A Study on the Presentation of Selected Topics from Galletti¡¯s Textbook for Classes in History published in 1810






Ja Bin Hong


 Introduction. PAGEREF _Toc117584875 \h 3

General Structure of the Book. PAGEREF _Toc117584876 \h 3

Beginnings. PAGEREF _Toc117584877 \h 5

Ancient History. PAGEREF _Toc117584878 \h 6

Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Civilization. PAGEREF _Toc117584879 \h 6

The Bible and Israel PAGEREF _Toc117584880 \h 6

Sumer. PAGEREF _Toc117584881 \h 7

Egypt PAGEREF _Toc117584882 \h 8

The Renaissance. PAGEREF _Toc117584883 \h 9

The French Revolution. PAGEREF _Toc117584884 \h 11

On German History. PAGEREF _Toc117584885 \h 13

The Beginnings of German History. PAGEREF _Toc117584886 \h 13

The Peasant Revolts. PAGEREF _Toc117584887 \h 14

Conclusion. PAGEREF _Toc117584888 \h 15

Appendix I. PAGEREF _Toc117584889 \h 18

Appendix II. PAGEREF _Toc117584890 \h 21

A short biography. PAGEREF _Toc117584891 \h 21

Selected Quotes of Johann Georg August Galletti PAGEREF _Toc117584892 \h 21

Bibliography of works by Johann Georg August Galletti PAGEREF _Toc117584893 \h 22

Works Cited. PAGEREF _Toc117584894 \h 24


IntroductionBack to Top



The book that I dealt with in this paper was obtained through the help of Mr. Ganse. It was relatively cheap and was in a good condition, for a book that is almost 200 years old. For this paper, parts of this book were analyzed for apparent biases or peculiarities that distinguish the book from contemporary history textbooks.

At first, it was assumed that this book would contain implications of the author¡¯s nationalistic biases. However, it seemed that such signs were minimal, and one could see that he was not one of the avid and young thinkers who advocated German Nationalism, which is understandable since he had been a descendant of court musicians from Italy.

It was also apparent that this book had been widespread at its time. Although it is approximately two centuries old, and such antique books are rare and expensive, this world history book could be obtained at a low price, indicating that many copies of it still exist. As a result, the analysis of this book can be considered representative of the era and place.

The purpose of this paper was to find out how a popular world history textbook about two hundred years ago is different from that of today. The content of the paper was arranged to match that of the book. The issues dealt with in this paper are ancient history, Renaissance, the French Revolution, and parts of German History. The text of the book was examined for inaccuracies, peculiarities, or missing elements, and compared with contemporary world history books.

General Structure of the Book

Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1

The book is small, like a pocketbook, and is relatively thin with 261 pages (See Figure 1). The title page says:





für den


in der



Johann Georg August Galletti,

Prof. am Gymnasium in Gotha.


Sechste verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage.



in der Ettingerschen Buchhandlung



Translated it means: Textbook for Classes in History by Johann Georg August Galletti, Professor at the Gymnasium in Gotha. Sixth improved and expanded version. Gotha, in the Ettinger Bookstore. 1810

There is a preface, an introduction that attempts to define history, and then the main text begins. The two main parts, one about the History of Mankind in General, and the other about German history, are intercepted by a table of contents, without pages, and a chronological index of events of the history of mankind in general. The table of contents of the section about German History is at the end of the book. Both parts of the book are divided chronologically, into sections of varying lengths of years. The History of Mankind in General is divided nine eras, which are marked off by prominent figures or events of that time, such as Clovis, Alexander, the crusades, and the French Revolution. Usually at the end of each era, there is a pithy note on culture and education of tha era, which is often in telegraph style. German history is divided into six eras each 120 to 900 years long.

Figure 1 shows a typical page of the book.

Figure 2


BeginningsBack to Top



In the introduction of this book, the author states that prior to the 8th century B.C.E., there can be no reliable chronology. Unlike contemporary world history textbooks it tends to take the formation of the earth from the bible. The story of Adam and Eva is also told.

¡°Adam and Eve, who are the progenitors of mankind according to Hebraic legends, had to live under the soft skyline, in an area where the needs of the stomach could be met effortlessly and satisfied in every season of the year. Such a place is the area between the Euphrates and the Indus rivers. There lay Eden, the Garden of God, the Paradise.¡±

Galletti recounts the story in the Bible, as if it was factual, doubting only the origin of mankind from Adam and Eve. The Garden of Eden is described slightly less fantastically, and he even points out where it is on the map.

However, the continuing story is not entirely identical to the story in the bible, as it omits the part about the fruit eaten by Eve that brings destruction. Instead he blames the longevity of the people, the rapid rise in population, and the migration of the people to other parts of the world, for the decline in the importance of the Garden of Eden. Generally this book does not accept every word of the Bible as truth, but omits only the most illogical and implausible points. For example the flood, which, according to the bible, killed almost all living creature, is identified with a flood that only covered flat areas in southwest Asia.

There were some peculiarities in the first parts of the book that reminded one of the numerous howlers (Kathederblüten) that made Galletti famous. For example:

¡°The first human beings were already invited to dance and sing by the animals.¡± (Galletti)


Ancient HistoryBack to Top



Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Civilization



Almost every contemporary history book about the Greeks starts with the oldest of Greek civilization, the Minoan Crete and the Mycenaean civilization. The Minoan civilization that emerged on the island of Crete reached its height between 2000 and 1450 B.C. The palace at Knossus demonstrates the prosperity and power of this civilization. Around 1450 B.C. however, the Minoan civilization suddenly vanished, leaving historians debating about the causes. Mycenaean Greek civilization is another of the important part of the history of Greece that flourished around 1600 and 1100 B.C. Mycenaean civilization had a number of powerful monarchies, a script called Linear B. Its people consisted of commanders of the army, priests, bureaucrats, a free citizenry and at the lowest, serfs and slaves. A strongly military people, the Mycenaeans conquered Crete, and supposedly played a vital role in sacking Troy according to the heroic story retold by Homer. (Howe)

In the book, however, there is only the slight mention of the story of the sacking of Troy by Mycenaeans, and there is no mention of Minoan Crete at all.

¡°A Trojan prince, called Paris, stole the Greek Helen, the wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta. So the Greeks, who were jealous of the thriving business and shipping of the Trojans, sent a big fleet and army together. Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae, was the commander, and Troy was, after a ten-year-long war, destroyed.¡± (Galletti)

This is the only section in which Mycenae is mentioned.

The reasons for this lack of information is obvious. Minoan Crete started to be excavated by Sir John Evans only in 1900, long after this book was published. Before this excavation, the Minoan periods of Crete had been only faintly reflected in a few Classical Greek myths. (Britannica) The first excavation of Mycenae were started in 1841 by the Greek archaeologist Pittakis, and in 1876 commenced again by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann. Before the excavation the historical truth of the Homeric tale was doubtful.

Another interesting aspect of the text above is the treatment of the legend. Most history books today do not consider this legend as fact. The book narrates the story of Helen of Troy as if it was factual. There is no mention of any possibility of the tale being fictional. Galletti seems to trust the sources of ancient history, such as classical literature and the bible, save for some extremely mythical and fantastical stories.



The Bible and Israel

Back to Top



When the book deals with the ancient history of Israel, it heavily relies on the Bible. While today, people are skeptical about the accuracy of the Bible despite the archaeological evidences, Galletti seems to accept almost every historical aspect as authentic. Here are some comparisons between Galletti¡¯s book and the bible.

¡°For example, Ahab, the king of Israel, chose the Sidonian princess Isabel as wife. This brought the Phoenician idolization to Samaria.¡±

Which is similar to a section in the bible:

¡°In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Sama'ria twenty-two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all that were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jerobo'am the son of Nebat, he took for wife Jez'ebel the daughter of Ethba'al king of the Sido'nians, and went and served Ba'al, and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Ba'al in the house of Ba'al, which he built in Sama'ria.¡± (Bible Kings 16:29- 16:32)


¡°The sons of Samuel acted so arbitrarily and violently, that they made the Israelites entirely abhor the hitherto ruling government. They (the Israelites) now wished to have a king, like their neighboring countries.¡± (Galletti)


¡°When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his first-born son was Jo'el, and the name of his second, Abi'jah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the nations." (Bible Samuel 8:1 8:5)

Although some of the history in the Bible is true, I believe that Galletti was less critical of this source than he should have been. As a religious book, the Bible can be biased and provide inaccurate information. Especially since there was little archaeological evidence to prove the historical information at that time, Galletti¡¯s presentation of this part of history is more like a legend than a true account of what happened. But then, it might also be that in the nineteenth century, people were prone to believe what the Bible state as history, until evidence proved otherwise.



SumerBack to Top



A contemporary world history textbook would also have dealt with Sumer as one of the first civilizations. Sumerians used a language completely different from all other languages and had developed a unique writing script. However in this book, there is no mention of a country called Sumer. This is because the existence of Sumer civilization was not known until some archaeological discoveries in the later nineteenth century. Only after the decipherment of cuneiform and excavation of various sites was it apparent that there was another advanced Mesopotamian civilization that had not yet been discovered. Henry Rawlinson, and some others deciphered the cuneiform writing in the 1850¡¯s, while thousands of tablets and inscriptions were uncovered during excavations. The discovery of the remains of the great library of Ashurbanipal was also helpful to revelation of the ancient culture. (Wikipedia) So it is natural that there is no mention of Sumer in this book.



EgyptBack to Top



Only about three paragraphs about ancient Egyptian history are written in the book; one about the founding of the country under a Pharaoh, another on the story related to Moses and his Jews, and one that praises the Egyptians¡¯ prowess in architecture (pyramids and obelisks).

¡°The tribe of Mizraim, who belonged to one of Hams offsprings, settled down in Egypt. Several states emerged in these lands. The regents of these states were called Pharaohs. (Lower Egypt transformed Menes in a habitable condition.)


In Egypt, the progenies of Jacob proliferated, in 430 years, to a number of a third of a million. Meanwhile, the Arab shepherd princes (The Hyksos) took possession of the dominion over Egypt. The new regents were worried by the Israelites¡¯ all-too strong increase in numbers. They sought to prevent it by hard works and other violent methods.


The rulers of Egypt paid more attention to the arts of peace, than that of war. They distinguish themselves especially through a marvelous aptitude at building, which was supported by the melancholy and persevering character of their subjects, who were dominated by priests. The astonishing works of architecture include the city Thebes in Upper Egypt, whose ruins amaze the eye, the tomb of Osymandias (Ramesses II), of the Moris Sea, The grea Labyrinth, the obelisks and the pyramids. One of the big obelisks, which is now in Rome, is attributed to Rhamses; the first and largest Pyramid is supposedly built by Pharao Cheops (Khufu).¡± (Galletti)


In these passages specific information about Egypt¡¯s ancient history is rare, and is often inaccurate. King Menes is mentioned, as a person who has bettered the living conditions of Lower Egypt, but he fails to mention the fact that he had united Upper and Lower Egypt, about a thousand years earlier that Galletti suggests. (Howe) The book also suggests that there numerous states in Egypt, despite the fact that there was only one, and at most two states. Most of the information related to Egypt seems to come from the Bible, or remaining monuments such as tombs, pyramids and obelisks.

This lack of information is because modern Egyptology started only in the 1820s, about a decade after the book was published. The Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799 by a French soldier in Napoleon¡¯s army, one year after they successfully invaded the Nile Delta. In 1822, Jean-François Champollion finally deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and since then research about ancient Egypt proceeded earnestly. (Wikipedia) So at the time Galletti wrote the book, he did not know most of the detailed history of ancient Egypt that we know today.


The section dealing with ancient history seems to be based mostly on Herodotus¡¯ Histories, the Bible and other classical works. Assyria and Babylonia are mentioned, and the history of the Hebrews is dwelt on extensively. Although this is a world history book, other ancient civilizations, such as that of India, China, or the Americas, are missing.



The RenaissanceBack to Top



The term ¡®Renaissance,¡¯ meaning ¡®rebirth,¡¯ was coined by Jules Michelet in the 1850s. Later, when Jakob Burckhardt published his most celebrated work; The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy the concept of Renaissance was further expanded. (Encarta) Renaissance symbolizes the rediscovery of ancient classical texts and learning, revitalization of European culture in general, and the rebirth of individualistic accomplishment after the middle ages. Before Burckhardt¡¯s work was published, Renaissance as we know it today had not been a separate, important phase in European History. After the work was it acknowledged that the changes occurring in 14th and 15th century Italy was a profound and enlightening break from the preceding period of cultural backwardness.

As Galletti¡¯s book was published in 1810, there is no explicit mention of a period called the Renaissance, as is expected. However, there is a certain section at the end of the eighth section that deals with the changes in Europe after the medieval era. Although it deals with the complete cultural history from the times of the crusaders to the times of Columbus, it mostly deals with what we would today accept as part of the Renaissance.

Galletti briefly mentions the Italian artists such as Cimabue (b. ca. 1240, Firenze, d. ca. 1302, Firenze), Perugino (b. 1450, Citta della Pieve, d.1523, Perugia), Raphael (1483-1520), and Michael Angelo (b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma), along with some writers such as Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio.

Most of the section however, deals with the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg. The following excerpt shows that Galletti was giving much more emphasis on the printing press than on the artists and writers whose name he only mentioned once.


¡°The books were for a long time only copied by hand. But already people had invented the art of carving pictures on wooden boards to print them on paper. Thus emerged the woodcuts, which were needed for holy pictures and cards among other things. On these woodcuts were already individual names/frames. Finally, Lrenz Küster (originally Janszon) came to the thought of carving whole pages into wooden boards o print them. The numerous wooden boards needed for a book could not be used for anything else after the printing. Therefore, Janszon carved individual letters with wood.

Johann Gänsefleisch of Gutenberg, who learned this new art from Janszon, and his brother, sought to educate themselves further in Strassburg, where they already made letters of metal. Gutenberg moved from Strassburg to Mainz. Here he came into contact with the goldsmith Johann Faust and the clerical Peter Schöffer, an artful writer, and continued the research, and Schöffer then invented not only the art to pour letters of tin, but they also finally discovered the mixture of metals that would give the printing press resistance, and one already needed almost all of the tools of the current art of printing. Schöffer and Faust, who disagreed with Gutenberg, used the advantages of the invention by themselves, and now they completed the first book with the year, place of printing, and the name of the printers added to it.¡± (Galletti)


Such a detailed story is rarely found in contemporary general world history books. It was comparable to the detailed biography in an encyclopedia. Considering the clipped telegraph style language he used in the section explaining in pithy words the conditions of Europe at that time, this description of the invention is lengthy and very specific.

Most of the information in this part appears accurate, although it is curious that he attributes the invention not to Gutenberg, but to his colleagues. Today, we attribute the invention mostly to Gutenberg. Also curious is the involvement of Gutenberg¡¯s brother in the research related to the printing press.

One theory to explain the large difference of information on the artists and Gutenberg is that Galletti, as a German, although originating from Italy, preferred to present more information on Gutenberg, who was a German and who had made a very momentous discovery that had impacts all over Europe. It is interesting to note that Galletti makes a comment on the possibility of Asians already having invented the movable types. He writes: ¡°In fact, the Chinese and the Japanese already had printed books long before the Europeans, but with wooden boards, and it is most likely that the European inventors of the art of printing had no knowledge of this way of printing books.¡± (Galletti) This comment makes the invention by Gutenberg look more ingenious and glorious.



The French RevolutionBack to Top



The book ends with the description of the French Revolution, or rather the wars that followed it. It was surprising to find very little information about the ideology or the changes that have happened inside France during the French Revolution.

This is a translated text of the part:

¡°The brother in law of Leopold, Louis XVI of France, who ruled from 1774, witnessed a very different fate. The subjects of this large and beautiful kingdom suffered already for a long time under the burdensome weight of an astonishingly high amount of taxes, a burden which the clergy or nobles shared little. A significant part of the taxes was needed to pay the interest for the enormous sum of money, which was borrowed by the kings of France, since time of the conquest-thirsty Louis XIV.

The king and his ministers were caught in a very embarrassing situation. They summoned most respected men (the Notables) in the kingdom together; they organized a national assembly. The discussion and investigation of the national assembly necessitated a new state constitution. The court had the intention to carry out a reform when it noticed that troops were moving to the area around Paris, to assert themselves its previous violence. Now the enemies of the court organized unexpectedly a forceful transformation of the previous governmental constitution. The nation suited itself to the reigning force. The rights of the King were greatly restricted. After that they disposed of all the nobles; and also the monasteries and cloisters were confiscated and the clergy were granted fixed salaries.

The princes of the royal house, and many of the aristocracy, who were very discontent with this change, left France and traveled to mainly Germany. This, the French National Assembly needed as an excuse to declare war on Austria. Franz II, the successor of Leopold II, with the King of Prussia, Frederic William II, led a considerable military force to France. At the approach of the foreign troops, the anxious public stormed the Tuileries. The King, however, was kept in custody with his family, his title was denied and both he and his wife were executed.


Meanwhile the French Directory expressed the plan to revolutionize the whole of Europe, with a very conspicuous determination. The remainder of the Papal State turned into a republic and Pius IV died in French captivity.¡± (Galletti)


This was all of the description of the description about the French revolution inside France before the times of Napoleon. Besides these there are lengthy and detailed descriptions about the wars that were fought between France and other countries. There is a conspicuous lack of facts about the revolution inside France. There are very few details of the period between the outbreak of the French Revolution and the execution of the king. The estates-general, the storming of the Bastille, the appearance of factions inside the national assembly, the national constituent assembly, the legislative assembly, the committee of public safety, the national convention, and the directory, the sequence of those changes in the French government, are only vaguely mentioned or not brought up at all. Why would the author omit those facts?

First, it may be that the revolution inside France itself might have been of minor importance to other countries at that time. As the background information about Germany at the time of the revolution says that Germany was not much concerned with the Revolution and only began to pay attention when the French declared war and started fighting. Many monarchs or those in power were not really concerned about the ideology of the French revolution, but were only concerned about the practical gains and disadvantages that could arise from such an event. (Simms)

Secondly, it might be possible, that Gotha, a place where Galletti spent most of his life, was not experiencing the upsurge of nationalism as it was a city in a scattered state. If one looks at the map of Saxe-Gotha at that time, it is easy to see that the state consists of bits of land spread randomly.

It might be that as a person who had been connected to the court of Gotha, Galletti had been careful not to mention much about the upsurge of nationalism, revolutionary ideologies and hostile emotions that some Germans had towards France at that time. Princes of Germany were glad to be released from Austrian and Prussian tutelage. He has probably lived at the court since his parents were court singers, and has been nominated the character of the court counselor and historian of Gotha by the Duke August in 1816. (Opatz) A short biography of Galletti is included in the appendix.


On German HistoryBack to Top



The Beginnings of German History



Galletti starts by writing lengthily about the natural environment, the gradual settlement of the area, and the lives of the primitive people. Here the juvenile style of the information given is most apparent. Whereas in most contemporary books, only facts with sufficient evidence, or theories supported by logical reasoning and facts, are mentioned, in this book, an almost childish narrative describes how the land was initially filled with forests and marches, how there weren¡¯t any tasty apples or pears, and how innocently and simply the large and strong Germanic people lived.

Some titles of subsections indicate that Galletti has some pride concerning the Germanic people. One title is: ¡°In vain did the Romans aspire to subordinate the Germans under their authority.¡± (Galletti) Just before, the author mentions that: ¡°One could always depend on the Germans¡¯ courageousness, faithfulness, and honesty.¡± (Galletti)

The next few pages of the book are filled with story like accounts of the general course of events. It is interesting to see how he mostly uses individuals to tell history, focusing on personal relationships, almost always making two countries look similar to two individuals fighting against each other. When recounting the history of Germany from the times of Clovis, he jumps from emperor to emperor, or king to king, and concentrates so much on the succession of rulers, that he sometimes misses the more broad explanations about the era in general.

In the next section, titled ¡°From Louis the German until Frederick I¡± is also similar in that it narrates the story of how the throne passed from one to the next. A slightly peculiar thing is that the some of the subsections have titles such as ¡°Germany raises itself to an independent state.¡± (Galletti) This phrase may represent Galletti¡¯s opinions regarding the emergence of Germany as a single nation, because it is a controversial issue and some historians disagree about when the history of ¡®Germany¡¯ with a separate identity begins. Some say that it started with the founding of the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne, while others have more flexible views. Throughout the section, the author refers to a specific entity, Germany (Deutschland). (Fulbrook) However, there seems little bias or inordinate praise for ¡®Germany,¡¯ as would be expected if Galletti had been influenced by the nationalistic philosophy just emerging at the time this book was published.

Some comments show that the author was somewhat proud of Germany, whether he was nationalistic or not. ¡°Henry was followed by his eldest son, Otto I who brought the German Empire in such a great regard, that Denmark and Bohemia had to acknowledge the German supremacy.¡± ¡°Otto I let Boleslaw feel his superiority, and Boleslaw had to submit to the German Empire.¡±

Later, when the book deals with the peasant revolution after the Lutheran reformation, there were some unusual words used to describe the peasants.



The Peasant RevoltsBack to Top



The three paragraphs on the German Peasants¡¯ revolts clearly show how insufficiently he explains the cause and effects of a pivotal event.


¡°Luther, to whom the admirable Melanchthon provided significant assistance, had written and preached so much on the freedom of the human belief, that the peasants in German, who did not understand him correctly, concluded that they also had to be entirely free and independent. Thus they did not want to give any more taxes, or do any additional services: they wanted to undertake the high and low pursuits of their pleasures; they did not want to pay interests and tithes to the monasteries and cloisters. To achieve their transformation more easily, they rotted in big heaps together. At first the peasants stormed in Swabia and at the Rhine, where the elector of the Palatinate had much to do with them. From there the rebellion expanded into Swabia, Franconia, and Thuringia.

In Thuringia, Thomas Münzer, a Preacher who had eloped before, made himself the leader of the peasants, who took possession of the city¡¯s garbage heap, among other things, and ravage the monasteries and castles. In the end, 8000 peasants gathered by Franconia¡¯s houses, in Schwarzburg. However, now the princes of Saxony, Hessen and Braunschweig rose against them. Münzer had so much blinded them with his promises, that they did not accept the offered mercy. Several thousands of them were thus knocked down.

The raucous peasants had destroyed and looted a lot of monasteries. The fleeing monks asked the landlords in vain for the permission to move back into their monasteries. The landlords used this opportunity, to abolish the monastic society. The monasteries then were transformed into hospitals or schools.¡± (Galletti)


As one can see, this narrative about the peasant revolt during the Reformation is significantly different from what a contemporary history book would say. Whereas a contemporary book will fully analyze the causes and effects of the event, such as the political and economic grievances, and the landlords¡¯ abuse of power, as well as the religious ferment stirred by Luther¡¯s theses. This book presents one cause of the revolt, that the peasants misunderstood Luther¡¯s teachings and overreacted. In fact, this particular section of the book displays a quite biased view; the problems of the peasants at that period are not mentioned, and they are portrayed as ignorant, lowly and violent people who have been rightfully massacred. That they destroyed monasteries and other property is repeatedly emphasized.

As for the effects of this revolt the book only mentions that some monasteries were converted into hospitals and schools, and fails to analyze how it affected the course of events in the future. A contemporary book would tell us how it actually ended the chance of the lower classes being appealed to the Lutheran Revolution, as Luther himself criticized the peasants¡¯ revolt.

One also has to take into consideration that at the beginning of the nineteenth century, books may not have been as available to lower class people as to the people of higher class.


ConclusionBack to Top



This book was published in 1810, at a time when recent events of the French Revolution and the era of Napoleon gave rise to nationalism in Germany. Some German intellectuals approved of the French Revolution when it erupted in 1789, while official Germany remained indifferent. Attention and fear toward the events in France surfaced a few years later, when aggressive French nationalism continued to grow and in 1792 the French invaded Germany. In 1794, after the battle of Valmy, the French had managed to get control over the Rhineland. With the Treaty of Basel of 1795, Prussia and German states above the Main River ceased to fight against the French, and Austria, aided by the Russians, continued to fight against the French with repeated defeats, such as the one at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. Prussia reentered the war against France in 1806, but was defeated at the Battle of Jena, and lost a lot of territory, which caused it to undertake a program of social and military reform. A few years later, revitalized Prussia, along with Austria and Russia defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. (Solsten)

Some changes brought by Napoleon were improved public administration, weakened feudalism, reduced power of trade guilds and replacement of traditional legal codes with the Napoleonic Code. French occupation authorities also incorporated smaller states into their larger neighbors, so that approximately 300 states before 1789 had turned into about forty states in 1814. Napoleon had also created the confederation of the Rhine which was dissolved after his defeat.

Some people, mainly German princes, welcomed the fresh independence from Austrian or Prussian tutelage. Others, however saw the confederation of the Rhine as a foreign intrusion and regarded France as an adversary. (Simms) As a response of foreign domination and arbitrary rule, German political nationalism emerged.

Contrary to what was expected, there were no signs that Galletti was a fervent German nationalist, as some other scholars were at his time. Although he displays some pride in the German people, and tends to describe the German people and their lands as one country, there are no explicitly biased narratives that favor the Germans. In fact, when Galletti describes the French Revolutionary Wars, he treats the major powers involved almost equally.

As this book was published almost two centuries ago, it has some understandable missing elements in ancient history, such as the history of Sumer and Egypt.

Despite the fact that this book is a world history book, it resembles a contemporary European history book more than a world history book. Asia and other non-European countries were only mentioned when Europeans came in contact with them. Throughout the book, it is hard to spot texts concerning non-European areas. When he describes the Chinese or Mongols, he is even more like a storyteller than a historian.

The book was very focused on the succession of rulers and the wars among major powers. It failed to have wider perspective that took into consideration the lower classes, and other weaker countries. In a way, this book is more like a children¡¯s book because it makes history sound more like a tale of wars and personal vendetta against royal families. The book lacked analysis of events and their effects that is very crucial for contemporary books of history. As in the case of the description of the Peasants¡¯ Rebellion, Galletti stated only the flow of events, without stepping back to examine the causes and effects.

When looking at the table of contents of the book, it is evident that Galletti thinks of history as a succession of important figures. Chapters are marked off by Adam, Alexander, Augustus, Columbus, etc. This makes Galletti¡¯s work resemble a series of personal stories. As a result, the importance of overall event is disregarded, and the personal reasons of the parties concerned are more emphasized. Contemporary history books would have been divided by events, such as the fall of the Roman Empire and the Reformation.

Also noticeable is the lack of real criticism regarding the sources of ancient history, especially the Bible. Whereas the most blatantly improbable stories, such as that of the forbidden apple, are discounted, most other historical parts of the Bible appear to be taken for granted. Today, historians take a guilty-until-proven-otherwise approach toward the Bible, assuming that it is wrong until archaeological evidences prove differently. Galletti however, recounts stories, even the ones of persons and families that are hard to prove, as if they were true.

Overall, the book, gave an impression of being less scholarly, and more entertaining. Indeed this explains the opinions of contemporary intellectuals. They did not regard him as a serious scholar.


Appendix IBack to Top



Table of Contents

World History (History of the Human Race in General)

I.                     From Adam up to Moses, 2400 years

1.       Origin of the current surface of the earth

2.       Origin of the human race

3.       First development of the human inventiveness

4.       Noah¡¯s flood

5.       Noah¡¯s descendants

6.       First states

7.       First noticeable culture of humans

II.                   From Moses up to Cyrus, 1000 years

1.       The monarchy of Assyria

2.       Israelites and Egyptians

3.       Assyrians and Babylonians, powerful

4.       Asian Colonies, which move to Europe and Africa

5.       Fairly high level of human education

III.                  From Cyrus up to Alexander, 230 years

1.       Persian monarchy

2.       Persian influence on Europe

3.       Unlucky enterprise by the Persians against Greece

4.       Italy already had diverse connection with Greece

5.       The Greeks have the highest point of their culture

IV.                From Alexander up to Augustus, 300 years

1.       The monarchy of Macedonia

2.       Division of the monarchy of Macedonia

3.       Roman world domination

4.       A considerable part of the human race on the highest point of culture in the old world

V.                  From Augustus up to Clovis, 500 years

1.       Roman monarchy

2.       Origin of the Christian Religion

3.       Parthians and Germans

4.       The Roman Empire still in overwhelming reputation

5.       The Roman Empire approaches its fall

6.       Constantin the Great

7.       Constantin¡¯s weak successor

8.       Sons of Theodos the Great divide the Roman Empire forever

9.       Immigration of German people into the Roman provinces

10.   Fall of the Roman culture

VI.                From Clovis up to Charlemagne, 300 years

1.       Franconian monarchy

2.       The Arab world

3.       Carolingian monarchy

4.       Roman-German Culture

VII.               From Charlemagne up to the crusades, 300 years

1.       Division of the Carolingian monarchy

2.       Roman-German emperor

3.       Hungary, Normans, Slavs

4.       Fight between the emperor and the Pope

5.       Northern Europe on the first level of culture

VIII.             From the crusades up to Columbus, 400 years

1.       Crusades of the Christian Europeans

2.       Significant influence of the Pope during the crusades

3.       Mongolian Empire

4.       Ottoman Empire

5.       Growth of the Habsburg family

6.       Outstanding power of Spain and France

7.       Scandinavian monarchy

8.       Preparation for the current culture of Europe

IX.                 From Columbus up to the French Revolution, 300 years

1.       Discovery of America

2.       France¡¯s efforts to settle in Italy

3.       Lutheran Reformation

4.       Wars and civil unrest, which were caused by the Reformation

5.       The Thirty Years War

6.       The predominance of France

7.       France and England in conflict

8.       The growing power of Russia and Prussia

9.       Influence of Russian and England on other parts of the world

10.   The French Revolution and other revolutions

11.   French Empire

12.   European culture almost on the highest level

German History

I.                     From Caesar up to Ludwig the German, 900 years

1.       The oldest inhabitants of Germany

2.       Germans and Romans

3.       The Larger Germanic Peoples (such as the Saxons, the Franks, and the Allemanni)

4.       A part of Germany under the Frankish monarchy

5.       Boniface, Apostle of Germany

6.       Charlemagne

II.                   From Ludwig the German up to Friedrich I, 300 years

1.       Germany, an independent nation

2.       Germany under indigenous kings

3.       Saxon Kings and Emperors

4.       Consequences of affiliation with Italy

III.                  From Friedrich I up to Rudolf I, 120 years

1.       Germany, a formal electoral country

2.       Origin of the noblest German States

3.       Diminished Reputation of the head of the country

4.       Germany¡¯s structure and culture develops further

IV.                From Rudolf I up to Maximilian I, 220 years

1.       The Habsburg Dynasty

2.       Luxembourgian house

V.                  From Maximilian I up to the Peace of Westphalia, 150 years

1.       The Austrian house stabilizes itself on the emperor throne

2.       Reformation

3.       Schmalkaldic War

4.       The Thirty Years War

VI.                Since the Peace of Westphalia, 150 years

1.       Germany¡¯s trade with France

2.       Greater reputation of different Princes

3.       Overwhelming power of the Electorate of Brandenburg

4.       A part of Germany under the rule or as a protectorate of France

5.       Newest Culture of Germans



Appendix IIBack to Top



Johann Georg August Galletti

A short biography

Galletti was born on the 19th of August 1750 in Altenburg, as the son of an Italian singer named Giovanni Andrea Galletti and an actress from Mannheim, Elizabeth Galletti. Both his parents worked at the court theater of Gotha. From 1762 to 1772 he studied in Göttingen, at first law then history. After his education he became a tutor and in this period his first books began to be published. In 1778 he was employed as a collaborator (teacher assistant) at the Gymnasium of Gotha. From then on he taught at the Gymnasium for more than 40 years in various subjects, such as German, Latin, and most of all history and geography.

In 1783 he was appointed as a professor of history. After some years, he married with Sophie Catterfeld, who died three years later. The next year he married Wilhelmine Laurentius. Unfortunately he had no children to enliven his later years since the two daughters he had from his marriages died young. From 1804 on he made journeys yearly, which he described afterwards. He retired from teaching in 1819 and died on the 26th of March 1828.


Although he wrote numerous books on a very wide range of topics, (see the bibliography of Galletti) that part of his works is not significantly cited or quoted. Galletti is especially famous for his classes, or more specifically the humorous errors he made during speech. Galletti is the father of the ¡°Stilblüte¡± (spoken or written statement, that through an error in word choice, syntax or through vagueness, seems inadvertently comical) or the ¡°Kathederblüte¡± (A special form of ¡°Stilblüte,¡± a name for an unintentionally humorous expression from teachers -Katheder means teacher¡¯s desk),and therefore was also called the ¡°absent-minded professor.¡± In the Quotes section there are numerous Kathederblüten cited.



Selected Quotes of Johann Georg August GallettiBack to Top



Das Kaspische Meer ist eigentlich kein Meer, sondern blos ein See, denn es ist von allen Seiten von Wasser umflossen.

The Caspian sea is actually not a sea but just a lake, since it is surrounded on all sides by water

Es gibt viele, die nicht reden, wenn sie verstummen sollten, und andere, die nicht fragen, wenn sie geantwortet haben.

There are many, who do not talk, when they should be silent, and others, who do not ask, when they didn¡¯t answer.

Widersprechen Sie nicht dem, was ich Ihnen niemals gesagt habe.

Do not contradict with something that I have not told you.

Das Känguruh springt 32 Fu©¬ weit. Es würde noch viel weiter springen, wenn es vier statt zwei Beine hätte.

The kangaroo springs 32 feet. It would spring even further if it had four instead of two legs.

Die Hitze in Koromandel ist so gro©¬, dass es die Laternen nicht aushalten können.

The heat in Koromandel is so intense, that not even the lamps can stand it.

Als Romulus Rom gründete, liefen lauter Wölfe in der Stadt herum.

When Romulus founded the city of Rome, numerous Wolves were roaming in the city streets

Nach der Schlacht von Leipzig sah man Pferde, denen drei, vier und noch mehr Beine abgeschossen waren, herrenlos herumlaufen.

After the battle of Leipzig, one saw horses with three, four or even more legs shot off, running around abandoned.


Bibliography of works by Johann Georg August GallettiBack to Top



(In chronological order, with German titles first, followed by translated English titles)

Geschichte der Herrschaft Tonna (Tonna 1778.)

History of the Reign of Tonna (Tonna 1778)

Geschichte und Beschreibung des Herzogthums Gotha. (Gotha 1779-1781. 4 Thle.)

History and Description of the Duchy of Gotha (Gotha 1779-1781, 4 parts)

Geschichte Thüringens. (Gotha 1782- 1785. 6 Bde.)

History of Thuringia (Gotha 1782-1785, 6 volumes)

Lehrbücher der europäischen Staatengeschichte (Gotha 1755. 3. Aufl. Gotha. 1815.)

Text book for the history of European Countries (Gotha 1775, 3rd edition 1815)

Lehrbücher der deutschen Staatengeschichte (Gotha. 1787. 2. Aufl. Gotha. 1805.)

Text book for the history of German state history (Gotha.1787, 2nd edition 1805)

Lehrbücher der der alten Staatengeschichte (Gotha. 1788. 4. Aufl. Gotha. 1818.),

Text book of ancient history (Gotha 1788 4th edition 1818)

Lehrbücher der Geographie (Gotha. 1790. 4. Aufl. Gotha. 1818.)

Text book of Geography(Gotha 1790 4th edition 1818)

Kleine Weltgeschichte, 1797-1819 27 Octavbände

Brief World History (1797-1819, 27 volumes in octavo)

Geographisches Elementarbuch, geographisches Taschenwörterbuch (Leipzig 1807. 3. Aufl. Leipzig. 1822.).

Elementary Geography(1804), Pocket dictionary of Geography(Leipzig 1807, 3rd edition 1822)

Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges (Gotha 1806.)

History of the Seven Years War (Gotha 1806)

Geschichte von Spanien und Portugal (Erfurt 1809-1810. 3 Bde.)

History of Spain and Portugal (Erfurt 1809-1810, 3 volumes)

Historisch-statistisch-topographischen Darstellung Frankreichs (Gotha 1813.)

Historical-Statistic-Topographic Representation of France (Gotha 1813)

Geschichte der Staaten und Völker der alten Welt (Leipzig 1822-1825. 3 Thle.)

History of States and People of the ancient World (Leipzig 1822-1825. 3 Parts)

Katechismus der Weltgeschichte (Leipzig 1825.)

Catechism of World History (Leipzig 1825)

Katechismus der teutschen Geschichte (1825.)

Cathecism of German History (1825)

Geschichte von Griechenland (Gotha 1826. 2 Bde.)

History of Greece (Gotha 1826, 2 volumes)

Geschichte des osmanischen Reichs (1826.)

History of the Ottoman Empire (Gotha 1826)

Katechismus der teutschen Vaterlandskunde (1826)

Catechism of the Studies of the German Fatherland (1826)

Anschauliche Erdbeschreibung zur leichtern und gründlichen Erlernung der Erdkunde (1825-1826, drei Octavbände)

Descriptive depiction of the earth for easier and thorough study of geography.(1825-1826, 3 volumes)

Geschichte der Fürstenthümer der Herzoge von Sachsen von der gothaischen Linie (1852)

History of the Kingdom of the dukes of Saxony and of the Gotha line (1852)



More information about him can be found in books that compiled his complete Kathederblüten, such as Das grö©¬te Insekt ist der Elefant. Professor Gallettis sämtliche Kathederblüten by Helmut Minkowski, or Gallettiana by Kurt Tucholskys.


Works CitedBack to Top




Simms, Brendan. The struggle for mastery in Germany, 1779-1850. St. Martin's Press. 1998


Fulbrook, Mary. A Concise History of Germany. Cambridge University Press. 1990


Galletti, Johann Georg August. Lehrbuch für den Schulunterricht in der Geschichtskunde (Textbook for Classes in History). Gotha. Ettingerschen Buchhandlung 1810.


Solsten, Eric The French Revolution and Germany August 1995 allRefer Reference 14 September, 2005



Howe, Helen/ Howe, Robert T. The Ancient World U.S Longman, 1992


"Evans, Sir Arthur." Encyclop©¡dia Britannica. 2005. Encyclop©¡dia Britannica Premium Service.  18  Sept.  2005



¡°Cuneiform.¡± Wikipedia. 2005. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 16 Sept. 2005



"Jakob Burckhardt," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2005. September 18, 2005.



"Gutenberg, Johannes." Encyclop©¡dia Britannica. 2005. Encyclop©¡dia Britannica Premium Service. 18 Sept. 2005 



Opatz, Matthias. Der zerstreute Professor von Gotha, Johann Georg August Galletti: Dicke Bücher und Kathederblüten. (The Absent-minded Professor of Gotha, Johann Georg August Galletti: Thick Books and Howlers) 2001. 14 August, 2004



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