Potthast, August

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Important German historian and editor of canonical sources; b. Houster, Aug. 13, 1824; d. Leobschutz, Feb. 13, 1898. After his studies in theology, philosophy, and history at the University of Halle, he was commissioned as a teacher in 1855. He was appointed custodian of the royal library in Berlin in 1868, and from 1874 to 1894 he was librarian of the legislative assembly of Germany. He was a fellow worker on the Monumenta Germaniae Historia. His most important works are the Regista pontificum Romanorum inde a post Christum natum MCXCVII ad annum MCCCIV (Berlin 187475) and the Biblioteca historica medii aevi (Berlin 1862, 2d ed. 1896). This latter work is still considered an indispensable work for the history of the Middle Ages. It lists the original sources, with information on the chief collections, editions, and translations. In 1965 the first volume of an enirely recast edition of the Biblioteca was issued: Repertorium Fontium Historiae Medii Aevi primum ab Augusto Potthast digestum, nunc cura collegii historicorum e pluribus nationibus emendatum et auctum, I: Series Collectionum (Rome 1962), published by Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo.

Bibliography: h. ott, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:649. a. van hove, Commentarium Lovaniense in Codicem iuris canonici 1, v. 15 (Mechlin 1928); v. 1, Prolegomena (2d ed.1945) 1:363, 612.

[j. m. buckley]