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FINLAY, George.

A History of Greece from its Conquest by the Romans to the Present Time B.C. 146 to A.D. 1864.

Revised by the Rev. H. F. Tozer.

At the Clarendon Press, Oxford , 1877 Stock Code: 135051
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Publication originally began in 1844, this is "a new edition, revised throughout, and in part re-written, with considerable additions by the author". A history of the Greeks by a prominent British philhellene. While at university in Göttingen Finlay (1799-1875) came into contact with enthusiasts for the movement to liberate Greece from Ottoman rule, he "'resolved to visit Greece and judge for myself concerning the condition of the people and the chances of the war.' In November 1823 he met Byron at Cephalonia. 'You are young and enthusiastic,' said Byron, 'and therefore sure to be disappointed when you know the Greeks as well as I do'" (DNB). Finlay settled in Greece and retained "a special interest in the development of the kingdom and his writings reveal activity at a high level. He was at King Otho's hunting and dinner parties but as a liberal was never really in favour at court In July 1834 he was appointed 'commissionaire extraordinaire' to the nomarch of Athens in matters concerning the development of the new capital but in November resigned in despair at perpetual frustrations. Nevertheless, in his own way he continued to promote both cultural and material progress. The university, the library, and the archaeological society were indebted to him for untiring canvassing for support, outside as well as within Greece". The publication of this great series of histories commenced in 1844, and was completed in 1861, when he wrote "the autobiographical fragment which is almost the sole authority for his life". The final two volumes, covering the period of Finlay's presence in Greece, are a particularly valuable contemporary source "not yet fully exploited", and the "frequently ignored medieval volumes should not be swept aside as entirely outmoded, as they anticipate certain modern revisions and emphasize the importance of social and economic conditions as distinct from central politics".

The editing was undertaken by the geographer and classical scholar Henry Fanshawe Tozer, "a versatile and hardy traveller... In Greece especially he absorbed much local folklore, and all his life he continued to write articles on modern Greek legends and folk-songs and allied topics. He was also deeply interested in Byzantine history and literature, and one of his lasting achievements was to re-edit George Finlay's seven-volume History of Greece (1877). This was a task of considerable complexity and Tozer's edition became the standard one" (ODNB). An attractive set of this important history.

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7 volumes, octavo (215 x 132 mm). Contemporary calf by Wells of Winchester, gilt arms of Winchester College on both covers, decorative gilt spines, black morocco twin labels, sides with border of paired gilt fillets and corner rosettes enclosing a blind roll tool frame, gilt edge roll, "Bouquet" pattern combed marbled paper edges and endpapers.


Engraved portrait frontispiece of Finlay by Charles Henry Jeens.


Some stripping of leather to joints, a little wear to corners, patchy fading and discolouration to back covers of vols. V and VII, head of spine of vol. VII chipped, marginal tidemark to front free endpapers, yet despite these defects this remains a handsome set.


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