Hē tou Hērodotou Halikarnasseōs Historia

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by Herodotus

Herodotus was the first Greek historian, and perhaps the first true historian (who committed history to writing) in the world. Born in Halicarnassus (an Ancient Greek city in present-day Turkey on the Aegean Sea), Herodotus wrote during the third quarter of the fifth century BCE. He, and Thucydides following him shortly after, embraced the systematic approach of true historia, meaning inquiry, observation and research of events and people. Though his methods were still in the early, untested stages which would be greatly improved upon by more modern historians, Herodotus began a crucial intellectual endeavor for which Ancient Greece became known. [1]

Now considered one of the foundational books of history, Herodotus’s Histories, or The History, was originally criticized and discounted by his peers. His anthropological approach to history was much less desired than more strictly political works. Analyzing the importance of culture in key historical events, Herodotus’s work fell to the wayside behind the “sharper but narrower political historiography of [his contemporary] Thucydides.” [2]

This work was published by two well-known and regarded Scottish publishers. Robert and Andrew Foulis (ne Faulls) were brothers who opened their own publishing company and printing press in 18th century Glasgow.[3] Robert was a barber before enrolling in University of Glasgow courses, while Andrew “received a more regular education…[as] a student of Humanity” who taught Greek, Latin and French for a time after he graduated.[4] The brothers began as booksellers and then transitioned to publishing and printing books, with Robert initiating each endeavor before later being joined by Andrew.[5] In 1740-42, Robert had other printers print what he chose to publish, but began printing his own books in 1742 which continued until his and his brother’s deaths in 1775 and 1776, respectively, when Andrew’s son Andrew took over The Foulis Press.[6] The Foulis Press primarily produced text books and other “works of learning…and of general literature,” as it was the printer to the University of Glasgow.[7] The press is unique for the plethora of variant issues and editions of published books on special paper, in special font, or even on copper plates.[8]

Hē tou Hērodotou Halikarnasseōs Historia = Herodoti Halicarnassensis Historia

Title page from Hē tou Hērodotou Halikarnasseōs Historia = Herodoti Halicarnassensis Historia, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Herodotus
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published Glasgaue: In aedibus academicis, Excudebant Robertus et Andreas Foulis
Date 1761
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language Greek
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. {{{desc}}}
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Herodotus. 8.v. 12mo. Foulis and given by Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes. A nine-volume set produced by the Foulis Press in 1761 most closely fits Jefferson's notation.[9] Both Brown's Bibliography[10] and George Wythe's Library[11] on LibraryThing include this edition as the one intended by Jefferson. A copy of the Foulis 1761 edition at the Library of Congress includes a "marginal note on p. 129 of volume 1" which Sowerby attributes to Wythe.[12] The set is nine volumes rather than the eight listed by Jefferson and it has no markings of Eppes' ownership. Perhaps Jefferson re-acquired Wythe's copy after Eppes' death in 1823? If so, did the missing volume reappear, or are two volumes within the set bound together?

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary full polished calf with gilt spine decorated in compartments. Contains red title labels with volume number below and gilt roll on board edges. Purchased from A&F.McIlreavy.Buderim Rare Books.

External Links

Google Books

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.


  1. G.E.M. De Ste. Croix, “Herodotus,” Greece & Rome, Second Series 24, no. 2 (Oct. 1977): 130-1.
  2. Carl E. Schorske “History and the Study of Culture,” New Literary History 21, no. 2 (Winter 1990): 409.
  3. David Murray, Robert & Andrew Foulis and the Glasgow Press with some account of The Glasgow Academy of the Fine Arts (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University), 8.
  4. Ibid at 3.
  5. Ibid 6-10.
  6. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 190.
  7. Ibid 17-18.
  8. Ibid 18-19.
  9. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of The Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England : St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 241.
  10. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433
  11. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 18, 2013, http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe
  12. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 1:7-8 [no.13].