chapter  9
Hobbes: The Beginning of Modernity
Pages 26

Thomas Hobbes, regarded as a founding father of modern political thought, was born into a relatively poor family in Westport near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, England on April 5, 1588. His father was an undistinguished clergyman, an alcoholic who deserted the family when Thomas was sixteen. He was then supported by his uncle, a glove manufacturer. Hobbes’ precocity was recognized at an early age, and was evidenced by his ability to master the humanist curriculum of a sixteenth-century grammar school. A talented linguist, he could speak and write Latin, Greek, French, and Italian, in addition to his native English. At the age of fourteen, he translated Euripides’ Medea from Greek into Latin verse, and would continue to use his skills as a translator throughout his life. His first publication, in 1629, was an English rendering of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War ; among his last works was a translation of Homer’s Odyssey .