In Mommsen's Shade:
Roman Historiography, Past and Present.
Classics Ireland, 9.
When it comes to assessing the reputations of the great modern historians of Roman antiquity, Edward Gibbon (1737-94), in the English speaking world at any rate, perhaps counts for more than Theodor Mommsen (1818-1903). Gibbonâs theme is on a grand scale, articulated in mellifluous prose. Mommsenâs work cannot compare on either level: the history of the Republic does not evoke the same visceral fascination as the fall of the Empire; and a translation can hardly match the art of an original. Yet as all those who pursue research into the Roman world know, our debt to Mommsen is perhaps greater than that to Gibbon.
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