Boissier, Gaston

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Boissier, Gaston


Born Aug. 15, 1823, in Nîmes; died June 11, 1908, in Viroflay. French historian of antiquity, member of the Académie Française (1876).

From 1861 to 1906, Boissier was professor at the Collège de France, and from 1865 to 1899 he was a professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He was the author of fundamental works on the history of Roman society, pagan religion, and Christianity. Boissier thought that the primary cause of historical events was fate, providence, the intention of the divinity, which is beyond comprehension. He attempted to substantiate the thesis that the triumph of Christianity was inevitable and beneficial to humanity. He thought that Christianity was the legitimate heir and best conserver of ancient civilization. There are strong elements of modernization of history in Boissier’s historical conception; idealizing the middle strata of Roman society, he sought an analogy to capitalism in Rome.


Promenades archéologiques: Rome et Pompéi, 9th ed. Paris, 1908.
Tacite. Paris, 1903.
La Conjuration de Catilina. Paris, 1905.
In Russian translation:
Padenie iazychestva. Moscow, 1892.
T sitseron i ego druz’ia. Moscow, 1914.
Rimskaia religiia ot vremen Avgusta do Antoninov. Moscow, 1914.
Obshchestvennoe nastroenie vremen rimskikh tsezarei. Petrograd, 1915.


Thoulouze, P. Gaston Boissier (1823-1908). Paris, 1923.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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