Wittenberg University goes online 204 years after it was closed

Already in 1502 the “Leucorea” named Wittenberg University was founded. It quickly achieved great importance and was at times the most frequented German university. This success story ended during the “great death of the university” around the turn of the 19th century: the Leucorea was abolished in 1817 through the merger with the University of Halle, which was only founded in 1694. Now the University of Wittenberg has at least resurrected on the web as part of the “Leucorea online” project.

“Ever since the Internet was around, every self-respecting institution has its own website. Anyone who doesn’t have one basically doesn’t exist in the general public perception – or didn’t exist, ”says the homepage. The online presence of the venerable university is intended to keep it alive in the cultural memory of society.

The new website resembles that of a modern university. A newsfeed on the home page reports the birthday of Caspar Cruciger the Elder on January 1st – the theologian and reformer was born in 1504. But the whole thing is much more than a pretty PR measure, because the website makes extensive historical sources available . It is designed as a junction that leads to the digitized holdings of the Leucorea, according to the description. More than 850 full text files from digitized original sources to research literature and popular representations are available to visitors.

The documents also enable the university’s eventful history to be traced in detail. In addition to a timeline with key events from 1502 to 1817, there are several overall presentations of the university’s history and numerous individual documents. The University of Wittenberg had four faculties: the artistic / philosophical, theological, legal and medical faculties. Major university professors such as Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Luther are presented with their main works.

The initiators of the project write that the website will give Wittenberg University an online afterlife. “So, with some delay, the unfortunate circumstance that the Leucorea had been lifted 180 years too early from the perspective of the Internet age could be remedied.”


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