Jochen Bleicken

Jochen Bleicken (born 3 September 1926 in Westerland, Sylt, † 24 February 2005 in Hamburg ) was a German historian. He was Professor of Ancient History in Hamburg (1962-1967), Frankfurt (1967-1977) and Göttingen ( 1977-1991 ). Bleicken is considered one of the foremost researchers in the field of Roman constitutional and social history.


The son of businessman Max Bleicken was 1943-1945 Flakhelfer and studied after 1947 at the Friedrich Paulsen - secondary school in Niebüll, Südtondern (now North Frisia) high school graduation 1948-1954 History and Classical Philology, first at the University of Kiel, then during of the winter semester 1952/53, at the University of Frankfurt am Main, where at that time Matthias Gelzer, one of the best connoisseurs of the history of the Roman Republic taught. From there, returned to Kiel, Bleicken in 1954 graduated from Alfred Heuss with a thesis on the Roman tribune, which appeared in an expanded version in 1955. From 1955 to 1962 he was a research assistant of Heuss, who had meanwhile accepted a call to the Ancient History Department of the University of Göttingen. 1956/57, received Bleicken the travel grant from the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy. In 1961, with the work of the Senate court and court of Emperor the habilitation. Already in the following year he accepted the offer of a full professorship of Ancient History at the University of Hamburg, additional stations were Frankfurt / Main ( 1967) and, as the successor of his teacher Heuss, Göttingen ( 1977-1991 ). There Bleicken 1991 became Professor Emeritus, but continued until the winter semester 1998/99 still Lectures from.

Since 1969 Bleicken was a regular member of the German Archaeological Institute, since 1971 a full member of the Scientific Society at the Johann Goethe University Frankfurt am Main ( after 1977 corresponding member ), since 1978 Member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen. Bleicken was co-editor of the series Studies in ancient history Frankfurt (since 1968) and Oldenbourg floor plan of the history and antiquities of the scientific journal Hermes ( since 1977).


One focus of Bleickens activity formed the history of the Roman Republic, the Imperial period and the beginning of Late Antiquity, which he created numerous, sometimes repeatedly issued standard works, including most recently in 1998 an extensive and highly acclaimed Augustus biography. The innovative significance of this work was the extension of the tradition Theodor Mommsen's unilateral right and constitutional history approach by consistently taking into account the socio-historical perspective, as it had been practiced in its constitution of the Roman Republic Bleicken and then the title of his repeatedly launched constitutional and social history of the Roman Empire also made clear according to which also contributed to the first work of this kind the spread of Christianity bill. Thus came Bleicken to a deeper understanding of the functioning of political systems and their legal institutions and could also their evolution as social changes more effectively.

In the field of Greek history he dealt mainly with the Athenian democracy, on whose analysis he was able to apply the experience gained in dealing with the Roman constitutional and social history fruitful. The influential thesis Bleickens of the uniqueness of the Athenian democracy ( " A History of democracy outside Athens does not exist" ) however is being challenged partly critical today.

Überhöhendes pathos and idealizations of all kinds were as alien as one dictated by ideological or methodological assumptions and theoretical debates source remote work him. The fact that a source -based work could only lead to the foundation of a careful source criticism to reliable results, it was mediated by his teacher Heuß granted. In addition to the traditional source-critical method - the external criticism of immanent criticism, textual criticism, the source of comparison and to clarify the relationships of dependence - he emphasized the often not enough attention necessity of analyzing the tradition ratios in the period shown and the presentation guiding interests of the time of origin of sources. These are often created especially for the early period only in large time interval and therefore give loud Bleicken more about the circumstances of their time of origin as reported on the events and facts of a distant past made ​​known.

Bleicken saw himself as his instructor Alfred Heuss not as scholars of antiquity, nor zuförderst as specialized scientific specialist, but decidedly as a historian, which deals with a substantial part of his writings and his lectures, not primarily to the young scientists of their own discipline and to the specialist colleagues, but to the general public and general historians, students of all faculties and student teachers turned, which he endeavored to provide a scientifically sound historical orientation knowledge. The fact that in the work of a historian inevitably also his life story, his specific experience and his personality with which he had to answer for his portrayal incorporated, and affect its ratings, Bleicken has especially in his obituaries recognized (such as the on Hermann Strasburger ) highlighted and. That the science of history insofar necessarily inherent in a subjective element Bleickens was firm conviction and when he confirmed Hermann Strasburger, the " attitude of the floating over all waters objective spirit " was it was " strange ", so this was not the less for himself

Especially in his later years turned Bleicken to first in-depth obituaries for important trade representatives such as Matthias Gelzer, Hermann Strasburger and Alfred Heuss, but then also in cross- representations, reinforced the history of science. Again, it was his main goal, a position-fixing by the reflection on the story, here of their own discipline and the development of its knowledge-constitutive interests, issues and methods to make and thus store also about the meaning of their own actions accountable. But addition, there was also the desire, personality and life achievements distinguished scholars as role models to provide the memory and thus provide an incentive for the continuation of a scientific tradition whose hazard clearly stood him like his teacher Alfred Heuss in mind, although he was not with such pessimism about the future looked like this.

Bleicken felt very aware of the distance to the still " geheimrätlich " occurring, determined by an exaggerated claim to authority expert representatives of the older generation and criticized their refusal to come to terms with its role during the Nazi era, and their tendency to trivialize the profound cuts in university and science that had brought the Nazi regime, not least through humiliation, expulsion and murder of numerous scientists with him.

Student of Bleicken include Ernst Baltrusch, Theodora Hantos, Loretana de Libero, Jörg game bird and Uwe Walter and, more broadly, Hans -Joachim Gehrke, who was still a PhD in 1973 by Alfred Heuss and until 1977 was the last assistant, 1977, but assistant was by his successor Bleicken and this remained until the habilitation in 1982.


  • The tribune of the classic Republic: studies on its development 287-133 BC Beck, Munich 1955, 2nd edition 1968 ( Zetemata, 13). .
  • State order and freedom in the Roman Republic. Publisher Michael Lassleben, Kallmunz 1972, ISBN 3-7847-7106-8 ( Frankfurt ancient history studies, 6).
  • Senate court and imperial court: a study on the development of procedural law in the early Principate. Cambridge University Press, Göttingen 1962.
  • Lex publication: law and justice in the Roman Republic. de Gruyter, Berlin, 1975, ISBN 3-11-004584-2.
  • The Constitution of the Roman Republic.. Paderborn, Schöningh 1975 8th edition 2000, ISBN 3-8252-0460- X, ISBN 3-506-99405-0 ( UTB of Science: University Paperbacks, 460).
  • Constitutional and social history of the Roman Empire. 2 vols. Paderborn, Schöningh in 1978 and more often.
  • Principate and Dominate, thoughts on the periodization of the Roman Empire. Franz Steiner Verlag GmbH, Wiesbaden, Germany 1978 ( Frankfurt Historical lectures, 6).
  • History of the Roman Republic. Oldenbourg, München 1980. 6th edition 2004, ISBN 3-486-49666-2 ( Oldenbourg outline of the story, 2).
  • The Athenian democracy. Schöningh, Paderborn 1986. Fourth, completely revised and expanded edition 1995, ISBN 3-8252-1330-7.
  • Augustus. A Biography. Festival, Berlin 1998. Special Edition 2000, ISBN 3-8286-0136-7.
  • Collected Writings. 2 vols, ed. by Frank Goldmann. Steiner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-515-07241-1.