George Grote

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grote, George


Born Nov. 17, 1794, in the county of Kent; died June 18, 1871. in London. English historian of antiquity.

For its time, Grote’s main work, which was devoted to the history of ancient Greece from the earliest times to 301 B.C., was outstanding for its vividness and complete treatment of the subject. Grote was concerned primarily with political history. He excessively idealized Athenian democracy. Viewing early Greek history from a hypercritical position, Grote denied the authenticity of events up to the eighth century B.C. He modernized the history of ancient Greece.


History of Greece, 5th ed., vols. 1–10. London. 1888.
Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates, 2nd ed., vols. 1–3. London, 1867.
Aristotle, vols. 1–2. London, 1872.
Fragments on Ethical Subjects. London, 1876.
The Minor Works. London, 1873.


Buzeskul, V. P. Vvedenie v Istoriia Gretsii, 3rd ed. Petrograd, 1915. Pages 270–81.
Vasil’evskii, V. G. “Vzgliad na istoriiu afinskoi demokratii.” Zhurinal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, 1867, part 134, pp. 87–145.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Brill's Companion to George Grote and the Classical Tradition
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Also of note is Schofield's brief but interesting discussion of the classicism of John Stuart Mill, George Grote and Benjamin Jowett in the nineteenth century, although one laments that he did not say more.
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In a brief Afterword, Herbert positions his own history-writing in relation to that of another Victorian relativist, George Grote, whose History of Greece (1846-56) sought to rescue Protagoras and the Sophists, the classical era's great advocates of relativity, from the opprobrium heaped upon them by Plato and his followers.
The ice was broken most decisively by the radical, liberal-utilitarian banker and sometime MP, George Grote (1794-1871), in his monumental History of Greece (1845-56).
John Stuart Mill in a 1846 review of George Grote's History of Greece remarked that though Mitford did employ evidence in his historical endeavors, he "made almost no other use of it than to find reasons for rejecting all statements discreditable to any despot or usurper" (11: 275).
Though Mill is not widely recognized as a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy, Terence Irwin's essay, "Mill and the Classical World," contains an interesting analysis of Mill's understanding of classical thought and his relationship to the Victorian classicist George Grote. Whereas Grote's sympathy with the utilitarian orthodoxy of Bentham and James Mill helps explain many of his considerable virtues as a classical scholar, it is precisely the younger Mill's heterodoxy, Irwin argues, that allows him to form a more just assessment (than Grote) of Plato's views about virtue and happiness.
Like one of his most notable predecessors, George Grote, Ober takes into view both the institutions and practices of Athenian democracy and the evaluation of the democracy by Greek political thinkers, most of whom must be counted as severe critics.