Fritz Shahermayr

Fritz Shahermayr

Austrian antiquarian historian, one of the oldest antiquarians in Austria.
Country: Austria

  1. Biography of Fritz Schachermayer
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Changing Views
  4. Later Years and Contributions

Biography of Fritz Schachermayer

Fritz Schachermayer was an Austrian historian and classical scholar, known as one of the oldest classicists in Austria. He had a wide range of scientific interests that spanned various periods of ancient history, but his greatest contribution was in the study of the early history of the Balkan Peninsula and the activities of Alexander the Great.

Early Life and Career

Schachermayer served in the First World War and was stationed in the Middle East, where his interest in ancient history first developed. In 1929, he published his first work on the early history of the Etruscans. During the 1930s and 1940s, Schachermayer was influenced by Nazi propaganda, which was reflected in his research. His work "Achaeans and Hittites" (1935) on the early history of the Greek and Anatolian peoples used racist terminology and claimed the superiority of the so-called "Indo-Germanic" (i.e., Indo-European) peoples. In an encyclopedic article on the Athenian tyrant Pisistratus (1937), he stated that Pisistratus had a significant amount of "northern characteristics" in his blood.

Changing Views

However, a turning point in Schachermayer's views occurred with his book "Alexander the Great: Genius and Power" (1949). In this work, he no longer sought to glorify and elevate powerful historical figures. Instead, he concluded that Alexander's actions could not bring happiness to people and that he left a rather dark legacy in world history. His second book on Alexander, a monograph titled "Alexander in Babylon and the Organization of the State After His Death" (1970), focused on the last period of Alexander's life. In this book, Schachermayer attempted to assess the results of Alexander's rule and describe the outcomes of his activities.

Later Years and Contributions

During this period, Schachermayer also abandoned his previous beliefs about the role of the "Nordic element" in the creation of Greek culture in several publications on the early history of Greece and the cultural relationships between Greece and Anatolia. His extensive research on the life and activities of Alexander the Great led him to write a comprehensive monograph titled "Alexander the Great: The Problem of His Personality and Activities," which was published by the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 1973. A shortened version of this book was published in Moscow in 1986.

Until his death, Schachermayer continued his active scientific activities, participating in conferences and publishing his research.