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Mommsen

Theodor Mommsen

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Definition:

Name: Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen
Dates: November 30, 1817 - November 1, 1903 in Charlottenburg, near Berlin, in Prussia
Birthplace: Garding, Schleswig
Parents: Jen Mommsen, a Protestant minister, and Sophie Krumbhaar

Typifying the expression "German scholar," Theodor Mommsen wrote authoritative works in ancient Roman history and related fields. Mostly home educated until he attended the university in Kiel, where he studied philology and jurisprudence, his father encouraged him to learn Greek, Latin, and the Classics. Later Mommsen was made permanent secretary of the Prussian Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Prussian parliament from the Progressive party.

He wrote a history of Roman financial systems in 1860, published

  • 3 volumes of Die Römische Geschichte 'The Roman History' between 1854-56,
  • Römisches Staatsrecht 'Roman Law of States', in 3 volumes, between 1871 and 1888,
  • Römisches Strafrecht 'Roman Penal Law' in 1899 and
  • as editor, he worked on the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 'Body of Latin Inscriptions' (CIL) the authoritative work on Roman epigraphy (inscriptions), making its focus archaeological/historical rather than philolological/textual.

In 1902 Mommsen won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

References:

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