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Ernst Curtius

Ernst Curtius German classical archaeologist and historian of classical antiquity

German classical archaeologist and historian of classical antiquity
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German classical archaeologist and historian of classical antiquity
Known for Olympia
A.K.A. Ernst Curtius
Was Anthropologist Historian Art historian Archaeologist Professor Educator Politician
From Germany
Type Academia Arts Politics Social science
Gender male
Birth 2 September 1814, Lübeck, Germany
Death 11 July 1896, Berlin, Margraviate of Brandenburg (aged 81 years)
Star sign VirgoVirgo
Father: Carl Georg Curtius
Siblings: Georg Curtius
Children: Friedrich Curtius
The details

Ernst Curtius (/ˈkʊərtsiˌʊs/; 2 September 1814 – 11 July 1896) was a German archaeologist and historian.


Curtius' tomb in Berlin

He was born in Lübeck. On completing his university studies he was chosen by C. A. Brandis to accompany him on a journey to Greece for the prosecution of archaeological researches. Curtius then became Otfried Müller's companion in his exploration of the Peloponnese, and on Müller's death in 1840 he returned to Germany. In 1844 he became an extraordinary professor at the University of Berlin, and in the same year he was appointed tutor to Prince Frederick William (afterwards the Emperor Frederick III), a post which he held until 1850.

After holding a professorship at Göttingen and undertaking a further journey to Greece in 1862, Curtius was appointed (in 1863) ordinary professor at Berlin. In 1874 he was sent to Athens by the German government and there concluded an agreement by which the excavations at Olympia were entrusted exclusively to Germany. In 1891 Curtius was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Curtius died in Berlin on 11 July 1896.


His best-known work is his History of Greece (1857–1867). It presented in an attractive style what were then the latest results of scholarly research, but it was criticized as wanting in erudition. It is now superseded. His other writings are chiefly archaeological. The most important are:

  • Die Akropolis von Athen (1844)
  • Naxos (1846)
  • Peloponnesos, eine historisch-geographische Beschreibung der Halbinsel (1851)
  • Olympia (1852)
  • Die Ionier vor der ionischen Wanderung (1855)
  • Attische Studien (1862–1865)
  • Ephesos (1874)
  • Die Ausgrabungen zu Olympia (1877, etc.)
  • Olympia und Umgegend (edited by Curtius and F Adler, 1882)
  • Olympia. Die Ergebnisse der von dem deutschen Reich veranstalteten Ausgrabung (with F Adler, 1890–1898)
  • Die Stadtgeschichte von Athen (1891)
  • Gesammelte Abhandlungen (1894)

His collected speeches and lectures were published under the title of Altertum und Gegenwart (5th ed., 1903 foll.), to which a third volume was added under the title of Unter drei Kaisern (2nd ed., 1895).


His brother, Georg Curtius, was a noted philologist.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 08 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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