Arnaldo Momigliano

Arnaldo Dante Momigliano (5 September 1908 – 1 September 1987) was an Italian historian of the Classical antiquity, known for his work in historiography, characterised by Donald Kagan as "the world's leading student of the writing of history in the ancient world".[1]

BiographyEdit

Momigliano was born on 5 September 1908 in Caraglio, Piedmont. In 1936 he became Professor of Roman History at the University of Turin, but as a Jew soon lost his position due to the anti-Jewish Racial Laws enacted by the Fascist regime in 1938, and moved to England, where he remained. After a time at Oxford University, he went to University College London, where he was Professor from 1951 to 1975. He was a Fellow of the Warburg Institute and supervised the PhD of Wolf Liebeschuetz. Momigliano visited regularly at the University of Chicago where he was named Alexander White Professor in the Humanities, and at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. He wrote reviews for The New York Review of Books. In addition to studying the ancient Greek historians and their methods, he also took an interest in modern historians, such as Edward Gibbon, and wrote a number of studies of them.

After 1930, Momigliano contributed a number of biographies to the Enciclopedia Italiana; in the 1940s and 1950s he contributed biographies to the Oxford Classical Dictionary and Encyclopædia Britannica. In 1974 he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). A number of his essays were collected into volumes published posthumously.

He died on 1 September 1987 in London.

ViewsEdit

In the 1930s, Momigliano joined the National Fascist Party, swore loyalty to Benito Mussolini, and sought exemption from antisemitic Italian racial laws as a party member.[2] Momigliano believed that several classical works of European literature had contributed to the nationalism and warfare in Europe, and considered works such as Germania and the Iliad as "among the most dangerous books ever written".[2][3] Momigliano considered it wasteful and "comical" to spend much efforts at identifying and explaining the forces held responsible for the gradual disintegration of the Roman Empire.[4] In the 1980s, Momigliano and fellow historian Carlo Ginzburg leveled heavy criticism against French philologist Georges Dumézil, whom they charged with being a fascist opposed to "Judeo-Christian" society.[5] Momigliano's attacks on Dumézil, who was then in very poor health, have been described as "unfair and vicious" by Edgar C. Polomé.[6]

WorksEdit

  • George Grote and the Study of Greek History, London: Lewis, 1952.
  • The Conflict Between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century, Clarendon Press, 1963
  • Studies in Historiography, Garland Pub., 1985, ISBN 978-0-8240-6372-6
  • The Development of Greek Biography: Four Lectures, Harvard University Press, 1971; revised and expanded, Harvard University Press, 1993, ISBN 978-0-674-20041-8
  • Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization, Cambridge University Press, 1975; reprint, Cambridge University Press, 1978, 1990, 1991, 1993 ISBN 978-0-521-38761-3
  • Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography, Wesleyan University Press, 1977, ISBN 978-0-8195-5010-1
  • "History and Biography" and "Greek Culture and the Jews", in The Legacy of Greece, a new Appraisal, Moses I Finley (ed.), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981
  • How to Reconcile Greeks and Trojans, North-Holland Pub. Co., 1982
  • "Premesse per una discussione su Georges Dumézil", Opus 2 (1983): 329–42.
    • English translation: "Introduction to a Discussion of Georges Dumezil", in Studies on Modern Scholarship (see below), pp. 286–301.
  • "Georges Dumézil and the Trifunctional Approach to Roman Civilization", History and Theory 23, no. 3 (1984): 312–20.
  • "Two Types of Universal History: The Cases of E. A. Freeman and Max Weber," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 58, No. 1, March 1986
  • On Pagans, Jews and Christians, reprint, Wesleyan University Press, 1987, ISBN 978-0-8195-6218-0
  • The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, University of California Press, 1990, ISBN 978-0-520-07870-3
  • Essays on Ancient and Modern Judaism, Editor Silvia Berti, University of Chicago Press, 1994; ISBN 978-0-226-53381-0
  • Studies on Modern Scholarship. Edited by G. W. Bowersock & T. J. Cornell. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
  • "The Rules of the Game in the Study of Ancient History", History and Theory 55, no. 1 (February 2016).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kagan, Donald, "Arnaldo Momigliano and the human sources of history", The New Criterion, Vol. 10, No. 7, March 1992.
  2. ^ a b Rose, Louis (2016). Psychology, Art, and Antifascism: Ernst Kris, E. H. Gombrich, and the Politics of Caricature. Yale University Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-0300224252. The exiled Italian scholar and future Warburg fellow Arnaldo Momigliano counted the Germania as one of "the one hundred most dangerous books ever written" (quoted in Krebs, 22). The centuries of debate over how to interpret Tacitus had particular relevance to Momigliano. A classicist from a religiously orthodox and socially assimilated Jewish family, Momigliano—like thousands of Italian academics—swore a loyalty oath to Mussolini. He joined the Fascist party and in 1938 sought exemption from the anti-Semitic Racial Laws as a party member.
  3. ^ Anthony Birley, 'Introduction', in Tacitus, Agricola and Germany (Oxford University Press, 1999), p. xxxviii.
  4. ^ "After Gibbon's Decline and Fall", in The Age of Spirituality: a Symposium, (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Princeton University Press, 1980), 7–16, at 14. "Historians, one must admit, were not created by God to search for causes. Any search for causes in history, if it is persistent, ...becomes comic—such is the abundance of causes discovered. ...What we want is to understand the change by analysing it and giving due consideration to conscious decisions, deep-seated urges, and the interplay of disparate events. But we must have a mental picture, a model of the whole situation as a term of reference, and here, I submit, is where Gibbon helps us."
  5. ^ Arviddson 2006, p. 2.
  6. ^ Arviddson 2006, p. 306.

Further readingEdit

  • Arvidsson, Stefan (2006). Jones, Lindsay (ed.). Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science. Translated by Wichmann, Sonia. University of Chicago Press. pp. 9734–9736. ISBN 0226028607.
  • Bowersock, G. W. "Momigliano's Quest for the Person", History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, Beiheft 30: The Presence of the Historian: Essays in Memory of Arnaldo Momigliano. (Dec. 1991), pp. 27–36.
  • honorificus: A.D. Momigliano: Studies on Modern Scholarship (eds. G.W. Bowersock and T.J. Cornell, 1994)
  • Christ, Karl. "Arnaldo Momigliano and the History of Historiography", History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, Beiheft 30: The Presence of the Historian: Essays in Memory of Arnaldo Momigliano. (Dec. 1991), pp. 5–12.
  • Ginzburg, Carlo. "Momigliano and de Martino", History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, Beiheft 30: The Presence of the Historian: Essays in Memory of Arnaldo Momigliano. (Dec. 1991), pp. 37–48.
  • Gould, Rebecca Ruth. "Antiquarianism as Genealogy: Arnaldo Momigliano’s Method", History & Theory Vol. 53 No. 2 (2014), pp. 212–233.
  • Kagan, Donald, "Arnaldo Momigliano and the human sources of history", The New Criterion, Vol. 10, No. 7, March 1992.
  • Murray, Oswyn. "Arnaldo Momigliano, 1908–1987: [Obituary]", The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 77. (1987), pp. xi–xii.
  • Murray, Oswyn. "Arnaldo Momigliano in England", History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, Beiheft 30: The Presence of the Historian: Essays in Memory of Arnaldo Momigliano. (Dec. 1991), pp. 49–64.
  • Phillips, Mark Salber. "Reconsiderations on History and Antiquarianism: Arnaldo Momigliano and the Historiography of Eighteenth-Century Britain", Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 57, No. 2. (Apr. 1996), pp. 297–316.
  • Weinberg, Joanna. "Where Three Civilizations Meet", History and Theory, Vol. 30, No. 4, Beiheft 30: The Presence of the Historian: Essays in Memory of Arnaldo Momigliano. (Dec. 1991), pp. 13–26.