For readers (are there any?) interested in such things and in the vicinity of northern Indiana, there is a conference later this week on the Reformation-era reception of the church fathers at Concordia Theological Seminary (Ft. Wayne). I am scheduled to give a paper late in the afternoon on Friday on the reception of the dispute between Augustine and Jerome on the interpretation of Galatians 2:11-14.
Well, the short answer is life. We can chalk this up to another of those very ambitiously colossal failures among so many other New Year’s resolutions. It seemed simple enough in the beginning, and I stole every chance I could to read and to blog about Mommsen in the beginning, but at some point you have to admit to yourself that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and that as nice as it would have been to say that you had done it, it’s much nicer to spend that time with a growing baby boy and to ensure that all the little details of your daily life don’t go neglected.
I did hope to get back on track, and would plot where I could fit the time in my calendar, but work and family always trumped reading Mommsen.
Mommsen was also threatening to choke the blog, and slogging through his highly conjectural, largely reference-free, and frankly boring text left me feeling burned out, hence the lack of posts here. I even disappeared from twitter.
The lessons learned are that writing daily critiques of Roman history isn’t my job, that I like my son too much to spend my evenings with dead German scholars, and that resolutions are not the way to get anything done.
Now that that’s off my chest I hope I can return to what this blog is really about: occasional observations and commentary on matters classical and pedagogical. Without the pressure.
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.
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:
About 30 lines a day will do it.
You can’t beat a deal like that, so if you or someone you love is a Classical Geek like we are, this is great time to buy a shirt that will show the world in a fun way.