Abel visited the seminary of Maulbronn and the college of Stuttgart. He then followed the steps of his cousin Heinrich Friedrich Otto Abel and began studying history in Jena, Bonn, Göttingen and Berlin. He earned his doctorate in summer 1859 with professor Georg Waitz in Göttingen, where he became professor and private lecturer himself two years later.
He was offered an extraordinary professorship from the university of Giessen in 1868, but his physical and mental condition forced him to return to his parental house in Leonberg, where he died in 1873.
- Über den Untergang des Longobardenreiches in Italien, Göttingen 1859, thesis
- Papst Hadrian I. und die weltliche Herrschaft des römischen Stuhles, Göttingen 1861
- Geschichte Karls des Großen, volume I, 768-788, 1866, part of the almanac of German history published by the Historical Commission, Munich.
- Das Parteiwesen in England und die Coalition zwischen Fox und North im Jahre 1783
- Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie - online version
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