Mr. Mommsen's History

I've always found history fascinating, but at the same time, I've always found history books completely and utterly boring. I don't think I did anything more than skim my history textbooks in high school, and as I entered college, it was even worse, because the books had fewer to no pictures in them! So you could imagine my excitement when I discovered that the next winner of the Nobel Prize, Theodor Mommsen, pretty much wrote history books. According to, he was recognized as "the greatest living master of the art of historical writing." So maybe reading Mr. Mommsen's work won't be too much of a snooze.

From what I read about Mr. Mommsen, or Christian Matthais Theodor Mommsen, on Wikipedia and, it sounds as if he led a pretty fascinating life--as fascinating a life one could have being a historian and professor of Roman History. He did, though, father 16 children with his wife. Wow. Among his academic achievements and all that historical research and writing, how did he find the time?! Also of particular interest was a fire in 1880 in his workroom-library that consumed several manuscripts, important writings on loan from the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and possibly the Manuscript of Jordanes from Heidelberg University library. Those librarians must have felt pretty crunchy.

Mr. Mommsen was particularly noted for his five volume "monumental work," A history of Rome. Now, I do not plan to read all five volumes. That would take way too much time. And to admit, I don't even plan to read an entire volume. A title of Mr. Mommsen's that's most easily accessible to me is The Provinces of the Roman Empire: The European Provinces, a selection from the 5th volume, book 8 of A History of Rome. It's the only title of Mr. Mommsen's that my library owns (and one that looks as if it may be weeded it soon, as it's not very attractive and appears to not have been checked out since 2004). I could do an inter-library loan for something more, but it would take two weeks to get, and I fear this project's going to take enough time already.

Anyway, 338 pages from Mr. Mommsen sounds good enough for me. So, on to my next read...