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Beaufort, Louis De

BEAUFORT, LOUIS DE (d. 1795), French historian, of whose life little is known. In 1738 he published at Utrecht a Dissertation sur l'incertitude des cinq premiers siècles de l'histoire romaine, in which he showed what untrustworthy guides even the historians of highest repute, such as Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, were for that period, and pointed out by what methods and by the aid of what documents truly scientific bases might be given to its history. This was an ingenious plea, bold for its time, against traditional history such as Rollin was writing at that very moment. A German, Christopher Saxius, endeavoured to refute it in a series of articles published in vols. i.-iii. of the Miscellanea Liviensia. Beaufort replied by some brief and ironical Remarques in the appendix to the second edition of his Dissertation (1750). Beaufort also wrote an Histoire de César Germanicus (Leyden, 1761), and La République romaine, ou plan général de L'ancien gouvernement de Rome (The Hague, 1766, 2 vols. quarto). Though not a scholar of the first rank, Beaufort has at least the merit of having been a pioneer in raising the question, afterwards elaborated by Niebuhr, as to the credibility of early Roman history.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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