Theodor Mommsen

Theodor Mommsen

German historian
Date of Birth: 30.11.1817
Country: Germany

Biography of Theodor Mommsen

The German historian Theodor Mommsen was a member of the National Liberal Party and a deputy of the Prussian Landtag (1863-1866, 1873-1879) and Reichstag (1881-1884). He was a staunch opponent of Bismarck's domestic policies. Mommsen studied at the University of Kiel, where he obtained a doctorate in philosophy. His first treatise, "Roman Associations and Alliances" (De collegiis et sodaliciis Romanorum, 1843), received favorable reviews for its thoroughness and clear style.

From 1844 to 1847, Mommsen traveled to France and Italy as a representative of the Berlin Academy, studying manuscripts and inscriptions. Upon returning to Germany in 1848, he became a professor of Roman law at Leipzig, but was stripped of his professorial title due to his political views and participation in the 1848 revolution. He taught in Zurich from 1852 to 1854, in Breslau from 1854 to 1858, and then became a professor of ancient history at the University of Berlin, where he taught until the end of his life.

Mommsen was a member of the National Liberal Party and a deputy of the Prussian Landtag (1863-1866, 1873-1879) and Reichstag (1881-1884). In 1882, during an election campaign, he referred to Bismarck's protectionism as "policy of inflation." He was accused of defamation, but was acquitted in court.

Mommsen authored an immense number of major and minor works (the list includes 1513 titles), but he is best known to the general public as the author of "The History of Rome" (Römische Geschichte, Vols. 1-3, 1854-1857), which reflects the political experiences of the author himself. Mommsen led the publication of a comprehensive collection of Latin inscriptions, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, which began in 1863. He also wrote works on Roman constitutional law (Römisches Staatsrecht, 3 Vols., 1871-1888), Roman criminal law (Römisches Strafrecht, 1899), and the provinces of the Roman Empire (Volume 5 of "The History of Rome," 1885).

In 1902, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mommsen passed away on November 1, 1903, in Charlottenburg.

© BIOGRAPHS