Behemoth latinus: Adam Ebert, Tacitism, and Hobbes

  • Noel Malcolm
Keywords: Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, Adam Ebert, Tacitism


This article investigates the history and significance of the Latin translation of Hobbes's Behemoth which was prepared in 1708 by Adam Ebert (b. 1653-7; d. 1735) and deposited by him in the King of Prussia's library. Ebert's special interest in Hobbes was based partly on having met him in London in 1678; but it also grew out of his wider interest in 'reason of state' and a Tacitist theory of political action. Such wider interests led also to a fascination with Cromwell, and Ebert even tried to present Behemoth as a celebration of Cromwell's political skills. This article considers Ebert as a late representative of the Tacitist tradition, and argues that although Ebert's reading of Hobbes was responding to some elements genuinely present in Hobbes's political thought, Hobbes nevertheless went beyond Tacitism to reach a very different view of politics and government.


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How to Cite
Malcolm N. Behemoth latinus: Adam Ebert, Tacitism, and Hobbes. FV [Internet]. 2016Jan.3 [cited 2020Sep.22];24(2). Available from: