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''Facts, or Conjectures'': Antoine-Yves Goguet's Historiography

From: Journal of the History of Ideas
Volume 68, Number 3, July 2007
pp. 429-449 | 10.1353/jhi.2007.0029


This article examines an eighteenth-century historical work, Antoine-Yves Goguet's De L'origine des loix, des arts, et des sciences, et de leurs progrès chez les anciens peuples. Goguet studied ancient cultures, but maintained that they were inferior to modern European civilization. His methodology, wide erudition, and detailed footnotes were praised at the time, including by the customarily critical Edward Gibbon. Goguet's work was translated into several languages and was influential into the beginning of the nineteenth century, although he was later all but forgotten. The article discusses his work in the context of eighteenth-century scholarship.