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  • Wilamowitziana:Luigi Castiglioni on Wilamowitz's Zwangsemeritierung
  • Antonio Tibiletti

Ein Gelehrter ist man in Deutschland nur im Nebenamt, Hauptamt ist die Professur, und so habe ich sie immer behandelt. Aber was man als Lehrer ist, das lebt in den Hörern, also steht bei ihnen das Urteil.

(Wilamowitz 1929, Vorwort)

On 17 March 1921 Luigi Castiglioni wrote a handful of emotional words to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. He wishes Wilamowitz the best for the future despite his present misfortune. The letter is published here for the first time. Some remarks serve to reconstruct its background: it is suggested that the letter was sent to Wilamowitz on the occasion of his Zwangsemeritierung.

The Cod. Ms. Wilamowitz 195 of the Nachlass Wilamowitz at the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek of Göttingen preserves a letter dated to Asti on 17 March 1921, addressed by Luigi Castiglioni to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff. Castiglioni1 was a 38-year-old teacher at the Liceo Parini in Milan and, as a pupil of Vitelli, a great admirer of German Altertumswissenschaft;2 by contrast, Wilamowitz was the worldwide-renowned princeps philologorum.

Illustre Professore,

mi prendo la libertà di esprimerLe rispettosamente i sensi immutabili della mia lunga ammirazione e di rivolgerLe gli auguri migliori. Uno io so [End Page 101] che sarà massimamente gradito a Lei maestro illustre di scienza e di amore verso la patria. E questo io Le rivolgo: che il prossimo avvenire riporti al suo Paese le fortune e le prosperità, che non possono mancare ai forti, ai quali l'avversità momentanea è stimolo a cose maggiori.

Per mio conto, non dimenticherò il bene che è venuto al mio spirito dalla dottrina dei maestri illustri, dei quali Ella è ornamento.

Con ossequio profondo, dev.mo L. Castiglioni

This document raises one question: what pushed Castiglioni to address such emotional words to Wilamowitz ex abrupto? This is, in fact—as far as I know—the sole item of correspondence between them. Let us try to reconstruct the background.

On December 15, 1920 the Diet of Berlin promulgated a new law on the forced retirement of those university professors who were already 68.3 All of a sudden 96 chairs became free. Wilamowitz, born in 1848, was 72, as was Diels. He had already experienced a tragic personal fate with the loss of his eldest son Tycho, killed fighting against the Russians near Ivangorod (now Dęblin) on the night of October 14–15, 1914.4 He had seen the destruction of his beliefs with the fall of the imperial monarchy and the establishment of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), on which occasion he confessed (December 22, 1918):

Ich habe die Selbstzerstörung, Selbstentmannung meines Volkes erleben müssen. In der Ochlokratie und unter den feigen oder feilen Scheichkern, die sie in allen Ständen findet, ist für einen alten Mann, der sich seine Preußenehre von keinem Gott und keinem Menschen aus dem Herzen reißen läßt, kein Platz mehr. Er hat nur abzusterben.5

(Wilamowitz-Moellendorff [1919] "Vorwort als Nachwort")

Now Wilamowitz had to face a new ordeal, the Zwangsemeritierung. In reference to this, he declared:

Über die Motive, die zu der Wahl eines Termines geführt haben, der erfahrungsgemäß zu früh ist, und über die Hast in der Durchführung will [End Page 102] ich mich hier nicht äußern. Eins bleibt jedenfalls, das Recht zu lesen, und es ist zu erwarten, daß die emeritierten Professoren von ihm Gebrauch machen. Ich werde es tun, so lange ich die Kraft habe, und so lange ich Zuhörer finde. Das Seminar fällt natürlich meinem Nachfolger zu, aber ich hoffe dadurch Zeit zu öffentlichen Vorlesungen zu gewinnen. Wir sind alle Kommilitonen der Wissenschaft, und ich denke, wir lassen uns unser schönes gegenseitiges Vertrauen und unser Zusammenarbeiten durch nichts trüben (Berliner Hochschulnachrichten [4. Sem., Februar–März 1921, 63]).

On March 31, 1921 Wilamowitz and Diels were officially zwangsemeritiert and their chairs thus vacated (Diels's remained vacant until 1927, when Jaeger finally accepted Ludwig Deubner as his collega proximus).6

Jaeger received the call from Kiel to Berlin as Nachfolger to Wilamowitz on March 12, 1921:7 Carl Becker,8 the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2328-5265
Print ISSN
0363-1923
Pages
pp. 101-110
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-14
Open Access
No
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