Davidsohn, Robert

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DAVIDSOHN, ROBERT

DAVIDSOHN, ROBERT (1853–1937), historian of medieval Florence. Davidsohn engaged in business and journalism, being for a time coeditor of the liberal newspaper, the Berliner Boersen-Courier. He wrote an account of his early travels in Vom Nordkap bis Tunis (1884). When he was 33 he began to study history in earnest, and obtained a doctorate from Heidelberg in 1888. In the following year he settled in Florence and, inspired by the famous history of Rome in the Middle Ages written by his great friend, the German historian Gregorovius, decided to embark on similar study of his adopted city. The task took him over 30 years and his two most important works, Forschungen zur Geschichte von Florenz (4 vols., 1896–1908) and Geschichte von Florenz (4 vols., 1896–1927), established him as the leading authority on Florentine history. He was made an honorary citizen of the city, and an Italian translation of some of his works was published at public expense.

[Howard L. Adelson]