Posted by Dennis » 9 Comments »
If you’re anything like me you make New Year’s resolutions about reading Mommsen and Gibbon, but then you get frustrated as you plan out your reading. How do you fill the gap between the two?
I’m not concerned here with the most up to date, scholarly treatment of the minutiae of Roman history. I want good, classic accounts of Roman history told in a satisfying way without all the pretense to neutrality and disinterestedness, or the overt theoretical baggage that makes so much modern writing unbearable.
So to help matters along I’ll try to fill the gap with Charles Merivale‘s History of the Romans Under the Empire. Since it’s somewhat difficult (and quite expensive) to round up the complete set in print, I’ve done some wrangling at the Internet Archive and present here a list of the seven volumes for easy reference.
- Volume 1
- Volume 2
- Volume 3
- Volume 4
- Volume 5
- Volume 6
- Volume 7
- Volume 8
Of course I already own Mommsen (the original four-volume history and the fifth on the provinces) and Gibbon (the same three-volume set that Grandpa Gene has young Sally read to him on AMC’s Mad Men), so you’re on your own for those.
By my rough estimate the three sets — Mommsen, Merivale, and Gibbon — could be finished before the next New Year by reading 25-30 pages a day.
Who’s with me?
Laura Gibbs has done anyone contemplating this project a real service by locating all of the necessary volumes on Google Books.
The sequence would be as follows:
- Mommsen, History of Rome (2,512 pages)
- 4 volumes from prehistory to the end of the Republic.
- Mommsen, The Provinces, from Caesar to Diocletian (721 pages)
- 2 volumes on the provinces and peoples from Caesar to Diocletian.
- Merivale, History of the Romans Under the Empire (3,445 pgs.)
- 8 volumes bridging the gap between Mommsen and Gibbon.
- Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (3,665 pgs.)
- 7 volumes from the Antonines through the fall of Byzantium.
About 30 lines a day will do it.