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N.S. Gill

Birth of Mommsen

By November 30, 2013

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This Day in History: November 30

This month began with the death of Mommsen and ends with his birth. It was on this day in 1817 that the great German scholar Theodor Mommsen was born. He wrote authoritatively about ancient Rome, and in 1902 he won a Nobel Prize for Literature. Read more about Theodor Mommsen.

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November 30, 2006 at 4:35 pm
(1) RomaHOST says:

More here:

Especially Mark Twain’s article on Mommsen!

May 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm
(2) stanley pacion says:

In the spring of 1892, Mark Twain described Berlin for the readers of the Chicago Tribune. He admired the city’s beauty, the cleanliness of its streets, and the energy of its inhabitants, but it was the bustling Berliners’ reverence for science and scholarship that impressed him most deeply. He described how, at a banquet held in honour of two great scientists, the pathologist Rudolf Virchow and the physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, a thousand students sang their corps songs, drew their swords in unison, and toasted the eminent men.

Suddenly all the students, row by row, began to stand. ‘This supreme honor had been offered to no one before. Then there was an excited whisper at our table – “Mommsen!” – and the whole house rose. Rose and shouted and stamped and clapped, and banged the beer-mugs.’ To Twain, ‘the little man with his long hair and Emersonian face’ who now made his appearance had always seemed ‘only a giant myth, a world-shadowing specter, not a reality,’ but ‘Here he was, carrying the Roman world and all the Caesars in his hospitable skull, and doing it as easily as that other luminous vault, the skull of the universe, carries the Milky Way and the constellations.’

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