Johann Gustav Droysen

Johann Gustav Bernhard Droysen ( born July 6, 1808 in Treptow an der Rega, † June 19, 1884 in Berlin) was a German historian.


After attending the Gymnasium in Stettin Droysen devoted to the study of philosophy and philology in Berlin, where he attended among others by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, August Boeckh and Karl Lachmann. Then he was initially 1827-1829 tutor of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, then in 1829 a teacher at the high school Berlinischen the Grey Monastery in Berlin. From 1833 he was a lecturer, in 1835 associate professor at the Friedrich- Wilhelms- University of Berlin, since 1840 professor at the University of Kiel, then in Jena ( 1851 ) and again at the University of Berlin (since 1859).

Even before the Schleswig-Holstein survey came Droysen Politics: In 1846 he took part in the so-called Germanists days. In 1848 he was a representative of the Provisional Government in Kiel at the Bundestag in Frankfurt, then a deputy of the National Assembly, in which he is the right center ( "Casino" ) joined. Although he never made ​​a speech in Parliament, but was behind the scenes of one of the most influential right-wing liberal politicians. His strong commitment to the separation of Schleswig and Holstein from the Danish crown understandably led to tensions with the government in Copenhagen. Droysen therefore applied in time to the newly created chair of history at the University of Jena, which he received in 1851, while the remaining eight revolutionary professors at the University of Kiel in 1852 were dismissed from their office.

Droysen stood already with his first work history of Alexander the Great in 1833 in the first rank of historians of his time. The term " Hellenism " he rose to the era name for the period between Alexander and Cleopatra. Later he worked in the field of modern history. This was unusual at that time, as many historians regarded the whole world and universal history as their field of work. His history of Prussian policy (1855-1886) is the most comprehensive presentation of the Prussian- German historians small idea. Droysen was not directly to the school of Heinrich von Sybel and Heinrich von Treitschke, the task of historical science understood but in a related sense. The demand Leopold von Ranke's objectivity in historiography leaned Droysen chosen from: for him the story was rather to take an educational role for the state.

Droysen was a member of several academies. He belonged to the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences in Leipzig and the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

As a history theorists Droysen has laid the foundation for the hermeneutic methodology in modern historical sciences. The source- critical method, which was of far-reaching influence on the historiography dates back to Droysen and Barthold Georg Niebuhr. To Droysens 's most significant student Friedrich Meinecke counts. His son Gustav Droysen was also a professor of history and presented important research on the history of the Thirty Years' War.


JG Droysen parents were Johann Christoph Droysen (1773-1816), a Lutheran chaplain, and Friederike Casten († 1827), daughter of an ironmonger. He grew up with three sisters and one brother in Pommern in Stettin.

JG Droysen was married in first marriage (1836 ) with Marie Mendheim ( 1820-1847 ). She is the daughter of Samuel Mendheim Ferdinand (1786-1860), bookseller and music publishers in Berlin and Marianne Friedländer ( 1797-1826 ). She grew up after the death of his mother on with the grandparents, Rebecca and Benoni Friedlander.

From this marriage the children come

  • Gustav (1838-1908), historian in Halle ( Saale)
  • Marie (1839-1896), married. with Emil Hübner, classical scholar and epigraphists
  • Anna (1842-1918), married. with Henri Jordan, classical scholar
  • Droysen Ernst ( 1844-1874 ).

His second wife (1849 ) JG Droysen was married to Emma Michaelis ( 1829-1881 ). She is the daughter of the Kiel gynecologist Gustav Adolf Michaelis. She was a friend of his first wife, Marie. Originates from this marriage

  • Hans Droysen (1851-1918), historian and high school teacher in Berlin.


  • Aeschylus: Tragedies. Fischer, Frankfurt / M. 2008, ISBN 978-3-596-90091-6 ( Nachdr d Ed Berlin 1841).
  • Aristophanes comedies. Vollmer, Wiesbaden 1958 ( d Nachdr Ed Berlin 1838).
  • Prussian State headlines from the reign of King Frederick II - Berlin: Duncker / Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf 1 1740 - 1745th 1877
  • 2 1746 - 1756th 1885
  • 3 The beginning of the Seven Years' War. 1892
  • History of Alexander the Great. Perthes, Hamburg. ( Digitized and full text in German Text Archive )
  • Alexander the Great. The Biography. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 2004, ISBN 3-458-34738-0 ( Nachdr d Ed Berlin 1833).
  • History of Prussian policy. Veit, Leipzig 1855/86
  • History of Hellenism. Direct Media Publ, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89853-343-0. (1 CD -ROM; Ed Hamburg 1836/43 )
  • Floor plan of the History. Veit, Leipzig 1868. ( Digitized and full text in German Text Archive ) Second, by popular edition - Veit, Leipzig 1875 Digitized edition of the Internet Archive.
  • 3, umgearb. Ed - Veit, Leipzig 1882 Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf, Digitized edition of the Internet Archive. .
  • 4, reworked edition Niemeyer, Halle 1925. Historical- critical edition ed in 5 volumes. by Peter Leyh and Horst Walter Blanke. From man - Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1977 et seq, ISBN 978-3-7728-1122-7.
  • Horst W. Blanke (ed.): Droysen bibliography ( " History Historical- critical edition of the Supplement. . "). From man - Holzboog, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-7728-2379-4 ( list of his writings, autographs, portraits and selection of literature on his person ).