Lehmann, Karl

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LEHMANN, KARL (1894–1960), classical archaeologist. Born in Rostock, Germany, Lehmann was the son of a university professor. His studies were interrupted by service in World War i. In 1924 he became assistant director at the German archaeological institute in Rome. At the same time he began his academic career as a lecturer on classical archaeology at Berlin University. His book, Die Trajanssaeule (1926), established him as an authority on Roman archaeology and art. While lecturing at Heidelberg University (1925–29) Lehmann published his monumental work, Die antiken Grossbronzen (1927). In 1929 he went to Muenster University, and was dismissed from his post in 1933. After two years in Italy he immigrated to the U.S. and in 1936 was appointed professor of classical archaeology at the Fine Arts Institute of New York University. During this time Lehmann began excavating the sanctuary of the "Great Gods" on the Aegean island of Samothrace. Lehmann's expedition was crowned with success after many years of excavation, although he himself did not live to complete the work. He published the first volume of the excavation report (Bollingen Series, 60, 1959; U.S. ed. Samothrace, 1960). The other volumes which he partly prepared were published soon after his death.

In spite of Lehmann's preoccupation with Greek art and religion, his interest in problems of Roman archaeology did not diminish. He interpreted cult and symbolism in Roman wall and ceiling frescoes and in Dionysiac Sarcophagi in Baltimore (with E.C. Olsen, 1942) he drew conclusions from reliefs carved on them about the religious beliefs of people buried in late Roman sarcophagi.


P.H. von Blanckenhagen, in: American Journal of Archeology, 65 (1961), 307ff.

[Penuel P. Kahane]

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