Frobenius, Leo(lā`ō frōbā`nēo͝os), 1873–1938, German archaeologist and anthropologist. An authority on prehistoric art and culture, especially of Africa, he organized 12 expeditions to Africa between 1904 and 1935. In 1922 he founded the Institute for Cultural Morphology, Frankfurt, where he established a noted collection of facsimiles of prehistoric paintings and engravings. He also dealt with living African cultures and their folklore. He wrote The Voice of Africa (tr. 1913) and was coauthor (in English) of Prehistoric Rock Pictures in Europe and Africa (1937).
Born June 29, 1873, in Berlin; died Aug. 9, 1938, in Biganzolo, near Lake Maggiore. German ethnologist and Africanist.
In 1904, Frobenius undertook the first of a series of expeditions that brought him to virtually every part of Africa and enabled him to collect extensive material on the archaeology, ethnology, and history of African peoples. He advanced a theory in which culture was defined as a distinct social organism with a mystical center, or soul, that he called its paideuma. Although Frobenius emphasized the richness and uniqueness of African cultures, he limited their content to anachronistic traditions.
WORKSKulturgeschichte Afrikas. Zürich, 1954.
In Russian translation:
Detstvo chelovechestva. St. Petersburg [no date].