Reading and writing history: John Bellenden’s livy

Thomas Rutledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


This essay attends to the neglected marginal commentary that John Bellenden composed to accompany his translation of the first five books of Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita (From the Founding of the City). It argues that the approaches of the commentary (Latinate, learned, antiquarian) stand in sharp opposition to the vernacular, courtly project that Bellenden’s translation has generally been understood to be. It suggests that the work may owe rather more than has been realized to Bellenden’s engagement with the intellectual culture of the new university in Aberdeen in the later 1530s and offers an important window onto the variety of ways in which classical history was being read during the reign of James V.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPremodern Scotland
Subtitle of host publicationLiterature and Governance 1420-1587
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780198787525
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Aberdeen
  • Bellenden
  • Historiography
  • Humanism
  • Livy

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