Georg Wissowa

Georg Otto August Wissowa (17 June 1859 – 11 May 1931) was a German classical philologist born in Neudorf, near Breslau.

Georg Wissowa
Georg Wissowa (1859-1931)


Wissowa studied classical philology under August Reifferscheid at the University of Breslau, then furthered his studies in Munich under Heinrich Brunn, a leading authority on Roman antiquities. In 1890 he became a full professor at the University of Marburg, relocating to Halle in 1896 as a successor to Heinrich Keil.[1]


Georg Wissowa is remembered today for re-edition of Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, an encyclopedia of classical studies initially started by August Friedrich Pauly (1796–1845) in 1837.[2][3] Around 1890, Wissowa began the new edition, an ambitious project that he anticipated would take ten years to finish. However, it wouldn't be until the 1970s that the last of its 83 volumes was published.

He was the author of a significant work on ancient Roman religion, titled Religion und Kultus der Römer (1902), a book in which he explored the development of Roman religion, and in the process, provided a comprehensive description of its deities and religious practices. Wissowa also published a revision of Ludwig Friedländer's moral history of Rome called Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms, worked on Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher's encyclopedia of Greek and Roman mythology, Ausführlichem Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie" and edited the second edition of Joachim Marquardt's "Römische Staatsverwaltung, vol. III. (1885).


  • Biography of Georg Wissowa @
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Wissowa, Georg" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
  1. ^ Bibliotek, University of Halle biographical information
  2. ^ ADB:Pauly August Friedrich von @ Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie
  3. ^ de.Wikisource August Friedrich Pauly Pauly died in 1845, prior to completion of the encyclopedia's first edition. After his death, the first edition was continued by Christian Walz and Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel (1st edition Metzler, Stuttgart 1837-1852; 6 volumes).

External links


An Agonalia or Agonia was an obscure archaic religious observance celebrated in ancient Rome several times a year, in honor of various divinities. Its institution, like that of other religious rites and ceremonies, was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the semi-legendary second king of Rome. Ancient calendars indicate that it was celebrated regularly on January 9, May 21, and December 11.

A festival called Agonia or Agonium Martiale, in honor of Mars, was celebrated March 17, the same day as the Liberalia, during a prolonged "war festival" that marked the beginning of the season for military campaigning and agriculture.


In ancient Roman religion, Bubona is thought to have been a goddess of cattle, but she is named only by Saint Augustine.

Augustine mocks Bubona as one of the minor Roman deities whose names correspond to their functions, and derives her name from the Latin word bos (genitive bovis, hence English "bovine"), which usually means "ox" in the singular and "cattle" in the plural (bubus in the dative and ablative plural; compare bubulcus, one who drives or tends cattle). The formation of this theonym has been compared to that of Bellona, "she who presides over war (bellum)"; Pomona, "she who presides over orchard fruits (pomum)"; and Epona, the Romano-Celtic horse goddess (from Gaulish epos, "horse") whose image was placed in stables as a tutelary for the animals.Augustine mentions Bubona in two passages. In addition to the passage on theonyms and divine personifications, he lists her among several other deities who had specialized functions for the Romans, in contrast to the one god of the Jews.Georg Wissowa thought that a festival of cattle (ludi boum causa) mentioned by Pliny must have been dedicated to Bubona. Those who celebrated the rites were called Bubetii, a title which appears only in Pliny.


The Equirria (also as Ecurria, from *equicurria, "horse races") were two ancient Roman festivals of chariot racing, or perhaps horseback racing, held in honor of the god Mars, one February 27 and the other March 14.

Franz Skutsch

Franz Skutsch (6 January 1865 – 29 September 1912) was a German classical philologist and linguist born in Neisse. He was the father of classical philologist Otto Skutsch (1906-1990).

He studied classical philology and Indo-European studies at the Universities of Heidelberg and Breslau, where he was a student of Georg Wissowa (1859-1931). In 1888 he earned his doctorate at the University of Bonn, later obtaining his habilitation at Breslau in 1890. In 1896 he became a full professor at the University of Breslau and the successor to Friedrich Marx (1859-1941).

Skutsch is remembered for his expert linguistic/philological treatment of the Roman playwright Plautus, being the author of the acclaimed "Plautinisches und Romanisches" (1892). With linguist Paul Kretschmer (1866-1956) he was co-founder of the journal Glotta.

He was an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften in Athen (Society of Sciences in Athens), and a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy.


In ancient Roman religion, the Furrinalia (or Furinalia) was an annual festival held on 25 July to celebrate the rites (sacra) of the goddess Furrina. Varro notes that the festival was a public holiday (feriae publicae dies). Both the festival and the goddess had become obscure even to the Romans of the Late Republic; Varro (mid-1st century BC) notes that few people in his day even know her name. One of the fifteen flamines (high priests of official cult) was assigned to her, indicating her archaic stature, and she had a sacred grove (lucus) on the Janiculum, which may have been the location of the festival. Furrina was associated with water, and the Furrinalia follows the Lucaria (Festival of the Grove) on 19 and 21 July and the Neptunalia on 23 July, a grouping that may reflect a concern for summer drought.

Gaius Papirius (Pontifex Maximus)

Gaius Papirius was Pontifex Maximus in 509 BC, the first year of the Roman Republic. He copied the religious ordinances established by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome, which his grandson, Ancus Marcius, had carved on oaken tablets, and placed in the Forum.According to Pomponius, a Sextus or Publius Papirius had collected all of the leges regiae, the laws established by the kings, in the time of the Tarquins. This collection came to be known as the Ius Papirianum or Ius Civile Papirianum. Münzer postulated that this collection was the same as that recorded by Gaius Papirius, the Pontifex Maximus, who would then be identified with the Sextus or Publius Papirius referred to by Pomponius.


In ancient Roman religion, the indigitamenta were lists of deities kept by the College of Pontiffs to assure that the correct divine names were invoked for public prayers. These lists or books probably described the nature of the various deities who might be called on under particular circumstances, with specifics about the sequence of invocation. The earliest indigitamenta, like many other aspects of Roman religion, were attributed to Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome.


In ancient Roman religion, Inuus was a god, or aspect of a god, who embodied sexual intercourse. The evidence for him as a distinct entity is scant. Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that Inuus is an epithet of Faunus (Greek Pan), named from his habit of intercourse with animals, based on the etymology of ineundum, "a going in, penetration," from inire, "to enter" in the sexual sense. Other names for the god were Fatuus and Fatulcus.

Walter Friedrich Otto disputed the traditional etymology and derived Inuus instead from in-avos, "friendly, beneficial" (cf. aveo, "to be eager for, desire"), for the god's fructifying power.

Jesse Benedict Carter

Jesse Benedict Carter (born June 16, 1872, in New York, New York; died July 20, 1917, in Cervignano del Friuli) was a prominent American classicist of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Carter's life and career were cut short when he died of heatstroke while on an Italian aid mission during World War One.Carter was the son of Peter and Marie Louise Carter. He was educated at New York University (1889-1890), at Princeton University (A.B. 1893), and at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Ph.D. 1898). At Halle he studied with Georg Wissowa and Carl Robert. He was Professor of Latin at Princeton from 1902. In 1904 he moved to Rome to join the faculty of the American School of Classical Studies, becoming director in 1907. When the American School of Classical Studies merged with the American Academy in Rome in 1911, Carter continued on as a faculty member and became the AAR director in 1912, following the death of Francis Davis Millet aboard the Titanic.

Carter's scholarship focused on Roman religion and topography. He collaborated with Christian Hülsen on topographical studies of the Forum Romanum and produced his own work on the scholarship of Roman religion.Carter was married to Kate Freeman Carter (March 5, 1870, in Peekskill, New York, - September 8, 1948, at Clinique Val-Mont, Glion, Montreux, Switzerland) who was the daughter of the Reverend John and Mary Freeman.

Carter was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy by King Victor Emmanuel III. He is buried in the Protestant Cemetery of Rome, Italy.


In ancient Roman religion, the Lucaria was a festival of the grove (Latin lucus) held July 19 and 21. The original meaning of the ritual was obscure by the time of Varro (mid-1st century BC), who omits it in his list of festivals. The deity for whom it was celebrated is unknown; if a ritual for grove-clearing recorded by Cato pertains to this festival, the invocation was deliberately anonymous (Si deus, si dea). The dates of the Lucaria are recorded in the Fasti Amiterni, a calendar dating from the reign of Tiberius found at Amiternum (now S. Vittorino) in Sabine territory.The Augustan grammarian Verrius Flaccus connected the Lucaria to the disastrous defeat of the Romans by the Gauls at the Battle of the Allia, which was fought on July 18. The festival, he says, was celebrated in the large grove between the Via Salaria and the Tiber river, where the Romans who survived the battle had hidden. The Via Salaria crossed the battlefield about 10 miles north of Rome. The lucus thus would have been located on the Pincian Hill, which was later cultivated as gardens and leisure parks by Lucullus, Pompeius, Sallust and others. This explanatory story has been compared to that of the Poplifugia, which also involved the Gallic sack of Rome. The story may be more aetiological than historical. The Lucaria suggests that grove veneration was a practice which the early Romans had in common with the Gauls.Like other "fixed holidays" (dies nefasti publici) on the Roman calendar, the Lucaria took place on days of uneven number, with an intervening day that was "non-festive". A mention by Macrobius seems to imply that the festival began at night and continued the following day. Georg Wissowa thought that it may have been connected to the Neptunalia on July 23, when leafy huts, called umbrae, were built as shelters to protect against the hot summer sun and bulls were sacrificed. Neptune embodied fresh as well as salt water among the Romans, and the collocation of festivals in July, including also the Furrinalia on the 25th, may express concerns for drought.

Nenia Dea

Nenia Dea (Engl.: Goddess Nenia; rarely Naenia) was an ancient funeral deity of Rome, who had a sanctuary outside of the Porta Viminalis. The cult of the Nenia is doubtlessly a very old one, but according to Georg Wissowa the location of Nenia's shrine (sacellum) outside of the center of early Rome indicates that she didn't belong to the earliest circle of Roman deities. In a different interpretation her shrine was located outside of the old city walls, because it had been custom for all gods connected to death or dying.


In ancient Roman religion, the dii (also di) Novensiles or Novensides are collective deities of obscure significance found in inscriptions, prayer formulary, and both ancient and early-Christian literary texts.

In antiquity, the initial element of the word novensiles was thought to derive from either "new" (novus) or "nine" (novem). The form novensides has been explained as "new settlers," from novus and insidere, "to settle". The enduringly influential 19th-century scholar Georg Wissowa thought that the novensiles or novensides were deities the Romans regarded as imported, that is, not indigenous like the di Indigetes.Although Wissowa treated the categories of indigetes and novensiles as a fundamental way to classify Roman gods, the distinction is hard to maintain; many scholars reject it. Arnaldo Momigliano pointed out that no ancient text poses novensiles and indigetes as a dichotomy, and that the etymology of novensides is far from settled. In his treatise on orthography, the 4th-century philosopher Marius Victorinus regarded the spellings novensiles and novensides as a simple phonetic alteration of l and d, characteristic of the Sabine language. Some ancient sources say the novensiles are nine in number, leading to both ancient and modern identifications with other divine collectives numbering nine, such as the nine Etruscan deities empowered to wield thunder or with the Muses. The name is thus sometimes spelled Novemsiles or Novemsides.

It may be that only the cults of deities considered indigenous were first established within the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), with "new" gods on the Aventine Hill or in the Campus Martius, but it is uncertain whether the terms indigetes and novensiles correspond to this topography. William Warde Fowler observed that at any rate a distinction between "indigenous" and "imported" begins to vanish during the Hannibalic War, when immigrant deities are regularly invoked for the protection of the state.


Pietas, translated variously as "duty", "religiosity" or "religious behavior", "loyalty", "devotion", or "filial piety" (English "piety" derives from the Latin), was one of the chief virtues among the ancient Romans. It was the distinguishing virtue of the founding hero Aeneas, who is often given the adjectival epithet pius ("religious") throughout Virgil's epic Aeneid. The sacred nature of pietas was embodied by the divine personification Pietas, a goddess often pictured on Roman coins. The Greek equivalent is eusebeia (εὐσέβεια).Cicero defined pietas as the virtue "which admonishes us to do our duty to our country or our parents or other blood relations." The man who possessed pietas "performed all his duties towards the deity and his fellow human beings fully and in every respect," as the 19th-century classical scholar Georg Wissowa described it.

Postumus (praenomen)

Postumus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was most common during the early centuries of the Roman Republic. It gave rise to the patronymic gens Postumia, and later became a common cognomen, or surname. The feminine form is Postuma. The name was not regularly abbreviated, but is sometimes found as Pos. or Post.Postumus was used by both patrician and plebeian gentes, including the Aebutii, Antistii, Cominii, Livii, Mimesii, Plautii, Sempronii, Sulpicii, and Veturii; and naturally it must once have been used by the ancestors of gens Postumia. Other gentes which later used it as a cognomen may originally have used it as a praenomen. Because it was not a common name, there are few examples of the feminine form, but Marcus Terentius Varro listed it together with other archaic praenomina that were no longer in general use by the 1st century BC, and Plutarchus mentions that it was given to the youngest daughter of the dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who lived during Varro's time.

Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft

The Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, commonly called the Pauly–Wissowa or simply RE, is a German encyclopedia of classical scholarship. With its supplements it comprises over eighty volumes.

The RE is a complete revision of an older series of which the first volume was published by August Pauly in 1839. Pauly died in 1845, his work unfinished; Christian Waltz and Wilhelm Teuffel completed it in 1852. This first edition comprised six volumes. A second edition of the first volume was worked on from 1861 to 1866.

In 1890 Georg Wissowa started on the new and more ambitious edition. He expected it to be done in 10 years, but the last of its 83 volumes did not appear until 1978, and the index volume came out in 1980.

Each article was written by a recognized specialist in the relevant field, but unsurprisingly for a work spanning three generations, the underlying assumptions vary radically with the age of the article. Many early biographies for instance were written by Elimar Klebs, Paul von Rohden, Friedrich Münzer and Otto Seeck.

Richard Heinze

Richard Heinze (11 August 1867, Naumburg, Province of Saxony – 22 August 1929, Bad Wiessee) was a German classical philologist. He was a younger brother to politician Rudolf Heinze (1865–1928).

He studied classical philology at the University of Leipzig under Otto Ribbeck (1827–1898), later relocating to the University of Bonn (1887), where he had as instructors, Hermann Usener (1834–1905) and Franz Bücheler (1837–1908). Afterwards, he studied in Berlin with Theodor Mommsen (1817–1903), earning his habilitation in 1893 at the University of Strasbourg with a treatise on the philosopher Xenocrates.

In 1900 he became an associate professor in Berlin, and in 1903 became a full professor at the University of Königsberg. From 1906 until his death in 1929 he was a professor at the University of Leipzig. In 1923 he succeeded Georg Wissowa (1859–1931) as editor of the magazine Hermes.

Richard Heinze is remembered for his expert analysis of ancient authors that included Ovid, Lucretius and Virgil. His best written effort was the 1903 Virgils Epische Technik, a work that was later translated into English and published as Virgil's Epic Technique.

Roman mythology

Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. "Roman mythology" may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period.

The Romans usually treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. The stories are often concerned with politics and morality, and how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state. Heroism was an important theme. When the stories illuminate Roman religious practices, they are more concerned with ritual, augury, and institutions than with theology or cosmogony.The study of Roman religion and myth is complicated by the early influence of Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome's protohistory, and by the later artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors. In matters of theology, the Romans were curiously eager to identify their own gods with those of the Greeks (interpretatio graeca), and to reinterpret stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. Rome's early myths and legends also have a dynamic relationship with Etruscan religion, less documented than that of the Greeks.

While Roman mythology may lack a body of divine narratives as extensive as that found in Greek literature, Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf is as famous as any image from Greek mythology except for the Trojan Horse. Because Latin literature was more widely known in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, the interpretations of Greek myths by the Romans often had a greater influence on narrative and pictorial representations of "classical mythology" than Greek sources. In particular, the versions of Greek myths in Ovid's Metamorphoses, written during the reign of Augustus, came to be regarded as canonical.

Wilhelm Baehrens

Wilhelm Adolf Baehrens (3 September 1885 – 23 January 1929) was a German classical scholar.

The son of professor Emil Baehrens (1848–1888), Wilhelm Baehrens was born in Groningen. After visiting the local gymnasium he stepped in his early deceased father's footsteps by studying philology and papyrology at the University of Groningen. He also stayed few semesters at Halle, Göttingen and Berlin. In 1910 Baehrens received his doctor's degree at Groningen with his dissertation Panegyricorum latinorum editionis novae praefatio maior accedit Plinii panegyricus. For two years he acted as assistant schoolmaster at the Groningen gymnasium, until in 1912 he published his Beiträge zur lateinischen Syntax. In 1913 the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities entrusted him with the publication of the Latin homilies by Origen. The next three years Baehrens travelled to Italy, France and Germany collating manuscripts. The University of Groningen therefore awarded him venia legendi in 1915 and in 1916 Baehrens was appointed ordinary professor at the University of Ghent by the German occupation government in Belgium.

After the loss of Germany in World War I and the termination of the German occupation of Belgium, Baehrens was expelled from Ghent as a collaborator in 1919. Because of the Halle professor Georg Wissowa, he habilitated there in May 1919 and was appointed professor-extraordinary in 1920. In 1922 he was appointed ordinary professor at the University of Göttingen, where he worked until his death in 1929. His edition of the works of Origen was published from 1920 to 1925; another edition of Fulgentius' works was not completed.

Wilhelm Kroll

Wilhelm Kroll (October 7, 1869 – April 21, 1939) was a German classic philologist (klassischer Philologe).

Kroll was born in the town of Frankenstein in the Prussian Province of Silesia. Having studied in Breslau (and Berlin), he obtained his Ph.D. in 1891. Afterwards he worked towards his secondary degree (the German "habilitation") at Breslau university, which he obtained in 1894. In 1899 he moved to the University of Greifswald for a chair in classics. Afterwards he went on to Münster in 1906 and returned to Breslau in 1913, where he was offered the chair of his former colleague Franz Skutsch.

After having worked as a Breslau professor für more than 20 years Kroll retired in 1935. As his follower he supported the appointment of Hans Drexler, an active Nazi who was prohibited from teaching after World War II. Kroll moved to Berlin in 1937. He sought the anonymity of the big city because of his anti-Nazi reputation. He died in 1939 in Berlin, aged 69.

Kroll was an internationally renowned classicist, owing to his research and, even more, his editorial work on a number of important publications, the biggest of which was the Realencyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Kroll directed this encyclopedia from 1906 until his death, combining the work of classical scholars from all over Europe and the United States.

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