HERZFELD, Ernst Emil

HERZFELD, Ernst Emil. Celle 23.7.1879 — Basel 21.1.1948. German Archaeologist, later in the U.S.A. Professor in Berlin and Princeton. Son of Joseph H., Prussian military doctor, and Margarethe Rosenthal. After gymnasium in Verden and Berlin and one year military service he studied at Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg, 1903 architect. Then studied Assyriology and Arabic under Delitzsch and participated (with Andrae) in his Assur expedition in 1903-06. Also visited Pasargadae and Persepolis. Ph.D. 1907 Berlin. After a new Mesopotamian expedition with Sarre habilitation at Berlin 1909. From 1917 ao. Professor and from 1920 Professor of Historical Geography at Berlin University. In WW I served in France, Poland and Iraq. He did not teach much as he was mostly on leave, often in Iran. In the 1920s he conducted excavations on Islamic remains at Samarra, in 1929-34 at Persepolis (now financed by Oriental Institute, Chicago). Lost his chair because of his Jewish background in 1935 and emigrated to England, in 1936 to the U.S.A., taught until his death at Princeton (although emeritus 1944). Got an illness in Egypt and died in Basel. Unmarried.

EH was a skilled archaeologist originally interested in Mesopotamia, but later also in Iran and Syria, even in Islam. His most important excavations were Samarra and Persepolis. In his own field he achieved remarkable results, but his theories about the origin of the Zoroastrian religion were quite fanciful (and soon shown as such by Henning).

Publications: Diss. Pasargadae. Aufnahmen und Untersuchungen zur persischen Archäologie. 32 p. Tübingen 1907 (specimen), whole work publ. as “Pasargadae”, Klio 8, 1908, 1-68.

Samarra. Aufnahmen und Untersuchungen zur islamischen Archäologie. 92 p. B. 1907; Die Ausgrabungen von Samarra. 1-5. B. 1923-30.

with F. Sarre: Iranische Felsreliefs. 277 p. B. 1910 (including his hab.diss.).

Am Tor von Asien. Felsendenkmale aus Irans Heldenzeit. 164 p. 44 ill. 54 pl. B. 1920; “Khorasan”, Der Islam 11, 1921, pp. 107-174.

Paikuli. Monument and Inscription of the Early History of the Sasanian Empire. 1-2. 14+248 p. 228 pl. Forschungen zur Islamischen Kunst 3:1-2. B. 1924.

Edited Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran. 1-9. B. 1929-38 (contributed himself much, e.g. “Sakastan”, AMI 4, 1932, 1-116); Altpersische Inschriften. 8+383 p. 16 pl. AMI Erg.bd 1. B. 1938; ed. Iranische Denkmäler. 1-4. B. 1932-33.

– “Zarathustra”, AMI 1, 1929-30, 76-185 & 2, 1930, 1-112; other articles.

Kushano-Sasanian Coins. 51 p. M.A.S.I. 38. Calcutta 1930.

Archaeological History of Iran. 11+112 p. 20 pl. L. 1935; Iran in the Ancient East. 363 p. 131 pl. 42 ill. L. 1941.

Zoroaster and his World. 1-2. 17+851 p. Princeton NJ 1948.

The Persian Empire. Studies in Geography and Ethnography of the Ancient Near East. Ed. by G. Walser. 22+392 p. Wb. 1968.

Much on Mesopotamian and Syrian archaeology, also on the Islamic period.

Sources: R. Ettinghausen, N.D.B. 8, 1969, 733f.; *A.C. Gunter & S.R. Hauser (eds.), EH and the development of Near Eastern Studies, 1900–1950. Leiden 2005; *S. Guyer, Der Islam 30, 1952, 102-104; S.R. Hauser at al., Encyclop. Iranica 12:3, 2003, 290-302 (online); C. R. Morley in Archael. Orient. in Memoriam E. H. 1952, 1-4; S. Smith, JRAS 1949, 116f.; *G. Walser, AMI 12, 1979, 9-12; Wikipedia with photo (more details and references in German version).

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