Titi Livii Historiarum quod extat

Titus Livius, Amsterdam, 1678 (archive.org)

This work, which Lister read on 30 December 1663,  is a history of Rome with expansive commentary by Roman historian Titus Livius (59 B.C. – 17 A.D.)  Livy was a perennially popular author for early modern scholars to read.

In a seminal article “‘Studied for Action’:  How Gabriel Harvey Read his Livy”, Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine analysed the marginalia in one of Livy’s works (Romane historiae principis, decades tres, cum dimidia (Basle, 1555) made by the scholar and courtier Gabriel Harvey (ca. 1545 – 1630). 1  Harvey read through the work several times, often with other friends and colleagues such as Sir Philip Sidney.  It is evident from the marginalia that they discussed the courses of action that heroes of antiquity took in times of political and historical crisis, using works such as Machiavelli’s Prince as a point of comparison. 2  Livy thus served as a didactic guide for early modern readers.

Though we do not know if Lister annotated his student copy, he did later donate a copy of the 1710 edition to Oxford’s library.


  1.  Lisa Jardine and A.T. Grafton, “Studied for action’: How Gabriel Harvey read his Livy’, Past and Present, 129,(1990), 3-51.
  2. CELL, the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at UCL, plans to produce a digital edition of Harvey’s annotated copy of Livy.

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