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American Philosophical Society
Orpheus Philologus: Bachofen versus Mommsen on the Study of Antiquity: Transactions, APS (vol. 73, part 5)
Lionel Gossman (au)
Though Theodor Mommsen was probably unaware of it, from the time of the first appearance of his influential & successful “Romische Geschichte” (1854), he was the object of the passionate & enduring hatred of an obscure Swiss philologist in the provincial city of Basle. Johann Jacob Bachofen is still not well known in the English-speaking world. He receives a brief mention in most histories of anthropology for his contribution to the popular 19th-cent. theory of “matriarchy,” & his studies of relations in matrilinear societies. Classical scholars know of Bachofen’s original contributions to the study of Greek myth & tragedy through George Thomson, whose interpretation of Athenian tragedy owes much to Bachofen.
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