Charles Rollin's History of Ancient History of Egypt, Carthage, Assyria, Babylonia, Medes & Persians, Macedonians and Greeks, complete in 13 volumes, with the 6 foldouts of the 1st edition. This edition followed fast on the first (1730 vs. 1736), the last volumes having not even been completed by the author yet, when the publishers began this second edition. It speaks to the contemporary popularity of this history.
Montesquieu's magnificent praise : " An honest man (Rollin) who, by his works of history, enchanted the public, it is the heart that speaks to the heart, one feels a secret satisfaction to hear virtue speak, it is the bee of France ".
The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica is more critical - "Rollin's literary work dates chiefly from the later years of his life, when he had been forbidden to teach. His once famous Ancient History (Paris, 1730-38), and the less generally read Roman History, which followed it, were avowed compilations, uncritical and somewhat inaccurate. But they instructed and interested generation after generation almost to the present day.”
But the British always downplay the French.
About the Author -
Rollin was the son of a cutler, and at the age of 22 was made a master in the Collège du Plessis. In 1694 he was rector of the University of Paris, rendering great service among other things by reviving the study of Greek. He held that post for two years instead of one, and in 1699 was appointed principal of the Collège de Beauvais.
Rollin held Jansenist principles, and even went so far as to defend the miracles supposed to be worked at the tomb of François de Paris, commonly known as Deacon Paris. Unfortunately his religious opinions deprived him of his appointments and disqualified him for the rectorship, to which in 1719 he had been re-elected. It is said that the same reason prevented his election to the Académie française, though he was a member of the Academie des Inscriptions.
Physical Attributes -
Each volume measures approx. 17 x 10 x 3.5 cm, signatures are in 12 (likely 12mo). Full calf bindings, in the 18th century French style. Five raised cords to spine, four compartments with central fleur-de-lis with corner florets and framed in fillets, one compartment with "Tom. #", and one compartment with "Histoire Ancienne Parrolin" in gilt on red Morrocan. Only volumes 12 and 13 have marbled endpapers. Six foldouts, including three maps, one illustration of fire signals, one of Roman camps, and one of architectural columns.
See pictures. Some shelf wear, with occasional rubs, edge wear, corner bumps, etc. A number of the spine tops have small cracks at the joint or hinge due to being removed from the shelf by their spine top. Leather feels good (not dried out).
Library stamps on the pastedowns, flyleaf and title pages (several, in all). Volume 1's flyleaf has been cut out (small flap remains), also has occasional graphite marginal annotations near the front. All volumes have a some foxing and page toning. Foldout at V3 and V4 each have a small tear at the fold of the foldout. There is an occasional dog-eared page. V10 has some underlining and marginal annotation, also volume 12. Bindings of Volumes 12 and 13 slightly darker.
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