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Joseph Ritter von Aschbach

German historian (1801-1882)

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Aschbach, JOSEPH, RITTER VON, German historian, b. at Hochst, in Hesse-Nassau, April 29, 1801; d. at Vienna, April 25, 1882. In 1819 he began the study of theology and philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, but soon turned his attention to that of history, at the instigation of the well-known historian Schlosser. On the completion of this course, in 1823, he was appointed instructor at the Select School of Frankfort-on-the-Main. In 1842 he obtained a reputation as Professor of History at the University of Bonn, whence he removed to Vienna in 1853, to fill the same position. Within two years he became a member of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, was ennobled in 1870, and retired from the exercise of his profession in 1872, ten years prior to his death. While in Frankfort he wrote: “Geschichte der Westgoten” (Frankfort, 1827); “Geschichte der Omajjaden in Spanien” (Frankfort, 1829, 1830; 2d ed., Vienna, 1860); “Geschichte Spaniens and Portugals zur Zeit der Almaroviden and Almohaden” (2 vols., Frankfort, 1833, 1837); “Geschichte der Heruler and Gepiden” (first in Schlosser’s “Archiv fur Geschichte and Literatur” and then separately, Frankfort, 1835); “Geschichte Kaiser Sigmunds” (4 vols., Hamburg, 1838-45). In Bonn he published, first, the “Urkundliche Geschichte der Grafen von Wertheim” (2 vols., Frankfort, 1843) and then edited the “Allgemeine Kirchenlexikon” (4 vols., Frankfort and Mainz, 1846-51) most of the historical articles being from his own pen. In Vienna he devoted himself chiefly to the history of the Roman Emperors, and published the interesting, though not always tenable, results of his investigations in the “Sitzungsberichten and Denkschriften” of the Vienna Academy of Sciences. His “Geschichte der Wiener Universitat” was written to mark the celebration of the fifth centenary of the University of Vienna. The first volume (Vienna, 1865) dealt with the period from 1365 to 1465; the second (Vienna, 1877), with the Viennese humanists of the time of the Emperor Maximilian I; the third, which appeared after his death (Vienna, 1888), brings the history down to 1565. His two latest works attracted no little attention: “Die fruheren Wanderjahre des Conrad Celtes, and die Anfange der von ihm errichteten gelehrten Sodalitaten” (Vienna, 1869); and, more especially, “Roswitha and Conrad Celtes” (Vienna, 1867, 2d ed., 1868). In this work, he endeavored to prove that the poem addressed to the Emperor Otto the Great, hitherto attributed to the nun Roswitha of Gandersheim, really originated in the sixteenth century and was composed by the humanist Conrad Celtes. The contention was, however, immediately and effectually confuted.


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