ImportantOur online services will be unavailable on Saturday 24 February from 7am to 1pm due to essential maintenance. Apologies for any inconvenience.

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.


The Special Collections Seminar Room 
Lower Ground Floor
The Sir Duncan Rice Library
University of Aberdeen
Bedford Road
AB24 3AA 


This event is free and open to all. Booking is essential. To book please contact:

Emma Fowlie
01224 273385

Contact details

Emma Fowlie
Honorary Secretary of the Friends of Aberdeen University Library
01224 273385