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J. B. Bury

John Bagnell Bury (16 October 18611 June 1927) was an eminent British historian, classical scholar, and philologist.

Bury was born and raised in County Monaghan, educated first by his parents, then at Foyle College in Londonderry and Trinity College in Dublin, where he graduated in 1882 and was made a fellow in 1885, at the age of 24. In 1893 he gained a chair in modern history at Trinity College, which he held for nine years, thereafter joining the Cambridge University faculty. He remained at Cambridge, as Regius Professor of Modern History from 1902, until his death at the age of 65 in Rome.

Bury's writings, on subjects ranging from ancient Greece to the 19th-century papacy, are at once scholarly and accessible to the layman. His two works on the philosophy of history elucidated the Victorian ideals of progress and rationality which undergirded his more specific histories. He also led a revival of Byzantine history, which English-speaking historians, following Edward Gibbon, had largely neglected. He contributed, and was himself the subject of, an article in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.


  • Nemean Odes of Pindar (1890)
  • Isthmian Odes of Pindar (1892)
  • History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene (1889)
  • History of the Roman Empire From its Foundation to the Death of Marcus Aurelius (1893)
  • (ed.) Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1896-1900)
  • History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great (1900)
  • Life of St. Patrick and His Place in History (1905)
  • History of the Eastern Empire from the Fall of Irene to the Accession of Basil I (1912)
  • History of the Freedom of Thought (1914)
  • Idea of Progress (1920)
  • History of the Later Roman Empire from the Death of Theodosius I to the Death of Justinian (1923)
  • The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians (1928)
  • History of the Papacy in the 19th Century (1864–1878) (1930)

External Links

  • E-text of History of the Later Roman Empire (1923)

Last updated: 02-02-2005 15:00:06
Last updated: 02-25-2005 20:55:10