Armin von Gerkan

Armin von Gerkan ( born November 30, 1884 in Subbath (Courland ) / Latvia; † 22 December 1969 Garstedt ( Norderstedt ) ) was a German architectural historian and archaeologist Classic.

Life and meaning

Armin von Gerkan came from a Baltic German noble family, whose known members today also includes the German architect Meinhard von Gerkan. After studying architecture in Riga and Dresden from 1908 to 1914 he took part in the excavations of the German Archaeological Institute under Theodor Wiegand ( 1864-1936 ) in Asia Minor ( Miletus, Didyma, Priene and Samos) part. In World War I he was - there's Russian national - used as an officer in the Caucasus. In 1919 he participated in the Baltic country's military in the campaign for the liberation of the Baltic States by the Red Army. After naturalization in Germany, he studied Classical Archaeology at Greifswald in 1921 and Dr. -Ing. and 1922, Dr. phil. His habilitation was 1923. His father was the Christian church historian and archaeologist Victor Schultze ( 1851-1937 ).

In 1924, von Gerkan Second Director of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, in 1938 there first director. His 1936 envisaged establishment of the first director of the Institute in Athens failed because the then local Second Director, Walther Wrede, a senior official of the NSDAP / AO, who sought the place itself, with the participation of film director Leni Riefenstahl on Goebbels and Hitler thwarted the appointment. In 1937, von Gerkan, who was, according to his promoter Wiegand also a party member, honorary professor in Berlin. The focus of his work was the Roman architecture and topography of the subject. But his work also led him to research stays in Baalbek and Palmyra ( Syria), Dura Europos ( Mesopotamia ), Egypt, Olympia and Epidaurus. After the war, he held a visiting professorship in Bonn. In 1955 he was awarded the title of Dr. -Ing. E. H. and 1962 of a D. Theol. H.C. awarded. In 1959 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit.

Having previously Dörpfeld Wilhelm (1853-1940) and Robert Koldewey (1855-1925) helped pave the way for the archaeological Building Research, Armin von Gerkan campaigned throughout his life to ensure that this research area has been recognized as special and full-fledged specialist in archeology. Like no other he has thought through the theoretical fundamentals of the subject, its tasks and action opportunities and the resulting needs intensive. He was the first put under the concept of building research the study of ancient architecture through the historically trained architect who over the tools not only for an accurate architectural documentation, but also for the technical and constructive understanding of the ancient buildings - including the city and port construction - possessed. Von Gerkan it was who gave in 1926 led to the founding of the Koldewey society as the organization of architects architectural historian. He looked at his work, however, some resistors against, because the former archeology was still largely determined at their excavation activities of the museum interests of finds spectacular as possible exhibits. By contrast, Gerkan called as excavation target the scientific study of ancient sites and monuments, it is always in the context associated with the monuments facts of ancient history and culture. Today his vision has largely prevailed in archaeological research.

It is not surprising that the critical and methodological work concept of Gerkan brought him in opposition to the common belief, in the foundations of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the grave of the Apostle Peter had been found. In his research, he came rather to the conclusion that such evidence has not been provided and that the science of a pious wish could be no support on the localization of the grave.

Critical expressed von Gerkan also to the idea that ancient Rome was already a city of millions; this assumption is not justified in the light of the former urban development.

From the marriage with the daughter of Gerkan Victor Schultze's two sons have emerged, one of which Chief Judge of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court and the other metallurgical engineer was.

The grave of Gerkan is located on the Garstedter cemetery of the Christ Church community ( Emmaus ) in Norderstedt near Hamburg.

Writings (selection )

  • The Theater of Priene. Publisher of practical art Science Munich 1921
  • Greek cities plants, de Gruyter, Berlin 1924
  • The current situation of the Archaeological Construction in Germany (1924 )
  • With Fritz Krischen: Miletus Vol 1, 9: Thermal and palaestrae, Hans Schoetz & Co., Berlin 1928
  • Hans Peter L' Orange: The late antique jewelry images on the Arch of Constantine, de Gruyter, Berlin, 1939
  • From ancient architecture and topography. Collected Essays, W. carbon Hammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1959 [ here p 459-463 Bibliography ].
  • Wolfgang Müller- Wiener: The theater of Epidauros. W. Kohl Hammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1961.