Vipper, Robert

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vipper, Robert Iur’evich


Born July 2 (14), 1859, in Moscow; died there Dec. 30, 1954. Soviet historian; academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943).

Vipper graduated from the history and philology department of Moscow University in 1880. He was a professor at the University of Novaia Rossiia in Odessa in 1894-97; at Moscow University in 1897-1922; at the Latvian University in Riga in 1924-41; at the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History in 1941; and at Moscow State University in 1941-50. (In 1941-43 he was a professor at the Middle Asian State University in Tashkent.) In 1943 he be-came associated with the History Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Vipper considered the October Revolution an example of soldiers’ anarchy and emigrated to bourgeois Latvia in 1924. In 1941 he returned to Moscow. The range of Vipper’s scholarly interests was extremely wide: from the history of ancient Greece and Rome to modern times. Vipper was the author of numerous works written in a brilliant literary style, including textbooks on ancient, medieval, and modern history for secondary and higher schools.

Vipper’s world view was eclectic: he paid tribute to idealism, modernism, and cyclicalism; at the same time, under the influence of Marxist ideas, he came close to the principles of historical materialism. Vipper devoted much attention to the study of economic and social phenomena and tried to discover the laws governing the historical process. The distinctive features of his work were a desire to under-stand the material roots of political and ideological phenomena and a critical attitude toward historical tradition. Both qualities manifested themselves most fully in the works on the history on Greece and Rome published at the beginning of the 20th century.

Vipper’s work on the history of early Christianity published in 1918 was criticized by V. I. Lenin (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 45, p. 27). The works on the history of early Christianity published in the 1940’s and 1950’s reflect Vipper’s enlightenment and atheist views. In the works Origins of Christian Literature (1946) and Rome and Early Christianity (1954), Vipper put the history of early Christianity in close relation with the ideological development of the Greco-Roman world, considering early Christian works a component part of the literature of their time. He was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo v Zheneve XVI veka v epokhu kal’vinizma. Moscow, 1894.
Lektsii po istorii Gretsii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1906.
Obshchestvennye ucheniia i istoricheskie teorii XVIII i XIX vv., 3rd ed. Moscow, 1913.
Ocherki istorii Rimskoi imperil. Moscow, 1908.
Drevnii Vostok i Egeiskaia kul’tura. Moscow, 1913.
Istoriia Gretsii v klassicheskuiu epokhu. Moscow, 1916.


“Akademik R. lu. Vipper, 1859-1954” (obituary). Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1955, no. 2.
“R. IU. Vipper” (obituary). Voprosy istorii, 1955, no. 1.
Volgin, V. “Vipper, R. IU.” InBol’shaia sovetskaia entsiklopediia, Isted., vol. 11. Moscow, 1930.
Golubtsova, N. “Akademik R. IU. Vipper.” Nauka i religiia, 1969, no. 7.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.