1880), Geel’s successor as librarian in Leiden, shows that already in 1872 he was working on the astronomical work of Theon (23 February, UB Leiden BPL 2432), which he would finally edit for Mommsen’s Chronica Minora III in 1898. Through these studies Usener became interested in astrology, in which he saw a “truly etymological way of thinking” that gave insight into the “motive powers and spiritual events of pre-historical and pre-scientific thought” (1901 = KS 3:375). His investigations helped to inspire scholars such as Franz Boll (1867-1924) and Franz Cumont (1868-1947), and the latter thanked Usener in the preface of the first volume of the Catalogus codicum astrologorum Graecorum (1898) as horum studiorum veteranus. Usener’s interest in astronomy was closely related to his interest in calendrical matters, through which he hoped to penetrate into early Greek history. A manuscript “full of laborious and complicated calculations about calendrical problems” (Brinkmann: 10) perished in the fire of Mommsen’s library on 12 July 1880.

    The next year (1877) saw the appearance of the Anecdoton Holderi. Long before this Usener had shown interest in a small Latin fragment discovered by Alfred Holder (1840-1916) in a manuscript (Karlsruhe Augiensis 106), that was once part of the famous monastic library of Reichenau. When he finally edited the text, he was able to show that the fragment was an extract from a family history composed by Cassiodorus around 530 CE, providing indispensable information about Symmachus, Cassiodorus himself, and Boethius, whose theological treatises it definitively authenticated. In two ways this still valuable book is characteristic of Usener’s way of working. First, although he soon lost interest in the project, he did not withdraw his promise to publish the text and labored on it for many years. Second, the book was written in the period from August to September 20, as he noted in his Handexemplar. The only other Handexemplar that survived the 1944 bombing, that of the Altgriechischer Versbau, mentions that it was written in 1885 from 17 October to 3 December, and from letters to Fleckeisen (29 October 1894, quoted by Kany [1987] 79) and his pupil Alfred Körte (1866-1946; 23 October 1894, unpublished, UB Bonn S 2109, 2) it appears that Götternamen was written within a year. Although Usener apparently took a very long time—sometimes too long—mentally to prepare his writings, he put his thoughts onto paper surprisingly quickly.

    The Anecdoton had been an offering to the Philologenversammlung in Wiesbaden in 1877. As Usener presided, he took the opportunity to invite Wilamowitz for one of the main lectures—a great honor for the young professor of Greifswald. The lecture was so badly received that Wilamowitz did not return to the conventions until 1921, but during the meeting Usener and Wilamowitz began a friendship that, with vicissitudes, survived until Usener’s death. In the following years they carried on an animated correspondence, and Wilamowitz dedicated to Usener his Antigonos vonKarystos (1881). In 1880 and 1890 Usener unsuccessfully tried to have Wilamowitz appointed in Bonn; in an unpublished letter to Georg Kaibel in 1890 (14 December, UB Bonn S 2109, 2) he even mentioned Kaibel and Wilamowitz as the guides for the coming generations. Yet Wilamowitz always kept a certain distance, and Usener well realized the great difference between him and his younger colleague: “You look for the creations of willpower in history, I for the spontaneous, unconscious coming-into-being” (letter, 20 September 1877, Briefwechsel, no. 5). When Usener concentrated more and more on the history of religion, the relationship lost its warmth. In his memoirs Wilamowitz has few good words left for Usener (Erinnerungen, 91-92, 167-168, 209) and in his Latin autobiography, written at the end of his life, Usener occupies the first place among those quibus nihil debeo (Antike und Abendland 27 [1981] 48).

    During the next few years Usener edited the collected papers of Kayser (1881) and Bernays (1885), and in 1882 he gave his famous rectoral speech Philologie und Geschichtswissenschaft (= Vorträge und Aufsätze [VA]: 3-35), a unique nineteenth-century reflection on the role of philology and, to a certain extent, a reversal of his 1860 oration. He now distanced himself from Boeckh and indicated sympathy for Hermann by propagating philology as the key to a more comparative and comprehensive approach to antiquity.

    At the end of 1886 he published his Altgriechischer Versbau. He had already noted in his 1882 oration (above) that metrics also belong to those aspects of ancient Greece that cannot be studied in isolation, as the existence of an Indo-European Urvers had been demonstrated by R. Westphal (1826-1892) (Kuhn’s Zeitschrift fur Vergleichende Sprachforschung 9 [1860] 437-438). It is therefore rather paradoxical that he proceeded to reconstruct this ancestor of the Greek hexameter by basing himself solely on the Greek material without adducing the archaic Indian and Irish parallels. This methodological error invalidates the book, even though the most convincing modern reconstruction of the hexameter (N. Berg, “Parergon metricum: der Ursprung des griechischen Hexameters,” Münch. Stud, zur Sprachw. 37 [1978] 11-36) also takes its departure from the original Indo-European eight-syllable line, but, unlike Usener, with a catalectic variant.

    In 1887, after long tribulations—the work was almost completely printed in 1881—Usener finally published his Epicurea, which he dedicated to Bücheler; additional studies on Epicurus and Epicureans appeared during the next few years (KS 1:297-325, 362 and 3:188-192; RhMus 47 [1892] 414-467). The edition of Epicurus and its subsidium interpretationis testified to massive learning and definitively established Usener’s international reputation. Curiously, though, Usener nowhere indicates any deep interest in Epicurean doctrines, and the whole work very much looks like a philological Pflichtarbeit, which probably originated from his early interest in Diogenes Laertius in connection with his thesis. This would also have been the reason why he never completely finished the Glossarium Epicureum, which was not published until 1977 (cf. Gigante; Schmid: 1980). The appearance in the following years (1892-1896) of new editions of Philodemus by his pupil S. Sudhaus (1867-1914) must have meant a delay, but Usener never shrank from hard work. The fact that his attention was taken up more and more by his theological interests meant that other subjects had to take second place.

    Amazingly, the following year he again brought out a masterwork, Das Weihnachtsfest, his most popular book. In a very learned, if meandering, discussion Usener showed that the celebration of Christ’s birth on 25 December was not introduced before the fourth century and was meant to compete with the festival of Sol invictus. The study opened up virtually unexplored territory, it being the first profound attempt at explaining the origins of Christianity in an historical approach, as against a theological one. Understandably, the book caused much commotion, and the leading church historian Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930) reviewed it highly critically (Theol. Lit. Zeit. 14 [1889] 199-212). Indeed, it is vulnerable in many details, but its main conclusions have stood the test of time. The book also attracted Hans Lietzmann (1875-1942) as a student to Bonn; he not only published the second edition but also carried on the interests of his “incomparable teacher” (letter of 9 February 1940, Aland, no. 1136) in this field; he shared these interests with Arthur Darby Nock (1902-1963), who wrote to him: “If I had a lararium, it would contain two images of scholars, his [Usener’s] and Mommsen’s” (9 June 1937, Aland, no. 1010). In Germany, this tradition came to an abrupt end when Lietzmann’s brightest pupils were killed in action during Germany’s invasion of Russia (Aland, no. 153).

    The analysis of the origin of Christmas was not Usener’s first study of early Christianity. In 1871 he had already collected the most important remains of the ancient menologies in order to publish them in a reliable edition (unpublished letter to W. G. Pluygers of 21 October 1871, UB Leiden BPL 2432). The plan was never carried out, but from the later 1870s he began to publish a series of lives of early Christian saints and martyrs. The most famous are those on Sancta Pelagia of Antioch (1877) and Saint Tychon of Cyprus (1907), in which he tried to prove that Pelagia was the transformation of Aphrodite and Tychon the transformation of Priapus. Although these editions are still valuable for their observations on early Byzantine Greek, their main theses were soon refuted. The great Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye (1857-1941) rightly emphasized that the legend of Pelagia was rooted in the church of Antioch (H. D., Les légendes hagiographiques, 1905) and Paul Maas (1880-1964) showed that Usener had overlooked a version of Tychon’s life that established the bishop’s historicity (1907 = Maas, Kleine Schriften, ed. W. Buchwald [Munich, 1973]: 454-9; note also Delehaye apud Aland, no. 185; Kany [1988]). Usener’s interest in this literature was such that he even published his own version of a saint’s life under the pseudonym of E. Schaffher (1894 = VA: 233-259).

    Why was he so interested in the continuity of pagan elements in early Christianity? In a letter accompanying his Weihnachtsfest to the (excommunicated) Catholic theologian Ignaz von Doellinger (1799-1890), Usener wrote that he aimed to contribute toward the future unification of the church (Mette, 65). As he explained in the preface, he hoped to achieve this by separating that which had only temporary value from the “inalienable eternal content of our religion.” In 1904 he told the Basel church historian Franz Overbeck (1837-1905) that his main interest in his studies of ancient religion was “to prove its paganism to the Roman Catholic church” (Overbeck, Christentum und Kultur [Basel, 1919] 195-196). In the same year he stated that the aim of mythology as he saw it was “to carry out the purification and elucidation of our religious consciousness” (VA: 65).

    Momigliano (1982) has raised the question, which he felt unable to answer, as to whether these attempts at purification resulted in Usener’s abandoning the Christian faith. Fortunately, we can let him speak for himself in this matter. When, in 1902, the theological faculty of Bonn presented Usener with an honorary doctorate, he replied in a letter of which only a draft survives (unpublished, UB Bonn S 2109,3), the original being lost in the war. It explains his position with clarity: “. . . much as some results of my works, to my own greatest regret, distanced themselves from the faith of my youth, I still feel one with you all in the strictly Protestant spirit, which guides me in the investigation of the ideas and institutions of the ancient church. This sounds like a hackneyed sentence: but its application and carrying through means, as I am convinced, the purification and elucidation of the life of our church.            Basically, everything that an inner impulse tells me to show is implied in the word of  the apostle: ‘Now we see through a mirror in a riddle’; only that I would like to say it in a more pointed way: man is able to see God and the divine only in images (im bilde).” There is plenty of evidence, therefore, that the researches of Usener’s later years were dominated by a commitment to the future of the Christian faith. Wilamowitz sharply commented on this development in a letter to G. Wissowa (1859-1931): “It is more and more evident that he practices theology” (1904 = Henrichs [1985] 282).

    But how could Usener distinguish between “temporary” and “permanent” values in Christianity? He presented a first approach to this question in 1896 with the publication of Gdtternamen, a book that he called in a letter to Fleckeisen (29 October 1894, quoted by Kany [1987] 79) “my life’s work.” Usener thought he could penetrate into the origin of polytheism by analyzing the names of the gods, the oldest witnesses of religious conceptualization. Going back in time, he found older, less personal types of gods in the Roman indigitamenta, which he called sondergötter, a term he owed to the historian of religion Edward Lehman (1862-1930, cf. L. Deubner, Kleine Schriften zur Klassischen AItertumskunde[Konigstein, 1981]: 329); he discovered parallels in ancient lists of Lithuanian gods. Even older types of gods, at least from a logical point of view, were the augenblicksgötter, gods who owed their existence to those moments when early mankind experienced something divine. A fine illustration of his theory is a later article on Zeus Keraunos (1905 = KS4:471-497). For primitive people, lightning itself is a god; subsequent reflection raised the lightning to a sondergott,Keraunos, who was finally incorporated in Zeus, a personal god. It is, however, only when the original term for the sondergott has developed into a proper name that it can become the subject of myth, cult, and poetry. Finally, the polytheism can of the personal gods culminated in monotheism through a revelation from Galilee, as Usener stated in only one, hardly.satisfactory, page (348). In an unposted answer to Wilamowitz’ reaction to the book, he explained that he had wanted to investigate the        laws of religious development in order “to distinguish between the passing and lasting in sacred history and dogma” (Mette, 81-83). In Usener’s opinion, then, only a knowledge of mankind’s religious development could result in a Christianity purified from all pagan motifs.

    Usener dedicated Götternamen to Carl and Wilhelm Dilthey; the latter in turn dedicated his Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung (1905) to Usener. Was Usener perhaps influenced by Dilthey’s views? The answer seems to be: not very much.

    Admittedly, the Dilthey terminology of Geschichte-Leben-Nachempfinden can be found in Usener’s work, but on the whole the differences are considerable. It is rather Vico’s views of man’s infancy in his Science nuova and the nineteenth-century fascination with etymology that are the main influences behind the book (cf. Kany [1987]). Unfortunately, Usener had not kept up with contemporary linguistics (Mette, 82), as was immediately noticed by Hermann Diels, who also rejected Usener’s belief in the power of names (a survival of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s [1767-1835] theories). Erwin Rohde observed another methodological failure. As was the case with the book on metrics, Usener had based his theories mainly on the classical material without paying attention to the comparative evidence. Finally, Wilamowitz rejected the book for its many wrong etymologies but also, even if more subjectively, because it went straight against his own idea of Greek religion: “Gefühl is alles, Name ist Schall und Rauch” (“Feeling is everything, names are sound and smoke”). (All reactions quoted by Mette, 79-90.)

    Despite these criticisms, Usener’s book has not been without influence. Historians of Roman religion especially, but also the great French Sinologist Marcel Granet (1884-1940, cf. Bremmer), have used his insights in their analyses of the Roman and Chinese pantheon. On the whole, however, modern opinion can only agree with Usener’s critics. The main theses of the book are unprovable and its methods antiquated. Still, it contains a highly interesting program for the reconstruction of archaic Greek religion by studying the various calendars (hence the interest in astronomy), archaic customs such as human sacrifice, and the religion of neighboring peoples such as the Thracians and Macedonians (274-275). Moreover, there are numerous fine observations on all kinds of mythological figures, and the attention to onomastics as a source for Greek religion is still highly modern. The book is also a delight to read. Like many nineteenth-century scholars, Usener was highly interested in reconstructing prehistory. “Relics,” “ruins,” and “palimpsests” were his favorite words to denote survivals of the hoary past (cf. Kany [1987] 123). He paid therefore constant attention to the smallest details—an approach that greatly influenced his sometime student Aby Warburg (1866-1929), the art historian (cf. Gombrich; Kany 1989), witness his famous dictum “Der liebe Gott steckt im Detail” (cf. Sassi in Aspetti, 86-87). This attention has the effect that the reader sometimes feels himself carried along in a kind of scholarly investigation: one might note a connection in that Usener was a contemporary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).

    Between the Weihnachtsfest and the Götternamen, Usener had continued to work on ancient philosophy and the Christian literature of late antiquity, but his most innovative article in this period is Über vergleichende sittenund rechtsgeschichte, a subject he had lectured on in 1871, 1881, and 1891 (VA, 103-157). By comparing the Greek ephebes, Italian iuvenes, and German Burschenschaften, Usener was able to point to striking resemblances that he traced back to a communal background. Ten years later Heinrich Schurtz (1863-1903) used this classical material in his epochal study of the phenomenon of age groups, Altersklassen und Mannerbiinde (1902), laying the foundation for the many modern studies of ancient initiation. Usener’s article shows a great erudition in the field of folklore, but he published only once more in this area in which he had long been interested. In a letter dated 18 October 1868 to Karl Halm (1809-1882) (Aspetti: 107-108) he mentioned that he had collected much material on popular justice, and some years later Max Bonnet (1841-1917) answered queries on charivaris in Switzerland (unpublished letter of 26 December 1872, UB Bonn S 2101). Usener, however, made no use of this material in 1901 when he brilliantly showed that Mommsen, to whom he had dedicated his article, had neglected popular forms of justice in ancient Rome in his Römisches Strafrecht (KS 4:356-381). Usener’s fortuitous application of modern folklore to ancient customs was continued by Albrecht Dieterich and his pupils, such as Ludwig Deubner (1877-1946), Hugo Hepding (1878-1959), and Otto Weinreich (1886-1972). This tradition proved to be very productive until the Nazis monopolized German Volkskunde in the late 1930s.

    In the autumn of 1896, Usener fell from the steps in his library and developed an eye infection. Doctors forbade him to read, and for months he had to lie in the dark, while his students read aloud to him texts, preferably the Church Fathers, and also helped him to write. He recovered but remained blind in one eye and was no longer allowed to read by artificial light. The short-sightedness offers us a rare glimpse into Usener as a man. In an unpublished letter of 30 October 1900 to his brother Carl, he writes that during a lecture he realized that there were female students in the audience. Although he could not distinguish their faces but only see their contours, he immediately became distracted: “Disgusting ... at my age” (UB Bonn S 2109, 2).

    Despite his near-blindness, his scientific production hardly flagged. In 1899 he issued a study of the Flood, Sintfluthsagen, in which he tried to show that myth developed from a single image, in this case from the Lichtgott landing on the shore. The book was skeptically received by Wilamowitz (Briefwechsel, 59-60) and understandably so. Usener had spoiled his case by his dependence on the antiquated solar mythology and an overly reductionist approach. On the other hand, he was far ahead of his time in looking for one underlying idea in very different myths: a structuralist avant la lettre.

    In the following years he continued to find pagan motifs in the Christian tradition, such as the use of milk and honey (1902 = KS 4:398-417), the stories about Christ’s birth (1903 = VA: 159-187), and the idea of the Trinity (1903, reprinted 1966). He was now in the zenith of his fame. His writings were extensively reviewed, even in the AnnéeSociologique of the French sociologist Emile Durkheim (1859-1917) and his school (cf. De Donato in Aspetti); in America, B. L. Gildersleeve (1831-1924) had become friends with Usener, having been entertained by him in 1880, and he always paid great attention to his works (Briggs, 141-143, 243-245). In 1903 Usener retired, but his seventieth birthday was still an important event at which his pupils, including Wilamowitz, presented him with his bust, now preserved in the Bonn Philologische Seminar.

    In 1904 Usener published “Heilige Handlung” (KS 4:422-467), in which he analyzed ritual fights between neighborhoods or city quarters. The study made a great impression on the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945) and confirmed him in his idea that culture is based on fights, games, and competition, an idea later elaborated in his famous Homo ludens (1938, cf. W. Krul, “Huizinga en de taak der culturgeschiedenis,” Theoretische Geschiedenis 13 [1986] 149-68, esp. 155, 164-165). The article also raises fascinating questions about the origin of the myth of the Trojan War and shows that Usener had reconsidered the problem of myth and ritual. His conclusion that the “sacramental act” was the “seed” of myths reversed his earlier position and seems to suggest that he had been influenced by the contemporary Cambridge “myth and ritual" school. This is indeed not impossible. He was acquainted with the work of William Robertson Smith (1846-1894) (cf. Götternamen, 254), had J. G. Frazer’s (1854-1941) Golden Bough read out to him by a student (Karo, 33), and Jane Harrison (1850-1928) was the only scholar to be mentioned by him as having “a feeling for mythology” (Götternamen: 136). However, he could not explore this new direction any further. After a dangerous attack of appendicitis in the late autumn, he recovered in the spring of 1905, but in the following autumn he fell ill again, and two days before his birthday he quietly passed away (cf. Aland, nos. 119 and 122). On 24 October 1905 he was buried on the “Alte Friedhof’ in Bonn.

    Usener’s spiritual heir, his son-in-law Albrecht Dieterich, immediately decided to write his biography and, as was his method of working, prepared the book in his mind without making many notes. Around the beginning of May 1908, he told his wife, Usener’s daughter Marie (1867-1931), that he was ready to write the book and would finish it in the autumn (Aland, no. 176). A few days later he collapsed in front of his students and died on 6 May. The biography was never written.

    During Usener’s lifetime, his originality, astonishing productivity, loyal and imposing personality, and total dedication to teaching established him as a leading classical scholar of his time. Yet after his death, he was soon replaced by Wilamowitz as the model for the new generation. There are various reasons for this development. Firstly, Usener’s reliance on etymologies, his continuing adherence to the nature paradigm in his mythological studies, and his stress on the primacy of myth above ritual soon made him look old-fashioned. Secondly, with the premature death of Albrecht Dieterich, Usener’s legacy had lost its most authoritative and versatile steward. Thirdly, Wilamowitz’s superior philological skills and powerful personality soon overshadowed Usener’s own philological achievements, and his concentration on and identification with ancient Greece were easier to follow than Usener’s theological interests and search for prehistoric roots. Only recent studies (Aspetti; Kany [1987]) have again recognized Usener as a pioneer in the analysis of folklore, ritual, early Christianity, and the transmission of philosophical doctrines. It remains difficult to present a balanced evaluation of a scholar who so stubbornly clung to antiquated paradigms but also opened up so many new fields. Usener’s boldness excites us, his flights of fancy repel us. Indeed, Hermann Usener is a problematic scholar.

  • Sources:


    There is only a bibliography of Usener’s work on the history of religion in KS 4, iii-v. Apparently, no bibliography was published in expectation of Dieterich’s announced biography (see above).


    Glanz und Niedergang der deutschen Universität. 50 Jahre deutscher Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Briefen an und von Hans Lietzmann 1892-1942, ed. K. Aland (Berlin & New York, 1979); H. von Amim, [Obituary.] Almanach der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften 56 (1906) 335-340; Aspetti di Hermann Usener filologo della religione, preface by Arnaldo Momigliano (Pisa, 1982), contains A. Momigliano, “Premesse per una discussione su Hermann Usener” 9-2l; R. Bodei, “Hermann Usener nella filosofia moderna: tra Dilthey e Cassirer” 23-42; G. Cambiano, “Scienza organizzata e scienza ‘selvaggia’ in Hermann Usener” 43-64; M. M. Sassi, “Dalla scienza delle religioni di Usener ad Aby Warburg” 65-91; B. Scardigli, “Le lettere di Usener nella Staatsbibliothek di Monaco” 93-118; G. Arrighetti, “Gli studi epicurei di Hermann Usener” 119-136; E. Campanile, “La metrica compara- tiva di Hermann Usener” 137-145; G. Piccaluga, “Attualita dei Son- dergotter?” 147-159; F. E. Consolino, “Usener e l’agiografia: Legenden der Pelagia e Der heilige Tychon 161-180; F. Parente, “Das Weihnachtsfest” 181-228; R. di Donato, “Usener n’habite plus ici” 213-228; E. Bickel, E. “Das philologische Seminar unter Usener und Buecheler,” in Geschichte der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn am Rhein. II (Bonn, 1933) 197-210; “Hermann Usener 1834-1905,” Nassauische Lebensbilder 5 (1955) 245-252; F. Boll, “Hermann Usener,” Byzancinische Zeitschrift 15 (1906) 511-513; J.N. Bremmer, “Aspetti,” Mnemosyne 39 (1986) 561-564. (Review.); Ward W. Briggs, Jr. The Letters of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve (Baltimore, 1987) 141-143, 243-245; A. Brinkmann, A. [Obituary.] Chronik der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn 31 (1906) 7-13; F. Bücheler, “Gedachtnisrede auf Hermann Usener,” Neue Jahrbücher f.d. Klassische Altertum 15 (1905) 737-743; reprinted in Bücheler’s Kleine Schriften. Vol. 3 (Leipzig and Berlin, 1930) 324-329; M. Capasso,“Gli studi ercolanesi di Hermann Usener nel suo carteggio inedito con Hermann Diels,” in M. Capasso, et al. Momenti della storia degli studi classici fra Ottocento e Novecento (Naples, 1987) 105-136; C. Clemen, “Hermann Usener als Religionshistoriker,” Studi e materiali di storia delle religioni 11 (1935) 110-124; L. Deubner, “Hermann Usener.” Biographisches Jahrbuch fiir die Altertumswissenschaft 31 (1908) 53-74; A. Dieterich, “Hermann Usener,” Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft 8 (1905) i-xi, reprinted in Dieterich’s Kleine Schriften (Leipzig and Berlin, 1911) 354-362; M. Gigante, “Il Glossarium Epicureum di Usener,” Rendiconti dell’ Academia di Archeologia, Lettere e Belle Arti di Napoli52 (1977) 159-164; ------,“Hermann Usener e i testi epicurei nei papiri ercolanesi,” in C. Jensen, W. Schmid, M. Gigante, Saggi di papirologia ercolanese (Naples, 1979) 45-91; E.H. Gombrich, Aby Warburg. An Intellectual Biography, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1986); A. Henrichs, “Der Glaube der Hellenen: Religionsgeschichte als Glaubensbekenntnis und Kulturkritik,” Wilamowitz nach 50 Jahren,ed. W. M. Calder III et al. (Darmstadt, 1985) 263-305; for Wilamowitz and Usener see 280-284; ------, “Welckers Gotterlehre,” Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker. Werk und Wirkung, ed. W. M. Calder III et al. (Stuttgart, 1986) 179-229; for Welcker and Usener see 223-229; H. Herter, “Die klassische Philologie seit Usener und Bücheler” in Bonner Gelehrte. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Wissenschaften in Bonn (Bonn, 1968) 164-211, esp. 165-177; R. Kany,Mnemosyne als Programm. Geschichte, Erinnerung und die Andacht zum Unbedeutenden im Werk von Usener, Warburg und Benjamin (Tübingen, 1987); ------, Dionysos Protrygaios. Pagane und christliche Spuren eines Weinfestes,” Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 31 (1988) 5-23; for Usener’s Der heilige Tychon see 17-22; -------. Diereligionsgeschichtliche Forschung an der Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (Bamberg, 1989); G. Karo, Fünfzig Jahre aus dem Leben eines Archäologen (Baden-Baden, 1959); F. Koepp, “Wilhelm Dilthey und Hermann Usener am Joachimstalschen Gymnasium. Ein Gedenkblatt zu Useners Einhundertsten Geburtstag am 23 Oktober 1934,” Der die Joachims taler. Vierteljahresblatt der Vereinigung alter Joachimstaler 7 (1934), no. 28: 39-41; A. Korte, “Hermann Usener - Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. Ein Briefwechsel,” Die Antike 11 (1935) 211-235; H.J. Mette, “Nekrolog einer Epoche: Hermann Usener und seine Schule. Ein wirkungsgeschichtlicher Rückblick auf die Jahre 1856-1979,” Lustrum 22 (1979-80) 5-106; G. Misch, Der junge Dilthey (Leipzig, 1933; reprinted Stuttgart, 1960); A. Momigliano, “Premesse per una discussione su Hermann Usener,” RSI 94 (1982) 191-203, reprinted in Aspetti: 9-21; ------, Settimo contributo alla storia degli studi classici e del mondo antico (Rome, 1984) 201-214; slightly different “Hermann Usener.” History and Theory, Beiheft 21 (1982): 33-48; L. Radermacher, “Hans Lietzmann,” Almanach der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 93 (1943) 269-280 (Lietzmann and Usener); B. Scardigli, “Lettere inedite di Hermann Usener,” Munus amicitiae. Scritti in memoriadi Alessandro Ronconi, vol. 1 (Florence, 1986) 263-298; W. Schmid, “Useners ‘Glossarium Epicureum’ und seine ‘Epicurea’,” Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft 6a (1980) 19-29; A. Schnell, “In Memoriam Hermann Usener,” Nachrichtenblatt für die Mitglieder der “Wilinaburgia" 38 (1934) 4-7; E. Schwartz, “Rede auf Hermann Usener,” Nachrichten von der Kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Gesellschoftliche Mitteilungen (1918) 43-70; reprinted in Schwartz’ Gesammelte Schriften (Berlin, 1938) 1:301-315; ------, “Usener und Wilamowitz. Ein Briefwechsel. Eine Buchanzeige,” DLZ 55 (1934) 1978-1986; reprinted in Schwartz’ Gesammelte Schriften, (Berlin, 1938) 1:316-325; P. Treves, “Usener und Wilamowitz," La Critica 33 (1935): 475-478 (Review); P. Wendland, “Hermann Usener. Ein Gedenkblatt,” Preussische Jahrbücher 122 (1905) 373-387; Wesen und Rang der Philologie. Zum Gedenken an Hermann Usener und Franz Bücheler, ed. W. Schmid (Stuttgart, 1969); U. von Wilamowitz-Moelendorff, Erinnerungen 1848-1914 (Leipzig, 1928; rev. ed., 1929; English translation as My Recollections, London, 1930).


    Usener und Wilamowitz. Ein Briefwechsel 1870-1905, ed. H. Dieterich & F. Hiller von Gaertringen (Leipzig and Berlin, 1934).


    1. UB Bonn: about 200 letters by Usener to family and colleagues (S 2109), diaries and notebooks (S 2160a), and various other personal papers (S 2109); about 5,000 letters by numerous scholars to Usener (S 2101-2108), cf. Mette: 12-15; a catalogue with the titles of Usener’s Handexemplare and the notes of his lectures by various pupils which were lost in the war. The Archiv of the university preserves the Akten of the Faculty regarding Usener’s career.

    2. Stadtarchiv Bonn: after the completion of my contribution I learned from Dr. K.A. Neuhausen (letter of 12 September 1988) that in the Stadtarchiv Bonn he has just discovered Bucheler’s legacy, which also contains a number of letters by Usener.

    3. Heidelberg: Hermann Dieterich, the son of Albrecht Dieterich, owns letters by Usener to his father and Wilhelm Dilthey.

    4. The fullest survey of the whereabouts of Usener’s letters can be found in the Zentralkartei der Autographen, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, West Berlin. I note here the larger collections. East Berlin: the correspondence with Theodor Mommsen, 1861-1901 (Dt. Staatsbibliothek); the Diels-Usener correspondence in the archive of the Academy in Berlin is in press and will be out in 1989-1990, edited by D. Ehlers. West Berlin: there are letters of Usener in the legacies of A. Furtwangler, O. Jahn, R. Kekule v. Stradonitz, and F. Studniczka in the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. Darmstadt: 28 letters to W. Dilthey, 1874-1903 (Landes- u. Hochschulbibliothek WDilthey 14 gand 14 I and57). Heidelberg: 7 letters to Paul Wendland, 1890-1898 (UB Ms. philos. 206: 107-113). Karlsruhe: the correspondence with Alfred Holder, 1868-1899 (Landesbibliothek K 1645). Munich: cf. B. Scardigli in Aspetti, 93-118 and Scardigli 1987. Tübingen: 6 letters to E. Zeller, 1879-1891 (UB Tübingen Md 747.780).

    5. Halle (DDR): ‘Vorlesungs-Nachschriften’ in the legacy of Karl Gerhard.

    I am very grateful to the Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz and the Standesamt Weilburg for helpful information; to the staff of the archives and the library of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, in particular Mrs. C. Weidlich, for their pleasant cooperation; to Dr. R. Kany and Professors William M. Calder III and Albert Henrichs for helpful comments and corrections; and last but not least, to Professor Adolf Kohnken for his hospitality and most helpful discussions during my stay in Bonn.

  • Author: Jan N. Bremmer