Reading to equip himself as a modern political advisor, Smith turned frequently to the great Roman authors, from whose works he drew many of his political ideas. In this edition, by Erasmus, of the accounts of the Roman emperors, Smith demonstrates the practice of active reading. Throughout the book we see key words hand-written in the margins, drawings of landscapes and cities, and imagined portraits of characters mentioned in the text. Among the numerous male figures, only three portraits of women are visible in the margins: they are all wives of great men, and two of them Smith has labelled adulterers.
Author: Desiderius Erasmus
Title: Ex recognitione Des. Erasmi Roterodami, C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Dion Cassius Nicaeus … [et alii] [Editions by Erasmus of classical accounts of Roman emperors by Suetonius, Dio Cassius, and others] (Cologne, 1527)
Shelfmark: G.6.23 (catalogue record)
Digital copy: Cambridge Digital Library