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Arnaldo Dante Momigliano KBE (September 5, 1908, Caraglio, Piemont–September 1, 1987, London) was an Italian historian known for his work in historiography, characterized by Donald Kagan as the "world’s leading student of the writing of history in the ancient world."

He became Professor of Roman history at the University of Turin in 1936, 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. 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.

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. With respect to identifying and explaining the forces held responsible for the gradual disintegration of the Roman Empire, Momigliano stressed the wasteful futility of said endeavor while redirecting his students' focus:

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 analyzing 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.[1]

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.

Notes

  1. ^ "After Gibbon's Decline and Fall," in The Age of Spirituality: a Symposium, (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Princeton Univ. Press, 1980), 7-16, at 14.

Major monographs

  • The Conflict Between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century (1963)
  • Studies in Historiography (1966)
  • The Development of Greek Biography : Four Lectures (1971; revised and expanded, 1993)
  • Alien Wisdom : The Limits of Hellenization (1976)
  • Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography (1977)
  • How to Reconcile Greeks and Trojans (1983)
  • On Pagans, Jews and Christians (1987)
  • The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography (1991)

Further reading

  • 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.
  • 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.







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