Thomas Hodgkin (historian)

Thomas Hodgkin, FBA (29 July 1831 – 2 March 1913)[1] was a British historian, biographer, banker, and Quaker minister. Hodgkin's magnum opus, Italy and Her Invaders, was an eight-volume work on the history of the wars in the Late Roman Empire.[2]

Thomas Hodgkin

Thomas Hodgkin (1831–1913).jpg
Born29 July 1831
Died2 March 1913
Falmouth, United Kingdom
Children7, including Robert
ParentJohn Hodgkin (father)
RelativesHodgkin family
Academic background
EducationGrove House School
Alma materUniversity College London
University of Oxford
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity College London
Durham University
Main interestsRoman Empire
Medieval philosophy
Notable worksItaly and Her Invaders


Hodgkin was son of John Hodgkin,[3] barrister and Quaker minister, and Elizabeth Howard (daughter of Luke Howard). In 1861 he married Lucy Ann (1841–1934) (daughter of Alfred Fox who created Glendurgan Garden and Sarah, born Lloyd, his wife). They had three sons and three daughters.

Having been educated as a member of the Society of Friends and taken the degree of B.A at University College London and obtained the additional degrees of D.C.L and Litt. D.,[4] likely at the University of Oxford.[5] He became a partner in the banking house of Hodgkin, Barnett, Pease and Spence, Newcastle-on-Tyne, a firm afterwards amalgamated with Lloyds Bank.[6]

While continuing in business as a banker, Hodgkin devoted a good deal of time to historical study, and soon became a leading authority on the history of the early Middle Ages, his books. His magnum opus, Italy and Her Invaders, was published in eight volumes.[6] He died at Falmouth[7] on 2 March 1913. His and the Hodgkin family papers are held at the Wellcome Library in London.[8]


The family of Thomas and Lucy Hodgkin is listed as:[9]

  • Lucy Violet (1869–1954) married John Holdsworth
  • John (died in infancy)
  • Edward (1872–1921) married Katie Wilson
  • Elizabeth, known as Lily (born 1874) married Herbert Gresford Jones
  • Ellen Sophie (1875–1965) married Robert Carr Bosanquet
  • Robert Howard (24 April 1877 – 28 June 1951) married Dorothy Smith. He was Provost of The Queen's College, Oxford, author of A History of the Anglo-Saxons (1935)[10]
  • George (1880–1918) married Mary Wilson. Their son, Alan Hodgkin, received the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology.

Lucy Violet Hodgkin, later Holdsworth, was a writer and gave the 1919 Swarthmore Lecture under the title Silent Worship: The way of wonder. She assembled her father's letters and wrote a memorial to her brother, George, published in 1923.[11]

Ellen Sophia, later Bosanquet, wrote an autobiography, published by her daughter Diana Hardman, as Late Harvest: Memories, letters poems.


Hodgkin's chief works are:

  • Italy and her Invaders (8 vols., Oxford, 1880–1899; vols. I, II, 1890, (revised 1892), vols. III, IV, 1892 (rev 1896), vols. V, VI, 1895, vols. VII, VIII, 1899); republished as The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire, (8 vols., The Folio Society, 2001) [2]
  • The Dynasty of Theodosius (Oxford, 1889);
  • Theodoric the Goth (London, 1891);[12]
  • An introduction to the Letters of Cassiodorus: being a condensed translation of the Variae Epistolae of Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus, Senator (London, 1886).[13]

He also wrote a Life of Charles the Great (London, 1897); Life of George Fox (Boston, 1896); and the opening volume of Longman's Political History of England (London, 1906).[6]


  1. ^ Martin, G. H. (2004) "Hodgkin, Thomas (1831–1913), historian" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  2. ^ a b Hodgkin, Thomas (2001). The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire. The Folio Society. pp. General Introduction. ASIN B001UHAOK8.
  3. ^ Hilton, Christopher (2004) "Hodgkin, John (1800–1875)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ "Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L., Litt.D. 1831-1913". Bulletin of Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia. 5 (1): 24–25. 1913. ISSN 1934-1504.
  5. ^ Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886.
  6. ^ a b c   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hodgkin, Thomas". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 557.
  7. ^ Quaker profiles by Sir George Newman, Bannisdale Press, 1946, pp.48-62
  8. ^ Wellcome Library catalogue entry forn the Hodgkin Family papers.
  9. ^ Bosanquet, Ellen Sophie (1970) Late Harvest – Memories, Letters and Poems. p. 7.
  10. ^ "Mr R. H. Hodgkin". Nature. 140 (3546): 676. 16 October 1937. Bibcode:1937Natur.140Q.676.. doi:10.1038/140676a0.
  11. ^ George Lloyd Hodgkin 1880 - 1918 available online at Internet Archive
  12. ^ Theodoric the Goth by Thomas Hodgkin. Project Gutenberg
  13. ^ Letters of Cassiodorus. Project Gutenberg

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