Timeline of World History TIMELINE OF WORLD HISTORY



1800 - 1899
1800-09 1810-19 1820-29 1830-39 1840-49 1850-59 1860-69 1870-79 1880-89 1890-99
1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890
1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
1802 1812 1822 1832 1842 1852 1862 1872 1882 1892
1803 1813 1823 1833 1843 1853 1863 1873 1883 1893
1804 1814 1824 1834 1844 1854 1864 1874 1884 1894
1805 1815 1825 1835 1845 1855 1865 1875 1885 1895
1806 1816 1826 1836 1846 1856 1866 1876 1886 1896
1807 1817 1827 1837 1847 1857 1867 1877 1887 1897
1808 1818 1828 1838 1848 1858 1868 1878 1888 1898
1809 1819 1829 1839 1849 1859 1869 1879 1889 1899
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1850 - 1859
History at a Glance
1850 Part I
Compromise of 1850
Constitution of Prussia
The eight Kaffir War, 1850-1853
Masaryk Tomas
Kitchener Horatio Herbert
Erfurt Union
Fillmore Millard
Taiping Rebellion
Hong Xiuquan
Feng Yunshan
Yang Xiuqing
Shi Dakai
1850 Part II
Protestant churches in Prussia
Public Libraries Act 1850
Schopenhauer: "Parerga und Paralipomena"
Herbert Spencer: "Social Statics"
E. B. Browning: "Sonnets from the Portuguese"
Emerson: "Representative Men"
Hawthorne: "The Scarlet Letter"
Herzen Aleksandr
Ibsen: "Catiline"
Loti Pierre
Maupassant Guy
Guy de Maupassant
Stevenson Robert Louis
Robert Louis Stevenson  
"Treasure Island
Turgenev: "A Month in the Country"
1850 Part III
Corot: "Une Matinee"
Courbet: "The Stone Breakers"
Menzel: "Round Table at Sansouci"
Millais: "Christ in the House of His Parents"
Millet: "The Sower"
Bristow George Frederick
George Frederick Bristow - Dream Land
George Frederick Bristow
Schumann: "Genoveva"
Wagner: "Lohengrin"
1850 Part IV
Bernard Claude
Clausius Rudolf
Stephenson Robert
Chebyshev Pafnuty Lvovich
Barth Heinrich
Galton Francis
Anderson Karl John
McClure Robert
McClure Arctic Expedition
Royal Meteorological Society
University of Sydney
1851 Part I
Victoria, state of Australia
Murdock Joseph Ballard
Machado Bernardino
Bourgeois Leon Victor Auguste
Foch Ferdinand
Bombardment of Sale
French coup d'état
Danilo II
Hawthorne: "The House of Seven Gables"
Gottfried Keller: "Der grune Heinrich"
Ward Humphry
Ruskin: "The Stones of Venice"
1851 Part II
Herman Melville: "Moby Dick"
Corot: "La Danse des Nymphes"
Walter Thomas Ustick
Ward Leslie
Crystal Palace
Falero Luis Ricardo
Luis Ricardo Falero
Kroyer Peder
Peder Kroyer
Hughes Edward Robert
Edward Robert Hughes
1851 Part III
Gounod: "Sappho"
D’Indy Vincent
Vincent D'Indy - Medee
Vincent d'Indy
Verdi: "Rigoletto"
Bogardus James
Cast-iron architecture
Kapteyn Jacobus Cornelius
Helmholtz's ophthalmoscope
Neumann Franz Ernst
Ruhmkorff Heinrich Daniel
Singer Isaac Merrit
Cubitt William
Thomson William
Royal School of Mines
Carpenter Mary
"The New York Times"
1852 Part I
Joffre Joseph
Second French Empire
Second Anglo-Burmese War
New Zealand Constitution Act
Asquith Herbert Henry
Pierce Franklin
Delisle Leopold Victor
Fischer Kuno
First Plenary Council of Baltimore
Vaihinger Hans
Gioberti Vincenzo
1852 Part II
Bourget Paul
Creasy Edward
Creasy: "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloo"
Charles Dickens: "Bleak House"
Theophile Gautier: "Emaux et Camees"
Moore George
Reade Charles
Harriet Beecher Stowe: "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Thackeray: "History of Henry Esmond"
Turgenev: "A Sportsman's Sketches"
Zhukovsky Vasily
1852 Part III
Fopd Madox Brown: "Christ Washing Peter's Feet"
William Holman Hunt: "The Light of the World"
John Everett Millais: "Ophelia"
Bryullov Karl
Karl Bryullov
Stanford Charles
Charles Villiers Stanford - Piano Concerto No.2
Charles Stanford
Becquerel Henri
Gerhardt Charles Frederic
Van’t Hoff Jacobus Henricus
Mathijsen Antonius
Michelson Albert
Ramsay William
Sylvester James Joseph
United All-England Eleven
Wells Fargo & Company
1853 Part I
Eugenie de Montijo
Crimean War
Battle of Sinop
Rhodes Cecil
Peter V
Nagpur Province
1853 Part II
Mommsen: "History of Rome"
Matthew Arnold: "The Scholar-Gipsy"
Charlotte Bronte: "Villette"
Caine Hall
Elizabeth Gaskell: "Ruth"
Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Tanglewood Tales"
Charles Kingsley: "Hypatia"
Tree Herbert Beerbohm
Charlotte M. Yonge: "The Heir of Redclyffe"
1853 Part III
Haussmann Georges-Eugene
Larsson Carl
Carl Larsson
Hodler Ferdinand
Ferdinand Hodler
Van Gogh Vincent
Vincent van Gogh
Steinway Henry Engelhard
Verdi: "Il Trovatore"
Verdi: "La Traviata"
Wood Alexander
"Die Gartenlaube"
International Statistical Congress
1854 Part I
Bloemfontein Convention
Orange Free State
Battle of the Alma
Menshikov Alexander Sergeyevich
Siege of Sevastopol (1854-1855)
Kornilov Vladimir Alexeyevich
Battle of Balaclava
Battle of Inkerman
Perry Matthew Calbraith
Gadsden Purchase
Bleeding Kansas (1854–59)
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Elgin-Marcy Treaty
Republican Party
Said of Egypt
Ostend Manifesto
1854 Part II
Herzog Johann
Jewish Theological Seminary of Breslau
Youthful Offenders Act 1854
Immaculate Conception
Patmore Coventry
Patmore: "The Angel in the House"
Sandeau Leonard
Guerrazzi Francesco Domenico
Rimbaud Arthur
Arthur Rimbaud "Poems"
Tennyson: "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Thackeray: "The Rose and the Ring"
Thoreau: "Walden, or Life in the Woods"
1854 Part III
Courbet: "Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet"
Frith William Powell
William Frith
Millet: "The Reaper"
Angrand Charles
Charles Angrand
Gotch Thomas Cooper
Thomas Cooper Gotch
Berlioz: "The Infant Christ"
Humperdinck Engelbert
Humperdinck - Hansel und Gretel
Liszt: "Les Preludes"
1854 Part IV
Poincare Henri
Eastman George
Ehrenberg Christian Gottfried
Paul Ehrlich
Goebel Henry
George Boole: "The Laws of Thought"
Riemann Bernhard
Wallace Alfred Russel
Southeast Asia
"Le Figaro"
Litfass Ernst
Northcote–Trevelyan Report
Maurice Frederick Denison
1855 Part I
Alexander II
Istomin Vladimir Ivanovich
Somerset FitzRoy
Nakhimov Pavel Stepanovich
Treaty of Peshawar
Bain Alexander
Droysen Johann
Gratry Auguste
Milman Henry
Le Play Pierre
1855 Part II
Charles Kingsley: "Westward Ho!"
Nerval Gerard
Charles Dickens "Little Dorrit"
Ganghofer Ludwig
Longfellow: "The Song of Hiawatha"
Corelli Marie
Pinero Arthur Wing
Tennyson: "Maud"
Anthony Trollope: "The Warden"
Turgenev: "Rudin"
Walt Whitman: "Leaves of Grass"
Berlioz: "Те Deum"
Verdi: "Les Vepres Siciliennes"
Chansson Ernest
Chausson - Poeme
Ernest Chausson
1855 Part III
Hughes David Edward
Lowell Percival
Cunard Line
"The Daily Telegraph"
Niagara Falls suspension bridge
Paris World Fair
1856 Part I
Victoria Cross
Doctrine of Lapse
Oudh State
Ottoman Reform Edict of 1856
Congress of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1856)
Napoleon, Prince Imperial
Sacking of Lawrence
Pottawatomie massacre
Second Opium War (1856-1860)
Anglo–Persian War (1856-1857)
Buchanan James
1856 Part II
Froude: "History of England"
Goldstucker Theodor
Lotze Rudolf Hermann
Motley: "Rise of the Dutch Republic"
Flaubert: "Madame Bovary"
Haggard Henry Rider
Victor Hugo: "Les Contemplations"
Charles Reade: "It Is Never Too Late to Mend"
Shaw George Bernard
Wilde Oscar
1856 Part III
Berlage Hendrik Petrus
Ferstel Heinrich
Sargent John
John Singer Sargent
Vrubel Mikhail
Mikhail Vrubel
Cross Henri Edmond
Henri-Edmond Cross
Bechstein Carl
Dargomyzhsky Alexander
Alexander Dargomyzhsky: "Rusalka"
Alexander Dargomyzhsky
Maillart Aime
Aime Maillart - Les Dragons de Villars
Sinding Christian
Sinding - Suite in A minor
Christian Sinding
1856 Part IV
Bessemer Henry
Bessemer process
Freud Sigmund
Sigmund Freud
Peary Robert Edwin
Pringsheim Nathanael
Siemens Charles William
Hardie James Keir
Taylor Frederick Winslow
"Big Ben"
1857 Part I
Treaty of Paris
Indian Rebellion of 1857
Italian National Society
Manin Daniele
Taft William Howard
1857 Part II
Buckle Henry Thomas
Buckle: "History of Civilization in England"
Charles Baudelaire: "Les Fleurs du mal"
Conrad Joseph
Joseph Conrad 
"Lord Jim"
George Eliot: "Scenes from Clerical Life"
Hughes Thomas
Thomas Hughes: "Tom Brown's Schooldays"
Mulock Dinah
 Pontoppidan Henrik
Adalbert Stifter: "Nachsommer"
Sudermann Hermann
Thackeray: "The Virginians"
Anthony Trollope: "Barchester Towers"
1857 Part III
Klinger Max
Max Klinger
Millet: "The Gleaners"
Dahl Johan Christian
Johan Christian Dahl
Leoncavallo Ruggero
Ruggero Leoncavallo - Pagliacci
Ruggero Leoncavallo 
Elgar Edward
Edward Elgar - The Light of Life
Edward Elgar
Kienzl Wilhelm
Wilhelm Kienzl - Symphonic Variations
Wilhelm Kienzl
Liszt: "Eine Faust-Symphonie"
1857 Part IV
Coue Emile
Hertz Heinrich
Wagner-Jauregg Julius
Ross Ronald
Newton Charles Thomas
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
Burton Richard
Speke John Hanning
The Nile Quest
McClintock Francis
Alpine Club
"The Atlantic Monthly"
Baden-Powell Robert
Matrimonial Causes Act
North German Lloyd
1858 Part I
Orsini Felice
Stanley Edward
Treaty of Tientsin
Government of India Act 1858
Law Bonar
William I
Karageorgevich Alexander
Roosevelt Theodore
1858 Part II
Bernadette Soubirous
Carey Henry Charles
Thomas Carlyle: "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"
Hecker Isaac
Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle
Rothschild Lionel Nathan
Schaff Philip
Benson Frank
Feuillet Octave
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table"
Kainz Joseph
Lagerlof Selma
1858 Part III
Corinth Lovis
Lovis Corinth
William Powell Frith: "The Derby Day"
Menzel: "Bon soir, Messieurs"
Segantini Giovanni
Giovanni Segantini
Khnopff Fernand
Fernand Khnopff
Toorop Jan
Cornelius Peter
Cornelius: "Der Barbier von Bagdad"
Jaques Offenbach: "Orpheus in der Unterwelt"
Puccini Giacomo
Giacomo Puccini: Donna non vidi mai
Giacomo Puccini
1858 Part IV
Diesel Rudolf
Huxley Thomas Henry
Planck Max
Mirror galvanometer
General Medical Council
Suez Canal Company
S.S. "Great Eastern"
Webb Beatrice
Webb Sidney
Transatlantic telegraph cable
1859 Part I
Second Italian War of Independence
Battle of Varese
Battle of Palestro
Battle of Magenta
Battle of Solferino
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Francis II of the Two Sicilies
Charles XV of Sweden
German National Association
Jaures Jean
Roon Albrecht
William II
1859 Part II
Bergson Henri
Henri Bergson
Bergson Henri "Creative Evolution"
Charles Darwin: "On the Origin of Species"
Dewey John
Husserl Edmund
Karl Marx: "Critique of Political Economy"
John Stuart Mill: "Essay on Liberty"
Tischendorf Konstantin
Codex Sinaiticus
Villari Pasquale
1859 Part III
Dickens: "A Tale of Two Cities"
Doyle Arthur Conan
Arthur Conan Doyle  
Duse Eleonora
George Eliot: "Adam Bede"
Edward Fitzgerald: "Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam"
Ivan Goncharov: "Oblomov"
Hamsun Knut
Heidenstam Verner
Housman Alfred Edward
A.E. Housman 
"A Shropshire Lad", "Last Poems"
Victor Hugo: "La Legende des siecles"
Jerome K. Jerome
Tennyson: "Idylls of the King"
1859 Part IV
Corot: "Macbeth"
Gilbert Cass
Millet: "The Angelus"
Hassam Childe
Childe Hassam 
Seurat Georges
Georges Seurat
Whistler: "At the Piano"
Daniel Decatur Emmett: "Dixie"
Gounod: "Faust"
Verdi: "Un Ballo in Maschera"
1859 Part V
Arrhenius Svante
Kirchhoff Gustav
Curie Pierre
Drake Edwin
Drake Well
Plante Gaston
Lead–acid battery
Smith Henry John Stephen
Brunel Isambard Kingdom
Blondin Charles
Lansbury George
Samuel Smiles: "Self-Help"

Charles Kingsley: "Hypatia"
YEAR BY YEAR:  1800 - 1899
1853 Part II
Mommsen: "History of Rome"
The History of Rome (German: Römische Geschichte) is a multi-volume history of ancient Rome written by Mommsen Theodor (1817–1903). Originally published by Reimer & Hirsel, Leipzig, as three volumes during 1854-1856, the work dealt with the Roman Republic. A subsequent book was issued which concerned the provinces of the Roman Empire. Recently published was a further book on the Empire, reconstructed from lecture notes. The initial three volumes won widespread acclaim upon publication; indeed, "The Roman History made Mommsen famous in a day." Still read and qualifiedly cited, it is the prolific Mommsen's most well-known work. The work was specifically cited when Mommsen was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Writing the History followed Mommsen's earlier achievements in the study of ancient Rome. He had not himself designed to write a history, but the opportunity presented itself in 1850 while at the University of Leipzig where Mommsen was a thirty-two-year-old special Professor of Law. "Invited to give a public lecture while at Leipzig, I delivered an address on the Gracchi. Reimer and Hirzel, the publishers, were present, and two days later they asked me to write a Roman History for their series." Having been dismissed from the University for revolutionary activities, Mommsen would accept the publishing proposal "partly for my livelihood, and partly because the work greatly appeals to me."

The publishers specified that the work focus on events and circumstances, and avoid discussing the scholarly process. While they certainly wanted a well-respected academic work to fit their acclaimed series on history, Karl Reimer and Solomon Hirzel were also seeking one with literary merit that would be accessible and appeal to the educated public. As a scholar Mommsen was an active party in recent advances made in ancient Roman studies. Yet Mommsen also had some experience as a journalist. He might well manage to become a popular academic author. "It is high time for such a work", Mommsen wrote to an associate in Roman studies, "it is more than ever necessary to present to a wider audience the results of our researches."


Originally the History was conceived as a five volume work, spanning Roman history from its inception to the emperor Diocletian (284-305). The first three volumes, which covered the origin of Rome through the fall of the Republic, ending with the reforms of Julius Caesar, were published in 1854, 1855, and 1856, as the Römische Geschichte.

These three volumes did indeed become popular, very popular. "Their success was immediate." Here "a professional scholar" presented his readers with a prose that was of "such vigor and life, such grasp of detail combined with such vision, such self-confident mastery of a vast field of learning."

A notebook used by Theodore Mommsen for his Römische Geschichte or History of Rome.

Especially in Mommsen's third volume, as the narrative told of how the political crisis in the Roman Republic came to its final climax, "he wrote with a fire of imagination and emotion almost unknown in a professional history. Here was scientific learning with the stylistic vigor of a novel."

These first three volumes of the Römische Geschichte retained their popularity in Germany, with eight editions being published in Mommsen's lifetime. Following his death in 1903, an additional eight German editions have issued.

Later volumes
A planned fourth volume covering Roman history under the Empire was delayed pending Mommsen's completion of a then 15-volume work on Roman inscriptions, which required his services as researcher, writer, and editor, occupying Mommsen for many years. After repeated delays the projected fourth volume was eventually abandoned, or at least not completed; an early manuscript may have been lost in a fire.

In 1885, however, Mommsen had ready another work on ancient Rome, later translated into English as The Provinces of the Roman Empire. In Germany it was published as the fifth volume of his Römische Geschichte. In thirteen chapters it describes the different imperial provinces, each as a stand-alone subject. Here there was no running narration of major Roman political events, often dramatic, as was the case in Mommsen's popular chronological telling of his earlier volumes.

In 1992, a reconstruction of Mommsen's missing "fourth volume" on the Empire was issued. Its sources were lesson notes taken by two related students, Sebastian Hensel (father) and Paul Hensel (son), of lectures delivered by Prof. Mommsen during 1882-1886 regarding his courses on imperial Roman History, given at the University of Berlin. These student notes were 'discovered' in 1980 at a used bookshop in Nuremberg by Alexander Demandt, then edited by Barbara Demandt and Alexander Demandt; the resulting German text was published in 1992. The Hensel family was distinguished, the son becoming a philosophy professor, the father writing a family history (1879) with regard to his mother's brother the composer Felix Mendelssohn, and the paternal grandfather being a Prussian court painter.

  In English
The contemporary English translations were the work of Dr. William Purdie Dickson, a divinity professor at the University of Glasgow. The first three German volumes (which contained five 'books') were published during 1862 to 1866 by R. Bentley & Son, London.

Over several decades Prof. Dickson prepared further English editions of this translation, keeping pace with Mommsen's revisions in German. All told, close to a hundred editions and reprints of the English translation have been published.

In 1958 selections from the final two 'books' of the three-volume History were prepared by Dero A. Saunders and John H. Collins for a shorter English version. The content was chosen to highlight Mommsen's telling of the social-political struggles over several generations leading to the fall of the Republic.

Provided with new annotations and a revised translation, the book presents an abridgment revealing the historical chronology. With rigor Mommsen is shown narrating the grave political drama and illuminating its implications; the book closes with his lengthy description of the new order of government adumbrated by Julius Caesar.

With regard to Mommsen's 1885 "fifth volume" on the Roman provinces, Prof. Dr. Dickson immediate began to supervise its translation. In 1886 it appeared as The Provinces of the Roman Empire. From Caesar to Diocletian.

Mommsen's missing fourth volume was reconstructed from student notes and published in 1992 under the title Römische Kaisergeschichte. It was soon translated into English by Clare Krojzl as A History of Rome under the Emperors.


Provinces of the Roman Empire, 117 A.D.
Review of contents
The Republic

With exceptions, Mommsen in his Römische Geschichte (1854–1856) narrates a straight chronology of historic events and circumstances. Often strongly worded, he carefully describes the political acts taken by the protagonists, demonstrates the immediate results, draws implications for the future, while shedding light on the evolving society that surround them. The chronology of the contents of his five 'books' (in his first three volumes) are in brief:

Book I, Roman origins and the Monarchy;
Book II, the Republic until the Union of Italy;
Book III, the Punic Wars and the East;
Book IV, the Gracchi, Marius, Drusus, and Sulla;
Book V, the Civil Wars and Julius Caesar.

The broad strokes of Mommsen's long, sometimes intense narrative of the Roman Republic were summarized at the 1902 award of the Nobel Prize in a speech given by the secretary of the Swedish Academy. At the beginning, the strength of Rome derived from the health of its families, e.g., a Roman's obedience to the state was associated with obedience of son to father. From here Mommsen skillfully unrolls the huge canvas of Rome's long development from rural town to world capital. An early source of stability and effectiveness was the stubbornly preserved constitution; e.g., the reformed Senate composed of patricians and plebeians generally handled public affairs of the city-state in an honorable manner.

Outline of Roman Constitution.
Yet the great expansion of Rome and the consequent transformations worked to subvert the ancient order. Gradually, older institutions grew incapable of effectively meeting new and challenging circumstances, of performing the required civic tasks. The purported sovereignty of the comitia (people's assembly) became only a fiction, which might be exploited by demagogues for their own purposes. In the Senate, the old aristocratic oligarchy began to become corrupted by the enormous wealth derived from military conquest and its aftermath; it no longer served well its functional purpose, it failed to meet new demands placed on Rome, and its members would selfishly seek to preserve inherited prerogatives against legitimate challenge and transition. A frequently unpatriotic capitalism abused its power in politics and by irresponsible speculation. The free peasantry became squeezed by the competing demands of powerful interests; accordingly its numbers began to dwindle, which eventually led to a restructuring of Army recruitment, and later resulted in disastrous consequences for the entire commonwealth.

Roman Senate (Cicero attacking Catilina, 63 BCE). 19th-century fresco in Italian Senate at Palazzo Madama.
Moreover the annual change of consuls (the two Roman chief executives) began to adversely impact the consistent management of its armed forces, and to weaken their effectiveness, especially in the era following the Punic Wars. Eventually it led to the prolongation of military commands in the field; hence, Roman army generals became increasingly independent, and they led soldiers personally loyal to them. These military leaders began to acquire the ability to rule better than the ineffective civil institutions. In short, the civil power's political capabilities were not commensurate with the actual needs of the Roman state.

As Rome's strength and reach increased, the political situation developed in which an absolute command structure imposed by military leaders at the top might, in the long run, in many cases be more successful and cause less chaos and hardship to the citizenry than the corrupt and incompetent rule by the oligarchy of quarreling old families who de facto controlled the government. Such was his purpose when the conservative Optimate, the noble and Roman general Sulla (138-78), seized state power by military force; yet he sought without permanent success to restore the Senate nobility to its former power.

Political instability soon returned, social unrest being the disagreeable norm. The conservative renovation of the Republic's institutions was abandoned and taken apart. Eventually the decisive civil war victory of the incomparable Julius Caesar (100-44), followed by his executive mastery and public-minded reforms, appeared as the necessary and welcome step forward toward resolution of the sorry and bloody debacle at Rome. This, in the dramatic narrative of Theodore Mommsen.


Mommsen's penultimate chapter provides an outline of the 'nation building' program begun by Caesar following his victory.

Institutions were reformed, the many regions ruled by Rome became more unified in design, as if prepared for a future Empire which would endure for centuries; this, during Caesar's last five and a half years alive.

His work at statecraft included the following: the slow pacification of party strife, nonetheless with republican opposition latent and episodically expressed; his assumption of the title Imperator (refusing the crown, yet continuing since 49 as dictator), with reversion of the Senate to an advisory council, and the popular comitia as a compliant legislature, although law might be made by his edicts alone; his assumption of authority over tax and treasury, over provincial governors, and over the capital; supreme jurisdiction (trial and appellate) over the continuing republican legal system, with the judex being selected among senators or equites, yet criminal courts remained corrupted by factional infighting; supreme command over the decayed Roman army, which was reorganized and which remained under civilian control; reform of government finance, of budgeting re income and expense, and of corn distribution; cultivation of civil peace in Rome by control of criminal "clubs", by new city police, and by public building projects.

Impossible problems: widespread slavery, disappearance of family farms, extravagance and immorality of the wealthy, dire poverty, speculation, debt; Caesar's reforms: favoring families, against absentees, restricting luxuries, debt relief (but not cancellation as demanded by populares), personal bankruptcy for unpayable debt replacing enslavement by creditors, usury laws, road building, distribution of public agricultural lands in a moderated Gracchan fashion, and new municipal law.
Sulla bust in Munich Glyptothek.

Mommsen writes, "[W]e may well conclude that Caesar with his reforms came as near to the measure of what was possible as it was given to a statesman and a Roman to come."

Regarding the Roman provinces, former misrule and financial plundering is described, committed by Roman government agents and Roman merchants; Caesar's reforms replaced the quasi-independent Roman governors with those selected by the Imperator and closely supervised, with reduction in taxes; provincial oppression by private concerns was found more difficult to arrest. Abatement of the prior popular notion of the provinces as "country estates" to be worked or exploited for Rome's benefit. Favors granted Jews; Latin colonies continue. Cultural joining of Latins and Hellenes; "Italy was converted from the mistress of subject peoples into the mother of the renovated Italo-Hellenic nation."  
Julius Caesar, obverse; Victory on hand of Venus with sceptre, reverse. Denarius.
Census of the Mediterranean population under Rome taken; popular religion left free of additional state norms. Continuing development of the Praetor's Edict, and plans for a codification of law. Roman coinage, weights and measures reformed; creation of the Julian Calendar. "The rapidity and self-precision with which the plan was executed prove that it had been long meditated thoroughly and all its parts settled in detail", Mommsen comments. "[T]his was probably the meaning of the words which were heard to fall from him--that he had 'lived enough'."

The exceptions to the straightforward chronology are the periodic digressions in his narrative, where Mommsen inserts separate chapters, each devoted to one or more of a range of particular subjects, for example:
"The Original Constitution of Rome" (Book I, Chapter 5);
"The Etruscans" (I, 9);
"Law and Justice" (I, 11);
"Religion" (I, 12);
"Agriculture, Trade, Commerce" (I, 13);
"Measuring and Writing" (I, 14);
"The Tribunate of the Plebs and the Decemvirate" (Book II, Chapter 2);
"Law - Religion - Military System - Economic Condition - Nationality" (II, 8);
"Art and Science" (II, 9);
"Carthage" (Book III, Chapter 1);
"The Government and the Governed" (III, 11);
"The Management of Land and Capital" (III, 12);
"Faith and Manners" (III, 13);
"Literature and Art" (III, 14);
"The Peoples of the North" (Book IV, Chapter 5);
"The Commonwealth and its Economy" (IV, 11);
"Nationality, Religion, Education" (IV, 12);
"The Old Republic and the New Monarchy" (Book V, Chapter 11);
"Religion, Culture, Literature, and Art" (V, 12).
Curia Julia in Forum, seat of Imperial Senate.
Mommsen's expertise in Roman studies was acknowledged by his peers as being both wide and deep, e.g., his direction of the ancient Latin inscriptions project, his work on ancient dialects of Italy, the journal he began devoted to Roman coinage, his multivolume Staatsrecht on the long history of constitutional law at Rome, his volumes on Roman criminal law, the Strafrecht. His bibliography lists 1500 works.

Capitoline Wolf with founders of legend Romulus and Remus.

The Provinces
The Provinces of the Roman Empire (1885, 1886) contains thirteen chapters, namely: Northern Italy, Spain, Gaul, Germany, Britain, the Danube, Greece, Asia Minor, the Euphrates and Parthia, Syria and the Nabataeans, Judaea, Egypt, and the Africa provinces. Generally, each chapter describes the economic geography of a region and its people, before addressing its Imperial regime. Regarding the North, military administration is often stressed; while for the East, the culture and history.

A quarter of the way into his short "Introduction" to the Provinces Mommsen comments on the decline of Rome, the capital city: "The Roman state of this epoch resembles a mighty tree, the main stem of which, in the course of its decay, is surrounded by vigorous offshoots pushing their way upward." These shoots being the provinces he here describes.

The Empire
Mommsen's missing fourth volume, as reconstructed by Barbara Demandt and Alexander Demandt from lecture notes, was published as Römische Kaisergeschichte in 1992. Thus appearing many years after third volume (1856), and the fifth (1885). It contains three sections of roughly equal size.

The first section is arranged chronologically by emperor: Augustus (44 BC-AD 14); Tiberius (14-37); Gaius Caligula (37-41); Claudius (41-54); Nero (54-68); The Year of Four Emperors (68-69); Vespasian (69-79).

The chapters of the second section are entitled: General Introduction; Domestic Politics I; Wars in the West; Wars on the Danube; Wars in the East; Domestic Politics II.

The third section: General Introduction; Government and Society; A History of Events [this the longest subsection, arranged by emperors]: Diocletian (284-305); Constantine (306-337); The sons of Constantine (337-361); Julian and Jovian (355-364); Valentinian and Valens (364-378); From Theodosius to Alaric (379-410).

This rescued work contains a great wealth of material, in which one follows in the footsteps of a master historian.

Diocletian (245-313, r.284-305)
Yet, perhaps because of its nature as reconstructed student lecture notes, it more often lacks the fine points of literary composition and style, and of course the narrative drive of the original three volumes.[55] Nonetheless it is well to remember that the students involved here in taking the lecture notes were themselves quite accomplished people, and one listener and recorder was already a mature father.
Roman Portraits
Several writers have remarked on Mommsen's ability to interpret personality and character.[57][58] The following highlights are drawn from Mommsen's renderings of figures of ancient Rome, namely: Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, the Gracchi brothers, Marius, Drusus, Sulla, Pompey, Cato, Caesar, and Cicero.

Hannibal Barca (247-183). Of Carthage, not of Rome, in fact a sworn enemy of Rome, as the Roman people became acquainted with him. No Punic writer has left us an account of him, but only his 'enemies' whether Greek or Roman. Mommsen tells us, "the Romans charged him with cruelty, the Carthaginians with covetousness." It is "true that he hated" and knew "how to hate" and that "a general who never fell short of money and stores can hardly have been less than covetous. But though anger and envy and meanness have written his history, they have not been able to mar the pure and noble image which it presents." His father Hamilcar served Carthage as an army general; Hannibal's "youth had been spent in the camp." As a boy on horseback he'd become "a fearless rider at full speed." In his father's army he had performed "his first feats of arms under the paternal eye". In Hispania his father spent years building colonies for Carthage from which to attack Rome; but the son saw his father "fall in battle by his side." Under his brother-in-law Hasdrubal, Hannibal led cavalry with bravery and brilliance; then Hasdrubal was assassinated. By "the voice of his comrades" Hannibal at 29 years took command of the army. "[A]ll agree in this, that he combined in rare perfection discretion and enthusiasm, caution and energy." His "inventive craftiness" made him "fond of taking singular and unexpected routes; ambushes and stratagems of all sorts were familiar to him." He carefully studied the Roman character.

Constantine (272-337).
"By an unrivalled system of espionage--he had regular spies even in Rome--he kept himself informed of the projects of his enemy." He was often seen in disguise. Yet nothing he did at war "may not be justified under the circumstances, and according to the international law, of the times." "The power which he wielded over men is shown by his incomparable control over an army of various nations and many tongues--an army which never in the worst of times mutinied against him." Following the war Hannibal the statesman served Carthage to reform the city-state's constitution; later as an exile he exercised influence in the eastern Mediterranean. "He was a great man; wherever he went, he riveted the eyes of all."

Scipio Africanus (235-183). His father a Roman general died at war in Hispania; years earlier his son Publius Cornelius Scipio (later Africanus) had saved his life. As then no one offered to succeed to his father's post, the son offered himself. The people's comitia accepted the son for the father, "all this made a wonderful and indelible impression on the citizens and farmers of Rome." Publius Scipio "himself enthusiastic" about others, accordingly "inspired enthusiasm." The Roman Senate acquiesqued to the mere military tribune serving in place of a praetor or consul, i.e., his father. "He was not one of the few who by their energy and iron will constrain the world to adopt and to move in new paths for centuries, or who at any rate grasp the reins of destiny for years till its wheels roll over them." Though he won battles and conquored nations, and became a prominent statesman at Rome, he was not an Alexander or a Caesar. "Yet a special charm lingers around the form of that graceful hero; it is surrounded, as if with a dazzling halo... in which Scipio with mingled credulity and adroitness always moved." His enthusiasm warmed the heart, but he did not forget the vulgar, nor fail to follow his calculations. "[N]ot naïve enough to share the belief of the multitude in his inspirations... yet in secret thoroughly persuaded that he was a man specially favored of the gods." He would accept merely to be an ordinary king, but yet the Republic's constitution applied even to heroes such as him. "[S]o confident of his own greatness that he knew nothing of envy or of hatred, [he] courteously acknowledged other men's merits, and compassionately forgave other men's faults." After his war-ending victory over Hannibal at Zama, he was called Africanus. He was an excellent army officer, a refined diplomat, an accomplished speaker, combining Hellenic culture with Roman. "He won the hearts of soldiers and of women, of his countrymen and of the Spaniards, of his rivals in the senate and of his greater Carthaginian antagonist. His name was soon on every one's lips, and his was the star which seemed destined to bring victory and peace to his country." Yet his nature seemed to contain "strange mixtures of genuine gold and glittering tinsel." It was said he set "the fashion to the nobility in arogance, title-hunting, and client-making." In his politics Scipio Africanus "sought support for his personal and almost dynastic opposition to the senate in the multitude." No demagogue, however, he remained content to merely be "the first burgess of Rome".
Tiberius Gracchus (163-133). His maternal grandfather was Scipio Africanus. His father Tiberius Gracchus Major was twice consul, a powerful man at his death in 150. The young widow Cornelia Africana "a highly cultivated and notable woman" declined marriage to an Egyptian king to raise her children. She was "a highly cultivated and notable woman". Her eldest son Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus "in all his relations and views... belonged to the Scipionic circle" sharing its "refined and thorough culture" which was both Greek and Roman. Tiberius "was of a good and moral disposition, of gentle aspect and quiet bearing, apparently fitted for anything rather than for an agitator of the masses." At that time political reform was widely discussed among aristocrats; yet the senate always avoided it. Tiberius declared for reform. Perhaps he was personally motivated by an incident as questor with the Army on campaign in Hispania: there he had escaped a terrible ordeal because of his elite connections. Reformist ideals of this "young, upright and proud man" were nourished by Hellenic rhetoricians. "[W]hen his intentions became known... there was no want of approving voices, and many a public placard summoned the grandson of Africanus to think of the poor people and the deliverance of Italy."  
Tiberius Gracchus.
In 134 he became a tribune of the people. "The fearful consequences of the previous misgovernment, the political, military, economic, and moral decay of the burgesses, were just at that time naked and open to the eyes of all. ... So Gracchus immediately after entering on office, proposed the enactment of an agrarian law." The land reform was to benefit small holders, to restore prosperity to the "free farmers" of Italy; it concerned rural state lands de facto long held in the possession of wealthy families both of Rome and of Latin allies. His proposed law seemed to garner senate support, but it was effectively vetoed by another tribune acting on behalf of powerful Roman landowners; twice his bill was vetoed. Tiberius Gracchus then turned to the people's assembly, which deposed the offending tribune and itself passed the land reform law.

Cornelia & her children: Tiberius & Gaius Gracchus, & eldest Sempronia.
"Rome about this period was governed by the senate. Anyone who carried a measure of administration against the majority of the senate made a revolution. It was revolution against the spirit of the constitution, when Gracchus submitted the domain question to the people; and revolution also against... the tribunician veto." Too, the people's assembly was a great tumultuous crowd and unfit to pass legislation. Yet senate governance had become so corrupt that a person who would replace it "might benefit the commonwealth more than he injured it. ¶ But such a bold player Tiberius Gracchus was not. He was a tolerably capable, thoroughly well-meaning, conservative patriot, who simply did not know what he was doing." Angry aristocrats from the senate caught and clubbed to death Gracchus; 300 other reformers died with him. The senate then closed ranks, saying that Tiberius Gracchus "had wished to seize the crown."

Yet the land commission mandated by the reform law of Tiberius was allowed to meet and for several years managed to substantially increase the number of small farmers who owned their own land. Scipio Aemilianus (184-129), an in-law and adopted grandson of Scipio Africanus and thus cousin to the Gracchi, played an ambiguous rôle. A good soldier, fine orator, trustworty, and known for steadfast probity, his politics put him in between the aristocracy and the reformers. Against the oligarchy he brought the ballot to criminal proceedings before popular tribunals. Yet he mostly opposed land reforms; "rightly or wrongly, the remedy seemed to him worse than the disease." Eventually on behalf of allied Latin landowners he influenced the termination of the land commission. As a result he, too, was assassinated--probably by a land reformer.

Gaius Gracchus before the Concilium Plebis.
Gaius Gracchus (154-121). Gaius was the younger brother of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, and the second son of Cornelia Africana. Gaius set himself the project of reforming the constitutional order of the Senate and People of Rome.
Gaius Marius (157-86). "Son of a poor day-labourer" in an Italian village, Marius was "reared at the plough". He joined the army as soon as he could. Noted for his ability and fine appearance, he served during campaigns in Hispania and by age 23 became an officer. Back home, he planned an army career, but regardless of merit he "could not attain those political offices, which alone led to the higher military posts, without wealth and without connections. The young officer acquired both by fortunate commercial speculations and by his union with a maiden of the ancient patrician clan of the Julii." In 115 he served as praetor and in 107 as consul. In Africa he then led an army; serving under him was Sulla, who captured Jugurtha which ended the war.
 Again Marius became consul, for an unprecedented four consecutive terms (104-101), during which in Germania he led an army to victory. "[A] brave and upright man, who administered justice impartially", he was "uncorruptable." "[A] skillful organizer... an able general, who kept the soldier under discipline [and] at the same time won his affections... [Marius] looked the enemy boldly in the face and joined issue with him at the proper time." Not a man of "eminent military capacity", he enjoyed "the reputation for such capacity."

"[Marius took a place] of unparalelled honour among the consulars and the triumphators. But he was none the better fitted on that account for the brilliant circle. His voice remained harsh and loud, and his look wild, as if he still saw before him Libyans or Cimbrians, and not well-bred and perfumed colleagues. ... [H]is want of political culture was unpardonable... what was to be thought of a consul who was so ignorant of constitutional etiquette as to appear in triumphal costume in the senate! In other respects too the plebeian character clung to him. He was not merely--according to aristocratic phraseology--a poor man, but, what was worse, frugal, and a declared enemy of all bribery and corruption. After the manner of soldiers he was not nice, but was fond of his cups... he knew not the art of giving feasts, and kept a bad cook. It was likewise awkward that the consular understood nothing but Latin and declined conversation in Greek. ... Thus he remained throughout his life a countryman cast adrift among aristocrats."
Gaius Marius. Bust in Glyptothek at Munich.
Marius, "a farmer by birth and a soldier by inclination", started out as no revolutionary. Yet the "hostile attacks of the aristocracy had no doubt driven him subsequently into the camp of [their] opponents" where "he speedily found himself elevated" as the new popular leader. "[T]he men of quality acknowledged his services" in gaining crucial military victories. Yet "with the people he was more popular than any one before or after him, popular alike by his virtues and by his faults, by his unaristocratic disinterestedness no less than by his boorish roughnesss; he was called by the multitude a third Romulus." Meanwhile, "the wretched government oppressed the land more heavily than did the barbarians." On Marius, "the first man of Rome, the favorite of the people... devolved the task of once more delivering Rome." His "sensuous passion" was stirred. Yet to this rustic and soldier "the political proceedings of the capital were strange and incongruous: he spoke ill as he commanded well." Firmer he was "in the presence of lances and swords" that amid "applause and hisses". "[I]f he would not deceive the expectations of his party" and "if he would not be unfaithful to his own sense of duty, he must check the maladministration of public affairs."
Yet his efforts at social reform would end very badly. "He knew neither the art of gaining his antagonists, nor that of keeping his own party in subjection." He stirred the proletariat to unworthy acts beyond the law; although he nobly shrank from the excess, he accepted the results. Once popular, a "gallant man", he slowly came to be seen in a different light, as a "laughing-stock". Later, during his seventh consulship in 86, many of his political opponents were murdered. "He had taken vengeance on the whole genteel pack that embittered his victories and envenomed his defeats". Regretfully Marius at last emerged as "the crackbrained chief of a reckless band of robbers" which earned him "the hatred of the entire nation".

Livius Drusus (d.91). His father of the same name, acting as tribune but on behalf of the Senate, had sponsored rival programs and "caused the overthrow of Gaius Gracchus." The son also held "strictly conservative views." "He belonged to the circle of the highest nobility and possessed a colossal fortune; in disposition too he was a genuine aristocrat--a man emphatically proud." Yet he followed "the beautiful saying, that nobility implies obligation." He had in earnest turned away from the "frivolity" common to elite society. "[T]rustworthy and strict in morals, he was respected rather than properly beloved" by the common people, "to whom his door and his purse were always open." Later he became tribune; as political events unfolded Drusus became less an antagonist and more the disciple of the late Gaius Gracchus. He championed reforms to remedy the corruption in the courts caused by equite merchants (who then acted as the judex); to this reform he added the grant of Roman citizenship to Italians. After the apparent victory of these reforms in the senate, followed by their repeal, while yet vigorous he was murdered. Following his death the Social War started throughout Italy over citizenship rights.
Cornelius Sulla (158-78)
Pompeius Magnus (106-48). His father was Pompeius Strabo, a consul who earned a triumph in the Social War. Pompey himself came into great public prominence during his 20s under the rule of Sulla. He was neither an "unconditional adherent" nor an "open opponent" of Sulla, who "half in recognition, half in irony" first called Pompey 'the Great'. Sound in body and mind, a good athlete, a skilled rider and fencer, the youthful Pompey had won extraordinary military honors and public acclaim. "Unhappily, his mental endowments by no means corresponded with these unprecedented successes. He was neither a bad nor an incapable man, but a man thoroughly ordinary." An "excellent soldier", he was "without trace of any higher gifts." As commander Pompey was cautious and delivered "the decisive blow only when he had established an immense superiority". "His integrity was of a rich man... too rich to incur special risks, or draw down on himself conspicuous disgrace". His reputation for "integrity and disinterestness" came less from his virtue than from a senate rife with vice. Yet as a landowner he was fair-minded; he did not join "revolting schemes in which the grandess of that age" expanded their domains by infringing on their "humbler neighbors". A good man, "he displayed attachment to his wife and children." He was "the first to depart from the barbarous custom of putting to death the captive kings" of countries fighting Rome. "His 'honest countenance' became almost proverbial." Yet at Sulla's command Pompey quit his beloved wife and then later ordered the execution of soldiers loyal to him, all due to Sulla and politics. He was not cruel, but he was cold.  
Pompey. Bust, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
A shy man, "he spoke in public not without embarassment; and generally was angular, stiff, and awkward in intercourse." "For nothing was he less qualified than for a statesman." His aims uncertain, unable to decide on means, short sighted, "he was wont to conceal his irresolution and indecision under a cloak of solemn silence." He often would "deceive himself that he was deceiving others." Like Marius, "Pompeius was in every respect incapable of leading and keeping together a [political] party."

His exalted social position also remained fundamentally ambivalent. Allied to the aristocracy by his consular ancestry and through Sulla, he disliked Sulla personally and worked against the Sullan constitution, and his family gens was of recent vintage and not fully accepted by the nobility. Pompey maintained links to the Populares and joined Caesar in the triumvirate. Yet, to the contrary, he was well suited to associate with the senate oligarchy because his "dignified outward appearance, his solemn formality, his personal bravery, his decorous private life, his want of all initiative" and his "mediocrity, so characteristic of the genuine Optimate". An "affinity" existed, "subsisted at all times between Pompeius, [the] burgesses and the senate." Pompeius, however, refused to fit in. "[S]eized with giddiness on the height of glory which he had climbed with dangerous rapidity and ease", he began to compare himself to Alexander the Great, and far above any senator. "His political position was utterly perverse." He was conflicted; "deeply indignant when persons and laws did not bend unconditionally before him" he nonetheless "trembled at the mere thought of doing anything unconstitutional." His "much agitated life passed joylessly away in a perpetual inward contradition." Pompey for Mommsen was the "most tiresome and most starched of all artificial great men." He died before his wife and son, when one of his old soldiers stabbed him from behind as he stepped ashore in Egypt. "Of all pitiful parts there is none more pitiful than that of passing for more than one really is."
Cato Uticensis (95-46). His mother's brother was the reformer Livius Drusus. His father's grandfather was the famous censor, Cato the Elder (234-149). Here, Cato (also called 'the Younger') was a rare man among the aristocracy, "a man of the best intentions and of rare devotedness", yet Quixotic and cheerless. Although honourable, steadfast, earnest, and strongly attached "to country and to its hereditary constitution" he possessed little practical understanding. Cato, "dull in intellect and sensuously as well as morally destitute of passion", might have made "a tolerable state accountant." Walking "in the sinful capital as a model citizen and mirror of virtue" he would 'scold' those out of line. His ancestor Cato the Elder worked as a farmer, his anger had made him an orator; wielder of plough and sword, in politics "his narrow, but original and sound common sense ordinarily hit the nail on the head." The younger Cato, however, inspired by the example of his great-grandfather, made a "strange caricature" of him. Formal and philosophical, a follower of the Stoa, the younger Cato would speak in "scholastic wisdom" and appeared as "this cloud-walker in the realm of abstract morals." Yet like his ancestor, he began "to travel on foot instead of riding, to take no interest, to decline badges of distinction as a soldier", and like the legendary king Romulus to appear shirtless.  
Cato Uticensis. Silver denarius issued 47-46.
In "an utterly wretched and cowardly age his courage and his negative virtues told powerfully with the multitude." As "the only conservative of note who possessed if not talent and insight, at any rate integrity and courage... he soon became the champion of the Optimate party." He never missed a senate meeting, and "as long as he lived he checked the details of the public budget." Yet unfortunately in politics he simply lacked common sense. Cato's tactics seemed to consist of nothing more than "setting his face against every one who deviated" from the traditional catechism of the aristocracy, which of course worked as much against the Optimates as for them. By his character and his actions this "Don Quixote of the aristocracy" proved the exhaustion of senate politics.

After Caesar's victory at Thapsus ending the civil war, Cato tended to the welfare of the republican remnant at Utica, then took his own life by the sword. "Cato was anything but a great man." Yet he was the only man who "honourably and courageously championed in the last struggle the great republican system doomed to destruction." "Cato has played a greater part in history than many men far superior to him in intellect. It only heightens the deep and tragic significance of his death that he was himself a fool; in truth it is just because Don Quixote is a fool that he is a tragic figure."
Yet Cato inspired the republican protest against Caesar's victory, which "tore asunder like gossamer all that so-called constitutional character with which Caesar invested his monarcy", and exposed as hypocritical "the reconciliation of all parties" under the Empire. "The unrelenting warfare which the ghost of the legitimate republic waged for centuries" against the Empire, from Cassius and Brutus to Thrasea and Tacitus, "a warfare of plots and of literature" was Cato's legacy. Soon after his death this "republican opposition" began to "revere as a saint" Cato who in life was frequently a "laughing-stock" and a "scandal".

"But the greatest of these marks of respect was the involuntary homage which Caeser rendered to him, when he made an exception in the contemptuous clemency" he offered defeated opponents. Cato alone he pursued even beyond the grave "with that energetic hatred which practical statesmen are wont to feel toward antagonists opposing them from a region of ideas which they regard as equally dangerous and impracticable."

Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44)
Julius Caesar, British Museum.
Tullius Cicero (106-43). An opportunist, "accostomed to flirt at times with the democrats, at times... with the aristocracy, and to lend his services as an advocate to every influential man under impeachment without distinction of person or party". Wealth and commerce were then "dominant in the courts" and the lawyer Cicero had made himself well accomplished as "the eloquent pleader" and "the courtly and witty champion." He was not an aristocrat, but a novus homo; he belonged to no party, but cultivated connections enough among both optimates and populares. Elected consul in 63, he ducked legal responsibility in the Catilina conspiracy. "As a statesman without insight, idea, or purpose, Cicero figured successively as democrat, as aristocrat, and as a tool of the triumvirate, and was never more than a short-sighted egoist." "He was valiant in opposition to sham attacks, and he knocked down many walls of pasteboard with a loud din; no serious matter was ever, either in good or evil, decided by him".

In Latin, "his importance rests on his mastery of style". Yet as an author, he was "a dabbler", a "journalist in the worst sense of that term", and "poor beyond all conception in ideas". His letters "reflect the urban or villa life of the world of quality" yet remain in essence "stale and empty". As an orator "Cicero had no conviction and no passion; he was nothing but an advocate". He published his court pleadings; his orations can be "easy and agreeable reading." He used anecdote to excite sentimentality, "to enliven the dry business" of law "by cleverness or witticisms mostly of a personal sort".
Yet "the serious judge" will find such "advantages of a very dubious value" considering his "want of political discernment in the orations on constitutional questions and of juristic deduction in the forensic addresses, the egotism forgetful of its duty... [and] the dreadful barrenness of thought". Yet as a "mouthpiece" for politicians Cicero "was useful on account of his lawyer's talent of finding a reason, or at any rate words, for everything."

Nonetheless Momsen acknowledges that those works of Cicero which are presented in the "stylistic dialogue" form are "not devoid of merit". De Oratore and other rhetorical writings contain "a store of practical forensic experience and forensic anecdotes of all sorts easily and tastefully set forth, and in fact solve the problem of combining didactic instruction with amusement." Cicero's treatise De Republica presents a then popular idea "that the existing constitution of Rome is substantially the ideal state-organisation sought for by the philosophers." Yet it is "a singular mongrel compound of history and philosophy." Relying on the Greeks for both ideas and literary devices, De Republica contains "comparative originality, inasmuch as the elaboration shows throughout Roman local colouring, and the proud consciousness of political life, which the Roman was certainly entitled to feel as compared with the Greeks." In these dialogues Cicero's fictional advocates are shown gathered, including statesmen from the Scipionic circle, which "furnish a lively and effective framework... for the scientific discussion."
Cicero, copy by Bertel Thorvaldsen, Copenhagen.
Commentary I
Writers have described Mommsen's history as transformative of prior works on ancient Rome. He employed new sources, e.g., ancient inscriptions, in order to gain new insights. He also wrote in a new fashion. Yet his point of view itself was new, a product of his own life and times, a 19th-century outlook from middle Europe. From the vantage point of out latter era, the 19th-century view presents a result that appears now as somewhat of a distortion. On the other hand, each individual's outlook will necessarily encompass unique insights.
New sources
Mommsen followed by a generation the historian Barthold Niebuhr, who had made significant advances in Roman studies. Niebuhr elevated the standards of scholarship and, in doing so, brought to light the lack of rigor of earlier work. He insisted on investigating the original sources. By his perceptive questioning, he challenged the surviving Latin and Greek historical literature, especially regarding earliest Rome. Niebuhr sifted it carefully in order to separate out what genuinely reflected the actual events: stories sourced in persons with personal knowledge, as opposed to inventions created apart from the event and containing suspect information, e.g., legend or folktales thoroughly scrambled with myth and fiction. He relied in part on the emerging field of source criticism to shed new light on the old writings. Niebuhr's Roman History was highly praised.

Yet Mommsen outdid Niebuhr. Mommsen sought to create a new category of material evidence on which to build an account of Roman history, i.e., in addition to the literature and art. Of chief importance were the many surviving Latin inscriptions, often on stone or metal. Also included were the Roman ruins, and the various Roman artefacts ranging from pottery and textiles, to tools and weapons. Mommsen encouraged the systematic investigation of these new sources, combined with on-going developments in philology and legal history. Much on-going work was furthering this program: inscriptions were being gathered and authenticated, site work performed at the ruins, and technical examination make of the objects. From a coordinated synthesis of these miscellaneous studies, historical models might be constructed. Such modeling would provide historians with an objective framework independent of the ancient texts, by which to determine their reliability. Information found in the surviving literature then could be for the first time properly scrutinized for its truth value and accordingly appraised." [T]hrough comparative linguistics, numismatics, and epigraphy, Mommsen was trying to create a body of material which had the status of archival evidence and which would serve as a control on the narratives of historical writers such as Livy and Appian.
  Their narratives had already been subjected to scrutiny by earlier scholars, of whom the most significant was Barthold Georg Niebuhr (1776-1831). ... Niebuhr's method had been to apply the principles of "Source Criticism" to unravel contradictions in the traditional account, and then to explain them by applying models developed in the light of his own experience, e.g., of conscription in a peasant society. Mommsen's work sought to establish entirely new categories of evidence for the use of the historian."

The Mommsen's work won immediate, widespread acclaim, but the praise it drew was not unanimous. "While the public welcomed the book with delight and scholars testified to its impeccable erudition, some specialists were annoyed at finding old hypotheses rejected... ." Mommsen omits much of the foundation legends and other tales of early Rome, because he could find no independent evidence to verify them.

He thus ignored a scholarly field that was seeking a harmonized view using merely ancient writers. Instead Mommsen's Römische Geschichte presented only events from surviving literature that could be somehow checked against other knownledge gained elsewhere, e.g., from inscriptions, philology, or archaeology.

"[The book] astonished and shocked professional scholars by its revolutionary treatment of the misty beginnings of Rome, sweeping away the old legends of the kings and heroes and along with them the elaborate critical structure deduced from those tales by Barthold Niebuhr, whose reputation as the grand master of Roman history was then sacrosanct.

It replaced the critical work of Niebuhr with a far more penetrating criticism and a profounder body of inference."

Work continues, of course, in the trans-generational endeavor of moderns to understand what can legitimately be understood from what is left of the ancient world, including the works of the ancient historians. To be self-aware of how the approach ancient evidence, of course, is included in the challenge.


Novel style
There were academics who disapproved of its tone. "It was indeed the work of a politician and journalist as well as of a scholar." Before writing the History, Mommsen had participated in events during the unrest of 1848 in Germany, a year of European-wide revolts; he had worked editing a periodical which involved politics. Later Mommsen became a member of the Prussian legislature and eventually of the Reichstag. Mommsen's transparent comparison of ancient to modern politics is said to distort, his terse style to be journalistic, i.e., not up to the standard to be achieved by the professional academic.

About his modernist tone, Mommsen wrote: "I wanted to bring down the ancients from the fantastic pedestal on which they appear into the real world. That is why the consul had to become the burgomaster." As to his partisanship, Mommsen replied: "Those who have lived through historical events... see that history is neither written nor made without love and hate." To the challenge that he favored the political career of Julius Caesar, Mommsen referred to the corruption and dysfunction of the tottering Republic: "When a Government cannot govern, it ceases to be legitimate, and he who has the power to overthrow it has also the right." He further clarified, stating the Caesar's role must be considered as the lesser of two evils. As an organism is better than a machine "so is every imperfect constitution which gives room for the free self-determination of a majority of citizens infinitely [better] than the most humane and wonderful absolutism; for one is living, and the other is dead." Thus, the Empire would only hold together a tree without sap.

Roman parties
"In only one important aspect", Saunders and Collins hold, "did Mommsen fall into serious error." They note that 'most' scholars have faulted Mommsen for his depiction of the Roman party system during the late Republic. They readily admit that the Senate was dominated by a hardcore of 'aristocrats' or the 'oligarchy', who also nearly monopolized the chief offices of government, e.g., consul, by means of family connection, marriage alliance, wealth, or corruption. Such "men may be said to have formed a 'party' in the sense that they had at least a common outlook--stubborn conservatism."

They contended vainly among themselves for state 'honors' and personal greed, "forming cliques and intrigues in what amounted to a private game". Such Senate 'misrule' subverted Rome, causing prolonged wrongs and injustice that "aroused sporadic and sometimes massive and desperate opposition. But the opposition was never organized into a party. ... [T]here was no clear political tradition running from the Gracchi through Marius to Caesar."

The classicist Lily Ross Taylor addresses this issue, as follows. Cicero, to refer to these two rival political groups, continually used the Latin word partes [English "parties"]. Cicero (106-43) was a key figure in Roman politics who wrote volumes about it. In distinguishing the two groups, he employed the Latin terms optimates for proponents of the Senate nobility and populares for elite proponents of the popular demos or commoners.

She points to the Roman historians Sallust (86-34) and Livy (59 BC-AD 17) for partial confirmation, as well as to later writers Plutarch (c.46-120), Appian (c.95-c.165), and Dio (c.155-c.235), and later still Machiavelli (1469–1527).

These rival political groups, Prof. Taylor states, were quite amorphous, as Mommsen well knew. In fact when Mommsen wrote his Romische Geschichte (1854–1856) political parties in Europe and America were also generally amorphous, being comparatively unorganized and unfocused, absent member alligiance and often lacking programs. Yet in the 20th century modern parties grew better organized with enduring policies, so that their comparison with ancient Rome has become more and more tenuous. She describes Mommsen:

"Theodor Mommsen... presented party politics of the late [Roman] republic in terms of the strife of his own day between liberalism and the reaction that won the battle in 1848. Mommsen identified the Roman optimates with the hated Prussian Junkers and aligned himself with Caesar against them. But he fully recognized the lack of principle or program among the populares. He well understood the amorphous character of the Roman 'parties'. The parties that he knew in Prussia and in other German states were almost equally amorphous."

As Prof. Taylor continues, since Mommsen's wrote modern party 'tickets' and party 'lines' have grown more disciplined, and "the meaning of party had undergone a radical change. Thus the terms 'optimate' and 'popular' party are misleading to the modern reader. Lately there has been protest against the attribution of parties to Rome. The protest has gone too far." That is, the above-stated divisions were strong and constellated politics during the last century of the Roman Republic.

In 1961 the British historian Edward Hallett Carr published his What is History?, which became well known. Therein Carr conjectured that the very nature of writing history will cause historians as a whole to reveal themselves to their readers as 'prisoners' subject to the context of their own age and culture. As a consequence, one may add, every generation feels the need to rewrite history so that it better fits their own situation, their point of view. To illustrate his point here, Carr selected as exemplars a number of well-regarded historians, among them being Theodore Mommsen.

Accordingly Carr informs us that Mommsen's multivolume work Römische Geschichte (Leipzig 1854-1856) may tell the perceptive modern historian much about mid-19th-century Germany, while it is presenting an account of ancient Rome. A major recent event in Germany was the failure of the 1848-1849 Revolution, while in Mommsen's Roman History his narration of the Republic draws to a close with the revolutionary emergence of a strong state executive in the figure of Julius Caesar. Carr conjectures as follows.

"Mommsen was imbued with the sense of need for a strong man to clean up the mess left by the failure of the German people to realize its political aspirations; and we shall never appreciate its history at its true value until we realize that his well-known idealization of Caesar is the product of this yearning for the strong man to save Germany from ruin, and that the lawyer-politician Cicero, that ineffective chatterbox and slippery procrastinator, has walked straight out of the debates of the Paulikirche in Frankfurt in 1848."

Far from protesting or denying such an observation, Mommsen himself readily admitted it. He added, "I wanted to bring down the ancient from their fantastic pedestal on which they appear in the real world. That is why the consul had to become the burgomaster. Perhaps I have overdone it; but my intention was sound enough."

Alongside Carr on Mommsen, Carr likewise approaches George Grote's History of Greece (1846–1856) and states that it must also reveal that period's England as well as ancient Greece. Thus about Grote's book Carr conjectures.

"Grote, an enlightened radical banker writing in the 1840s, embodied the aspirations of the rising and politically progressive British middle class in an idealized picture of Athenian democracy, in which Pericles figured as a Benthamite reformer, and Athens acquired an empire in a fit of absence of mind. It may not be fanciful to suggest that Grote's neglect of the problem of slavery in Athens reflected the failure of the group in which he belonged to face the problem of the new English factory working class.

"I should not think it an outrageous paradox", writes Carr, "if someone were to say that Grote's History of Greece has quite as much to tell us about the thought of the English philosophical radicals in the 1840s as about Athenian democracy in the fifth century B.C." Prof. Carr credits the philosopher R. G. Collingwood as being his inspiration for this line of thinking.

Robin Collingwood, an early 20th-century Oxford professor, worked at building a philosophy of history, wherein history would remain a sovereign discipline. In pursuing this project he studied extensively the Italian philosopher and historian Benedetto Croce (1866–1952). Collingwood wrote on Croce, here in his 1921 essay.


"Croce shows how Herodotus, Livy, Tacitus, Grote, Mommsen, Thierry, and so forth, all wrote from a subjective point of view, wrote so that their personal ideals and feelings coloured their whole work and in parts falsified it. Now, if this is so, who wrote real history, history not coloured by points of view and ideals? Clearly no one. ... History, to be, must be seen, and must be seen by somebody, from somebody's point of view. ... But this is not an accusation against any particular school of historians; it is a law of our nature."

In summary, Edward Carr here presents his interesting developments regarding the theories proposed by Benedetto Croce and later taken up by Robin Collingwood. In doing so Carr does not allege mistaken views or fault specific to Mommsen, or to any of the other historians he mentions. Rather any such errors and faults would be general to all history writing. As Collingwood states, "The only safe way of avoiding error is to give up looking for the truth." Nonetheless, this line of thought, and these examples and illustrations of how Mommsen's Germany might color his history of ancient Rome, are illuminating concerning both the process and the result.

The figure of Julius Caesar (100-44) remains controversial among historians and students of ancient Rome. Mommsen saw in him a leader with a special gift for organizing and transforming the city-state, which had come to rule the Mediterranean world.

Caesar was opposed by an oligarchy of aristocratic families, the optimates, who dominated the Senate and nearly monopolized state offices, who profited by the city's corruption and exploited the foreign conquests. They blocked the change necessitated by the times, stifling or coopting, at times by violence, any who advanced progressive programs. Although the state was dangerously unsteady, and the city often rent by armed mobs, the optimates rested on their heritage of the Roman tradition.

Caesar sprung from the heart of this old nobility, yet he was born into a family which had already allied itself with the populares, i.e., those who favored constitutional change. Hence Caesar's career was associated with the struggle for a new order and, failing opportunity along peaceful avenues, he emerged as a military leader whose triumph at arms worked to advance political change. Yet both parties in this long struggle had checkered histories of violence and corruption. Mommsen, too, recognized and reported "Caesar the rake, Caesar the conspriator, and Caesar the groundbreaker for later centuries of absolutism."

Some moderns follow the optimate view that it was a nefarious role that Caesar played in the fall of the Republic, whose ruling array of institutions had not yet outlived their usefulness. To the contrary, the Republic's fall ushered in the oppressive Empire whose 'divine' rulers held absolute power. Julius Caesar as villain was an opinion shared, of course, by his knife-wielding assassins, most of whom were also nobility. Shared also without shame by that epitome of classical Roman politics and letters, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43).

Julius Caesar, bust at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.
For some observers, following Caesar's assassination Cicero saved his rather erratic career in politics by his high-profile stand in favor of the Republic. Also strong among Caesar's opponents was Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95-46), who had long led the opimates, supporters of the republican aristocracy, against the populares and in particular against Julius Caesar. During the Imperial era the stoic Cato became the symbol of lost republican virtue.

Nonetheless, even deadly foes could see the bright genius of Caesar; indeed, many conspitators were his beneficiaries. "Brutus, Cassius and the others who, like Cicero, attached themselves to the conspiracy acted less out of enmity to Caesar than out of a desire to destroy his dominatio."
Too, the conspiracy failed to restore the Republic. An aristocrat's libertas meant very little to the population: the people, the armies, or even the equestrians; his assassins "failed to grasp the real pulse of the respublica."

Moderns may be able to see both sides of the issue, however, as an historian might. Indeed, there exists a great difference in context between, say, an American, and a German historian of the 1850s, where during 1848 citizens had made a rather spontaneous, incoherent effort to move German politics toward a free and unified country: it was crushed by the nobility.

The philosopher Robin Collingwood (1889–1943) developed a nuanced view of history in which each person explores the past in order to create his or her own true understanding of that person's unique cultural inheritance. Although objectivity remains crucial to the process, each will naturally draw out their own inner truth from the universe of human truth. This fits the stark limitations on each individual's ability to know all sides of history. To a mitigated extent these constraints work also on the historian.

M. Tullius Cicero at about age 60.

Collingwood writes:

"This does not reduce history to something arbitrary or capricious. It remains genuine knowledge. How can this be, if my thoughts about Julius Caesar differ from Mommsen's? Must not one of us be wrong? No, because the object differs. My historical [object] is about my own past, not about Mommsen's past. Mommsen and I share in a great many things, and in many respects we share in a common past; but in so far as we are different people and representatives of different cultures and different generations we have different pasts. ... [O]ur views of Julius Caesar must differ, slightly perhaps, but perceptibly. This difference is not arbitrary, for I can see--or ought to be able to see--that in his place, apart (once more) from all questions of error, I should have come to his conclusions."

A modern historian of ancient Rome echoes the rough, current consensus of academics about this great and controversial figure, as he concludes his well-regarded biography of Julius Caesar: "When they killed him his assassins did not realise that they had eliminated the best and most far-sighted mind of their class."

Commentary II
Placing Mommsen within the galaxy of world historians, subsequent writers have viewed his work from a more technical, professional perspective. The corpus of Mommsen's work may be picked at and poked. Problems and conundrums emerge. How did Mommsen handle recurrent issues of historiography? In addressing the perplexing reality of the ancient past, as a modern scholar to an educated audience, Mommsen was required to negotiate the common difficulties. How did he fare?
4th volume
Mommsen mentioned the future publication of a fourth volume on the Roman Empire. Due to the immense popularity of his first three, there remained for decades substantial interest and expectation concerning the appearance of this fourth volume. Yet it did not appear in Mommsen's lifetime. Consequently, this missing fourth volume has caused numerous scholars to speculate about the reasons 'why not'. Concurrently, such musings served to suggest where Theodore Mommsen was to be situated amid the portrait gallery of historians of the 19th century and the modern era.

As to the matter of why "Mommsen failed to continue his history beyond the fall of the republic", Carr wrote: "During his active career, the problem of what happened once the strong man had taken over was not yet actual. Nothing inspired Mommsen to project this problem back on to the Roman scene; and the history of the empire remained unwritten."

Because of Mommsen's expert knowledge across many field of study, he "knows as an eyewitness because... such a perfect comprehension [places him] in the position of a contemporary.
[Thus he feels] a certainty he cannot explain, like the judgment of a statesman or a shrewd man of business who forms his opinions by processes he does not attempt to analyse."

While not following Niebuhr's 'divination', Mommsen's manner goes to question of whether one may use discrete and controlled 'intersticial projection', safeguarded by monitoring the results closely after the fact. Does its use necessarily sacrifice claims to 'objectivity'? Termed intuition based on scholarship, practitioners of such techniques are vulnerable to caustic challenges to the integrity of their science. Acknowledgement of such infirmities may also include an assessment of the skill involved and the quality of the result.


Mommsen's work continues to attract a refined and popular readership. In their introduction Saunders and Collins express their admiration for Mommsen and his contribution to the study of ancient Roman history:

"Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) was the greatest classical historian of his century or of ours. His only rival in any century was Edward Gibbon, whose monumental History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire complements rather than competes with Mommsen's superb description of the Roman republic."

One encyclopaedic reference summarizes: "Equally great as antiquary, jurist, political and social historian, Mommsen [had] no rivals. He combined the power of minute investigation with a singular faculty for bold generalization... ." About the History of Rome the universal historian Arnold J. Toynbee writes, "Mommsen wrote a great book, which certainly will always be reckoned among the masterpieces of Western historical literature." G. P. Gooch gives us these comments evaluating Mommsen's History: "Its sureness of touch, its many-sided knowledge, its throbbing vitality and the Venetian colouring of its portraits left an ineffaceable impression on every reader." "It was a work of genius and passion, the creation of a young man, and is as fresh and vital to-day as when it was written."

1902 Nobel Prize
In 1902 Professor Theodor Mommsen became the second person to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, which had been inaugurated the preceding year. This world recognition was given him with "special reference" to the Römische Geschichte (the History of Rome). The commendation called him "the greatest living master of the art of historical writing."

The award came nearly fifty years after the first appearance of the work. The award also came during the last year of the author's life (1817–1903). It is the only time thus far that the Nobel Prize for Literature has been presented to a historian per se. Yet the literary Nobel has since been awarded to a philosopher (1950) with mention of an "intellectual history", and to a war-time leader (1953) for speeches and writings, including a "current events history", plus a Nobel Memorial Prize has been awarded for two "economic histories" (1993). Nonetheless Mommsen's multi-volume History of Rome remains in a singular Nobel class.

The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, a well-regarded reference yet nonetheless "a source unsparingly critical", summarizes: "Equally great as antiquary, jurist, political and social historian, Mommsen lived to see the time when among students of Roman history he had pupils, followers, critics, but no rivals.

Theodor Mommsen, 1897 Portrait by Franz von Lenbach.

He combined the power of minute investigation with a singular faculty for bold generalization and the capacity for tracing out the effects of thought on political and social life."

The British historian G. P. Gooch, writing in 1913, eleven years after Mommsen's Nobel prize, gives us this evaluation of his Römisches Geschichte: "Its sureness of touch, its many-sided knowledge, its throbbing vitality and the Venetian colouring of its portraits left an ineffaceable impression on every reader." "It was a work of genius and passion, the creation of a young man, and is as fresh and vital to-day as when it was written." About the History of Rome another British historian Arnold J. Toynbee in 1934 wrote, at the beginning of his own 12-volume universal history, "Mommsen wrote a great book, [Römisches Geschichte], which certainly will always be reckoned among the masterpieces of Western historical literature."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Taine Hippolyte Adolphe: "Essai sur les fables de La Fontaine"

Hippolyte Taine: "Essai sur les fables de La Fontaine"
Matthew Arnold: "The Scholar-Gipsy"

"The Scholar Gipsy" (1853) is a poem by Arnold Matthew , based on a 17th-century Oxford story found in Joseph Glanvill's The Vanity of Dogmatizing (1661, etc.). It has often been called one of the best and most popular of Arnold's poems, and is also familiar to music-lovers through Ralph Vaughan Williams' choral work An Oxford Elegy, which sets lines from this poem and from its companion-piece, "Thyrsis".

The original story
Arnold prefaces the poem with an extract from Glanvill which tells the story of an impoverished Oxford student who left his studies to join a band of gipsies, and so ingratiated himself with them that they told him many of the secrets of their trade.

After some time he was discovered and recognised by two of his former Oxford associates, who learned from him that the gipsies "had a traditional kind of learning among them, and could do wonders by the power of imagination, their fancy binding that of others."

When he had learned everything that the gipsies could teach him, he said, he would leave them and give an account of these secrets to the world.

In 1892 Marjorie Hope Nicolson identified the original of this mysterious figure as the Flemish alchemist Francis Mercury van Helmont.

Matthew Arnold. "The Scholar-Gipsy"

Arnold begins "The Scholar Gipsy" in pastoral mode, invoking a shepherd and describing the beauties of a rural scene, with Oxford in the distance. He then repeats the gist of Glanvill's story, but extends it with an account of rumours that the scholar gipsy was again seen from time to time around Oxford. Arnold imagines him as a shadowy figure who can even now be glimpsed in the Berkshire and Oxfordshire countryside, "waiting for the spark from Heaven to fall", and claims to have once seen him himself. He entertains a doubt as to the scholar gypsy's still being alive after two centuries, but then shakes off the thought. He cannot have died:

For what wears out the life of mortal men?
'Tis that from change to change their being rolls:
'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again,
Exhaust the energy of strongest souls,
And numb the elastic powers.

The scholar gipsy, having renounced such a life, is

Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt,
Which much to have tried, in much been baffled, brings,

and is therefore not subject to ageing and death. Arnold describes

this strange disease of modern life,
With its sick hurry, its divided aims,

and implores the scholar gipsy to avoid all who suffer from it, in case he too should be infected and die. Arnold ends with an extended simile of a Tyrian merchant seaman who flees from the irruption of Greek competitors to seek a new world in Iberia.

Writing and publication
"The Scholar Gipsy" was written in 1853, probably immediately after "Sohrab and Rustum". In an 1857 letter to his brother Tom, referring to their friendship with Theodore Walrond and the poet Arthur Hugh Clough, Arnold wrote that "The Scholar Gipsy" was "meant to fix the remembrance of those delightful wanderings of ours in the Cumner hills before they were quite effaced".

Arnold revisited these scenes many years later in his elegy for Arthur Hugh Clough, "Thyrsis", a companion-piece and, some would say, a sequel to "The Scholar Gipsy".

"The Scholar Gipsy", like "Requiescat" and "Sohrab and Rustum", first appeared in Arnold's Poems (1853), published by Longmans. During the 20th century it was many times published as a booklet, either by itself or with "Thyrsis".
It appears in The Oxford Book of English Verse and in some editions of Palgrave's Golden Treasury despite its being, at 250 lines, considerably longer than most of the poems in either anthology.

  Critical opinions
Homer animates – Shakespeare animates, in its poor way I think Sohrab and Rustum animates – the "Gipsy Scholar" at best awakens a pleasing melancholy. But this is not what we want.
The complaining millions of men
Darken in labour and pain –
what they want is something to animate and ennoble them – not merely to add zest to their melancholy or grace to their dreams. 
Matthew Arnold

We would ask Mr. Arnold to consider whether the acceptance this poem is sure to win, does not prove to him that it is better to forget all his poetic theories, ay, and Homer and Sophocles, Milton and Goethe too, and speak straight out of things which he has felt and tested on his own pulses.
The North British Review

"The Scholar Gipsy" has sunk into the common consciousness; it is inseparable from Oxford; it is the poetry of Oxford made, in some sense, complete.
John William Mackail

"The Scholar Gipsy" represents very closely the ghost of each one of us, the living ghost, made up of many recollections and some wishes and promises; the excellence of the study is in part due to the poet's refusal to tie his wanderer to any actual gipsy camp or any invention resembling a plot.
Edmund Blunden

What the poem actually offers is a charm of relaxation, a holiday from serious aims and exacting business. And what the Scholar-Gipsy really symbolises is Victorian poetry, vehicle (so often) of explicit intellectual and moral intentions, but unable to be in essence anything but relaxed, relaxing and anodyne.
F. R. Leavis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
see also: Matthew Arnold
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
French literature - Russian literature
American literature
Charlotte Bronte: "Villette"

Villette is an 1853 novel by Bronte Charlotte . After an unspecified family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe travels from England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls' school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance.

Villette was Charlotte Brontë's fourth novel. It was preceded by the posthumously published The Professor, her first, and then by Jane Eyre and Shirley.

Author's background
In 1842 Charlotte Brontë, at the age of 26, travelled to Brussels, Belgium, with her sister Emily. There they enrolled in a pensionnat (boarding school) run by M. and Mme. Constantin Héger. In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music.

The sisters' time at the pensionnat was cut short when their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, died in October 1842. Elizabeth had joined the Brontë family to care for their children after the death of Maria Brontë, née Maria Branwell, the mother of the Brontë sisters.

Charlotte returned, alone, to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the pensionnat. Her second stay in Brussels was not a happy one. She became lonely and homesick, and fell in love with M. Héger, a married man. She finally returned to her family's rectory in Haworth, England, in January 1844.

Charlotte drew on this source material for her first (albeit unsuccessful) novel The Professor. After several publishers had rejected it, Brontë reworked the material and made it the basis of Villette. Most literary historians believe that the character of M. Paul Emanuel is closely based upon that of M. Héger. Furthermore, the character of Graham Bretton is widely acknowledged to have been modelled upon Brontë's publisher, George Murray Smith, who was her suitor at one time .

The novel is set in the English countryside, in London, and (mainly) in the fictional city of Villette (based upon Brussels) in the fictional Kingdom of Labassecour (based upon Belgium). "Labassecour" is French for farmyard.

Title page of the first edition of Villette
Lucy Snowe: The narrator and main character of Villette. A quiet, self-reliant, intelligent, 23-year-old woman. Lucy has, as Miss Ginevra Fanshawe asserts, "no attractive accomplishments – no beauty." She seems to have no living relatives.

Though usually reserved and emotionally self-controlled, Lucy has strong feelings and affections for those whom she really values. She even sincerely cares for the giddy Ginevra, albeit in a blunt, curmudgeonly fashion. She is a firm Protestant and denounces Roman Catholicism as false ("God is not with Rome").

M. Paul Emanuel: An irascible, autocratic, and male chauvinist professor at Mme. Beck's pensionnat. He is also a relative of Mme. Beck. Lucy relishes his good qualities. He is generous; he delights in giving Lucy secret presents. He is kind and magnanimous, as is shown by his supporting and sheltering the elderly grandmother of his dead fiancée, Justine Marie, together with his former tutor and a servant. He is a Catholic and tries to convert Lucy, a Protestant, to Catholicism but fails. At the end of the novel, it is strongly hinted that he dies in a shipwreck.

Dr. John Graham Bretton: A handsome young English gentleman who is a physician. He is the son of Lucy's godmother, Mrs. Bretton. He is described as "cheerful," "benignant," and "bland." Lucy, when young, showed no particular fondness for him. However, when they meet again ten years later, their cool friendship is more than rekindled, and Lucy secretly begins to cherish an affection for him.

He does not return this affection, however, and calls her "quiet Lucy Snowe" and "a being inoffensive as a shadow." He has, at first, a passion for Ginevra Fanshawe, which she treats as something that is "for amusement, sometimes." Her love of money and a sneer at Mrs. Bretton quenches his love at last, and he then falls in love with Polly. They eventually marry. Lucy conquers her love for him and buries all his treasured letters to her, saying, "Good-night, Dr. John; you are good, you are beautiful but you are not mine. Good-night, and God bless you!"

Mrs. Bretton: Dr. John Graham Bretton's mother and Lucy's godmother. She is a widow and has "health without flaw, and her spirits of that tone and equality which are better than a fortune to the possessor."

Polly Home/Countess Paulina Mary de Bassompierre: A 17-year-old English girl who is a cousin of Ginevra Fanshawe. She is first introduced to the story as a very young girl, who is called Polly. As a child, she was very fond of Graham Bretton. She grows to be a beautiful young lady who is delicate and intelligent. Upon meeting Graham again, their friendship develops into love, and they eventually marry. She is somewhat prideful. Lucy says of her, "She looked a mere doll," and describes her as shaped like "a model." She and Lucy are friends. Although Lucy is often pained by Polly's relationship with Graham, she looks upon their happiness without a grudge.

Count de Bassompierre: Polly's father, who inherited his noble title within recent years. He is a sensitive and thoughtful Count who loves his daughter. When he notices Polly's relationship with Graham, he is very averse to parting with her. He regards her as a mere child and calls her his "little treasure" or "little Polly." He at last relinquishes Polly to Graham, saying, "May God deal with you as you deal with her!"

  Ginevra Fanshawe: A beautiful but shallow and vain 18-year-old English girl with a light, careless temperament. She is an incorrigible coquette and has a relish for flirtation. She is a student at Madame Beck's, and it is her passing remark, "I wish you would come to Madame Beck's; she has some marmots you might look after: she wants an English gouvernante, or was wanting one two months ago," which prompts Lucy to go to Villette.

Despite Ginevra's faults, Lucy cherishes a certain fondness for her. Ginevra thinks of Lucy as "caustic, ironic, and cynical," calling her "old lady," "dear crosspatch," and most frequently "Timon" (after a Greek misanthrope who lived during the 5th century BC). She eventually elopes with a man named Count Alfred de Hamal and keeps in touch with Lucy via letters.

Madame Beck: The owner and headmistress of the boarding school for girls where Lucy is employed. She is short and stout, but not uncomely.

Her complexion is fresh and sanguine, with the colour, but not the texture, of youth. Her eyes are blue and serene; "She looked well, though a little bourgeois … ." She has good sense and is an excellent administrator. Lucy says, "[S]he had no heart to be touched: it reminded her where she was impotent and dead." Lucy further describes her as "wise, firm, faithless; secret, crafty, passionless; watchful and inscrutable; acute and insensate — withal perfectly decorous — what more could be desired?" She seems to have an attraction to Graham at first, but that dies away quickly and she then seeks to marry M. Paul Emanuel. She does all she can to keep Lucy and Paul apart.

Rosine: The pretty but unprincipled portress at Madame Beck's boarding school. She is "smart, trim, and pert" and "not a bad sort of person," according to Lucy. She likes to be bribed.

Plot summary
Villette begins with its famously passive protagonist, Lucy Snowe, age 14, staying at the home of her godmother Mrs. Bretton in "the clean and ancient town of Bretton", in England. Also in residence are Mrs. Bretton's son, John Graham Bretton (whom the family calls Graham), and a young visitor, Paulina Home (who is called Polly). Polly is a peculiar little girl who soon develops a deep devotion to Graham, who showers her with attention. But Polly's visit is cut short when her father arrives to take her away.

For reasons that are not stated, Lucy leaves Mrs. Bretton's home a few weeks after the Polly's departure. Some years pass, during which an unspecified family tragedy leaves Lucy without family, home, or means. After some initial hesitation, she is hired as a caregiver by Miss Marchmont, a rheumatic crippled woman. Lucy is soon accustomed to her work and has begun to feel content with her quiet lifestyle.

During an evening of dramatic weather changes, Miss Marchmont regains all her energy and feels young again. She shares with Lucy her sad love story of 30 years previously, and concludes that she should treat Lucy better and be a better person. She believes that death will reunite her with her dead lover. The next morning, Lucy finds Miss Marchmont dead.

Lucy then leaves the English countryside and goes to London. At the age of 23, she boards a ship for Labassecour despite knowing very little French. She travels to the city of Villette, where she finds employment as a bonne (nanny) at Mme. Beck's boarding school for girls. (This school is seen as being based upon the Hégers' Brussels pensionnat). After a time, she is hired to teach English at the school, in addition to having to mind Mme. Beck's three children. She thrives despite Mme. Beck's constant surveillance of the staff and students.

"Dr. John," a handsome English doctor, frequently visits the school because of his love for the coquette Ginevra Fanshawe. In one of Villette's famous plot twists, "Dr. John" is later revealed to be John Graham Bretton, a fact that Lucy has known but has deliberately concealed from the reader. After Dr. John (i.e., Graham) discovers Ginevra's unworthiness, he turns his attention to Lucy, and they become close friends. She values this friendship highly despite her usual emotional reserve.

We meet Polly (Paulina Home) again at this point; her father has inherited the title "de Bassompierre" and is now a Count. Thus her name is now Paulina Home de Bassompierre. Polly and Graham soon discover that they knew each other in the past and renew their friendship. They fall in love and eventually marry.

  Lucy becomes progressively closer to a colleague, the irascible, autocratic, and male chauvinist professor, M. Paul Emanuel, a relative of Mme. Beck. Lucy and Paul eventually fall in love.

However, a group of conspiring antagonists, including Mme. Beck, the priest Père Silas, and the relatives of M. Paul's long-dead fiancée, work to keep the two apart. They finally succeed in forcing M. Paul's departure for the West Indies to oversee a plantation there. He nonetheless declares his love for Lucy before his departure and arranges for her to live independently as the headmistress of her own day school, which she later expands into a pensionnat (boarding school).

During the course of the novel, Lucy has three encounters with the figure of a nun — which may be the ghost of a nun who was buried alive on the school's grounds as punishment for breaking her vow of chastity. In a highly symbolic scene near the end of the novel, she discovers the "nun's" habit in her bed and destroys it. She later finds out that it was a disguise worn by Ginevra's amour, Alfred de Hamal. The episodes with the nun no doubt contributed substantially to the novel's reputation as a gothic novel.

Villette's final pages are ambiguous. Although Lucy says that she wants to leave the reader free to imagine a happy ending, she hints strongly that M. Paul's ship was destroyed by a storm during his return journey from the West Indies. She says that, "M. Emanuel was away three years. Reader, they were the three happiest years of my life." This passage suggests that he was drowned by the "destroying angel of tempest."

Brontë described the ambiguity of the ending as a "little puzzle."

Villette is noted not so much for its plot as for its acute tracing of Lucy's psychology. The novel is sometimes celebrated as an exploration of gender roles and repression. In The Madwoman in the Attic, critics Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar have argued that the character of Lucy Snowe is based in part on William Wordsworth's Lucy poems. Gilbert and Gubar emphasise the idea of feminine re-writing. Some critics have explored the issues of Lucy's psychological state in terms of what they call "patriarchal constructs" which form her cultural context.

Villette also explores isolation and cross-cultural conflict in Lucy's attempts to master the French language, as well as conflicts between her English Protestantism and Catholicism. Her denunciation of Catholicism is unsparing: e.g., "God is not with Rome."

"Villette is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power." --George Eliot

"There are so few books, and so many volumes. Among the few stands Villette." --George Henry Lewes

"It is her finest novel. All her force, and it is the more tremendous for being constricted, goes into the assertion, 'I love. I hate. I suffer.'" --Virginia Woolf

The Daily Telegraph, 21 Apr 2014, Lucy Hughes-Hallett : "Charlotte Brontë : Why Villette is better than Jane Eyre"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  Charlotte Bronte

"Jane Eyre"

Illustrations by F. H. Townsend
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Caine Hall

Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine CH, KBE (14 May 1853 – 31 August 1931), usually known as Hall Caine, was a Manx author. He is best known as a novelist and playwright of the late Victorian and the Edwardian eras. In his time, he was exceedingly popular, and, at the peak of his success, his novels outsold those of his contemporaries. Many of his novels were also made into films. His novels were primarily romances, involving love triangles, but also addressed some of the more serious political and social issues of the day.


Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine

  Sir Hall Caine, in full Sir Thomas Henry Hall Caine (born May 14, 1853, Runcorn, Cheshire, Eng.—died Aug. 31, 1931, Isle of Man), British writer known for his popular novels combining sentiment, moral fervour, skillfully suggested local atmosphere, and strong characterization.

Caine was secretary to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the poet, painter, and leader of the Pre-Raphaelite artists in England, from 1881 to Rossetti’s death in 1882.

Caine’s first novel, The Shadow of a Crime, was published in 1885.

It was followed by several others—including The Deemster (1887), The Manxman (1894), The Eternal City (1901), The Woman Thou Gavest Me (1913), and The Woman of Knockaloe (1923).

Caine settled in the Isle of Man and sat from 1901 to 1908 in the House of Keys, the lower house of its legislature.

He was knighted in 1918 for services as an Allied propagandist in the United States.

Encyclopædia Britannica

  Western Literature

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Freytag Gustav: "Die Journalisten"

Gustav Freytag: "Die Journalisten"
  Western Literature

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Elizabeth Gaskell: "Ruth"

Ruth is a novel by Gaskell Elizabet, first published in three volumes in 1853.

The plot
Ruth is a young orphan girl working in a respectable sweatshop for the overworked Mrs Mason. She is selected to go to a ball to repair torn dresses.

At the ball she meets the aristocratic Henry Bellingham, a rake figure who is instantly attracted to her. They meet again by chance and form a secret friendship; on an outing together they are spotted by Mrs Mason who, fearing for her shop's reputation, dismisses Ruth.

Alone in the world, Ruth is whisked away by Bellingham to London where it is implied she becomes a fallen woman. They go on holiday to Wales together and there on a country walk Ruth meets the disabled and kind Mr Benson. Bellingham falls sick with fever and the hotel calls for his mother who arrives and is disgusted by her son's having lived in sin with Ruth. Bellingham is persuaded by his mother to abandon Ruth in Wales, leaving her some money.

A distraught Ruth attempts suicide but is spotted by Mr Benson who helps comfort her. When he learns of her past and that she is alone he brings her back to his home town, where he is a Dissenting minister, to stay with him and his formidable but kind sister Faith. When they learn that Ruth is pregnant they decide to lie to the town and claim that she is a widow called Mrs Denbigh, to protect her from a society which would otherwise shun her.

Ruth has her baby, whom she names Leonard. She is transformed into a Madonna type figure, calm and innocent once more. The rich local businessman Mr Bradshaw admires Ruth and employs her as a governess for his children, including his eldest daughter Jemima who is in awe of the beautiful Ruth.

First edition title page.
Ruth goes away with the Bradshaws to a seaside house while one of Mr Bradshaw's children is convalescing from a long illness. Mr Bradshaw brings Mr Donne, a man whom he is sponsoring to become their local MP, to the seaside to impress him.

Ruth recognises Mr Donne as actually being Mr Bellingham and the two have a confrontation on the beach. Bellingham offers to marry Ruth as he claims he still loves her and for the sake of their child, Ruth rejects him saying she will not let Leonard come in contact with a man like him.

From local gossip Jemima discovers about Ruth's past, though she is still unaware that it was Mr Donne who is Leonard's father. Jemima is headstrong and already jealous that her suitor Mr Farquhar, her father's business partner, seems to admire Ruth over her.

The truth is Mr Farquhar is put off by Jemima's erratic behaviour, caused by her father's good intentioned interference.

Jemima however decides to keep quiet over Ruth's past as she realises that she comes from a more privileged background and the same could well have happened to her, had she been in Ruth's situation.

Mr Bradshaw discovers also from local gossip however that Ruth is a fallen woman and despite Jemima's passionate defence of Ruth she is thrown out of the house and sacked. Ruth goes home and has to reveal to Leonard that he is in fact illegitimate; he is devastated and ashamed by the news. Mr Bradshaw also goes to his old friend Mr Benson and argues with him as he allowed the lie to be told and for Ruth to enter not only his but also Mr Bradshaw's house.

  Jemima and Mr Farquhar marry and have their own child and form a good friendship with Ruth and Leonard but they are still on the outskirts of society. Ruth goes among the poor to work as a nurse to the sick and gains a good reputation there, making Leonard proud of his mother once more and restoring their relationship. Mr Bradshaw's son is found to have been embezzling the company's funds and his father disowns him. However, when his son is later involved in an accident, Mr Bradshaw is distraught and realises that his morals had been perhaps too heavy-handed in the past. His son recovers and Mr Bradshaw starts to rethink his life.

Ruth has to give up her work as there is a catching fever in the environment. A local doctor offers to sponsor Leonard's studies at a good school and the Farquhars offer to go away on holiday with Ruth and Leonard. However before Ruth has made a decision she hears that Mr Donne is very sick; she confides in the doctor the truth about who Mr Donne really is, and goes to him. He is delirious with fever and does not recognise her but she nurses him back to health.

Ruth however falls sick and dies from the illness. At the funeral many of the poor that Ruth had looked after praise her, and the chapel is full of people that loved Ruth, despite her being a fallen woman. Mr Donne comes to Mr Benson's house and sees Ruth dead, he is momentarily sad and offers money to Mr Benson who realises who he must be and throws him out of the house.

The novel ends with Mr Bradshaw finding a weeping Leonard at his mother's grave, whom he leads home to Mr Benson, and reforming his friendship with Mr Benson realising that as a member of the society that ostracised Ruth, he is also responsible for her death.

The book is a social novel, dealing with Victorian views about sin and illegitimacy. It is a surprisingly compassionate portrayal of a 'fallen woman', a type of person normally outcast from respectable society. It examines the social stigma of illegitimacy. Ruth goes on to gain a respectable position in society as a governess, and the novel looks at whether the sinful can be reintegrated into society.

Ruth Hilton – The titular heroine. Later referred to as Mrs Denbigh.
Henry Bellingham – Ruth's lover. Changes his name to Mr Donne.
Leonard – Ruth's illegitimate son.
Mr Benson – Minister who takes in Ruth.
Miss Benson – Sister of Mr Benson.
Mr Bradshaw – Ruth's employer. Local businessman.
Jemima Bradshaw – Friend of Ruth's. Daughter of Mr Bradshaw.
Mr Farquhar – Business partner of Mr Bradshaw. Later Jemima's husband.

Literary Significance and reception
Ruth received a mixed critical reception. As a work that dealt frankly with seduction and illegitimacy, it inevitably attracted controversy: Gaskell reported that it was a "prohibited book" in her own household, that friends expressed "deep regret" at its publication, and that two acquaintances burnt their copies. On the other hand, some reviewers complained that Gaskell painted Ruth as too passive a victim of Bellingham's advances, eluding the question of Ruth's own sexual feelings. Gaskell loaded the story down with so many extenuating circumstances that Ruth scarcely seemed a representative example of a "fallen woman."

Ruth is one of several 19th-century British and American novels that cast a "fallen woman" with an illegitimate child in the role of heroine. It may be compared to Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter (1850), published just a few years earlier, and in many respects it anticipates Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891). Ruth, like Tess, is a working-class girl who is distinguished from her peers by both unusual sensitivity and sexual ignorance. But Gaskell's treatment of her heroine differs somewhat from Hardy's in that she emphasises Ruth's guilt, regret, and struggle to expiate her sin, while Hardy is less inclined to view Tess as a sinner.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see also: Elizabeth Gaskell
  Western Literature

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Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Tanglewood Tales"

Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls (1853) is a book by American author Hawthorne Nathaniel, a sequel to A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. It is a re-writing of well-known Greek myths in a volume for children.

The book includes the myths of:

-Theseus and the Minotaur (Chapter : "The Minotaur")
-Antaeus and the Pygmies (Chapter: "The Pygmies")
-Dragon's Teeth (Chapter: "The Dragon's Teeth")
-Circe's Palace (Chapter: "Circe's Palace")
-Proserpina, Ceres, Pluto, and the Pomegranate Seed (Chapter: "The Pomegranate Seed")
-Jason and the Golden Fleece (Chapter: "The Golden Fleece")

Hawthorne wrote introduction, titled "The Wayside", referring to The Wayside in Concord, where he lived from 1852 until his death. In the introduction, Hawthorne writes about a visit from his young friend Eustace Bright, who requested a sequel to Wonder Book, which impelled him to write the Tales. Although Hawthorne informs us in the introduction that these stories were also later retold by Cousin Eustace, the frame stories of A Wonder-Book have been abandoned.

Hawthorne wrote the book while renting a small cottage in the Berkshires, a vacation area for industrialists during the Gilded Age. The owner of the cottage, a railroad baron, renamed the cottage "Tanglewood" in honor of the book written there. Later, a nearby mansion was renamed Tanglewood, where outdoor classical concerts were held, which became a Berkshire summer tradition.

The Tanglewood neighborhood of Houston was named after the book. The book was a favorite of Mary Katherine Farrington, the daughter of Tanglewood developer William Farrington. It reportedly inspired the name of the thickly wooded Tanglewood Island in the state of Washington.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cover page of first edition (1853)

1921 edition illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett

see also: Nathaniel Hawthorne
  Western Literature

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>Charles Kingsley: "Hypatia"

Hypatia, or New Foes with an Old Face is an 1853 novel by the English writer Kingsley Charles. It is a fictionalised account of the life of the philosopher Hypatia, and tells the story of a young monk called Philammon who travels to Alexandria, where he becomes mixed up in the political and religious battles of the day. Although intended as Christian apologia, the novel has a deliberate anti-Catholic tone, and it also reflects Kingsley's other prejudices about race and religion, many of which were typical to the 19th-century. For many years the book was considered one of Kingsley's best novels and was widely read.

The plot revolves around Hypatia the pagan philosopher; Cyril the Christian patriarch; Orestes the power-hungry prefect of Egypt; and Philammon an Egyptian monk.

Philammon travels from his monastic, desert community to Alexandria, and expresses a desire to attend Hypatia's lectures despite Cyril's dislike of Hypatia. Although Hypatia has a deep-seated hatred of Christianity, Philammon becomes her devoted friend and disciple. Philammon also encounters Pelagia, his long-lost sister, a former singer and dancer who is now married to a Gothic warrior.

Philammon naturally desires to convert both women to Christianity. The plot is played out against the backdrop of Orestes as the scheming prefect who hopes to become emperor of Egypt and Africa, and uses Hypatia as a pawn in his schemes. A subplot involves Raphael Aben-Ezra as a wealthy Jewish associate of Hypatia who falls in love with a Christian girl called Victoria, and converts to win her love. A series of events, some of which are orchestrated by a Jewish woman called Miriam, raise tensions between the Prefect and the Church.

Hypatia undergoes a spiritual crisis and comes close to being converted to Christianity by Raphael. Before this can happen however, rumours are spread that Hypatia is the cause of unrest in the city and she is murdered by a Christian mob.

Philammon, despondent, returns to the desert where he eventually becomes abbot of his monastery, albeit with a more worldly view of Christianity.
1897 edition illustrated by Edmund H. Garrett
Hypatia has a strong anti-Catholic tone which reflects Kingsley own dislike of priests and monks. Kingsley's portrayal of a fractious and corrupt early Church represented by Cyril and the clergy is intended to reflect the 19th-century Catholic church. Kingsley also disliked priestly celibacy, and makes it clear that, in his view, it damages those who practise it. Kingsley was, nevertheless, keen to assert the moral superiority of Christianity over Judaism: of the two Jewish characters in the novel, one – Miriam – is consistently malevolent, and the other – Raphael – abandons his home to become a disillusioned wandering Jew, before converting to Christianity. Likewise Kingsley delivers a negative portrayal of Greco-Roman paganism: thus when Orestes attempts a pagan revival in Alexandria, he does so by restoring the spectacle and butchery of the gladiatorial arena. Kingsley also devotes parts of the novel to expounding Neoplatonism and explaining its apparent flaws.

Kingsley expresses a view of the superiority of northern Europeans in his portrayal of the Goths in Alexandria as saviours for Christianity, who, although crude and violent, possess the necessary Teutonic values of hardiness and virility to counter the corrupt church. This reflects a theme which Kingsley would later expound in a book and lecture series entitled "The Roman and the Teuton".

A further theme is the way Kingsley links religious insight with eroticism, a theme which is most overtly displayed in the climax of the novel with Hypatia stripped naked, being torn apart by monks under an enormous image of Christ.


Hypatia at the feet of Philammon. Drawn by Lee Woodward Zeigler, 1899
Hypatia was originally serialised in 1852 in Fraser's Magazine from January 1852 to April 1853, and it was then published in book form in 1853. The book was translated into several European languages, and it was very successful in Germany.

There have been several illustrated editions of the novel, including one with copious illustrations by William Martin Johnson; a second with seventeen illustrations by Edmund H. Garrett; a third with twelve illustrations by Lee Woodward Zeigler; and a fourth with eight illustrations by Byam Shaw. A German edition had illustrations by Rudolf Trache, and an early Spanish edition had seven illustrations by Ramón Alabern and other artists.

For many years Hypatia was regarded as Kingsley's "most widely known and appreciated" novel, with interest only dipping in later generations. The book was said to have been Queen Victoria's favourite novel by Kingsley.

The novel notably inspired the painting Hypatia by Charles William Mitchell (1885, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle) which depicts Hypatia, naked, cowering against an altar, facing her (unseen) murderers. Another painting inspired by the novel was Arthur Hacker's Pelagia and Philammon (1887, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) which depicts a naked Pelagia dying, watched by a cloaked, hooded Philammon.

In Kingsley's era criticism of the novel was directed at his negative portrayal of the church in Alexandria and of Cyril in particular. It was this aspect of the novel, as well as its alleged indecency, which thwarted an attempt to bestow an honorary degree to Kingsley at Oxford University in 1863.

  In addition, some readers were disappointed that Kingsley did not go further in villainising all creeds other than Christianity. The anti-Catholic theme of the novel naturally drew criticism from Catholic churchmen, and among the literary responses were novels by Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, Fabiola (1854), and John Henry Newman, Callista (1855).

In the modern era criticism of the novel has focused on its anti-Semitism as well as its racial prejudice. The book has been described as "ferociously racist." One review describes it as "Christian apologia, [with] religious and ethnic bigotry in the form of anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism," but nevertheless concludes that "it is an unexpectedly involving novel, and is well worth searching out." Another review criticises the novel for being "difficult to follow with the myriad of unnecessary characters and their convoluted esoteric arguments," but concludes that "Hypatia stands as an excellent example of fiction written for a specific purpose, as well as an impeccably researched novel that remains true to history."


Pelagia and Philammon by Arthur Hacker
In 1859 a stage play based on the novel entitled The Black Agate, or, Old foes with new faces was performed at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The play was written by Elizabeth Bowers, who also played the part of Hypatia.

A more notable adaptation of the novel was the stage play Hypatia written by G. Stuart Ogilvie. It opened at the Haymarket Theatre in London on 2 January 1893. It was produced by Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Julia Neilson played the character of Hypatia, and her husband Fred Terry played Philammon. The play featured an elaborate musical score written by the composer Hubert Parry. Ogilvie's play introduced a scheming Jewish character called Issachar (played by Tree) in place of Kingsley's Miriam. The portrayal of Issachar was relatively sympathetic, as Tree had great respect for the Jewish contribution to contemporary theatre. Even The Jewish Chronicle noted that Issachar is "ambitious and able, he plots and counterplots but there is no suspicion or meanness in his nature" and concluded that he was the "least conventional and least offensive of recent stage Jews."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
see also: Charles Kingsley
  Western Literature

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Tieck Ludwig, German poet, d. (b. 1773)

Ludwig Tieck
see also: Ludwig Tieck
  Western Literature

English Literature - German literature
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American literature
Tree Herbert Beerbohm

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (17 December 1853 – 2 July 1917) was an English actor and theatre manager.

Tree began performing in the 1870s. By 1887, he was managing the Haymarket Theatre, winning praise for adventurous programming and lavish productions, and starring in many of its productions. In 1899, he helped fund the rebuilding, and became manager, of His Majesty's Theatre. Again, he promoted a mix of Shakespeare and classic plays with new works and adaptations of popular novels, giving them spectacular productions in this large house, and often playing leading roles. His wife, actress Helen Maud Holt, often played opposite him and assisted him with management of the theatres.

Although Tree was regarded as a versatile and skilled actor, particularly in character roles, by his later years, his technique was seen as mannered and old fashioned. He founded the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1904 and was knighted, for his contributions to theatre, in 1909. His famous family includes his siblings, explorer Julius Beerbohm, author Constance Beerbohm and half-brother caricaturist Max Beerbohm. His daughters were Viola, an actress, Felicity and Iris, a poet; and his illegitimate children included film director Carol Reed. A grandson was the actor Oliver Reed.

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
  Early life and career
Born in Kensington, London as Herbert Draper Beerbohm, Tree was the second son and second child of Julius Ewald Edward Beerbohm (1810–1892) and his wife Constantia (née Draper) Beerbohm. The senior Beerbohm was of Dutch, Lithuanian, and German origin; he had come to England in about 1830 and set up as a prosperous corn merchant. Draper was an Englishwoman. They had four children.

Tree's younger brother was the author and explorer Julius Beerbohm, and his sister was author Constance Beerbohm. A younger half-brother was the parodist and caricaturist Max Beerbohm, born from their father's second marriage.

Max jokingly claimed that Herbert added the "Tree" to his name because it was easier for audiences than shouting "Beerbohm! Beerbohm!" at curtain calls. The latter part of his surname, "bohm", is north German dialect for "tree".

Tree's early education included Mrs Adams's Preparatory School at Frant, Dr Stone's school in King's Square, Bristol, and Westbourne collegiate school in Westbourne Grove, London. After these, he attended his father's alma mater, Schnepfeuthal College in Thuringia, Germany.

Upon his return to England, he began performing with amateur troupes, eventually using the name Herbert Beerbohm Tree, while working in his father's business.

In 1878 Tree played Grimaldi in Dion Boucicault's The Life of an Actress at the Globe Theatre; shortly after, he began his professional career. For the next six years, he performed mainly on tour in the British provinces, playing character roles. He made his London debut late in 1878 at the Olympic Theatre under the management of Henry Neville. His first real success was as the elderly Marquis de Pontsablé in Madame Favart, in which he toured towards the end of 1879. Another London engagement was as Prince Maleotti in a revival of Forget-me-Not at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in 1880.

His first London success came in 1884 as the Rev. Robert Spalding in Charles Hawtrey's adaptation of The Private Secretary. Tree embellished the comic elements of the role, which added to the popularity of the play. His next role was Paolo Marcari in Called Back by Hugh Conway. The contrast between this dashing Italian spy and his timid parson in Hawtrey's play, showed his versatility as a character actor. Other appearances over the next two years included roles in revivals of A. W. Pinero's The Magistrate and W. S. Gilbert's Engaged. In 1886 he played Iago in Othello and Sir Peter Teazle in The School for Scandal with F. R. Benson's company at Bournemouth.
The same year, in London, he made a success at the Haymarket Theatre, in the character role of Baron Harzfeld in Jim the Penman by Charles Young.


  Theatre manager and leading roles
In 1887, at age thirty-four, Tree took over the management of the Comedy Theatre in the West End of London. His first production was a successful run of the Russian revolutionary play The Red Lamp by W. Outram Tristram, in which Tree took the role of Demetrius.

Later in the year, he became the manager of the prestigious Haymarket Theatre. Since the departure of the Bancrofts in 1885, that theatre's reputation had suffered. Tree restored it during his tenure. He produced and appeared on stage in some thirty plays during the following decade. While popular farces and melodramas like Trilby anchored the repertoire (the production ran for an extraordinary 260 performances), Tree also encouraged the new drama, staging Maeterlinck's The Intruder (1890), Ibsen's An Enemy of the People (1893) and Wilde's A Woman of No Importance (1893), among others. He supported new playwrights by producing special "Monday night" performances of their new plays.

Tree also mounted critically acclaimed productions of Hamlet (1892), Henry IV, Part 1 (1896) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (1889), establishing himself as a Shakespearean leading man. The Times thought his Hamlet a "notable success", but not everyone agreed: W.S. Gilbert said of it, "I never saw anything so funny in my life, and yet it was not in the least vulgar." In 1889 Tree also produced Charles Haddon Chambers's play The Tyranny of Tears. His Haymarket seasons were broken by visits to the United States in January 1895 and November 1896, and occasional visits to the provinces.

With the profits he had accumulated at the Haymarket, Tree helped finance the rebuilding of Her Majesty's Theatre in grand Louis XV style.

He owned and managed it. He lived in the theatre for two decades following its completion in 1897 until his death in 1917. For his personal use, he had a banqueting hall and living room installed in the massive, central, square French-style dome. The theatre historian W. J. MacQueen-Pope, wrote of the theatre,

"Simply to go to His Majesty's was a thrill. As soon as you entered it, you sensed the atmosphere ... In Tree's time it was graced by footmen in powdered wigs and liveries ... Everything was in tone, nothing cheap, nothing vulgar."

Tree opened his theatre in 1897 during Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee year, associating the new structure with an imperial celebration.

Over the next two decades, Tree staged approximately sixty plays there, programming a repertory at least as varied as he had at the Haymarket. His first production at Her Majesty's was a dramatization of Gilbert Parker's The Seats of the Mighty. Tree mounted new plays by prominent British playwrights, such as Carnac Sahib (1899) by Henry Arthur Jones. His productions were exceptionally profitable; they were famous, most of all, for their elaborate and often spectacular scenery and effects. Unlike some other famous actor-managers, Tree engaged the best actors available to join his company and hired the best designers and composers for the plays with incidental music. His productions starred such noted actors as Constance Collier, Ellen Terry, Madge Kendal, Winifred Emery, Julia Neilson, Violet Vanbrugh, Oscar Asche, Arthur Bourchier, and Lewis Waller.

Tree often starred in the theatre's dramatizations of popular nineteenth-century novels, such as Sydney Grundy's adaptation of Dumas's Musketeers (1898); Tolstoy's Resurrection (1903); Dickens's Oliver Twist (1905), The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1908) and David Copperfield (1914); and Morton's dramatization of Thackeray's The Newcomes, called Colonel Newcome (1906), among others.

  Tree staged many contemporary verse dramas by Stephen Phillips and others, including Herod (1900), Ulysses (1902), Nero (1906) and Faust (1908). Adaptations of classic foreign plays included Beethoven by Louis Parker, an adaptation of the play by Réné Fauchois (1909); A Russian Tragedy, an English version by Henry Hamilton of the play by Adolph Glass (1909); and The Perfect Gentleman by W. Somerset Maugham, an adaptation of the classic Molière play, Le bourgeois gentilhomme (1913).

The classical repertory included such works as The School for Scandal (1909). Tree also programmed popular melodramas, farces, romantic comedies and premieres, such as George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, in 1914. Tree played Henry Higgins opposite the Eliza of Mrs Patrick Campbell. The actor John Gielgud wrote, "Rehearsing Pygmalion with Tree she must have been impossible. They were both such eccentrics. They kept ordering each other out of the theatre with Shaw in the middle, trying to cope with them." Tree also took his productions on tour to the United States many times. In 1907 he visited Berlin's Royal Opera House at the invitation of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Gilbert remarked that Tree had been invited by the Kaiser "with the malignant motive of showing the Germans what impostors we all are."

Tree as Hamlet in 1892.
Under Tree, however, Her (later His) Majesty's Theatre was most famous for its work with Shakespeare, building an international reputation as the premier British playhouse for his works during the Edwardian era, which had for so long belonged to Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre during the Victorian period. Tree worked untiringly to make Shakespeare popular with the theatregoing public. He mounted sixteen Shakespeare productions, many of which earned enough success to justify revivals during subsequent seasons. He also established annual Shakespeare festival from 1905 to 1913 that showcased a total over two hundred performances by his company and other acting troupes. Tree overturned the popular wisdom at the time that Shakespeare productions would lose money, creating stagings that appealed widely to patrons.

In fact, the theatre's first Shakespearian play, Julius Caesar, was its first commercial success in 1898, running for 165 consecutive performances and selling 242,000 tickets. The next two years saw two more hits, King John and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Tree's longest-running revival, Henry VIII, ran for a sensational 254 consecutive performances from 1 September 1910 to 8 April 1911. Many of the others were similar hits.

Tree staged the Shakespeare plays, in particular, to appeal to the broad public taste for realistic scenery and scenic effects and lavish spectacle, mirroring the Edwardian fashion for luxury and extravagance.

For example, in The Winter's Tale (1906), there was a woodland glade with a shepherd's cottage and babbling brook; in The Tempest (1904), a replica of a sixteenth-century vessel was tossed in a storm; in The Merchant of Venice (1908), he recreated an authentic Renaissance ghetto. Tree expounded his views on staging in 1897:

Everything that tends to aid illusion, to stimulate the imagination of an audience, is legitimate on the stage. Everything that detracts from illusion is illegitimate. We hear a great deal of cant talked by those who insist that the ideal stage setting should be a green baize, whose decoration should consist of placards inscribed, "This is a street," "This is a house," "This is heaven." In all this there seems to me something of affectation. If Shakespeare's poetry could be better or more reverently illustrated by such means, I would say: "Take away those baubles of scenery, of costume, and of archaeological accessories!"


Macbeth (1916)
Tree sometimes interpolated scenes of famous historical events into the plays to provide even more spectacle, such as King John's granting of Magna Carta or Anne Boleyn's coronation in Westminster Abbey.

Tree also pursued four Shakespeare film projects during his career at Her Majesty's. Of great historical interest is the filming, in 1899, of three brief segments from his production of King John, in which he starred and directed. This is the first film record of a Shakespeare play. Charles Urban filmed the opening shipwreck from the 1904 revival of The Tempest at the theatre in 1905; Tree, whose role in the production was Caliban, did not appear in this scene. Tree played Cardinal Wolsey in a 1911 studio film by William Barker of a five-scene version of Henry VIII, based on the theatre's 1910 production. Tree was paid the unprecedented sum of £1000 lest the film prove unsatisfactory, or damage ticket sales of the theatre presentation. Filming took place at studios in Ealing, west London and took only one day, thanks to careful preparation beforehand. The film was presented to the public on 27 February 1911 in various theatres in London and in the provinces, and was a huge success. The Moving Picture World wrote, "The picture is without doubt the greatest that has even been attempted in this country, and I am almost tempted to say in any other ... the acting passes anything ever seen in moving pictures before.... The effect on the moving picture industry here will be enormous." In California in 1916, Tree played the title role in a film of Macbeth, by D. W. Griffith (considered a lost film).


Tree as Shylock, painted by Charles Buchel.
  Reputation and last years
According to Tree's biographers, critics and audiences considered Tree to be the best character actor of his day. He himself detested the term "character actor", saying:

"All acting should be character acting. What is Shylock? A character part. What are Macbeth and Richard III but character parts? What are Hamlet, Iago, or Othello but character parts? What are Brutus, Mark Antony and Cassius? Such characters as Romeo of course require the appearance of youth and those graces of person which will alone commend the Mantuan lover to his Juliet. But even here, an audience will be more moved by the intellectual suggestion of a Jean de Reszke, than by the inadequate posturings of a youthful nincompoop."

He was an exceptional mime and demonstrated unrivalled versatility in creating individual characterisations. He was particularly praised for his vivid characters with eccentric and idiosyncratic and habits, including Fagin, Falstaff and Svengali. His diligent preparation and attention to detail in make-up, gesture, body position and facial expression allowed him to inhabit these roles.

He used his expressive eyes to project such varied emotions as "the dreamy languor of Hamlet during his moments of reflection and the baleful hatred of Shylock towards his persecutors to the nervous fear of Richard II during his surrender at Flint Castle.

His Malvolio was a swaggering and conceited fool, King John a superstitious and deceitful coward, and Macbeth a neurotic and self-torturing monarch."

The literary critic Desmond MacCarthy wrote of Tree: "He could make himself look like Falstaff. He understood and revelled in the character of Falstaff, but his performance lacked fundamental force. Hence the contradiction in his acting: his performance as a whole often fell short of high excellence, yet these same impersonations were lit by insight and masterly strokes of interpretation, which made the spectator feel that he was watching the performance of the most imaginative of living actors."

In the great tragic Shakespearean roles, however, Tree was overshadowed by earlier actors such as Henry Irving. During performance, Tree allowed inspiration to suggest to him appropriate stage business, which sometimes lead to inconsistent interpretations in his portrayals of a role. The Manchester Guardian wrote, "The wonderful thing about him was his amazing versatility, and there was an intellectual virility, an untiring earnestness about the man, which was irresistibly stimulating." Tree's versatility, however, was a two edged sword: he quickly tired of characters after a brief run and sought to add business and details to the part to sustain his interest, which led to further character inconsistencies in long runs. Tree's voice was described as thin, and he was sometimes criticized for struggling to project it in a manner that made his performance seem unnatural. In the last decade of his career, Tree's technique was seen as mannered and old fashioned. His spectacles, too, in comparison with the experimental methods of Poel and other producers, seemed outdated, although Tree responded to his critics by noting that his productions remained profitable and well attended.


Tree in 1915 aboard a passenger liner.
Tree married actress Helen Maud Holt (1863–1937) in 1882; she often played opposite him and assisted him with management of the theatres. Her charm also assisted the couple's entry into prominent social and élite artistic and intellectual circles.

Their daughters were actresses Viola Tree (who married theatre critic Alan Parsons) and Felicity Tree (who married Sir Geoffrey Cory-Wright, third baronet) and poet Iris Tree (who married Curtis Moffat, becoming Countess Ledebur).

Tree also fathered several illegitimate children, including six with (Beatrice) May Pinney and other mistresses, including film director Carol Reed and Peter Reed, the father of the British actor Oliver Reed. He was also the grandfather of Hollywood screenwriter and producer Ivan Moffat.

Tree founded the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1904. He also served as president of the Theatrical Managers' Association and assisted the Actors' Benevolent Fund and the Actors' Association. For his contributions to theatre, he was knighted in 1909. During World War I, Tree contributed his celebrity by delivering patriotic addresses. He wrote several books discussing the importance of the theatre and the arts in modern society.

Tree's last professional undertaking was a visit to Los Angeles in 1915 fulfilling a contract with a film company. He was in America for the greater part of 1915 and 1916. He returned to England in 1917 and died, aged 64, from pulmonary blood clots.

According to writer Vera Brittain, he died suddenly in the arms of her friend, the novelist Winifred Holtby, then aged 19 and working as a nursing assistant at a fashionable London nursing home where Tree was recuperating from surgery to repair a broken leg. His remains were cremated, and his ashes rest at Hampstead Cemetery.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlotte M. Yonge: "The Heir of Redclyffe"

The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) was the first of Charlotte M. Yonge's (Yonge Charlotte Mary) bestselling romantic novels. Its religious tone derives from the High Church background of her family and from her friendship with a leading figure in the Oxford Movement, John Keble, who closely supervised the writing of the book. The germ of its plot was suggested by her friend Marianne Dyson. According to J. B. Priestley The Heir of Redclyffe was "the most popular novel of the whole age…Its popularity left Dickens and Thackeray far behind." 

The Heir of Redclyffe tells the story of the Byronic Guy Morville, heir to the Redclyffe baronetcy, and his cousin Philip Morville, a conceited hypocrite who enjoys an unwarrantedly high reputation. When Guy raises money to secretly pay off the debts of his blackguard uncle, Philip spreads the rumour that Guy is a reckless gambler. As a result Guy's proposed marriage to his guardian's daughter Amy is called off and he is disowned by his guardian. Guy bears the situation with a new-found Christian fortitude until the uncle clears his character, enabling him to marry Amy after all. They honeymoon in Italy, finding Philip there suffering from a life-threatening fever. Guy nurses him back to health, but catches the fever himself and dies. Philip, transformed by contrition, inherits Redclyffe.
Readership and critical reception
From the first The Heir of Redclyffe was a tremendous financial success, enabling Yonge to give the Bishop of New Zealand a sum of money to be spent on building a missionary ship, the Southern Cross. The novel's readers came from a wide social and intellectual range. Many were young girls, as is indicated by the fact that one of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is found crying over a copy. The author's brother Julian reported that nearly all the young men in his regiment had a copy. The teenaged George Saintsbury included Guy Morville in a list of "Things and Persons to be Adored". William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, when students at Oxford, read the book aloud and decided to adopt the chivalric ideals of Guy Morville as part of the principles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Count Tolstoy must have read The Heir of Redclyffe if the critic John Sutherland is correct in detecting its influence on Anna Karenina. Henry James wrote disparagingly of the "semi-developed novels" read by women and their children, although "Occasionally, like the Heir of Redclyffe, they almost legitimate themselves by the force of genius. But this only when a first-rate mind takes the matter in hand."  Other writers were less indulgent. Wilkie Collins reviewed it scathingly, declaring that "The characters by whose aid the story is worked out, are simply impossible. They have no types in nature, they never did have types in nature, and they never will have types in nature."  Oscar Wilde, while touring America in 1882, spoke with a condemned criminal in a Nebraska jail who said he was reading Charlotte Yonge. Wilde commented later, "My heart was turned by the eyes of the doomed man, but if he reads The Heir of Redclyffe it's perhaps as well to let the law take its course."
This is the front cover art for the book The Heir of Redclyffe written by Charlotte Mary Yonge.
Publication history
The Heir of Redclyffe was first published by the firm of John W. Parker in 1853, in 2 volumes. By 1878 it had reached a 23rd edition, and in the following year an edition illustrated by Kate Greenaway appeared. It was published by Everyman's Library in 1909 with an introduction by Alice Meynell, and by Oxford World's Classics in 1997 with introduction and notes by Barbara Dennis. A sequel called Amabel and Mary Verena by Mrs. Hicks Beach was published in 1944 by Faber and Faber. It has not been reprinted.

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