M.A. (Edin.); Ph.D. (London); FBA, FRSE, MAE, F.R.Hist.Soc.
Senior Research Fellow in History

Academic Background

I was educated at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, was then an undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh, and went on to do postgraduate research at the London School of Economics. I taught at the University of Birmingham (1970-78) and then at that of St Andrews (1979-2009), retiring as Wardlaw Professor of International History. I am a fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a member of the European Academy.

Undergraduate Teaching

Early modern European history.

Postgraduate Teaching

Early modern European history, especially the study of international relations and the comparative study of Europe’s nobilities.

Research Interests

I am currently completing a large-scale study entitled Forming Aristocracy: The reconfiguration of Europe’s Nobilities, 1300-1750, to be published by Oxford University Press. In the longer term, I plan to write a study of the evolution of international relations from the fourteenth century to 1815, to be published in the ‘Oxford History of early modern Europe’.


My hobbies include classical music, watching sport and cooking.

Principal Publications

(i) books: author

The Rise of the Great Powers 1648-1815 (with Derek McKay, London: Longman, 1983, xii+378pp.)

British Foreign Policy in the Age of the American Revolution (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990, xiv+377pp.)

The Emergence of the Eastern Powers, 1756-75 (Cambridge University Press, 2001, xvi+285pp.)

The Birth of a Great Power System 1740-1815 (London and New York: Longmans, 2006, xv+433pp.)

(ii) books: editor

Enlightened Absolutism: Reform and Reformers in later eighteenth-century Europe (London: Macmillan, 'Problems in Focus' series, and Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990, xi+384pp.)

The European Nobilities in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. I: Western Europe; II: Northern, Central and Eastern Europe (2 vols. London and New York: Longman, 1995, viii+286pp; viii+315pp.; Revised and expanded second edition, 2 vols. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007, xii+346pp.; xiv+433pp.)

Royal and Republican Sovereignty in early modern Europe: Essays in memory of Ragnhild Hatton (with Robert Oresko and G.C. Gibbs; Cambridge University Press, 1997, xxi+671pp.)

Theodor Schieder, Frederick the Great (London and New York: Longman, 1999, viii+304pp) (edited and translated jointly with Ms. Sabine Berkeley.)

Cultures of Power in Europe during the long eighteenth century, 1680s-1815 (with Brendan Simms; Cambridge University Press, 2007, xv+382pp).

The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, c.1350-1750, vol. I: Peoples and Place; vol. II: Cultures and Power (2 vols.; Oxford University Press, 2015; xxvi+777 + xxiii+735pp).

(iii) articles:

More than sixty articles in refereed journals and edited volumes.


Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College:

See also Professor Hamish Scott's profile on the British Academy website.