Waitz, Georg

Waitz, Georg

Waitz, Georg (gāˈôrk vīts), 1813–86, German historian. In the Frankfurt Parliament in 1848 he defended the idea of a unified Germany, including Austria and Prussia. He was professor at Göttingen after 1849. His great knowledge of the literature and sources of history enabled him to direct the Monumenta Germaniae historica after 1875 and to prepare with Dahlmann an indispensable Quellenkunde zur deutschen Geschichte [sources on German history] (ed. 1869, 1874, 1883; 9th ed. 1931). Waitz also wrote an eight-volume work (1844–78) on German constitutional history to the middle of the 12th cent.
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Waitz, Georg


Born Oct. 9, 1813, in Flensburg; died May 24, 1886, in Berlin. German historian; student of L. Ranke.

Waitz became a professor in Kiel in 1842, in Göttingen in 1849, and in Berlin in 1875. His major work is A History of the German State System (vols. 1-8, 1844-78), in which he presented extensive material on the history of state institutions and the social and economic system of medieval Germany. Waitz believed that the Germanic tribes had had communal institutions (marks) since early times; however, he did not connect their origin with the commune members’ collective ownership of plowlands. In feudalism, which, in his opinion, had developed gradually from earlier German institutions, Waitz saw above all a definite political institution based on vassals and a system of benefices. A great expert on sources, Waitz actively participated in the publication of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH), and in 1875 he became chief of the central board of directors of MGH.


Danilov, A. I. Problemy agrarnoi istorii rannevo srednevekov’ia v nemetskoi istoriografii kontsa XIX-nach. XX vv. [Moscow, 1958.]


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