Robert Rollinger#

Laudatio by Heikki Solin#

Robert Rollinger is a historian of both the ancient Near East and archaic and classical Greece. Moreover, perhaps still more importantly, he is young, born in 1964. His first book was a study on the interrelation between ancient Near East and Greece: Herodots Babylonischer Logos. Eine kritische Untersuchung der Glaubwürdigkeitsdiskussion an Hand gewählter Beispiele (1993). Equally dedicated to this interaction is the book Antikes Griechenland und Alter Orient. Historisch-kritische Untersuchungen zur Interaktion der beiden Kulturräume mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeit vom 8. bis zum 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr., written in 1999, but published only in 2011. Both these works bear witness to a profound knowledge of the multifarious source-material, written in different languages in addition to Greek. While I am not very deeply versed in the history of the ancient Near East, I can better judge the treatment of the Greek sources, and would not hesitate to consider both works of great importance that have contributed considerably to a better understanding of the interrelation between the Near East and the Greek world.

In other, independent monographs, Rollinger deals with Oriental themes in Frühformen historischen Denkens. Geschichtsdenken, Ideologie und Propaganda im alten Mesopotamien am Übergang von der Ur-III zur Isin-Larsa Zeit (written in 1993, appeared in 2011). Equally in Neue Fischer Weltgeschichte: Vorderasien und Ägypten (with J. Wiesehöfer; 2011). According to specialists in Oriental Studies, they are of excellent quality.

Herodot. Eine Einführung (with R. Bichler; 2000) deals with Greek themes. The admirable part written by Rollinger renders the volume the best existing general survey on Herodotus (incidentally, the book has been translated into Modern Greek). Among others, Rollinger gives us an excellent account of Herodotus’ influence on later periods: his re-discovery in the West in the fifteenth century, very largely thanks to Valla’s translation; the impetus which the voyages of exploration and particularly the discovery of America gave to Herodotean studies - as gauged by editions and translations, compared with the numbers for other ancient historians - in the 16th, 17th 18th centuries; and Herodotus’ influence on the development of Egyptology, Assyriology and anthropology. In a word, a masterpiece of multidisciplinary research work.

Rollinger has also dealt with late antiquity, with the history of the Roman province Raetia in the region of modern Bavaria and Austria; and even modern history: on emigration from Trentino to Vorarlberg: Auswanderung aus dem Tentino - Einwanderung nach Vorarlberg. Die Geschichte einer Migrationsbewegung mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Zeit von 1870/80 bis in die Zwischenkriegszeit (with K.H. Burmeister, 1995).

Rollinger has also elucidated many aspects of his chosen fields in shorter and longer articles. To take just one example, in a conspicuous article “Assyria and Syria again” (Journal of Near Eastern Studies 65, 2006) he has succeeded, on grounds of new epigraphic discoveries, in showing that the names Assyria and Syria are two related forms of the same toponym.

Rollinger has edited many collective works and periodicals and is a member of various international enterprises.

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