John Gillies - Encyclopedia

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JOHN GILLIES (1747-1836), Scottish historian and classical scholar, was born at Brechin, in Forfarshire, on the 18th of January 1747. He was educated at Glasgow University, where, at the age of twenty, he acted for a short time as substitute for the professor of Greek. In 1784 he completed his History of Ancient Greece, its Colonies and Conquests (published 1786). This work, valuable at a time when the study of Greek history was in its infancy, and translated into French and German, was written from a strong Whig bias, and is now entirely superseded (see Greece: Ancient History, " Authorities"). On the death of William Robertson (1721-1793), Gillies was appointed historiographer-royal for Scotland. In his old age he retired to Clapham, where he died on the 15th of February 1836.

Of his other works, none of which are much read, the principal are: View of the Reign of Frederic II. of Prussia, with a Parallel between that Prince and Philip II. of Macedon (1789), rather a panegyric than a critical history; translations of Aristotle's Rhetoric (1823) and Ethics and Politics (1786-1797); of the Orations of Lysias and Isocrates (1778); and History of the World from Alexander to Augustus (1807), which, although deficient in style, was commended for its learning and research.

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