You are here

Historische Landeskunde und Epigraphik in Griechenland: Akten des Symposiums veranstaltet aus Anlass des 100. Todestages von H.G. Lolling (1848–1894) in Athen vom 28. bis 30.9.1994

Historische Landeskunde und Epigraphik in Griechenland: Akten des Symposiums veranstaltet aus Anlass des 100. Todestages von H.G. Lolling (1848–1894) in Athen vom 28. bis 30.9.1994

Edited by Klaus Fittschen. Pp. vii + 468, figs. 148. Scriptorium, Münster 2007. €50. ISBN 978-3-932610-38-7 (paper).

Reviewed by

It is the good fortune of classical studies to have this long-overdue publication of a symposium that was itself a long-overdue tribute to Habbo Gerhard Lolling. Its appearance pairs nicely with the recent celebration of another distinguished German epigraphist (A.P. Mattaiou and G.E. Malouchou, eds., Ἀττικαὶ ἐπιγραφαί: Πρακτικἀ Συμποσίου εἰς μνήμην Adolf Wilhelm [Athens 2004]). This international work in memory of Lolling, by 17 scholars in four languages, has two consecutive parts, primarily the papers of the symposium and secondarily a compilation (by Goette, Fittschen, Eibl, Kreillinger, Zehm, and Hallof) of documents on Lolling’s life and work, comprising biographical sketches, lists of his lectures and publications, and annotated transcriptions of his correspondence.

This book is impressive in the care and thoroughness of the contributors’ research and in giving the impression that they were motivated by two other truths, which flow from most of their papers: Lolling’s scholarly achievement was extraordinary in so short a life, and he was a person of exceptional character. Both aspects of the man were closely entwined. All the contributions are honors worthy of Lolling, and, while it impossible to treat them all in a short review, we can single out a few that show both Lolling’s scholarship and his personality by examining not only his published work but also his correspondence, daybooks, and other archival material from the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Athens and the Berlin Academy.

The volume begins with an analysis by Fittschen of Lolling’s relationship with the nascent DAI, where his frequent contributions to the Hauskolloquia and Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung, as well as his travel diaries for creation of the “Ur-Baedeker” (a large prototype of the Baedeker guides to Greece), made him an indispensable source of topographical and epigraphic evidence during an especially rich phase in the discovery of Greek antiquities (19–23). Lolling’s resourcefulness comes across in particular in the study by Hallof of his relationship with the Berlin Academy—where his copies, squeezes, annotations, and publications of inscriptions informed much of the first edition of Inscriptiones Graecae (IG)—and in the review of his voluminous work on Attic epigraphy by Matthaiou. Matthaiou’s paper covers the time of Lolling’s service at the DAI (1872–1888), mainly under the directorship of Ulrich Köhler, and the period following his recruitment by Panagiotis Kavvadias, general-ephor of Greek Antiquities and Museums, to direct the Epigraphical Museum and create its cataloguing system (1888–1894).

Most of the papers are instructive on the scientific methodology and constancy of Lolling’s work and how these account for the exceptional quality and quantity of his scholarship. Exemplary on epigraphy is Butz’s careful analysis of the editio princeps of the so-called Hekatompedon inscription, an achievement that Lolling himself considered the acme of his epigraphical work and that demanded the focus of all his skills in topography, optical memory, and analysis of the grain, veining, and treatment of stone in a multiplicity of fragments found scattered throughout the fill of the Athenian Acropolis. Illustrating Lolling’s skill and thoroughness as an excavator is Stroszeck’s study of his mere eight days of work in the Kokkali cemetery of Tanagra, with the resultant notes and pencil drawings of tombs and artifacts, all soon written up in the process of his travels and turned into a publication that included original analysis helpful in distinguishing authentic Tanagra figurines from forgeries. The ongoing value of his unpublished work is evident, not only in its use throughout the present volume but even in past failure to make use of it. Habicht’s close analysis of Lolling’s daybooks shows that Otto Kern’s neglect of them led to the omission from IG 9 2 of important inscriptions and improved readings. Finally, the papers of Habicht, Hallof, and others are useful in informing future researchers of the considerable volume of Lolling’s scholarly Nachlass that is still unstudied, uncollated, and unpublished, some of it on monuments and inscriptions now lost.

Lolling gets nary a mention in Sandys’ A History of Classical Scholarship (Cambridge 1903), and one has to go to extensive handbooks of Greek epigraphy (W. Larfeld, Griechische Epigraphik [Munich 1914]) and topography (e.g., W. Judeich, Topographie von Athen. 2nd ed. [Munich 1931]) to find any expression of his value in these fields. The present book, then, is beneficial in showing the relation of Lolling’s character to his work and verifying the optimism that history redeems the just. Many of the papers indicate that Lolling’s chief quality was selfless devotion to his work, work for which others often got credit. As Fittschen points out, publications of the excavations at Pergamon and Menidi make little and no mention, respectively, of the major contributions of Lolling that are evident in archival material. Habicht notes (298) that Wilhelm Dittenberger, who astonishingly never visited Greece but relied on Lolling’s work in 80% of the nearly 4,500 inscriptions of IG 7, acknowledges Lolling in his preface, but one looks in vain for his name on the title page. Overriding attention to his scholarship also got Lolling less than his due in academic administration, as superiors de-emphasized epigraphy and topography in favor of architecture, passed him over in the appointment of more formidable colleagues, and let him go from the DAI in 1888. Köhler and Kavvadias were most exceptional in appreciating Lolling’s industrious talent and promoting his career. There was also some late justice in Lolling’s election to the Berlin Academy in 1892 and in the touching eulogies at his death. In the same spirit, the contributors to this volume, especially Lolling’s descendant compatriots, deserve praise for looking back more than a century sine ira et studio and satisfying in high degree the wish of the editor. Fittschen writes: “So mag das Kolloquium, das uns zusammengeführt hat, auch als eine Art ‘Wiedergutmachung’ an Lolling betrachtet werden” (14). Another feature of Lolling’s humanity made evident here—especially by Hallof and Matthaiou—was his love of the country, people, and language of Greece and how its people reciprocated this affection. Kavvadias’ letter informing the Berlin Academy of Lolling’s sudden illness and death in 1894 conveys real grief at the loss of a great friend and irreplaceable scholar (Hallof [44]).

This book should interest all classicists and especially historians of the scholarship of ancient Greece. Every university and research institute with a program in classical studies should acquire it. It could even serve as a proseminar for aspirants to a career in archaeology, epigraphy, or topography, for they would find inspiration and instruction in the life and work of Lolling as well as the papers of those who honor him here. Both teach the valuable lessons that old scholarship may not be ignored just because it is old and that breadth of study is vital to good scholarship. The latter lesson is particularly relevant in a generation that knows too much of specialization and the notion that archaeology and philology are easily separated disciplines. Novitiates will also find in this volume useful practice in reading some of the languages that are prerequisites for work in these fields.

Lest readers think the book and this review all hagiography, it should be noted that the contributions include corrections and criticisms of Lolling’s work. But it is also fair to conclude that these are largely exceptions that prove the rule. Let this review end with praise by another bit of faint damnation. The book is good enough to be a bargain at €50, even though the buyer will have to pay again to have it rebound, should he receive a copy like that of the reviewer in whose gentle hands its pages fell away from the spine.

Gerald V. Lalonde
Department of Classics
Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa 50112

Book Review of Historische Landeskunde und Epigraphik in Griechenland: Akten des Symposiums veranstaltet aus Anlass des 100, edited by Klaus Fittschen

Reviewed by Gerald V. Lalonde

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 114, No. 1 (January 2010)

Published online at

DOI: 10.3764/ajaonline114.1.Lalonde

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.