German archeologist, geographer, and topographer; born Nov. 4, 1847, at Pyritz, Pomerania; died April 20, 1895, at Wiesbaden. He studied philology and archeology at the universities of Berlin, Tübingen, and Leipsic.and was particularly influenced by his teacher, Ernst Curtius. He took his Ph.D. degree (Berlin, 1870) with the dissertation "De Titulis Statuariorum Sculptorumque Græcorum Capita Duo Priora," which he subsequently enlarged under the title "Tituli Statuariorum Sculptorumque Græcorum cum Prolegomenis" (Berlin, 1871). From 1871 to 1875 he traveled through Italy, Greece, and extensively in Asia Minor, returning to Berlin with many epigraphic treasures and historico-topographic sketches. From 1875 to 1877 he directed the excavations at Olympia undertaken by the German government. His name will forever be associated with the unearthing of the Heraion, the Temple of Zeus and most of its friezes, and the famous statues of Nike by Paionios and Hermes by Praxiteles, which he himself lifted out of the ground.
In 1877 Hirschfeld embraced Christianity, and in the following year was appointed assistant professor of archeology in the University of Königsberg. Two years later he was made professor. His work there was interrupted only by travels through Asia Minor.
Hirschfeld was the author of the following works: "Athena und Marsyas: 32. Programm zum Winckelmannsfest der Archäologischen Gesellschaft in Berlin," Berlin, 1872; "De Cn. Manlii Consulis Itinere ex Pamphylia in Galatiam Facto," 1879; "Gedächtnissrede auf Karl Zöppritz," Königsberg, 1884; "The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum," part iv., section i., "Knidos, Halikarnassos, and Branchidæ," Oxford, 1893; "Aus dem Orient," Berlin, 1897. He edited Moltke's "Briefe über Zustände und Begebenheiten in der Türkei," with introduction and notes, Berlin, 1893 (in Moltke's "Gesammelte Schriften," vol. viii.). Besides the preceding works he wrote many articles for the publications of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and for other journals.
- M. Lehnerdt, Gustav Hirschfeld, in Biographisches Jahrbuch für Altertumskunde, 1899, pp. 65 et seq.;
- Ernst Curtius, Zur Erinnerung an Gustav Hirschfeld, in Deutsche Rundschau, 1895, lxxxiv. 377 et seq.