The New International Encyclopædia/Müller, Karl Otfried

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The New International Encyclopædia
Müller, Karl Otfried
Edition of 1905. See also Karl Otfried Müller on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

MÜLLER, Karl Otfried (1797-1840). A German archaeologist and philologist, born at Brieg, in Silesia. He studied at Breslau and Berlin, where he was the pupil of August Boeckh. His dissertation, Liber Ægineticorum (1817), showed the direction of his future studies, which were devoted to the reconstruction of the history of Greek localities and races. In 1817 he was appointed a teacher at the Magdaleneum in Breslau, in 1819 professor extraordinarius of philology, and in 1823 professor ordinarius at Göttingen. In connection with his studies he traveled widely, and in 1839 secured leave of absence for a visit to Greece and Italy. A sunstroke received while he was copying inscriptions at Delphi led to an attack of fever, from which he died at Athens, where he was buried on the Hill of Colonus. His desire to reconstruct the entire ancient life naturally led Müller to a wide range of scholarly activity. His great work was to be his Geschichte hellenischer Stämme und Städte, of which he completed vols. i., Orchomenos und die Minyer (1820), and ii., Die Dorier (1824); a second edition of these works by Schneidewin (1844; trans. by G. C. Lewis and H. Tafnell, London, 1839). In the same field belonged his treatise, Ueber die Wohnsitze, Abstammung und ältere Geschichte des macedonischen Volks (1825), and his Etrusker (1828; 2d ed. by Deecke, 1877). His Handbuch der Archäologie der Kunst (1830; 3d ed. by Welcker, 1846; trans. by Leitch, London, 1850), though now antiquated in its collections, is of value from the many acute observations it contains. It was accompanied by Müller and Oesterley, Denkmäler der alten Kunst (Göttingen, 1834-39), which was continued and completed by Wieseler (1846-56). A third edition appeared (1877-81); a fourth edition of part ii., Kunstmythologie, was begun at Leipzig in 1899. His Prologomena zu einer wissenschaftlichen Mythologie (1825) was based on his belief that the elements of the Greek religion were to be found in analysis of the myths, which would refer the specific names to specific places and tribes. He strongly opposed the theories of large foreign influence in Greek civilization. In the last years of his life he undertook to prepare, for the English Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, a history of Greek literature. A translation by Lewis and Donaldson from the author's manuscript, entitled A History of the Literature of Ancient Greece, was published in London in 1840, and with a continuation by Donaldson in 1858. The German original, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur bis auf das Zeitalter Alexanders (1841; 4th ed., revised and continued by Heitz, 1882-84), was published by his brother after his death, as well as Kleine deutsche Schriften (1841). A collected edition of Kunstarchäologische Werke, in five volumes, was published in Berlin (1872-73). Müller was also prominent as an editor. His edition in Greek and German of Æschylus's Eumenides (Göttingen, 1833) gave rise to a fierce controversy with Gottfried Hermann and his school, while his critical editions of Varro, De Lingua Latina (Leipzig, 1833), and Festus, De Significatione Verborum (ib., 1839), were long standards and are still valuable. For his biography, consult F. Ranke (Berlin, 1870).