Wilhelm 11.: Archaologie und Politik um 1900. Edited by THORSTEN BEIGEL and SABINE MANGOLD-WILL. Stuttgart: FRANZ STEINER VERLAG, 2017. Pp. 140, illus. [euro]39 (paper).
Like many upper-class Germans educated in the late nineteenth century. Kaiser Wilhelm of the German Empire was deeply interested in the history and culture of ancient Greece, but unlike most of them he was in a position to contribute directly to the recovery of the remains of Hellas through patronage of archaeological projects, in particular of excavations on the island of Corfu. Furthermore, his engagement extended to the lands of the ancient Near East, then part of the Ottoman Empire, where he helped support German expeditions from his privy purse. Indeed, his particularly warm relationship with Sultan Abdul Hamid was instrumental in securing concessions to excavate at Assur and Babylon, among many other sites, for the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft (see p. 18 here for a full list).
Such engagement in antiquarian research on the part of a head of state, scarcely imaginable to an American today, was the subject of a conference held at the Bergische Universitat Wuppertal in July 2012. This volume presents eight essays (all but one in German) written in connection with this gathering--by Suzanne March-and. Matthias Steinbach, Dieter Vieweger, Julia Serr, and Marcel Serr, Sabine Mangold-Will. Lars Petersen, Thorsten Beigel, and Christoph Johannes Franzen.
In their introduction, the editors point out that Wilhelm's interest in Greece and Western Asia was part of a "lebenslanges politisches Legitimationsprogramm" (p. 12) intended to...