Golden Inspiration: Theodor Mommsen

By Katie Gilbert

Theodor Mommsen won the Nobel Prize for Literature at the age of 85. He stands in the same rank as modern, well known novelists Samuel Beckett, Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Seamus Heaney. Looking at Theodor's accomplishments, it is really no wonder that he would go on to win the prize.

Early Life

Theodor was born in in Germany and spent his earlier years studying History as well as enjoying a short career in Journalism. He later went on to a professor of Law at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Yet, when he became involved in the revolution of 1848-1849, he was later dismissed from his position. However, Theodor never let his dismissal stop him.

He grew up reading the classic and studying philosophy so it only made sense that he would continue with his passion as the years went on. When he was dismissed from his role, he decided to continue with academia. He held roles at the Universities of Zurich and Breslau and was even appointed chair of Ancient History at the University of Berlin in 1959. Though he was fiercely political, Theodor didn't see why this should stop him from continuing studying what held his interest.

Nobel Prize Winner

Apparently, what really held Theodor's interest was the history of Rome. He considered a powerful and strong empire and he deeply admired Julius Caesar. Instead of just reading about Rome, however, Theodor decided to write historical books about the empire.

That is why he wrote an encompassing History of Rome that helped him win his Nobel Prize at the age of 85. Mommsen, won the prize almost one year exactly before his last birthday in 1902. It is amazing that throughout his entire life, he continued studied and reading complex academic texts, never letting his mind rest or become dull. Instead, he led a life of continuous learning and even helped other learn more about the Roman Empire for years to come.

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