1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jena
JENA, a university town of Germany, in the grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar, on the left bank of the Saale, 56 m. S.W. from Leipzig by the Grossberigen-Saalfeld and 12 m. S.E. of Weimar by the Weimar-Gera lines of railway. Pop. (1905), 26,355. Its situation in a broad valley environed by limestone hills is somewhat dreary. To the north lies the plateau, descending steeply to the valley, famous as the scene of the battle of Jena. The town is surrounded by promenades occupying the site of the old fortifications; it contains in addition to the medieval market square, many old-fashioned houses and quaint narrow streets. Besides the old university buildings, the most interesting edifices are the 15th-century church of St Michael, with a tower 318 ft. high, containing an altar, beneath which is a doorway leading to a vault, and a bronze statue of Luther, originally destined for his tomb; the university library, in which is preserved a curious figure of a dragon; and the bridge across the Saale, as long as the church steeple is high, the centre arch of which is surmounted by a stone carved head of a malefactor. Across the river is the “mountain,” or hill, whence a fine view is obtained of the town and surroundings, and hard by the Fuchs-Turm (Fox tower) celebrated for student orgies, while in the centre of the town is the house of an astronomer, Weigel, with a deep shaft through which the stars can be seen in the day time. Thus the seven marvels of Jena are summed up in the Latin lines:—
|Ara, caput, draco, mons, pons, vulpecula turris,|
|Weigeliana domus; septem miracula Jenae.|
There must also be mentioned the university church, the new university buildings, which occupy the site of the ducal palace (Schloss) where Goethe wrote his Hermann und Dorothea, the Schwarzer Bär Hotel, where Luther spent the night after his flight from the Wartburg, and four towers and a gateway which now alone mark the position of the ancient walls. The town has of late years become a favourite residential resort and has greatly extended towards the west, where there is a colony of pleasant villas. Its chief prosperity centres, however, in the university. In 1547 the elector John Frederick the Magnanimous of Saxony, while a captive in the hands of the emperor Charles V., conceived the plan of founding a university at Jena, which was accordingly established by his three sons. After having obtained a charter from the emperor Ferdinand I., it was inaugurated on the 2nd of February 1558. It was most numerously attended about the middle of the 18th century; but the most brilliant professoriate was under the duke Charles Augustus, Goethe’s patron (1787-1806), when Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, Schlegel and Schiller were on its teaching staff. Founded as a home for the new religious opinions of the 16th century, it has ever been in the forefront of German universities in liberally accepting new ideas. It distances perhaps every other German university in the extent to which it carries out what are popularly regarded as the characteristics of German student-life—duelling and the passion for Freiheit. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the opening of new universities, co-operating with the suspicions of the various German governments as to the democratic opinions which obtained at Jena, militated against the university, which has never regained its former prosperity. In 1905 it was attended by about 1100 students, and its teaching staff (including privatdocenten) numbered 112. Amongst its numerous auxiliaries may be mentioned the library, with 200,000 volumes, the observatory, the meteorological institute, the botanical garden, seminaries of theology, philology and education, and well equipped clinical, anatomical and physical institutes. There are also veterinary and agricultural colleges in connexion with the university. The manufactures of Jena are not considerable. The book trade has of late years revived, and there are several printing establishments.
Jena appears to have possessed municipal rights in the 13th century. At the beginning of the 14th century it was in the possession of the margraves of Meissen, from whom it passed in 1423 to the elector of Saxony. Since 1485 it has remained in the Ernestine line of the house of Saxony. In 1662 it fell to Bernhard, youngest son of William duke of Weimar, and became the capital of a small separate duchy. Bernhard’s line having become extinct in 1690, Jena was united with Eisenach, and in 1741 reverted with that duchy to Weimar. In more modern times Jena has been made famous by the defeat inflicted in the vicinity, on the 14th of October 1806, by Napoleon upon the Prussian army under the prince of Hohenlohe (see Napoleonic Campaigns).
See Schreiber and Färber, Jena von seinem Ursprung bis zur neuesten Zeit (2nd ed., 1858); Ortloff, Jena und Umgegend (3rd ed., 1875); Leonhardt, Jena als Universität und Stadt (Jena, 1902); Ritter, Führer durch Jena und Umgebung (Jena, 1901); Biedermann, Die Universität Jena (Jena, 1858); and the Urkundenbuch der Stadt Jena edited by J. E. A. Martin and O. Devrient (1888-1903).