Scholia Reviews ns 10 (2001) 18.

William M. Calder III, Markus C. Dubischar, Martin Hose and Georg Vogt-Spira. (edd.), Wilamowitz in Greifswald. Hildesheim, Zurich and New York: Olms (Spudasmata Band 81), 2000. Pp. ix + 723. ISSN 0548- 9705; ISBN 3-487-11175-6. DM196.00, US$95.00.

Robert B. Todd
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

The fiftieth anniversary of Ulrich von Wilamowitz- Moellendorff's death (25 September 1981) was celebrated with an international conference at Bad Homburg, followed by a volume of twenty-four papers that still represent the best comprehensive introduction to the great scholar's life and work.[[1]] The less obvious one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his birth (22 December 1998) was marked by a more insular but equally large gathering at Greifswald, the bleak Pomeranian port where Wilamowitz held his first academic appointment (1876-1883).[[2]] While major scholars' early years can always merit study, few will ever receive such an extensive treatment of the opening phase of their careers as that offered in Wilamowitz in Greifswald[[3]] But if WIG (as abbreviated hereafter) will not attain as central a role in the bibliography on Wilamowitz as its predecessor (Wilamowitz at Göttingen and at Berlin is, after all, what really matters), it does contain new and valuable material, and since the varied contents of its twenty- six papers are imperfectly suggested by its succinct title, the present brief review will inevitably be largely descriptive.

Despite the absence of section headings, WIG's unnumbered chapters fall into three distinct parts with a coda. The first six papers cover the following elements in the biographical and institutional infrastructure: Wilamowitz' immediate predecessors (Wilt Alden Schröder, pp. 1-55), the circumstances of his call to Greifswald (Jürgen Dummer, pp. 56-70), the nature of the contemporary student body (Dirk Hansen, pp. 71-90), lectures and classes (Markus C. Dubischar, pp. 91-136), the 'Seminarbibliothek' in his day (Georg Rommel, pp. 137-52), and, in a charming piece by two descendants (pp. 153-67), his marriage to Theodor Mommsen's daughter Marie, which occurred in September 1878. The piece on the student body is particularly interesting. The sociology of education has developed apace in the last half-century, but has had relatively little impact on the history of classical scholarship.[[4]] Dirk Hansen's paper on the modest ('kleinbürgerlich') origins of Greifswald students points in a direction foreshadowed by Nietzsche. In 1882, with Wilamowitz still at Greifswald, he devoted paragraph 348 of Die fröhliche Wissenschaft to an analysis of scholarly procedures in terms of social origins. Anyone who has ever laboured through inaugural dissertations from minor German institutions of this period can be seduced into reductively linking them with the limited aspirations of men who were 'sons of minor administrators, pastors, or schoolteachers' (WIG, p. 85), or who, in Nietzsche's words, showed 'a tendency to consider a problem solved when they have merely schematized it' (tr. W. Kaufmann).[[5]] Hansen's paper, armed with statistical tables of social origins, and a fascinating assessment of the students' knowledge of the ancient languages, gives us a good insight into the world from which such constricted scholarship emerged.

WIG's second, and most substantial, part contains nine papers, six on Wilamowitz' relations with contemporaries at Greifswald, and three 'students' of his: Hans von Arnim (who wrote a dissertation under him), and Eduard Schwarz and Ludwig Traube (both one semester visitors). Thus we have Robert Kirstein on Franz Susemihl (pp. 168-96), Rudolf Smend on Julius Wellhausen (pp. 197-215), Paul Dräger on Adolf Kiessling (pp. 216-61), Stefan Rebenich on Otto Seeck (pp. 262- 98), Thomas Schäfer on August Preuner (pp. 299-340), Hans Schwabl on von Arnim (pp. 341-431), Harmut Leppin on Bruno Keil (pp. 432-54), Bernfried Schlerath on Wilhelm Schulze (pp. 455-65), Peter von Möllendorff on Schwarz (pp. 466-90), and Peter Lebrecht Schmidt on Traube (pp. 491-503).

Readers will make their own selection from these thoroughly researched pieces, in which biobibliographical information extends well beyond the issue of relations with Wilamowitz. (The excellent 'Index Personarum' will also be very helpful.) As a student of ancient philosophy, and long-time user of Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta,[[6]] I was particularly drawn to Wilamowitz' comments on this collection as it was being initiated (WIG, pp. 351f., 383-88), and to his insightful contrast between it and Usener's Epicurea. It was also useful to learn more about Susemihl, a forgotten figure in nineteenth-century Platonic scholarship, but important for his adoption of a developmentalist account of the Platonic corpus. The Cambridge scholar, Henry Jackson (1839-1921),[[7]] an arch-developmentalist who in the 1880s formulated a quickly discredited account of Plato's 'later theory of ideas', knew Susemihl well enough to be a dedicatee of one of his books, and to contribute to his Festschrift. One would like to know more of the circumstances under which these two scholars from vastly different academic environments, but with rather similar liberal views, became acquainted.[[8]]

The nine papers in the third part of WIG are all exercises in retrospective critical bibliography, carried out thoroughly and authoritatively. Mortimer Chambers devotes twenty pages (504-523) to Wilamowitz' early article on the biographical tradition on Thucydides (Hermes, 1877) (it received two paragraphs in his survey 'Wilamowitz and Greek History' in the earlier volume of conference proceedings).[[9]] Two of the remaining papers also address historical studies (William Calder [pp. 564-85] on aspects of Aus Kydathen, the first volume [1880] of Philologische Untersuchungen [the vignette on sewers at pp. 571-573 should not be missed], and Martin Hose [pp. 523-39] on that volume's opening essay, Von des attischen Reiches Herrlichkeit), and two deal with tragedy (Bernd Seidensticker [pp. 540-63] on the translation of Euripides' Heracles, and Maximillian Braun [pp. 616-36] on an 1883 article on the two Electra plays). The rest are as follows; Tiziano Dorandi (pp. 586-604) on Antigonos von Karystos, vol. 3 of 'Philologische Untersuchungen'[[10]]; Adolf Köhnken (pp. 605-15) on the edition of Callimachus, and Wilamowitz' interest in Hellenistic poetry; Bernhard Huss (pp. 637-55) on the reviews from the Greifswald years; and Gregor Vogt-Spira (pp. 656-66) on Wilamowitz' lectures and teaching in Latin studies.

This, then, is clearly a book that will be consulted rather than read in extenso, and readers of this review will now, I hope, have some idea of the high quality of its contents. Perhaps the biographies of contemporaries in the second part will be of more general value to historians of classical scholarship than the studies of publications in the third part, but that is because they go well beyond the immediate mandate of this volume, and essentially offer biographical studies of individuals who would merit attention whether or not they had been Wilamowitz' institutional contemporaries.

WIG's final paper (pp. 667-91) can be warmly recommended to readers who may not yet be especially interested in Wilamowitz. Here Helmut Flashar takes on with great panache the topic 'Wilamowitz heute? Zur Situation der Geisteswissenschaften'. This twenty-five page Nachwort may be at a tangent to this volume, but it fully justifies its presence. It is, among other things (and these include sage observations on Nietzsche, Jaeger and the Georgekreis), an attempt to link Wilamowitz' legacy with the contemporary obsession with cultural studies, a claim that, within its programmatic terms, is convincing and salutary (see pp. 690f.). An enterprising editor should arrange for this essay to be translated into English as soon as possible. Few scholars have time to pour over Wilamowitz' life and writings, and his voluminous correspondence, but everyone should find time to read this engaging reassessment of an enduring legacy. It is an essay that could well attract a new generation to Wilamowitz.


[[1]] W. M. Calder III, H. Flashar, & T. Lindken (edd.), Wilamowitz nach 50 Jahren (Darmstadt 1985).

[[2]] His seven years there were just above the average of the five years that the Greifswalder Professoren who are dedicatees of this book (unnumbered p. xi) spent in this remote location (the anomaly of Franz Susemihl's 42 years being excluded from the calculation).

[[3]] G. W. Bowersock, 'Rostovtzeff in Madison', The American Scholar (Winter 1985-86) 391-400 (covering the years 1920-1924) is a comparable study.

[[4]] A recent exception is, of course, C. A. Stray, Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830-1860 (Oxford 1998).

[[5]] W. Kaufmann (tr.), The Gay Science (New York 1974) 290f.

[[6]] Published in three volumes, Vol. I (Leipzig 1903) and Vols. II and III (Leipzig 1905).

[[7]] Kirstein does not mention Jackson in his paper, but his surname crops up in Schwabl's paper on von Arnim (p. 359) in a letter of 1895 from Wilamowitz on some impending work on Plato. WIG's index (p. 709) unfortunately conflates this Jackson with the contemporary Berkeley bookseller, Ian Jackson!

[[8]] The Biblical scholar Julius Wellhausen certainly received British visitors at Greifswald; see R. Smend, 'Julius Wellhausen and his Prolegomena to the History of Israel', at Semeia 25 (1983) 1-20 at 1-3 (a reference kindly provided by my colleague Paul Mosca).

[[9]] See [1] above p. 225.

[[10]] This is, in effect, an expansive appendix to Dorandi's valuable article on Antigonos at Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques I (Paris 1989) 209-211.