Traube, Ludwig

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TRAUBE, LUDWIG (1861–1907), master paleographer and critic of Latin texts. Born in Berlin, the son of Ludwig *Traube, the great pathologist, he became professor of the Latin philology of the Middle Ages at the University of Munich in 1904 after a long struggle in which his Jewishness played a key role. His importance lies in the fact that through his independent research he raised paleography to the status of a historical science and made a basic contribution to the intellectual history of the Latin Middle Ages. Possessed of independent means, he was able to visit all the important libraries of Europe and study the Latin manuscripts at length. His studies of contractions of Latin words and nomina sacra (his major work, a study of various ways of writing divine names in manuscripts) proved crucial in tracing the history of schools of copyists, tracing manuscripts to particular monks, and indicating which medieval scholars had used them. He unraveled the complicated textual histories of the Rule of St. Benedict and of the Latin historian Livy. Of his projected comprehensive work on Latin paleography, the study of the half-uncial script appeared post-humously. Despite his premature death, Traube, because of his ability to attract and influence students, continued to exercise a profound influence on the field through his students – P. Lehmann, P. Maas, C.U. Clark, C.H. Beeson, E.A. *Lowe, and E.K. Rand – not only in Germany but also in England and especially in the United States.


F. Boll and P. Lehmann (ed.), Vorlesungen und Abhandlungen von Ludwig Traube, 1 (1909), 11–73 [biography and list of his writings, including a large number in manuscript, some of which were edited posthumously by Boll and Lehmann]; J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, 3 (1958), 195.

[Louis Harry Feldman]