Antiquarianism: A Reinterpretation

In: Erudition and the Republic of Letters
View More View Less
  • 1 Division of Literature and Languages, University of Stirling, A12, Pathfoot Building, Stirling fk9 4la, UK,
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


Antiquarianism, the early modern study of the past, occupies a central role in modern studies of humanist and post-humanist scholarship. Its relationship to modern disciplines such as archaeology is widely acknowledged, and at least some antiquaries—such as John Aubrey, William Camden, and William Dugdale—are well-known to Anglophone historians. But what was antiquarianism and how can twenty-first century scholars begin to make sense of it? To answer these questions, the article begins with a survey of recent scholarship, outlining how our understanding of antiquarianism has developed since the ground-breaking work of Arnaldo Momigliano in the mid-twentieth century. It then explores the definition and scope of antiquarian practice through close attention to contemporaneous accounts and actors’ categories before turning to three case-studies of antiquaries in Denmark, Scotland, and England. By way of conclusion, it develops a series of propositions for reassessing our understanding of antiquarianism. It reaffirms antiquarianism’s central role in the learned culture of the early modern world and offers suggestions for avenues which might be taken in future research on the discipline.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1152 433 32
Full Text Views 401 39 2
PDF Views & Downloads 176 79 7