Conrad Bursian (1830-1883), German philologist and archaeologist, was born at Mutzschen in Saxony, on the 14th of November 1830. On the removal of his parents to Leipzig, he received his early education at the Thomas school, and entered the university in 1847. Here he studied under Moritz Haupt and Otto Jahn until 1851, spent six months in Berlin (chiefly to attend Böckh's lectures), and completed his university studies at Leipzig (1852). The next three years were devoted to travelling in Belgium, France, Italy and Greece. In 1856 he became a Privat-docent, and in 1858 extraordinary professor at Leipzig; in 1861 professor of philology and archaeology at Tübingen; in 1864 professor of classical antiquities at Zurich; in 1869 at Jena, where he was also director of the archaeological museum; in 1874 at Munich, where he remained until his death on the 21st of September 1883. His most important works are: Geographie von Griechenland (1862-1872); Beiträge zur Geschichte der klassischen Studien im Mittelalter (1873); Geschichte der klassischen Philologie in Deutschland (1883); editions of Julius Firmicus Maternus' De Errore Profanarum Religionum (1856) and of Seneca's Suasoriae (1857). The article on Greek Art in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopaedia is by him.

Probably the work in connexion with which he is best known is the Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft (1873, etc.), of which he was the founder and editor; from 1879 a Biographisches Jahrbuch für Altertumskunde was published by way of supplement, an obituary notice of Bursian, with a complete list of his writings, being in the volume for 1884.