"A STATE, WHICH IN IT SELF CONSIDER'D IS BUT WEAK, IS MADE TO BECOME VERY CONSIDERABLE BY THE GOOD CONDUCT AND VALOUR OF ITS GOVERNOURS": SECOND EDITION IN ENGLISH OF PUFENDORF'S AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE PRINCIPLE KINGDOMS AND STATES OF EUROPE, 1697, HANDSOMELY BOUND
PUFENDORF, Samuel. An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe. London: Printed for M. Gilliflower and T. Newborough, 1697. Octavo, late 18th-century paneled brown calf, raised bands, brown morocco spine label. $2400.
Second edition in English, with additions, of this 17th-century history of the known world examined through the lens of political philosophy, with frontispiece portrait of Samuel Pufendorf, handsomely bound in 18th-century morocco.
"In 1682, Samuel Pufendorf published his treatise Einleitung zu der Historie der Vornehmsten Reiche und Staaten so itziger Zeit in Europa sich befinden, which was also published in an English version under the title An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe. This book included a short reference to the early beginnings of mankind, which combined biblical and Aristotelian perspectives: 'To the time of the deluge', Pufendorf suggested, there was no magistracy, but 'the Government was lodged only in each Father of his Family, a Paternal Government', which might have continued 'for a considerable time after the deluge'. Here, the biblical account was combined with a more or less ethnographic approach. But this period was not at the centre of Pufendorf's interest, since, as the title of his book already indicated, he focused on the development of modern states and societies. For his purposes, for the analysis of present political and legal developments, biblical history was nothing more than a vague reference point" (Godfrey 207-08). Pufendorf used this history to deeply examine the various nations and their individual motivations. He viewed states as essentially having personalities and argued that each had a guiding interest that would drive the manner in which it was ruled and acted. To Pufendorf, it was the quality of this rule that determined whether states became powerful or whether their reputations faltered. This work is a translation of the High-Dutch book Einleitung zur Geschichte der Vornehmsten Staaten Europas (1682). The first edition in English was published in 1695; this second edition contains additional material. The work continued to be published throughout the 18th century, with different additions and in different translations. Wing P4177A.
Interior generally fine, a bit of wear to early calf. A handsome copy. Quite rare.