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ROBERTSON, William.

An Historical Disquisition concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India;

and the Progress of Trade with that Country prior to the Discovery of the Passage to it by the Cape of Good Hope...

Published: London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, Edinburgh: E. Balfour, 1791

Stock code: 49961

Price: £625

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First edition. Having published a highly influential History of Scotland; established his reputation with his life of Charles V; and expanded his fame with his History of America – its success “was even more marked on the continent, where it was considered Robertson’s masterpiece” – Robertson turned his attention to India. “The Disquisition falls into two main parts: the first two-thirds is a narrative of the commercial contacts India had with the outside world from ancient times to the sixteenth century; the remainder is a long appendix describing Indian culture. The narrative portion documents, gathers, and summarizes familiar but scattered material; the appendix is broadly descriptive and more innovative, following the pattern developed in the descriptive chapters of the History of America… Robertson has been chiefly remembered as a historian. His four published historical works brought him considerable fame and wealth, and they helped establish historical writing as one of the foremost literary genres of Enlightenment Scotland …Although in recent years both Hume and Gibbon have often been considered greater historians in terms of intellectual insight and historical comprehension, Robertson’s contemporaries generally had no hesitation about making him their equal, if not superior.” (ODNB)

Quarto (272 212 mm) Contemporary speckled calf, flat spine, red morocco label, single Greek key panel gilt to the boards, edges sprinkled. Two folding maps. A little rubbed, particularly at the extremities, some surface loss from the upper board, light toning, overall a very good copy.

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