Who is Leopold von Ranke?June 25, 2021
Leopold von Ranke (21 December 1795 – 23 May 1886) was a 19th-century German historian. German historian. He is one of the leading representatives of the German Historian School.
He was born on December 21, 1795 in Wiehe in the district of Tübingen, died on May 23, 1886 in Berlin. After completing his secondary education in Donndorf and Pforta, he studied theology and classical languages at the University of Leipzig. Between 1818 and 1824, when he was a high school teacher in Frankfurt, he focused his studies on history. In 1824 he published his first book, Geschichte der romanischen und germanischen Völkervon 1494 his 1514 (“History of the Latin and Germanic Peoples from 1494 to 1514”). As a result of the widespread acclaim of the book, he became a lecturer at the University of Berlin in 1825 and continued in this position until 1871.
With Ranke, the importance of primary sources in historical studies, storytelling history and especially the place of international politics in history gained special meaning. With his thoughts on a historiography faithful to its source, “what it really is”, he made significant contributions to the quality of later historiography.
In his own words, the purpose of historical science is: […] nicht das Amt die Vergangenheit zu richten, die Mitwelt zum Nutzen zukünftiger Jahre zu belehren, sondern bloß zu zeigen, wie es eigentlich gewesen (“[…] neither to judge the past nor to guide the future with the eyes of the present is simply to show how it really was in the past.)
After publishing his book on the Italian Wars of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, he was invited to the University of Berlin in 1825. The work he started here changed the face of all German Universities. He initiated seminars in which prospective historians were trained in the critical examination of medieval documents. In fact, these seminars were not entirely new. In the 1770s, Johann Christoph Gatterer initiated something similar at the University of Göttingen; but it was Ranke who made it an integral part in the education of historians. By 1848, this education was now adopted in all German-speaking universities.
– Ranke’s understanding of method
– Ranke’s philosophy of history