Theodor Mommsen (1818^-1903), a great German historian, never completed his projected four-volume history of Rome; the manuscript for the final volume, covering the period from the fall of the republic to the collapse of imperial authority in the west, was destroyed by fire in 1880. A century later, Alexander Demandt discovered extensive notes compiled by two of Mommsen's students on his lectures between 1863 and 1886. The result is this "reconstruction," which serves as a faithful rendering of Mommsen's interpretation of the imperial age. Mommsen focuses almost exclusively on political and military history. Those readers wishing detailed examination of Roman struggles for territory or political power will not be disappointed. His analysis of the response to barbarian incursions in the fourth century is particularly compelling. However, his lectures were predictably lacking in analysis of social and cultural factors, and no effort was made to view the Roman world from a "bottom up" perspective. Still, the publishing of this great historian's views is an invaluable contribution to classical historiography. Jay Freeman
'Reading this book now puts you in touch with two worlds: ancient Rome and the austere scholarship of nineteenth century, pre-Wilhelmine Germany.'
- Daily Telegraph'The editors do a valiant job in their introduction, trying to catch something of the spirit of this extraordinary man.'
- The Independent'Historians of Germany as well as Rome may profit from this splendid volume.'
- The Times'It has been superbly done. Demandt gives the full story both of Mommsen's history and the Hensels' lecture notes, while Wiedemann puts Mommsen in his historical context.'
- Peter Levi, Sunday Telegraph'It is a marvellous book, striking in detail, lucid and pleasingly unfair in argument, deeply sound in its root feelings and prejudices and genuinely helpful. It is the best book for those who dislike the Roman Empire, and is often very funny, and what underlies the remarkably dotty view he takes, for example of Virgil, is in itself most illuminating. It is years since I came across such a great book.'
- Peter Levi, The Spectator Books of the Year'This edition, with its extensive notes, is a tremendous achievement and a gift to anyone interested in the full story of the Roman Empire.'
- Contemporary Review