He studied philology at the universities of Bonn, Göttingen and Berlin, and In 1843 he began to work upon the Monumenta Germaniae historica. In 1855 he was appointed archivist at Breslau; in 1862 he became professor of history at Heidelberg, and ten years later professor at Berlin, where he was a member of the directing body of the Monumenta and a member of the Academy. He died at Frankfurt. Wattenbach was distinguished by his thorough knowledge of the chronicles and other original documents of the middle ages, and his most valuable work was done in this field.
His principal book, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter bis zur Mitte des XIII Jahrhunderts, is unrivalled as a guide to the sources of the history of Germany in the middle ages; this was first published in 1858, and has passed through several editions. Cognate works are his Anleitung zur lateinischen Paläographie (Leipzig, 1869, and again 1886); and Das Schriftwesen im Mittelalter (Leipzig, 1871, and again 1896). Wattenbach also wrote Beiträge zur Geschichte der christlichen Kirche in Böhmen und Mähren (Vienna, 1849); Geschichte des römischen Papsttums (Berlin, 1876); and Anleitung zur griechischen Paläographie (Leipzig, 1867, and again 1895).
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.