Archaeologist and philologist; author of a corpus of Roman sarcophagi. Robert was born to a family of academics, originally of French origin. He studied at Bonn under Otto Jahn, Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz and Anton Springer and, in Berlin, under Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) and Adolf Kirchhoff (1826-1908) and Ulrich von Wilamowtiz-Moellendorff (1848-1931). He traveled extensively on research before accepting a position as Extraordinarius (associate professor) of archaeology in Berlin in 1877. Three years later he had advanced to full professor. He remained at Berlin until 1890 when he moved to the University in Halle to direct the new archaeological museum there. He was succeeded in Berlin by Kekulé who had come to Berlin as museum director to the Kaiser. In Halle, Robert directed the university's museum and began to issue his famous corpus of Roman sarcophagi, Antike Sarkophagreliefs, 1890-1919, with Friedrich Matz (1890-1974) based on Mommsen's Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, published by the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI). The corpus required more than fourteen trips to Italy. At the same time he revised the Mythologie of Ludwig Preller (1809-1861) and edited the classical journal Hermes for over forty years. The museum Robert directed at Hall was renamed the Robertinum in the 1920s to commemorate his accomplishments. The art historian Josef Rudolf Thomas Strzygowski wrote his dissertation with his assistance at Munich under Enrico Brunn. Robert exemplifies Jahn's methodology of "monumental philology" perhaps better than any other of Jahn's students. The Roman sarcophagi corpus is among the most important examples. This corpus was the model for other art-historical models, including the Corpus vasorum antiquorum and the Corpus vitrearum Medii Aevi.
Marburg, Lahn, Germany
Halle (Saale), Germany
and Matz, Friedrich. Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs. [ Robert wrote] vols II "Mythologische Cyklen,"and III "Einzelmythen," parts 1-3, Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1890ff.; Archäologische Hermeneutik: Anleitung zur Deutung klassischer Bildwerke. Berlin: Weidmann, 1919; Kentaurenkampf und Tragoedienscene: zwei Marmorbilder aus Herculaneum, nebst einem Excurs über das Heraklesbild in Casa del centenario. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1898.
Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 96-97; Calder, William, III. "Robert, Carl (1850-1922)." Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 2, p. 962.