Altertumswissenschaft: German word for the study of ancient culture and society. There is no equivalent in English.

There is no real English equivalent for the German word Altertumswissenschaft, which refers to the study of ancient culture and society. It covers both the Classical West (Greece and Rome) and the ancient Near East (Babylonia, Egypt, and so on), both religious and secular subjects, and both archaeology and philology.

Because the twentieth century witnessed a data explosion, it is very difficult for scholars to keep track of all fields. As a consequence, it has become impossible to avoid the main problem bedeveling the study of the distant past: that a specialist in one field repeats outdated information from other fields.

This page was created in 2018; last modified on 9 October 2020.