Friends Event Series: A 1594 Aberdonian Schoolmaster's Guide to Politics

Friends Event Series: A 1594 Aberdonian Schoolmaster's Guide to Politics

This talk will explore a remarkable manuscript held in Special Collections.

In 1594 the Master of New Aberdeen’s Grammar School, Thomas Cargill (d. 1602), made a translation of the Flemish scholar Justus Lipsius’ bestselling 1589 Politicorum sive Civilis Doctrinae Libri Sex, the Six Books of Politics or Civil Doctrine.

 Cargill enjoyed a high reputation as a scholar and poet in Scotland during his lifetime. The manuscript is very important, partly because it was thought that all of Cargill’s works had been lost, but also because was unknown until a couple of years ago. Lipsius (1547–1606) was an intellectual giant of sixteenth-century Europe and has been credited with reviving the classical philosophy of stoicism. The Politicorum was Lipsius’ practical moral guidebook on how to rule a principality. It was influenced by classical authors like Tacitus, but also contemporary figures, such as Machiavelli. Cargill’s translation is dedicated to Thomas Menzeis, the provost of New Aberdeen at the time, showing an interest among the social elite of Aberdeen for the most up-to-date European scholarship. Overall, this talk will explore the intellectual culture in Aberdeen in the age of Reformation, and how this fit within wider European political thought.

This event is free and open to all, refreshments will be provided.



Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson
Hosted by
Friends of Aberdeen University Library
The Special Collections Seminar Room, Lower Ground Floor, The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Booking Required - please contact:

Emma Fowlie -  Honorary Secretary of the Friends of Aberdeen University Library


Phone: 01224 273385