From Greece to Babylon:The political thought of Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686–1743)

History of European Ideas 37 (4):421-437 (2011)
Abstract
This paper explores the political thought of Andrew Michael Ramsay with particular reference to his highly acclaimed book called A New Cyropaedia, or the Travels of Cyrus (1727). Dedicated to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, to whom he was tutor, this work has been hitherto viewed as a Jacobite imitation of the Telemachus, Son of Ulysses(1699) of his eminent teacher archbishop Fénelon of Cambrai. By tracing the dual legacy of the first Persian Emperor Cyrus in Western thought, I demonstrate that Ramsay was as much indebted to Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet's Discourse on Universal History (1681)as he was to Fénelon's political romance. Ramsay took advantage of Xenophon's silence about the eponymous hero's adolescent education in his Cyropaedia, or the Education of Cyrus (c.380B.C.), but he was equally inspired by the Book of Daniel, where the same Persian prince was eulogised as the liberator of the Jewish people from their captivity in Babylon. The main thrust of Ramsay's adaptation was not only to revamp the Humanist- cum-Christian theory and practice of virtuous kingship for a restored Jacobite regime, but on a more fundamental level, to tie in secular history with biblical history. In this respect, Ramsay's New Cyropaedia, or the Travels of Cyrus, was not just another Fénelonian political novel but more essentially a work of universal history. In addition to his Jacobite model of aristocratic constitutional monarchy, it was this Bossuetian motive for universal history, which was first propounded by the German reformer Philipp Melanchthon in his Chronicon Carionis (1532), that most decisively separated Ramsay from Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, author of another famous advice book for princes of the period, The Idea of a Patriot King (written in late 1738 for the education of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, but officially published in 1749)
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DOI 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2010.12.005
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