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Niebuhr

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NIEBUHR, ne'bd7nr, BAnrnot...n GEono (1776 1831). A German historian. critic, and philol ogist, born August 27, 1776, at Copenhagen, where his father, Carsten Niebuhr, then resided. He showed singular aptitude for learning in his earliest youth, and his powers of acquiring knowledge kept pace with his advancing years. After preliminary education. under the superin tendence of his father, he studied law and phi losophy at Kiel, and then went to Edinburgh, where he devoted himself more especially to the natural sciences. On Ids return to Denmark he became private secretary to the Finance Minister, Schimmelmami, and from that period held several appointments under the Danish Government. be ing made director of the Government bank in 1804. He entered the Prussian civil service in 1800, and during the three succeeding years he shared in the vicissitudes which befell the Government of his chief, Count Ilardenberg. The opening of the University of Berlin in 1810 opened a new era in the life of Niebuhr. He resigned his Government position and gave at the university a course of lectures on Roman history, which. by making known the results of the new critical methods which be had applied to tho elucidation of obscure historic-al evidence, estab lished his position as a leader in the scientific study of history, and effected an important change in historical method. In 1813 he reentered the Government service. Appointed in 1816 Prus sian Ambassador at the Papal Court,Niebuhr was enabled to verify many of his conjectures and test his methods by the actual sources of an cient Roman history. On his return from Romo in 1823, Niebuhr took up his residence at Bonn, where he delivered classical and archeological lectures and expositions. The Revolution of 1830 again stirred his interest in public affairs.

He died January 2, 1831. Niebuhr's scholarship was broad, vigorous, and independent. He was an accomplished linguist and a philosophical and scientific thinker. He was a path-breaker in the modern method of historical criticism, and while all his conclusions are not accepted to-day. he showed the way by which they might be tested in the light of more complete knowledge. lie was the founder of the Rheinisches Museum at Bonn. Among his important works are: Mimi:deb(' Ge schichle (3 vols.. Berlin. 1811-32: new ed. 1873: the first two volumes translated by Hare and Thirlwall, and the third by Smith and Schmitz) ; Oricehische Hcrocugeschichtc ( 18-12 ; 11th ed. 1896), written for his son Marcus; Geselviehte des Zeitalters dcr Rcrolution (1845). The Kleine historische und philologische Schriften, (18'23 -I3) contains his introductory lectures on Ro man history, and many of the essays which had appeared in the transactions of the Berlin Acad emy. Besides these, and numerous other essays on philological. historical. and archdrological questions, Niebuhr coiiperated with Bekker and other learned annotators in reediting the Scrip torcs Historic(' Byvintina.; he also discovered hitherto unprinted fragments of classical au thors. as, for instance, Cicero's Orations. and portions of Gains; published the inscriptioncs 1Vddbienses (Rome. 1821) and was a constant con tributor to the literary journals of Germany. His Lectures on _1,16(.0 History is familiar in English translation. Consult: Winkworth, Life and Letters of (London. 1852) : Lieber., "Reminiscences of an Intercourse with Niebuhr," in Miscellaneous Writings (Philadelphia. 18541 ; and for his biography, Classen (Gotha, 1876) and Eyssenhardt (ib., 1886).