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Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe
 0198767110, 9780198767114

Table of contents :
Cover
Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe
Copyright
Acknowledgements
Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Contributors
Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome
PART I: Routes of Reception
1: The Well-Thumbed Attic Muse: Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon’s Persia in the Early Modern Period
Cicero on Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus
Cicero’s Recommendations
Passages Translated and/or Appropriated by Cicero
Cicero in Renaissance Schools
Humanist Readings of Xenophon through Cicero
Cyropaedia
Oeconomicus
Conclusion
2: Zoanne Pencaro, an Early Modern Italian Reader of the Ancient Near East in Herodotus
3: From ‘Custom is King’ to ‘Custom is a Metal: ’The Early Modern Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture
The Classical Scythians and Their Later Incarnations
The Trials of Custom in the Renaissance
Herodotus: The Sovereignty of Custom and Two Scythian Honour Killings
Lucian: A Contest of Greek and Scythian Customs
Edmund Spenser: Bending Custom in Ireland
4: Reading Ancient Fables from the East: Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Two-Origin Aetiology of Romance
PART I I: Materials and Traces
5: Reterritorializing Persepolis in theFirst English Travellers’ Accounts
6: Antiquarianism in the Near East: Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and his Journey to the Seven Churches of Asia
Introduction: From Oxford to Asia Minor
Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia (1672–1716) in Context
The Uses of the Ancient Near East: Smith’s Motivations and His Readership
7: Journeying to an Antique Christian Past: Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives in the Era of the Reformation
Pilgrimage Treatises
Locating Christ in the Holy Land
The Reformation Context
Re-Rooting the Catholic Faith
Conclusion
PART I I I: Refiguring Sources
8: Richard Verstegan and the Symbol of Babylon in the Early Modern Period
The Tower I: Language
The Tower II: Tyranny
The Harlot
The Exile
Cities Real and Imaginary
9: Casting Models: Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East in Seventeenth-Century French Drama and Gallery Books (1642–62)
Artemisia
Tomyris
Zenobia
Conclusion
10: Assyria in Early Modern Historiography
Assyria as Transmitted Knowledge
Giovanni Boccaccio
Johannes Carion and Philip Melanchthon
Sir Walter Ralegh
11: Alexander the Great inEarly Modern English Drama
Heroic Alexander
Corpsing Alexander
12: Crises of Self and Succession: Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667
Herodotus’ Cambyses and the Early English Theatre
Preston’s Early Elizabethan Cambises between Morality and History Play
The Evasive Diplomacy of Settle’s Restoration Cambyses
Conclusion: Cambyses and the Divided English Self
Bibliography
Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Index

Citation preview

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C L A S SIC A L P R E SE N C E S General Editors lorna hardwick  james i. porter

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CLASSICAL PRESENCES Attempts to receive the texts, images, and material culture of ancient Greece and Rome inevitably run the risk of appropriating the past in order to authenticate the present. Exploring the ways in which the classical past has been mapped over the centuries allows us to trace the avowal and disavowal of values and identities, old and new. Classical Presences brings the latest scholarship to bear on the contexts, theory, and practice of such use, and abuse, of the classical past.

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Beyond Greece and Rome Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe

edited by

Jane Grogan

1

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1 Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX2 6DP, United Kingdom Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries © Oxford University Press 2020 The moral rights of the authors have been asserted First Edition published in 2020 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Data available Library of Congress Control Number: 2019954551 ISBN 978–0–19–876711–4 DOI: 10.1093/oso/ 9780198767114.003.0001 Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY Links to third party websites are provided by Oxford in good faith and for information only. Oxford disclaims any responsibility for the materials contained in any third party website referenced in this work.

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Acknowledgements This collection has been a long time in the making: I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to the contributors for their patience, fortitude, and generosity throughout the process, as well as their brilliant essays. I hope this book brings satisfaction to them (and to all its readers!). I also wish to thank the delegates to a conference on ‘The Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe’, held at Marsh’s Library, Dublin and University College Dublin in November 2012. That conference was funded by the Irish Research Council as part of an IRCHSS Government of Ireland Fellowship, and I am very grateful for their support. I also owe thanks to Dr Jason McElligott, Keeper of Marsh’s Library, for hosting us and for offering a display of Marsh’s rich collection of early modern books of travel and classical scholarship. Thanks, too, to Dr Marina Ansaldo, gracious co-organizer of the conference. We also owe thanks to the editors of the Classical Presences series for their support of this project, and especially to Lorna Hardwick. The anonymous reader offered helpful guidance, which we were pleased to attend to. I am very grateful, too, to a series of anonymous peer reviewers of individual chapters; they know who they are, and their readings were invaluable. Other ‘scoláiri den scoth’ who have provided good counsel and a listening ear during the gestation of this volume include Noreen Humble, Neil Rhodes, Derval Conroy, Andrew Hadfield, Deirdre Serjeantson, Daniel Carey, Andrew Carpenter, Megan Armstrong, and Mícheál MacCraith. I want especially to thank Thomas Roebuck, who helped with likely cover images. Finally, one new wouldbe scholar made her auspicious appearance during its prep­ar­ation—my warmest welcome to her.

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Contents List of Illustrationsix List of Contributors xi Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome Jane Grogan

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Part I.  Routes of Reception 1. The Well-Thumbed Attic Muse: Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon’s Persia in the Early Modern Period Noreen Humble

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2. Zoanne Pencaro, an Early Modern Italian Reader of the Ancient Near East in Herodotus Dennis Looney

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3. From ‘Custom is King’ to ‘Custom is a Metal’: The Early Modern Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture Galena Hashhozheva

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4. Reading Ancient Fables from the East: Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Two-Origin Aetiology of Romance Su Fang Ng

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Part II.  Materials and Traces 5. Reterritorializing Persepolis in the First English Travellers’ Accounts Ladan Niayesh

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6. Antiquarianism in the Near East: Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and his Journey to the Seven Churches of Asia Thomas Roebuck

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7. Journeying to an Antique Christian Past: Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives in the Era of the Reformation Megan C. Armstrong

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Part III.  Refiguring Sources 8. Richard Verstegan and the Symbol of Babylon in the Early Modern Period191 Deirdre Serjeantson

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viii  Contents 9. Casting Models: Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East in Seventeenth-Century French Drama and Gallery Books (1642–62) Derval Conroy

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10. Assyria in Early Modern Historiography Jennifer Sarha

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11. Alexander the Great in Early Modern English Drama Jane Grogan

256

12. Crises of Self and Succession: Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667 Edith Hall

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Bibliography Index

303 335

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List of Illustrations 5.1 Persepolis, engraving by William Marshall, in Thomas Herbert, A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begvnne Anno 1626 (1634) (STC13190, p. 58). By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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5.2 Persepolis, engraving by Wenceslas Hollar, in Thomas Herbert, Some Years Travels into Divers Parts of Africa and Asia the Great (1664). Cambridge University Library (RCS.Case.b.82). Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

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8.1 Babylon, from title page, Richard Verstegan, A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605). Reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge.

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9.1 Artémise, from Pierre Le Moyne, Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647). Reproduced by kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.218 9.2 Zénobie, from Pierre Le Moyne, Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647). Reproduced by kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.

228

11.1 Five Tombs Containing Skeletons of Historical Exemplars of Wisdom, War, Beauty, Strength, and Riches: An Allegory of Change, Decay, and Death, engraving after A. P. van de Venne (c.1655). Reproduced by kind permission of the Wellcome Collection.

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12.1 Monument to Thomas Preston, Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Reproduced by permission of Richard Poynder.

284

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List of Contributors Megan C. Armstrong  is Associate Professor of History in the Department of ­History at McMaster University in Canada. In addition to several articles and two journal special editions, she is the author of the monograph The Politics of Piety: ­Franciscan Preachers during the Wars of Religion, 1560–1600 (Rochester, 2004), and a forthcoming monograph entitled Going to the Source: The Holy Land, the Franciscans and the Reinvention of the Catholic Tradition, 1517–1700. Derval Conroy  is Associate Professor in French and Francophone S­tudies at University College Dublin. She has published widely on seventeenth-century French queenship, feminisms, text and image relations, political ceremonial, and ­theatre. Her latest publications include the monographs Ruling Women, Vol. 1: Government, Virtue and the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century France (Palgrave, 2016), Ruling Women, Vol. 2: Configuring the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century French Drama (Palgrave, 2016), and the co-edited volume Print Culture in Early Modern France, special issue of the Irish Journal of French Studies, no. 16 (2016). She is ­currently completing a collective volume entitled Towards an Equality of the Sexes in Early Modern Europe (forthcoming with Routledge, 2020). Jane Grogan is Associate Professor in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin. Her publications include two monographs, Exemplary Spenser (2009) and The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (2014), and an edited collection of essays on Edmund Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos. She has recently completed a critical edition of William Barker’s English translation of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia for the MHRA Tudor & Stuart Translations Series. Edith Hall  is Professor of Classics at King’s College London and Consultant ­Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at the University of Oxford. She has published twenty-eight books on ancient Greek and Roman ­civilization and their continuing presence in the modern world. In 2017 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens and is the winner of the Erasmus Prize of the European Academy. Her latest book is Aristotle’s Way (Penguin Random House, 2018). Galena Hashhozheva lectures on early modern literature in the English department at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. She has previously published on Spenser and classical scepticism, the rhetoric of restraint in Herodotean ethnography and its early modern reception, and philosophy and the city in Shakespeare’s classically inspired Timon of Athens. She is currently working on the relevance of the ancient concept of the sublime, especially the natural and scientific sublime (Lucretius), to contemporary literature.

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xii  List of Contributors Noreen Humble is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and R ­ eligion at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses primarily on Xenophon and ­Plutarch, both in their contemporary setting and in the early modern period. She is the editor of Plutarch’s Lives: Parallelism and Purpose (Swansea, 2010) and co-editor (with Pat Crowley and Silvia Ross) of Mediterranean Travels: Writing Self and Other from the Ancient World to Contemporary Society (Oxford, 2011). Dennis Looney has served as director of programs and director of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages at the Modern Language Association of America since 2014. From 1986 to 2013 he taught Italian at the University of Pittsburgh, with secondary appointments in Classics and Philosophy. His publications include Compromising the Classics: Romance Epic Narrative in the Italian Renaissance (1996), which received an honourable mention, MLA M ­ arraro-Scaglione Award in Italian Literary Studies, 1996–7; Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the ‘Divine Comedy’ (2011), which received the American Association of Italian Studies, First Prize, Book Award, 2011. His translation of Ludovico Ariosto’s Latin poetry (with D. Mark Possanza) was published in 2018 in the Villa I Tatti Renaissance Library Series (Harvard University Press). Su Fang Ng is Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor and Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. She is the author of a recent Classical Presences series volume, Alexander the Great from Britain to Southeast Asia: Peripheral Empires in the Global Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2019), and of Literature and the Politics of Family in ­Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge University Press, 2007), as well as articles on medieval, early modern, and postcolonial topics. She has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, the National Humanities Center, the University of Texas at Austin, Heidelberg University, All Souls College, Oxford, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Ladan Niayesh is Professor of English Studies at the University of Paris Diderot— Paris 7. Her research interests cover the literature of alterity (drama, travelogues) in the early modern period, especially in connection to Persia and the Middle East. Her most recent publications include Three Romances of Eastern Conquest (Manchester University Press, 2018) and the collective volume Eastern Resonances coedited with Claire Gallien (Palgrave, 2019). She currently works on the Muscovy Company material on Persia for the collective edition of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Thomas Roebuck has held the post of Lecturer in Renaissance Literature at the University of East Anglia since 2013. He works on the history of English scholarship, especially of anti­quar­ian­ism and oriental studies, between the 1560s and the early eighteenth century. He has recently published essays on the editing of Josephus and on the 1695 revised edition of Camden’s Britannia, and is currently at work on a biography of the antiquary, traveller, and non-juror Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and a collaborative edition of John Selden’s Table Talk for Oxford University Press.

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List of Contributors  xiii Jennifer Sarha  is an independent scholar based in Luxembourg. Her PhD ­(University of Leeds, 2008) looked at Lord Byron and the construction of gender through literary tropes, and her more recent research has focused on the reception of Assyria in early modern Europe. Her current project is concerned with the cultural history of Sardanapalus, the legendary last king of Assyria. Deirdre Serjeantson  was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Trinity College Dublin, where she wrote her PhD under the direction of Eiléan Ní ­Chuilleanáin. She has been Munby Fellow in Bibliography at the University of Cambridge and a lecturer in Renaissance Literature at the University of Essex; she is now Director of Studies in English at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

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Introduction Beyond Greece and Rome Jane Grogan

The standard scholarly narrative of early modern engagement with classical authors and the classical world is squarely fixed in the worlds of Greece and Rome, more specifically Athens (and very occasionally Sparta) and Rome. Egypt, of course, gets a look in, but is often made to stand for an entire ‘eastern’ world, and primarily in convenient opposition to Roman values, as, for instance, in the narratives of Antony and Cleopatra, and the too often conflated Virgilian narrative of Carthaginian Dido and Roman Aeneas. Early modern classicism, it thus seems, is a pointedly European affair. And scholars of classical reception in early modern Europe in the period have ploughed these Greek and Roman furrows for a long time now, slower to recognize the diversity of the ancient world known to earlier generations. Much more rarely do these scholars appreciate the significance, richness, and intensity of early modern engagements with the ancient near east: its world, authors, and material remains. Much less visible to us, therefore, are the many mediations of the ancient near east through favoured classical texts, or the many ways in which the early moderns sought out such knowledge, often to satisfy present needs, be they cultural, political, social, geographical, or economic. Early modern Europeans, after all, were all too aware of their ethnographic origins in the ancient near east: Phoenician traders, Scythian nomads, and even Egyptian princesses stalked the pages of the new ethnography, even as their descendants paraded an array of national and ethnic costumes in the map margins of the new geography.1 It hardly needs stating that the origins of Christianity lay east of Rome, and the Holy Land continued to be a place of Christian pilgrimage, even after the Reformation. But 1   Some early modern ethnographies of the Scots and Irish are full of such characters. See, for example, speculations about the Egyptian Scota, daughter of Pharaoh, who is supposed to have eloped with the Greek Gathelos and migrated through the Mediterranean to Spain, and ultimately to Scotland and Ireland, in Hector Boece’s Scotorum historiae a prima gentis origine (1527) and repeated in Edmund Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland (1633). Sketches of the inhabitants of the countries mapped accompanied the atlases of Wilhelm Janszoon Blaeu and John Speed, for example (cartes à figures).

Jane Grogan, Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0001

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2  Jane Grogan Reformation Europe had its own particular interests in the ancient near east. The ­status and teachings of the early Church Fathers, particularly eastern figures such as St John Chrysostom and Basil of Caesarea, became new touchstones in the battle for theological authority; that such figures were also sometimes engaged in defending the study of classical learning for theological purposes only enriched their appeal for early moderns. And, of course, the intellectual revolution of humanism relied fundamentally on the classical legacy, a legacy that was much more geographically and culturally diverse than has usually been appreciated by scholars of the European Renaissance, and which owed its survival, in large part, to scholars—both Christian and Islamic—in the near east. For an early modern European, the works of a Syrian such as Lucian, or about a Persian such as Cyrus the Great, held as much authority and relevance as any Plutarch or Virgil. And even in Plutarch and Virgil early modern readers could find stirring portraits of Persians or Carthaginians, such as Artaxerxes or Dido, presented alongside more local or contemporary figures of European aspiration. The ancient near east, in other words, was alive and well in early modern Europe. The present volume seeks to address this significant gap in scholarship of early modern classical reception, in the widest sense of that term, and to put the ancient near east back on the map of early modern Europe, as it were. Nor is this a small task: the primary materials are abundant. We seek here to delineate and give prominence to an important but neglected field of early modern culture— both European and eastern—ready for further tilling. The tools are already there, perhaps most interestingly (though by no means exclusively) in the emerging field of ‘global Renaissance’ studies. So, for example, in introducing the concept of the ‘global Renaissance’ in a timely ‘Companion’ to the field, Jyotsna G. Singh tries to capture the complex historical sense and global purview that operated in the period. ‘In reconsidering the “Renaissance” both as a literary movement which captured “the spirit of the age,” and as a historical period’, she writes, ‘it is important to recognize that its range was temporal—going back to antiquity—as well as spatial and geographical, stretching across the globe.’2 It seems an obvious point, a statement of any early modernist’s working assumptions. But Singh argues for the ‘global Renaissance’ as a type of spatio-temporal matrix: it is not just that early modern engagements with the ancient near east are ‘anachronic’ (in the sense that Nagel and Wood have taught us—that is, that they meld present concerns and the conditions of modernity into the very forms of reception and reappropriation of classical antiquity).3 It is that the European cultural imagination had a much wider reach spatially as well as temporally than we ordinarily acknowledge: its sense of the classical world was wider, and its sense of the global present much more deeply historicized. And, as Singh recognizes, those two features are related. The European Renaissance, then, is not so very European at all, even in its classicism. To these important working principles we might add two further insights: firstly, that 2  Singh, ‘Introduction: The Global Renaissance’, A Companion to the Global Renaissance (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), p. 8. 3   Alexander Nagel and Christopher S. Wood, Anachronic Renaissance (New York: Zone Books, 2010).

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  3 we must, like the early moderns, attend to the particular appeal of the ancient near east to early modern Europe under the sign of both classics and early modern culture. And secondly, as with all acts or instances of classical reception, we must acknowledge that the traffic is two-way and provisional, and that it takes many different forms: it is not just that later readers ‘received’ earlier texts and emulated them, but that early modern readings of classical texts, shaped as they were by early modern needs and contexts, reshaped classical writings and artefacts of the ancient near east in its own terms for its own—and later—readers. In centring early modern classicism in Greece and Rome, we miss out on too many aspects of early modern European culture in this formative period, as the chapters that follow will show. What, when, and where is the ‘ancient near east’ tackled by this volume, and how did early modern Europeans access it? The ancient near east covers a broad expanse both of time and of space, and its borders are moot. Reaching back into the antiquity of the ancient Persian and Assyrian empires and that of the Old Testament (and calculating just how old the world was became a favourite pastime of early modern antiquarians and theologians alike), it flowed into the Roman era of Christ’s lifetime.4 For many classicists and historians, it should be noted, the ‘ancient near east’ covers only the preChristian era. But the early moderns were more fluid in their classicism.5 This collection extends still further into the Greek and Roman near eastern world of the early centuries of the Christian era, many of whose sources were treated by early moderns as deriving from ‘antiquity’ with as much ancient authority as Aristotle. For example, among the influential and enabling cultural productions of the early modern era are Plutarchan biography, Greek romances of the Roman Imperial era, and especially Ptolemaic geography, all of which were crucial to early modern Europe’s sense of the geography and values of the ancient near east (and indeed of Europe), and all of which were richly reinvented to imagine anew the ancient and contemporary near east. Indeed, the rediscovery of Ptolemaic maps and their use in the new maps of Giacomo Gastaldi and others, combined with new information derived from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese travels, spawned a revolution in cartography and cartographical technology, a revolution that in turn produced much better maps of the world to Europe’s east.6 A pet project of one of the most important cartographers of the era, Abraham Ortelius, speaks volumes about the intertwining of historical and geographical interest in the ancient near east, about early modern interest in mapping both its past and present. After producing the first ever atlas (Theatrum orbis terrarum (1570)), which went through multiple, expanding European editions and became the model for hundreds more, Ortelius spent years preparing an ever-expanding ‘Parergon’ of maps of the 4   See Anthony Grafton, ‘Dating History: The Renaissance and the Reformation of Chronology’, Daedalus 132:2 (2003): 74–85. 5   Amélie Kuhrt, for example, has two important volumes on The Ancient Near East, c. 3000–330 bc (London and New York: Routledge, 1995). 6   Gastaldi’s 1548 edition of Ptolemy’s maps, together with a new set of maps of Asia, was a landmark moment in this regard.

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4  Jane Grogan ancient world to add to the atlas, drawn with no less research and no less technological support, as proudly historical in interest as the other maps were proudly contemporary.7 No mere appendages, these reimagined maps sketched out anew the Roman empire, certainly, but also the territory conquered by Alexander the Great, the terrain traversed by Odysseus, the travels of Abraham and of Paul the Apostle. As acts of classical reception, they could not be more engaged or dialogic, or more effective in reanimating the storied past of the ancient near east. Classical textual sources on the ancient near east were ample and diverse, and are the focus of the majority of the chapters in this volume. But with the rise in travel (and a concomitant growth in travel writing) its archaeological remains, whether biblical or classical, became knowable once again, directly through experience or indirectly through texts. (Babylon, Persepolis, and Ephesus are three notable examples of significant ancient near eastern places newly visited by Europeans, and examined here by Deirdre Serjeantson, Ladan Niayesh, and Thomas Roebuck respectively. Jerusalem, it hardly needs stating, was perhaps the most important ancient near eastern site for any Christian, and Megan Armstrong analyses early modern pilgrimage treatises for evidence of Catholic engagement with its sacred landscape.) Nor was this interest confined to scholars. Popular Protestant chronicles such as the transnationally successful chronicle of Johannes Carion noted the need to look to ‘Heathen hystoryes’, and to ‘comprehende all the tymes sence the foundacyon of the worlde’ so as best to understand God’s prophecies and to calculate the date of the second coming of Christ.8 But those ‘Heathen hystories’ also helped early modern travellers to navigate the contemporary world of the eastern Mediterranean, and shaped the ways in which they then wrote about those experiences and settings. The European appetite for a historical understanding of the ancient near east was strong across a range of disciplines, from cartography to literature, antiquarianism to ethnography, travel to trade; the early moderns sought out the texts that would provide that understanding, and any productive continuities, parallels, or opportunities entailed. As for the ‘where’, the concept of the ancient near east has less geographical purchase today, or rather, it varies from discipline to discipline. Modern archaeologists and classicists tend to fix the boundaries rather narrowly, whereas historians of culture tend to identify a wider ancient near eastern geography.9 Early moderns took their 7   In fact, rather than reducing or simplifying prior maps, as he had often done, Ortelius personally drew all the maps of the ‘Parergon’, first published with the Theatrum in 1579, with just three maps by way of appendix, but expanding to thirty-eight by the time of his death. Among the maps were maps of the Roman empire, of the empire of Alexander the Great, and of the wanderings of Aeneas, Odysseus, Abraham, Paul, and other notable classical and biblical figures. 8   From the prefatory materials to The thre bokes of Cronicles (London: for Gwalter Lynn, 1550), sigs. [*6] r–v. Carion’s chronicle is divided into three parts: from Adam to Abraham; from Abraham to Christ; then the two thousand years predicted from Christ’s life until the end of days, with particular attention given to ‘how the Mahometysh or Turkish empire began, and how the Popyshnesse hath gotten encrease of foren power’ (sig. [*8]v). 9   In her landmark volumes, Kuhrt studies Mesopotamia (between the Zagros mountains to the north and the Arabian desert to the south, the Mediterranean to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east), Egypt, Anatolia, and the Levant, for example.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  5 cues from a range of writers and texts, meaning that the Scythians of central Asia found a place alongside Lydians, Phoenicians, Persians, Ethiopians, Amazons (of course), and many more ancient peoples; on the western frontier, the traditional borders between Europe and Asia—the Hellespont, the river Don (Tanais)—served their old purposes. For convenience, the bounds of the empire of Alexander the Great, with its notorious northern wall against the ‘barbarians’ of the Caucasus, captures the maximal geography of the ancient near east in early modern texts, although (given renewed and lucrative European activity there) it often focussed more strongly on the eastern Mediterranean. Some overlap with terms such as ‘Asia Minor’ or the ‘Fertile Crescent’ is inevitable, but for early moderns the ‘Levant’ may have seemed a more obvious description for the world of the eastern Mediterranean, especially given the proliferation of new commercial and diplomatic connections with those lands. One important factor that may have impelled greater interest in the ancient near east from early on was the perceived sense of its loss to Christian Europe: by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, its lands were primarily Muslim-ruled, following the Arab invasions of the sixth century and the successes of the Mongols and Mamluks— but most of all, by the conspicuous dominance and strength of the Ottoman empire. How, asked Richard Knolles, author of the first Ottoman history in English, did it come about that ‘the Turks, an obscure and base people, before scarce knowne vnto the world, yet fierce and courageous, who by their valour first aspired vnto the kingdome of Persia, with diuers other large prouinces . . . [and] is from a small beginning become the greatest terror of the world, and holding in subiection many great and mightie kingdomes in Asia, Europe, and Affricke, grew to that height of pride, as that it threateneth destruction vnto the rest of the kingdomes of the earth; labouring with nothing more than with the weight of it selfe’?10 The ancient near eastern past, however silent it had been on the ‘obscure’ Turks so marvelled at and envied in Knolles’s ‘Induction’, must have seemed even more culturally distant from its Muslim present, and all the more enviable for it, perhaps. Arguably, this dislocation or alienation between past and present made the ancient near east even more appealing, given the early modern historical cast of mind with its obsession with ruins and fragments, its favoured narratives not of progress but of decline.11 After all, Protestant Europe’s alienation from Rome did not undermine its admiration for ancient Rome, and early modern Greece’s state of political weakness and apparent cultural stagnation, while bemoaned, was no obstacle to wider European engagement with the culture of ancient Greece.12 The ancient near east described in this collection of essays is the broader, looser agglomeration of the cultural historian, guided by our aim to identify both a field   Induction to The Generall Historie of the Turkes (London: Adam Islip, 1603), sig. [A4].   See Gerald MacLean on European ‘imperial envy’ of the Ottomans, in Looking East: English Writing and the Ottoman Empire before 1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007), pp. 20–2. 12   Knolles, for example, also notes the loss of the ‘glorious Empire of the Greekes’, in The Generall Historie of the Turks, sig. [A4]v. 10

11

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6  Jane Grogan worthy of consolidated interdisciplinary scholarship in early modern studies, and to set out a range of viable routes of enquiry. It begins, of course, at the Bosphorus (or Hellespont, as it was better known), but stretches south, west, east, and north of there. Our authors look as far east as Assyria and central Asia, and as far west as Egypt for traces of early modern engagement with the ancient near east; north to central Asia and the steppes of the Scythians, and south to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. (Egypt, it must be acknowledged, has its own distinct relationship history with Europe, and the present volume focusses instead on less well-studied parts of the ancient near east.)13 It is, in many ways, a Herodotean geography that we describe, and Herodotus is the silent, presiding influence over this collection. He was native not of Greece or Rome but of Halicarnassus, a Greek city in the Persian empire (Bodrum in modern Turkey), and an unsurpassed traveller and ethnographer of so much of the Mediterranean world; reorienting the classical world through Herodotus neatly decentres the persistent bias towards Rome and Athens in classical reception studies. It was Herodotus who first set out the scope and possibilities of European engagement with the ancient near east, and his Histories continued to do so many centuries later in the readings of early modern Europeans who further proliferated and explored his work, in all its famous digressions and reported stories.14 His compromised legacy as both ‘father of  history’ and ‘father of lies’ betrays the cost of narrowing the history of classical reception to less unruly canonical authors. Plutarch’s curious attack on Herodotus as ‘father of lies’ found important and influential defenders in early modern Europe, including the French scholar–printer Henri Estienne and the brilliant scholar Isaac Casaubon.15 But the mongrel genre of the Histories, too, probably appealed to early modern Europeans: beyond historiography alone, its overlaps with romance, travel narrative, and biography gave it more of the availing qualities favoured by early modern poetics.16 But as noted, so too did the renewed interest and accessibility of the world Herodotus described.

13   For example, see Brian Curran, The Egyptian Renaissance: The Afterlife of Ancient Egypt in Early Modern Italy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007); John Michael Archer, Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India, and Russia in Early Modern English Writing (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001). 14  See Hérodote à la Renaissance, edited by Susanne Gambino Longo (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012) and Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Herodotus in Antiquity and Beyond, edited by Jessica Priestley and Vasiliki Zali (Leiden: Brill, 2016); and Achille Olivieri, Erodoto nel Rinascimento: L’umano e la storia (Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2004). 15   Plutarch’s essay ‘On the Malice of Herodotus’ was well known, his more accepting use of Herodotus elsewhere less so. Estienne, Apologio pro Herodoto (1566); Casaubon’s 1601–2 lectures in Paris defended Herodotus from Plutarch’s charges of ‘malignity’ or lying. See Anthony Grafton and Joanna Weinberg, ‘I  have always loved the holy tongue’: Isaac Casaubon, the Jews, and a Forgotten Chapter in Renaissance Scholarship (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011). 16   Sir Philip Sidney’s careful distinctions between the didactic efficacy of the historian and the poet had roots in Italian literary criticism, though the ranking could also be reversed (e.g. by Leonardo Bruni, who privileged historical fact). An Apology for Poetry, edited by Geoffrey Shepherd (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), pp. 105–11.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  7 The early modern era offered significant new opportunities and incentives for engagement with the ancient near east through travel, and to a relatively wide contingent of Europeans: from élite nobles and their households engaged on the ‘grand tour’, to merchants, sailors, ambassadors, pilgrims, mercenaries, corsairs, antiquarians, chaplains, missionaries, and many more, even if not all of them were voluntary travellers.17 The age of crusades was long past—though its rhetoric lived on in transmuted form, and had a brief resurgence after the Holy League’s victory over the Ottoman navy at the battle of Lepanto in 1571. Instead, the ‘sacred geography’ of the eastern Mediterranean, its enormous commercial opportunities, its storied past in European culture (notably through the classical legacy), and its increasing geopolitical significance to Europe thanks to the thriving Ottoman empire and continued Islamic rule in the Holy Land meant that it was a major contributor both to the ‘European Renaissance’ and to the emergence of the identity of Europe and its individual nation states at this crucial point. I will return to the increase in travel and mobility between Europe and the east, in both directions, but we must first acknowledge a major scholarly shift in thinking about the nature and origins of the ‘Renaissance’ in recent years, one that emerges in part from increased travel and encounters across the Bosphorus.18 While the translatio studii from east to west remains crucial to understanding the European Renaissance, early modern studies has taken an important step in recognizing the significance of trade and various kinds of exchange between Europe and the east in the production of the European Renaissance. Writing against the traditional, fairly linear view of the origins of the ‘Renaissance’, for example, Gerald MacLean argues for ‘the need to recognise more complex forms of differential development and cross-cultural interactivity at work’. His interest is primarily in ‘advanc[ing] understanding of the period between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries as a period in world history when trade, dialogue and cultural interaction were as characteristic of  Christian relations with Islam as the more sensationalistic moments of armed conflict’.19 But it is a project that entails the ancient past just as much as the mercantile present: those Islamic lands included, of course, the lands of the ancient near east, and trade, dialogue, and cultural interaction with them was nourished by shared knowledge of the classical past. This longer historical trajectory, of which Singh reminds us, has not always been part of the scholarly conversation. Thus, in the past twenty years or so, we have seen important work on the significance of the Ottoman empire to the European Renaissance, on the interchange of political, cultural, and aesthetic values and the traffic of goods, people, and ideas, as well as a re-evaluation of the political and cultural dynamics of such encounters and exchanges; we have moved from 17   Piracy and hostage-taking was a constant peril, not just in the Mediterranean but even on the western shores of Europe. 18   Unfortunately, this scholarly shift has not been accompanied by a similar shift in popular thinking, broadly speaking. 19   From the introduction to his important collection of essays, Re-Orienting the Renaissance: Cultural Exchanges with the East (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 3, 4.

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8  Jane Grogan Orientalist-flavoured notions of European imperial superiority to a more historically sensitive appreciation of the immensity of Ottoman power, and even European envy (as MacLean has it) of Ottoman imperial superiority and its political freedoms.20 Thanks in part to the new ‘connected’ global historiography of Sanjay Subrahmanyam and others, ‘exchange’ has become the dominant paradigm of accounts of early modern Europe and the Middle East, a giant leap from the stubborn vision of inevitable conflict favoured by Bernard Lewis and others.21 But we have not yet fully marked the potential imbalance of power in Europe’s cultural balance of trade, nor the political. And we have not given the contribution of early modern engagement with the ancient near east enough credit. Think, for example, of the concept of empire. Subrahmanyam has recently proposed that in ‘world history’, never mind ‘European history’, the early modern era can be characterized globally as one of imperial rivalry.22 If so, the all-too-present Ottoman empire could not but loom large in the imaginations of European nations aspiring to empires of their own. Looking east for models of empire must have been all the more obvious a move given the prevalent understanding of the ancient near eastern origins of the model of empire itself, in both classical and biblical accounts, and strongly carried through in both secular and religious versions of translatio imperii.23 Yet the Roman empire remains the go-to model for European political thought and action in scholarship of the period.24 The new world history and the new ‘global Renaissance’ has its blind spots too, it seems. How should we approach this problem? In order to forge a new ‘framework that acknowledges and encompasses the heterogeneity of the Mediterranean commercial, cultural and intellectual worlds and that engages with the [prevailing] dynamics of interaction’, as the editors of a recent collection of essays on Europe and the Ottoman 20  MacLean, Looking East. The editors of a recent collection of essays on commercial and artistic exchange between Renaissance Europe and the Ottoman empire point to factors such as ‘shared conventions of representation, and a common vocabulary for voicing claims to power’ as key ‘commonalities between states in the wider Mediterranean world and militates against a narration of the early modern period predicated upon a religious dichotomy dividing East and West’. The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, edited by Anna Contadini and Claire Norton (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), p. 19. 21   Bernard Lewis, Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Age of Discovery (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); Subrahmanyam, ‘Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia’, Modern Asian Studies 31:3 (1997): 735–62. Other prominent terms include traffic, emissaries, travelling objects, and craftsmanship. Subrahmanyam’s Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures, published as Three Ways to Be Alien: Travails and Encounters in the Early Modern World (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2011), nicely captures the range and possibilities of these approaches. 22   ‘Introduction’ to Part  1, vol. 6, The Cambridge World History, edited by Jerry  H.  Bentley, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 6. 23   The four worldly empires of the Book of Daniel began in the east, and numerous classical authors such as Herodotus, Justin, Strabo, and Sallust had described the early empires of the Assyrians or Medes/ Persians as the earliest of empires. 24   Against this, however, see Barbara Fuchs’s useful exploration of ‘imperium studies’, and her argument that early modern Europeans looked far beyond Rome for models of empire. Fuchs, ‘Imperium Studies: Theorizing Early Modern Expansion’, in Postcolonial Moves: Medieval Through Modern, edited by Patricia Clare Ingham and Michelle  R.  Warren (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), pp. 71–90. See also her guest-edited special issue (with Michael Hansen) of Modern Language Quarterly (2004) on ‘Postcolonialism and the Past’.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  9 world rightly demand, we must seek to be as interdisciplinary and exploratory in our thinking as our early modern subjects were.25 That means being alert to the larger conceptual and geopolitical implications of localized studies of instances of reception (Machiavelli’s reading of Xenophon, for example, or Fynes Morison’s Protestant account of his visit to Jerusalem—or Zoanne Pencaro’s marginal annotations on a copy of Herodotus in early sixteenth-century Ferrara, as Dennis Looney argues here), as well as using a more distributed and diversified model of reception itself, one that takes seriously secondary or partial reception as well as tracking the shape-shifting travels of concepts and genres from or of the ancient near east, be they empire, romance, Babylon, barbarians, or the traditions of the early Christian church.26 More traditionally, we must recognize that the concept of the ancient near east, as it currently exists, takes different shape in different disciplines, with the effect that overlaps and connections, and the overall significance of the ancient near east to early modern thought, have become obscured and need collating for new findings to come into view across disciplines. This collection, therefore, takes interdisciplinarity as a first principle, bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines using a range of approaches to the question of the ‘reception’ of the ancient near east in early modern Europe, without privileging any one. Working from the disciplines of history, classics, Italian studies, French literature, and English literature, our chapters address antiquarianism, drama, philology, ethnography, archaeology, the symbolic imaginary, cross-cultural classical figures, pilgrimage treatises, and transnational moral fables—an indicative list of potential approaches and areas in which the contribution of the ancient near east warrants further exploration. English literature is perhaps over-represented in this selection of approaches and subjects. But it has a particular interest precisely because of its distance from the Mediterranean world, because of its western-facing imperial horizons and the carefully considered character of its eastern interests. Its very isolation from its Catholic neighbours—France, Spain, Ireland—and its distance from the near eastern Islamic world make it a limit case for the spread, across Europe, of ideas of the ancient near east, and for the mediated quality of many of those ideas, now imbued with more recent histories of encounter and topical resonances. On the other hand, there are gaps in the coverage of this volume: no examples from Scandinavia or northern Europe, including Ireland and Scotland, and few from the Iberian peninsula, itself a more complex case given the north African and Iberian routes of transmission of classical and intermediary materials about the ancient near east through Arabic tradition. Central Europe, too, presents unique opportunities to examine the influence of the ancient near east at its porous western borders. We hope to encourage others to 25   Claire Norton, ‘Blurring the Boundaries: Intellectual and Cultural Interactions between the Eastern and Western: Christian and Muslim Worlds’, in The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, edited by Claire Norton and Anna Contadini, p. 20. 26   See the different models of reception explored in the special issue of the Classical Receptions Journal 5, no. 2 (2013), edited by Lorna Hardwick, on ‘Redeeming the Text—Twenty Years On’.

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10  Jane Grogan tackle these important cases. We also encourage interdisciplinary scholarship to identify textual and non-textual ancient near eastern sources, especially the intermediary Persian, Arabic, or Islamic sources for European ideas of the ancient near east, most of which lie beyond the scope of the present collection. What becomes very clear, however, is that within any of these areas, it is not sufficient to think within a merely national, or even disciplinary, tradition: our early modern subjects draw heavily on European sources (primary and secondary), on wider European and Mediterranean experiences, on transnational ideas and cultural codes that betray the traces of their travels through medieval and early modern Europe, as they must also through the Levant and north Africa. We hope that this collection, both in its individual chapters and as a volume, will encourage scholars to venture on the path of a more nuanced, interrogative, and politically valuable cultural history of the European Renaissance through a more thorough engagement with its abiding interest in the ancient near east. Before introducing the individual chapters, I would like to identify four areas or key insights that have emerged from the process of reflecting on Europe’s engagement with the ancient near east in the preparation of this volume. Each presents a challenge to current thinking about the Renaissance, if in different ways; this is but a preliminary, suggestive list. The first is travel, and the way in which received knowledge about the ancient near east is used in the newest and most topical genres of travel writing in the period. As Ortelius proved, far from edging out ancient maps of the near east, new geographical knowledge and cartographical technologies were quickly brought to bear on it. And we see a similar phenomenon in the accounts of travellers to the near east— although some travellers work very hard to find the ancient locations and monuments they pursue exactly as they wish them to be. The second concerns reception and dissemination of ideas, and by identifying the mixed company kept by figures from the ancient near east in early modern texts of all kinds, and the different registers in which historical persons, places, and things from the ancient near east are encountered in early modern Europe, challenges the dominance of author-centred models of reception in early modern studies today.27 The third key insight is one we have encountered already—the new interest of the Ottoman near east and its significance to European politics and culture—but this time bringing out how strongly that ancient near eastern provenance resonates or is made to resonate in contemporary engagements with the Ottomans, even where it has to be invented. Finally, the work of this collection of essays in sum has the effect of challenging the nature and values of that over-determined

27   The recent Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature, vol. 2: 1558–1660, edited by Patrick Cheney and Philip Hardie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), for example, not only presents essays on the reception of key authors, as well as key genres, but frames the work of the collection as a whole in terms of authorship. ‘We argue, then, that it is useful to define the English Renaissance in terms of classical authorship because the seminal literary achievement of this period was to invent an originary English authorship out of an engagement with the classical idea of the author’ (p. 6).

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  11 figure of the barbarian, so very hard-working in primary texts and scholarship on early modern European history, politics, imperialism, ethnography, and culture.

Travel Increased eastern travel by Europeans led, predictably, to increased reports, and greatly expanded European knowledge of the eastern Mediterranean. But a regular feature of such reports, even those of merchants or soldiers, was attention to the material remains of the ancient near east and the classical and biblical textual sources about them, sometimes tested for accuracy, sometimes cited to remind readers of the familiarity of these distant, Islamic places, and sometimes leveraged to provide strategic material for the domestic market whether for trade, diplomacy, or confessional polemic (as Roebuck’s chapter shows). Seeking out or remarking on the remains of Alexander’s fabled wall in the Caucasus was a favourite, but as Niayesh shows here, a powerful textual ‘memory’ of key sites was widely shared: for example, Persepolis and a concomitant desire to witness it, Niayesh argues, led several travellers to ­misidentify other sites as the city of ancient fame. It is also the case that ancient geography and ethnography was used as a guide to the localities by travellers to the near east, despite the conspicuous differences of culture and religion obtaining centuries later. Even more scholarly material circulating across Europe—think of the cosmography of Sebastian Muenster or the ethnography of Johannes Boemus, or even the textual descriptions accompanying the highly contemporary maps of Ortelius or John Speed—relied heavily (and often silently) on ancient accounts of the contemporary peoples they described.28 Arthur Golding, translator of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, also translated popular works full of detail on the ancient near east such as Justin’s Epitome of the lost histories of Pompus Trogus, as well as the first-century ad cosmography of Spanish-born Roman geographer Pomponius Mela. The latter was advertised as ‘a booke right plesant and profitable for all sortes of men: but speciallie for gentlemen, marchants, mariners, and trauellers’.29 That new ethnography, in turn, was quickly absorbed into imperial thinking and projects. As William Sherman puts it, ‘geographical and textual exploration went hand in hand during this early period, and libraries played an important role in the launching and directing of voyages of exploration and colonization’.30 These habits of looking to the ancient world for current purposes were not confined to texts and maps of the east, of course, but they must have been all the more strikingly dissonant given European familiarity with their contemporary status as Islamic states. 28  Boemus’s Omnium gentium mores, leges et ritus (Augsburg: Wirsung, 1520), with its focus on ‘Scythia’, ‘Tartaria’, and ‘Cathaya’, did little more than paraphrase ancient sources such as Strabo and Herodotus. 29   From the title page of Thabridgment of the Histories of Pompeius Trogus, translated by Arthur Golding (London: Thomas Marshe, 1564). 30  Sherman, Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), p. 114.

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12  Jane Grogan One of the great advantages of travel to the near and middle east (at least for scholars), as Hapsburg envoy Ogier Ghislen de Busbecq noted on several occasions, was the opportunity to acquire coins and artefacts from the ancient world, as well as rare manuscripts. Busbecq’s famous (and themselves well-travelled) letters were mostly written from his embassy to the Ottomans, first at Constantinople, and later at Amasya, where he witnessed the Ottoman–Persian peace treaty, in the mid-1550s.31 Published in Latin and in numerous European vernaculars into the seventeenthcentury, the letters are in the humanist epistolary tradition, even as they speak to the newly emerging markets for travel reports of the Ottoman empire and the lands east of Europe. They gained a wide readership, and often look to the ancient world to explain contemporary phenomena. So, for example, even as he reports on the strength of the Ottoman empire, Busbecq draws analogies with the norms and values of the ancient Roman empire (e.g. on the use of slaves), or points out famous ancient sites (such as the river Halys, foolishly crossed by Lydian Croesus in his campaign against Cyrus the Great), and jokes with his friends about his reasons for returning to barbarous ‘Thrace’. Familiarizing unfamiliar material by recourse to the ancient world was a popular strategy used by European travellers to the east. In reporting on an unlikely encounter with such a remote figure as the shah of Persia, for example, the English Sherley brothers looked to ancient Persia to describe their encounter. Favoured by fortune (and their own flexible relationship with the truth), they arrived at the Persian court of Shah ‘Abbas I in 1599, ostensibly on official embassy. One brother stayed, the other took off on a diplomatic mission to Europe on behalf of the shah, a mission he quickly abandoned (but which his brother, now hostage in Persia, would later take up himself). Despite the availability of numerous cultural models of the oriental despot, Anthony Sherley’s various accounts of his Persian experience, and the mini-industry of documents, narrative, accounts and even a play inspired by their experiences, regularly presented Shah ‘Abbas as a shadow of Cyrus the Great.32 It was as if one could not engage the contemporary near and middle east without also walking into the past to make sense of it in European terms. And that was so because the ancient near east was already so much a part of European cultural history, and of early modern European activities and engagements with the near and middle east during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—more familiar, in many cases, than its contemporary counterpart. One final example from a 1550s English embassy to the Hapsburg court (this one legitimate) confirms quite how deeply ingrained this habit of thinking was, even where 31   Sent by Ferdinand I to the Ottoman court of Suleiman (‘the Magnificent’) in 1554, Busbecq returned to Vienna in 1562. The Latin edition of his four letters was first supervised by Busbecq in 1582, but several vernacular translations appeared thereafter. Ogier de Busbecq, Legationis Turcicae epistolae quatuor (Paris: Gilles Bey, 1589). 32  See Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 158–60.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  13 the early moderns reflected not on the east but on the very heartlands of Europe. After much lobbying, the Cambridge scholar and sometime tutor to Queen Elizabeth, Roger Ascham, finally got his wish to travel to the Low Countries and Germany as part of the embassy of Sir Richard Morrison, the new English ambassador to the court of Emperor Charles V. During it, Ascham and Morrison made a point of reading a little Herodotus together in Greek almost every day, and in the letters Ascham sent home, we see the traces of such readings. One long and detailed letter written to his friend Edward Raven at St John’s College, Cambridge, dated 20 January 1551, diarizing his activities of the past three months, describes the landscape and living near Maastricht in terms that he thinks will be most meaningful, even amusing, to Raven: This day we rode to Gulic, called in Latin Juliacum of J[ulius] C[aesar], the founder. The country by the way may compare with Cambridgeshire for corn, with Busshoprick [Bishoprics] for soles [souls]. This know, there is no country here to be compared for all things with England. Beef is little, lean, tough, and dear, mutton likewise; a rare thing to see a hundred sheep in a flock. Capons be lean and little; pigeons naught; partridge as ill, black, and tough; corn enough everywhere, and most wheat. Here is never no dearth, except corn fail. The people generally be much like the old Persians that Xenophon describes, content to live with bread, roots, and water; and for this matter, ye shall see round about the walls of every city, half a mile compass from the walls, gardens full of herbs and roots, whereby the cities most part do live. No herb is stolen, such justice is exercised. These countries be rich by labour and continuance of man, not by goodness of the soil. If only London would use, about the void places of the city, these gardens full of herbs, and if it were but to serve the strangers that would live with these herbs.33

At this point, there had been no formal or informal English travel to Persia; Ascham’s knowledge of Persian landscapes and agriculture (like that of his readers) is entirely textual, and entirely derived from ancient sources such as Xenophon and Herodotus.34 And it evokes familiar topoi about the ancient Persians: their frugality and hard work, their admirable system of justice, their cultivation of gardens. But the in-joke about Cambridge makes the accessibility and proximity of this ancient Persian analogy even stronger. Ascham writes to his old friend Raven as if ancient Persia is as familiar to him as the countryside of Cambridgeshire, all the better to help describe the less familiar landscapes and economy of the Low Countries. But perhaps it is not so surprising, given that even travellers to Persia provided details of ancient as well as modern Persia side by side. For example, the French royal geographer Nicolas de Nicolay, whose travel and costume book was widely translated and gained a readership across Europe, would openly admit to consulting both ancient and modern geographers, and 33   The letter would have circulated locally in Cambridge, particularly at St John’s, but it is first printed in The Whole Workes of Roger Ascham: Life and Letters, vol. 1, edited by John Allen Giles (London: John Russell Smith, 1865), pp. 243–71 (pp. 250–1). 34   The English cloth merchant Robert Brancetour had, however, been sent to the Safavid court by Emperor Charles V in 1529, but was in bad odour back in England, and arrested upon his arrival. See Subrahmanyam, Three Ways to Be Alien, pp. 82–3.

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14  Jane Grogan described the cities of Safavid Persia accordingly.35 Indeed, into the seventeenth ­century, the debate over the provision of ancient or current names remained a live one, with many travellers and cartographers favouring the ancient names.36 One final example: consider the intrepid and scholarly Roman traveller Pietro Della Valle, who carried about with him on his Persian travels Filippo Ferrari’s Epitome Geographia (1605), a compendium of the ancient names for modern places—but who also took upon himself the task of learning local languages so as to record in his diary the contemporary Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Kurdish place names, transliterated into the Latin alphabet.37 Nonetheless, this interest in recording the modern vernacular names disappears upon his return, when Della Valle sets about revising his letters from Persia for publication. Now Ferrari’s text, and the ancient names, come into their own, and they ‘transform the seventeenth-century Middle East into a pre-Islamic cultural domain described from a Hellenistic and Christianized perspective’, as his modern editors put it.38 Armchair travellers have the luxury of time and space to bring as many books as they like along on their imaginative journeys, but it is all the more revealing to know what books actual travellers selected to carry about with them, books necessarily defined by their utility. But even then, the scholarly impulse to record and confirm the traces of the ancient near east remains strong enough to overgo even the most interested traveller’s eyewitness testimony of the time and place of his eastern travel. The ancient near east, in other words, was already so present in European culture, and so reassuringly familiar, that travel experiences could be described and imagined in its terms, whether or not the travel in question was east of Europe. Its relevance to such a modern formation as the Ottoman empire, or to such an exotic and unlikely event as a fake embassy to the Safavid shah of Persia, could always be relied upon. Finally, a strong appetite clearly existed for travel reports that confirmed the endurance of the ancient near east, and the persistence of its values, albeit in new forms.

Classical Reception Before the travellers, though, we have the humanists to thank for embedding the ancient near east so deeply in European culture. (That two of my examples above are 35   The nauigations, peregrinations, and voyages, made into Turkie, by Nicholas Nicholay, translated by Thomas Washington (London: Thomas Dawson, 1585), sigs. Q1, Q2. 36   Sonja Brentjes rightly describes the ‘slow transformation’ of the cartographic space of the near east, and identifies a time lag whereby written sources stayed with the ancient names longer than the cartographers. ‘Giacomo Gastaldi’s Maps of Anatolia: The Evolution of a Shared Venetian-Ottoman Cultural Space?’, in The Renaissance and the Ottoman World, pp. 123–41 (p. 141). 37   See the introduction to Sonja Brentjes and Volkmar Schueller’s edition of ‘Pietro Della Valle’s Latin Geography of Safavid Iran (1624–1628)’, Journal of Early Modern History 10:3 (2006): 169–219 (pp. 179–83). The Ferrari text was a gift from his friend Mario Schipano, to whom he addressed several letters from Persia during his time there. 38   Brentjes and Schueller, ‘Pietro Della Valle’s Latin Geography of Safavid Iran (1624–1628)’, p. 183.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  15 travel reports in humanist epistolary form suggests as much.) The ‘Republic of Letters’, with what we might now call its ‘frictionless borders’, clearly played a large role in the dissemination of information and commentary on the classical sources on the ancient near east. But so, too, did a host of popular compendia, epitomes, anthologies, often translated from other vernaculars, reworked and retold not in a top-down chain from the first scholarly editions of classical authors, but in a proliferating network of narratives and ideas across genres, traditions, and borders. Much less studied, these intermediate and accommodated forms deserve closer attention. In them, the fêted heroes of the ancient near east often appeared alongside rulers and rascals of more recent and local provenance, readying them for new kinds of redeployment. Consider, for example, William Painter’s The Pallace of Pleasure (1566), an anthology of classical and contemporary sources indebted to the Italian novelle tradition, and from which Shakespeare drew the materials for Timon of Athens (1623) and Romeo and Juliet (1597), among other works. So popular that it ran to a second volume and inspired its own imitators, Painter’s collection mingled classical and contemporary narratives with ease. And, tellingly, its classical world is a much wider one than Athens and Rome, bringing together ancient Sicilian tyrants, ancient (and fictional) Persian princesses, and sixteenth-century Italian rogues. Although Painter begins with the declared aim of translating solemn stories from Livy for the instruction of his dedicatee, Ambrose Dudley, earl of Warwick, the collection quickly looks to a host of other classical authorities for more or less scurrilous material before moving onto recent French, Italian, and Spanish sources of such material. Not that this stops Painter from claiming the highest of pedagogic and literary aims for his collection. A new ‘Preface to the Reader’ in the 1567 second ‘tome’ consists almost entirely of an itemized list of schematized moralizings of each narrative, ‘what pithe and substance, resteth vnder the contexts of their discourse’, concluding with the advertisement that ‘the conte[n]ts of these Nouels from degree of highest Emperor, from the state of greates Queene and Ladie, to the homely Cuntrie peasant and rudest village girle, may conduce profit for instruction, & pleasure for delight. They offer rules for auoiding of vice and imitation of virtue, to all estates.’39 Among Painter’s subjects are Xenophon’s Panthea, Plutarch’s letters to Emperor Trajan, Boccaccio’s Gismunda, and Matteo Bandello’s sultan Mahomet and the Greek captive Irene. This is only one example, but it stands for the rich and varied transnational tradition in which the histories, geographies, and heroes of the ancient near east were disseminated—what (in the English context) Stuart Gillespie nicely terms ‘the Elizabethan ocean of stories, that mackerel-crowded sea of translated, retold, recycled, summarised, excerpted tales that formed a pan-European storehouse for poets and dramatists’, with classical ‘histories’ of the ancient near east swimming freely among them.40  Painter, The Pallace of Pleasure (London: Henry Bynneman for Nicholas England, 1567), sigs. ***1, ***2.   Gillespie, ‘Shakespeare and Greek Romance: “Like an old tale still”’, in Shakespeare and the Classics, edited by Charles Martindale and A. B. Taylor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 225–37 (p. 229). 39

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16  Jane Grogan For all the cultural prestige of the humanist curriculum, classical history had a l­iveliness, currency, and flexibility that made it suitable for the most crowd-pleasing enterprises on the London public stage, the raciest Italian novelle, or the sharpest satirical barbs. With each reworking, with each familiar variation made anew, the heroes of classical antiquity gained in flexibility and entered new generic registers. Such mobility, and the sheer transnational reach of these ideas, is rarely captured by author-based reception studies. Another blind spot of classical reception studies that has become visible to us is the issue of mediation, commentary, or other forms of secondary reception within scholarly or humanist studies itself. We must look here, too, for evidence. A third obstacle for scholarship of early modern interest in the ancient near east is the sheer force of Latin tradition and Latin authority, which can both obscure and foreground the ancient near east, making it both unremarkable in itself and remarkable only for its illumination of the priorities of Latin authors or culture. This is the case with Cicero’s powerful endorsement of Xenophon’s version of the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great, as Noreen Humble’s chapter here argues. Or consider the range of ancient ethnicities and cultures represented in Plutarch’s Lives, but often plumbed by modern critics and scholars primarily for their illustration of Roman values or for their rearticulation in early modern terms, however diverse their background. Again, the dominance of Latin sources and scholarship, and the wider spread of Latin language skills in early modern Europe, has caused some underestimation of the influence of ancient Greek works, although this is slowly changing.41 In this collection, we offer a range of different approaches to classical reception, and see it as an opportunity to reappraise the field: not just its purview, but also its embedded geopolitics, its multiple mediations and layers, and the accretionary perspectives of authors such as Herodotus or Plutarch, how the trajectories and ­contexts of their own lives, and the long reception of their work, also shape their early modern reception. The volume describes quite different forms of classical reception in each of its three parts: intertextuality; travel and encounter; and reworkings of familiar figures and places in different registers (e.g. historiographical, polemical, or dramatic). It presents a range of approaches to the ancient near east, and its relevance, not just in fields of antiquarianism or humanism, but in newer and more topical genres such as travel reports (and experiences), historiography, new dramatic genres, contemporary religious polemic, imperial political philosophy, and nascent seventeenth-century salon culture. We seek a richer and more multidisciplinary understanding of the reception of individual authors, one that takes seriously the layers of history and politics that also intervene within even those traditional acts of reception—Shakespeare’s reading of Plutarch, say, or Boiardo’s reading of Herodotus—in a manner that is, as yet, relatively rare in scholarship of 41   One useful recent corrective is the special issue of the Classical Receptions Journal 9, no. 1 (2017) on ‘Homer and Greek Tragedy in Early Modern England’s Theatres’, edited by Tania Demetriou and Tanya Pollard.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  17 the European Renaissance. More importantly still, we hope it will give pause for reflection on the disproportionately Rome-centred geography of the ancient world usually considered in early modern studies, and help to establish the wider, more diverse classical world known to early modern Europeans.

Contemporary Eastern Interests That Europe’s past and present hinged eastwards (even as many of its imperial interests veered westwards) added to the appeal and perceived pertinence of the ancient near east during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Unlike Rome, now an enemy state for many northern Protestant nations and an uncertain ally for Catholic nations, and unlike Greece, so diminished from its former glory, the strengths and opportunities of the eastern Mediterranean were all too evident, especially now that so much of the impetus of trade, culture, and power now lay there. With the slow demise of Venetian hegemony in the eastern Mediterranean, European states raced to outdo one another in trade agreements and diplomacy, even as they continued to inveigh loudly against the Turkish threat.42 All of these factors made sources on, and encounters with, the ancient near east particularly compelling for Europeans. And as a culture, they were pathologically driven to seek parallels. At times the connections were clear and obvious. Consider, for example, a major European event such as the battle of Lepanto (1571), in which a Holy League of Catholic forces defeated an Ottoman navy off the coast of Greece. The battle of Lepanto would become a cornerstone of European Christian identity during the early modern period, celebrated across Europe in the visual arts as well as in a range of Latin and vernacular writings: giant paintings and frescoes of it still hang in prime positions in the Doge’s palace in Venice, for example, and in the Sala Regia (papal throne room) in the Vatican.43 But almost immediately, accounts of this Christian victory over the Muslim Ottomans told it through the lens of the battle of Actium, ‘the greatest sea battle of antiquity’.44 Parsed, too, through the Aeneid—the text that David Quint has influentially argued bifurcates the European epic and romance traditions, and shadows even epics of recent exploration such as the Os Lusíadas of Luís Vaz de Camões—this much-celebrated modern battle between the

42   Ottoman conquests of the islands of Malta, Rhodes, and its incursions as far west as Hungary during the first half of the sixteenth century had all of Europe on alert. 43   Vasari’s frescoes of Lepanto in the Sala Regia were completed in 1573; much of the commemorative art was commissioned soon after the battle, despite the victory being effectively overturned less than two years later when the Venetians agreed terms with the Ottomans. See also the excellent recent anthology of Latin poems from across Europe on the battle, The Battle of Lepanto, edited and translated by Elizabeth R. Wright, Sarah Spence, and Andrew Lemons (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2014). 44   As Michael Murrin writes, ‘The writers on Lepanto were almost forced to compare it to Actium, the greatest sea battle of antiquity, for the two conflicts took place in almost the same location.’ Murrin, History and Warfare in Renaissance Epic (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994), p. 143.

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18  Jane Grogan forces of Christianity and Islam was marked by ancient divisions of east and west even as it unfolded.45 Be that as it may, European interest in the Ottomans, and to a lesser extent in the Safavids, made sources old and new on the near east topical and popular, even in the most contemporary news reports. Abraham Hartwell, translating Giovanni-Tommaso Minadoi’s lengthy account of the sixteenth-century hostilities between the Ottomans and Safavid Persia, delays publication of this topical translation so as to include ‘certain aduertisementes and collections, aswell out of the old auncient writers both sacred and prophane, that haue written of the most stately & magnificent Empire of the Medes and Persians in times past’.46 Hurried on by the recent acceleration of Ottoman-Persian hostilities, Minadoi eventually publishes his translation in 1595, ‘[f]or . . . wee see . . . the power of the Turkes growe so huge and infinite, and their enemies so diuided and weakened, that vnlesse God come downe as it were out of an Engine, to protect the Gospell of his Sonne Iesus Christ, and the Professors thereof, I feare greatly that the halfe Moone which now ruleth & raigneth almost ouer all the East, wil grow to the full, and breede such an Inundation as will utterly drowne al Christendome in the West’.47 Such admiration of the ‘most stately & magnificent’ ancient Persian empire endured in early modern Europe, and created a strong bedrock of European favour for Safavid Persia, particularly as a foil to the loud invective of the Ottoman empire, when, especially in the first half of the sixteenth century, Ottoman military campaigns at the borders of Europe and in the eastern Mediterranean were enjoying success. Not all parallels and genealogies were as cooperative as Lepanto and Actium, however. Fifteenth-century Italian humanists unsettled by Ottoman military and political successes worked hard to pin down an ethnography of the Ottomans that placed their origins in Troy or Scythia or some other part of the ancient near eastern world already known to them, as Margaret Meserve has shown.48 In so doing, they tried ‘to attribute to the Turks the longest possible history of violent, anti-Christian behavior’ to instead demean Ottoman’ political success with attributions of barbarism and illegitimacy, she  argues.49 What leading humanists like Francesco Filelfo and Theodore Gaza ultimately produced were more ‘highly polemical’ than historically accurate versions of Islamic history in which the history of the ancient near east was recast to serve current political purposes, whether in support of a new crusade against the Turks or not.50 But the revealing point is that such ancient near eastern origins were sought by scholars, 45   Quint describes the eastern Cleopatra and orientalized Mark Antony defeated by the western figure of Octavian (later Augustus) Caesar. Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Vergil to Milton (Ithaca, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), chapter 1. 46   Historia della Guerra fra Turchi, et Persiana (1588), translated by Hartwell as The History of the Warres between the Turkes and the Persians (London: John Windet for John Wolfe, 1595). 47   The historie of the warres, sig. A3v–A4. Several of Hartwell’s translations were motivated by his work as secretary to Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, and Whitgift’s interest in religious politics at the fringes of Europe. 48  Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2008). 49 50  Meserve, Empires of Islam, p. 116.  Meserve, Empires of Islam, p. 239.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  19 whether successfully or not, precisely to serve contemporary political purposes. On the other hand, it is clear from Ogier de Busbecq that Constantinople offered the discerning scholar enormous classical riches: he reports sending home ‘whole wagonloads, whole shiploads, of Greek manuscripts’, including obscure works of Jewish as well as Greek origins otherwise inaccessible to him.51 There is still some small truth to the old Burckhardtian story of the emergence of the European Renaissance from the riches of Venice (cultural and commercial), and the Byzantine origins of the classical works that emerged from its presses following a migration of scholars westward following the fall of Constantinople to the Turks.52 That Venetian (and European) relations with the Ottomans after that cut both ways, and involved significant exchange of goods, ideas, arts, and artists in both directions, is much more clearly understood today; but the significance of the ancient near east within that traffic remains to be fully explored.

Barbarians One aspect of the ancient near east that has long been a part of scholarly assumptions, often quite unreflectively, is the notion of the barbarian, always clearly identified with ancient eastern origins.53 In many ways, that has been the dominant image of the ancient near east in scholarship of the early modern period, less studied than assumed, and usually read as a polemical or symbolic figure in some larger ideology; deployment of the trope in European colonial writings of the New World, or in English accounts of early modern Ireland, are two prominent examples. As the Greek rendering of ethnic difference dating from the period of Persian military threat to mainland Greece, its function of Othering has been most emphasized; less so its continuing effect of flattening diversity into a single register of oppositional difference, a trap into which scholars of the early modern period have sometimes fallen.54 To consider Shakespeare’s Cleopatra or Tamora simply as ‘barbarian’ figures is to lose sight of the 51   Ogier Ghislen de Busbecq, Turkish Letters, translated by Edward Seymour Forster, introduced by Philip Mansel (London: Eland, 2001), p. 163. 52  Samuel Daniel’s Defence of Ryme gives an early modern understanding of this: ‘Him [Manuel Chrysolaras] followed Bessarion, George Trapezantius, Theodore Gaza, & others, transporting Philosophie beaten by the Turke out of Greece into christendome. Hereupon came that mightie confluence of Learning in these parts, which returning, as it were per postliminium, and heere meeting then with the new inuented stampe of Printing, spread it selfe indeed in a more vniuersall sorte then the world euer heeretofore had it.’ In A Panegyrike Congratulatory . . . also certaine epistles, with a defence of ryme . . . (London: for Edward Blount, 1603), sigs. G2v–G3. 53   Classicists have been moving beyond the narrative of the Persian origins of this figure, and Greek anti-barbarian bias, in recent years, but those debates have yet to permeate other disciplines. See, for example, Joseph  E.  Skinner, The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), and Erich Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Princeton and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011). 54   That work was done for classical Greece in Edith Hall’s pioneering monograph Inventing the Barbarian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). See also Greeks and Barbarians, edited by Thomas Harrison (New York, NY: Routledge, 2002).

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20  Jane Grogan wealth of historical and contextual detail early modern audiences and readers would have used to understand those characters as Egyptian and Massagetae heroines respectively. On the other hand, to view Caliban only as a primitive ‘barbarian’—when the word, and its cognates, are never used in The Tempest—is to co-opt him to a tendentious category of New World significance even though, as Jerry Brotton has shown, the play definitively situates its action in the Mediterranean, between Europe and North Africa.55 Shakespeare’s capitulation to straightforward models of an ‘ancient dualism’ of civil ‘Self ’ and barbarous ‘Other’ is far from self-evident, I would suggest, although most of the critical scholarship takes those categories as read here and elsewhere.56 By returning to the Herodotean ethnographies of the ancient near east—and not just the Hartogian interpretations of them—we find much more interplay and complexity between those categories of ‘civil’ and ‘barbarian’, even if we still insist in looking in those terms.57 Viewed the other way, what would we lose by abandoning the term ‘barbarian’ as a tool of critical discourse, however much it lights the way towards ‘Othered’ peoples in early modern colonial texts, for example? Also less visible has been the contextual nuance with which the word could be deployed by early moderns, how ambiguous it could be (as Galena Hashhozheva’s chapter here shows)—and how easily and quickly the term could be ‘read’ in certain contexts by educated early modern readers as an empty polemical tactic. Samuel Daniel makes this clear in arguing that a new English poetics need not be ‘built by the square of Greece and Italie’: ‘The Grecians held all other nations barbarous but themselues’, he notes, ‘yet Pirrhus when he saw the well ordred marching of the Romanes, which made them see their presumptuous errour, could say it was no barbarous maner of proceeding. The Gothes, Vandales and Longobards, whose comming downe like an  inundation ouerwhelmed, as they say, al the glory of learning in Europe, haue yet left vs still their lawes and customes, as the originalls of most of the prouinciall constitutions of Christendome; which well considered with their other courses of gouernement, may serue to cleere them from this imputation of ignorance.’58 Daniel is in good company in seeking to formulate a new, not necessarily classicized English poetics but finds himself confronting the contradictory examples of other supposedly ‘barbarous’ nations where poetry is already long-established and culturally prestigious—Ireland ‘where truly learning goeth very bare’ and Turkey are two 55   ‘ “This Tunis, sir, was Carthage”: Contesting Colonialism in The Tempest’, in Postcolonial Shakespeare, edited by Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin (London: Routledge, 1998), pp. 23–42. 56   John Gillies, Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 7. 57   I refer to François Hartog’s highly influential Le Miroir d’Hérodote, translated by Janet Lloyd, The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988). 58  In A Panegyrike Congratulatorie, sig. G1. Daniel also helpfully spells out that ‘[w]e must not thinke, but that there were Scipioes, Cæsars, Catoes and Pompeies, born elsewhere then at Rome, the rest of the world hath euer had them in the same degree of nature, though not of state. And it is our weakenesse that makes vs mistake, or misconceiue in these delineations of men the true figure of their worth’ (sig. G4v).

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  21 prominent examples cited by Philip Sidney.59 It is not simply that the term ‘barbarous’ and its cognates are recognized as self-serving or misguided polemical labels; it is that early modern authors often make fine social, ethnographic, moral, and, ultimately, political distinctions between nations or peoples their texts still call ‘barbarous’. Let the scholar beware. One of the best-known barbarian peoples of the ancient near east (albeit at the ­farthest edges) must be the Amazons. Travellers frequently reported encountering Amazon-like peoples. Fynes Morison, visiting Georgia, declared the men to be ‘a warlike Nation, inhabiting Media, and the Caspian Mountaines’, and the women to be ‘warlike, like the Amazons, and carrying bowes, [and] shew valour both in countenance and behauiour’.60 Although they have something in common with Sir  John Mandeville’s woolly chickens and blemmyae (the latter ultimately derived from Pliny)—notorious but never corroborated—so culturally mobile and useful were the ancient accounts of Amazons that they continued to be explored in fictional as well as factual texts, and used on occasion as vehicles for examining utopian alternatives outside the global imperial regime. In John Fletcher’s play The Sea Voyage (1622), for example, a group of shipwrecked Portuguese women turn Amazon on a deserted island somewhere in the New World, in order to survive. Their self-sufficient Amazonian community, temporary though it proves to be, saves them from the fatal gold-lust of several waves of male counterparts on the same island; it is no accident that one of Fletcher’s sources is an English romance set in the eastern Mediterranean featuring an Amazonian tribe on the Black Sea.61 Once again, the revival of notions of the ancient near eastern barbarian gained impetus from more recent events and contexts, detail from a host of familiar classical sources, and elaboration or depth to that detail through intermediary or secondary sources and reworkings.62 Rooted in the ancient near east, perhaps, but portable, the early modern understanding of the barbarian is more nuanced and multifaceted than current scholarship allows. This volume is divided into three parts. ‘Routes of Reception’ looks to the sources of knowledge about the ancient near east, and retraces some of their transnational and  transcultural journeys across Europe. Noreen Humble follows the fortunes of Xenophon, specifically his account of Cyrus the Great and the values of ancient Persia, through the classrooms of Europe. Influentially endorsed by Cicero, Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus fared well in Greek, Latin, and in vernacular translation, despite the persistent conflation of Cyrus the Great in the first and Cyrus the Younger in the latter. Through a meticulous case study of Cicero’s Xenophon, Humble shows   An Apology for Poetry, p. 97.  Morison, An Itinerary (London: John Beale, 1617), sig. V2v (p. 232). 61   William Warner, Pan his Syrinx (London: Thomas Purfoot, 1584). 62   See also Meserve’s Empires of Islam on humanist responses to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople through their varied scholarly attempts to retro-engineer a barbarian classical history for the Turks, whether by Scythia or Troy. 59

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22  Jane Grogan how ideas about the ancient near east could be strongly mediated and shaped firstly by early schoolroom encounters with the humanist curriculum, but especially by Latin tradition, even as key source texts such as Xenophon’s were becoming more widely available. Across Europe and even across confessional divides, Humble demonstrates, scholars looked to Cicero’s comments on Xenophon’s Cyrus, and thence to Cyrus’s Persia, with no less interest and care than had Cicero’s subject been Rome. Dennis Looney brings us to fifteenth-century Ferrara, a major Italian centre of Greek learning, and the case of one particularly assiduous reader and commentator on the other main classical source about ancient Persia, Herodotus’s Histories. Far from focussing entirely on scholarly questions of history or philology, Looney shows how strongly Italian readings of Herodotus were shaded by concerns about the much more recent history of the Ottomans: principally the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, but inflected with very topical local concerns about the politics of the Estes’ Ferrara. Nor does his case study, Zoanne Pencaro, limit the relevance of Herodotus to the old world of the ancient near east; some of his comments also look west to Spanish colonization in Peru. As Looney writes, ‘In reading about Scythians, Egyptians, Massagetes, not to mention Greeks and Persians, Pencaro has occasion to comment on the Milanese, French, Turks, and Cesare Borgia, as well as to reflect deeply on links between ancient figures and any number of characters from the Ferrara and Italy of his day, first among them Ercole d’Este.’63 Galena Hashhozheva looks to the uses of the well-travelled ideas of Scythia in one attempt to justify colonial oppression at the very western borders of Europe. She revisits Tudor poet Edmund Spenser’s notorious dialogue-treatise A View of the Present State of Ireland (1633), which imputes Scythian heritage to the ‘incivil’ or ‘barbarian’ native Irish as a justification for a brutal policy of expropriation and extermination. Spenser links Irish intransigence to the ancient ‘barbarian’ Scythians, but the connection does not quite succeed, Hashhozheva argues. She shows how his larger argument instead founders on the ambiguity around the value of custom found in A View, an ambiguity nourished by his readings of Scythians in Herodotus and Lucian. In other words, Spenser’s ‘barbarian’ Irish are less easily impugned when considered alongside the classical sources available to Spenser about Scythia. Su Fang Ng tackles a set of well-known eastern tales that became staples of the highly transnational European romance tradition by way of Heliodorus and the Indian fables of Bidpai, and their interpretation by the influential transnational literary critic Pierre-Daniel Huet—a genre for which seventeenth-century critics posited an ancient near eastern source. Ng challenges critics today to be more alert to the wider classical world engaged by early modern readers, and points to alternatives to the dominant, orientalist interpretation of these tales already embedded in early modern treatments, translations, and responses to them. The transnational circulation in networks, rather than direct, apparently unproblematic lineage of the translatio studii,   See Looney in this volume, p. 58.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  23 comes into view more clearly in her study. For Ng, however, the complex heredity of European romance in such networks ultimately proves unequal to the march of Enlightenment orientalism, with significant implications for the literary genealogy of the novel as well as romance. The next part, ‘Materials and Traces’ looks to the physical and archaeological remains of the cultures of the ancient near east, and how early modern Europeans sought them out, made sense of them, and tried to forge connections with the cultures and histories to which they attested. Travel, antiquarianism, and pilgrimage loom large as key modes of engagement with the ancient near east in this section, engagements that certainly relied on textual corroboration but that claimed to privilege the direct encounter with the material traces of the past. And yet, what becomes clear is quite how textually bound these early travellers remained, how difficult it was for them to leave behind the ancient near east they had first encountered in books. The first chapter presents European travellers in search of the secular, classical past; the latter two follow European travellers to the spaces of sacred geography in the Holy Land and the Levant. Ladan Niayesh explores the ‘collective, heavily intertextual memories’ that English travellers brought with them in visiting the famous Persian city of Darius and Xerxes, eventually burned down by Alexander the Great: Persepolis. For her travellers—several of whom may not, in fact, have been in Persepolis as they claim—text overwhelms experience. The deep-rooted desire to visit Persepolis across all sectors of society, and the weight of cultural expectations these traders, self-styled preachers, and gentleman tourists bring to it, lead to confused, often fanciful descriptions of this landmark site, phenomena she describes as Deleuzian and Guattarian ‘ritournelle[s]’.64 An English orientalist scholar in Asia Minor is the focus of Thomas Roebuck’s chapter. The journey of Thomas Smith, sometime chaplain to the English ambassador in Constantinople, to seek out the Seven Churches of Asia tips the balance in favour of experience rather than textual memories of the sort Niayesh describes, but encounters challenge in the scholarly domain precisely because of this emphasis. Smith’s important account of the remains of early Christianity remained an authority and travel companion well into the eighteenth century, but it emerges from intricately textualized layers of experience into a competitive culture of Levantine scholarship. And Smith’s antiquarianism was irresistibly shaped by contemporary political and religious concerns, Roebuck argues: Smith’s interest in the ‘interpretive traditions that had grown up around these ruins’, especially of the history of Greek Christian worship at the sites, allowed him to intimate affinities between the early Church and English Anglicanism, and to intervene in contemporary debates about ecclesiastical structures as well as to warn against the divisions still engulfing the English Church.65 While Smith’s Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia (1672–1716) sought to be a Protestant pilgrimage treatise of sorts, Catholic pilgrims and pilgrimage treatises are   See Niayesh in this volume, p. 115.

64

  See Roebuck in this volume, p. 144.

65

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24  Jane Grogan the focus of Megan Armstrong’s chapter. Here, too, we see the sites of early Christianity as a cross-confessional battleground, with earlier generations of post-Reformation Catholic travellers just as keen to affirm continuities with the beliefs and structures of the Catholic church as Smith was later in the seventeenth century. The authors of the Catholic pilgrimage treatises Armstrong studies were united in their emphasis on the transformative experience of pilgrimage to the places where Christ had lived, places richly imbued with Catholic traditions and rituals the authority of which were emphasized by their sacred setting. Armstrong emphasizes the enduring focus on spiritual journeying and the Catholic tradition itself, even as these treatises display more interest in the local and geographical details of sites of the apostolic past than their medieval predecessors.66 And yet these travellers encountered such early Christian sites in Islamic lands, the Christian confessional divisions surely chastened by early modern Islamic tolerance of Christian pilgrims and visitors. Whether in pursuit of orientalist scholarship or spiritual experience, travellers to the near east felt its antiquity powerfully. If, as Jonathan Gil Harris has shown, the traveller’s very body as well as ideas are transformed in their travels, these bodily encounters with the relics and ruins of the ancient near east must have strengthened its sense of proximity and relevance to European endeavours, whether commercial, intellectual, spiritual, or political.67 From the material traces of the ancient sacred and secular past, we move next to the textual sources. Travel was not possible for everyone, of course, but a rich cultural imaginary of the ancient near east was. Part III, ‘Refiguring Sources’, takes a range of approaches to the textual sources, and studies how they were refigured and redeployed in gallery books, historiography, and particularly in drama. But it begins with Babylon, ‘a city of the imagination’ even for those travellers who did make their way there.68 Deirdre Serjeantson examines the multiple valencies of Babylon, ‘a complex symbol which could be drawn on by artists and thinkers engaged in very disparate areas of thought’. By studying the enduring appeal of Babylon in the diverse works of that truly transnational English writer Richard Verstegan, Serjeantson identifies how Babylon allowed the early moderns to think through antiquarian questions about the origins of language, political questions about the nature (and proximity) of tyranny, as well as fuelling theological and confessional dispute about heresy. Yet ultimately, she argues, early modern engagements with Babylon were ‘part of a broader humanist enquiry into the nature of a good society’.69 Derval Conroy traces the prevalence of ancient near eastern queens in the ‘politicomoral imaginary’ of early modern France, and how their appearance in gallery books and drama of the period ‘unpick[s] a code of gendered [sovereign] virtue’.70 In Jacques 66  See also Zur Shalev, Sacred Words and Worlds: Geography, Religion, and Scholarship, 1550–1700 (Leiden: Brill, 2012). 67  See The First Firangis (New Delhi: Aleph Books, 2015). 68 69   See Serjeantson in this volume, p. 192.   Serjeantson, p. 210. 70   See Conroy in this volume, p. 212.

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Introduction: Beyond Greece and Rome  25 Du Bosc’s Femme héroïque (1645) and Pierre Le Moyne’s hugely popular Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647), as well as numerous plays from the period, we meet striking figures such as the avenging Tomyris, infamous enemy of Persian Cyrus the Great, Artemisia, queen of Caria (frequently an amalgam of Artemisia I and II), or Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, whose military prowess is presented as an androgynous virtue by some of the gallery books. Now reread ‘through the prism’ of contemporary female rulers like Anne of Austria, their political agency and successful sovereignty are presented as exemplary. Conroy investigates the complex dynamics of gender and sovereignty, finding these ancient near eastern queens variously modelled as vital ‘civil’ eastern classical exemplars for seventeenth-century noble and royal women. Jennifer Sarha examines historiographical retellings of two notorious Assyrian ­rulers, Semiramis and Sardanapalus, focussing on the shifting gender dynamics of early modern responses to show how acts of classical reception can produce or invite reformulation of textual sources. Whether in chronicle history or the new historiography, early modern retellings of the stories of Semiramis and Sardanapalus tend to embellish on the classical sources, reimagining female rule and effeminate rule, and situating these within the exemplary function of early modern historiography. My own chapter looks to the global figure of Alexander the Great, and the more sceptical conceptualizations of him in of the newer genres of early modern English drama. I contend that stage explorations of Alexander, often a vehicle for early modern imperial aspirations, also expose the anti-imperial undercurrents from both classical and medieval sources. A recurring obsession with Alexander’s corpse and its fate, and a dramaturgical instinct to contain this material, structurally, indicate early modern discomfort with the fast-moving imperial impetus and its models deep in the ancient near east. We stay with the early modern English stage but return to ancient Persia for Edith Hall’s study of two plays centred on the notorious ruler Cambyses II: one from the 1560s, but which remained in the imaginary of the Elizabethan stage long after, the second a Restoration drama, a more entertaining, but also more politically delicate affair. Preston and Settle’s treatments of Cambyses different significantly in genre, structure, subject, tone, and politics, but each proved alert to the political implications of the Herodotean account of a bad king in their own moment. The politically enabling material of Herodotus’s Histories was certainly theatrically enabling—but its political perils were also very clear to both Preston and Settle, Hall shows, with both conspicuously omitting the Herodotean commentary on succession (and by early modern implication, the divine right of kings). Taken together, the chapters in this volume make a case for the significance, diversity, and powerful appeal of the ancient near east for early modern Europe, and its well-established place in the European cultural, political, and historical imaginary. Modern scholarship has some catching up to do.

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PA RT I

Routes of Reception

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1 The Well-Thumbed Attic Muse Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon’s Persia in the Early Modern Period Noreen Humble

Knowledge about Persia in the early modern period which is informed by the oeuvre of the ancient Athenian author Xenophon (c.430–350 bce) stems primarily from two very different works. First, and more important, is his Cyropaedia, a lengthy eight-book exploration of monarchical rule using—loosely—the life of the founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Elder (c.590–530 bce), as its structure and an exemplar. Second, and only less important in this context because its content is not in the main about Persia, is his Oeconomicus, a short Socratic dialogue about estate management which contains a memorable conversation between the Spartan commander Lysander and the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger about Persian skill in husbandry. That these two works were popular and influential in their own ways from the fifteenth century onwards is generally acknowledged: the Cyropaedia particularly, though not exclusively, as an early example of a ‘mirror-for-princes’,1 the Oeconomicus primarily as a household manual.2 These broad receptive strands do not depend on some or all of the subject matter being Persian, but the Persian images within these works of Xenophon do penetrate the prevailing discourse in different ways once they start circulating. Persia also plays a role in other works of Xenophon,3 but it is the Cyropaedia and 1   See Noreen Humble, ‘Xenophon and the Instruction of Princes’, in The Cambridge Companion to Xenophon, edited by Michael A. Flower (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 416–34; and Noreen Humble, ‘Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Fictionalities and Receptions’, in Aux marges du roman antique: études sur la réception des ‘fringe novels’, edited by C. Jouanno and B. Pouderon (Paris: Beauchesne Éditeur, 2018), pp. 105–30. For the English reception of the work see Jane Grogan, ‘ “Many Cyruses”: Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and English Renaissance Humanism’, Hermathena 183 (2007): 63–74 and The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014), chapter 1 especially. 2   E.g. see Lorna Hutson, The Usurer’s Daughter: Male Friendship and Fictions of Women in SixteenthCentury England (London: Routledge, 1994). 3   Notably, e.g., in his Anabasis, a work which recounts his two years (401–399 bce) as a mercenary, first in the entourage of Cyrus the Younger and then in command of the Greek mercenaries as they make their way out of Persian territory after the death of Cyrus.

Noreen Humble, The Well-Thumbed Attic Muse: Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon’s Persia in the Early Modern Period In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0002

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30  Noreen Humble Oeconomicus in particular which also caught the eye of the Roman orator Cicero (106–43 bce), and it is the centrality of Cicero to the early modern reception of Xenophon’s vision of Persia which is the focus of this chapter. Broadly speaking, before the revival of Greek learning in the West the main outlines of the life of Cyrus the Elder and the history of the Persian Empire itself were known primarily from Justin’s Epitome of Pompeius Trogus (c. fourth century ce) and Orosius’ Historiarum adversus paganos libri septem (Seven Books of Histories against the Pagans), a Christian take on world history, commissioned by Augustine and completed in 418 ce, which itself drew on Justin.4 The ultimate source for both these authors was Herodotus’ Histories which, like Xenophon’s works, only became available in the West in the fifteenth century. In this tradition, the Persians’ leaders are generally despotic and cruel, but in the case of Cyrus the Elder in particular the image did not sit easily with the portrait of the same Cyrus in biblical texts where, upon his capture of Babylon, he is lauded for having restored the Jews, and allowed them to rebuild their temple.5 The rediscovery of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, with its much more positive portrait of Cyrus as a paradigmatic ruler, muddied the waters: Cyrus could now be held up as a model to follow via Xenophon’s portrait or as a model to avoid via Herodotus’ portrait; and Persia—whether associated with the contemporary Safavids or not—could be appropriated more broadly as a model both by pro-imperialists and by anti-imperialists.6 Xenophon’s positive picture of Cyrus meshed much better, too, with the biblical Cyrus. There is, however, another factor at play at the micro level in the history of the reception of these two works of Xenophon, and though it has not gone unnoticed, its im­port­ ance and influence have not been adequately understood. One of the key factors which in general governed the initial reception, and order of translation, of Greek works in the Quattrocento was the amount of advance press provided in already known Latin works. For example, in the case of the ancient Greek biographer and essayist Plutarch (c.45–120 ce), one of the earliest of his works to be translated into Latin was his essay On the Control of Anger, which was known from a reference in Aulus Gellius (a secondcentury ce Roman miscellanist). There Plutarch is described as ‘a man of great learning and wisdom’ who had written an ‘excellent treatise’ on anger (Attic Nights 1.26.7). The reputation of the early Greek lyric poet Pindar also came to the humanists through Latin sources: in particular the late Republican-era poet Horace (who imitated Pindar in Odes 4.2), and the first-century ce Roman rhetorician Quintilian (10.1.61), who 4   Specifically Book 2.6–11, with 2.6–7 covering the reign of Cyrus. See G. Zecchini, ‘Latin Historiography: Jerome, Orosius, and the Western Chronicles’, in Greek and Roman Historiography in Late Antiquity, edited by Gabriele Marasco (Leiden: Brill, 2003), pp. 317–45. Also see the introduction and specific notes in Orosius, Seven Books of History against the Pagans, trans. with an intro and notes by A. T. Fear (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010). On the images of Cyrus which dominate before the rediscovery of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia see H.  Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ‘Cyrus in Italy: From Dante to Machiavelli’, in Achaemenid History 5: The Roots of the European Tradition, edited by H.  Sancisi-Weerdenburg and H. J. W. Drijvers (Leiden: NINO, 1990), pp. 31–52 (pp. 33–5). 5   Prophesied in Isaiah (44.28–45) and fulfilled in Chronicles (36.22–3) and Ezra (1.1–8, 3.7). 6   See Grogan, Persian Empire, chapter 1.

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  31 placed him as the first of the canonical nine Greek lyric poets.7 But advance notice in respected Latin authors did more than simply influence what Greek works would attract early attention: their Roman admirers acted as intermediaries through whom these newly accessible texts were read. Thus, for example, the Pindaric technique of Pierre de Ronsard’s (1524–85) French poetry was not only influenced by but developed through his early work imitating Horace.8 Xenophon likewise received favourable advance press, from no less authoritative a figure for the humanists than Cicero. Further, Cicero’s remarks on both the Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus appeared in works that were staple items on humanist school curricula and were thus read early on and repeatedly. Not only, therefore, did Cicero’s opinion of both these works promote early interest in them, but it can be shown that familiarity with his opinions through these works being taught at school dictated how Xenophon’s works were read and even what details were picked up and widely dispersed.

Cicero on Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus Cicero did not himself write directly about Persia but he was very interested in Xenophon, and references to the Cyropaedia and the Oeconomicus are scattered across the Ciceronian corpus. The examples below vary in nature and length, and show Cicero (a) recommending both texts for their utility, and (b) translating (both loosely and directly) passages from both works in order to use material contained therein for his own purposes. The examples which follow are not exhaustive but are the most important for illustrating how central Cicero’s assessment and rendering of these works were to the way in which this material was received and appropriated in the early modern period.9

Cicero’s Recommendations Key remarks about Cicero’s view of the purpose and utility of the Cyropaedia appear in two letters. First, to his brother, Quintus, he remarks (Q. fr.1.1.23):10 7  Ralph Hexter, ‘Aldus, Greek, and the Shape of the “Classical Corpus”’, in Aldus Manutius and Renaissance Culture: Essays in Memory of Franklin D. Murphy, edited by D. S. Zeidberg (Florence: Olschki, 1998), pp. 143–60 (p. 149). 8   Isidore Silver, Ronsard and the Hellenic Renaissance in France (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1981), vol. 2.1, pp. 245–6. 9   The Latin text is provided either when it is crucial for the ensuing argument or when it is not readily accessible. So, for example, I have not provided either the Latin text or the bibliographical details for ma­ter­ ial which can be found in the following article: David Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, in Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum, edited by V. Brown, P. O. Kristeller, and F. E. Crantz (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1992), vol. 7, pp. 75–196. All translations are my own unless otherwise noted. 10   Q. fr. 1.1.23: ‘Cyrus ille a Xenophonte non ad historiae fidem scriptus sed ad effigiem iusti imperi, cuius summa gravitas ab illo philosopho cum singulari comitate coniungitur. quos quidem libros non sine causa noster ille Africanus de manibus ponere non solebat. nullum est enim praetermissum in iis officium diligentis et moderati imperi; eaque si sic coluit ille qui privatus futurus numquam fuit, quonam modo

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32  Noreen Humble Such is that famous Cyrus, described by Xenophon, not according to historical truth, but as a representation of just rule (non ad historiae fidem scriptus sed ad effigiem iusti imperi). By that philosopher there were united in Cyrus the greatest dignity and a remarkable courtesy. Indeed, not without reason was our renowned Africanus accustomed to keep those books in his hands. For in them no duty of a diligent and moderate ruler is passed over. And if that person, who was destined never to be a private individual, so cultivated these things, in what way do you think ought they to be practised by those to whom authority has been so given that they must give it back, and given by those laws to which they must return?

Secondly, in a letter to his friend Paetus, Cicero states that he, too, frequently read the work and put its teachings into practice (Fam. 9.25.1):11 ‘The Cyropaedia, which I had worn out by reading, I have thoroughly exemplified during my command.’ As these comments show, Cicero regarded the Cyropaedia as a type of manual on how to rule. He was also very clear about the fact that he did not regard it as an accurate historical account of Cyrus’ rule but as presenting a paradigm of successful leadership which was well worth imitating. Concerning the Oeconomicus Cicero is equally admiring of its utility, and comments on the lessons to be learnt profitably from it in one of his own philosophical treatises, De officiis (On Duties), a work written in the last year of his life (44 bce) and addressed to his son (Off. 2.87):12 However, property ought to be sought by those things, from which dishonour is absent, but to be preserved by diligence and thrift (diligentia et parsimonia), and to be increased also by these same things. These principles the Socratic Xenophon has set forth most conveniently in his book entitled Oeconomicus, which we, when we were about the very age which you are now, translated from the Greek into Latin.

This short passage is packed with points which will be exploited by the humanists. Not only does Cicero signal his approval of the work, but he also provides a convenient summary of what he regards as the key theme of this work—the preservation and increase of property through the honourable means of diligence and thrift—and further highlights the value he placed upon it by remarking that he himself had translated it into Latin.

Passages Translated and/or Appropriated by Cicero In the dialogue De senectute (On Old Age) Cicero draws on specific passages from both the Cyropaedia and the Oeconomicus. The main interlocutor in this work is the retinenda sunt iis quibus imperium ita datum est ut redderent et ab iis legibus datum est ad quas revertendum est?’ A follow-up reference is made to Quintus’ knowledge of Xenophon’s Cyrus in the second letter (cf. Q. fr. 1.2.7).   Fam. 9.25.1: ‘Παιδείαν Κύρου, quam contrieram legendo, totam in hoc imperio explicavi.’   Off. 2.87: ‘Res autem familiaris quaeri debet iis rebus, a quibus abest turpitudo, conservari autem diligentia et parsimonia, eisdem etiam rebus augeri. Has res commodissime Xenophon Socraticus persecutus est in eo libro, qui Oeconomicus inscribitur, quem nos, ista fere aetate cum essemus, qua es tu nunc, e Graeco in Latinum convertimus.’ 11 12

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  33 Roman statesman Cato the Elder and the pertinent material in each case is placed in his mouth. In the first, Cato, talking about how diminishment of strength in old age is more often a result of dissipation than actual old age, says (Sen. 30; cf. Cyr. 8.7.6): ‘For example, Cyrus, in Xenophon, in that discourse he gave when he was very old and dying, says that he had never felt that in his own old age he was more feeble than he had been as a youth.’ After a few more examples he ruefully remarks (Sen. 32): ‘I am in my eighty-fourth year and would that I could brag in the same way as Cyrus.’ The second passage is much lengthier, and in fact is a paraphrase of a portion of the deathbed speech which Xenophon gives to Cyrus. The context is not about the vigour of old age, as might have been expected from the earlier remarks, but is concerned with the potential survival of the soul after the body perishes (Sen. 79–81; cf. Cyr. 8.7.17–22). There is little that is specifically Persian in the material Cicero has chosen to extract here from the Cyropaedia; Persian matters are not particularly relevant to the topic of the dialogue. The Cyrus of the Cyropaedia—in sharp contrast to the Cyrus in Herodotus, who dies brutally in war long before old age—just happens to provide a good example of a life well lived and a happy old age. In this same Ciceronian dialogue can be found a paraphrase of a portion of Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, the content of which, this time, is specifically Persian. It is a conversation between Cyrus the Younger (c.423–401 bce) and the Spartan commander Lysander (d. 395 bce) about Persian gardens. The passage is again placed in  the mouth of Cato, who prefaces it by exhorting his young audience to study Xenophon’s writings with care (echoing Cicero’s direct endorsement above) (Sen. 59; cf. X. Oec. 4.20–5):13 Xenophon’s books are useful in many areas. Read them, please, carefully, as in fact you are doing. How elaborately does he praise agriculture in that book entitled Oeconomicus, which deals with the care of household affairs! And to make you understand that nothing appears more suitable to a king than the pursuit of farming, Socrates, speaking in that book with Critobulus, relates that Cyrus the Younger, prince of the Persians (Cyrum minorem, Persarum regem), outstanding intellectually and through the glory of his rule (praestantem ingenio atque imperi gloria), when Lysander the Spartan, a man of the highest moral qualities, had come to him in Sardis and brought him gifts from his allies, was affable and kind towards Lysander in 13   Sen. 59: ‘Multas ad res perutiles Xenophontis libri sunt, quos legite, quaeso, studiose, ut facitis. Quam copiose ab eo agri cultura laudatur in eo libro, qui est de tuenda re familiari, qui Oeconomicus inscribitur! Atque ut intellegatis nihil ei tam regale videri quam studium agri colendi, Socrates in eo libro loquitur cum Critobulo Cyrum minorem, Persarum regem, praestantem ingenio atque imperi gloria, cum Lysander Lacedaemonius, vir summae virtutis, venisset ad eum Sardis eique dona a sociis attulisset, et ceteris in rebus communem erga Lysandrum atque humanum fuisse et ei quendam consaeptum agrum diligenter consitum ostendisse. Cum autem admiraretur Lysander et proceritates arborum et directos in quincuncem ordines et humum subactam atque puram et suavitatem odorum, qui afflarentur ex floribus, tum eum dixisse mirari se non modo diligentiam sed etiam sollertiam eius a quo essent illa dimensa atque discripta; et Cyrum respondisse: “atqui ego ista sum omnia dimensus, mei sunt ordines, mea discriptio, multae etiam istarum arborum mea manu sunt satae.” Tum Lysandrum, intuentem purpuram eius et nitorem corporis ornatumque Persicum multo auro multisque gemmis dixisse: “recte vero te, Cyre, beatum ferunt, quoniam virtuti tuae fortuna coniuncta est!”’ The underlined passages will be discussed later in the chapter.

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34  Noreen Humble other respects, but especially in his guided tour of a fenced-in plot of ground that had been carefully planted. But while Lysander was admiring both the height of the trees and their straight rows arranged in a quincunx pattern (directos in quincuncem ordines) and the cleared and cultivated ground and the sweetness of the smells wafting from the flowers, then he had remarked that he was amazed not only at the diligence but also by the care taken on the part of the person by whom those things had been measured out and planned and Cyrus had replied, ‘But it was I myself who measured all this out, the rows are mine, as is the planning, and many of these trees were also planted by my own hands.’ Then (Socrates continued) Lysander had said, looking at his purple robe, the healthy glow of his body and his Persian accoutrements with their cluster of gold and gems, ‘Rightly indeed do people say that you are blessed, Cyrus, since in your case good fortune has been added to virtue.’

Finally, in the Tusculan Disputations, Cicero both reiterates in a more general way the point he makes to his brother Quintus and includes a directly translated maxim from the Cyropaedia, where it is placed in the mouth of Cyrus the Elder’s father, Cambyses, as part of a lengthy passage in which Cambyses gives leadership advice to Cyrus (Tusc. 2.62; cf. Cyr. 1.6.25): Thus Africanus always had in his hands the Socratic Xenophon, of whom he especially used to praise the saying that ‘the same labours are not equally burdensome to the commander and the soldier, because the very honour makes the commander’s labour lighter’.

Later in the same work is found another specific reference to a Persian practice which derives from the Cyropaedia even though Cicero does not explicitly locate it (Tusc. 5.99; cf. Cyr. 1.2.8):14 Certain entire states, taught by custom, rejoice in frugal (parsimonia) habits, as was the case with the Lacedaemonians of whom I have just spoken. The food of the Persians is explained by Xenophon. He says that they do not add anything to their bread except cresses.

The general context of this passage is that hard work is the best condiment for food. It is important to note that in both these passages Cicero does not mention the title of the Xenophontic work he is alluding to, because when the second point in particular is picked up and transmitted by early humanists, this textual anonymity is also usually transferred (see further in the section ‘Cyropaedia’). The passages above thus show that Cicero valued both Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and his Oeconomicus highly: the former he read as a fictionally constructed manual of exemplary leadership, the latter he translated for its lessons in the economics of ­running an estate. In each case these broad judgements are not linked to anything particularly Persian, but they do immediately signal to any reader of Cicero not only that both these works of Xenophon would be worth reading but also how they ought to 14   Tusc. 5.99: ‘Civitates quaedam universae, more doctae, parsimonia delectantur, ut de Lacedaemoniis paullo ante diximus. Persarum a Xenophonte victus exponitur, quos negat ad panem adhibere quidquam praeter nasturtium.’ The Persian propensity for cress is also mentioned by Cicero in his De finibus (2.92), and in a similar fashion: Xenophon is given as the source but the Cyropaedia is not mentioned.

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  35 be read. Notably Cicero never comments on the strangeness of Xenophon deploying famous Persians as exemplary figures (rather than, e.g., famous Greeks), and, further, the ‘Persian’ virtues which Cicero singles out—dignity, affability, diligence, moderation, intelligence, hardiness, frugality—not only mirror Cicero’s own value system but are also remarkably culturally transferable. The only really solely Persian virtue is the penchant for active husbandry among Persian royalty. But even this striking image is not particularly alienating or excessively othering to a Roman or an early modern European audience. In other words, as mediated by Cicero, Xenophon’s Persians are recognizably part of the broader classical world in a way that Herodotus’ Persians were not.

Cicero in Renaissance Schools Cicero held an authority in the early modern period unlike that of any other author,15 and this appeal crossed national, linguistic, and confessional boundaries. What is striking, however, about the evidence garnered above is that all of the works of Cicero in which these passages occur were staples on humanist school curricula. Robert Black has shown how the De senectute along with the De officiis, and three other moral treatises of Cicero—De amicitia (On Friendship), Paradoxa stoicorum (Stoic Paradoxes), and Somnium Scipionis (Dream of Scipio)—dominated in the pedagogical arena in fifteenth-century Italy, and that there is also considerable manuscript evidence for the use of the Tusculan Disputations in schools.16 Certainly the three which contain key passages for the reception of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus are often mentioned in contemporary educational treatises. Compare, for example, the following two passages: firstly, what Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (1404–64) writes in his treatise of 1450 entitled De liberorum educatione (The Education of Boys) (97): ‘To those [i.e. other works of moral instruction] may be added Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations, De senectute, and De amicitia, and whatever else he has written on morals’; and, secondly, the statement of Battista Guarino (1434–1513) dating from only a few years later in 1459 in his De ordine docendi et studendi (A Programme of Teaching and Learning) (28):17 15  On Cicero’s centrality to the humanistic movement in general, see David Marsh, ‘Cicero in the Renaissance’, in The Cambridge Companion to Cicero, edited by Catherine Steel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 306–17. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ‘Cyrus in Italy’, p. 38. See also Michael Silk, Ingo Gildenhard, and Rosemary Barrow, The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought (Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2014), pp. 52–60, a chapter more generally on ‘authority and authorities’ but in which there are some apposite comments about the authority of Cicero. 16   Robert Black, ‘Cicero in the Curriculum of the Italian Renaissance Grammar Schools’, Ciceroniana n.s. 9 (1996): 105–202, and Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 262–7, who notes that these texts had been popular a couple of centuries earlier as school texts but had fallen out of fashion. See also the brief but useful survey in Marsh, ‘Cicero in the Renaissance’, pp. 308–11. 17   The translations (silently modified) of both Piccolomini and Guarino are from Craig W. Kallendorf (ed.), Humanist Educational Treatises (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), which edition also includes the original Latin.

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36  Noreen Humble All the books of Cicero are to be read regularly, and they are all so useful and easy that they should never be laid aside . . . All Cicero’s books are of surpassing excellence and usefulness, but in my view primacy should be granted to the book De officiis and to the Tusculan Disputations.

Indeed, by the mid-fifteenth century the De senectute was not just used to learn to read Latin but also to learn ancient Greek. Theodore Gaza (1398–1475) translated it into Greek as a means of helping those who knew Latin—and that text particularly well—to master Greek. And other teachers are known to have used Gaza’s copy for this same purpose.18 Cicero’s letters likewise held a place of prime importance. Though the letters were only rediscovered in the fourteenth century, they were swiftly included in the basic school curriculum primarily for stylistic purposes as manuals for learning Latin composition. Indeed, they have been found in numerous manuscripts preceded by vernacular translations: the idea being that the student should attempt to render the vernacular into Latin and then check that version against Cicero’s original Latin.19 Guarino also speaks of committing Cicero’s letters to memory for the benefit they will bring for the purposes of composition (De ordine docendi et studendi 21). Even if, therefore, this meant that, for the purposes of the exercise, the content of the letters was less important than their style, the very nature of the exercise would have rendered its practitioners intimately familiar with the content. Further, these core moral treatises and the letters continued to be of central im­port­ ance well into the next century and over a wider geographic area. Thus, for example, Jacopo Sadoleto (1477–1547), an Italian Catholic humanist who was made Bishop of Carpentras in Provence in 1517, wrote in his De pueris recte instituendis (On Teaching Boys Correctly), first published in Lyon in 1533: ‘Cicero you must read now and ever, and not only read; you must absorb him and make him your own by every intimate sense and method.’20 In the curriculum established at Strasburg by the reformed humanist and educator Jacob Sturm (1489–1553), and described in his De literarum ludis recte aperiendis (On the Correct Way to Open Schools) of 1538, the students move from Cicero’s letters in the first two years, to the De amicitia and De senectute in the third year, De oratore in the fourth, De officiis in the fifth (and further then on to Ciceronian speeches and oratorical treatises).21 Another influential reformed humanist and educator Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560), in reforming the curricula for

18   On Gaza’s Latin to Greek translations of Cicero, see briefly F. Ciccolella, Donati Graeci: Learning Greek in the Renaissance (Brill: Leiden, 2008), pp. 121–2, and also Paul Botley, Learning Greek in Western Europe, 1396–1529 (Philadelphia, PA: American Philosophical Society, 2010), p. 77. 19  Black, Humanism and Education, pp. 352–7. 20   Translation from E. T. Campagnac and K. Forbes, Sadoleto on Education (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1916), p. 98. 21   The edition viewed was Jacob Sturm, De literarum ludis recte aperiendis (Strasbourg: Wendelin Rihil, 1539), pp. 18r–26r. See also, with other examples, Izora Scott, Controversies over the Imitation of Cicero in the Renaissance (New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1910), pp. 120–3.

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  37 Lutheran schools, likewise used Cicero’s letters and the De officiis.22 At the other end of the religious spectrum, the Jesuits too kept Cicero central, as a glance at their Ratio studiorum (Plan of Studies) of 1599 shows:23 Knowledge of the language involves correctness of expression and ample vocabulary, and these are to be developed by daily readings in the works of Cicero, especially those that contain reflections on the standards of right living.

Because these texts of Cicero became classroom staples in the fifteenth century and remained so in the sixteenth century, Cicero’s judgements on Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus were deeply ingrained in the minds of all aspiring humanists. And what was learnt by rote in the classroom in this way was not soon forgotten, but helped forge a common intellectual framework about the wider classical world which crossed geographical and confessional boundaries.

Humanist Readings of Xenophon through Cicero Since the aforementioned moral treatises of Cicero had also been present in schools off  and on prior to the fifteenth century, we might expect to see some indirect knowledge of Xenophon via Cicero before the recovery and wide dissemination of Greek texts. And we do. For example, Petrarch knew about the Oeconomicus through the De senectute and asked his friend Giovanni dell’Incisa to look for a copy of it for him (Fam. 3.18).24 Likewise, the Catholic prelate Giovanni Dominici (c.1355–1419), in his Lucula noctis (c.1405), quoted directly (with only minor variations) the beginning of Cyrus’ deathbed speech from the De senectute.25 Dominici fully acknowledges his use of Cicero’s De senectute, and includes even the prefatory words from Cicero which have Cicero acknowledge Xenophon as his source, but Dominici himself has no direct knowledge of Xenophon. The role of Cicero as mediator between Xenophon and his early modern readers continued undiminished once direct access to Xenophon’s texts became possible. All early translators of both the Cyropaedia and the Oeconomicus unquestioningly accept Cicero’s good opinion of the works and his assessment of the purposes of both, and thus Cicero influenced strongly how these works were read. But his influence was even more pervasive than this. At times it seems quite clear that a particular appropriation of Xenophon’s Cyrus or details of his Persia are taken directly from Cicero with no 22   See his Saxon Visitation Articles of 1528, in C. G. Bretschneider and H. E. Bindseil (eds.), Corpus Reformatorum: Philippi Melanthonis opera quae supersunt omnia, 28 vols. (Halle: G. Schwetschke, 1834–60), vol. 26, p. 94. 23   Translation from Allan  P.  Farrell, The Jesuit Ratio Studiorum of 1599 (www.bc.edu/sites/libraries/ ratio/ratio1599.pdf). 24   Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ‘Cyrus in Italy’, p. 35 n. 13. 25   Lucula noctis 2.14. Latin text in R. Coulon (ed.), Beati Iohannis Dominici, Cardinalis S. Sixti, Lucula Noctis (Paris: Librairie Alphonse Picard & Fils, 1908), p. 22. See again Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ‘Cyrus in Italy’, p. 36.

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38  Noreen Humble recourse to the Xenophontic texts despite their accessibility in recent Latin versions or in the original Greek. This is particularly evident regarding the conversation between Lysander and Cyrus the Younger in the Oeconomicus where, as will be shown below (section ‘Oeconomicus’), Cicero’s version is manifestly more prominent in the minds of humanists because of their early acquaintance with it than Xenophon’s version, even when they know Xenophon’s text in some other form (original or in translation).

Cyropaedia Cicero’s judgement of the utility of the Cyropaedia as a leadership manual dictated completely the reception of this work as an exemplary ancient mirror-for-princes. Cicero’s approval rarely goes unnoted in the dedication letters to the early translations made of the work, both into Latin and various vernaculars,26 or when the Cyropaedia is drawn on as an authoritative source in contemporary mirrors-for-princes, and often his exact words are used. Consider the following statements from two prominent Italian humanists of the Quattrocento, the first from Poggio Bracciolini (1390–1459), who completed an abbreviated six-book Latin translation of the work in 1446 for Alfonso, King of Aragon, the second from Francesco Filelfo (1398–1481), who translated the whole work into Latin in 1469 for Pope Paul II, and then a third statement from the Portuguese humanist Vasque de Lucène (c.1435–1512), who made the first French translation (basing it on Poggio’s Latin version) in 1470 for Charles of Burgundy: (Poggio) And indeed I undertook this task of writing willingly in order that that book might be known to the Latins the knowledge of which is absolutely necessary for those in power and highly praised by earlier excellent men. For our Cicero writes both that he wore it out completely by reading and that Scipio Africanus used never to have that book out of his reach, by which words that work’s usefulness should be judged very great indeed, since two of the most singular and famous men, the one known for his wartime feats, the other for his peacetime activities and his writing, expended so much study and effort on the reading of Xenophon that they without doubt reckoned that he brought very great benefits to great men both in times of war and of peace.27 (Filelfo) At how much moreover this most splendid work ought be valued, we have that most wise man the later Scipio Africanus as a witness, who is said to have had the custom of never laying down from his hands this Paedia of Xenophon. And M. Tullius Cicero writing to Paetus about himself says that he had exemplified in his own period of command the Paedia of Cyrus, which whole thing he had ruined by reading it so often.28

26   The first translator, Lorenzo Valla, is an interesting exception. His translation of Cyr. 1.1.1–1.4.15, made for Alfonso of Aragon, exists only in one manuscript and has only a short preface in which no mention of Cicero is made, though Valla, also exceptionally, specifically uses the term ‘mirror’ of the work. On Valla’s translation see David Marsh, ‘Lorenzo Valla in Naples: The Translation from Xenophon’s Cyropaedia’, Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 46:2 (1984): 407–20. 27   For the Latin text see Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, pp. 118–19. 28   For the Latin text see Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, p. 122.

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  39 (de Lucène) And Tullius [i.e. Cicero] recounts that he used up one of his books in reading it. And also that Scipio Africanus never left it out of his hands because nothing was omitted from the duties that belong to a diligent and moderate government. Therefore the great utility of this work is demonstrated inasmuch as two such excellent and valiant men, one in letters and the other in war, took such great account of it.29

It might be argued that they are simply lifting the reference from each other, since many of the translators also state their awareness of their predecessors’ or contemporaries’ work. Vasque de Lucène certainly seems at times to be drawing on Poggio’s dedicatory letter in his own, and Filelfo is certainly engaged in one-upmanship with Poggio, not only by translating the Cyropaedia fully, but in providing more detail from the two letters of Cicero.30 But the better explanation is that all three were already well aware of Cicero’s recommendation of the utility of the Cyropaedia from their own schooling. This reference to Cicero’s authority remains constant across the fifteenth and ­sixteenth centuries and across confessional boundaries, i.e. it never becomes de trop to make mention of Cicero’s views on the work. For example, compare the comments of Giulio Gabrielli da Gubbio (d. 1579), who rendered the work into Latin in 1569 for Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto, with those of the reformed humanist Joachim Camerarius (1500–74), who likewise rendered the text into Latin, dedicating it in 1572 to Count Anton von Ortenburg:31 (Gabrielli) For why should I labour to demonstrate that I have placed my effort well in translating those books which we know the famous Africanus never had away from his hands, which Cicero boasts that he so wore out by reading and used during his command, and which finally it is agreed that all the most learned men of their age both read diligently and approved in a wonderful manner?32 (Camerarius) Africanus, to mention an individual general, did not have the same opportunities and reasons for action as Cyrus did. His character was different, his was another life: there was nothing either allowed by the laws in the same way, or done by custom in the age and race of Africanus as in those of Cyrus. However, if he had not realized that he derived such utility from those things which Xenophon had related about Cyrus, he would never have spent as much 29   For the French text see D. Gallet-Guerne, Vasque de Lucène et la Cyropédie à la Cour de Bourgogne (1470) (Geneva: Droz, 1974), p. 184. It should be noted that Charles’s father, Philip the Good, had commissioned from Jean Miélot (d. 1472) a French translation for his son of Cicero’s letter to Quintus, the very letter in which the Cyropaedia is recommended; see Gilbert Tournoy, ‘Low Countries’, in A Companion to the Classical Tradition, edited by C. W. Kallendorf (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007), pp. 237–51 (p. 240). 30   Filelfo is notoriously combative and a show-off. See Jeroen De Keyser, ‘Francesco Filelfo’s Feud with Poggio Bracciolini’, in Forms of Conflict and Rivalries in Renaissance Europe, edited by D. Lines, M. Laureys, and J. Kray (Göttingen: Bonn University Press, 2015), pp. 13–27; and Noreen Humble, ‘Erudition, Emulation and Enmity: Filelfo’s Dedication Letters to his Greek to Latin Translations’, in Filelfo, Man of Letters, edited by J. De Keyser (Leiden: Brill, 2018), pp. 127–73. 31   Though his translation seems to have been completed a few decades earlier, see Noreen Humble, ‘Joachim Camerarius and Xenophon’s Cyropaedia’, in Camerarius Polyhistor: Studien zu den wissenschaftlichen Schriften des Älteren Camerarius, edited by Thomas Baier (Tübingen: Narr, 2017), pp. 169–85. 32   For the Latin text see Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, p. 126.

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40  Noreen Humble attention as we have heard that he did, in reading them. Nor is it credible that this man derived only empty pleasure from that activity. I might add Cicero’s mention [of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia], since he says that while conducting a campaign in his province, he had worn those books out by reading.33

Camerarius, interestingly, does draw attention to the fact the Cyrus comes from a ­different time and culture than his most famous readers, Scipio and Cicero, but uses this fact to highlight the work’s cross-cultural appeal and utility, drawing solely upon Cicero’s own comments. By contrast, for example, Jerome’s exhortation to read the Cyropaedia—‘Let us read the history of Cyrus the Elder in the eight books of Xenophon, and let us see the prediction of Isaiah fulfilled’34—is never alluded to in the prefatory material of any fifteenth- or sixteenth-century translators or commentators, not even by reformed humanists who are in other respects quite eager to reconcile the biblical and the pagan versions of Cyrus. It is not that Isaiah’s prophecy is never mentioned (though again much less frequently than Cicero’s assessment), so perhaps it is simply that an inter­ medi­ary authority is not needed in the light of direct biblical evidence. Yet Jerome’s text also was not a school text and so was not part of the shared body of humanistic material which any educated person could draw upon without effort and expect to be understood; Jerome carried weight—all the Church Fathers did—but not in the way that Cicero did, particularly through those texts that were drilled into schoolboys early on in their education. That Cicero recommended the utility of the work for leaders ensured, therefore, a long afterlife for the work as a mirror-for-princes, and probably a much wider distribution of the text than it might otherwise have had. The other key element of Cicero’s judgement about the Cyropaedia concerned its fictionality and the fact that it was deliberately fictional in order to enhance its paradigmatic value, and this point too was also almost universally accepted without question, not least because it provided a perfect explanation for why Xenophon’s portrait of Cyrus was so different from the one already in circulation. Poggio Bracciolini explains it to one Lionello Achrocamur in a letter of 1451:35 But as to your astonishment that in that work it was written that Cyrus, king of the Persians, was overcome in war by Tamiris and killed, while Xenophon writes that he died in extreme old 33   Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, pp. 128–9 does not include the whole of Camerarius’ dedicatory letter, so I have included the full Latin text of the passage here (transcribed from the edition held in the Cambridge University Library [Q.3.51]): ‘Non habuit Africanus, ut imperatoriae personae mentio fiat, occasiones causasque easdem rerum gerendarum quas Cyrus. Diuersi mores, alia vita, nihil vel legibus eodem modo sancitum, vel institutis usurpatum in aetate genteque Africani, sicuti in Cyri fuit. Nisi autem tantam utilitatem sese ille percipere sentiret ex iis, quae de Cyro Xenophon narrasset, nunquam iis legendis tantum studii quantum accepimus, impendisset. Neque enim credibile est hunc virum inanem modo voluptatem illa occupatione captauisse. Adderem Ciceronis mentionem, qui in prouincia bellum administrans, istos libros se contriuisse legendo ait.’ 34   From his Commentariorum in Isaiam Prophetam 13.45: ‘Legamus Xenophontis octo librorum Cyri majoris historiam, et prophetiam Isaiae cernemus expletam.’ 35   H. Harth (ed.), Poggio Bracciolini: Lettere III (Florence: Olschki, 1987), pp. 135–6 (no. 4.6).

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  41 age, there is perhaps some reason for doubt in the different versions of his death on the part of those who do not understand Xenophon’s mode of writing. But I wish you to understand that all writers give evidence that Cyrus was killed by Tamiris and that his head was put into a bladder of blood so that the person who had thirsted for blood might also drink blood. But that history of Xenophon is by no means true. For he did not wish to write the history of Cyrus but to outline the best prince such as never actually existed. For as Plato described the republic such as it might seem the best, so Xenophon tried to fashion the best monarchy. And so he did not so much follow his life and history as he wished to embrace the character and institutions of the best prince both in peace and in war, as also Marcus Cicero writes in one of his letters to his brother Quintus saying Cyrus ille a Xenophonte non ad historie fidem scriptus sed ad effigiem iusti imperii and so forth. Thus there is no error in the history. For the others followed the truth, but Xenophon took the liberty upon himself of fashioning the best prince in the person of Cyrus.

Poggio’s letter shows that there was some understandable puzzlement over the differences between the two portraits of Cyrus, but for him Cicero’s explanation more than adequately explained the discrepancy. This point again is highlighted in the prefatory material found in early printed translations of the Cyropaedia, as the following two quotations show, the first from the prefatory letter of the 1476 Italian translation done by Poggio’s son, Jacopo Bracciolini (1442–78), a work which was published posthumously in the early sixteenth century, and the second from the prefatory material of the Bolognese humanist Filippo Beroaldo the Elder (1454–1505) to a composite edition of existing Latin translations of Xenophon’s works which was published in 1502, and which included Filelfo’s Latin translation of the Cyropaedia: (J. Bracciolini) Xenophon the Socratic . . . being a rival of Plato and intending to have composed and ordered his Republic as one who preferred the Prince created one worthy of it and such as ought to have been produced.36 (Beroaldo) Cyrus the famous king of the Persians is written up not with the goal of the faithfulness of history but to produce a portrait of the perfect ruler.37

Neither, to be sure, specifically mentions Cicero as the source of this assessment, but there can be no doubt that he is the source. This is more striking than it might appear because in addition to Cicero’s approbation of the work being constantly foregrounded, there is, conversely, in all but one instance (see below) in the prefatory material to translations of the work in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a complete absence of any sort of warning, or even a simple observation, that the Cyrus of the 36  Xenophon, Della vita di Cyro re de Persi tradotto in lingua toscana da Jacopo di messer Poggio fiorentino nuovamente impresso (Florence: Giunti, 1521; and republished in 1524 and 1527): ‘Xenophonte Socratico chiamato cosi . . . essendo emulo di Platone, & intendendo lui havere composta & ordinata la sua republica come quello che preferiva el principe ne formo un degno, & come dovessi esser fatto, compose la vita di Cyro Re de Persi.’ 37  Xenophon, In hoc volumine continentur infrascripta opera Xenophontis. Paedia Cyri Persarum regis. De venatione. De re publica & de legibus Lacadaemoniorum. De regis Agesilai Lacedaemoniorum laudibus. Apologia pro Socrate. Opusculum de tyrannide (Bologna: Benedetto I Faelli, 1502): ‘Cyrus ille Persarum Rex non ad historiae fidem scribitur, sed ad perfecti imperatoris effigiem.’

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42  Noreen Humble Herodotean tradition differed from the Cyrus to be encountered in Xenophon’s text, or indeed that there even was an alternative tradition, though it would have been well known not least because Justin’s Epitome of Pompeius Trogus was also a popular text in the schoolroom. Such differences, of course, were not important if the text was being marketed as a leadership manual, or even when it began to be appropriated as a key example of the power of poetry/fiction over history/fact in promoting emulation to virtue.38 In this arena Xenophon’s Cyrus was linked with Virgil’s Aeneas by such figures as Torquato Tasso (1544–95) and Philip Sidney (1554–86), a move that would not have been possible without Cicero’s assessment of the Cyropaedia as an effigiem iusti imperi (‘representation of just rule’), as this quotation from Sidney’s Defence of Poesy (1583) shows:39 For Xenophon, who did imitate so excellently as to give us effigiem iusti imperii, the portraiture of a just empire, under the name of Cyrus, (as Cicero saith of him) made therein an absolute heroical poem.

The differences did provoke varied responses, however, from those who were trying to reconcile the biblical, Xenophontic, and Herodotean Cyruses. For example, Jacques de Vintimille (1512?–82), whose French translation of the work was published in 1547, is the only one of the early translators who adamantly does not accept the Ciceronian line, arguing strongly that Xenophon has given the true version of Cyrus’ life and that Herodotus’ account was fictional, on the grounds that the latter did not mesh with the Cyrus of the Bible. David Chytraeus (1530–1600), the German theologian and his­tor­ian, found another solution. He too came down firmly in favour of Xenophon’s account, both in general and specifically of his version of Cyrus’ death, ingeniously arguing that Herodotus had mistakenly attached to Cyrus the Persian the death of one Cyrus the Mede.40 In doing so he was thus able to privilege what he viewed as the more morally useful version of Cyrus’ life. Chytraeus’ mentor, Philip Melanchthon, on the other hand, provided his own ­singular solution in his 1558 reworking of the popular universal history Carion’s Chronicle.41 For Melanchthon historical truth was not as important as the moral lessons

  See further Humble, ‘Xenophon’s Cyropaedia: Fictionalities and Receptions’, pp. 109–11.   The edition consulted was Katherine Duncan-Jones (ed.), Sir Philip Sidney: The Major Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 218. 40   On this and on Chytraeus’ reading of Herodotus more generally see Anthony Ellis, ‘Herodotus magister vitae, or: Herodotus and God in the Protestant Reformation’, Histos Supplement 4 (2015): 173–245 (esp. pp. 209–10). 41  P. Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis latine expositum et auctum multis et veteribus et recentibus historiis in narrationibus rerum Graecarum, Germanicarum & Ecclesiasticarum (Wittenberg: G. Rhau (Heirs), 1558). The work was conceived of and drafted first by Johann Carion in 1532. On the reception and wide distribution of this Chronicle, see M. A. Lotito, Wittenberg Historiography: Philipp Melanchthon and the Reformation of Historical Thought (University of Michigan Dissertation, 2011). See also Sarha, in this volume, for Melanchthon’s reworking of the history of Assyria in the 1558 edition of the Chronicle. 38 39

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  43 which could be extrapolated from historical narratives.42 Thus he set the two ­competing versions of Cyrus’ death side by side because from both a different, useful lesson could be drawn:43 But although Herodotus says that there are different stories about Cyrus’ death, nonetheless on both sides it is consistent that great armies were cut to pieces and it is possible that Cyrus ­correctly invoked God and was a limb of the true church and an inheritor of life eternal, for he had learned the true doctrine from Daniel, but like Joshua, having started an unnecessary war, had been defeated and set among the examples which warn us that it is not only the impious and those who do unjust things who are overturned by God . . . Xenophon, however, relates that Cyrus died peacefully, and recites the speech of his in which he encourages his sons before his death to justice and concord, and he adds a mention of the immortality of the soul and of the rewards and punishments that follow after this life. And he asserts that a sign and witness of divine judgement are the horrendous fears of conscience which are the punishers of crimes even for someone who has escaped human judgements . . . But even though it is a great honour that God called Cyrus to the pinnacle of power and that he equipped him with prudence, just­ ice, fortitude, and the other virtues and with good fortune in doing things, nevertheless this was by far a greater good: that he turned his heart to recognition and invocation of the true God and Messiah and that he wished his empire to be the salvation of the church.

Though at no time does Melanchthon waste ink arguing for the priority of one ­version of Cyrus’ life over the other, in the conclusion it is the Cyrus of the Bible and Xenophon’s Cyropaedia whom Melanchthon urges his readers to model themselves upon: It was to be wished that more things about Cyrus were in the book of Daniel but let us read as much as antiquity has handed down to us and contemplate diligently the virtues of Cyrus in Xenophon.

On a much smaller scale it is possible to see in a different way how ingrained in the humanist mind were the works of Cicero which were studied in school, and how easy it could be to draw from memory on Cicero on Xenophon on Persia rather than on Xenophon himself. When Cicero makes his remark in the Tusculan Disputations about Persians never eating anything with their bread other than cresses, he does not say precisely where in Xenophon’s corpus this piece of information is to be found. In fact, only minimal acquaintance with the Cyropaedia would be required to discover its origin, since the passage occurs not far into the first book. Yet one author of a con­ tem­por­ary mirror-for-princes, Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi, 1421–81), who dedicated his De principe (On the Prince) to Federico Gonzaga of Mantua in 1470, despite asserting that he made extensive use of the Cyropaedia as an exemplary text in the tradition of which his own work stands, and, like all the translators, mentioned the material 42   On this approach to understanding ancient history more generally see Asaph Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity: Melanchthonian Scholarship between Universal History and Pedagogy (Brill: Leiden, 2009). 43   For the Latin text see Bretschneider and Bindseil, Corpus Reformatorum, vol. 12, pp. 783–4.

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44  Noreen Humble found in the two Ciceronian letters (that Scipio kept the text to hand and that Cicero wore it out),44 quite clearly lifted directly from Cicero the comment about Persians adding nothing to their bread except cresses. Not only is the wording identical to that of Cicero,45 but it is followed by the same point that Cicero makes about Plato and Syracusan meals.46 To be sure, Persian fondness for bread and cresses does not become an enduring image in the Western tradition in the way that Spartan black broth does, but the example is useful to illustrate the primacy of Cicero’s works in the humanist mind,47 and a much more striking example of this type of reception follows below. What path the reception of the Cyropaedia would have taken without Cicero’s advance press, and without that advance press being granted a crucial role in the education system, is anyone’s guess. Cicero’s characterization of the work as a fictional paradigm of a leader provided immediate and authoritative justification for marketing the Cyropaedia as a mirror-for-princes tract, and it is hard to imagine that without this pronouncement the work would have found such a prominent place in the debate about the value of fiction over fact to promote virtuous behaviour.

Oeconomicus Cicero, likewise, dictates how Xenophon’s Oeconomicus is received. This work could not be more different from the Cyropaedia: it is relatively short, in the form of a Socratic dialogue within another framing dialogue, and its subject is not Persia, but household and estate management, though it does contain a section about Persian superiority in the art of gardening and the creation of paradeisoi (‘enclosed pleasure parks’).48 Favourable advance press for it, however, as noted above (see p. 32), can be found in two of Cicero’s own writings, both of which were core texts in the early modern schools. In his De officiis Cicero tells us both that the work reveals how honestly sought ­property can be preserved and increased by means of diligence and thrift and that he   See Humble, ‘Xenophon and the Instruction of Princes’, p. 422.  Platina De principe 2.14: ‘Persarum a Xenophonte victus exponitur, quos negat ad panem adhibere quicquam praeter nasturtium.’ Compare n. 14 above. For a modern edition of the text see B. Platina, De principe, ed. G. Ferraù (Palermo: Il Vespro, 1979). The text of Platina’s work can also be found online at: http://ww2.bibliotecaitaliana.it/xtf/view?docId=bibit000358/bibit000358.xml. 46   By contrast when Thomas Elyot, in The Boke Named the Governour (London: T. Berthelet, 1531), comments on the cress and bread diet (Book 1, Ch. 18: ‘whyder so euer they went, they toke with them for their sustenaunce but onely breed and herbes, called Kersis, in latine Nasturtium, and for their drinke, a disshe to take water out of the ryuers as they passed’), he is translating directly from Xenophon’s text (Cyr. 1.2.8), as the surrounding material shows. 47   This same image of the Persians is noted by our volume’s editor in her introduction (p. 13) in a letter of Roger Ascham from 1551. Ascham would certainly have read the Cyropaedia in the original Greek (see the overview of his education in R. O’Day, ‘Ascham, Roger (1514/15–1568)’, ODNB, published online 2004) and with his mention of ‘bread, roots and water’ is much closer to Xenophon’s text than the Ciceronian formulation. 48   An image which really does not occur in the Cyropaedia, where only a very brief mention of paradeisoi is made near the end: Cyrus, while exhorting his satraps (governors) to imitate him in the governance of their provinces, mentions very briefly that they should have parks filled with wild animals (Cyr. 8.6.12). The image of the Persians as gardeners comes from the Oeconomicus rather than from the Cyropaedia. 44 45

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  45 himself in his youth had translated it. As was the case with his epistolary comments on the Cyropaedia (on its nature and purpose and his own intimate knowledge of that text), both these facts about the Oeconomicus are relayed by early translators. In the dedicatory material to the earliest extant translation, that made in 1453 by Lampus Biragus (c.1390s–1472) for Pope Nicholas V, the fact that Cicero’s translation is lost is used by Biragus to justify his own translation and the work is recommended for providing practical advice for the honest increase of personal property—exactly the reason Cicero himself deemed it useful:49 And so the Oeconomicus of Xenophon, since the translation of Cicero no longer exists, will be added to the Latin language in your name . . . But if the wise man ought also to take account of property, that learning would seem to lie open occasionally more broadly, and the greater the riches have been, the more opportune perhaps it is for protecting these, increasing them and in making worthy expenditures.

Indeed, the title of the first French translation of the work in 1531 by Geoffroy Tory (c.1480–1532) echoes precisely Cicero’s assessment: Science, pour s’enricher honnestement & facilement intitulée l’economic Xenophon. Compare, too, the manner in which Giovanni Antonio Guarnerio (d. 1601) turns Cicero’s explanation of the work’s purpose into praise for his dedicatee, a wealthy landowner named Johannes Finius, in his Latin translation, published in 1574:50 In vain would your house be flourishing among such wealth with such great glory, unless the practice in and the ordering of domestic affairs had taught you that frugality and magnanimity (frugalitatem atque animi magnitudinem) with which you approached the old religion’s grave ways . . . You indeed in protecting your property have so exceeded everyone in diligence and counsel (diligentia et consilio), that you have turned everyone’s eyes and minds towards you as towards an outstanding example of prudence and temperance (prudentiae et temperantiae specimen).

Here Cicero’s original diligence and thrift (diligentia et parsimonia) has been rendered more expansively by frugality and magnanimity as well as exceeding diligence and counsel, so that Guarnerio is able to conclude that the practitioner, Finius, is a model of prudence and temperance for his fellow men. No overt connection is made with Persia here, but the Persians—and Cyrus the Elder, at least in Xenophon’s version of his life—were a model of temperance and frugality as well. In the sixteenth century two further authorities are sometimes, but not always, added to confirm that Cicero had indeed once translated the Oeconomicus: Columella, particularly the preface to Book 12 of his first-century bce treatise De re rustica (On  Agriculture),51 and Jerome (in the preface to his translation of Eusebius’   For the Latin text see Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, p. 178.   For the Latin text see Marsh, ‘Xenophon’, p. 186. 51   Columella is a somewhat different case as he, interestingly, appears to be using Xenophon via Cicero in the same way that this chapter is arguing that the Renaissance humanists did: Xenophon adds cultural cachet, but it looks suspiciously as though Columella has used Cicero’s Latin translation (or a modified 49 50

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46  Noreen Humble Chronicle)—indeed, the former more frequently than the latter. Notwithstanding his authority as a Church Father, Jerome’s opinion again, as above, was only of marginal importance compared to that of Cicero. Thus, as was the case with the Cyropaedia, Cicero’s pronouncements on the Oeconomicus, made in a work widely read in schools (De officiis), dictated its general reception: that he himself translated it and that its value lay in its useful advice for honestly managing (and increasing) the res familiaris are always noted. That the Oeconomicus is a Socratic dialogue is scarcely mentioned in any of Cicero’s comments, let alone what Cicero thought that meant for reading the work; likewise this issue was not paramount in the early transmission of the work. There are no references in any of the prefatory material to the translations of the Oeconomicus about the Persian passion for gardening. And indeed this is not surprising, for neither Persia nor gardening per se is the focus of the Oeconomicus. Yet this image of Cyrus as gardener extraordinaire, which derives from this work of Xenophon, is common in the early modern period, and it appears certain that it is in humanists’ minds owing to their early education and their reading—and subsequent recall—of the De senectute more than to their reading of the Oeconomicus. This can be shown in various ways, which all concern the precise language used by Cicero. First, in order to express Xenophon’s description of the way in which Cyrus planted his trees—δι᾽ ἴσου δὲ πεφυτευμένα, ὀρθοὶ δὲ οἱ στίχοι τῶν δένδρων, εὐγώνια δὲ πάντα καλῶς εἴη (‘planted at equal intervals, the rows of trees were straight, all at regular angles’)—Cicero used the rather striking, but arbitrary,52 directos in quincuncem ordines (‘straight rows arranged in a quincunx pattern’). The quincunx pattern is assumed to be five points, four arranged in a square with a fifth in the centre, though of all the Roman texts which mention this planting formation only Quintilian’s description really evokes this image.53 There is no indication in Xenophon’s text that such an elaborate arrangement is meant (or that the number five was in any way in mind). What is striking, therefore, is that in the two most widespread Latin translations of the Oeconomicus in the sixteenth century the term quincunx appears, despite both humanists being well enough versed in the Greek language to recognize that it was not there in the original: Raffaele Maffei (1451–1522) renders the Greek with elegantiamque arborum in quincuncem positarum in his 1505–6 translation,54 and Jacobus version thereof) rather than worked from the Greek original, likely because Cicero’s version had greater applicability to the philosophical approach of his own work, particularly with regard to the Roman tradition of favouring frugality (parsimonia) over luxury (luxuria), which was typically ascribed by Romans of Cicero’s day—and especially by Cicero himself—to their Republican forebears. See  K.  Milnor, Gender, Domesticity, and the Age of Augustus: Inventing Private Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp.  268–78. On parsimonia and early Rome see Neil Coffee, Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 27–8.   See Christopher Tuplin, Achaemenid Studies (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996), p. 105.   Institutes 8.3.9: ‘quid illo quincunce speciosius qui, in quamcunque partem spectaveris, rectus est?’ (‘What is more splendid than that quincunx pattern, which presents a straight line, in whatever direction one might look?’). 54  The Latin text is taken from a later edition: R.  Maffei, Commentariorum urbanorum Raphaelis Volaterrani octo et triginta libri . . . Item Oeconomicus Xenophontis, ab eodem latio donatus (Basel: Froben, 1530), p. 461v. 52 53

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  47 Strebaeus (1481–1550) with omnia in quincuncem pulchre directa in his 1543 translation.55 Even so noted a Greek scholar as Henri Estienne, who uses Strebaeus’ translation in his bilingual Opera omnia of Xenophon, does not revise this portion of the translation (either in the 1561 or the 1581 edition, though he professes to have revised the translations he used of scholars who were no longer alive); indeed, in both editions he places Cicero’s translation in the margin as if to corroborate that of Strebaeus.56 Thus again, and now solely by means of a single word, the Ancient Near East is mediated through the Roman interpretation of the Greek original. Certainly not all translators and readers follow the Ciceronian line here,57 but more do than do not. The influential French humanist Guillaume Budé (1467–1540), for example, in his De asse et partibus eius (Paris: Ascensianus 1514), a work in the main about ancient measures and money but which contains a storehouse of classical quotations,58 expresses curiosity about the term quincunx.59 He purports to be happy with Quintilian’s description of the formation and then quotes directly from the Ciceronian passage (with no mention either of Cyrus, the Persians, or Xenophon). Then a few lines later he goes on to read Xenophon through Cicero, taking Cicero’s translation as proof that Xenophon’s Greek meant a quincuncial layout and then citing further in support Theodore Gaza’s Greek translation of De senectute in which Gaza rendered Cicero’s Latin back into Greek by the phrase τοὺς ὀρθοὺς εἰς πεντάδα εὐγώνιον στίχους (‘the straight rows into a regularly angled quincunx’). That Gaza knew Xenophon’s Greek is clear from the vocabulary he uses, but the inclusion of εἰς πεντάδα (‘into a quincunx’) is simply a translation of the Ciceronian passage, not a con­firm­ation that Xenophon was referring to any sort of planting regime using the 55   Text taken from Xenophon, Ξενοφῶντος ἅπαντα τὰ σωζόμενα βιβλία. Xenophontis omnia quae extant opera (Geneva: H. Estienne, 1561), vol. 2, p. 354. It was reprinted without changes in the second edition of 1581. 56   Strebaeus’ translation dominates in composite Latin editions of Xenophon’s works until the end of the  century, when it is gradually superseded by the version of Johannes Löwenklau (first published in Xenophon, Ξενοφῶντος ἅπαντα τὰ σωζόμενα βιβλία. Xenophontis et imperatoris & philosophi clarissimi omnia, quae extant, opera, Ioanne Levvenklaio interprete (Basel: T. Guarinus, 1569)), whose ‘ordines arborum recti’ (p. 655) is faithful to the Greek text. Guarnerio in his translation of 1574 may claim to have been dissatisfied with earlier translations, but with his ‘directos in quincuncem ordines’ he too echoed Cicero. 57   For example, in the first English translation, Gentian Hervet (1499–1584) renders the phrase ‘and the orders of the trees laye streyghte on agaynst an other’ (Xenophons treatise of housholde (London: T.  Berthelet, 1532), p. 15). Bernardino Donato (d. 1543) in his Latin translation renders the phrase ‘arborum directi ordines’ (Xenophon, Liber qui Oeconomicus inscribitur (Venice: B. Vitali, 1539), p. 8v); and Camerarius in 1564 also follows the Greek closely with ‘ordines arborum’ (published in Joachim Camerarius, Oeconomica scripta, quae extant titulo Aristotelis in sermonem Latinum conversa et explicata, adiunctaque eis interpretatio oeconomici libri Xenophontis, studio et opera (Leipzig: E.  Vögelin, 1564)). Etienne La Boétie (1530–63), in his French translation, published posthumously in 1571, likewise eschews reference to a quincunx pattern, rendering the phrase ‘iustement plantez à la ligne’ (see M.  Montaigne (ed.), La Mesnagerie de Xenophon. Les Regles de mariage de Plutarque. Lettre de consolation, de Plutarque à sa femme. Le tout traduict de Grec en François par feu M. Estienne de La Boëtie (Paris: F. Morel, 1571), p. 18v). 58   On which work in general see D. O. McNeil, Guillaume Budé and Humanism in the Reign of Francis I (Geneva: Droz, 1975), pp. 25–36. 59   The lengthy passage can be found in Book 1, pp. 32–3.

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48  Noreen Humble number five as its basis. Gaza’s Greek translation of the passage in the De senectute, as noted above (section ‘Cicero in Renaissance Schools’), was used in classrooms as a means of helping those who knew the Latin text of Cicero’s work well in order to help them to learn Greek. Budé has, in short, under the influence of Cicero, misunderstood what Gaza has done. The English theologian Lawrence Humphrey (c.1527–90), also recounts the anecdote in his Optimates, sive de Nobilitate (Basel: Oporinus, 1560). Although Humphrey does at least acknowledge Xenophon as the primary source, and although he certainly had the requisite Greek knowledge to read Xenophon in the original (the Greek text of Philo’s On Nobility along with Humphrey’s Latin translation of it also appears in the same volume), his language clearly shows that he has simply paraphrased Cicero’s version.60 Lorna Hutson, in her analysis of this passage of Humphrey’s work, captures succinctly the reality of the receptive path: ‘Through his [Humphrey’s] deployment of Cicero’s imitation of the Cyrus exemplum . . . ’.61 In short, Cicero is clearly the mediating force between Xenophon and this new early modern audience as far as this particular vignette of Persian life is concerned. Even when Xenophon’s own version is known, the Ciceronian version is so hardwired into the humanists’ brains because of the way they learned Latin that its memorable imagery continues to dominate.62 This happens with other aspects of the Ciceronian passage as well. For example, the Italian humanist Polydore Vergil (c.1470–1555), in his De inventoribus rerum (On Discoverers of Things) of 1499, lifts his summary of Xenophon’s position straight from Cicero, with, it must be said, full acknowledgement (3.1.4): ‘Xenophon found nothing so kingly as an interest in agriculture (nihil tam regale videbatur quam studium agri colendi), as Cicero is our witness in his Cato [i.e. De senectute].’63 Cicero’s work is named but not Xenophon’s, further privileging the authoritative intermediary over the ori­gin­al source.

60  Humphrey, Optimates, 1.166–7: ‘Iam & regale fuisse olim rei rustice studium, regis Cyri minoris exemplum ostendit: qui turpe non iudicauit, agrum diligenter manu sua conserere, arbores in horto, flores & herbas eleganter dimetiri & describere, ordinesque; in quincuncem digerere. Et cùm ad eum cum donis Lysander quidam Lacedaemonius venisset, & se illi omnia sevisse & dimensum fuisse dixisset, admiratus ille, & eius purpuram, & nitorem corporis, ornatumque; Persicum multo auro multisque; gemmis intuens: Rectè verò, inquit, te Cyre beatum ferunt, quoniam virtuti tuae fortuna coniuncta est. Sic enim ferè ex Xenophonte Cicero.’ (The underlined portion in the passage is very close to the Ciceronian original (see the final sentence in n. 13 above); the rest is a close paraphrase.) 61  Hutson, The Userer’s Daughter, p. 37. 62   It is interesting that in the subsequent English translation of the Humphrey’s work, The Nobles, or Of Nobilitye (London: Thomas Marshe, 1563), there is no reference to a quincunx pattern, but instead is found ‘to plant hys trees in seemly order’. 63   Translation from Brian P. Copenhaver (ed.), Polydore Vergil: On Discovery (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 353. Polydore Vergil quotes Cicero almost exactly, altering the sentiment only slightly to suit the new context (compare with the passage in n. 13 above). Estienne, who in his 1592 Herodotus included some excerpts about the Persians from Xenophon (among others), does have a passage from the Oeconomicus, but interestingly it is not this passage but one prior to it which is more generically concerned with Persian kings and their practice of farming (i.e. he has the start of the discussion, but he does not carry on to include the conversation between Cyrus and Lysander).

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  49 Others recall and insert different elements of the Ciceronian passage into their translations. For example, in rendering the phrase with which Xenophon initially introduces Cyrus the Younger (Oec. 4.16: ὅσπερ εὐδοκιμώτατος δὴ βασιλεύς γεγένηται, ‘who had been the most illustrious prince’),64 Strebaeus writes ‘who was a prince famous in name and through the glory of his rule’ (qui fuit rex nomine & imperii gloria praeclarus), which is much closer to the way in which Cicero introduces Cyrus, particularly with the insertion of the phrase imperii gloria (again compare the passage in n. 13 above).65 Whether or not brief references to Cyrus as a gardener, which use the Latin term rex to describe him, such as that by Polydore Vergil above, or that of Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) in his De constantia (2.2: ‘also in true and certain histories you shall find cuttings originating from the hand of prince (regis) Cyrus’),66 are conflating Cyrus the Elder and Cyrus the Younger is more difficult to tell, and wholly depends on what meaning they themselves attached to rex (i.e. ‘king’ or ‘prince’ both being possible), but it is quite likely that some were confused about which Cyrus was meant. Maffei, whose mediocre Latin translation of the Oeconomicus dominated during the first half of the sixteenth century, certainly was. In his short biography of Xenophon is found the following:67 He [Xenophon] became a friend of Cyrus the Younger with whom he campaigned, and wrote about his education, not so as to serve the truthfulness of history but, as Cicero in Book 2 of De oratore testifies, to set up a perfect leader; which work, Cicero says in a certain letter, he himself read frequently and wore down with his hands.

Maffei’s power of recall lets him down doubly here: not only is Cyrus the Younger whom Xenophon campaigned with not the subject of the Cyropaedia but it was also not in Book 2 of De oratore where Cicero speaks of Xenophon setting up a perfect prince rather than a historically accurate portrait. Maffei has at least remembered correctly that Cicero’s comment about wearing the book out is to be found in one of his letters. 64   This phrase has caused much grief, partly, I think, because Xenophon had just been talking of Persian rulers, i.e. kings, more generally just prior to this passage and partly because of the modern tendency to translate βασιλεὺς as ‘king’ rather than ‘prince’ when context dictates. The latter I think is correct here (in agreement with LSJ s.v. βασιλεύς I.2). For a different view and some discussion of earlier scholarship see Sarah Pomeroy (ed.), Xenophon, Oeconomicus: A Social and Historical Commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 248–50, who translates βασιλεὺς in this passage as ‘king’ and thinks that the shift to Cyrus the Younger comes later at Oec. 4.18, not at 4.16. 65   A comparison with other Latin translations serves only to further highlight Strebaeus’ dependence upon Cicero here: e.g. Maffei (1505–6) has ‘ipse rex, uti probatissimus’, Donato (1539) renders the clause ‘qui unus regum optimus fuit’, and Camerarius (1564) ‘qui celeberrimi nominis rex fuit’. 66   Text taken from Justus Lipsius, De constantia (Antwerp: Plantin, 1586; 3rd edition), p. 76: ‘& in veris certisque historiis, reperies Cyri regis manu plantaria instituta’. 67  Maffei, Commentariorum urbanorum, Book 20, p. 235v30–3: ‘Venit in amicitiam Cyri Minoris cum quo militavit, ac eius paediam scripsit, non tam historiae serviens veritati quam ut perfectum institueret ducem, ut Cicero in II de Oratore testatur, quam se frequenter lectitasse & manibus trivisse alibi in epistola quadam dicit.’

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50  Noreen Humble Maffei’s inaccuracy is not negligible. Not only was his translation of the Oeconomicus and biographical sketch of Xenophon printed in his popular and frequently reprinted encyclopedic work Commentariorum urbanorum,68 but for a while, too, the biography was extracted and included in composite editions of Xenophon’s works. For example, it closes the first volume of the 1545, 1551, and 1553 Opera omnia editions published by Isingrin in Basel (unannounced in the table of contents, but appearing after the translation of the Hellenica).69 Not everyone makes the mistake. Humphrey is clearly drawing on the Ciceronian passage, but also equally clearly is fully cognizant that the Cyrus the Younger is the subject of the vignette not the Elder. And it must be noted that since, in the end, it is the general image of Persian kings as gardeners which is deployed in other ways by early modern authors, such as Humphrey, whom Hutson argues uses it as a handy exemplar of the nobility ‘labour[ing] in the art of cultural production’, it perhaps is really of no consequence which of the Cyruses is being referenced. But it is worth repeating that not only is this striking Persian image based solely on this passage from Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, but that it is Cicero’s interpretation which dominates dissemination of it. What the examples above show again, therefore, is how absolutely central Cicero is to the reception of Xenophon’s Persia in the early modern period, even down to such a small point of translation as the memorable term quincunx. This thread of Cicero’s influence can still be seen in the seventeenth century when Cyrus and the quincunx become indelibly linked, at least in the English-speaking world, because of the way the seventeenth-century English polymath Thomas Browne (1605–82) chose to entitle his 1658 treatise on the quincuncial ordering of nature: The Garden of Cyrus, or the Quincuncial Lozenge, or Network Plantations of the Ancients, Artificially, Naturally, Mystically considered. In Chapter  1 of this work is found the following:70 . . . our magnified Cyrus was his [Artaxerxes’] second Brother; who gave the occasion of that memorable work, and almost miraculous retrait of Xenophon [i.e. the Anabasis]. A person of high spirit and honour, naturally a King, though fatally prevented by the harmlesse chance of post-geniture: Not only a Lord of Gardens, but a manuall planter thereof: disposing his trees like his armies in regular ordination . . . While many of the Ancients do poorly live in the single names of Vegetables; All stories do look upon Cyrus, as the splendid and regular planter. According whereto Xenophon describeth his gallant plantation at Sardis, thus rendred by Strebæus. Arbores pari intervallo sitas, rectos ordines, & omnia perpulchrè in Quincuncem directa. Which we shall take for granted as being accordingly rendred by the most elegant of the Latines [i.e. Cicero]; 68   It was first printed in Rome in 1506 and reprinted many times thereafter (the USTC lists fifteen ­editions between 1506 and 1565). 69   See, e.g., Xenophon, Xenophontis philosophi et historici clarissimi opera, quae quidem Graecè extant, omnia, partim iam olim, partim nunc primùm, hominum doctissimorum diligentia, in latinam linguam ­conversa  . . . (Basel: M. Isingrin, 1545) (essentially p. 821, though it is not so labelled). 70   This work is included in Geoffrey Keynes (ed.), The Works of Thomas Browne, vol. 1 (London: Faber & Faber, 1964), pp. 173–226 (p. 181 for the quotation).

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Cicero and the Reception of Xenophon ’s Persia  51 Browne, like Humphrey, has the right Cyrus, and though he accessed Xenophon’s ­version through the Latin translation of Strebaeus, who, as noted above, had very closely followed distinctive elements in the Ciceronian version, he is also well aware of Cicero’s text, as the last line in the quotation above shows. Browne’s title could easily not have included The Garden of Cyrus, indeed Cyrus is mentioned only here in the whole work, but that it does contain that phrase indicates once again the powerful influence of Cicero as dictator of how this one snapshot of Xenophon’s Persia is read. Only a few years later, in John Evelyn’s (1620–1706) Pomona, all signs of access to the primary (Xenophon) or secondary (Cicero) texts are absent, though Cicero’s rendering remains (Chapter 5): ‘if the Arable can be so levell’d . . . then without detriment it may assume the Ornament of Cyrus, and flourish in the Quincunx’.71

Conclusion All reception is appropriation and it is frequently more complex than it first appears. Cicero’s advance press for Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and Oeconomicus—and thus at the same time for Xenophon’s Persia—was crucial for the way in which these two works were read and interpreted in the early modern period. But it was not just that Cicero had lauded both, had concisely summarized what he deemed their purpose to be, and had excerpted and dwelt on certain individual episodes in both works, but that he had done so in works of his own that had become staple texts in early modern school rooms: De senectute, De officiis, the Tusculan Disputations, and his letters. Humanists learnt their Latin from these texts, copied them out, memorized them, and worked at imitating their language for reuse for their own purposes. Thus, long before they reached Xenophon’s own Greek texts (and certainly some did in school, though equally many did not), they already knew that the Cyropaedia was a fictional paradigm of a good leader, Cyrus the Elder, who was much admired by Cicero himself and Scipio Africanus, and who lived to a ripe old age, and that the Oeconomicus was a useful text for learning how to increase one’s property in both an honest and a frugal manner and that it contained a striking conversation between a Cyrus (usually correctly identified as Cyrus the Younger) and the Spartan Lysander about noble Persians getting their hands dirty in gardens and orchards. They recalled these Ciceronian passages later, sometimes accurately, sometimes not. In the gardening vignette the memorable term quincunx sticks firmly in their minds often even when they are purporting to translate directly from Xenophon’s 71   John Evelyn, Sylva, or A discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in His Majesties dominions . . . To which is annexed, Pomona; or, An appendix concerning fruit-trees in relation to cider, the making and several ways of ordering it (London: J. Martyn & J. Allestry, 1664). In the letter to his reader Evelyn does note that Cyrus, Cicero, and Cato, among others, were cultivators and ‘that famous Answer alone which a Persian Monarch gave to Lysander, will sufficiently justifie that which I have said’; this passage, however, again tends to support the supposition that access to the vignette was through Cicero and not Xenophon himself.

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52  Noreen Humble Greek text, where it simply does not appear. Thus, the quincunx pattern as a Persian horticultural image is a Ciceronian invention, a Roman embellishment of Xenophon’s ‘ordered rows’, which takes on a life of its own.72 Just as Cicero appropriated Xenophon’s works and read them to fit his own reality, so did the humanists and their readers. Cicero, as a provincial Roman governor, was able to find as much of value in the fictional life of a Persian king written by an ancient Greek as the German humanist and pedagogue Joachim Camerarius did when he re­com­mend­ed it to a young prince as profitable reading for his future leadership role. It is worth reiterating, too, that because Cicero was a staple in classrooms, humanists across geographical, linguistic, and confessional boundaries, for several centuries, read Xenophon through the lens of Cicero and so did not come to Xenophon without well-ingrained youthful preconceptions of what they would find. Thus, in broader terms, the investigation in this chapter is a reminder of the crucial mediating and authorizing role of Latin authors in the rediscovery of Greek texts in the early modern period, and of the even more crucial role played by the choice of texts used in the early modern classroom. It is further a reminder of how some ancient authors viewed Persia and Persians, and thus the Ancient Near East, as part of their world in a way that was not necessarily mirrored by the political realities of the early modern period.73

  It continues to inspire via Thomas Browne: e.g. https://evbvd.com/blog/garden/.   I would like to express my thanks to Jane Grogan for inviting me to speak at her beautifully organized conference on ‘Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe’. I am indebted both to Jane and to Keith Sidwell for their unstinting comments on matters herein. Where I have chosen to accept their excellent advice the paper has been greatly improved. Infelicities that remain are to be laid at my doorstep alone. 72 73

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2 Zoanne Pencaro, an Early Modern Italian Reader of the Ancient Near East in Herodotus Dennis Looney

Over the course of the sixteenth century certain early modern readers of Herodotus used the Histories to reflect on the perils of their contemporary situation in relation to Ottoman expansion, taking Herodotus’ description and analysis of the relation between the Greek world and the Persian empire as a point of comparison.1 Zoanne Pencaro, a minor figure in the court of Ercole I d’Este at the turn of the century, is a very early Italian example of this sort of reader, perhaps one of the first. Pencaro used his encounter with the Herodotean text as a filter through which to comment on a variety of topics, both private and public, including the growing presence of political and cultural forces from Asia understood in a historical context. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman forces advanced across Europe moving north and west swiftly from the former Byzantine capital. By 1500, many of the Christian kingdoms and regions in the Balkans had fallen to the Ottomans and there was the constant threat that the Venetian towns along the Dalmatian coast would be attacked. The likelihood of Ottoman expansion prompted many Byzantine Greeks to seek asylum in Italy in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries and their arrival granted Italian culture greater access to  the world of classical Greek. Teachers like Manuel Chrysoloras, a Greek from Constantinople, and his protégé, Guarino Veronese, who had lived there from 1403 to 1408, contributed to the modernization of the curriculum through the incorporation of classical Greek into the typical program of study for humanists. Chrysoloras wrote the most popular textbook for learning Greek, Erotemata, which Guarino translated into Latin and abbreviated for easier use sometime around 1420.2 Humanists and their 1   For the early modern English response to the ancient near east in Xenophon, Herodotus, and others, which provides some interesting parallels, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 2   For an examination of how Greek made its way into the standard curriculum, see Paul Botley, Learning Greek in Western Europe, 1396–1529: Grammars, Lexica, and Classroom Texts (Philadelphia, PA: American

Dennis Looney, Zoanne Pencaro, an Early Modern Italian Reader of the Ancient Near East in Herodotus In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0003

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54  Dennis Looney students were empowered to read ancient authors and those texts in turn provided them with a historical perspective from which they could contextualize their current situation. The Histories of Herodotus never became a standard text in the new humanist ­curriculum.3 Nevertheless, there is much evidence that shows that Herodotus was being read, studied, discussed, translated, and—most importantly for my argument here—assimilated by general non-scholarly readers in the early modern period. Although the reception of Herodotus in Italy benefited from the influx of Greek culture from the east, the Histories already exhibited an ambiguous, even counter-classical, authority in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy. But what else are we to expect from an author who was known as both the ‘father of history’ and ‘the father of lies’? Soon after 1429 when Guarino arrived in the town of Ferrara, located in northern Italy between Bologna and Venice, having been invited by Nicolò III d’Este to set up a school for the children of the Estense aristocracy and their followers, Herodotus made his entry into the general culture.4 Although there is evidence to suggest that Guarino had already been teaching Herodotus in Venice in the previous decade, and had cultivated important students of Greek there,5 his work in the school for the Este made Ferrara arguably the most important and privileged site for the reception of Herodotus in Europe. The first translation of the Histories in any vernacular language was produced in Ferrara, Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Storie. And Ferrarese readers of all sorts, philologically trained humanists as well as general readers, began to engage with the text, whether in the original Greek, in Lorenzo Valla’s Latin translation, or in Boiardo’s Italian version. One such reader was the relatively unknown figure Zoanne Pencaro, who in reading Herodotus also learned something of the ancient near east in the ­process. In what follows I will present a brief review of the reception of Herodotus in Ferrara in the decades leading up to Boiardo’s translation at the end of the fifteenth Philosophical Society, 2010). Since Botley does not refer to Herodotus, I assume that he finds little or no evidence that the Histories was a text in the typical humanist classroom. But see my comments below on Guarino’s translation of chapters from Book I, which suggests otherwise. 3   In the typical humanist curriculum the reception of Thucydides took precedence over Herodotus. On the intertwined reception of Herodotus and Thucydides, see Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography’, History: The Journal of the Historical Association 43:147 (1958): 1–13. But several recent studies argue against an agonistic relationship between the two ancient authors: Simon Hornblower (ed.), Greek Historiography (New York,NY: Oxford University Press, 1994); Thomas Harrison and Elizabeth Irwin (eds.), Interpreting Herodotus (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018); and Tim Rood, ‘From Ethnography to History: Herodotean and Thucydidean Traditions in the Development of Greek Historiography’, in Herodotus in the Long Nineteenth Century, edited by Thomas Harrison and Joseph Skinner (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press). 4   Dennis Looney, ‘The Reception of Herodotus in the Ferrarese Quattrocento’, Annali Online Lettere 7:1 (2012): 167. 5   See my comments on Guarino and Francesco Barbaro in ‘The Reception of Herodotus’, pp. 169–70. Another student in Venice (between 1415 and 1416) was Vittorino da Feltre, who would set up his own innovative school at the Gonzaga court in Mantua soon thereafter. For a detailed discussion of Vittorino’s career and how Guarino’s teaching of Greek shaped him as a pedagogue, see the introduction by William Harrison Woodward, Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), pp. 1–92.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  55 century. Then I will consider Zoanne Pencaro’s response to the text, with attention to his reading of the ancient near east in the Greek author. If one can date the reception of Herodotus in Ferrara with Guarino’s arrival in 1429, one can track the material engagement with the text from an abbreviated version of Book I in Latin that Guarino probably created himself for use in the classroom. Manuscript 203, housed in the Biblioteca Classense, Ravenna, contains a relatively faithful rendering into Latin of a selection of chapters from Histories 1.1–71. External and internal evidence led Riccardo Truffi to conclude that the manuscript, which is not in Guarino’s hand, was probably compiled by one of his students, perhaps the famous Venetian humanist Francesco Barbaro.6 Written works by two other students, Janus Pannonius and Girolamo Castello, which include interesting responses to Herodotus, also suggest some of the ways in which Guarino may have used Herodotus in the classroom.7 During the principate of Guarino’s star pupil, Leonello d’Este, who ruled Ferrara from 1441 to 1450, interest in Herodotus grew. The Milanese humanist Angelo Decembrio’s De politia litteraria, written sometime not too long after the death of Leonello, paints a vivid picture of the intellectual life among the scholars who enjoyed Leonello’s patronage. The lively conversation Decembrio reconstructs includes a reference to Lorenzo Valla’s recent translation of Herodotus into Latin.8 Decembrio’s interlocutors make other references to Herodotus, among them an interesting observation that links the Greek historian to a later Roman historian, Justin (499), who is known for his epitome of the Philippic Histories of Pompeius Trogus. Decembrio has his interlocutors also make an erudite point in reference to a character who figures prominently in several stories in Herodotus’ narrative, Polycrates (626–7). Leon Battista Alberti, a member of Leonello’s intellectual circle, shares this growing interest in Herodotus and features it in Theogenius, a moral dialogue he writes in the years between 1438 and 1441, which he dedicates to Leonello. Composed in Tuscan Italian, the dialogue contains several key references to Herodotus that are points of departure for a variety of discussions including the marvellous, the definition of history, and the philosophy of fortune, which is the principal theme of the work. Alberti uses Herodotus to make several points that touch on the ancient near east including Egypt, one of which I will revisit in more detail below. Ferrarese interest in Herodotus continued to grow in subsequent decades of the ­fifteenth century. Leonello’s younger half-brother, Ercole, who ruled Ferrara from 1471 to 1505, commissioned Matteo Maria Boiardo to complete the first vernacular 6   Riccardo Truffi, ‘Erodoto tradotto da Guarino Veronese’, Studi italiani di filologia classica 10 (1902): 73. On pages 76–7 Truffi points out that Guarino omits the following chapters: 18–22, 49–52, 54, 57–8, 66, 70, and portions of chapters 9–17, 32, 41–2, 46, 53, 60, 62–3, 67. 7   For more details on these two authors and their Herodotean texts, see Looney, ‘The Reception of Herodotus’, pp. 171–3. For his part, Castello wrote an imaginative Latin poetic composition that includes four lines of Greek in which he describes Herodotus travelling from Greece to Ferrara to visit Guarino’s house! 8   De politia litteraria (Basel: Johannes Hervagius, 1562), p. 51.

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56  Dennis Looney translation of Herodotus in any language, which the court poet and functionary ­finished around 1491, working from Valla’s Latin version with some attention to the original Greek.9 On 30 October 1498, Isabella d’Este received a copy of Boiardo’s translation, which she had requested from her relative Alberto Maria d’Este, and in a letter of the following year, dated 9 July 1499, she insisted on keeping the copy until she actually had time to finish reading it.10 Among non-scholarly readers, Boiardo’s vernacular rendition was being talked about, sought out, and read. For readers around 1500, Herodotus was a unique source of information on the peoples and history of the ancient near east and the translation of the Histories into the vernacular made it available to readers without the specialized linguistic training of the humanists, including female readers such as Isabella, and, as we shall see, Zoanne Pencaro. In the prologue to his translation, Boiardo makes a striking reference to Herodotus when he invokes the commonplace of Greeks fleeing Constantinople in the face of the Ottoman invasion. As he concludes the prologue, Boiardo dedicates the entire work to his patron, Ercole, with this plea: ‘E come spesse volte molti principi forestieri ho veduti in quella [nella vostra corte] ricetare, e di Inghilterra et di Spagna, et di Ungaria, et dalle altre estremita del mondo: cosi gli adirizzo questo vecchio Greco di sua patria cacciato raccomandandolo con me insiemi alla V. Ecce.’11 (And since I have often seen you receive many foreign princes in your court, from England, Spain, Hungary, and from other distant corners of the world, I am sending you this old Greek who has been run out of his own country, my Lord, commending him and myself to your Excellency.) Around 1490 when the prologue was written, Ercole was indeed positioning Ferrara as a key player in international affairs such that Boiardo could make his claim of the state’s sweeping international connections without seeming ridiculous or sycophantic. In the translator’s request that Herodotus be welcomed, the compass moves from England in the north, to Spain in the south-west, to Hungary in the east, accurately outlining Ferrara’s broad contacts across the map of Europe at the end of the 1400s. Ercole enjoyed good diplomatic relations with England, being invested, for example, in the Order of the Garter by Edward IV in 1480. Through his marriage to Eleonora d’Aragona, daughter of Ferdinand I of Naples, Ercole maintained strong ties to Neapolitan culture and to the Aragonese in the Iberian peninsula. Eleonora’s sister, Beatrice d’Aragona, was married to the king of Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, a connection that made it possible for Ercole’s second son, Ippolito, to be granted a bishopric in Esztergom in 1487, an important stepping stone toward his nomination as a cardinal in 1493. Northern and southern Europe met in Ercole’s cosmopolitan court, which had a 9   For a detailed examination of Boiardo’s translation, see Dennis Looney, ‘Herodotus and Narrative Art in Renaissance Ferrara: The Translation of Matteo Maria Boiardo’, in Brill’s Companion to Herodotus in Antiquity and Beyond, edited by Jessica Priestly and Vassiliki Zali (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 232–53. 10   Alessandro Luzio and Rodolfo Renier, La coltura e le relazioni letterarie di Isabella d’Este Gonzaga (Turin: Loescher, 1903), pp. 15 and 23. For the text of the letter, see IDEA/Isabella D’Este Archive (http:// isabelladeste.web.unc.edu/), Archivio Gonzaga, Busta 2993, folio 30r–30v. Accessed 9 August 2016. 11  Herodotus, Herodoto alicarnaseo historico Delle guerre de Greci & de Persi/tradotto di greco in lingua italiana per il conte Mattheo Maria Boiardo (Venice: Sessa, 1539), p. 3v.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  57 unique foothold in eastern Europe through its ties to Hungary. And Hungary gave Ferrara a special vantage point from which to consider the steady advance of Turkish culture out of Asia and across Europe. Boiardo uses Herodotus to locate Ferrara at the centre of a large triangle whose most distant points are England, Spain, and Hungary. This particular panorama of European geography—England, Spain, Italy, Hungary— is mapped out in the context of the emerging threat of Turkish power, which has ­displaced Herodotus, making him an exile. In the literary political imaginary of the moment, the Turkish or Ottoman empire was readily conflated with the ancient Persian culture of the Achaemenid empire.12 As I have discussed elsewhere, it is easy to point to examples in Boiardo’s translation and in his narrative poem, Inamoramento de Orlando, where the ancient realm of Persia overlaps with the medieval Saracen world that the poet represents, which stands in for the contemporary threat of the Turk.13 Similarly Persians, Saracens, and Turks are often interconnected in Boiardo’s translation of Herodotus, as revealed by additional and sometimes erroneous parenthetical glosses the translator adds to the text. For example, Herodotus refers to the Persian word for sword, akinakes, at Histories 7.54.2, which Boiardo glosses in his version, ‘that is, curved swords’.14 But the sword in question is actually a large dagger used by Persians in the first millennium bce, which was, in fact, not curved at all. In the late Middle Ages the term came to be used for curved swords such as the scimitar associated with the Arabic and Turkish worlds. Boiardo takes the liberty of reading into the text his interpretation of the kind of sword he assumes it must be and he makes the ancient Persian sword look like a modern Turkish weapon. Boiardo’s translation not only made Herodotus available to readers who did not have the language skills of the typical humanist; it also introduced them to the ancient near east and did so in a manner that influenced their interpretation of it. New vernacular readers were empowered to see connections between the modern Turkish and ancient Persian worlds and they were encouraged even to conflate those worlds at times. One such reader from Ferrara, Zoanne Pencaro, commissioned a copy of Boiardo’s translation in 1491 almost as soon as the translation was completed. The colophon to his manuscript copy discussed below provides some details about the commission. In the process of reading the work over the next decade, he left a remarkable set of marginal annotations in his northern Italian dialect and a few in Latin, amounting 12   Among the Italian readers of Herodotus in the early sixteenth century, I have found no one who s­ pecifically acknowledges contemporary Persian culture, that is, the Safavid imperial dynasty that ruled an area that included all of Iran and much of Iraq and Afghanistan from 1501 to 1722. But around 1500, Italians were already aware of the Persian court, as Baldesar Castiglione’s comments in the Book of the Courtier (published in 1528 but set in 1507) make clear. In Book 3, one of the dialogue’s interlocutors, Federico Fregoso, reminds the group as they discuss the ideal courtier that the Turkish and Persian courts should also be considered potential models for courtly behaviour; see The Courtier, translated by Charles Singleton and edited by Daniel Javitch (New York, NY: Norton, 2002), p. 149. 13   Looney, ‘Herodotus and Narrative Art’, pp. 243–5. 14   The phrase in Boiardo’s Italian is ‘cioe spade ritorte’. Herodotus, Delle guerre de Greci et de Persi, tradotto di greco in lingua italiana per il conte Mattheo Maria Boiardo (Venice: Bariletto, 1565), p. 237r.

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58  Dennis Looney to nearly 2500 words.15 His notes recorded in α.H.3.22, housed in the Biblioteca Estense, Modena, provide an indication of how one reader read this ancient Greek historical text made newly available in the language of the people. As we will see below, his is a highly personalized response to the Greek author. In the 1470s, Pencaro’s father, Guglielmo, completed several complicated diplomatic missions for Ercole and in 1474 was rewarded with property to the north of Ferrara, north of the Po in the Alto Polesine, an area then undergoing land reclamation at the centre of which is a town now called, appropriately, Pincara, assuming the name of the family that developed the area around it over the centuries. Zoanne was a lesser figure in Ercole’s court, serving as a ducal page and eventually becoming an important contact in Ferrara for Isabella d’Este after she married Francesco Gonzaga in 1490 and moved to Mantova. A fascinating cache of letters from him to her composed during Carnival in 1499 documents Isabella’s voracious appetite for detailed information on Ferrarese cultural life, specifically on the innovative theatrical arts in her hometown.16 We noted above that Isabella was trying to read Herodotus at that same time but there is no evidence that she and Pencaro ever discussed the author. Pencaro’s annotations are concentrated on passages in the more ethnographic first half of the Herodotean work and, perhaps surprisingly, he seems almost uninterested in the description of the war between the Greeks and Persians. But, as we will see, he does read some passages in the first half of the Histories in a highly politicized way. His marginal notes, which run from folio 4 to 183 (of 370 folios), provide a detailed and in some cases strikingly subjective series of observations on topics that include contemporary politics around the Italian peninsula at the turn of the century, land reclamation and flood control (for which he finds many points of comparison with the ancient near east), sexual relations, and even a note on how he urinates. Perhaps nothing is more personal than this last subject and yet the specific gloss in question, written with a flourish of dialect and exhibiting the sort of verbal wit that would please a reader of Boccaccio, is far from being the most moving of the collected notes. In reading about Scythians, Egyptians, Massagetes, not to mention Greeks and Persians, Pencaro has occasion to comment on the Milanese, French, Turks, and Cesare Borgia, as well as to reflect deeply on links between ancient figures and any number of characters from the Ferrara and Italy of his day, first among them Ercole d’Este, who was in the final years of his long rule when Pencaro made his notes. Pencaro has a keen eye for the ways in which Duke Ercole prepares for the transition in government to his eldest son, Alfonso. It is a difficult moment for Ferrara with the Church under the Borgias to the south and 15   For a complete text of the annotations and the criteria used for the transcription, a brief technical description of the manuscript, and a bibliography, see Dennis Looney, ‘Le postille al codice del volgarizzamento di Erodoto di Matteo Maria Boiardo, Biblioteca Estense, Modena, α.H.3.22’, in Hérodote à la Renaissance, edited by Susanna Gambino Longo (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012), pp. 67–85. All subsequent citations to the manuscript are keyed to this mini-edition, which provides the folio page number of the passage. The translation of Pencaro’s annotations is my own. 16   Alessandro Luzio and Rodolfo Renier, ‘Commedie classiche in Ferrara nel 1499’, Giornale Storico della Letteratura Italiana 11 (1888): 177–89.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  59 with Venice to the north threatening the political viability of the small duchy. Duke Ercole struggles to employ strategic diplomacy and military force when necessary, but also defers to prophetesses and astrologers in the last years of his life in an attempt to bequeath a governable state to his son. The colophon at the end of α.H.3.22 in Pencaro’s hand provides an unusual wealth of information on the genesis of the manuscript, listing the names of the scribal copyist, the illuminator, the binder, as well as Pencaro’s. Fu scripto questo libro chiamato Herodoto Alicarnasseo padre della historia greca per Vitaliano di Trotti, e pagato per mi Zoanne Pencharo da Parma, e miniato per el figliuolo de maestro Andrea dalle Veze, e ligato per maestro Matheo da Ferrara negli anni de la asumpta redemptione 1491: a di 29 de Octobre. Et fu dicto anno memorabile nelquale el Re di Portugallo con ingeniosa e liberal pratica ridusse alla catolica religione molti signori e populli degle17 Isole noviter trovate.

(This book called Herodotus of Halicarnassus, father of Greek history, was copied by Vitaliano di Trotti and paid for by me, Zoanne Pencaro from Parma.18 It was illuminated by the son of Master Andrea dalle Veze and bound by Matheo da Ferrara in the year of our assumed redemption 1491 on the 29th of October. And this was a memorable year in which the King of Portugal with strategic and generous means brought into the Catholic faith many leaders and their people from the recently discovered islands.) When the manuscript first appeared on the rare book market in the early twentieth century, there was an extended discussion over whether Pencaro claims to have ‘corrected’ or ‘paid for’ it (‘purgato’ vs ‘pagato’) in four articles in La Bibliofilia published between 1917 and 1929.19 The verdict was that the best reading is ‘pagato’, that is, that he ‘paid for’ the production of the manuscript. An additional point that was debated was whether or not the manuscript is a copy, glosses and all, of a now-lost manuscript. The colophon refers to the date 1491, whereas Pencaro dates another gloss in 1502. He may have read the manuscript over a decade or perhaps he had it copied and then picked it up a decade later to annotate at his leisure. To add to the complexity in the reception of this intriguing example of material culture, there is a copy of the Modena manuscript in the Staatsbibliothek of Berlin, Hamilton 294, made by Domenico Gaza, relative of the important Ferrarese humanist Theodore Gaza, in 1505, which curiously also contains an almost exact transcription of Pencaro’s glosses. There is more that could be said about this colophon, including Pencaro’s reference to the king of Portugal in the final sentence. King John II is identified for having 17   Pencaro corrects an orthographical mistake as he writes, which may reflect an original grammatical error on his part that he is trying to emend by striking the ‘g’ from the articulated preposition. 18   Pencaro was born in Parma but raised in Ferrara. 19   Carlo Frati, ‘Il volgarizzamento di Erodoto, di M. M. Boiardo e un codice che lo contiene’, La Bibliofilia 19 (1917–18): 114–17; Giulio Bertoni, ‘Giovanni Pincaro’, La Bibliofilia 19 (1917–18): 253–4; Carlo Frati, ‘Un nuovo codice del volgarizzamento di Erodoto di M. M. Boiardo’, La Bibliofilia 20 (1918–19): 265–7; Giulio Reichenbach, ‘Il codice della traduzione boiardesca di Erodoto’, La Bibliofilia 31 (1929): 281–4.

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60  Dennis Looney spearheaded the Portuguese colonization of the islands of São Tomé and Principe (St Thomas and Prince) off the west coast of equatorial Africa in the early 1490s. Suffice it to point out that Pencaro associates reading Herodotus with the exploration of new worlds, as will subsequent chroniclers of the Americas such as José de Acosta and El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, both of whom know and use Herodotus in their narratives of Spanish colonization in Peru. Pencaro as a reader of Herodotus can adapt the text for discussion of the ancient near east or the new world. The sheer quantity of notes along with many markings of an engaged reader— crosses in the margins, dashes, and a manicule (58)—indicate that Pencaro read attentively with deliberate purpose. Many of the annotations are repetitions of proper nouns, people, and places, referred to in the text, which the reader registers perhaps to return to later or merely to punctuate the activity of working through the lengthy narrative. Many of the names were no doubt familiar to the annotator as he made his way through the text—Europa, Medea, Helena, Arione, Solon, Hipocrate—but many were probably new—Aliate, Sadaite, Astiage, Ariena. And many are names taken from the peoples of the ancient near east that Herodotus is describing: Deioce, Cambise, Harpago, Cyrro.20 There are also detailed notes in which Pencaro writes much more than a single noun, often crafting entire sentences in response to the passage at hand. Pencaro was not the sort of philological humanist who trained in Guarino’s school, though he does seem somewhat educated. He does not register any sign of being interested in Boiardo’s text as a translation proper. Nor is there anything to indicate that Pencaro as annotator thought about the transmission of the Herodotean text to him in its current state, from Greek to the Italian text he was reading, with, most certainly, Valla’s Latin translation as an intermediary. Of note in this regard is the fact that he does not make a single comment on Boiardo’s prologue to the translation, with its fascinating glimpse into the way the Estense court read and used classical texts. Moreover, as we saw, Boiardo’s prologue with its plea on the importance of Herodotus makes a strong case for the central position of Herodotus in a courtly canon. Somewhere in the process of rendering the Greek text into Italian, of making Herodotus ‘speak in Italian’, as Boiardo puts it, the vulnerability of the text and its transmission had been forgotten, as if the struggle to unearth and reconstruct classical texts had already been won, even at this early date. Pencaro seems oblivious to the challenges of previous generations of humanists. It may be that this uncritical, naïve acceptance of the classical text in the modern world heralds a new kind of appropriation of the classical. For Pencaro, the classical text seems to have become a more straightforward, simplistic even, source of exemplarity, as in this gloss from the story of Polycrates: ‘exemplo di fortuna’ (95v) (example of good luck). Pencaro rather freely and uncritically associates the ancient circumstances to his own. Rather than look back as a humanistic archaeologist and historian, Pencaro looks forward to an uncertain future as a private citizen with Herodotus as a new kind of guide to what might come. Pencaro is a new kind of   Pencaro follows Boiardo’s spelling of Cyrus with a double r: Cyrro.

20

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Early Modern Italian Readers  61 v­ ernacular reader of the classics in translation, precisely the sort of reader who will take up Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso with gusto. Although Pencaro is not philologically inclined, that is not to say that he is uninterested in words. He can be playful with morphology, as when he writes ‘barbaro ­barbaramente’ (79) (barbarously barbarian) and ‘bestiale crudeltad ove[ro] crudele bestialitade’ (93) (bestial cruelty or cruel bestiality). And he can vary syntax in a way that suggests a kind of unpedantic delight in variety for its own sake, as when he notes: ‘Astyage rotto per bataglia’ (Astyage defeated in battle) followed immediately by ‘Astyage per bataglia rotto et preso’ (31v) (Astyage in battle defeated and captured). In several glosses Pencaro displays interest in the meanings of words. In one such linguistic gloss, which refers to chains that prisoners wear, he explains: ‘Compede Legami sono de ferro’ (18v) (Chains for the feet, they are links of iron). The technical term ‘compede’, which takes its name from chaining the prisoner’s feet together, is defined in the rest of the gloss. In another, the annotator reveals some knowledge of Greek: ‘Calista idest bellissima’ (158) (Calista, that is, most beautiful). In another gloss, he is interested in Herodotus’ attention to the specific word in the Scythian language to describe a race of one-eyed men who live beyond the borders of Scythia: ‘Arimaspi monoculi in lingua Sciticha’ (129) (One-eyed Arimasps in the Scythian language). Perhaps the most striking of these linguistic glosses takes us to the realities of Pencaro’s historical moment, with the threat of Turkish armies raiding the Dalmatian coast across the Adriatic from the peninsula, when he writes: ‘come li padaglioni che al presente usano gli turchi che loro appellano ottachi’ (like the tents that the Turks are now using, which they call ‘ottachs’). We will consider this gloss in more detail below. Frequently Pencaro glosses a passage by summarizing it, sometimes with a moralizing tone. At 15v he notes: ‘risposta bene odita et male intensa’ (answer clearly heard and poorly understood). And on a different passage two pages later, ‘Responso ben decto et male inteso’ (Response well put and poorly understood), as if to imply that a modern reader has much to learn from the conduct of the ancients as presented in the narrative of the Greek historian. In a rare direct address to one of the characters in Herodotus’ text, Pencaro is critical of the ruler’s behaviour: ‘[cr]udele Amasis dio te salvi’ (78v) ([C]ruel Amasis, may God save you). Pencaro’s notes referring to contemporary events in Ferrara and around the Italian peninsula during the transitional years between the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries demonstrate his active mode of applying his reading of the ancient text. The comments on what is happening around him may seem, at first glance, rather neutral. For example, he writes in one of the few Latin notes, ‘ut temporibus nostris Nicolaus Estensis’ (81) (as Nicolò d’Este in our time) to gloss the following passage: ‘et certamente la natura d’Amasis era data à diletto et aliena dalle facende penserose et alte pero che quando egli era privato solea spendere tutto il giorno e molta parte della notte in conviti in bere in scherzi e in gioco . . .’ (75v). (To be sure, the nature of Amasis was given over to pleasure and far removed from elevated and thoughtful undertakings; when he was alone, he was wont to spend the whole day and much of the night drinking, enjoying himself,

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62  Dennis Looney and at play.) Upon closer examination, then, one realizes that this seemingly bland line is actually a gloss on Nicolò III d’Este, the father of Leonello, Borso, and Ercole, who was famous for his propensity for producing bastards. A popular refrain from those days provides a helpful context: ‘di qua e di là dal Po / tutti figli di Nicolò’ (All up and down the Po, everywhere children of Nicolò).21 Pencaro’s ‘in our time’ vaguely refers to his contemporary Estense Ferrara and reaches back to the first half of the quattrocento.22 At f. 26v he contrasts the harsh treatment of the subjects of Deioces, ruler of the Medes, with the treatment of those under the rule of Ludovico Sforza, tyrannical despot of Milan: ‘servitute extrema magiore di quella degli serventi Ludovico Sforcia in Milano a tempi nostri, quivi almanco ridere et sputare si puote’ (a harsh example of servitude greater even than that practised by Ludovico Sforza in Milan in our own time. Here at least people can laugh and spit). In a characteristic tone, he notes that Ludovico ‘at least’ allows his subjects to spit and laugh. The note’s humour indicates that the annotator could detach himself enough from a current situation to comment wryly on it. This sharp wit distinguishes much of his commentary. A reference to Cesare Borgia provides one of the dates for the annotations (f. 103). The commentator observes the open frankness with which Darius, Otanes, and other leaders address each other concerning who will rule the Persian state and discussing what form of government is best: monarchy, oligarchy, or democracy. At 3.80 Otanes advocates unsuccessfully for democracy over monarchy or oligarchy. Pencaro then contrasts Borgia: ‘prudente ma civile risposta; se tanto consul[te]ria il caso Cesare fig[lio] di Alexandro pontifi[ce] serebbeno anco Vitello[zzo] vivo et Leprotto [vivo]’ (prudent and civil response; if only Cesare the son of Pope Alexander had taken note, Vitellozzo and Leprotto would still be alive). On 31 December 1502, Paolo Orsini, who had sworn allegiance to Cesare Borgia earlier in the year in the town of Imola, had Vitellozzo Vitelli and Oliverotto da Fermo strangled to death. The variant ‘Leprotto’ in the gloss is a less common form of the name Oliverotto or Liverotto. To be sure, this gloss does not reflect a profound historical insight of the sort that Machiavelli introduces in chapters 7 and 8 of The Prince, where he refers to the same episode in his version of Cesare Borgia’s rise and fall. Nor does it reflect the journalistic detail of the short work that Machiavelli wrote on the incident in 1503, Descrizione del modo tenuto dal Duca Valentino nello ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, il Signor Pagolo e il duca di Gravina Orsini. Nevertheless, it demonstrates our annotator’s attention to the most current chronicles of his day and it shows his ability to interpret his contemporary history with the past as a guide. As elsewhere, Pencaro’s tone here is slightly moralistic: Vitellozzo and Oliverotto would be alive, he states, if Borgia respected decent civil behaviour. Pencaro had to have made this specific annotation sometime after 1 January 1503.   Cited in Massimo Felisatti, A teatro con gli Estensi (Ferrara: Corbo, 1999), p. 21.   The tenor of the passage in Herodotus leads me to conclude that the gloss is indeed in reference to Nicolò III rather than Ercole’s estranged relative Nicolò di Leonello, who tried to stage a coup d’état in 1476. 21 22

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Early Modern Italian Readers  63 There are several passages where Pencaro simply glosses a political detail from the narrative of Herodotus with one from his own day, suggesting a kind of structural parallel between then and now. At 38v he observes: ‘Cambyse da Cyrro suo patre ellecto Re nel pericolo che a giorni nostri fu Ferdinando da Alphonso suo patre in Neapoli contro a francesi et cetera’ (Cambyses chosen king by his father Cyrus in a dangerous situation similar to that of Ferdinand chosen by his father Alfonso in Naples against the French etc.). He makes no profound point about the parallel between Cyrus passing his kingdom on to Cambyses and Alfonso doing likewise with Ferdinando. Perhaps this gloss merely reflects the special relationship the Estense had with the Neapolitans under Ercole. The duchess Leonora, who was originally from the Neapolitan ruling family, had died in 1493, perhaps before these notes were composed, but Ercole remained on relatively good terms with his former in-laws until his death. Similarly at 52v, Pencaro sees a parallel between three Egyptian prophetesses mentioned by Herodotus and a controversial religious figure who had moved to Ferrara by the time he was reading the history: [P]romenea profetesse come a [T]imareta tempi nostri Lucia da [N]icandra Viterbo (Promeneia, Timarete, Nicandra: prophetesses similar to Lucia da Viterbo in our day). This gloss also helps date the annotations, for we know that Ercole agitated to bring the so-called ‘santa viva’ (living saint), Lucia Brocadelli, from Viterbo to Ferrara in 1499.23 A telling marginal note deep in Pencaro’s copy, on folio 168v, documents an awareness of the approaching proximity of the Turk, and highlights how his ability to  compare then and now can be applied to comparisons between the ancient Mediterranean world and his contemporary world in relation to the Turkish empire. Pencaro comments on a passage from 4.190, where Herodotus states of Libyan nomads: ‘Their houses, which are portable, are made out of asphodel stalks woven on to a reed framework.’24 Boiardo’s version is approximate but he conveys the gist of the original: ‘E loro habitacoli sono di verge e copertati di panni intorno. Sono portatili e 23   On Lucia, see the entry by Adriano Prosperi, ‘Brocadelli (Broccadelli) Lucia’, in Dizionario biografico degli Italiani, vol. 14 (Rome: Treccani, 1972), pp. 381–3. On speculation about her relationship with Ercole, see E. Ann Matter, ‘Prophetic Patronage as Repression: Lucia Brocadelli da Narni and Ercole d’Este’, in Christendom and Its Discontents: Exclusion, Persecution and Rebellion, 1000–1500, edited by Scott L. Waugh and Peter D. Diehl (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 168–76. On Lucia as a model for the character of the wizard Melissa in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, see Laura Fortini, ‘Una beata, un duca, una città: la strana storia di Lucia Brocadelli da Narni (con una appendice ariostesca)’, in Presenze eterodosse nel Viterbese tra quattro e cinquecento, edited by Vincenzo De Caprio and Concetta Ranieri (Rome: Archivio Guido Izzi, 2000), pp. 63–76. Finally, on Lucia and the ties between witchcraft and female holiness, see Tamar Herzig, Christ Transformed into a Virgin Woman: Lucia Brocadelli, Heinrich Institoris, and the Defense of the Faith (Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2013). 24  Herodotus, The Histories, translated by Robin Waterfield (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 299.

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64  Dennis Looney pongosi intorno a girare.’ (Their dwellings are made of willows covered with cloth. They are portable and they are set up in circles.)25 In response to this rather innocuous observation in Herodotus, Pencaro notes somewhat ominously: ‘come i padiglioni che al presente usano gli turchi che loro appellano ottachi’26 (like the tents that the Turks are now using, which they call ‘ottachs’). While the note itself is not an outright expression of fear, the image it conjures up is of the pavilions used by the Turks during war to station soldiers between battles. And it is, consequently, an image of aggression. More to the point is Pencaro’s emphasis on the adverbial moment: ‘al presente.’ The previous glosses had been of a different tone altogether as he commented on the sexual practices of nomads who share their wives (4.172–3). The image of ancient tents described by Herodotus calls to mind the pavilions of the Turkish invaders described by contemporary chroniclers and that comparison abruptly interrupts the annotator’s anthropological reverie. Among the other glosses on political topics, there are several that suggest an awareness of the harsh reality of courtly and political life in Pencaro’s world. On spies, as much a feature of the Estense court as of ancient Babylonia, he says: ‘spie: occhij del Re’ (28v) (spies: the King’s eyes). This gloss is followed by a citation attributed to the young Cyrus: ‘senza obedientia nulla vale la signoria’ (29) (without obedience the power of government is worthless), a line equally applicable to Pencaro’s Ferrara as to the ancient near east. And another on Persia: ‘la veritate in Persia è summa virtute et per contrario el uccidere è vizio capitale’ (32) (truth in Persia is a supreme virtue and murder, by contrast, is a capital offence), as if to imply things might be different in his own world. A gloss such as ‘disonesti ambasciatori’ (175v) (dishonest ambassadors) probably reflects the concern of a citizen of a small state amidst much larger and aggressive neighbours. The most chauvinistic of the overtly political annotations is a reference to Ercole’s deft handling of the political crises raging around his state. The crisis prompted by the descent into Italy of Charles VIII in 1494 was coming into its own at the time Pencaro was reading Herodotus. Northern Italy was in chaos. ‘Come in exempio Hercule estense elquale nelle ruine de Italia cum tollerantia fino a qui il stato suo conserva’ (175v). (As for example Ercole d’Este who in the ruins of Italy has ­preserved his state up to this point with patient forbearance.) With this observation 25  Herodotus, Delle guerre de Greci et de Persi, translated by Matteo Maria Boiardo (Venice: Bariletto, 1565), p. 160. Translation of Boiardo’s version is my own. 26   This word does not appear in the Vocabolario della Crusca (1914), but it is in Salvatore Battaglia, Grande dizionario della lingua italiana (Turin: UTET, 2002), vol. 12, p. 273: ‘Ottach, sf. Invar. Ant. Stanza. M. Membré, 20: Qual palazzo ha tre pavioni, uno dietro l’altro, e il secondo pavion è molto grando [sic]: dentro vi sta una ottach . . . = Dal persiano utaq, deriv. dal turco cajatay otaq “tenda di una principe” .’ (Ottach, femine singular, invariable. Ancient word for ‘room’. M. Membré, 20: The palace has three courtyards, one after another, with the second being very large; in it stands a large tent . . . = From the Persian utaq, which comes from the Turkish cajatay otaq, ‘tent of a prince’.) In addition to a glossary with a definition of ottach on p. 215 and the passage cited on p. 20, Battaglia’s source provides a helpful introduction to the complicated relations between the Ottoman empire and the Safavid empire of early modern Persia: Michele Membré, Relazione di Persia (1542), edited by Giorgio R. Cardona (Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1969). The Concise Oxford Turkish Dictionary, edited by A. D. Anderson and Fahir Iz (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959; rpt. 1975), p. 260, defines otak thus: ‘Large nomad tent’.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  65 late in the manuscript, which is one of Pencaro’s final notes, it becomes clear just how impressed he is with Ercole’s success in the fragile art of governing. It is interesting to note that his success seems to depend on his ‘tollerantia’, his patient forbearance. The comparison is to Amyntas, king of Macedonia, whose ‘pacientia’ in interacting with the Persians is praised at 5.18–20. And perhaps by extension, Pencaro is comparing Ercole’s overbold son, Alfonso, to the son of Amyntas, Alexander, who takes it upon himself to murder the Persians they are hosting. Pencaro seems not to care or know that this is the furthest west the Persian empire extended. His interest is more in the morality of governing than in the reality of the government. Not merely in reference to Ercole’s successful governing of the state does Pencaro show his Ferrarese colours. He identifies a local kind of cattle: ‘bovi sencia corne alla ferrarese’ (132) (Ferrarese style cattle without horns); he refers to the trustworthiness of Ferrarese merchants: ‘fede di mercatanti ferraresi’ (169) (faithfulness of merchants from Ferrara). And like a good Ferrarese citizen concerned with developing the city and the surrounding countryside, Pencaro is interested, obsessed really, with any discussion in Herodotus on water, whether in reference to rivers or lakes or the ocean.27 The Ferrarese worked hard to manage and control the Po and its tributaries in the ongoing process of land reclamation, drainage, and irrigation, and they were especially active in reclamation projects during Ercole’s rule. Pencaro singles out dozens of rivers and lakes referred to in the classical text as if he were trying to learn them all. He seems especially attentive to passages where Herodotus describes waterworks or engineering attempts to control water. A Babylonian queen, Nitokris, defends Babylon by diverting the Euphrates: ‘Nitocre Regina fece il fiume Euphrate tortuoso’ (33v) (Queen Nitokris diverted the Euphrates river). Cyrus, too, affects the flow of a river by creating numerous channels: ‘Gindo fiume da Cyrro fatto ramoso’ (34v) (the river Gyndes that Cyrus made into many branches). The Nile and its delta catch Pencaro’s attention in more than one passage (44–44v). The annotator alludes to a drought in Ferrara, which was threatening the city at the time of his reading: ‘miracolo de pioggia a Thebe a ferrara non’ (86) (miracle of rain at Thebes but not in Ferrara). And he wants his own well to rise again: ‘volesse idio che tanto se alciasse il pociolino mio’ (43) (if God would only make [the water level in] my little well rise again). The subject behind that possessive pronoun ‘my’ permeates the glosses: ‘ventura non mia’ (95v) (not my luck), in reference to a story that features the catching of a big fish; ‘[r]imedio optimo per me’ (167v) (fine medicine for me), on a balm to reduce catarrh made of goat’s urine, said, I think, with something of a wink; ‘questa tengo io per folla’ (67) (I think this sounds crazy), on the story of the Egyptian king Rhampsinitos who descended into the underworld and played dice with Demeter; Pencaro takes a 27   The sixteenth-century Emilian anonymous reader of the 1565 edition of Boiardo’s Herodotus (Venice: Bariletto) housed in Bergamo, Biblioteca di Sant’Alessandro in Colonna, BDC S 6 16, provides nearly thirty different glosses in the first two sections of Book II on water and water management. Like Pencaro, he uses Herodotus’ interest in water in the ancient near east, in this case Egypt, to comment on water issues in his own time and place.

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66  Dennis Looney cue from Herodotus who likewise questions the credibility of the story he reports at 2.123. In contrast, other early modern readers whose annotations I have examined are more reserved and less personal, such as the anonymous sixteenth-century annotator of a printed copy from 1539 in the Folger Library, whose notes typically are generic, along the lines of ‘costumi de Persi’ (customs of the Persians).28 Nowhere is the presence of Pencaro’s individual voice heard more forcefully than in the many passages about sexual relations, including an allusion to his own wife’s fidelity. Herodotus is famous for the attention he gives to sexual mores in his ethnographic research and hardly a single passage on the topic in Boiardo’s version escapes Pencaro’s attention. He glosses sexual passion in a variety of contexts: ‘fetente libidine’ (17) (stinking lechery); ‘publica libidine’ (37v) (public lechery); ‘furiosa libidine’ (58) (insane lechery). On sexual intercourse he notes in one gloss ‘choito’ (108) (coitus) and in another ‘publico choito’ (111v) (public coitus). On a procession during a fertility festival in which Herodotus describes women dancing before the phallus, Pencaro editorializes: ‘[p]halillo membro vergognoso’ (51v) (phallus, the shameful member). Despite the shame or disgust expressed in regard to some passages, the annotator can say something like the following on Herodotus’ observation that Massagete men signal to their peers that they are having sex by hanging their bows on the outside of their covered wagons: ‘Moglie ben tractate attachando larco et la faretra alla entrata del carro’ (40v) (treating their wives well by attaching the bow and arrows to the door of the carriage). The wry humour of this gloss perhaps has to be teased out. Not so when Pencaro writes: ‘Qua voria io essere Re’ (163) (I would like to be king here), that is, in ancient Libya among the Adyrmachidae (4.168), where the ‘ius primae noctis’ supposedly allowed the king of the tribe to sleep with virgins before they were married. Nowhere, however, does he express the opinion that such behaviour is characteristic of the world of the barbarian as opposed to his own more civilized world. He is a curious and often open-minded, even tolerant, reader. This reader’s interest in sex can get personal, starting with his own phallus. Boiardo’s version records that among the Egyptians, who do everything exactly opposite the way the Greeks do: ‘Piscino le femine loro stando in piedi e gli huomini sedendo’ (their women piss standing up and the men sitting down). Pencaro seems not to be able to resist (48): et fra noi ognuno pissa al meglio che puote io per me pisso al giorno in pedi, e la notte nel letto colcato (and among our people each one pisses as best he can; I for my part piss by day standing up and at night curled up in my bed) 28   Boiardo’s Herodotus (Venice: Sessa, 1539), p. 19; copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C., 210–946q.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  67 The final verb contains an allusion to the annotator curled up in bed, ‘coricato’ (or in his dialect, ‘colcato’), a reference, I think, to how he uses a bedpan at night. In contrast to this highly personalized response to the text, another early modern reader merely comments on the anecdote by noting ‘Egyptian customs’ (43v).29 Moving from urination to fornication, but not completely, he makes an indirect ­reference to his wife’s fidelity at f. 63: A giorni nostri questo seria guari[t]o perche ogni moglie gli seria stato buono medico co[min] ciando alla mia: 1502 (In our day this fellow would be healed because every wife would be a good doctor for him, starting with mine: 1502). This is a gloss on Herodotus’ fantastic report in 2.111 that Pheros used urine as a medicinal ointment to cure his blindness, specifically the urine of the only woman he could find who had not committed adultery. The story made an impression on other commentators in the Renaissance.30 John Harington, the Elizabethan translator of Ariosto’s Furioso, refers to this anecdote from Herodotus in a note on Furioso 42, in the ‘prova del nappo’ episode where Rinaldo prudently refuses to test the fidelity of his wife, opting instead for blissful ignorance.31 The Ferrarese annotator marks the importance of this gloss by including a date—presumably the date of the annotation— perhaps in an attempt to lend more credibility to the claim about his wife’s fidelity.32 But it is worth noting that the gloss is worded such that it also refers to ‘ogni moglie’, presumably all wives in Ferrara. In another passage he singles out the ‘honore di moglie amata’ (172) (the honour of a loved wife). As one might expect, this rhetoric of praise in regard to women is balanced with a rhetoric of blame that one hears, for example, in a gloss on the sharing of wives, ‘[m] oglie comuni’ (163v) (communal wives). And then most strikingly, in a full note on Scythian culture (148v): Rica et cortese natione è questa che non solo la roba ma anco le femine fa comune quivi non è gelosia di matrimonio ni graveza di cor  Copy of 1533 printing in Rylands Library, Manchester, England, 11,647.a.   Alberto Lavezuola, Osservationi sopra il Furioso di M. Lodovico Ariosto (Venice: Francesco Franceschi, 1584), pp. 35v–36. 31   Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso: Translated into English Heroical Verse, edited by Robert McNulty (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 372. 32   Another early modern reader comments on this passage in a much less personalized tone in the 1539 copy in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, 5.10.520, simply paraphrasing the narrative’s action: Pherone si lava gli occhi con l’urina d’una donna fedele al suo marito (57r) (Pheros washes his eyes with the urine of a woman faithful to her husband). 29 30

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68  Dennis Looney ne, ni sospecto di veneno per tuore altre amante (Rich and courteous culture is this where they share not only their property but even their women. Here there is no jealousy from marriage, no burden of adultery, no suspicion of being poisoned for having taken another lover.) Pencaro is also interested in natural history: camels, crocodiles, hippopotami, and ants (‘veloce animale che fra noi è tanto lento’, 112) (swift animal that is very slow in our world). He is interested, of course, in the process of mummification and in the Egyptians’ curious burial practices regarding animals: ‘modo di eseguire e di conservare gli corpi morti’ (57v) (how to prepare and preserve corpses). Herodotus gives a detailed description of the salts, quality and quantity, applied to the bodies of dead cats, which prompts an unexpected and rather shocking gloss from Pencaro: ‘nova forma di salami’ (58) (strange new kind of salami). It’s a joke of course; but then why shouldn’t the reader carry on a humorous conversation with himself in the confidentiality of his book’s margins? A passage in Herodotus that Leon Battista Alberti addresses in his Theogenius also caught the attention of Pencaro. He writes in the margin of folio 43: ‘Sopra il monte imperiale in Toscana ho io veduto grandissimo numero e[t] de cortice di ostreghe et altre conchiglie: et pur ivi non è mare’ (On top of the imperial mountain in Tuscany I myself saw a very large number of oyster shells and other seashells despite the fact that there is no sea there). Our annotator has eyewitness evidence of earlier marine life on mountain tops. This specific observation becomes a topos in humanist writing, noted in Alberti, recorded in Leonardo’s notebooks, and elsewhere.33 Pencaro displays his own critical thinking (and his ability to get around, emphasizing that he sees the shells in Tuscany), and thus inserts himself into a broader realm of revisionary thinking than he himself may be aware of. It may be a coincidence but still should not go unremarked that the annotator’s antepenultimate note in the entire manuscript singles out Hecataeus, a pre-Socratic rationalist and one of Herodotus’ sources, as an author of ‘ragionamenti’ (180) (reasoned statements) in a gloss on a passage at 5.35. There are surprising moments in the glosses where we witness Pencaro thinking logically and rigorously responding to the information presented in the classical text. Pencaro’s notes exemplify the reading habits of a new kind of early modern reader at the turn of the turbulent sixteenth century. As he engages in a lively interpretative dialogue with the text of Herodotus, an individual emerges who appears industrious, concerned, witty, and chauvinistic. He is clearly not a philological humanist but his curiosity is boundless and open to what he can learn about the other cultures from the ancient near east and beyond. His encounter with Herodotus, although personal and 33   For Alberti, see the passage in Theogenius in Opere volgari, vol. 2: Rime e trattati morali, edited by Cecil Grayson (Bari: Laterza, 1966), p. 88, line 25. For Leonardo, see the entries on shells and the deluge in Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, edited by Jean Paul Richter, vol. 2 (Mineola, NY: Dover, 1970), pp. 209–15.

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Early Modern Italian Readers  69 subjective, depended on specific institutional developments that had occurred in Ferrara in the previous two generations. He was the beneficiary of an immense amount of work involving the transmission and translation of the Greek historian even though he was completely oblivious to this tradition of hard humanistic labour. Pencaro’s response to the historian is exemplary of a new kind of reader of the Latin and Greek classics, a reader who benefits from humanism’s recontextualization of the written records of the classical world but who at the same time is rather nonchalant, if not totally ignorant, of the complicated process that makes his own reading possible. Such readers proliferate in the sixteenth century around Europe. The classicist John Herington, pointing to Friedrich August Wolf among other early Romantic critics, has described Herodotus’ Histories as a literary centaur, part incredible legends and myth, part rational historical chronology of the wars between Greeks and Persians.34 Pencaro annotates only the first half of the Herodotean centaur, the part full of legendary history and myths marked by numerous unbelievable anecdotes, many of which are about the ancient near east. But he still uses that half to comment on and make sense of his historical moment, including his growing awareness of the world of the Turk. He rationalizes and applies in his playful, ironic way the mythic past presented in Herodotus. An anonymous Italian reader who read the text slightly later in the sixteenth century notes at the beginning of his printed copy of the Histories: ‘Herodoto Greco nato in Asia’ (Herodotus the Greek, born in Asia).35 In his very person Herodotus was perceived to represent a bridge between the different worlds of Europe and Asia and the bipartite centaur became a guide to the intertwined realms of past and present, history and invention, between the two continents. How appropriate that his text would become one of the guides for early modern Europeans as they began to read about and understand the ancient near east, fact and fiction alike.

  John Herington, ‘The Poem of Herodotus’, Arion 3rd series, 1:3 (1991): 8.   Housed in Bergamo, Biblioteca di Sant’Alessandro in Colonna, BDC S 6 16 1565 (Venice: Bariletto, 1565), p. 2. 34 35

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3 From ‘Custom is King’ to ‘Custom is a Metal’ The Early Modern Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture Galena Hashhozheva

One pragmatic objective of colonial ethnographic writing in the early modern period was to evaluate the capacity of native cultures to resist change as a way of determining how difficult the project of civilizing them promised to be. On both sides of the Atlantic, peoples in conquered territories were scrutinized for the vehemence of their devotion to their usages. Some did not appear to cling particularly to their customs, and the predictions for colonizing them were optimistic; thus Robert Johnson reports of the ‘savage’ Virginians that they ‘are easie to be brought to good, and would fayne embrace a better condition’.1 Others, such as the Tupinamba and the Irish, proved to be  intensely loyal to their traditions and resistant to cultural change. During the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland, Edmund Spenser characterized the Irish as a ‘stubborne nation’, and his fellow colonist Barnabe Rich reported that the Irish were given to many ‘loathsome obsevations . . . from the which they wil not be diswaded’.2 Nor were the Tupinamba to be dissuaded, as the Portuguese conquerors discovered, from observing that most loathsome of all customs, cannibalism. Indeed, more sensitive voices among the Jesuit missionaries urged that the natives ‘should not be dragged too hastily from a practice in which they place their greatest happiness’.3 As many early modern writers on the colonial world—from militant officers such as Spenser and Rich to more moderate commentators such as Peter Martyr—were well aware, the ethnographic tropes of cultural conservatism and the endurance of custom   Robert Johnson, Nova Britannia (London: for Samuel Macham, 1609), sig. B4v.   Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland, edited by Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), p. 20; Barnabe Rich, A New Description of Ireland (London: for Thomas Adams, 1610), sig. Fv. 3   Cited in Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), p. 84. 1 2

Galena Hashhozheva, From ‘Custom is King’ to ‘Custom is a Metal’: The Early Modern Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0004

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  71 had a long history of being considered in relation to empire building. In the ancient as well as the early modern contexts, the big question regarding custom is whether the usages of a subject nation represent a hurdle to imperial expansion or else a form of cultural capital by the assimilation of which the mother country can have new blood— the blood of cosmopolitan diversity—flow into her arteries. The other, closely related, question concerns ethnography, i.e. the intellectual inquiry into custom: can empire and its representatives ever engage in true, disinterested ethnography, or is theirs always a ‘parody of (proper) ethnography’, even a ‘false’ or ‘bad’ ethnography—or to turn the matter around, is ethnography not always ‘necessarily in the service of power’ and aggression?4 A key classical text boasting a wealth of material for pondering these questions, whose rediscovery had a perceptible impact on Renaissance cultural and historiographical thinking, is Herodotus’ Histories.5 In this unprecedentedly ambitious work, Herodotus presides over the birth of systematic ethnography even as he embarks on a pioneering investigation into the cultural mentality of imperialism.6 One way in which the societies of the Histories’ world are classified and compared has to do with how piously they cherish their traditions and resist change in the domain of custom. This characteristic in turn becomes a rough predictor as to whether a nation will be more or less easily conquerable or, if powerful enough itself, whether it will be more or less likely to develop imperial aspirations. Of course as soon as they emerge, such distinctions begin to grow blurry in the course of Herodotus’ account; still, there is a definite tendency for nations such as the Greeks and the Persians, who are culturally open and not averse to borrowing foreign customs, to also be susceptible to the temptations of empire. Indeed, for the Persians imperialism is their distinctive archcustom: to be Persian means to desire endless expansion under some unbridled tyrant. Culturally open and imperialistic nations, in particular the Greeks, also tend to represent, from Herodotus’ inevitably partial vantage, a kind of standard of normalcy or golden mean in the area of custom. Among conservative nations such as the Egyptians and the Scythians, by contrast, the domain of culture tends to be so bizarre that it looks like a world upside down. Incorrigibly fond of their strange national habits, the 4  Thomas Harrison, ‘Herodotus on the Character of Persian Imperialism’, in Assessing Biblical and Classical Sources for the Reconstruction of Persian Influence, History, and Culture, edited by A. FitzpatrickMcKinley (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2015), p. 21. 5   On the impact of the Histories in the Renaissance, see Brill’s Companion to the Reception of Herodotus in Antiquity and Beyond, edited by Jessica Priestley and Vasiliki Zali (Leiden: Brill, 2016), especially the contributions by Benjamin Early and Adam Foley as well as the editors’ introduction. 6   On these central issues in Herodotus, see, for example, Elizabeth Irwin, ‘Ethnography and Empire: Homer and the Hippocratics in Herodotus’ Ethiopian logos, 3.17–26’, Histos 8 (2014): 25–75, as well as Harrison, ‘On the Character’, discussing among other things Herodotus’ Persian emperors as ‘ethnographer-kings’. On the problem of empire’s hubris and greed in the developments between the Greek experience of Persian aggression and the rising imperialism of Athens as a tyrant-polis around the time of the Histories’ composition, see e.g. Ryan K. Balot, ‘Herodotus and the Greed of Imperialism’, chapter 4 in Greed and Injustice in Classical Athens (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001). For another perspective on empire in Herodotus, which emerges from early modern readers’ preoccupation with the rise of the Ottomans, see Dennis Looney’s chapter on reception in this volume.

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72  Galena Hashhozheva Scythians and the Egyptians resist the importation of alien customs and respond with terror or rage to any disrespect (e.g. on the part of an invader) for their own customs. The Scythians also make for a difficult target of imperial conquest, as demonstrated by Darius’ disastrous campaign against them, because they are great lovers of freedom.7 Yet even when no invader is involved, the Scythians make no compromises in safeguarding their customs against change: they punish with death attempts to practise foreign customs in Scythia. The ultimate goal of this chapter is to analyse Spenser’s still controversial sixteenthcentury colonial dialogue A View of the State of Ireland, which purports to find the national trait of extreme cultural conservatism and chauvinism among the Irish along with pseudo-ethnographic evidence that they are descended from the ancient Scythians. Supposedly, the Scythians once migrated as far as the Hibernian lands and populated them. In support of this thesis, Spenser invokes a number of ancient authors, such as Herodotus, Lucian, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus, while drawing up a list of ethnographic comparanda to show the similarities between the Scythians and the early modern Irish. The Irish nation, which on this theory is very old, clings to still older customs, the legacy of its Scythian forebears, and in the eyes of the English perversely scorns the ameliorative prospects that the colonial order can offer. Because early modern colonialism, often closely intertwined with millenarianism and utopianism, heralds an age of radical change, forcing both conquerors and conquered to look to the future and the new, it tends to find a nation’s adherence to its traditions and customs inconvenient. Of course outside the colonial context, cultural conservatism could be considered a neutral or even a positive characteristic of a society. As we shall see, the English themselves heavily depended on a domestic myth of the persistence, from time immemorial, of their own customs—a fact that makes custom a sensitive issue in Spenser’s View. In the name of a militant colonialism, Spenser does not scruple to submit to sceptical review even the belief that the common law of England is autochthonous customary law. Because in View colonialism goes hand in hand with a culturally progressivist outlook—of nations passing from a condition of ‘incivility’ to civilization—it calls for overcoming any unreflective traditionalism, including in the conquering nation. Yet while the customary common law of the English may need an Ideologiekritik and (as an expedient within Ireland’s borders) possibly a temporary suspension, the customs of the Irish, according to one of the interlocutors in View, are to be violently eradicated. As vestiges of Scythian heritage, they are pejoratively termed

7   Unlike the despotically ruled Persians, however, the Greeks are for the most part great lovers of freedom within their own societies, in some cases even enjoying freedom in the form of a democratic government. This makes it difficult to invade the Greeks, despite their openness to foreign customs and influences, which could potentially be convenient in case of a successful conquest. This brings the Greeks close to the culturally conservative Scythians, who are likewise freedom-loving and almost impossible to conquer. Among the Greek peoples, the Spartans are the ones who come closest to the Scythians, on which see David Braund, ‘Herodotus’ Spartan Scythians’, in Pontus and the Outside World: Studies in Black Sea History, Historiography, and Archaeology, edited by Christopher Tuplin (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 25–42.

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  73 ‘ceremonies and superstitious rites’, and Ireland’s attachment to them is deemed a sign of benighted barbarity rather than respectable traditionalism.8 To put in context Spenser’s original and forceful contribution to the subject matter of Scythia, I begin with a survey of the various purposes for which early modern authors employed the Scythian theme and the classical commonplaces associated with it, with a special focus on the notion of the Scythians’ chauvinism and reverence for their customs.

The Classical Scythians and Their Later Incarnations The more centuries passed between Herodotus and his European successors in the work of ethnography, the more Scythia turned into a set of formulaic tales repeated ad infinitum for their notoriety and savage charm. So fascinating was the image of the ancient Scythians that early modernity needed to rediscover it in disparate populations on three continents: in the Irish, the Tartars, the Mongols, the Turks, and the American Indians, all of whom were thought to be the Scythians’ genealogical and cultural heirs.9 In Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia, for example, which closely follows Herodotus, the images illustrating Scythian nomadism and anthropophagy are also used in a later section dealing with the same customs among the Tartars.10 In add­ ition, early modern travellers regularly reported that, like the Scythians, the Tartars were extraordinary chauvinists and stayed aloof from foreign customs, often even making fun of them in explicit comparisons with their own.11 Such speculative genealogies, scarcely credible in their geographical and chronological span, were not without their prompts in classical sources: Strabo and Plutarch, for instance, report theories about the so called Celto-Scythians (Keltoskuthai), in a way prefiguring Spenser’s anthropological ideas about the Irish in View.12 As Spenser expressed it, there is hardly a nation on earth ‘but hath some mixture or sprinckling, if not thoroughly peopling’ of the Scythians.13 This massive diaspora seems to extend Scythia infinitely as a cultural domain and a geopolitical entity.  Spenser, View, p. 17.   On the Turks, see Margaret Meserve, Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), pp. 149–54; on the American Indians, see chapter  2 on José de Acosta and Gregorio García in Lee Huddleston, Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts 1492–1729 (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1967). 10   For the illustration of nomadism, see Sebastian Münster, Cosmographia Universalis (Basel: Henri Petri, 1552), sig. 3A7 and sig. 3B2. For the illustration of cannibalism, see Cosmographey oder Beschreibung aller Länder (Basel: Sebastian Petri, 1588), sig. 4K5 and sig. 4K6v. 11   Johannes Boemus summarizes the Tartars’ attitude thus: ‘This people so despiseth al other men and thincke theim selves so farre to surmount them in wisedome and goodnes: that thei abhorre to speake to theim, or to compaignie with them’; see The Fardle of Facions (London: John Kingston and Henry Sutton, 1555), sig. D2–D2v. 12   Plutarch, ‘Caius Marius’, in Lives, trans. Bernadette Perrin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920), vol. 9, 11.5, and Strabo, Geography, trans. H. L. Jones (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1954), vol. 5, 11.6.2. 13  Spenser, View, p. 50. 8

9

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74  Galena Hashhozheva The borders of the Scythians’ transcontinental, Eurasian, home had remained ­ otoriously difficult to define from antiquity to the early modern period; the problem n was little helped by fa­cile cartographic solutions taking the form of ‘x, which was formerly Scythia’.14 In Strabo’s Geography, the Scythians are scattered here and there over a vast territory stretching from the Black Sea to India. In Herodotus’ Histories, the Scythian ethnos is epitomized by the North Pontic tribes that had put Darius to shame—and that without any fighting—at an early stage in his European campaign (c.513 bce), causing him to abandon it. Yet Herodotus also inclines to the theory that these tribes came to the European steppes originally from Asia, to which they also briefly returned at a later point, conquering Media by accident (or rather, by mistake) and ruling it for nearly three decades (c.624–597 bce).15 Even in Herodotus’ day, some Scythian tribes were said to inhabit lands quite far to the east, around and past the Caspian Sea.16 Within the ancient Near East, then, the Scythians were among the northernmost nations as well as the nation that migrated and settled the furthest to the west into Europe. Thereafter, in ethnographic accounts they were Europeanized and Asianized by turns, in accordance with the author’s agenda or scope of knowledge.17 Whatever its location, however, relative to its people’s actual or imagined origins and routes of migration, Scythia invariably remained a cradle of cultural conservatism and chauvinism in the Western imagination. It was thought to be especially zealous in its avoidance of any cultural influence or political control from Persia, Greece, and Rome, imperial and civilizational leaders of the Eurasian world. Rather than looking up to these nations as an example of how to improve their own condition, the Scythians were noted for their stubborn pride in their customs and land. Ovid bears witness to this attitude among the Pontic Scythians, in whose land he was exiled: ‘What is better than Rome? What worse than the cold of Scythia? Yet hither the barbarian flees from that city.’18 A similar sentiment of adherence to the nomadic life in the deserts is voiced by a Scythian ambassador in his speech before Alexander the Great, which found its way into William Painter’s 1566 popular collection The Palace of Pleasure: ‘I heare that our desertes and voide places, be mocked by the Greke prouerbes, we couet rather those desertes and places unhabited, then cities and plentifull soiles.’19 14  E.g. ‘Tartary, which was formerly Scythia’, as the chapter on Tartary in Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia Universalis is entitled. 15  Herodotus, The Histories (The Persian Wars), trans. A.  D.  Godley (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926), 1.103–6 and 4.11–12. 16   Ibid., 4.22. 17   For a thought-provoking reading of the Scythian situatedness between Europe and Asia, see François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 12–33. 18  Ovid, Ex Ponto, in Tristia. Ex Ponto, trans. A. Wheeler (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1924), 1.3. 19   William Painter, The Palace of Pleasure (London: John Kingston and Henry Denham, 1566), sig. I3v–I4r. Painter is borrowing from Quintus Curtius’ Histories of Alexander the Great. It is to the raids of the northern barbarians of Scythia and neighbouring lands that we owe Alexander’s fabled wall in the Caucasus; for more on Alexander, his conquests, and his wall, see Jane Grogan’s chapter in this volume.

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  75 Greek and Scythian mores are also compared, with more humour, in an anecdote told by Plutarch. After a famous Greek flautist’s performance before the Scythian king Ateas, the latter announces that it gives him more pleasure to hear his horse neigh.20 Refusing to learn the enjoyment of the flute, Ateas upholds the dignity of his barbarian culture with a sally of bathetic wit that inspired the philosophical poet Fulke Greville. Turning the ethnographic anecdote into an epistemological critique of man’s overly discriminating fancy, Greville describes how the fancy, beguiled by the senses, such gradations findes Of heat, cold, colors; such variety Of smels and tasts; of tunes such divers kindes, As that brave Scythian never could descry, Who found more sweetnesse in his horse’s naying, Than all the Phrygian, Dorian, Lydian playing.21

However uncouth, the Scythian simplicity seems to Greville a more acceptable creed, on both moral and epistemological grounds, than the Western weakness for a kaleidoscope of illusions. Apart from Ateas, another legendary Scythian who refuses to be humbled by the Greek cultural achievements is the sage Anacharsis. He travelled to Greece in the era of Solon, and whenever teased about his Scythian identity and manners, he defended them by criticizing paradigmatic Greek customs such as athletics, drama, and seafaring.22 Thus was born the literary figure of Anacharsis the foreign sage and outsider critic of  Hellenic society, who exposes the artificiality and questionable morality of its manners while his Scythian simplicity shines through as their alternative or corrective. Anacharsis was known in the Renaissance above all from Diogenes Laertius’ life, which preserves a number of his acerbic apothegms, and from Anacharsis, or Athletics, one of two substantial dialogues on Scythian themes by the second-century satirist Lucian.23 Lucian’s comic treatment is quite fitting for the Anacharsis legend, so it is little surprise that Renaissance authors with a penchant for wit and with quills honed for 20   Plutarch, ‘Saying of Kings and Commanders’, in Moralia, trans. Frank Babbitt (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1931), vol. 3, 174f. 21   Fulke Greville, ‘A Treatie of Humane Learning’, in Works in Verse and Prose, vol. 2, edited by Alexander Grosart (Blackburn: Tiplady and son, 1870), pp. 8–9. Ateas’ apothegm is also echoed (in a comic vein) in William Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV, in The Norton Shakespeare, second edition, edited by Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York, NY: Norton, 2008), 3.1.229–32: ‘LADY PERCY: Lie still, ye thief, / and hear the lady sing in Welsh. / HOTSPUR: I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.’ 22   How Anacharsis lived and whether he travelled to Greece are dubious matters, as is indeed his his­tor­ icity; see Richard Martin, ‘The Scythian Accent: Anacharsis and the Cynics’, in The Cynics: The Cynic Movement in Antiquity and Its Legacy, edited by R. Bracht Branham and M. Goulet-Cazé (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 137–40. Already Herodotus alerts us to at least one anecdote about Anacharsis that is ‘vainly invented by the Greeks themselves’ (Histories 4.77). Still, Anacharsis was an established figure in the classical tradition and after and epitomized a well-defined idea of the Scythian, while his anti-Greek attitude was mainly a construct that allowed Greek authors to indulge in an attack on Greek mores that ‘could never be put so explicitly in propria persona’ (Martin, ‘Scythian Accent’, p. 137). 23   An additional source was Plutarch’s ‘Dinner of the Seven Wise Men’ from the Moralia.

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76  Galena Hashhozheva polemic used Anacharsis in a similarly satiric vein. As a voice of resistance to civilization and over-refinement, Anacharsis is mentioned for instance in Stephen Gosson’s infamous pamphlet The Schoole of Abuse (1579), which attacks drama and the arts for their moral laxity: ‘Anacharsis beeing demaunded of a Greeke, whether they had not instrumentes of Musicke, or Schooles of Poetrie in Scythia, answered, yes, and that without vice.’24 The above examples show that the Scythian theme, including the notion of the ancient Scythians’ chauvinism and conservatism, was employed by Renaissance authors freely. It had a place not only in texts whose interest was primarily ethnographic but also in a number of other genres, such as philosophical verse (Greville) and anti-theatrical polemic (Gosson), where it appears to serve as erudite ornament but can nonetheless be a vehicle for the text’s central idea. Bearing all this in mind, it is still difficult to think of a Renaissance text that is as preoccupied with the ancient Scythians and their cultural conservatism as Spenser’s View is. That preoccupation is ultimately inscribed within a programme of violence: of ‘cutting’ the hoary customs of the Scythian-Irish and interrupting the line of their transmission to future generations through military intervention and social engineering. Yet for all the inconvenience and damage that these customs cause to the English colonial order, the interlocutors of View cannot hide their delight in pondering and conversing about the antiquity of the Irish nation. ‘Strange and almost heathenish’, the Irish customs prove to be an absorbing subject matter, of the kind that served as an inspiration in Spenser’s poetic works.25 Scythian Ireland gave Spenser, for example, his most blood-curdling Faerie giant, the undead Maleger (II.xi.26) who rides and shoots in the Tartar style (which had formerly been known as the Scythian style).26 Scythian Ireland is also the place Spenser calls, not unsentimentally, home in ‘Colin Clouts Come Home Againe’—a home that, harried by ‘nightly bodrags . . . hue and cries’, does not seem to compare favourably with England.27 The survival of ancient Scythian culture may not make for easy colonization yet it obviously makes for good Renaissance poetry (and in View, arguably, for good Renaissance prose as well). Before I turn to a discussion of Spenser and two of his main sources on Scythian customs, Herodotus and Lucian, I offer a brief overview of what custom signified in several Renaissance contexts. During the sixteenth century, in the turmoil of the 24   Markets of Bawdrie: The Dramatic Criticism of Stephen Gosson, edited by Arthur Kinney (Salzburg: Universität Salzburg, 1974), p. 79 (sig. A4v.). Curiously, both Gosson’s assumed source for this apothegm, Maximus Tyrius’ Dissertations (on which see Kinney’s explanatory note, p. 217), and other ancient works where it appears, such as Diogenes’ Lives and Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, relate a slightly different ­version, in which Scythian culture comes across as even more austere: when asked why there are no flute players among the Scythians, Anacharsis answered ‘because there are no vines’ (and hence no wine-drinking parties). 25   View, p. 54. 26   Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, edited by A. C. Hamilton, Toshiyuki Suzuki, et al. (Harlow, UK: Longman, 2006). 27   Edmund Spenser, ‘Colin Clouts Come Home Againe’, The Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems, edited by William Oram, Einar Bjorvand, and Ronald Bond (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), p. 315.

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  77 Reformation and under the pressures of colonization, custom had become a ­philosophical, political, and legal problem that was in many ways new and yet rooted in ancient ideas and practices. The case of Ireland, as described by Spenser, certainly bears testimony to the complex and elusive nature of custom. Spenser characterizes the Irish in paradoxical terms: to resist the English project of reforming them, the Irish profess themselves to be a culturally conservative nation, but at the same time they use innovation in the area of custom and law as an effective expedient against the English. To introduce the two governing metaphors of my argument: the Irish may bow to custom as an absolute ruler but they can also resort to bending custom as one would a pliable metal.

The Trials of Custom in the Renaissance It almost goes without saying that ethnographic knowledge in the early modern period and beyond would have been impossible without the conceptual and heuristic work carried out by the category of custom. Originally outlined in ancient Greece, the idea of custom (nomos) facilitates the process of understanding and describing a foreign people by finding patterns in the vast tapestry of its culture. The concept of custom had been particularly helpful for the Western ethnographic observer from the earliest contacts with Eastern nations in antiquity and became even more so in the early modern encounter with peoples of the New World. As a discrete unit of cultural identity, easily quotable and transferable, the category of custom facilitated comparisons between the ancient and the early modern ‘other’. The seriousness with which ethnographic writers treat custom, even when the most bizarre and unsavoury practices of faraway nations are at issue, owes something to the extended sense of the term in politics, philosophy, and law. In antiquity, such were the breadth and the significance of nomos, the realm of the normative, that it served the process of Greek self-definition as much as it did the study of foreign cultures.28 Nomos gained prestige as it became the most common term for positive law and state decree in classical Athens, supplanting an earlier thesmos.29 At the same time, nomos could stand more loosely for the total political order of the polis, i.e. its constitution, as well as its overall social and moral code. The earliest intellectual movements in ancient Greece, the Presocratics and the Sophists, defined the opposition between nomos and physis, convention and nature, as the fundamental fact of human existence. From this philosophical vantage, all forms of customary behaviour, both native and foreign, appear equally arbitrary. The Pyrrhonian Sceptics, a later philosophical sect, regarded the rela­tiv­is­tic view of custom as a special case of the more 28   See Donald R. Kelley, The Human Measure: Social Thought in the Western Legal Tradition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 20–34. 29   Thesmos, ‘that which has been laid down’, is etymologically identical to the English law and the German Gesetz.

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78  Galena Hashhozheva general view that all human opinions, assertions, and perceptions could be considered equally tenable or rather equally untenable, insofar as they are opposed to and cancel out one another.30 Since the Pyrrhonists wanted to live and act without committing to opinions, they resorted to custom as a more neutral—from an epistemological viewpoint—guide in the conduct of life. Their attitude of conformity to ‘the normal rules of life’ in their country, combined with their cultural relativism, was attractive to a number of Renaissance thinkers.31 In his essay ‘Of Custome’ Montaigne, who was familiar with Sextus Empiricus’ Outlines of Pyrrhonism, approvingly quotes the adage ‘Laws of the native place / To follow, is a grace’ and declares that he himself is ‘distasted with noveltie’ in the domain of custom and has ‘seene very hurtfull effects follow the same’.32 Special and ideologically charged applications of the term custom continued to evolve well into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. England’s peculiar system of the common law, dating back to the twelfth century, was grounded in the belief that it had sprung from immemorial custom. A surge in defences and debates of the idea that the best and truest law is customary law occurred in both Elizabethan and Jacobean times. Custom also took on a new importance in the wake of the Reformation: it designated a traditionalism associated with Catholic observance and doctrine, which was either deplored or cherished depending on which side of the Reformation divide an author supported. For Calvin, custom was all too often an excuse for being complacent about the hoary evils of Catholicism. ‘Even though many ages may have agreed in like impiety,’ Calvin wrote, ‘still in the Kingdom of God his eternal truth must alone be listened to and observed, a truth that cannot be dictated to by length of time, by longstanding custom, or by the conspiracy of men.’33 According to Spenser’s fellow colonist Barnabe Rich, it is ‘the Popes doctrine’ that inspires the Irish to be ‘addicted’ to their customs and ‘stil [to] retaine themselves in their sluttishnesse, in their uncleanlinesse, in their rudenesse, and in their inhumane loathsomnes’.34 What made custom particularly odious to Protestants was the easy contamination of Catholicism with popular usages and, in provincial areas, with local colour. Regional Catholic practices were thus becoming subject matter for a sort of sensationalist ethnography rather than 30   On the Pyrrhonist cultural relativism, see Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Scepticism, edited by Julia Annas and Julian Barnes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), III.197–238. 31   On the Pyrrhonist acceptance of custom, see ibid., I.22–3 and III.235–6. A more popular source in the Renaissance was Diogenes Laertius, ‘Life of Pyrrho’, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, trans. R.  D.  Hicks (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1931), vol. 2; see ix.61 on how custom and convention govern human action, and ix.108 on the Sceptic value of habit, rules, and customs. 32  Michel de Montaigne, ‘Of Custome, and how a received law should not easily be changed’, in Montaigne’s Essayes: John Florio’s Translation (New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1933), p. 84. For a crit­ ic­al evaluation of the reception of Sceptical ideas in Montaigne and more generally in early modern ethnographic thinking, see William Hamlin, ‘On Continuities between Skepticism and Early Ethnography’, Sixteenth Century Journal 31:2 (2000): 361–79. 33   John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Ford Battles, (Louisville, KY: Westminster Press, 2006), vol. 1, p. 23. 34  Rich, Description, sig. D8v.

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  79 theology. In France Henri Estienne, a Protestant scholar and printer, wrote a lengthy account of the customs of benighted Catholic communities, denouncing them as more fallen and monstrous than those of Herodotus’ most exotic barbarians many centuries before that.35 In particular, the ancient Egyptians’ elaborate system of idolatrous practices and superstitions serves Estienne as a parallel to Catholicism.36 Estienne’s virulence, however, skews his perception of the Herodotean material. Although as an editor of Herodotus’ Histories Estienne got the ethnographic facts right, the abuses he hurls at Catholic customs is at odds with the tone of neutrality and sometimes even respect that Herodotus uses in describing the manners he witnessed in his travels through Egypt. While Estienne is impatient with what he perceives as the monstrous longevity of custom, in other Renaissance contexts there were fears about its fragility. An alternative term for custom in English (and in English translation) was fashion, which hints at its artificiality and contingency, proper to any human-made institution. After all, customs rest upon human agreement, a conspicuously inconstant foundation. Early modern England witnessed, for example, many changes in sartorial customs caused by foreign influences that the English often picked up during their travels abroad. Indeed, the expansion of personal mobility in the Renaissance was a decisive test for the re­sili­ence of the customs into which one had been born. The sixteenth-century genre of travel advice developed largely as a precaution against the ‘corruption of manners’ that the travellers’ contact with foreign cultures was assumed to breed.37 With the travellers coming home, there seemed to be an additional threat of spreading the contamination in the community. Nonetheless, the urbane way to travel was still conceived of as including the observance, to a judicious degree, of local customs. That is how Montaigne travelled through Europe: in order to ‘essay completely the diversity of manners and customs, [he] let himself be served everywhere in the mode of each country, no matter how much difficulty it caused him’.38 Yet Montaigne was endowed with a negative capability unusual for his time; besides, he travelled for his edification and pleasure. By contrast, another large mobile class in the Renaissance, colonial travellers and settlers, travelled for gain on an assignment to impose civilization in the conquered 35   Henri Estienne, Apologie pour Herodote (Geneva: Henri Estienne, 1566); in its main English translation known as A World of Wonders (London: John Norton, 1607). Estienne’s French polemical tract, the Apologie, was inspired by his earlier, shorter, work Apologia pro Herodoto, included among the prefatory materials in his 1566 edition of the Histories. For more on how Estienne defended Herodotus as a figure of authority and affirmed the veracity of Herodotus’ grand lesson in history against the backdrop of the culture wars of the Reformation, see Benjamin Early, ‘Herodotus in Renaissance France’, in Brill’s Companion, edited by Jessica Priestley and Vasiliki Zali, pp. 133–7. See also Jean Edues Girot, ‘Hérodote, ses détracteurs et le Traité preparatif à l’apologie pour Hérodote [1566] d’Henri Estienne’, in Hérodote à la Renaissance, edited by Susanne Gambino Longo (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012), pp. 45–65. 36  Estienne, A World of Wonders, sig. B2v. 37   Robert Dallington, A Method for Travell (London: Thomas Creede, 1605), sig. Bv. 38   Michel de Montaigne, Travel Journal, in Complete Works, edited by Donald Frame (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1958), p. 884.

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80  Galena Hashhozheva territories. One grave fear haunting their mission was that, despite their superiority, they might begin to adopt local customs. In View, apart from describing the cultural conservatism of the colonized, Spenser also bemoans the cultural degeneration of the original English colonists, who gave up their own customs and succumbed to those of the Irish. Did the colonists go native because English culture is too weak, too open to external influences, especially when transplanted abroad? Shouldn’t the ScythianIrish be envied, then, for their loyalty to their hoary customs? Which is superior: recent civilization or centuries-old primitivism? As we shall see, Spenser has a number of disconcerting speculations on these issues, complicated through his use of sources such as Herodotus and Lucian. Whether it corresponds to ancient realities or not, the treatment of Scythia in these authors is sympathetic and thus appears to clash with View’s stated aim of denouncing the ‘Scythian abuses’ of the Irish.39 Yet even if Spenser has not learned the sympathy of Herodotus and Lucian, reading their texts has helped sharpen his ethnographic discernment, from which neither the Irish nor the English are spared.

Herodotus: The Sovereignty of Custom and Two Scythian Honour Killings In antiquity, Greece had its own version of fearing a ‘corruption of manners’ among those who journeyed abroad: philobarbarism. Love of the barbarian nations was among the faults imputed to Herodotus the traveller ever since the classical era, and it was also a commonplace in the Renaissance reception of the Histories.40 This ac­cus­ ation arises from a misconstruction of Herodotus’ restraint in judging foreign customs, which is only proper for a proto-cultural relativist.41 Like the Sophists, Herodotus recognized that each nation has the right to stand up for its customs as the best and

 Spenser, View, p. 59.   Herodotus is dubbed a ‘philobarbarian’ and accused of being not only too fond of foreign nations but also too disparaging of the Hellenes in Plutarch’s ‘On The Malice of Herodotus’, in Moralia, vol. 11, edited and translated by Lionel Pearson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), passim, especially 857.12. On Herodotus’ reputation as a liar and a philobarbarian, including in the Renaissance, see Hartog, Mirror, pp. 295–309, and Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘The Place of Herodotus in the History of Historiography’, in Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past, edited by Rosaria Munson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 40–5. For a recent reading that reinstates Herodotus in Plutarch’s favour, see John Marincola, ‘History without Malice: Plutarch Rewrites the Battle of Plataea’, in Brill’s Companion, edited by Jessica Priestley and Vasiliki Zali, pp. 101–19. 41   At times Herodotus’ tone in his description of customs is not merely neutral but actually appreciative, even when the nation described is as barbarous as the Scythians; witness his description of how the Scythians treat their enemies’ remains after drinking their blood: ‘Many too take off the skin, nails and all, from their dead enemies’ right hands, and make thereof coverings for their quivers; it would seem that the human skin is thick and shining, of all skins, one may say, the brightest and whitest’ (Herodotus, Histories, 4.64). Here is a Greek speaking about flayed human skin almost as a Scythian would, with expert appreciation. 39 40

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  81 most suitable for its own condition.42 Custom is king, Herodotus asserts, quoting a well-known verse from Pindar, a king who has supreme sway over his people and who will not easily yield to foreign cultural influences.43 To further affirm the sovereignty of custom and the respect that is due to it, Herodotus adduces a parable, which centuries later Montaigne would repeat in his essay ‘Of Custome’: Darius asks Greeks and Indians at his court for what price they would be willing to exchange funerary customs, so that the Greeks would eat their deceased parents while the Indians would burn them as in Greek heroic funerals.44 Both ethnic groups vehemently reject the emperor’s insensitive bargaining in customs. Early on in his ‘philobarbarian’ account of Scythia Herodotus admires a Scythian custom that will later become a point of contention between Darius and the Scythian king Idanthyrsus: ‘the Scythian race has in that matter which of all human affairs is of greatest import made the cleverest discovery that we know[:] . . . they have so devised that none who attacks them can escape, and none can catch them if they desire not to be found’.45 Darius intends to conquer the Scythians but cannot even engage them, so he addresses Idanthyrsus thus: ‘Sir, these are strange doings. Why will you ever flee? . . . stand and fight.’46 Just as in the anecdote about the exchange of funerary rites, Darius is cavalierly asking a nation to change its custom. So Idanthyrsus sees fit to acquaint Darius with the fundamentals of Scythian culture: ‘This that I have done is no new thing [νεώτερον] or other than what I am accustomed [ἐώθεα] to do in peace . . . we Scythians have no towns or planted lands, that we might meet you the sooner in battle, fearing lest the one be taken or the other be wasted. But if nothing will serve but fighting straightaway, we have the graves of our fathers; come find these and essay to destroy them; then shall you know whether we will fight you for those graves or no.’47 Idanthyrsus assures Darius that, far from being some strange and newfangled expedient in the face of Persia’s formidable army, ‘fleeing’ is actually the nomads’ custom at all times. The one thing in the name of which they will drop that custom and turn to fight is their tradition, which they see as embodied in their ancestral graves. The preservation of their culture is, so to speak, the Scythians’ overarching custom, without which none of the other customs proper to their lifestyle and not even life itself make sense for them. A nation’s tradition and customs can be threatened also in times of peace, however, as demonstrated by Herodotus’ relation of two Scythians’ notorious attempts to import foreign manners. Anacharsis and Scyles, two tragically misguided souls from the Pontic steppes, apparently forget that as regards foreign usages, their compatriots 42   On relations between Herodotus’ thinking and the Sophists, see Rosalind Thomas, Herodotus in Context: Ethnography, Science, and the Art of Persuasion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 126–30. 43  Herodotus, Histories 3.38. For an overview of the problematic of custom in the Histories, see Sally Humphreys, ‘Law, Custom and Culture in Herodotus’, Arethusa 20 (1987): 211–20. 44  Herodotus, Histories 3.38. For Montaigne’s quotation, see ‘Of Custome’, p. 81. 45 46 47  Herodotus, Histories 4.46.   Ibid. 4.126.   Ibid. 4.127.

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82  Galena Hashhozheva are ‘wondrous loth to practice those of any other country, and particularly of Hellas’.48 Having learned some Greek language and culture from his Istrian mother, the Scythian king Scyles feels fatally attracted to them. He begins a double life in a Greek colony on the Black Sea: outside the city gates, where his army is stationed, he is a nomadic ruler, but inside he is a Greek nobleman and an initiate of the cult of Dionysus.49 When his people learn of this, they rebel against him, and in the end his half-brother executes him. As for Anacharsis, he is, like Herodotus himself, a traveller. Misfortune overtakes him just before he sails homeward from Greece: upon seeing some Greeks worship the Mother of the Gods, he is inspired to vow that ‘if he returned safe and sound to his own country, he would sacrifice to her . . . and establish a nightly rite of worship’. Once in Scythia, Anacharsis secretly performs the rite—secretly because he knows his people all too well—yet is spied upon and executed. Along with death, Anacharsis earns himself a damnatio memoriae: ‘And now the Scythians, if they are asked about Anacharsis, say they have no knowledge of him; this is because he left his country for Hellas and followed the customs of strangers.’50 The honour killings of Anacharsis and Scyles are retribution for offences committed against His Majesty Custom. Herodotus’ treatment of the two stories contains no trace of schadenfreude or self-righteousness, although in both cases it is his own nation’s culture and its supposed desirability in preference to the Scythian that bring about the tragedy. Moreover, Herodotus has only respect for the conservatism of nations such as the Scythians and the Egyptians, despite the fact that, being Greek, he lived in a culture that was open to change and, where deemed suitable, to foreign influence. What sympathetic early modern readers could learn from Herodotus, the father of ethnography, is that both the resistance and the openness to cultural change are justifiable attitudes in a nation as long as they are freely chosen. Even the mercurial and opportunistic switching between embracing and rejecting foreign influence carries no blame if it is willed by a people.51 For Herodotus, the freedom to practise one’s customs (whether native or borrowed) is, almost, freedom pure and simple. In light of this, a conquered nation’s fate is particularly grievous when the fundamentals of its culture are undermined by the conqueror. The disrespect that Herodotus’ maddest Persian emperor Cambyses shows towards the native customs of occupied Egypt amounts to a desecration of its cultural soul: he breaks ancient coffins to examine the mummies, jeers at the idolatry and zoomorphism of the local religion, scourges the priests, burns the images of some (to him) obscene-looking dwarfish deities, and slays a sacred bull. Yet the trad­itions of the Egyptians, who alongside the Scythians 49 50   Ibid. 4.76.   Ibid. 4.78.   Ibid. 4.76.   As in the curious story of Herodotus’ neighbours, the Caunians, who have second thoughts about some foreign religious rites that they have adopted and go on to exorcise them in a peculiar manner: ‘presently when they were otherwise minded, and would worship only the gods of their fathers, all Caunian men of full age put on their armour and went together as far as the boundaries of Calynda, smiting the air with their spears and saying that they were casting out the stranger gods’, Herodotus, Histories 1.172. 48 51

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  83 epitomize cultural conservatism in the Histories, are avenged by fate when Cambyses dies of a self-inflicted wound in the thigh, precisely where he had stabbed the animal.52 Herodotus’ stance on Egyptian manners and religious traditions is the opposite to that of Emperor Cambyses. In the extensive description of Egypt in Book 2, Herodotus has written his love letter to that great object of wonder, delicious half-incomprehension, and admiration: foreign culture. And, as mentioned above, Herodotus also cheers for the Scythians against Emperor Darius and for their laudable custom of evading battle in the face of serious threat of conquest—a custom that keeps the entirety of their culture from being compromised or eradicated. As a Greek and therefore a lover of freedom, Herodotus admires the Scythians who in times of trial put custom on a par with or even above life itself. Far from admiring in this respect is Spenser, who in View represents the interests of empire. Read from the vantage of colonial ambition, the Histories appear to intimate the lesson with which View concludes: in order to uproot customs that are closely tied up with the lust for ‘libertie and naturall freedome’ prevalent among the Irish, one must be ready to sacrifice the Irish themselves.53

Lucian: A Contest of Greek and Scythian Customs Herodotus wrote the Histories at a time when the Sophists’ ideas, including their proto-cultural relativism, were highly influential.54 Lucian was inspired to compose his two Scythian dialogues, the Anacharsis and the Toxaris, during the Second Sophistic, a period that, with the passage of empire from Greece to Rome, witnessed an even more Babel-like concourse of cultures as well as a restoration of rhetoric to the prestige it had enjoyed in classical Athens. Lucian excelled in the kind of agonistic and satirical rhet­oric that pleased the demanding audiences of his time as well as, centuries later, erudite Renaissance readers. The comic dialogue, whose art Lucian perfected, allows him to unfold in the Toxaris and the Anacharsis a sustained mutual debate on cultural difference between Scythians and Greeks. Granted, the dialogues’ ­ethnographic content is of secondary importance, since in a Lucianic work everything typically happens for the sake of the quarrel, no matter the subject. Yet the dynamic disputes that the dialogues stage and their close comparison between Scythian and 52  Herodotus, Histories 3.28–9; 3.37–8. There is a consensus among historians that the Herodotean stories about Cambyses’ lunatic behaviour in occupied Egypt do not reflect historical reality. In Herodotus’ defence, though, it has been speculated that he did not deliberately invent these stories all by himself to slander Hellas’ enemy, Persia, in its hubristic imperialist impulses; rather, the Cambyses stories may have come to Herodotus second hand, for instance from the (naturally biased) Egyptian priests and their accounts of Persian rule in Chaosbeschreibung (narratives of ‘chaos’ during foreign domination), a highly ideological genre of Egyptian historiography aimed at preserving ‘the integrity of Egypt’s civilization’; see John Dillery, ‘Cambyses and the Egyptian Chaosbeschreibung Tradition’, Classical Quarterly 55:2 (2005): 387–406. On the madness of Cambyses and the early modern interest in his Herodotean portrait, see Edith Hall’s chapter in this volume. 53 54  Spenser, View, p. 21.   See n. 42.

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84  Galena Hashhozheva Greek customs point to the central cultural preoccupations of the Second Sophistic in a way that also resonated with the sixteenth century. As a source on the ideological value of Scythian conservatism when measured against the cultural prestige of Hellas, Lucian’s dialogues offered to the Renaissance mind something quite different from Herodotus’ Histories, namely humour, self-irony, irreverence, the posture of knowledgeable simplicity, retaliative critique, and the choice to dramatize (rather than merely to describe) cultural difference in agonistic terms. Lucian’s age is notable for the struggle to preserve Hellenic identity and learning in conditions of Roman imperialism. To assert their status as the educated elite, the authors of the Second Sophistic were anxious to place themselves, for instance, ‘on the positive pole’ of the Greek–barbarian dichotomy: a hard task since many of them, including the Syrian-born Lucian, were not ethnically Greek.55 In the archaizing spirit of the time, Lucian writes in a smooth Attic dialect, harnesses all the powers of rhet­ oric, and fills his works with references and themes from the classical Greek heritage, yet he uses it in a way that is self-conscious and critical and turns it into a medium for contemporary satire. His Scythians in particular perform the part of the uncouth outsider who surprisingly proves to be a shrewd observer and critic of Greek culture both in its classical form and, by extension, in its mannerist appropriation by Lucian’s contemporaries. The satirical force of Lucian’s prose and the character type of the clever outsider or simpleton were valued in the Renaissance by the likes of Erasmus and More, who made Lucian popular throughout educated Europe with their authoritative Latin translations.56 Like Lucian’s Scythians, Erasmus’s Folly is critical of a society in which over-refinement and purported learning and wisdom go hand in hand with dubious morals and complacency. In England, Lucian’s dialogues became fashionable in universities in the later sixteenth century and even entered the grammar school curriculum, where due to the easiness of the language, they were useful for instruction in Greek.57 Packed with lessons in all manner of defiance, interrogation, and subversion—ethnographic, political, religious, educational, and sexual—the extensive Lucianic corpus became a Pandora’s box in the hands of the early moderns. It inspired More and Erasmus to pen declamations on tyrannicide as companion pieces to their Lucian translation; it provided plentiful material for flippant badinage among educated men like Gabriel Harvey and Thomas Nashe; and it gave Protestant polemicists (commencing with Luther’s diatribe against Erasmus on free will) a few more clues as to the godlessness and scepticism of their Lucian-reading opponents.58

  Tim Whitmarsh, The Second Sophistic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 35–7.   For a summary of Renaissance Lucianism, see David Marsh, Lucian and the Latins (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1998), pp. 2–15; Christopher Robinson, Lucian and His Influence in Europe (London: Duckworth, 1979), pp. 81–164; and with a special focus on England, Douglas Duncan, Ben Jonson and the Lucianic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 26–96. 57  Duncan, Ben Jonson, pp. 26–8. 58   See ibid., pp. 84–6, on Lucian in Thomas Nashe, Gabriel Harvey, and Harvey’s Foure Letters. 55 56

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  85 Lucian’s Toxaris and Anacharsis are sympathetic figures who wreak havoc on ethnographic prejudices about their nation and on their Greek interlocutors’ sense of su­per­ior­ity. The Scythians by turns play to and refute the stereotype of Scythian backwardness and cultural conservatism, while at the same time manifesting a sincere veneration for their native ways. In addition Anacharsis, armed with his alien wisdom, exposes the hollowness of the Greeks’ boast that they are always open to learning from foreigners and borrowing foreign customs. The topical irony of it all is that during the Second Sophistic most men of learning upheld the worth of conservatism and purism with respect to the classical Greek inheritance. In the Anacharsis, the eponymous Scythian sage questions the Athenian lawgiver Solon about the purpose of wrestling, which to him appears to be mere madness. The dialogue is primarily an occasion for critiquing Greek customs, yet it is soon clear that Scythian culture is likewise on trial.59 Solon is confident that once Anacharsis has spent enough time in Athens and understood its customs, he will convert to them, abandoning his Scythian ways. Solon is already Hellenizing Anacharsis, e.g. by giving him, symbolically, the role of an Areopagite who can pass judgement on Athenian trad­itions. Anacharsis plays the flattered fool up to a certain point, but when Solon begins to prophesy that before long Anacharsis himself will be joining the athletes and letting himself be rolled in the mud, the Scythian responds in an aggressive chauvinist tone: ‘if one of you [Greeks] should treat me like that, he will find out that we [Scythians] do not carry these daggers at our belts for nothing!’60 Indeed, throughout the dialogue Anacharsis, true to his ethnos, cannot stop speaking of arrows, swords, and lances—just what, to his utter bewilderment, Athens’s model of physical training so acutely lacks. Escalating his militaristic theme, he hypothesizes in jest about how easy it would be to take over an Athens defended by athletes with only ‘a handful of light-armed troops’, as was indeed the Scythians’ notorious custom in attack.61 Anacharsis would therefore counsel Athens to follow its best interest in reforming its athletics, yet in the end Solon refuses any such foreign-inspired improvements, although earlier he had promised to take heed of the alien wisdom of this Scythian ‘Areopagite’.62 Anacharsis the provocateur has thus beguiled Solon, a legal reformer who in the past had included valuable foreign customs in the Athenian constitution, into betraying the Greek reputation of openness to other peoples and their cultures.63 59   On the double cultural critique in the dialogue, see the close reading in Simon Goldhill, ‘Introduction’, in Being Greek under Rome: Cultural Identity, the Second Sophistic and the Development of Empire, edited by Simon Goldhill (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 1–4. 60  Lucian, Anacharsis, or Athletics, in Lucian, Works, trans. A.  Harmon (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1925), vol. 4, 6. 61   Ibid., 33. 62   Solon falls into a striking self-contradiction between his final ‘We do not much care to borrow foreign fashions’ and his initially affirmed readiness to let a Scythian ‘man of learning . . . convert [him] and teach [him] better forms of education and physical training’, to which is added the firm avowal that ‘the city of Athens will not be ashamed to learn what is to her advantage from a foreign guest’; see ibid., 39 vs. 17. 63   On Solon as a legal reformer, see ibid., 14; cf. Herodotus, Histories 2.177.

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86  Galena Hashhozheva In the Toxaris, the comparison between Greek and Scythian mores occasions a f­ormal contest between Scythian and Greek true stories of great friendships. In the course of telling them, the Greek Mnesippus and the Scythian Toxaris take the opportunity to disparage various of each other’s national traditions. Mnesippus’ taunts are backed by the notion that the Scythians are a chauvinist nation with primitive and superstitious traditions, yet one of Toxaris’ stories seems to be at odds with the stereotype: it concerns a Scythian sacrificial cult devoted to Orestes and Pylades, foreign enemies who slew the Scythian king Thoas. On the face of it, the cult belies the Scythians’ reputation for being closed off to all things foreign and in particular Greek. Toxaris, however, explains that the exemplary friendship of Orestes and Pylades seemed to be ‘not of this world’ and hence to transcend nationality.64 With this exceptional cult, the Scythians contrive to be both patriotic, since one of their culture’s chief values is precisely friendship, and open to the foreign, as well as to show their superior moral standards in that they ‘judge good men much more generously’ than the Greeks.65 The Greeks by contrast, says Toxaris, fall short of decency, not to mention patriotism, in neglecting to erect ‘even a respectable tomb’ for the two heroes.66 In the Toxaris, the main weapons against Greek prejudice are Toxaris’ civil discourse and rhetorical excellence, which he uses skilfully to defend a cultural transposition from Greece to Scythia and its implications of a non-chauvinistic appreciation of virtue. In the Anacharsis, Greece in the person of Solon is taken aback to find a trenchant critic in the supposedly simple barbarian, who rebuffs the Athenian’s glib Hellenizing flattery. Lucian’s two Scythian dialogues reveal the potential of Scythia to neutralize the cultural prestige of Hellas, just as his other works explore other forms of nonconformist thinking and behaviour such as atheism and tyrannicide. Something of the Lucianic spirit of surprise and irreverence is carried over into Spenser’s View, despite its absence of a voice speaking on behalf of Scythia or Ireland that could counterbalance the demonization of the Scythian-Irish by one of the interlocutors, the ambitious and opinionated English colonial officer Irenius. The twist in View is that Irenius is also intensely critical of his own nation. He is, in a way, both Mnesippus/Solon and Toxaris/ Anacharsis as he unpicks the internal paradoxes of both Irish and English culture, especially with respect to a central theme in Lucian’s Scythian dialogues, the tension between innovation and conservatism. Indeed, Irenius’ critical acumen and his ­talent for exposing the convoluted and contradictory layers of meaning and purpose beneath any national custom, native or foreign, make him more like Toxaris/Anacharsis than Mnesippus/Solon.67 64  Lucian, Toxaris, or Friendship, in Lucian, Works, trans. A.  Harmon (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1936), vol. 5, p. 7. 65 66   Ibid., p. 8.   Ibid., p. 5. 67   For a similar reading of the unexpected parallels between Lucian’s Toxaris and Spenser’s Irenius, despite Irenius’ anti-Irish and anti-Scythian stance, see Patricia Coughlan, ‘Some Secret Scourge Which Shall by Her Come unto England: Ireland and Incivility in Spenser’, in Spenser and Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, edited by Patricia Coughlan (Cork: Cork University Press, 1989), pp. 61–71, especially 65 and 70.

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  87

Edmund Spenser: Bending Custom in Ireland Edmund Spenser spent a considerable part of his career serving the English colonial interests in Ireland. Like many other Englishmen involved in the establishment of new plantations at the end of the sixteenth century, he viewed native Irish culture as the main hindrance to a stable and peaceful English colonial rule as well as to the advance of his personal fortunes. His opinion and experience of Ireland are expressed in a number of his works, most notoriously in A View of the State of Ireland, which makes strategic use of ethnographic observation in the name of the colonial project of reforming Ireland. View unfolds as a conversation between two learned men that owes much to both the Lucianic form of dialogue and the Renaissance art of the political colloquy.68 The interlocutors are Irenius, an Englishman living in Ireland, and Eudoxus (the one ‘of good repute’ or ‘good opinion’), a compatriot who has no experience of that savage country. Irenius subscribes to the pseudo-historical thesis that the Irish are originally descended from the ancient Scythians, evidence of which he finds in the Irish customs of his day.69 In support of his argument, Irenius cites the likes of Herodotus, Lucian, Diodorus, and Strabo. This makes for a learned discourse and lends View a distinct affinity to writings produced within the English antiquarian movement.70 In fact, it was as a work concerned with Irish antiquities that James Ware, a respected historian, first published it in Dublin three decades after Spenser’s death. Having been educated at Merchant Taylors’ School by the eminent Richard Mulcaster and later at Cambridge, Spenser was in a position to benefit from his reading of classical sources, although he also knew a number of works of Renaissance cosmography and history that drew heavily on them. A letter from Gabriel Harvey, Spenser’s college tutor and long-time intellectual mentor, mentions that Spenser named his Nine Comoedies (now considered either lost or never written) after the Nine Muses ‘in imitation of Herodotus’.71 Furthermore, Spenser likely knew Barnabe Rich, who is assumed to be the figure behind the first partial English translation of Herodotus, as both belonged to the same literary Dublin milieu around Lord Grey de Wilton, Lord Deputy of Ireland.72 Concerning Spenser’s knowledge of Lucian, he had access to a four-volume Opera Omnia, a 1563 bilingual edition by Gilbertus Cognatus, which became the object of a   See ibid., pp. 59–63, on the dialogic form of View, including its debt to Lucian’s Toxaris.  On the genealogy of this thesis, see Joseph Lennon, Irish Orientalism (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2004), pp. 36–48. On Spenser’s aim in devoting so much attention to it, see Andrew Hadfield, Spenser’s Irish Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 102–9. 70   For a contextualization of View and its learned vein within the English antiquarian movement, see Bart Van Es, Spenser’s Forms of History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 78–111. 71   Gabriel Harvey, ‘Harvey’s Letters’, in Edmund Spenser: Works, vol. 10, edited by Rudolf Gottfried (Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1949), p. 471. 72   Spenser first came to Dublin and Ireland as a secretary to Lord Grey. On the attribution of the translation to Rich, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014), p. 79. Grogan also points out the translator’s pro-imperialist agenda (p. 80), which clashes with Herodotus’ reservations about empire. 68 69

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88  Galena Hashhozheva playful wager between Spenser and Harvey, its owner.73 In a later letter to Spenser, Harvey complains that Lucian has fallen into neglect at Cambridge, so we may infer that as Spenser’s tutor, Harvey must have urged him to read the satirist.74 In View, Irenius commends Lucian’s Toxaris as ‘that sweet dialogue’.75 Spenser evidently valued either the romance charms of the tales in the Toxaris or, if ‘sweet’ is a comment on style, the suave prose of the Greek satirist. In any case, the Toxaris is also one of the suggested sources for Book 4 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene, the Legend of Friendship.76 Although both Lucian and Herodotus demonstrate a certain sympathy with the Scythians, Spenser’s Irenius uses their writings to support his hostile attitude to those modern Scythians, the Irish. Like the Scythians, the Irish according to View are ‘diligent observers of old customes and antiquities, which they receive by continuall trad­ition from their parents’.77 Irenius repeatedly characterizes the Irish as ‘a people very stubborne’ because their loyalty to their old ways goes hand in hand with an aversion to the cultural usages of the English colonists.78 They have various mechanisms of ensuring their culture’s continuance; for example, when they elect a new lord of the clan, he must swear ‘an oath to preserve all the auncient former customes of the countrey inviolable’.79 Part of the colonists’ problem, as Irenius presents it, is indeed the antiquity of the Irish nation and its customs as well as the relative isolation of considerable portions of the population, conditioned by the island’s geography (bogs and mountains). This isolation is itself one such custom of old: Irenius detects it for example in the Irish habit of boolying, or seasonal itinerancy of herdsmen over the mountains and ‘waste wilde places’ in search of fresh pastures, which ‘appeareth plaine to be the manner of the Scythians . . . and yet is used amongst all the Tartarians and the people about the Caspian Sea, which are naturally Scythians’. According to Irenius, while boolying and shunning the civilized life of the towns, the Irish ‘grow thereby the more barbarous, and live more licentiously’.80 Another widespread Irish practice, cattle rustling, benefits from boolying insofar as the stolen livestock can be easily harboured among the boolies.81 Cattle theft, too, is a paradigmatic Scythian custom, as noted by Lucian.82 And when it comes to feasting on stolen cattle in the wilderness, where normal cooking equipment is lacking, the Irish have preserved the clever Scythian custom, described by Herodotus, of boiling the meat in the animal’s own belly.83 In Irenius’ account, the various Scythian customs of the Irish cohere and support one another, forming a tight system that is deeply ingrained in the character of the   For the identification of the edition, see Duncan, Ben Jonson, p. 84. 75   Harvey, ‘Letters’, p. 460.  Spenser, View, p. 63. 76   Richard McCabe, Spenser’s Monstrous Regiment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 206–7. 77 78 79   Ibid., p. 64.   Ibid., p. 14; p. 20.   Ibid., p. 17. 80 81 82   Ibid., p. 55.  Ibid.  Lucian, Toxaris 36. 83  Herodotus, Histories 4.61. In View, p. 64, it is more specifically the Northern Irish who are said to practise this method of cooking. See also John Derricke’s caricature Image of Irelande (London: for John Day, 1581), plate 3, a woodcut that shows Irish rogues resorting to an ox’s hide when ‘lacking pannes’ wherein to cook stolen cattle. 73 74

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  89 Irish people and offers considerable resistance to the English. Irenius is truly in his element while unfolding his learned genealogical-cum-ethnographic discourse, in which cultural comparanda and various erudite conjectures prove the kinship between the ancient Scythians and the modern Irish. He proceeds to cite Herodotus and Lucian on several other Scythian customs of the Irish, such as their battle cries, their oaths, their manner of swearing friendship by drinking a bowl of blood, and the ritual of mustering an army by sitting on a hide. These sorts of ‘ceremonies and superstitious rites’ are rarely found among the civilized but are, as both Irenius and Eudoxus agree, a  characteristic of ‘all barbarous nations’, who scrupulously observe them.84 As Englishmen, the interlocutors of View have a condescending attitude towards the barbarians’ obsession with ceremonies and similar curiosities, although as learned men they delight in the opportunity to study and discuss them. In his description of Irish customs and their lineage, Irenius reveals various ways in which they become ‘offensive and repugnant to the good government of the realme’, especially those among them that have the status of indigenous laws.85 Not the least of the problems that the English face is the tendency of the native customs of Ireland, although ancient and firmly fixed, to lead to unpredictable results when they cross paths with English legislation. Ironically, even the few Irish customs that the English expect to be useful for them, and which they decide to integrate into the colonial law, soon begin to work more to their detriment than their benefit. For example, in agreement with the Irish custom of kincogish, the colonial law requires every head of a clan to be responsible for the members of the clan and, when necessary, to bring them before the court.86 The unexpected effect of this law, however, is that it gives the Irish chief absolute authority over his clan: ‘For, whilest every chief of a sept standeth so bound to the law for every man of his blood or sept that is under him, he is made great by the commaunding of them all . . . And if he may commaund them, then he may commaund them as well to ill as to good.’87 The Irish chiefs thus make an old custom yield new advantages for them. Still more remarkable are the problems with certain customs that Irenius claims are recently established, despite the contrary claims of the Irish. The ‘occasion and first beginning’ of tanistry for instance, a custom whereby the Irish lords have only a lifetime tenure of their lands and titles, was ‘specially for the defense and maintenance of their lands in their posteritie, and for excluding all innovation or alienation thereof unto strangers, and specially to the English’.88 What guards against any innovations in land ownership turns out to be itself an innovation. Apparently, despite their general  Spenser, View, p. 17.   Ibid., p. 43. On Irenius’ tendentious conflation of custom and law in Ireland, see Bradin Cormack, A Power to Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, and the Rise of Common Law 1509–1625 (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 159–63. 86   In the Brehon tradition, kincogish (from Irish cin comocuis, ‘the offence of a kinsman’) mandates the legal responsibility of the chieftain for his people. 87 88  Spenser, View, p. 42.   Ibid., p. 17. 84 85

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90  Galena Hashhozheva resistance to cultural change and foreign influence, the Irish can establish new customs that militate against English colonization. In the meantime, according to Irenius they still present themselves as a conservative nation that refuses to accept any changes not only to its native ways but (to make things more complicated still) also to the original laws and statutes that the English imposed on them in the early colonial period. Although the Irish generally ‘rage at, and rend in peeces’ the English laws ‘as most repugnant to their libertie and naturall freedome’, they have found that certain of these laws benefit them more than they do the English, so they are anxious to keep them.89 It is therefore difficult for the English to make any alterations to the way they govern Ireland ‘now that things are growne unto an habit, and have their certain course’, for the Irish ‘may have now a colorable pretence to withstand such innovations, having accepted of other laws and rules already’.90 Another group inhabiting Ireland that resists changes to the existing terms of rule are the Old English, the nemesis of English colonial ethnography, who make it turn its eye back on itself in dismay. The Old English are the original English planters from the time of Henry II, who regard the more recent generation of colonists as rivals and feel resentful of attempts to update the colonial policies and to increase governmental authority at the expense of their own local sway. This power, as Irenius explains, the Old English lords have acquired by fitting into Irish society and adopting Irish manners when expedient. Eudoxus is utterly scandalized to learn that the Old English have ‘degenerated and growne almost mere Irish’ and indeed, in Irenius’ experience, more disruptive to the current system of colonial rule and legislation than the Irish themselves.91 Eudoxus then accuses the Old English of ‘a most dangerous lethargie’, or oblivion of their national identity and manners, compared to which the cultural super-memory of the Irish almost seems the lesser offence.92 In the final analysis, when considered in the total political and legal setting of early modern Ireland, the cultural conservatism of the Irish appears far from ­one-dimensional. Most importantly, it allows for some cunning flexibility and for occasional compromises when these would serve the Irish interests. Tradition is a weapon that, to the English mind, the Irish employ opportunistically when they need to defend their manner of living before the colonists. According to Spenser’s contemporary Barnabe Rich, the Irish could go so far as to profess that any and all their habits were long established customs: Demand of them, whie they should be so much addicted to their owne durtie demeanures, and that they should not conforme themselves to those civill courses which they see are to bee perfourmed with lesse paine, and more profit; they can satisfy us with no other reason but custome, Thus did our Ancestors. Custome is a Metall amongst them, that standeth which way soever it bee bent; Checke them for their uncleanlinesse, and they plead Custome: reprehend them for their Idolatry, they say thus did our Fathers before us: and I thinke it bee

  Ibid., p. 21.   

89

  Ibid., p. 19.

90

  Ibid., p. 54.

91

  Ibid., p. 68.

92

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The Afterlife of Ancient Scythian Culture  91 Custome that draweth them so often into rebellion, because they would do as their fathers have done before them.93

That custom has become a pliable metal does not mean that it is no longer king. On the contrary, native custom rules over Ireland, its flexibility making its power only more absolute. The only solution that Irenius can propose to the English problem in Ireland is first to subdue the population by the sword and by mass starvation to the point of complete despair and impotence, and then to subject it to an insidious social engineering aimed at eradicating its traditions. The scheme consists in giving English schooling to Irish children, thereby alienating them from their native culture and causing them to loathe it. Subsequently the parents, compelled to follow the example of their children so as not to lose their bond to them (and thereby to the family’s future), will ‘perceive the foulenesse of their own behaviour’ and renounce it.94 Note the inversion of the order of nature: rather than passing on native traditions to their offspring, the Irish parents will learn from them English manners. Irenius is convinced that after the plan for severing the link between the Irish and their customs has been successfully implemented, the English legal system will finally begin to function properly in Ireland, without running the risk of being vitiated by any remaining ‘Scythian abuses’. Yet this anticipated triumph does not come without its price. As Lucian’s Scythian dialogues show, whoever criticizes a foreign culture cannot keep one’s own out of the debate either. Although Irenius’ goal in View is to censure the Irish, he is also led to critique various aspects of Englishness, not the least of which is the common law. While explaining how the common law has become the most trouble­some importation into colonized Ireland, Irenius demystifies its origins and age. No doubt, the legal commentary in View owes much to Spenser’s insider experience as a clerk in Dublin’s Court of Chancery, one of the equity institutions traditionally in competition with the common law. In sixteenth-century England, prominent legal theorists and practitioners supported the nationalistic fiction of the common law as customary law dating back to times out of mind.95 Yet in the context of View, antiquity and customariness are not commendable features of a cultural or legal phenomenon. Indeed, throughout View there is a tendency to refer to Irish—Brehon—law as mere custom, thus denying it legal status.96 To preclude any doubts that the common law may be typologically similar to Ireland’s ‘non-laws’, Irenius rejects the notion of its immemoriality, claiming instead that it is conqueror’s law successfully imposed on the English by the Normans.97 94  Rich, Description, sig. Fv.–F2.  Spenser, View, p. 151.  See  J.  G.  A.  Pocock, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law: A Reissue with a Retrospect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 30–55. 96   As noted by Bradin Cormack, A Power, pp. 160–1, this conflation of law and custom, especially in the formula ‘not law but lewd/evil custom’, had served to denigrate the Irish nation already in medieval colonial documents. Incidentally, the two senses, custom and law, are united in the Greek nomos. 97  For a detailed discussion of this issue, see David Baker, Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997), pp. 91–123. 93 95

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92  Galena Hashhozheva This also allows Irenius to compliment the English on their cultural progress: although prior to the Norman conquest they were almost as wild as the modern Irish, they— unlike the Irish—embraced the improvement of their condition that the conquest offered. Irenius implies that a nation should be able to evaluate objectively the advantages that cultural innovation may bring, be it voluntary or imposed by an imperial power. Even Herodotus, although he views empire with suspicion and respects the cultural conservatism of some non-Greek peoples, suggests that contact with other nations and the openness to learning from their manners are signs of a more advanced and sophisticated society.98 Although Irenius argues well his case for the origins of the common law and its ­failure in Ireland in its present state, Eudoxus, as a representative of the general English population, feels more and more uncomfortable with this narrative. The fact that the common law does not work well in Ireland raises the question whether it is good in itself or only under certain conditions, which is already too disturbing a thought for an Englishman. It is ironic that Irenius sets out to attack the customariness of Irish society, which baulks the English laws and policies, and ends up revealing the recentness and non-customariness of the English legal system. Some scholars have speculated that Spenser’s unpopular views about the common law may have been the main reason for the presumed suppression of his dialogue.99 That too was perhaps an instance of revenge on behalf of His Majesty Custom.

98   The Herodotean case in point is the Lacedaemonians, who before the time of Lycurgus were ‘the worst governed of well nigh all the Greeks, having little intercourse among themselves or with strangers’ (Herodotus, Histories 1.65). The recipe for reforming Sparta proves to be the importation of foreign laws, which Lycurgus had carefully studied. 99   See David Baker, ‘Some Quirk, Some Subtle Evasion: Legal Subversion in Spenser’s View’, Spenser Studies 6 (1986): 147–63, and Ciarán Brady, ‘The Road to the View’, in Spenser and Ireland, edited by Patricia Coughlan, pp. 39–44.

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4 Reading Ancient Fables from the East Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Two-Origin Aetiology of Romance Su Fang Ng

Early modern Europe engaged the ancient Near East through a variety of ways: ­clas­sic­al sources, medieval romance, travel literature, and, increasingly, translations of eastern literature, including translations of Hellenistic novels produced by authors from the Near East. Some of these translations, especially the Greek Alexander Romance, originating in Alexandria, Egypt, had a robust circulation and tradition of translation and adaptation in the European Middle Ages. Others, such as Heliodorus’ Aethiopika, were only rediscovered by European readers in the sixteenth century. However, the early modern period, especially the seventeenth century, constituted a crucial turning point in the reception of such literary translations. European humanists and scholars of the ‘orient’ began to analyse their routes of reception. In so doing they developed theories of genre based on assumptions of a binary dichotomy between East and West that turned into modern Orientalism. Orientalism, of course, was a term Edward Said made prominent in his influential critique of western textualization of the Near East. Although Said extends the scope of Orientalism back to the ancient Greeks, for which he has been criticized, his analysis applies largely to nineteenth-century imperialism; the major ‘Orientalists’ (the eighteenth-century term for scholars of the Near East) he analyses are from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.1 Recently, more attention has been paid to the 1  Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York, NY: Vintage Books/Random House, 1978, 1994). Critics of Said’s account of the monolithic nature of Orientalism include not only Orientalists like Bernard Lewis and Robert Irwin, but also postcolonial scholars sympathetic to Said’s project such as Robert Young, White Mythologies: Writing History and the West (New York, NY: Routledge, 1990) and Aijaz Ahmad, ‘Orientalism and After: Ambivalence and Metropolitan Location in the Work of Edward Said’, Economic and Political Weekly 27:30 (1992): PE98–PE116. Said responds to some of the criticisms in ‘Orientalism Reconsidered’, Cultural Critique 1 (1985): 89–107.

Su Fang Ng, Reading Ancient Fables from the East: Pierre-Daniel Huet’s Two-Origin Aetiology of Romance In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0005

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94  Su Fang Ng prehistory of Orientalism, especially in the eighteenth century.2 But Orientalism’s theory of East–West difference could already be detected earlier. Even as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were a period of enthusiastic comparative work that integrated studies of Greco-Roman classicism with that of the ancient Near East—most prom­in­ent­ly, Joseph Justus Scaliger’s synthetic work of ancient chronology, De emendatione temporum (1583), synchronizing the calendars of Greece and Rome with those of Persia, Babylon, Egypt, and the Hebrews—comparative work also produced notions of essentialist difference.3 One such influential theorist was Pierre-Daniel Huet, the bishop of Avranches, whose short work titled Traité de l’origine des roman (1670) gave an account of the eastern origin of romance.4 Huet attributed the invention of the genre to Egyptians, Arabians, Persians, and Syrians. The route of reception he theorized, however, was not an entirely new idea. Margaret Doody notes that Claudius Salmasius already anticipated it in 1640 when he identified the Persians as the first to offer ‘amorous literature’, the origin of the ‘Milesian fables in Asia’, which the ‘Arabs then transmitted . . . to the Spanish’, and thence to the Gauls.5 Huet’s crystallization of a Near Eastern, rather than Greco-Roman, theory of classical origin spread widely through translation—into English in 1672 and German in 1682. Critics have by and large agreed that, as Daniel L. Selden puts it, Huet’s ‘itinerary reconfirms translatio studii and the Westering of culture: from the Orient, we move through Greece and Rome to medieval France and thence to modern Europe’.6 An early piece of literary criticism, Huet’s Traité has been the subject of some attention from scholars of the modern novel like Doody and others. Some of these scholars have rather optimistically read Huet in terms of benign cosmopolitanism: thus Srinivas Aravamudan’s assessment that ‘Huet’s formulations provide a refreshing alternative— that of Enlightenment Orientalism—to the nationalist paradigm for novel criticism’.7 This reading forgets that translatio studii was part of the medieval concept of translatio 2   Urs Apps, The Birth of Orientalism (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010); Srinivas Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012). 3  Joseph Scaliger, Opus de emendatione temporum (Leiden: Raphelengius, 1598). On Scaliger’s methodological innovations, see Anthony  T.  Grafton, ‘Joseph Scaliger and Historical Chronology: The Rise and Fall of a Discipline’, History and Theory 14:2 (1975): 156–85; see also Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983–93). 4   Pierre-Daniel Huet, A Treatise of Romances and Their Original (London: R. Battersby for S. Heyrick, 1672); references to Huet will be to this translation and given parenthetically. La Fayette’s novel was translated later as Zayde: A Spanish History, being a pleasant and witty novel, originally written in French by Monsieur Segray, translated by P. Porter (London: for William Cademan, 1678). 5   Salmasius’s ‘Ad Lectorem’, quoted in Margaret A. Doody, The True Story of the Novel (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996), p. 260; Phiroze Vasunia reiterates Doody’s point and gives another translation of the passage in ‘History, Empire and the Novel: Pierre-Daniel Huet and the Origins of the Romance’, in The Romance between Greece and the East, edited by Tim Whitmarsh and Stuart Thomson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 322–35 [pp. 327–8]. 6  Daniel  L.  Selden, ‘Genre of Genres’, in The Search for the Ancient Novel, edited by James Tatum (Baltimore, MA and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), pp. 39–64 [p. 44]. 7  Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism, p. 37.

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ancient fables from the east  95 imperii et studii that linked the transfer of imperial and cultural power to envision ­ istorical progress culminating in European political and cultural superiority. Modern h critics celebrating Huet’s argument about romance’s origin in the Near East focus on the first half of his treatise. In doing so, they have missed Huet’s turn in the second half of his Traité to separate East from West. Huet’s Traité is a theory of reception, less concerned with the specific paths of ­transmission of particular works than with a class or genre of works. Moreover, his theory argues from routes of reception to link genre to racial character. Very much a product of its time, Huet’s treatise puts translatio imperii et studii to new uses. Charles Martindale’s valuable point about reception—that ‘Meaning . . . is always realized at the point of reception’—applies equally to Huet’s theory of the routes of reception, which arose out of the seventeenth-century European cultural turning point.8 As increasing knowledge about and travel to other parts of the world challenged received ideas, European understanding of the ancient world too shifted.9 I argue that Huet shows a more tense relation to translatio than has been assumed by redirecting attention to the second half of the treatise, where he argues for a second origin of romance in the West. From translatio studii Huet arrives not at linked East–West cultures but parallel ones distinct from each other. He transforms translatio studii, the transfer of knowledge from East to West, into non-translation. By the end Huet posits a surprising polygenetic theory of romance. Huet’s theory of the genre of ‘oriental fables’ itself constitutes a kind of fable. Moreover, the ancient texts that Huet discusses—especially his examples that were themselves translated texts in ancient times—exhibit an ambivalence about translatio that anticipated Huet’s East–West division. Because translatio is a trope offering a ­theory of links between peoples and places, it marks responses to the foreign, and this ambivalence had the potential to coalesce into Orientalism. Examining Huet in ­conjunction with English translations of two of his representative but dissimilar romances—Heliodorus’ Aethiopika, translated by Thomas Underdowne (1569), and the fables of Bidpai, or Indian Panchatantra, translated by Thomas North as The Morall Philosophie of Doni (1570)—I consider how early modern translatio, which Huet’s treatise codifies, offers a choice of two paths to western relations to the East: kinship or a divided world. The first was imagined as the ancient ideal of a cosmopolis of universal brotherhood; but the other road led to modern Orientalism.10 8   Charles Martindale, Redeeming the Text: Latin Poetry and the Hermeneutics of Reception (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 3. 9   Chapters in this volume by Ladan Niayesh and Thomas Roebuck demonstrate the influence of travel to the Levant on early modern reconceptualizations of the ancient Near East. 10   Modern theories of cosmopolitanism have redirected interest to Zeno (and to Kant): see, for example, K. Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 2006); and Seyla Benhabib et al., Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty, and Democratic Iterations, edited by Robert Post (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). For a history of classical cosmopolis, see Daniel S. Richter, Cosmopolis: Imagining Community in Late Classical Athens and the Early Roman Empire (Oxford, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2011). Anthony Pagden cautions that cosmopolitanisms,

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96  Su Fang Ng Phiroze Vasunia has argued for the necessity of ‘reorienting Hellenism’ to locate classical studies in the history of modern European colonialism.11 Pierre-Daniel Huet occupies a critical point in the historical conjunction of the two. His Traité was the preface to Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, comtesse de Lafayette’s novel Zayde Histoire Espagnole, which she published under Jean Renault Segrais’s name. Joan DeJean notes that in his search for a pedigree for the French novel, Huet eulogizes as its pinnacle the works of Madeleine de Scudéry, who had published under her brother’s name. By thus publicly inscribing her name in the first ranks of modern authors, he defends Scudéry and other women writers from the attacks of Nicolas Boileau.12 But his is a celebration of the national French novel as an oriental tale. Zayde’s love plot is set during the struggle between Christians and Muslims over the Iberian peninsula during the Middle Ages, a popular theme in the 1660s and 1670s, notes the modern translator, which may have provided Huet with a hint in his search for romance’s origins. For this search, Huet says, ‘we must in quest thereof travel remotest Countries, and in the most latent Paths of Antiquity’ (sig. B1v).13 Remotest countries in the most latent paths of antiquity, or cosmopolitan classicism, were put in the service of nationalism. Huet’s distinction between high and low, between roman regulier and irregulier, was, as Daniel Selden suggests, to promote the controversial nouvelles françaises by attempting ‘to ennoble the genre with an impeccable pedigree of Greco-Roman precedents and to diffuse its potentially disruptive force by subsuming it within the canons of orthodox neoclassical aesthetics’, ultimately a conservative approach.14 Depending on chronological frame, Huet’s roman might be translated as romance, the word chosen by the 1672 English translator, or as novel. This has consequences for genre (the primary focus of most scholarship on Huet): romance and novel function differently if their domain is defined by retroactive nationalism or early cosmopolitanism. Grounding French tradition in a geographically capacious classicism, Huet’s definition of romance as prose adventures of love, ‘true in some particulars, and false in the gross’ (sig. B4), highlights the genre’s connections to the East. John J. Winkler has suggested that the love-in-marriage plot, the ‘coincidence of eros

whether Stoic, Cynic, or Enlightenment, emerged alongside the spread of empires (‘Stoicism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Legacy of European Imperialism’, Constellations 7:1 (2000): 3–22). 11   Phiroze Vasunia, ‘Hellenism and Empire: Reading Edward Said’, Parallax 9:4 (2003): 88–97 [92]. See also Vasunia, The Gift of the Nile: Hellenizing Egypt from Aeschylus to Alexander (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001) and The Classics and Colonial India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). 12   Joan deJean, Tender Geographies: Women and the Origins of the Novel in France (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 170–1. On Huet’s defence of female authors, see also April G. Shelford, ‘The Empire of Women, 1651–89’, chapter 3 in Transforming the Republic of Letters: Pierre-Daniel Huet and European Intellectual Life, 1650–1720 (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007), pp. 77–113. 13   Nicholas D. Paige further notes, ‘Scudéry had set her last, old-style romance, Almahide (1660–63) in the last days of Arab control of Granada . . . [and] Villedieu did the same in her Gallantry in Granada of 1673’ (Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, Comtesse de Lafayette, Zayde: A Spanish Romance, edited and translated by Paige (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2006), p. 16). 14   Selden, ‘Genre of Genres’, p. 44.

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ancient fables from the east  97 and gamos’, may also have been invented in the Near East.15 But not all is love. A glance at Huet’s long list of ancient examples shows incredible variety, from Heliodorus of Emessa’s Aethiopica, Lucian’s The Golden Ass, St John of Damascus’s Barlaam and Josaphat, a Christianizing of the story of Buddha, and the Indian fables of Bidpai. Some more explicitly didactic works like Bidpai’s fables fall into the category of paraenetic material, that is, advice or wisdom literature, with Near Eastern roots; moreover, Bidpai’s frame narrative is a literary device that seems to originate with ancient Indian works, including its original, the Panchatantra.16 The generic instability—or expansiveness—indicated by Huet’s examples is further amplified when he discusses Arthurian romances such as Amadis de Gaule, an instability he exploits to posit a second, western aetiology for romance. Huet inhabits a critical transitional position, straddling as he does the historical boundary between antique romance and modern novel. Huet’s treatise can be interpreted as a retrospective of the past or as laying out a programme for the future. Whereas Michael McKeon’s landmark study of the novel argues that the modern novel was invented in contradistinction to an older romance, some critics of the modern novel have sought to bridge ancient romance and modern novel, with Huet’s treatise a lynchpin holding the two together.17 As I’ve noted, Doody sees Huet as a continuation of Salmasius, whose edition of Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Clitophon places it in the context of a longer, transnational history of fiction linking the Near East to an Arabized Spain to the Gallic West.18 She links Huet to the past, while critics like Srinivias Aravamudan consider Huet a precursor to Clara Reeve’s eighteenth-century The Progress of Romance (1785), another comparative and transcultural treatise, and thus see Huet pointing forward to modernity: ‘Huet’s wide and lateral geography of the [romance] genre’ constitutes an anti-nationalist ‘anatopism (or a spatial displacement) compared to the more frequent anachronism involved in the backward projections and false expectations of novel criticism’.19 Either way, critics are drawn to Huet’s perceived cosmopolitanism, as his account of the novel’s aetiology offers a theory of a mutual relation between East and West. However, what appears to be anatopism from our modern perspective may be less so from the other side. What modernity sees as ‘displacement’ in Huet’s geography is due to the blinkered classicism that traces European origins back to Rome and Greece, with 15   John J. Winkler argues, ‘the narrative pattern of romance (as I have defined it) is a resident alien in Greek culture, a literary form born in and (presumably) appropriate to the social forms of a Near Eastern culture, and which has been Hellenized in the wake of Alexander’s conquests’ (‘The Invention of Romance’, in The Search for the Ancient Novel, edited by Tatum, pp. 23–38 (pp. 29, 35)). Winkler points to Gerald Gresseth’s study on the Odyssey’s similarities to an Indian epic (‘The Odyssey and the Nalopākhyāna’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 109 (1979): 63–85). 16   Michael  E.  J.  Witzel, ‘On the Origin of the Literary Device of the “Frame Story” in Old Indian Literature’, in Hinduismus und Buddhismus: Festschrift für U.  Schneider (Freiburg: Hedwig Falk, 1987), pp. 380–414. 17  Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), pp. 19–21. 18 19  Doody, True Story, pp. 258–61.  Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism, p. 37.

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98  Su Fang Ng the rest of the world divided between the barbaric and the ‘oriental’. Seventeenth-century scholarship, however, was not so restrictive, having inherited a variety of o ­ rigin stories that looked beyond Greece and Rome to Turkey (Troy), Persia, India, and Egypt. British origin myths looked east, and not just to Troy. Scotland traced its origin to Egypt: Hector Boece’s Historia Gentis Scotorum (1527), circulating in the v­ ernacular in John Bellenden’s 1531 translation, locates Scottish origin in the alliance of the Greek prince Gathelus with Scota, the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh.20 Classicism and Orientalism were intimately linked and diverged late; scholars working on periods before the nineteenth century must consider the complex interactions between classicism, early colonialism, and ‘oriental’ scholarship. By overemphasizing Huet’s cosmopolitanism, modern critics miss the contrary force in his essay that seeks to ­divide rather than to join, and hints of the beginnings of the divergence of classicism from Orientalism with a nascent imperial mentality. This nascent imperialism owes to Huet’s immediate context. The vogue for oriental tales came at a time of increasing European contact with the East. Phiroze Vasunia argues that Huet’s interest in oriental matter comes from French and other European commercial activities in the Near and further East: not only was Huet deeply read in French travel accounts, he had a correspondent in Father Bouchet in Madras and authored works on ancient and modern commerce and navigation, including one on the Dutch East India Company.21 In England, Huet’s translation followed upon the revival of interest in romance in the 1650s and 1660s, which also saw the translation of French romances. Huet’s influence persisted into the early eighteenth century in Stephen Lewis’s 1715 translation, reprinted in a collection in 1722, and his work became part of the vocabulary of English authors.22 His English readers were equally concerned with commerce in the East, especially the competition with the Dutch, and Huet’s navigational and trade treatises were also translated into English.23 New accounts of the East thus overlaid classical ones. Huet’s study of ancient narrative often slides into stereotypes about racial character. Ascribing romance’s invention to ‘the Orientals, I mean to the Egyptians, Arabians, Persians and Syrians’ (sig. B5v), 20  Hector Boece, The Chronicles of Scotland (1531), translated by John Bellenden, edited by R. W. Chambers and Edith C. Batho (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons for the Scottish Text Society, 1938), 2 vols.; vol. 1, p. 22. This myth circulated in English works, including Edmund Spenser, A View of the State of Ireland: From the first printed edition (1633), edited by Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997). King James VI’s ascension to the English throne in 1603 gave this myth new prominence in England: see Lisa Hopkins, ‘Cleopatra and the Myth of Scota’, in Antony and Cleopatra: New Critical Essays, edited by Sara Munson Deats (New York, NY and London: Routledge, 2005), pp. 231–42. 21   Vasunia, ‘History, Empire and the Novel’, pp. 322–35. 22   Pierre-Daniel Huet, The History of Romances: An Enquiry into their Original, trans. Stephen Lewis (London, 1715); ‘Monsieur Huet’s Letter to Monsieur de Segrais . . . Upon the Original of Romances’, in A Select Collection of Novels, edited by Samuel Croxall (London: J. Watts, 1722), vol. 1, pp. i–lii. Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood translated French romances in addition to writing their own. 23  Huet, The History of the Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients (London, 1717); Memoirs of the Dutch Trade in all the Empires, and Kingdoms in the World (London, 1717).

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ancient fables from the east  99 Huet sees Syria as the heartland of romance, ‘the Countrey of Fables’, rather than Greece, ‘whither they were onely Transplanted’ (sig. B6). With this geographical ­displacement, he posits the idea of an eastern genius based on a love of fiction, but one described in terms of diseased addiction: ‘’Tis also hardly credible how all these People have a Genius singularly disposed and addicted to Poetry, Invention and Fiction; all their discourse is Figures; they never express themselves but in Allegories; their Theologie and Philosophie, but principally their Politicks and Morals, are all couched under Fables and Paraboles’ (sig. B6v). This (dubious) genius enfolds other fields of knowledge into fiction; even religion is not exempt: fictions ‘have in Syria been Sanctified’ and ‘The Holy Scripture is altogether Mysterious, Allegorical, and Aenigmatical’ (sig C4). Calling fiction-making ‘lying’, Huet suggests that eastern races are so prone to it that they turn it into a competition: ‘The Persians have not at all yielded to the Arabians in the art of Lying agreeably’ (sig. B8). With this not entirely flattering aetiology, Huet repeats Greek stereotyping of the East as luxurious and degenerate. He describes how Persian influence corrupted Greek-speaking peoples: the Ionians were ‘plunged in Luxurie and Voluptuousnes’ (sig. C5v) due to conquest by Persians; the Greeks had no romances before Alexander the Great, when they ‘had it from the Persians themselves when they subdued them, and run it to its Source’ (29, sig. C7), though the Anatolian (but Greek-speaking) Milesians taught Persians the art of romance. Romance originated in Asia Minor where wealth and luxury proved fertile ground for its invention, and the ‘reciprocal commerce of luxury and pleasure’ (sig. E8v) spread it to Greece and Italy especially when Rome became ‘abandoned to luxury and pleasures’ (sig. F2v). For Huet, the love  of romance becomes interchangeable with the love of pleasure. From ancient Asia  romance spread alongside (eastern) luxuries elsewhere—to the Arabs and thence to Spain and Europe—through commerce and conquest. The picture of the ancient Near East Huet presents—with his language of voluptuousness and degenerate luxuriousness—is ‘orientalist’ in the Saidean sense: a representation at best romantic but often pejorative in depicting the East as irrational, weak, and feminized. Nonetheless, Huet’s language of luxury spread through commerce recognizes that Greece was not as a point of origin but as a node in a network through which goods and ideas and peoples passed. Works such as Heliodorus’ Aethiopica embed Greece and its familiar cultural heroes, including Homer, in a wider world.24 Romances and fables use this embeddedness to construct more complicated narratives of origin than later 24   For Heliodorus’ influence in England, see Steve Mentz, Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction (Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006); for popular romance, see Lori Humphrey Newcomb, Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2002). Scholars have also explored the connection between early modern romance and travel: Nandini Das, Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570–1620 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2011); and Goran Stanivukovic, Knights in Arms: Prose Romance, Masculinity, and Eastern Mediterranean Trade in Early Modern England, 1565–1655 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).

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100  Su Fang Ng scholarship would recognize, and to teach ways of reading that reveal complex ­genealogical, geographic, and cultural affiliations. When critics praise Huet, they praise him for this reorienting of Hellenism: as Doody argues, ‘Huet’s Traité . . . sets the novel in a large context; he insists upon its polyglot energies and its multiracial origins.’25 But if Huet recognizes multiracial origins, it is not without making troubling racial assumptions. And the polyglot energies of ancient works do not always flow smoothly. As I argue, Huet’s two-origin aetiology of romance suggests barriers to translation, but he was not the first to imagine the possibility of non-translation. His ancient examples already have. Two of Huet’s many examples, though generically different works, represent not only translatio, with the attendant imagery of eastern luxury Huet trafficked in, but also translation’s failures and blockages. My first example from Huet’s list is the beast fables of Bidpai (or Pilpay). This body of material had ancient roots, and thus an extraordinarily long translation history. In its transmission history, Bidpai’s fables acquired paratextual material that offers an explicit theory of translation, one that the early modern English translation preserves. This theory, I suggest, anticipates Huet’s two approaches to East–West relations in the ambiguous status it gives translation: desirable, for translation is motivated by the search for wisdom, but partial and perhaps ultimately impossible. Bidpai’s fables has not garnered the kind of commentary or imitations that Heliodorus attracted but Huet happens to be one such early modern commentator. Its wide circulation in early modern Europe suggests a popular reception. The Morall Philosophie of Doni (1579), translated by Sir Thomas North—better known for his translation of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romanes (1579)—was based on Anton Francesco Doni’s Italian version, La filosofia morale (1552). Doni’s work was itself republished several times in various Italian cities through the sixteenth century.26 Later, Jean de la Fontaine included some of the fables in his French collection, the first of which volume was published in 1668, making Bidpai influential through the ­seventeenth century.27 The modern edition of Bidpai edited by Donald Beecher et al. places Doni’s translation, likely a corporate production of the Academia Peregrina, within the context of emblem literature with moral and didactic purpose. The editors argue that not only was the Venetian academy with which Doni was associated interested in illustrated books concerning political life, so was Robert Dudley, the Earl of

 Doody, True Story, p. 18.   Anton Francesco Doni, La filosofia morale (Venice, 1552). A. Longo, ‘Doni’, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1992), vol. 41, pp. 158–67. 27   Jean de la Fontaine, Fables choisies, new edition, 4 vols. (Paris, 1678–9); for a modern edition, see Jean de la Fontaine, Fables choisies, edited by Jean-Pierre Chauveau (Paris: Gallimard, 1999). A.  Tilley, ‘La Fontaine and Bidpai’, The Modern Language Review 34:1 (1939): 21–39. See also Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism, pp. 129–40. 25

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ancient fables from the east  101 Leicester’s circle to which North was connected.28 In addition to Plutarch and Bidpai, North translated another mirror for princes by Antonio de Guevara as The Diall of Princes (1557), and Leicester’s circle eagerly consumed Italian conduct books, of which the best known was perhaps Castiglione’s The Courtier, translated by Sir Thomas Hoby in 1561. Bidpai’s wide circulation makes the idea of translatio studii available long before Huet’s treatise. Bidpai’s ultimate source is the Sanskrit Panchatantra dating back to c.300 bce, but it spread to Europe as the Arabic Kalila wa Dimna. Widely transmitted to both East and West in the Middle Ages, Kalila wa Dimna was translated into Persian, Turkish, Mongolian, Ethiopian, and Malay (this last a mix of Abdullah Ibn al-Mukaffa’s Arabic translation and a Tamil text) as well as Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.29 As the modern editors of North’s translation note, ‘Doni called his work Filosofia morale because this ensemble of fables, from the inception of the tradition, was touted to contain a complete education in the political life’, and the title of Giovanni di Capua’s Latin Liber Kalilae et Dimnae: Directorium vitae humanae, from which stem the many European translations, advertises itself as a Fürstenspiegel, a mirror for princes or conduct book.30 North’s Doni was certainly read that way, as Ben Jonson’s allusion in Epicene shows when the foolish knight La Foole says, ‘Ay, and there’s an excellent book of moral phil­ oso­phy, madam, of Reynard the Fox and all the beasts, called Doni’s Philosophy.’31 North’s own dedicatory letter to Robert Dudley praises the work to be ‘full of morality, examples, and government’, calling it a ‘glass . . . to look into’ suitable for courtiers and scholars (201–2). Missing the main frame story—of a king commanding a learned Brahmin to educate his three ignorant princes—North’s translation gives only Book 1 28   Sir Thomas North, The Moral Philosophy of Doni, popularly known as The Fables of Bidpai, 1570, edited by Donald Beecher, John Butler, and Carmine Di Biase (Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 2003), pp. 38–50; quotations will be from this edition and cited parenthetically. For a nineteenth-century edition, see The Earliest English Version of the Fables of Bidpai, edited by Joseph Jacobs (London: D. Nutt, 1888), which gives a stemma at the end of the introduction. Nor was it the only or the first mirror North translated, having previously rendered the Spanish Diall of Princes into English. Prominent in both North and Doni are woodcut illustrations—North’s edition includes forty-nine woodcuts, some reprinted from Doni— emblems that encourage moralistic reading: see Beecher et al., ‘Introduction’, especially pp. 75–98. Although he does not discuss Doni’s La filosofia morale, Douglas Biow devotes a chapter to Doni’s art of book making and design, ‘Anton Francesco Doni and the Art of Conspicuous Reproduction’, chapter 5 in In Your Face: Professional Improprieties and the Art of Being Conspicuous in Sixteenth-Century Italy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), pp. 157–85. 29   C. Brockelmann, ‘Kalīla Wa-Dimna’, Encyclopaedia of Islam, second edition, edited by P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.  E.  Bosworth, E.  van Donzel, W.  P.  Heinrichs, Brill Online, 2016, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, 6 January 2016 . For the Sanskrit original, see Viṣṇu Śarma, The Pancátantra, trans. and introduction by Chandra Rajan (New Delhi: Penguin, 1993). Charles Wilkins was the first to identify Kalila wa Dimna as having Sanskrit origins in his translation of The Heetopades of Veeshnoo-Sarma, in a Series of Connected Fables, Interspersed with Moral, Prudential and Political Maxims (Bath: R. Cruttwell, 1787). 30  North, Moral Philosophy, edited by Beecher et al., pp. 11–12. 31   Ben Jonson, Epicene, or the Silent Woman, edited by Richard Dutton (Manchester and New York, NY: Manchester University Press, 2003), Act 4.4.80–2.

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102  Su Fang Ng of the original but retains the Prologue, itself a frame that gives the books’ genealogy in terms of eastern translatio.32 Translatio is doubled from the start. Enfolding Abdullah Ibn al-Mukaffah’s introduction from the Arabic version into his own, North’s Prologue offers two accounts of the book’s translation. It first begins by tracing the work’s transmission into English: This precious jewel, beloved Reader, was first found written in the Indian tongue entitled Moral Wisdom, and thence conveyed into Persia and was coated with their language, naming it with them The Example of Good Life, and from the Persian speech a long time after by the ancient fathers— they, knowing the wonderful doctrine thereof—brought into the native Arabian, and from that translated into Hebrew by Joel Grand Rabbi, a Jew; at length reduced into Latin, and passing through many languages became a Spaniard with the title of Exemplario, and so in time brought to Venice and there put into Italian by a company of gentlemen associated together entitling their fellowship Academia Peregrina, and now lastly out of Italian made vulgar to us.  (206–7)

This chain of transmission emphasizes both eastern provenance and antiquity. The work circulates through a number of eastern tongues before becoming European. North implies that the many translations testify to the work’s great worth, calling it a ‘precious jewel’, a Central Asian motif that may have been left over from the work’s transmission through the Near East.33 This motif of the book as jewel also associates precious and luxury objects with the East, as in Heliodorus or in contemporary discussions of trade.34 Through translatio the book jewel, Indian in origin, morphs into other, distant nationalities. Anticipating Huet, North articulates the idea of the chain of transmission from East to West. But translatio studii carries with it a latent translatio imperii. As Sharon Kinoshita points out with regards to two near-contemporaneous fourteenth-century manuscripts of Kalila wa Dimna, one sponsored by the French Capetians kings and the other by Persian Ilkhanids, the transmission history ‘charts an alternative history of translatio’, and ‘Where nationalisms have, since the nineteenth century, looked to linguistically-specific texts like the Chanson de Roland or the Poema de Mio Cid to ground claims to a long and unique cultural tradition, premodern empires appropriated the cultural capital amassed by their predecessors: translatio ­studii as an integral part of translatio imperii.’35 In the right circumstances, this latent translatio imperii can develop into a full-bloomed Orientalism.   Beecher et al., ‘Introduction’, Moral Philosophy, p. 17.   For the book jewel, a Central Asian compositional type, see V. I. Braginsky, ‘Tajus Salatin (“The Crown of Sultans”) of Bukkhari al-Jauhari as a Canonical Work and an Attempt to Create a Malay Literary Canon’, in The Canon in Southeast Asian Literatures: Literatures of Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, edited by David Smyth (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2000), pp. 183–209. 34   One influential contemporary work defending the East India Company from charges of trade wasting the country’s wealth is Thomas Mun, A Discourse of Trade, from England unto the East-Indies (London: Nicholas Okes for John Pyper, 1621). For the cultural impact of eastern luxury goods, see among others, Jerry Brotton, The Renaissance Bazaar: From the Silk Road to Michelangelo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); and Linda Levy Peck, Consuming Splendour: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 35   Sharon Kinoshita, ‘Translatio/n, Empire, and the Worlding of Medieval Literature: The Travels of Kalila wa Dimna’, Postcolonial Studies 11:4 (2008): 371–85 (371, 381). 32 33

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ancient fables from the east  103 The second, older account, provided by Ibn al-Mukaffah, tells a similar story of cultural transfer, and significantly, it is one Huet includes in his treatise.36 Giving the earl­ier, ancient stage of translatio, the account relates how the book came to Persia from India, extending the space of the ‘Orient’ further east. Set in the time of the Sassanian king Anastres Castri (Chosroes I Anushirvan, r. 531–79 ce), the story involves two books of secrets or wisdom. The first presented to the king initiates the search for what turns out to be Kalila wa Dimna. The first book, ‘in which was written many goodly deeds and secrets’, purports to contain the secret of Indian plants that ‘if they were known and confected afterwards in a certain kind’ confer eternal life: ‘they might raise to life again the dead’ (Moral Philosophy 222). Desirous of obtaining these life-giving Indian herbs, like the mythological Alexander the Great searching for the water of life (or, indeed, Gilgamesh), the king dispatches his High Treasurer, Berozias, on an embassy to India to discover the remedy.37 India thus functions in relation to Persia as Persia and other lands of the Near East to Europe. So taken was Huet with this account of translatio, he repeated it twice, tracing one channel of ­transmission through the Hebrews to the Persians as a work attributed to Sandaber while the other, transmitted by Berozias, ‘so little different . . . bear the name of the Indian Pilpay’ (Huet, sig. C3–C3v). The story that begins with Indian exotic plants ends with eastern wisdom. Berozias is diverted into a search for higher knowledge. In India he searches in vain for the medicine, despite help from Indian sages who ‘gathered all they found written for the conditing of so precious an electuary’ and ‘joining together to make this confection’ (223). By experimental proof, the book is shown to be false. Loath to return emptyhanded, Berozias is informed by the Indian sages that what he is really looking for is a book of secrets. A version of this story, notes Kinoshita, is told in Ferdowsi’s tenthcentury Shahnameh, but there Berozias faces greater difficulties, as he is not allowed to copy but must memorize the text and secretly write it down in Persian. Persia, which fascinated North and his contemporaries, functions as a transactional space between East and West in this work, an in-between space to assimilate the even more foreign India.38 In North’s version, the search for the herb of life is turned into an allegory of the search for wisdom: The trees and herbs growing upon those hills do betoken wisdom and learning which spring of the understanding and judgements of the learned. The medicine or electuary condited of those herbs are the books full of most learned writings composed by the high and deep wits, and with this oil or balm they revive the dead. For with such knowledge the ignorant and unlearned are instructed, whom we may justly reckon dead and buried. Therefore, tasting the sweetness (continually reading) of the doctrine of the sages, they receive health and resurrection.  (223)   For Huet’s account of Bidpai/Pilpay’s translatio, see Treatise, sig. C3v.   North’s editors note that ‘Berozias is the Persian physician Burzoye, Borzouyeh, or Barzoë, the author of the (lost) Pahlevi version of the present work (c. 550 A.D.)’ (222 n. 35). 38   For Persia’s significance to English readers, especially represented in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writings, 1549–1622 (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). See also Noreen Humble’s chapter in this volume on early modern readers of Xenophon. 36 37

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104  Su Fang Ng Books of wisdom become medicine, and the work at hand is an ‘electuary’, a concoction of moral stories assembled together. Such medical metaphors would come to be ­incorporated into early modern poetry as poets wrestled with the classical legacy in light of contemporary trade in eastern luxuries.39 In the allegory from Bidpai’s preface the act of reading and of translating turns into a heroic quest, concluding with Berozias’s ­triumphant return to Persia. Berozias’s triumph, however, hides his abject failure. He brings back not the thing itself but its image. Read another way, this story tells of the impossibility of certain forms of translations. Srinivas Aravamudan argues, ‘As founding myth as well as translational gift, the fables of Enlightenment Orientalism both transmit and perform transculturation.’40 Yet, as Berozias’s story indicates, translation can be partial and incomplete. Berozias’s heroic memorization and secret acts of translating the text into Persian produce only a substitute for the life-giving medicine. Berozias’s story is a preview of the partial translations within the fables. While the fables perform transculturation by foregrounding and understanding the act of interpretation as an attempt to assimilate the foreign and the alien, within the fables translation resists transparency. The bull of the main story in North’s translation, whose bellows frighten the lion king, represent interpretive problems posed by the foreign Other. The last tale is particularly fascinating, given Huet’s obsession with commerce, for its representation of how trade connects and separates strangers: the servant who rears parrots to slander his mistress ‘in his language, the Indian tongue’, which nobody else understands, is exposed when the woman’s kin visits, two merchants who ‘because they had trafficked India very well, they had the tongue perfectly’ and could comprehend the parrots’ tale (397). But just when the tale seems to move toward one conclusion, it swerves into another direction, for the servant’s sparrow-hawk ‘began brokenly to speak’ the truth about the lying ­parrots (398). The problems of interpreting foreign speech seems to be resolved by the arrival of the bilingual merchants, but the ethical problem is settled instead by unpolished but honest native speech. The problem of translation is short-circuited; in the end there is no need to understand foreign speech. The tale’s emphasis on the deceitfulness of foreign speech parallels Huet’s emphasis on ‘oriental’ lies in their fables. Huet’s own account of Berozias’s translatio, brief though it is, also enacts this short-circuited translation where translation inexplicably turns into non-translation. Not only does he give two lines of transmission, Huet’s account of the second is notably convoluted: the reputation of this Book being carried so far as to Nonchirevon King of Persia; he procured a Copy thereof by means of his Physician, who Translated it into Persian, that Calife Abuiafar Almanzor caused it to be Translated from Persian into Arabian, and another out of Arabian into

39   Miriam Jacobson, Barbarous Antiquity: Reorienting the Past in the Poetry of Early Modern England (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014); see especially chapter 2 on sugared words in Puttenham’s Arte of English Poesie. 40  Aravamudan, Enlightenment Orientalism, p. 130.

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ancient fables from the east  105 Persian; and that after all these Persian translations, a new one was made different from all the former, and from this came the French translation.  (sig. C3v)

The multiple back-and-forth translations suggest a process that introduces textual multiplicity, even if not corruptions. The version translated into French was an entirely new Persian translation, suggesting not the preservation but the degeneration of the Indian ‘Treasure of Wisdom and Learning’. For Huet, Bidpay as an Indian text, translated or not, represents the deep source for romance, both chronologically and spatially going further than the Persians. But the high point of this tradition of romance is Heliodorus’ Aethiopika, of which Huet says, ‘Hitherto the World had never seen any thing better designed, and more compleat among Romances’ (36, sig. D2v). Huet’s own appreciation of Heliodorus—as the best of his kind—comes from Scudéry, who admits in the preface to her novel Le Grand Cyrus, ‘I have taken and I will always take for my unique models the immortal Heliodorus and the great d’Urfé. These are the only masters that I imitate and the only ones to be imitated.’41 As Thomas DiPiero comments, ‘Mlle de Scudéry surpasses her predecessors in claiming not only that the novel is simply an epic in prose, but that its roots are as ancient as history’s . . . Scudéry strives to give the novel a history by tracing its origins back to Greek romances and she ventures a contemporary legitimation of fiction by comparing Heliodorus to d’Urfé.’42 Huet’s (and Scudéry’s) high opinion of Heliodorus comes out of more than a century-long reception of the work. Only rediscovered in 1526, Heliodorus attained wide circulation through Jacques Amyot’s French translation, L’Histoire Aethiopique de Heliodorus (1547). From the start, early modern readings view Heliodorus as a kind of epic. Amyot’s influential preface to Heliodorus started a debate over the possibility of putting romance in epic form to serve as a ‘morally and intellectually acceptable alternative to the Amadis romances’.43 This reading is given additional force when Julius Caesar Scaliger singles out the in medias res opening to suggest that Aethiopika ‘should be most carefully conned by the epic poet as furnishing the best model for heroic poetry’.44 In Scaliger’s reading, f­ eatures of Heliodorus, such as narrative delays, become assimilated to epic: Alban K. Forcione notes, ‘Scaliger recommends interruptions and fragmentations of the major narrative thread both for the sake of holding the hearer in suspense and arousing in him admiratio through the variety which episodes afford.’45

41   Quoted in Thomas DiPiero, Dangerous Truths and Criminal Passions: The Evolution of the French Novel, 1569–1791 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), pp. 103–4. 42  DiPiero, Dangerous Truths, pp. 103–4. 43  Elizabeth Spiller, Reading and the History of Race in the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 79. 44   Julius Caesar Scaliger, Select Translations from Scaliger’s Poetics, trans. Frederick Morgan Padelford (New York, NY: H. Holt, 1905), p. 55. 45  Alban K. Forcione, Cervantes, Aristotle, and the ‘Persiles’, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970), p. 65. For a contrary view of the effects of narrative interruptions, see Daniel Javitch, ‘Cantus interruptus in the Orlando Furioso’, Modern Language Notes 95:1 (1980): 66–80.

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106  Su Fang Ng In England, Heliodorus also gained wide influence in the wake of Thomas Underdowne’s 1569 translation. Steven Mentz identifies a ‘Heliodoran vogue’ in the 1580s in the imitations of a number of romances—including Robert Greene’s Mamillia (1583) and Menaphon (1589), and Sidney’s New Arcadia (incomplete at his death in 1586)—part of a growth of interest in popular romance.46 Such interest may be related to Europeans’ greater exposure to the East through travels of discovery. Despite its Hellenized heroes, Heliodorus’ Aethiopika traverses an expansive extra-Hellenic territory. Making its geographical hierarchy clear, it idealizes not Greece but Ethiopia. As Ken Dowden notes, it grades the world with Greece at the base level, Egypt a transitional space, and Ethiopia the transcendent Platonic realm.47 At the same time, early modern responses to Otherness were ambivalent. Sujata Iyengar argues early modern authors were increasingly troubled by Ethiopian blackness and tried to ‘stabilize Chariclea’s sex and race through her heredity . . . asserting her social rank . . . by ­retro­active­ly blanching her parents—and Chariclea herself ’.48 In this they were following the text, for Clariclea had already been whitened by Heliodorus. It is worth paying further attention to Scaliger’s influential reading of Heliodorus because Huet would reverse the valence of the contrast between ancient romance and Arthurian, a reversal that reveals, I suggest, Huet’s emerging Orientalism. In the ­sixteenth century, Scaliger’s comments on Heliodorus’ epic character led quickly to Amyot’s assertion that Heliodorus offers a superior alternative to such dreck as the Amadis and other Arthurian romances. In turn, Amyot’s argument was taken up by others. When he Englished Heliodorus in 1569, Underdowne makes a similar point in his preface, praising the book by comparing it to Arthurian romances: If I shall compare it with other of like argument, I thinke none commeth neere it. Mort Darthure, Arthur of little Britaine, yea, and Amadis of Gaule, etc. accompt violente murder, or murder for no cause, manhoode: and fornication and all unlawfull luste, friendely love. This booke punisheth the faultes of evill doers, and rewardeth the well livers.  (4)

Like Amyot, or for that matter Huet, Underdowne sees the teaching of moral virtue as an important component of reading. Although Aethiopika is no mirror for princes, Underdowne offers it as a didactic text, underlining the act of interpretation. Even a modern critic like Mentz accepts Underdowne’s characterization to argue that ‘Aethiopian History gave Elizabethan writers two important things: an alternative to chivalric romance and the Italian novella, and a sophisticated way of exploiting the  varied interpretive practices of readers of narrative fiction.’49 Inherent in that op­pos­ition of Greek and chivalric romances is the privileging of the (foreign) classical,  Mentz, Romance for Sale, p. 14.   Ken Dowden, ‘Heliodorus: Serious Intentions’, The Classical Quarterly 46:1 (1996): 267–85 (280–3). 48   Sujata Iyengar, Shades of Difference: Mythologies of Skin Color in Early Modern England (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), p. 20. Later adaptations include: William Lisle’s The Faire Ethiopian (1631), the anonymous White Ethiopian (1630s?), and John Gough’s The Strange Discovery (1640). 49  Mentz, Romance for Sale, p. 48. 46 47

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ancient fables from the east  107 encompassing the Near (and further) East over (native) European romance. This transmission might be seen constituting an alternate translatio narrative to Aristotelianism. Steven Mentz argues that it was not Aristotle’s Poetics, largely unknown, but Heliodorus’ Aethiopika that was ‘the most powerful vehicle for transmitting the classical plot to late sixteenth-century English culture’.50 Significantly, this classicism was ‘orientalized’, as Underdowne, who translated Heliodorus out of Latin, notes that the author ‘seemeth to be hee who Philostratus maketh mention, calling him an Arabian’, supposing it is because Arabia is near ‘Emesa . . . a citie of Phoenicia’ (5), an identification current in Huet’s time. However, this reading of the relative merits of Aethiopika and Arthurian romance is very different from Huet’s. Huet follows Scudéry’s search for a classical lineage for the novel but only up to a point. By the end of the Traité, he veers away from a shared origin in the ancient East to come to a two-origin aetiology. The transition from the orientalized origins of romance to an East–West divide comes by way of a shift in Huet’s account of the cultural identity of authors of romances, and in this transition Heliodorus plays a pivotal role. While Underdowne’s sixteenth-century preface suggests Heliodorus is  ‘Arabian’, identifying him as the Bishop of Emesa, Huet’s seventeenth-century work  using the same (erroneous) identification foregrounds instead Heliodorus’ Christianity. Although he has been emphasizing the luxuriousness of eastern peoples, when it comes to Heliodorus, Huet’s position seems to shift: he declares that with regards to ‘the Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclea, nothing can be more chaste then their Loves’ (sig. D2v). While romance is marked especially by love, and eastern romance by luxurious degeneracy, here he converts love to its op­pos­ite, chastity. Huet’s assessment of the author links virtue with his (presumed) Christian religion: ‘Whereby may appear (besides the Christian Religion, whereof the Author made profession) that his own nature had given him such an air of Vertue, as shines throughout all his word’ (sig. D2v–D3). This link between Christianity and virtue is made again when Huet compares Heliodorus to Achilles Tatius, expressing doubt that the latter could be a Christian or a bishop given ‘the obscenity of his Book’ (sig. D4). Huet also calls his reader’s attention to the Christianity of other authors of romances he lauds, in particular Athenagoras, who reminds him of Heliodorus: Athenagoras ‘has taken many things from Heliodorus, or Heliodorus from him, for as I believe them contemporaries, I know not to whether is due the glory of the invention’ (sig. E3). To the Heliodoran Athenagoras, Huet ascribes similar moral virtues: ‘the Apologist was a Christian, and this speaks of Divinity’ (sig. D5–D5v) and his work ‘is invented with wit, conducted with Art, Sententious, and full of excellent moral Precepts’ (sig. D8). When it comes to the hazy origins of romance, Huet highlights the founders’ racial character; but when it comes to examples of the genre’s zenith, he focuses on the authors’ shared Christianity and thus covertly Europeanizes him. This attention to the Christianity of exemplary

 Mentz, Romance for Sale, p. 14.

50

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108  Su Fang Ng authors of romance marks the beginning of the divergence between East and West in Huet, as he pivots to a polygenetic theory. If Bidpai offers Huet an explicit theory of translation, Heliodorus’ Aethiopika offers an allegory of genealogical doubleness. The ambiguous lineage of its heroine makes it a particularly apt text for Huet’s pivot. The heroine Clarikleia is apparently Greek—with Greekness defined, at least initially, primarily by language—but is later revealed to be an Egyptian princess. Strikingly polyglottic, Heliodorus’ world is one where the failed and partial communications of Bidpai’s parrot story play an even larger role as mis­iden­ti­fi­ca­tions and plot twists hinge on linguistic comprehension or incomprehension. The text’s hermeneutical challenge goes beyond language problems. In what is perhaps the most influential modern study of Aethiopika, John J. Winkler explores Kalasiris’ contradictions as a lying narrator, arguing for two forms of reading (and narrative) in the work: Knemon’s naive sentimentalism is contrasted with Kalasiris’ moral search for divine meaning, which ultimately is the abolition of human sacrifice; Winkler suggests that Heliodorus focuses our attention on ‘various kinds of misinterpretation, failed communication, and especially the role of private desire in forcing a text to mean what the interpreter wants’ to explain the marvel of Charikleia’s birth.51 Heliodorus focuses our attention on (mis)interpretation not just through character but also through geography. Like Moral Philosophie, Heliodorus’ Aethiopika represents the ancient Near East, particularly Egypt, as a node in a network through which eastern marvels (Indian plants and Aethiopian princesses) and eastern wisdom circulate through to the West (Greece). Charikleia’s adopted Greek father, Charikles, acquires her in Egypt when he was there to ‘buie such things, as are very scarce in Greece’, including ‘certaine Hearbes and Rootes that growe in India and Aethiopia’ (Book 2, 70).52 Like Berozias taking home a book rather than medicinal plants, Charikles adopts Charikleia as if she were a substitute for precious medicine. Characterized by a profusion of languages and uncertain identities requiring careful navigation, Heliodorus’ Near East is an object of curiosity and a source of secrets. When Kalasiris visits Delphi, the Greeks question him about Egypt: ‘they left nothing that appertaineth to Egypt, unsearched. For the Grecians eares are woonderfully delyted with tales of Egypt’ (Book 2, 68). Underdowne’s marginal note, ‘prettie Heathenish questions’ (Book 2, 68), highlights the ­passage as an ethnography. Just as Bidpai’s story of Berozias’s translatio turn medicinal plants into books, in Aethiopika eastern luxuries are conflated with secret writing/wisdom. In Heliodorus, precious material is inscribed with writing that demands translation. Charikleia’s real origin is revealed when Kalasiris reads the secret writing on fascia in which she was 51   John J. Winkler, ‘The Mendacity of Kalasiris and the Narrative Strategy of Heliodorus’ Aithiopika’, Yale Classical Studies, edited by John J. Winkler and Gordon Williams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), vol. 27, pp. 93–158 (p. 119). 52  Heliodorus, An Aethiopian History, translated by Thomas Underdowne, anno 1587, introduction by Charles Whibley, The Tudor Translations, gen. ed. W. E. Henley (London: David Nutt, 1895) All references are to this edition and given parenthetically.

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ancient fables from the east  109 bundled: the writing was in ‘Aethiopian letters, not common, but such as the princes use, which are like the letters that the Egyptians use in their holy affayers’ (Book 4, 107). More secret letters are inscribed on another of Charikleia’s tokens, an inscribed ring that is a kind of jewelled book: she tells Theagenes that among objects left with her, the ‘very precious stones of India, and Aethiopia, there is a ringe which my father gave unto my mother . . . wherein is set a stone called Pantarbe, and aboute it are ­certaine holy letters written’ (Book 8, 224). Such scenes of reading or interpretation as  those found in either Heliodorus or Bidpai are often associated with Otherness. Phiroze Vasunia identifies a larger cultural exoticism: Greek authors like Herodotus use Egyptian writing ‘as an indication of cultural variance’ and ‘a reflection of the inverted world inhabited by the Egyptian people’.53 Both Charikleia and her textual tokens are precious works circulating in search of their true home, even as travel marks the lives of many of the characters, not only Charikleia, but also Kalasiris and others. The transmission and translation of the texts that are Charikleia’s fascia and ring may be ­compared to that of Heliodorus’ own work from Near Eastern Emesus to Europe. In Heliodorus, the problems of cultural and linguistic diversity that make translation onerous or even vexed are compounded by obscured and uncertain genealogies. Tim Whitmarsh highlights the self-reflexive constructions of ‘corrupt genealogy’, including ‘illegitimacy, fake ancestry, and hybridity’, not only the problem of Clarikleia’s origin but also the implausible genealogies of Theagenes as Ainian (attributed an implausible glorious Achillean lineage though Ainians are an obscure group in Homer), and of Homer as Egyptian.54 Corrupt genealogies are but one of Heliodorus’ many (and ­characteristic) amphibolies, or doubled explanations.55 Such doubling that constitutes the amphiboly charts divergent paths, paths that could lead either to Greece or to  Ethiopia, East or West. Indeed, the genealogies Heliodorus ascribes to Homer ­comprise a particularly revealing amphiboly that shows how easily Huet could pivot from East to West. Despite frequent allusions to Homer, Heliodorus is no simple imitation: Whitmarsh argues, ‘The Aithiopika . . . undoes what might be taken to be the “normative” or “culturally consolidatory” aspects of the Odyssey.’56 Aethiopika is not a story of Odyssean returns but one of transposition. Dowden says, ‘They are Greek, but they— or, rather Charikleia—belong elsewhere’, a point he relates to the Platonic allegory of the soul.57 Home is elsewhere and cultural Greeks turn out to be Ethiopian. Kalasiris’ story of Homer’s Egyptian ancestry, possibly derived from Euripides’ Bacchae, is another example of the text’s transpositions.58 But aside from a dubious Egyptian   Vasunia, ‘Writing Egyptian Writing’, chapter 4 in Gift of the Nile, pp. 136–82 (pp. 136–7).   Tim Whitmarsh, ‘The Birth of a Prodigy: Heliodorus and the Genealogy of Hellenism’, in Studies in Heliodorus, edited by Richard Hunter, Suppl. Vol. 21 (Cambridge: Cambridge Philological Society, 1998), pp. 93–124 (p. 95). 55   For discussion of Heliodorus’ amphibolies, see Winkler, ‘The Mendacity of Kalasiris’, pp. 121–9. 56 57   Whitmarsh, ‘Birth’, p. 99.   Dowden, ‘Serious Intentions’, p. 280. 58   G. Anderson, ‘Two Notes on Heliodorus’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 99 (1979): 149. 53 54

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110  Su Fang Ng ­ edigree, Homer is also ascribed a universalism in one of Heliodorus’ numerous p amphibolies. Supposedly banished (just like Charikleia his birthmark on the thigh indicates his bastardy), Homer kept his origins secret ‘Either . . . because he was ashamed of his banishment . . . or els for pollicie, that while he concealed his owne countrey, he might lawfully say, he was borne every where’ (Book 3, 91). With an origin from everywhere, Homer is, like Charikleia, a figure of circulation. His genealogy (like many of the Heliodoran ones) goes not from Greece/Rome but through them. The amphiboly gives us a double image of Homer, as both Egyptian and universal. The amphiboly allows for a reading that naturalizes the transformation of eastern specificity to (western) universality. It at once suggests the ease of translatio and its superfluousness. Translatio makes Homer universal, but if Homer is universal, no translation is required. This logic of non-translation, when transposed onto notions of the (corrupt?) genealogies of romance, means that Huet can find romance’s origin within as well as without Europe. Although initially presenting a narrative of circulation and transmission for the novel, Huet departs from this trajectory at the end of his Traité. Initially, his argument resembles Polydore Vergil’s, who in De Inventoribus Rerum (1499) also traces the ­origin of many inventions and discoveries to the Near East: Polydore’s massive work refutes Greek and Roman claims for discovery to show instead that Asian and Semitic peoples, especially the Jews, were the discoverers and inventors. While Huet begins with the history of romance’s invention in the Near East, he ends, in a kind of Heliodoran amphiboly, with a second origin story in (northern) Europe, in France and England. Both narratives of translatio and non-translation, as I have been arguing, are part of the textual histories and themes of Bidpai and Heliodorus, and thus both potentials exist in the texts to be activated. Huet starts with one only to conclude with the other. He does so by disagreeing, surprisingly, with Salmasius’s argument for a westward translatio: The late Salmasius, whose memorie I have in singular veneration, both for his great Learning, and for the friendship which was contracted between us, was of opinion that Spain having learned of the Arabians the art of making Romances, did afterwards communicate it by their example to all the rest of Europe.  (sig. G)

Instead, he argues that ‘French, German, and English Romances, and all the Fables of the North are of the Countrey’s growth, born upon the place, and not imported from elsewhere’ (sig. H12). Huet cites Salmasius only to refute him, contending that the chronology does not support the argument, for French and English romances are older than the Arab conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, which he dates to 712 ce. While he acknowledges that Spain learnt versifying from the Arabs, ‘Their [Spanish] Romances are much later, and the ancientest of them are of nothing so old a date as our Sir Tristrams and Lancelots’ (sig. G3). Indeed, Huet reverses the conventional direction of translatio studii. Noting that Iberians greatly value Arthurian romances, he argues that theirs are of a more recent

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ancient fables from the east  111 date: ‘all this is but of yesterday in comparison of our old Romances, which in all probability were the Models and Originals of them’ (sig. G3v). While medieval Europe ‘was covered with darkness and thick ignorance, but France, England, and Germany less then Italy’, and Italians went to the University of Paris to gain knowledge, Huet suggests, astonishingly, that Italians learnt romance from northern Europe: ‘Thus Spain and Italy had from us an art, which was the fruit of our ignorance and rudeness, and which the politness of the Persians, Ionians, and Greeks had produced’ (sig. G5v). Ultimately, Huet offers not a strictly eastern but a polygenetic genealogy for the ­origin of romance, claiming an antiquity for Europe equal to that of the ancient Near East. However, the conditions of these two regions were very different. While the Near East invented romance out of luxuriousness, Europe did so from scarcity. To explain the difference, Huet uses a food metaphor, whose digestive aspect links it to the medicinal electuaries of his ancient texts: In effect as in necessity to preserve our lives wanting Bread, we nourish our Bodies with herbs and roots; so when the knowledge of truth, which is the propre and natural Food of the mind begins to fail us, we nourish it with Lies, which are the imitation of truth . . . Thus when our minds are acquainted with the truth, they often forsake the Study and speculation thereof, to be diverted with the Image of Truth, which is Fiction . . . so that the two Paths directly opposite, which are ignorance and learning, rudeness and politness often carry Men to one and the same end, which is the Study of Fictions, Fables, and Romances. Hence it is that the most Barbarous Nations love Romantick inventions, as well as those which are the most polisht. (sig G5v–G6)

Northern Europe and the Near East follow parallel though divergent paths to romance. Contrasting European rudeness with Eastern politeness, Huet sees romance arising from ignorance and civilization. He further points to other examples of ‘Barbarous Nations’ like the Peruvians and the Goths whose origin stories are early romances. Huet argues that European romance is no imitation but their own invention: ‘This inclination to Fables, which is common to all Men, is not the result of ratiocination, imitation or custom. ’Tis natural to them’ (sig G6v). Romance becomes—like a universal Homer from everywhere—the natural birthright of all peoples, invented by and belonging to everyone. In this surprising turn to a European ‘nationalist’ narrative worthy of the myths of origins he treats, Huet sows the seeds of a modern Orientalism. For by the end, Huet has reversed the status of Europe and the Near East. In so doing, he short-circuits the narrative of circulation. Translations of eastern texts like Heliodorus and Bidpai shaped early modern views of the Near East and East as the romance space of Odyssean wanderings. In them circulation transmits culture. Thus, their English translators also foreground the works’ East–West translatio. However, Huet’s rereading rejects the East–West connections he first raises. Although beginning with the familiar story of westward translatio, by the end of Traité, he rejects the narrative of origin in the Near East. Even as he ac­know­ledges the civilizational antiquity of the Near East, he subtly criticizes it for luxury and

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112  Su Fang Ng ­ leasure. European rudeness is safely relegated to a distant past as Huet attributes p French superiority in the art of romance to French civility: ‘We owe I believe this advantage to the refinement and politness of our Galantry’ (sig. H4). This reading is evident to Huet’s English translator, who writes admiringly in the preface of his ‘great learning and acquaintance with Antiquity’: ‘he traverses Aegypt, Phoenicia, Arabia, Persia, Syria, and the Indies, in pursuance of his design . . . he ransacks the East, and makes the Oriental Libraries contributary’ (sig. A3v–A4). In describing Huet’s wideranging survey in the language of conquest, this colonialist perspective anticipates Sir William Jones’s conclusion to his essay ‘On the Poetry of the Eastern Nations’, appended to his translations, which argues for adding the wealth of eastern imagery to western poetry: ‘our European poetry has subsisted too long on the perpetual repetition of the same images’, and that ‘if the principal writings of the Asiaticks, which are reposited in our publick libraries, were printed . . . and if the languages of the Eastern nations were studied . . . a new and ample field would be opened for speculation’.59 Knowledge of the ancient Near East becomes part of the arsenal of a western gaze. It adds to the store of western poetic (and other) riches. Rather than a connected world, it is starting to become a binary one, of occident and orient. 59   Sir William Jones, Poems consisting chiefly of Translations from the Asiatick Languages. To which are added Two Essays, I. On the Poetry of the Eastern Nations, II. On the Arts, commonly called Imitative (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1772), pp. 198–9.

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PA RT I I

Materials and Traces

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5 Reterritorializing Persepolis in the First English Travellers’ Accounts Ladan Niayesh

‘In truth, we are never alone,’ wrote Maurice Halbwachs as a preamble to his seminal Collective Memory.1 In that landmark work, Halbwachs postulated that we carry with us and within us, consciously or subconsciously, multitudes of gazes and voices which, even upon a first, would-be individual contact, inform our perception of any setting. Thus the human experience of a location always makes it a ‘territory’ in the sense later theorized by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, that is to say a process rather than just a geographical entity.2 In that respect, Deleuze and Guattari use the example of birds marking out their territories by means of their songs.3 For birds, a territory can be made, unmade, and remade through gradually changing notes and residual traces of previous songs. Deleuze and Guattari call such refrains ritournelles, a term which already in its part-Italian, part-French etymology emphasizes a complex relationship to any bygone version, suggesting the idea of returning while getting modified in the process.4 In the human sphere, I will argue in this chapter, the same processes of territorialization, deterritorialization, and reterritorialization can take place more or less consciously through the reception, selection, and reworking of past memories of a shared setting left by people with different agendas and personal contributions. This is particularly true in the case of textual memories of one location in accounts left by viewers from different historical periods and backgrounds, making it not just a site with geographical characteristics and spatial coordinates, but a discursive construct and a textual palimpsest. The example I have chosen to illustrate this point is that of a 1   ‘En réalité, nous ne sommes jamais seuls.’ Maurice Halbwachs, La Mémoire collective (Paris: PUF, 1950; 1958), p. 2. 2   ‘Le territoire est en fait un acte, qui affecte les milieux et les rythmes, qui les “territorialise”.’ (‘Territory is in fact an action, affecting environments and rhythms, “territorializing” them.’) Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Mille plateaux (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1980), p. 386. 3   Deleuze and Guattari, chapter 11: ‘De la ritournelle’, pp. 381–433. 4  See OED, ‘ritornel’: ‘Origin:Of multiple origins. Partly a borrowing from Italian. Partly a borrowing from French. Etymons: Italian ritornello; French ritournelle.’

Ladan Niayesh, Reterritorializing Persepolis in the First English Travellers’ Accounts In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0006

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116  Ladan Niayesh widely shared Eastern cultural site for European collective memories, Persepolis, the famed city of the Persian Achaemenid kings (fifth to third centuries bce), as received and reworked in the accounts of the first English travellers visiting it or claiming to have visited it in late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. As a preamble, it is worth mentioning that even the name ‘Persepolis’ is already a case of competing ritournelles attempting alternative linguistic territorializations and cultural appropriations in the East and West. The original Persian name of the site founded by Darius I and his son Xerxes is not known with certainty. It is conjectured to have been ‘Parsa’, which according to the Encyclopedia Iranica could mean ‘city of Persians’ or ‘Land of Persians’ in Old Persian, and is the appellation used in a trilingual inscription by Xerxes on the ‘Gate of Nations’ or ‘Gate of All Lands’ through which the domain is accessed.5 But neither in the East nor in the West is the place commonly known by that name. In Iran, the ruins of Persepolis are currently called Takht-e Jamshid, meaning the ‘throne of Jamshid’, after a legendary king whom the national epic Shahnameh (‘Book of Kings’) in its eleventh- century version by Abu’l-Qasem Ferdowsi presents as, among other things, the great civilizer, the organizer of social estates, and the subjugator of demonic peoples.6 In the past, the ruins also went by many other names, including Sadsutun (‘hundred columns’) and Chehel Menar (‘forty towers’).7 The geographical proximity of the ruins to the later built cities of Estakhr (briefly the capital of the Sasanians in 224–6 ce) and Shiraz (capital of the Zand dynasty in the second half of the eighteenth century) contributed much to a national narrative of the continuity of empires. That narrative itself was famously or infamously remembered in our time in the lavish Persepolis festivities organized by the last Shah of Iran for the 2500th celebrations of the Persian Empire in 1971—shortly to precede the 1979 Revolution that toppled the monarchy. In post-revolutionary Iran, the yearly Nowruz (Iranian new year) celebrations still draw large crowds to the site for commemorations, keeping up the narrative of cultural continuity, while the monarchic reference has become an awkward one. In the West, however, the place and its Hellenized name ‘Persepolis’ ring a very different bell. Ever since Diodorus Siculus’ and Quintus Curtius’ accounts of Alexander’s life and campaigns, Persepolis has been inseparable from the great conqueror’s victory over the last Achaemenid king, Darius III, and his setting fire to the latter’s palace (330 bce).8 In this view of things, ‘Persepolis’, literally the ‘Persian city’, though 5  A.  Shapur Shahbazi, ‘Persepolis’, , accessed on 16 June 2017. 6   Abu’l-Qasem Ferdowsi, The Shahnameh, edited by Djalal Khaleghi-Motlagh (Costa Mesa: Mazda, 1988–97), vol. 1, p. 41. 7   For a summary of the main appellations and the history of the reception of Persepolis in Persian and Arab writings, see Lindsay Allen, ‘“Chilminar olim Persepolis”: European Receptions of a Persian Ruin’, in Persian Responses: Political and Cultural Interaction with(in) the Achaemenid Empire, edited by Christopher Tuplin (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2007), pp. 313–42 (pp. 317–18). 8   Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica (before 30 bce), book 17; Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni (first century ce), book 5.

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  117 s­ poradically referenced by Greek writers and travellers such as Ctesias two centuries before its destruction,9 becomes the quintessence of an overcome empire reduced to a chief city and a national denomination, an already vanquished place in its ossified post-conquest textual receptions in the West. Although this end-of-empire narrative is contradicted by archaeological evidence showing at least one palace to have been redeveloped after Alexander’s time,10 it is still by far the best remembered feature of Persepolis for the cultural inheritors of the Greeks in the West. In textual memories of Persepolis after its conquest, we thus find an example of mediated reception implying, in the words of Michael Silk, Ingo Gildenhard, and Rosemary Barrow, ‘not only direct engagement with antiquity, but engagement with earlier engagements’.11 So both in the East and West, Persepolis has become above all a ‘site of memory’ (albeit through two very different narratives), to use the terminology of Pierre Nora and his collaborators in their collective enterprise, Les Lieux de mémoire. In the West, with which I am more concerned here, Persepolis is a site of memory in the same defining sense as Alesia, the example used in Les Lieux de mémoire to show how a site can be constructed not just as a geographical location but as a historical moment.12 In the case of Alesia, the defining moment is that of the would-be final victory of the Romans over the Gauls in 52 bce. This is a symbolic final point which, the authors contend, is not so much the victory of Julius Caesar the Roman general as it is an achievement of Julius Caesar the writer of De Bello Gallico. Although, historically speaking, there were other battles between Romans and Gauls after Alesia, in Caesar’s rhetorical construct shaping collective memory, this battle and his opponent in it, Vercingetorix, become the greatest battle and the supreme chief by virtue of their having been defined by him as the last ones. Likewise, although the Hellenistic rule over Persia did not survive the Seleucids, with other Persian dynasties gradually resuming control of ever larger portions of the former empire of the Achaemenids, the site has chiefly come down in Western collective memories as the seat of Persian monarchy and the end of a great civilization. And as with the example of Alesia, this reception is not about actual full conquest and utter destruction of a land, but is rather an instance of textual conquest and discursive territorialization against a background of continuing wars over the next centuries, opposing Parthian or Sasanian Persians to the Romans as cultural inheritors of the Greeks. A millennium and a half after the times of Diodorus Siculus and Quintus Curtius, such end-of-empire rhetorical constructs and textual territorializations still ­predominate in European writings on Persepolis. A typical example is found in the 9   On possible or attested Hellenistic references to Persepolis prior to its destruction, see Christopher Tuplin, Achaemenid Studies (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996), pp. 137–8. 10   See for details Margaret Cool Root, The King and Kingship in Achaemenid Art, Acta Iranica 19 (Leiden: Brill, 1979), p. 108. 11   Michael Silk, Ingo Gildenhard, and Rosemary Barrow, The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought (Oxford: Blackwell, 2014), p. 5. 12   Olivier Buchsenschutz and Alain Schnapp, ‘Alésia’, in Les Lieux de mémoire, vol. 2: Les Français, edited by Pierre Nora (Paris: Gallimard, 1992), pp. 272–315.

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118  Ladan Niayesh second tome of William Painter’s Palace of Pleasure (1567), one of the most popular books of Elizabethan England. Painter’s description is based on Quintus Curtius’ account of the life of Alexander: Thus the palace that was the head of the whole Orient, from whence so many nacions before had fetched their laws to liue vnder, ye seat of so many kings, the only terror sometime of Greece, the same that hath ben the sender forth of .9000. ships, and the armies that ouerflowed all Europa, that made bridges ouer the Sea, and vndermined mountaines where the Sea hath nowe his course, was consumed and had his ende, and neuer rose againe in all the age that did ensue.13

Such, then, is some of the ‘unchecked bagage’14 of collective, heavily intertextual memories which English travellers to Persepolis carried with them as they first visited the place in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This is a period referred to by A. G. Hopkins and others as the age of ‘proto-globalization’,15 marked among other features by long-distance travel and trade and the circulation of printed material facilitating both the dissemination and, paradoxically, a certain uniformization of information. What happens in such a period, when a textual memory suddenly comes back into physical existence after many centuries? And how is the received collective memory of the place inflected by the actual experience of individual visitors and their agendas? In the remainder of this chapter I will consider some of those inflections, through the published accounts left by the first three English travellers reporting a visit to Persepolis. Significantly, each belonged to one of the three chief categories of European travellers likely in that period to come into physical contact with textually inherited ancient sites in the East, since the first was a trade company factor, the second a churchman, and the third a diplomat. My contention is that, one by one, they build on the templates left by their predecessors while gradually adjusting to receding biblical preoccupations, emergent antiquarianism, and the takeover of the aesthetics of seventeenth-century classicism. Geoffrey Ducket, the first Englishman whose account claims he visited Persepolis, was an agent of the Muscovy Company who took part in the company’s fifth Persian expedition, along with several other agents, in 1568–9. The part of his account mentioning Persepolis is not first-hand, but is supposed to have been ‘written by P. I. from the mouth of M. Lionel Plumtree’, another member of the expedition. It is in this heavily mediated form that his report first appears in Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations twenty years after the expedition (1589, reprinted in the 1599–1600 edition). The Persepolis episode takes the form of a short digression in the midst of the   William Painter, The Second Tome of the Palace of Pleasure (London: Henry Bynneman, 1567), fol. 7v.  I am borrowing this phrase from Richard Hillman, ‘Marlowe’s Tamburlaine: The Well-Travelled Tyrant and Some of His Unchecked Baggage’, in A Knight’s Legacy: Mandeville and Mandevillian Lore in Early Modern England, edited by Ladan Niayesh (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2011), pp. 131–54. 15   A. G. Hopkins, ‘Globalization—An Agenda for Historians’, in Globalization in World History, edited by A. G. Hopkins (London: Pimlico, 2002), pp. 1–10 (p. 5). 13 14

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  119 much longer account of Ducket’s journey from Shamakhy, capital of the Shirvan khanate in present day republic of Azerbaijan where the English agents were at that time based, to Kashan, a city situated 240 kilometres south of present day Tehran, mentioned as a great centre for trading in silks and spices. Visiting ancient ruins is obviously not the purpose of Ducket’s journey and not something he needs to report to his employers. Nevertheless he does include this element: In the way of his trauell he passed through Persipolis, sometime the royall seate of the Emperours of Persia, but now altogether ruined and defaced, whereof remayne to be seene at this day two gates onely that are distant one from the other the space of 12. miles, and some few pinnacles in the mountaines and conueiances for fresh water.16

As the ruins of Persepolis are situated about 500 kilometres south of Kashan, it is impossible for a traveller coming from the north to have seen them en route, especially if the whole journey from Shamakhy (more than 1000 kilometres north of Kashan) is supposed to have taken him only four days, as the account unrealistically claims: ‘Cashan, beyng about foure dayes iourney from Shamackie’.17 So what could have happened here? That a company agent should lie about distances in his account in the hope of winning over investors’ interest by making a certain trade route appear shorter and easier makes sense, but inventing outright a Persepolis digression that is not even elaborated on does not serve any such purpose. Noting that the passage on Persepolis is not contained in a British Library manuscript related to Ducket’s account, Lindsay Allen suspects that the digression may have been a much later addition by the ideologically biased Hakluyt editing the material thirty years after the actual journey took place.18 The compiler may have been motivated in his choice by the more recent stage success of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine (1587), featuring Persepolis as the capital of a Persian empire soon overcome by the enterprising eponymous hero. This hypothesis agrees well with the overall Hakluytian agenda of making room for the English among the earliest European visitors to most of the sites referenced in his compendium. Short of accepting this possibility, the only other option I can think of is  that Ducket himself must have mistaken some other ancient ruin for Persepolis because his stock of inherited memories of Persia made him expect that emblematic site on his journey. Since ‘Persepolis’ was not an appellation used in Persia, Ducket’s dragomans and local informants are not likely to have used it to designate any location to him. If the whole Persepolis episode is not a later invention, Ducket can only have recognized a site as Persepolis by virtue of his received memory of it as an impressive ancient ruin suggesting the fall of an empire. In this hypothesis, he could have visited Takht-e Solyeman, an ancient Sasanian fort south-east of lake Urmia in the present day Iranian province of Azerbaijan, which was (and is) on the way from Shamakhy to 16   Quoted from Richard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (London: George Bishop, Ralph Newberie and Robert Barker, 1589), p. 420. 17 18  Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, p. 420.   Allen, ‘ “Chilminar olim Persepolis” ’, p. 322.

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120  Ladan Niayesh Kashan and which presents the features mentioned in his description. It is built next to a mountain and by a lake, extends over a very large area (though arguably not over 12 miles) and displays as its most impressive features two ancient gates.19 The site does not display any carvings or reliefs of fabulous animals, soldiers, kings, or tributary nations in the way the actual Persepolis so characteristically does and in the way Ducket’s text so conspicuously does not. If this hypothesis is accurate, what Ducket visited was a material framework onto which his received memory of a Persepolis could fix itself, as he constructed his own Persian ‘topography of remembrance’.20 What is remarkable in the Ducket example is that his Persepolis experience, whether gone through by himself or added by Hakluyt, is the occasion for the reader not just to follow the first English footsteps into a hitherto unexplored part of Safavid Persia, but to revisit a certain idea of Persia, deciphering fragments of a palimpsestic ancient narrative of conquest under a contemporary trade route being explored by an enterprising Elizabethan. ‘Every travel text is a territory in itself,’ writes Alex Watson, elaborating on the incursions made into that territory by such textual journeymen as collaborators, commentators, and editors.21 In the case of Ducket’s heavily mediated account, part of that process involves its complex transmission through Hakluyt and others, while another part concerns its reception. Pushing through its own textual frontiers, a portion of Ducket’s narrative finds its way into the account of the next Englishman claiming to have visited Persepolis, John Cartwright, author of The Preachers Travels (1611). The title page of his Travels presents him as a former student of Magdelen College, Oxford and a preacher who travelled extensively in the East. Unlike Ducket, Cartwright correctly situates Persepolis near Shiraz, rather than between Shamakhy and Kashan. Yet this does not prevent him from offering a description which includes the same features as Ducket’s: ‘In and about this towne’, he writes, ‘are to be seene the ruines of so many ancient monuments: as two great gates, that are distant one from the other the space of 12 miles, which shewes the circuite of this Citie, as it was in the time of the Monarchy, to be both large and spacious.’22 As noticed by both ancient and modern visitors to Persepolis, one of the outstanding features of the site is the massive Gate of Nations with its huge carvings of winged bulls which is seen first upon arrival at the entrance stairs. There is another, unfinished gate, but it is situated less than half a kilometre away from the Gate of Nations and it is 19   See for details Dietrich Huff, ‘Takt-e Solayman’, , accessed on 16 September 2017. 20   I borrow this expression from Gerdien Jonker, The Topography of Remembrance: The Dead, Tradition and Collective Memory in Mesopotamia (Leiden: Brill, 1995). Jonker uses it about the reconstructed Stations of the Cross expected by pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. On the experiences mediated by pilgrimage treatises to Jerusalem, see Megan Armstrong’s chapter in this volume. 21   Alex Watson, ‘The Garden of Forking Paths: Paratexts in Travel Literature’, in New Directions in Travel Writing Studies, edited by Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp. 54–68 (pp. 66–7). 22   John Cartwright, The Preachers Travels (London: Thomas Thorppe, 1611), p. 84.

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  121 right in the middle of several palaces, not at the other end of the domain.23 So unless both Cartwright and Ducket (or the intermediaries of Ducket’s account) copied their gate detail and their reference to 12 miles from a common source that I have not been able to identify, Cartwright is partly inheriting a collective memory of Persepolis and partly contriving his own topography of remembrance on the basis of Ducket’s. He does so by reading features of his predecessor’s account into a personal experience of a site that could be any of the Achaemenid or later Sasanian remains around Shiraz, such as Pasargadae or Naqsh-e Rostam. Accordingly, the title of his Persepolis chapter itself remains vague in its identification: ‘The description of Sieras ancient Persepolis’.24 If Cartwright follows his predecessor in his gate detail, the overall focus of his much longer account is not a topographic description. Following the work’s general title (Preacher’s Travels), this author at times displays a biblical interest in the sites he visits. Such is the case with his Persepolis episode. His Persia is, among other things, ‘the seate of those fiue great Persian kings mentioned in the Scriptures, viz. Darius Medus, Cyrus, Ahashuerosh, Darius Longmanus alias Artaxerxes, and Artaxerxes the third, which was that Darius whom Alexander the great ouercame’.25 The number of those kings (five) is of crucial importance in Cartwright’s account since, according to him, ‘by the computation of the raigne of these kings which was one hundred fortie and seauen yeares, we may confute that malicious tergiuersation and erroneous exposition of the Iewes, of the prophecy of Daniel, touching the threescore and nine weekes to the comming of the Messiah’.26 Appearing at that point in the work, the Persepolis episode comes as a confirmation of Cartwright’s expertise in matters related to ancient Persia and Persian monarchs, a point which serves to buttress his argument in favour of a Christian reading of the prophecy of Daniel (Daniel 9.25). Accordingly, his description of Persepolis ends with a reference to the Achaemenid kings’ necropolis, which he places ‘some foure acres’ away from the main site: ‘some foure acres of ground distant, is a mountaine, on which was erected a goodly Chappell, in which most of the Persian kings in Anticke time were intombed’.27 In fact, the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rostam is situated 12 kilometres away from Persepolis. If Cartwright actually visited Naqsh-e Rostam and Persepolis, the total number of the tombs carved into the rock on those two locations—four at Naqsh-e Rostam, two  finished ones, and one unfinished at Persepolis, not forgetting Cyrus’ tomb at Pasargadae, another nearby site—should have led him to revise his opinion on the number of Achaemenid kings and the names which he conflates to obtain the figure five. Yet Cartwright’s scriptural experience of Persepolis remains in this passage textually inherited and text-oriented, about a ruin which he either did not visit extensively or 23   See Shahbazi, ‘Persepolis’, , accessed on 16 September 2017. 24 25  Cartwright, The Preacher’s Travels, pp. 84–6.  Cartwright, The Preacher’s Travels, p. 80. 26 27  Cartwright, The Preacher’s Travels, p. 81.  Cartwright, The Preacher’s Travels, p. 85.

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122  Ladan Niayesh chose not to describe faithfully in his account.28 His report of the Achaemenid tombs exemplifies a biblical approach to Persia that, Rudi Matthee contends, is still sometimes encountered in early modern European travellers’ accounts, even though it is on the wane overall in this period.29 On the face of it, the third English account of Persepolis, this time by a visitor who, unlike the previous two, no doubt visited the right site, belongs to a different category than those left by the Muscovy Company agent and the churchman. Thomas Herbert, a scholar and courtier, took part in a diplomatic mission to Persia led by Sir Dodmore Cotton and Sir Robert Sherley. The mission, which started in 1626, was a disaster, and cost the lives of its two leaders in Persia in 1628, while Herbert, along with the remaining survivors, managed to return to England in 1630. His account, published in 1634 under the two titles of A Description of the Persian Monarchy and A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begvnne Anno 1626,30 became an instant success and was reissued, revised, and augmented several times, notably in 1638 and 1664. Claiming that he puts into perspective ancient and modern reports on Persepolis through direct personal observation of the site, Herbert declares his aim to be to ‘truly set downe what is now left of her’.31 In the original edition, he follows this project by dividing his material into two chapters. The first one, entitled ‘Persepolis’, collects received information out of ancient authorities which Herbert confronts with his own findings on site, notably Quintus Curtius’ report of the use of cedar trees, with which Herbert disagrees, and Diodorus Siculus’ report of the use of marble, which he confirms and gives details about.32 A second chapter, entitled ‘Chil-manor, or forty Towres’, adopts the contemporary Persian name given to the place by the locals and includes a detailed description of the various parts of the ruins and the common beliefs in Persia about them, including a reference to the legendary king ‘Iamshet’ (Jamshid) presented as the site’s founder.33 In this chapter, Herbert makes it clear that Persepolis is not Shiraz, which he accurately locates at a distance of ‘thirtie English miles’ from the ruins.34 Herbert’s second chapter is completed by an engraving.35 This illustration, possibly the work of William Marshall who was also responsible for the title page of the volume, scrupulously reproduces the details of Herbert’s account with the possible help of sketches 28   For a comparable phenomenon of approaching ancient sites in the East through the biblical lens in the period, see Thomas Roebuck’s chapter on the Seven Churches of Asia in this volume. 29   Rudi Matthee, ‘The Safavids under Western Eyes: Seventeenth-Century European Travelers to Iran’, Journal of Early Modern History 13:2–3 (2009): 137–71 (p. 142). Resurgences of a primarily biblical approach to Persia are of course observable in later periods, as late as the early twentieth century. For emblematic examples in nineteenth-century German orientalism, see ‘Persia and Hellenistic Judaism’, in  Suzanne  L.  Marchand, German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. 279–84. 30   Thomas Herbert, A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begvnne Anno 1626 (London: William Stansby, 1634). 31 32  Herbert, A Relation, p. 57.  Herbert, A Relation, pp. 56–7. 33 34  Herbert, A Relation, p. 59.  Herbert, A Relation, p. 60. 35  Herbert, A Relation, p. 58.

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  123 taken on site by Herbert. This is, to my knowledge, the earliest published engraving of Persepolis (Figure 5.1). Herbert’s account was published again in an expanded version in 1638, under the new title Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique. Over the thirty years that followed, the book proved very popular in England, as well as on the Continent, to  the point of motivating a Dutch translation in 1658 and a French one in 1663. During his years of retirement, after the Restoration, Herbert revisited his material and expanded his book once more in 1664, under the title Some Years Travels into Divers Parts of Africa and Asia the Great. For the 1664 edition, a very different engraving of Persepolis was provided by Wenceslaus Hollar to accommodate Herbert’s additional material. Yet despite these promising signs of attention to detail and exhaustiveness, as Ronald H. Fritze, Herbert’s biographer for the ODNB, notes: ‘Beginning with the first edition Herbert inserted material into his narrative about places he had not visited although he sometimes implied that he had, and in each succeeding edition the amount of this second-hand material increased significantly.’36 So although there is little doubt about Herbert’s having visited Persepolis, the expansion of this episode in his successive versions of the Travels—from four and a half pages broken by several subpart titles in 1634, to five pages in a more compact layout in 1638, and seventeen dense pages of smaller script in 1664—makes it a case study not in travel-writing, but in travel-rewriting and memory-refashioning. This is a feature Herbert’s account shares with other contemporary European travel reports to Persepolis and other Eastern sites going through revisions and additions in the context of what Sonja Brentjes calls the ‘ “Oriental” humanism’ on the rise in the Republic of Letters.37 Although the focus of my study is the case of English visitors or would-be visitors to Persepolis, their accounts need to be considered within or against the larger textual territory of previous or contemporary European accounts circulating at the time. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English visitors to Persepolis had been famously preceded by Friar Odoric of Pordenone on his journey to China in 1318. In his account of his travels, Odoric referred to the site in passing as ‘Comerum’ and had little to say about it, except that it ‘formerly was a great city, and in the olden times did great scathe to the Romans [sic]’.38 Odoric may not have known his Greeks from his Romans, but even his minimal account retains from Persepolis the classical memory of a challenger to the West. Odoric was followed in 1474 by the Venetian merchant and ambassador Giosafat Barbaro. Not calling the site Persepolis any more than Odoric did, Barbaro 36   Ronald  H.  Fritze, ‘Herbert, Sir Thomas, first baronet (1606–1682)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. , accessed on 17 July 2017. 37   Travellers from Europe in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, 16th–17th Centuries: Seeking, Transforming, Discarding Knowledge, edited by Sonja Brentjes (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), p. xv. 38   Odorico da Pordenone, The Travels of Friar Odoric, translated by Sir Henry Yule (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), p. 72.

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124  Ladan Niayesh

Figure 5.1  Persepolis, engraving by William Marshall, in Thomas Herbert, A Relation of Some Yeares Travaile, Begvnne Anno 1626 (1634) (STC13190, p. 58). By permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  125 placed it within the same biblical tradition later used by Cartwright. Barbaro ­comments on various sculpted figures in this light, as in his reference to ‘una figura simile di quelle nostre che noi figuramo Dio Padre’ (a figure similar to the way we represent God the Father) or another figure ‘la qual si dice esser figura di Solomon’ (which is said to represent Solomon).39 In their different ways, Odoric and Barbaro, too, were thus both visiting not a place but their cultural memories of that place, one more classical and the other more biblical, much in the same manner as Ducket and Cartwright. The accession of Shah Abbas I in 1587, starting an era of dynastic and political ­stability in Persia, along with his development of new diplomatic and commercial ties with Europeans, opened up Persia’s southern routes to European envoys in the early seventeenth century and made them far less hazardous than in Ducket’s time. In this context, a still small but increasing number of educated travellers steeped in the classics started to visit Persepolis, which was situated on the then main road between Shiraz, the chief city of the southern province of Fars, and Isfahan, the Safavids’ new capital from 1598 onwards. Many of those visitors wanted to check their classical information on site. Such was the case for the Spanish ambassador Don Garcia de Silva Figueroa, who credits himself with having been the first to identify the site as Persepolis in his 1619 journey,40 and of the Italian traveller Pietro della Valle who visited the ruins in 1621. Motivated by antiquarian preoccupations in his visit to Persepolis, Don Garcia had himself accompanied by an artist who made drawings on site and copied samples of cuneiform inscriptions, while della Valle also made copies of some of the signs. Unfortunately Don Garcia’s drawings did not appear in print, either in the Antwerp edition or the English translation of this letter included in Samuel Purchas’s Purchas his Pilgrims (1625).41 As for della Valle’s copied cuneiforms, they appeared in print only in the 1672 Bologna edition of his Viaggi di Pietro della Valle.42 All this created the ideal conditions for Thomas Herbert’s original 1634 account with its first ever published engraving of Persepolis to be advertised by him as a longawaited authentic testimony, on the grounds that despite many previous claims, ‘none hath formerly in truth described it’.43 But even in this first version of Herbert’s account of Persepolis, there can hardly be room for a first-hand experience, whether by him or his readers. Indeed, despite the 39   Quoted from Pietro Bizarri, Rerum Persicarum Historia (Frankfurt: Claudius Marnius (Claude de Marne), 1601), p. 424. 40   The claim is made in a Latin letter by him sent from Isfahan and published a year later, under the title De rebus Persarum epistola v. Ka. An. M.  DCXIX Spahani extrata ad Marchionem Bedmari (Antwerp, 1620). For details, see Allen, ‘ “Chilminar olim Persepolis” ’, p. 322. 41   Purchas His Pilgrimes, ‘The Second Part’ (London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625), pp. 1533–5. 42   See for details Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, ‘Through Travellers’ Eyes: The Persian Monuments as Seen by European Visitors’, in Achaemenid History, vol. 7: Through Travellers’ Eyes: European Travellers on the Iranian Monuments, edited by Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg and Jan Willem Drijvers (Leiden: Nederlands Institut Voor Het Nabidje Oosten, 1991), pp. 1–35. 43  Herbert, A Relation, p. 59.

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126  Ladan Niayesh project of separating received memories treated in one chapter from his actual observations on site given in a second chapter, Herbert still had to describe the unknown rites and conventions of a different ideological and artistic system through analogies, comparing them to examples belonging to more familiar classical practices or expected stereotypes, his terminology borrowed from Western referents. Herbert’s description of the monumental Gate of Nations is an example of this phenomenon. His account describes it as follows: ‘the breadth of the Gate is sixe of my paces, the height of each side or Gate (engrauen with a mighty elephant on one side, a Rhynoceros on the other) thirty foot high, very rarely cut out of marble, fixt and durable for euer.’44 Although there is no classical comparison in this statement, this is already not a simple description, but a personal interpretation of two damaged reliefs representing animals, possibly bulls, but definitely not an elephant and a rhinoceros, which belong neither to the climate of central Persia nor to the array of the Achaemenids’ mythical protectors of royal sites. The text continues: ‘A little further from the entrance are two Towres of like shape and bigness. Neere which as another part of the gate, wherein is engrauen a Pegasus . . . These are the portals to that Apollo, supported by a hundred white marble Pillars.’45 ‘Pegasus’ is yet another personal interpretation, this time based on an analogy to Herbert’s and his Western readers’ classical stock of mythological animals; the actual relief as it can still be seen on site today represents a Mesopotamian Lamassu or human-faced winged bull. This relief is situated near the stairs leading to a building which Herbert further classicizes by indirectly associating it with ‘Apollo’; but the building corresponds to the Apadana or audience hall of the Persian kings. As noted above, Herbert’s printed description of Persepolis is accompanied by Marshall’s engraving. The illustration, made by an artist who did not have a first-hand experience of the site but merely translated visually the details in Herbert’s account, scrupulously reproduces those details. And yet, as a visual interpretation of what was already a textual interpretation of what Herbert had seen, it comes to us as a most un-Persepolis-like representation. Through a possible combination of imaginative addition and misinterpretation of such words as ‘gate’ or ‘engrauen’, the artist renders the gate as two walls with free-standing sculptures of the elephant and the rhinoceros on top. Out of a Western stock of visual stereotypes associated with the East, he also contributes an anachronistic motif of arabesques on the walls, although the text mentions none. His Pegasus is, likewise, a free-standing sculpture on top of what seems to be another wall, with yet more arabesque decoration. A similar process of cultural reterritorialization takes place with the way the artist renders Herbert’s would-be factual description of the facade of Artaxerxes II’s tomb (which the author mistakes for Cambyses’ tomb) directly above Persepolis: ‘At the highest of this Palace, is cut, out of the perpendicular mountaine, the Images of a King (which may be Cambyses) adoring three Deities, the Fire, the Sunne, and the Serpent.’46  Herbert, A Relation, p. 59.  Herbert, A Relation, p. 59.

44 46

 Herbert, A Relation, p. 59.

45

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  127 Here Herbert’s description more or less matches the items as they still appear today on the facade, except that he describes a protective spirit in floating robes (a winged faravahar) as a serpent. But when we look for the corresponding elements on the engraving, we are surprised to find a king in a costume strangely reminiscent of the stereotypical representations of biblical patriarchs, on his knees and praying with hands joined in Christian fashion in front of a serpent coiled round a cross. Rereading and reinterpreting Persepolis from within Herbert’s text, the engraving transposes Persepolis even further onto a European system of cultural references, a system in which an Eastern Pagan king from the past is expected to be connected to biblical precedents and needs to be represented in a certain stereotypical fashion, while the serpent is necessarily the enemy attacking the Cross. In so doing, the artist reaches a certain degree of accuracy, not in making his visual impression match ancient Persian religious codes (to which he has no access), but in making it match his own and his audience’s received system of cultural and symbolic references, in a partly biblical, partly classical fashion. Making room for novelty within his own and his readers’ received system of references becomes a chief preoccupation in Herbert’s second edition of his travels (1638), for which he keeps the same engraving while he very much changes the text. This time he no longer distributes his material between a chapter on classical sources and a more personal one, but constantly wavers between the two in an approach which becomes more and more Hellenocentric. Herbert does so in keeping with the increasingly antiquarian bias of the accounts of other contemporary travellers, most notably Don Garcia, whom he acknowledges and names in his full ambassadorial authority: ‘Don Garcia de Silva Figuroa [sic] (Ambassador Anno 1619 to Abbas from Philip the third) calls it the only Monument of the world, without Imposture.’47 This time not only does he include references to fabulous animals among the sculptures—‘Lyons, Gryffins, Tigres, and Bulls’—but he even spots ‘Battailes, Hecatombs, Triumphs, Olympick games, and the like’.48 The specifically Graeco-Roman reference to hecatombs and Olympic games illustrates well how much, conceptually speaking, Herbert’s view of the rituals of ancient world is not divided into Greek, Roman, and ‘other’ compartments, but automatically places bull sacrifice or human competition within Western formats and categories. It is through the same lens of Greek canons that Herbert examines the collapsed columns of the ancient hypostyle audience hall of the Achaemenid kings, unable to decide into which category among the choices on offer in the Greek system he should place them: ‘whether this Fabrick was Ionick, Dorick, or Corinthiack, in the perfection, I cannot determine, the ruins forbid a positive judgement’.49 Aesthetically and architecturally, Herbert’s Persepolis appears to have been subjected from the start to the 47   Thomas Herbert, Some Yeares Travels into Divers Parts of Asia and Afrique (London: Richard Bishop, 1638), p. 144. 48  Herbert, Some Yeares Travels (1638), p. 146. 49  Herbert, Some Yeares Travels (1638), p. 146.

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128  Ladan Niayesh Greeks and always already overcome by their canons, long before its actual conquest by Alexander whose arrival post-dated the columns and the buildings.50 Such classicizing efforts on Herbert’s part exemplify a recurrent trend studied by Sonja Brentjes and Volkmar Schüller in early modern writings on northern Africa and western Asia, ‘one that colonized these regions intellectually’.51 This trend not only appears in other contemporary works, but tends to travel from one work to the next. In this particular case, the passage regarding the order of the columns corresponds to one of Herbert’s many reworked quotes from other writers without necessarily acknowledging them. Herbert’s statement here derives from the account of Don Garcia considering the same options as him for the columns: ‘What kinde of building the whole was (whether Corinthian, Ionick, Dorick, or mixt) cannot be gathered from the remaynder of these ruines.’52 While acknowledging that the columns in their ruined state do not fit any of the three known options offered by Greek precedents, both writers refrain from considering other possibilities outside those known referents. Don Garcia instead suggests that what he saw could have been a ‘mixed’ version, while for Herbert the ruined state of the columns is the main factor that ‘forbids any positive judgement’ about the architectural choice of the Persian builders. The example of Herbert’s borrowing from Don Garcia also serves to illustrate another recurrent early modern feature of travel publications, that of recycling ­material from other ancient and contemporary writers while preparing one’s own travel diaries, letters, and other documents for publication or re-editing. As stressed by Brentjes and Schüller in their survey of the expansion of Pietro della Valle’s secondhand material from his private diary and manuscript letters to his geographic treatise and his printed letters, borrowing heavily from other successful travel accounts was ‘a commercially viable strategy’ and ‘considered good scholarly behavior’.53 Herbert’s Persepolis is no exception to this general trend, as from one edition to the next it becomes more and more other people’s Persepolis as well. It is, on the one hand, still the Persepolis of classical authorities—no longer just Diodorus and Quintus Curtius in the third (1664) version, but also Plutarch, Flavius Josephus, and Arrian, whom Herbert cites with increasing frequency in a display of his classical erudition. On the other hand, it catches up with the Persepolis of his contemporaries as they start to 50   Resurgences of such reclaiming efforts can be observed in much of the scholarship on Persepolis in the first half of the twentieth century, especially following the unearthing of the so-called Susa Foundation Charter in 1929, which mentioned contributions to the building of Achaemenid royal palaces by craftsmen from various parts of the empire, among them Ionians. For the ensuing ‘hunt for Greek features in the masonry of Persepolis and other sites’, see Thomas Harrison, Writing Ancient Persia (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2011), pp. 39–40. For more on Lydian, Ionic, and other foreign contributions to Achaemenid art, see Carl Nylander, Ionians in Pasargadae (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells, 1970). 51   Sonja Brentjes and Volkmar Schüller, ‘Pietro della Valle’s Latin Geography of Safavid Iran (1624–1628)’, IV.1–56 in Travellers from Europe in the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, edited by Brentjes, p. 16. 52   Purchas His Pilgrimes, ‘The Second Part’ (London: William Stansby for Henrie Fetherstone, 1625), p. 1534. 53   Brentjes and Schüller, ‘Pietro della Valle’s Latin Geography’, p. 16.

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  129

Figure 5.2  Persepolis, engraving by Wenceslas Hollar, in Thomas Herbert, Some Years Travels into Divers Parts of Africa and Asia the Great (1664). Cambridge University Library (RCS. Case.b.82). Reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.

publish their own reports, from which Herbert borrows more up-to-date knowledge or with whom he engages more or less directly over the information they provide. Thus, for example, like Don Garcia and della Valle who had copied Persepolitan inscriptions, he undertakes to have a transcription of Persian cuneiforms for his 1664 version. The transcription comes with Herbert’s own theory about the cuneiforms, associating them with ancient Egypt, for, he writes, ‘they bear the resemblance of Pyramids inverted or with bases upwards’.54 His cuneiforms are reproduced both as a separate engraving in the volume and on a stela to the right of the Gate of Nations in Wenceslaus Hollar’s newly provided illustration for that edition (Figure 5.2). It is worth noticing that the illustration also offers very different visual interpretations compared to Marshall’s previous illustration. This is the case both for the animals at the gate and their positions, as well as the king praying to the fire, sun, and serpent, accompanied here with an additional many-armed, Shiva-like deity. The latter detail in Hollar’s visual rendition is reminiscent of the Indian sections of Herbert’s travels rather than 54   Thomas Herbert, Some Years Travels into Divers Parts of Africa and Asia the Great (London: J. Best, 1664), p. 150.

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130  Ladan Niayesh his Persepolis episode, where his ‘monster’ with ‘seven saveral arms on either side’55 is possibly an attempt at describing a faravahar in a disc with deployed wings and multilayered floating robes. In such circumstances, is there a way of saying whether one version among these heavily mediated, polyphonic, and here even ‘polyvisual’ Persepolis accounts prevails over others in terms of accuracy? As art historian L. E. Semler warns us in ‘The Ruins of Persepolis: Grotesque Perception in Thomas Herbert’s Travels’, when it comes to cultural transmission, ‘accuracy is not a transparent concept’.56 More often than not, as we have repeatedly seen here with the accounts of Persepolitan gates, animals, and human or humanized figures, accuracy of description relies on comparisons made through inappropriately applied terminology, slippery identifications or assimilations, and references and conventions journeying across time, space, languages, cultures, and individuals. Accordingly, Herbert in his third version of his travels no longer even tries to keep classical sources and personal observations apart in separate chapters (‘Persepolis’ and ‘Chil-manor’) as he did in his first edition, nor does he come and go between the two as he did in his second edition. In the third edition, Herbert flattens out whatever distinction he previously drew between voices from the past and voices from the present, as is suggested by the running title featuring like a banner above his entire chapter: ‘Chil-mynar, or Antiquities of Persepolis’. Serving as a programme for Herbert’s Persepolis chapter in its final version, the ‘A or B’ approach of the title makes this author’s Persepolis work an echo chamber for the many named and unnamed voices contributing their refrains over the textual and visual territory of his account and of Hollar’s companion engraving. ‘Chaque mémoire individuelle est un point de vue sur la mémoire collective’, writes Halbwachs in La Mémoire collective.57 As I hope this chapter has to some extent shown, each of the travellers and non-travellers for whom Geoffrey Ducket, John Cartwright, and Thomas Herbert made room in their accounts of Persepolis, classical or modern, contributes a personal point of view to a collective picture of this memory site. Studying these three polyphonic texts and Herbert’s accompanying iconographic material does not provide the modern reader with groundbreaking information on Persepolis as a physical site. Moving from a short musing on ruins running over a couple of lines in Ducket’s account to Cartwright’s biblically inflected expansion of the same, and then Herbert’s increasingly detailed and elaborate Hellenocentric descriptions, a textual Persepolis gradually gets rebuilt in English travellers’ accounts, increasingly memorialized, residually scriptural, and increasingly classicized, following the new ideological biases and aesthetic tastes developing over  Herbert, Some Years Travels (1664), p. 156.   L. E. Semler, ‘The Ruins of Persepolis: Grotesque Perceptions in Thomas Herbert’s Travels’, in Word and Self Estranged in English Texts, 1550–1660, edited by Philippa Kelly and L. E. Semler (Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, 2010), pp. 33–59 (p. 37). 57   ‘Each individual memory is a point of view on the collective memory.’ Halbwachs, La Mémoire collective, p. 33. 55 56

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Reterritorializing Persepolis  131 the first decades of the seventeenth century.58 These individual memories and their interpretations do not probe the ruins of a monument for a non-existent ultimate truth or any wishful sense of accuracy about it, but contribute to rebuilding collectively a textual and cultural frame for its reception, complete with agendas that range from scriptural to classicized, Biblicocentric to Hellenocentric. Echoing each other at times, and clashing at other times, like so many competing refrains they all contribute to making this Englished Persepolis and the newly re-contacted empire that it stands for a Deleuzian and Guattarian territory, that is to say a dynamic, appropriative process of unshapings and reshapings rather than an archaeological site for any hypothetical candidate to the title of first-ever visitor. 58   For a similar phenomenon of approaching other notable memory sites in the East—Egyptian pyramids and Assyria—with repurposed agendas in the early modern period, see Jennifer Sarha’s chapter in this volume.

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6 Antiquarianism in the Near East Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and his Journey to the Seven Churches of Asia Thomas Roebuck

Introduction: From Oxford to Asia Minor In 1672, the high church cleric and Oxford scholar Thomas Smith (1638–1710) published what would become one of his most widely read and influential books.1 He had just returned from spending two years in the Ottoman Empire, where he had acted as chaplain to the English ambassador in Constantinople, Sir Daniel Harvey (1631–72), a role which had also given him wider responsibility for the pastoral well-being of the Levant Company’s ‘factory’ (one of its three trading centres in the Ottoman Empire) in that city.2 It had also given him the opportunity to travel and to experience at first hand both the customs of modern Turkey and its people, including Eastern Christians, and to see the relics of Asia Minor’s ancient past. The account of his findings which Smith published in 1672 took the form of two Latin epistles.3 The first described the ‘customs 1   I am grateful to Zur Shalev for helpful conversations about the study of the Seven Churches in the seventeenth century, especially on the significance of that study for ecclesiastical government. Dr Shalev’s own study of travellers to the Seven Churches of Asia (to which my chapter is complementary) is ‘Apocalyptic Travelers: The Seventeenth-Century Search for the Seven Churches of Asia’, in Scriptures, Sacred Traditions, and Strategies of Religious Subversion: Studies in Discourse with the Work of Guy G. Stroumsa, edited by Moshe Blidstein, Serge Ruzer, and Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018), pp. 251–63. All references to unpublished manuscripts are to those in the Bodleian Library unless otherwise stated. Contractions have been silently expanded. I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation for a postdoctoral research fellowship, which gave me time to study Thomas Smith’s manuscripts and letters. I am also grateful to Jane Grogan, Mordechai Feingold, John-Mark Philo, Jean-Louis Quantin and two anonymous peer reviewers for their comments on this chapter. 2   The best account of Smith’s journey to the Levant is Andrei Pippidi, ‘Knowledge of the Ottoman Empire in Late Seventeenth-Century England: Thomas Smith and Some of his Friends’ (PhD dissertation, University of Oxford, 1983 [i.e. 1985]). Also on Smith and the Seven Churches see Hélène Pignot, ‘A Trip to the Origins of Christianity: Sir Paul Rycaut’s and Rev. Thomas Smith’s Accounts of the Greek Church in the Seventeenth Century’, Studies in Travel Writing 13 (2009): 193–205. 3   Thomas Smith, Epistolae Duae, Quarum altera De Moribus ac Institutis Turcarum agit: Altera Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum notitiam continet (Oxford, 1672). As explained in the chapter itself, Smith published four

Thomas Roebuck, Antiquarianism in the Near East: Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and his Journey to the Seven Churches of Asia In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0007

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  133 and institutions of the Turks’; the second provided ‘notitia’ about the Seven Churches of Asia, those churches in south-west Turkey which had been addressed by the Johannine prophet in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation. This second epistle constituted the first published account by a Western traveller of this group of ancient cities, which constituted some of the most important Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites in western Asia, including the remains at Ephesus, where St Paul once preached the gospel and which remains a popular tourist destination today. Although, as we shall see, Smith’s book emerged at a time when many travellers were visiting these sites and indeed publishing their accounts, in both its augmented Latin forms and in English translation his Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia was of especially enduring value. It remained a source of inspiration (and the object of criticism) for travellers in the eighteenth century, such as Richard Chandler (1737–1810), and in the 1820s it was still an essential guide for an antiquarian clerical traveller like the Reverend Francis Arundell (1780–1846), whose own experiences of both the ancient sites he visited and the local people he met on his journey repeatedly called to mind those Smith had described 150 years before.4 Smith’s little book, therefore, is a vitally important event in the emergence of the archaeology of the first and second centuries ce, and of early Christianity more generally. It is a work that looks forward to responses to the ancient Near East which come after the end of the period covered by the present volume. However, rather than looking towards that later history, my chapter has the opposite aim: to situate Smith’s book in the contemporary context of Levantine travel and early modern scholarship from which it emerged. Why does Smith write this book when he does, and in the way he does? How did his contemporaries read it, and what did they find themselves able to do with it? In the course of answering these specific questions about Smith and his own work I hope this chapter will shed light on several of the volume’s larger themes. In particular, I will show that Smith is far from trapped within any straightforwardly ‘classical’ conception of the ancient Near East. Smith’s work mingles many genres and traditions, but one of the most important is that of ecclesiastical history, the historical form in which, more than any other, the past dictates the future.5 This chapter aims, therefore, to offer answers to some of the volume’s central questions by shedding new light on the interactions, in early modern scholarship, between the ‘ancient’ Near East distinct editions of this work, each with its own revisions. When citing the book, I prefer to cite Smith’s own English translation of 1678 (Remarks Upon the Manners, Religion, and Government Of the Turks. Together with A Survey of the Seven Churches of Asia), but where there are details only to be found in the Latin editions, I cite the first, 1672 (if that detail is present in all editions), or the 1676 (if it was added in that edition), or the 1694 Utrecht edition (if it was added only in that final edition). Unless specified, general comments on the book can be presumed to be true of both the English and Latin versions. 4   Richard Chandler, Travels in Asia Minor (Oxford, 1775), p. 305; Rev. Fr. V. J. Arundell, A Visit to the Seven Churches of Asia (London, 1828), pp. 9–10, 90–1, 94, 96, 175, 179–80, 187, 188, 226–7, 288–9. 5   See Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘Pagan and Christian Historiography in the Fourth Century A.D.’, in his The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 79–99.

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134  Thomas Roebuck (itself already Roman, Greek, and Christian) and the modern world (Ottoman and European), and between ancient sources and eyewitness experiences. It is also worth pointing out that this chapter’s purview is precisely that of seventeenth-century scholars and scholarship—a vast field in itself, but one with its own distinct sources, forms, preoccupations, and traditions, which are very different to those of, say, the early modern theatre. Once again, these scholars’ particular interest in ecclesiastical history (especially the history of the early church) had encouraged a decisive move away from the study of well-known ancient literary and historical writings, which had been the focus of many earlier humanist scholars, had become the sources of much vernacular Renaissance literature, and which have remained the central interest of modern scholars of classical reception. But to scholars in the middle of the seventeenth century, it was broadly accepted that the study of early Christianity needed to take into account ancient Near Eastern sources: Jewish texts, like the Mishnah, and Arabic ones, like the world history of Eutychius of Alexandria (877–940). A passion for early Christianity was driving many scholars to the Near East. Attentiveness to these scholars and their priorities, therefore, necessarily demands that we think in new ways about which ancient texts—including inscriptions, which shall be this chapter’s focus—played a part in shaping early modern understandings of the ancient Near East. Smith, although, as we shall see, a far from unproblematic representative of these traditions, does provide a valuable case study in which we can explore all of these questions and problems. By the end of the seventeenth century, Smith was primarily known as one of the non-jurors, the clerics who refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance to William and Mary at the Glorious Revolution. But when he travelled to the Levant in 1668, all that lay far ahead in the future. In the early 1660s, Thomas Smith was well positioned to become one of Oxford’s greatest oriental scholars. Graduating BA from Queen’s College in 1661, Smith seems to have been part of a milieu of orientalists with a particular interest in Hebrew and Arabic, and the ancient Christian church. One particular mentor seems to have been Edmund Castell (bap. 1606, d.1686), who had worked with Brian Walton (1600–61) to produce the London Polyglot Bible, and who was an expert in many Middle Eastern languages, especially Persian.6 In his early years at Oxford, Smith seems likely to have come into contact, at least peripherally, with Europe’s greatest Arabist, Edward Pococke (1604–91), who had himself travelled to the Levant as a chaplain.7 Smith’s first book offered an account of the development of the Aramaic Targums, the vernacular translations of the Old Testament, and drew

6   See the thanks for Castell in the preface to Smith’s first book: Thomas Smith, Diatriba de Chaldaicis Paraphrastis, eorumque Versionibus, ex utroque Talmude, ac Scriptis Rabbinorum Concinnata (Oxford, 1662), p. A7v. 7   On Pococke see G.  J.  Toomer, Eastern Wisdom and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  135 upon a wide range of Jewish literature in order to do so.8 His second book offered a comparative cultural history of the druids which drew upon a wide range of sources in Eastern languages, especially Hebrew and Arabic.9 The range of erudition demonstrated in these works as well as the topics they addressed were reminiscent of the writings of the lawyer, antiquary, and biblical scholar John Selden (1584–1654), who had also covered the history of the druids in an early work, his notes to Poly-Olbion (1612), and had traced the history of the practices of the Jews in a series of learned monographs in the 1640s and 50s.10 Smith was sixteen when Selden died; in 1707, three years before his own death, he remembered ‘very well the time of the death and buryal of that great man: of whose incomparable learning I had notions instilled in me’.11 Smith’s early works, therefore, seem to be setting him out as a kind of successor to John Selden, demonstrating myriad reading in Jewish sources and Arabic texts (especially Christian Arabic texts) and displaying that erudition proudly on the page. By the mid-1660s, therefore, Smith had established himself as one of the leading young orientalists in Oxford, firmly working in the mould of erudition established by scholars such as Selden and Pococke. In 1668 Smith became chaplain to the Levant Company at Constantinople, a role for which he was supported by his patron, the intelligencer and statesman Sir Joseph Williamson (1633–1701), whom he thanked in 1672 for the ‘the opportunity I obtained through your recommendation of travelling into the East’.12 The chaplaincy to the Levant Company ambassadors in Constantinople, Aleppo, and Izmir was by no means solely a pastoral role. The office had already established itself by Smith’s time firmly as an opportunity to pursue scholarship, especially by collecting Arabic and Hebrew manuscripts and deepening one’s knowledge of Eastern languages.13 This is exactly how Pococke had used the post in the mid-seventeenth century. Smith’s greatest friend, the astronomer, orientalist, and textual editor Edward Bernard (1638–97), gave voice to what must have been the feelings of many when he wrote to Smith that ‘I think it much the advantage of our University, that a person soe much accomplished in the Easterne Learning Travels to the East.’14 Smith’s trip was expected, therefore, to be a 8   On the sources Smith used for this book, see Mordechai Feingold, ‘Oriental Studies’, in The History of the University of Oxford, Vol. 4: Seventeenth-Century Oxford, edited by Nicholas Tyacke (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 449–503, 470–4. 9   Thomas Smith, Syntagma de Druidum Moribus ac Institutis in Quo Miscellanea quaedam Sacroprofana inseruntur (London, 1664). For Selden on the druids, see Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, in The Works of Michael Drayton, edited by J.  William Hebel, 5 vols. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1931–41), Vol. 4, pp. 83–4. 10   On Selden see G.  J.  Toomer, John Selden: A Life in Scholarship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 11   MS Smith 127, p. 183, letter of Smith to Thomas Hearne, 3 May 1707. 12   TNA SP 29/313, fol. 124, letter of Thomas Smith to Joseph Williamson, 29 July 1672. 13   See the invaluable recent account in Simon Mills, ‘The Chaplains to the English Levant Company: Exploration and Biblical Scholarship in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England’, in Die Begegnung mit Fremden und das Geschichtsbewusstsein, edited by J. Becker and B. Braun (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012), pp. 243–66. I am grateful to Dr Mills for advice on Smith’s Levant chaplaincy. 14   MS Smith 47, p. 33, Edward Bernard to Thomas Smith, n.d.

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136  Thomas Roebuck scholarly one. He arrived in Constantinople around Christmas 1668, after a four-month voyage with stops in Cadiz, Tangiers, and Genoa.15 He would stay in the Levant for just over two years. In the Levant, Smith had three main interests: the beliefs, customs, and institutions of the Turkish people; the devotional practices and habits of Greek Christians; and, finally, antiquities, ruins, and inscriptions. This trip would concentrate on first-hand observations of people, and on the study of physical artefacts and remains. Smith’s priorities when in the Ottoman Empire were politically and religiously urgent ones: the question of how far the practices and beliefs of the Greek Orthodox church corresponded to those of the Protestant churches, for instance, was a live issue within the confessionalized early modern world.16 As we will see, Smith’s interest in the ancient Near East was by no means entirely or easily separable from these current religio-political issues. By early 1671 Smith was already on his way home from Istanbul. Sailing down Turkey’s western coast, he arrived in Izmir, known by the English members of the Levant Company by its Greek name, Smyrna, in the middle of February. From here he had planned to sail onwards back to England, but he was soon seized by the same ‘pious zeal’ that had been shown by members of the Smyrna factory in recent years in travelling to see the sites of the ancient Seven Churches of Asia.17 Each of these Seven Churches is addressed in a letter in the first chapters of the book of Revelation, in which the Johannine prophet threatens that God will destroy the Seven Churches if they continue to fail to live properly as Christians. These letters are full of riddling imagery, especially of the seven candlesticks, which act as images for the churches themselves (Revelation 1:20). The letters of the book of Revelation were probably composed around 70 ce, and so the cities addressed are all prominent places in the Roman Empire, as well as important early Christian churches. Even before he arrived in Smyrna, Smith must have known that some of the factory there had been exploring these ancient sites. The English consul at Smyrna, Paul Rycaut (1629–1700), had written to Smith in December 1670 to tell him that he was eager to give him ‘an account of my last iourney to Pergamus, & Thyateira’, but that knowing Smith was soon to be expected in Smyrna he had ‘resolved to reserve the relation of that Iournall, till you  please to make my hous happy with your companie’.18 Smith found three other Englishmen who were willing to accompany him on the trip, all of whom were probably merchants. As well as the four of them, they were accompanied by two 15   For Smith’s account of his arrival see his letter to Thomas Pierce, President of Magdalen College, Oxford, which he sent from the Levant: MS Smith 65, p. 95, 26 January 1668/9. 16   For the background to this issue, the classic essay remains Hugh Trevor-Roper, ‘The Church of England and the Greek Church in the Time of Charles I’, in his From Counter-Reformation to Glorious Revolution (London: Secker & Warburg, 1992), pp. 88–99. 17  Smith, Remarks, p. 206. 18   MS Smith 51, p. 155, letter of Paul Rycaut to Smith, 10 December 1670. Rycaut is a very important figure in the history of the study of the Seven Churches of Asia. On his career in the Levant see Sonia P. Anderson, An English Consul in Turkey: Paul Rycaut at Smyrna, 1667–1678 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  137 j­ anissaries—Turkish soldiers who presumably were there to protect the party, to act as intermediaries with Turkish officials—three groomsmen, who looked after the horses, a cook, and two Armenian Christians, whose exact role in the party is never made quite clear, but perhaps acted as guides as well as intermediaries on the journey. On 3 April 1671 the party set out.19 Smith began by visiting Pergamon, followed by Thyatira, the site of which had only recently been identified by Paul Rycaut and the chaplain to the Levant Company at Smyrna, and future Thomas Adams Professor of Arabic at Cambridge, John Luke (1633/4–1702), who had noticed an inscription there bearing the city’s name.20 More ancient sites followed: all the Seven Churches themselves, with Sardis following Thyatira, and then Philadelphia, Laodicea, Ephesus, before finally returning to Smyrna itself (of which Smith gives an account); but also other ancient cities of the region, including Hierapolis, Colossae, and Tripolis. All the sites of the ancient cities that Smith visited were ruined: this part of Asia Minor had undergone dramatic economic decline in the sixteenth century, and at the time Smith visited was largely impoverished. ‘Sardes in Sardibus quaerebamus’, Smith lamented, but the situation was the same everywhere he went. Smith encountered many ruins from the first and second centuries ce, as well as from the Byzantine period; some ruins were much older still, including the Hellenistic Temple of Cybele at Sardis, of which Smith saw some surviving ­columns.21 Given the ruined state of the churches, it was inevitable that Smith and his contemporaries were not correct in all their identifications: they believed, for instance, that they had found the city of Tralles, which, as Smith notes, was ‘a famous City in the first beginnings of Christianity’, but it was actually located closer to Guzel-hisar, nearer where they believed Magnesia ad Meandrum to be located.22 However, they were certainly making careful attempts to match the descriptions of the locations of ancient cities which they found in Pliny and Strabo with their own detailed observations of the landscape and its rivers in order to make those identifications accurate.23 Inscriptions were helpful too, of which Smith encountered many and tried carefully to record the ones he could; he was also struck by bas reliefs and other ancient works of art. Carved stones had often been recycled as building materials or as other useful household  Smith, Remarks, p. 209.   For the archaeological history of Thyatira see Peter Hermann (ed.), Tituli Asiae Minoris, Vol. 5: Tituli Lydiae, fasc. 2: Regio Septentrionalis ad Occidentem Vergens (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1981), pp. 307–9. 21   Thomas Smith, Epistolae Duae, 133. Charles Texier, Asie Mineure (Paris, 1862), p. 263, cited in Pippidi, ‘Thomas Smith’, pp. 253–4. 22   William Martin Leake would explain, in 1824, that ‘Smith, as well as Pococke and Chandler, who too blindly followed the opinion of Smith, were wrong in supposing that town [Guzel-hisar] to stand on the site of Magnesia’ (Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor (London, 1824), p. 241), and provides a substantial discussion of the topic. 23   A point made with reference to several early modern travellers to the Levant, especially John Covel, in Lucy Pollard, The Quest for Classical Greece: Early Modern Travel to the Greek World (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), pp. 67–86. Compare Niayesh’s discussion in the present volume of the way in which, for European travellers, classical accounts of ancient Near Eastern sites become a part of the ‘collective memory’ of those places. 19 20

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138  Thomas Roebuck objects: in Smyrna itself, Smith found one inscription ‘now placed in a chimney’; in Thyatira a ‘sepulchral stone’ was ‘now made use of by a Tanner, in his house’.24 As well as ancient cities, Smith had plenty of opportunity to observe the details of life of ­contemporary Turks and of Greek Christians. Of the Turks, Smith was especially struck by the ancient cities’ modern place names and their etymologies. But the Greeks, especially, Smith found to be in a sad condition: at Philadelphia, a ‘Greek Pappas told us, they had scarce wine enough for the sacrament’; the Colossians were in an even worse state, having ‘forgot their own language, and speak only Turkish’.25 The journey itself was often dangerous, or at least seemed to be so: Smith records that they seemed often to fear being set upon by thieves and murderers, including the notorious Inge Morad, who led a band of twenty-two murderers and was believed to have passed near Smith and his party when they were at Hierapolis.26 Lasting nearly three weeks (the party arrived back in Smyrna on 22 April 1671, ‘the twentieth day from our departure’), the journey provided abundant materials, ancient and modern, for Smith to weave together into his pioneering study of the ancient Near East.27

Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia (1672–1716) in Context After his return to England in 1671, Smith had spent most of his time in Oxford, ‘there enjoying my selfe in my studyes’, as he wrote to his friend, Smyrna’s consul, Paul Rycaut, ‘in a cloyster in the midst of these tumults and distractions’.28 It was at this time that Smith wrote his first published account of his journey around the Seven Churches, which he would publish in 1672 as the second of his Epistolae Duae, which ‘contains an account of the Seven Churches of Asia’.29 However, this Latin version was not the first version of the account that Smith wrote. As he makes clear near the outset of the work, his account ‘will be related from my Diary’.30 Although parts of Smith’s diary still survive, the passages covering the visit to the Seven Churches are missing, perhaps because Smith disposed of them when he had finished writing his book.31 Nevertheless, Smith’s description of the Seven Churches follows the structure of a diary, relating the events of his journey day by day, rather than adopting a more analytical method of  Smith, Remarks, pp. 268, 225. 26  Smith, Remarks, pp. 242, 249.  Smith, Epistolae Duae, p. 147. 27  Smith, Remarks, p. 264. 28   MS Smith 65, p. 197, letter of Thomas Smith to Paul Rycaut, 1672. 29   Epistolae Duae (Oxford, 1672). 30   ‘ex Diario relaturus: Mihi enim solenne erat, nec unquam intermissum, diurno itinere peracto quicquid occurreret, annotare, & dum harum Urbium ruinas lustrarem, ea statim in Tabulas referre’ (Epistolae 1672, p. 105): ‘I will relate from my Diary: for it was my custom, almost without exception, when the day’s journey was done to note whatever occurred, and as I illustrate the ruins of these Cities, to record these things immediately in my tables.’ 31   The surviving sections of his diary which deal with the visit to the Levant can be found at MS Smith 141, pp. 37–53 (according to Smith’s numbering of the pages). 24 25

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  139 organization according to particular ancient sites, for instance. The diary itself was followed by a second version of the journey which he wrote at Smyrna. ‘The accompt of my voyage to the Churches of Asia’, Smith explains, ‘all but the beginning and end [i.e. the introductory passages and the account of Smyrna itself], I wrote in Smyrna out of my Diary, for the satisfaction of my fellow-travellers.’32 This original version of the book was written in English.33 As well as members of the Smyrna factory such as Rycaut and John Luke, one of those for whom Smith might have written was a member of the Levant Company in Constantinople, Bezaleel Sergeant, with whom Smith kept in correspondence after his return to England, and who had already written to Smith while he was travelling around the Seven Churches themselves (on 17 April, when Smith was near Guzel-hissar), to tell him that ‘I shou’d be very happy in receiving a short account from you of your visit to the Churches, which I hope this faire season & opportunity hath or will invite you to’.34 Between 1671 and 1672, therefore, the book had already undergone the transition from diary to English manuscript travel guide, and then to Latin epistle published by John Fell’s invigorated Oxford University Press.35 In 1676 Smith published an expanded Latin edition of his book in London, in a single quarto volume, which included several new inscriptions and some slightly more detailed comments on some of the existing ones.36 In 1678 Smith translated his work into English, along with his accounts of the ‘Customs of the Turks’ and his ‘Brief Notes on Constantinople’. This version of his work is both expanded and abbreviated: Smith removed some of the commentary on the inscriptions he had collected, but included several new details of the sites they visited, including new inscriptions. For instance, Smith expands his account of Pergamon to include a brief description of the defensive ‘mounts opposite one to the other’ (219) outside the old city, and a Greek inscription carved high up in one of the walls (which they had to use a ladder to reach), alongside ‘the figure of a dog’.37 Each time, Smith seems to be going back to his diary to find new details of his travels to include. Although Smith’s annotations to his own copy of his English translation suggest he may at some stage have planned a further new edition of this translation, none would materialize. Instead Smith set the book aside for almost fifteen years, but in early 1692 began to revise it again to produce a newly expanded Latin version. The publication of this new edition, however, ran into significant problems. In early 1692 Smith wrote to Edward Bernard that ‘I had retouched the account of my travells, & had made out of my Diary severall considerable additions to the Survey as   See Smith’s preface to his Remarks, pp. A5v–A6r.   ‘While I was staying at Smyrna, I compiled an account in English for the use of my fellow travellers, who had earnestly requested this of me’ (‘Dum Smyrnae manerem, illius itineris in usum comitum meorum, qui istud pensum a me exegerant, historiam Anglicè confeci’), in Smith, Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum et Constantinopoleos Notitia. Authore Thoma Smitho, Ecclesiae Anglicanae Presbytero (Utrecht, 1694), p. A3r. 34   MS Smith 53, p. 167, letter of Bezaleel Sergeant to Smith, 17 April 1671. 35   For the history of Oxford University Press in this period, see Ian Gadd (ed.), The History of Oxford University Press, Vol. 1: Beginnings to 1780 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). 36   Thomas Smith, Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum Notitia (London, 1676). 37  Smith, Remarks, pp. 219, 221. 32 33

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140  Thomas Roebuck I published about 20 yeares since of the seaven Churches of Asia & of Constantinople’; he was, however, unable to publish the book because the booksellers were ‘pretending a right to my copyes by a trick, which they call an establisht law’.38 He decided to have the book printed in Holland, and in April 1694 he asked his correspondent, the Dutch scholar Theodorus Janssonius van Almeloveen (1657–1712), whom Smith had been helping with his planned edition of the correspondence of the great Huguenot scholar Isaac Casaubon, to arrange for the book’s publication in Utrecht, where it was published by the university press along with Smith’s account of Constantinople.39 Smith grudgingly admitted to Bernard in October 1695 (soon after it had been printed) that the Utrecht press printed it ‘neatly and fairly, I confesse, but very uncorrectly’.40 Smith was still fiddling with his own copy of the Utrecht edition, making small additions and corrections, although he insisted to another Levantine traveller and inscription hunter, Edmund Chishull (1671–1733), in the 1700s that he had no plans to produce a further new edition.41 In the end the book was reprinted after Smith’s death in Rotterdam, along with several of his other works relating to the Levant.42 Smith’s book, therefore, although only a relatively brief work, preoccupied him throughout his life. Going through six versions—from diary to English Smyrnaean manuscript, to Latin and into English and back again—it always remained unfinished and ready to be ‘retouched’. What kind of book had Smith written about the Seven Churches of Asia? Unlike many of the earlier great scholar-chaplains, like Edward Pococke, most of whom did not publish first-hand travel accounts based on their experiences of the Levant, Smith chose to publish something that reads like a travelogue. His book places the emphasis on his own first-hand experience of his journey, and his account draws its authority from the long tradition of the classical and Renaissance veneration of the eyewitness.43 This was by no means an obvious thing to do for a scholar who was setting out, as we saw at the outset of the chapter, to emulate some of the great scholar-chaplains of the Levant Company in the seventeenth century. At the outset of the Latin versions of his book, Smith gives the reader a sense of the traditions within which he is working. Smith styles himself as attempting to imitate, at least partially, the ‘industry and learning and curiosity of devout Pilgrims [in Latin, “peregrinantes”], who from the first ages of Christianity to this present, not without the design of providence, as I verily believe, have visited mount Calvary and the holy Sepulchre’. These pious pilgrimages have led Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Nazareth to be properly surveyed, so that ‘every one, who has but the least gust for Antiquity, or History, or Travel, or insight into Books’ can   MS Smith 57, p. 252, letter of Smith to Edward Bernard, 27 February 1691/2.   For the unfolding story of the book’s publication in Utrecht, see MS Smith 55, pp. 27–33; MS Smith 46, pp. 39–43. 40   MS Smith 57, p. 507, letter of Smith to Edward Bernard, 10 October 1695. 41   MS Smith 59, p.123, letter of Smith to Edmund Chishull, 14 April 1705. 42   Thomas Smith, Opuscula ex itinere ipsius turcico (Rotterdam, 1716). 43   On Renaissance eyewitness testimony and its problematics, see in general Joan-Pau Rubiés, Travellers and Cosmographers: Studies in the History of Early Modern Travel and Ethnography (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007). 38 39

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  141 become acquainted with these places. In contrast, ‘a sadder fate seemed to hang over the Seven Churches of Asia’, for which no one has provided any kind of account, neither the Greek Christians themselves due to their ‘unpardonable carelessness’, nor the ‘Western Christians’, who are ‘either not caring or not daring to visit them’.44 Smith’s book is, therefore, a kind of Protestant pilgrimage, the history of which has recently been brilliantly traced by Zur Shalev.45 It fills a space next to the pious and learned accounts of Jerusalem that had been produced within the intellectual frameworks of geographia sacra. But Smith is equally at pains (especially in the Latin version of his book) to stress the kind of book he is not trying to write. He notes that he has written a ‘description, not accurate (I ought to confess as much), but brief, and as much as I was able to produce with little time, and with other difficulties with which I was afflicted on this journey’.46 He reinforced his point that this book is not aspiring to technical exactness in a letter to the mathematician, cryptographer, and Fellow of the Royal Society John Wallis (1616–1703), in which Smith presented to him his ‘survey of the VII Churches of Asia, as they do now lye in their ruines’ which he had ‘made, not with the niceness and exactness of a Mathematician, but with the hast of a careless Traveller for my own private use, when I lived in the Levant’.47 Smith’s disavowal of the work’s detailed accuracy may of course partly be a modesty topos: there certainly is geographical detail and exact measurements to be found in Smith’s book, although perhaps not ones that could compare to some of the more substantial achievements of the sacred geographers. Indeed, in 1686 Bernard Randolph (bap.1643, d. after 1689?), a member of the Levant Company, was putting together a new map of Greece and Asia Minor, for which he had used Smith’s book. ‘I haue had the sight of your Book’, he wrote, ‘and to my best haue laid down the places about Smirna, which I haue inclosed sent you humbly desireing you will be pleased to correct what you finde amiss, and that you will also sett downe in circa the places of note, Especially Laodecca.’48 In this, as in other respects, Smith’s work is a hybrid one: the hasty work of a careless traveller, not accurate but brief; and also a work from which it is possible to extract a map of Asia Minor. Similar hybridity can be found in Smith’s decision to write the book in Latin. He loved the Latin language, and was a fervent defender of writing in Latin at the end of the era in which most learned works were written in that language. But those who wrote other such accounts of visits to Asia Minor generally wrote in their vernaculars, especially in French. Earlier visitors to Ephesus, in particular, such as Vincent Stochove  Smith, Remarks, pp. 205–6; Epistolae Duae, pp. 101–2.   Zur Shalev, Sacred Words and Worlds: Geography, Religion, and Scholarship, 1550–1700 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), ch. 3. See also the extension of Shalev’s arguments in Armstrong’s chapter in the present volume. 46   ‘descriptionem, non accuratam quidem, (id enim fateri mihi fas est) sed brevem, & qualem potui prae angustiis temporis, aliisque incommodis, quibuscum in hoc itinere perficiendo conflictatus sum’ (Epistolae Duae, p. 101). 47   MS Smith 66, p. 15, letter of Smith to John Wallis, 27 April 1695. 48   MS Smith 53, p. 121, letter of Bernard Randolph to Smith, 21 December 1686. The map was published in Randolph, The Present State of the Morea, called Anciently Peloponnessus (London, 1689). 44 45

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142  Thomas Roebuck (who went there in 1631), Nicolas Du Loir (visited in 1639), and Balthasar de Montconys (visited in 1648), all wrote in French, and some of them styled their travel narratives as epistles to patrons: these may well have been the kinds of works that Smith had in mind in creating his book, except that he took the decision to write in Latin.49 Models for this kind of vernacular travel narrative would already have been available to him in Smyrna itself. Smith must surely have read the accounts of the travels of some of the members of the Levant Company, such as his fellow chaplain, John Luke, whose journals certainly circulated among members of the Levant Company.50 Luke similarly presented his findings in the form of day-by-day travel journals, which mingled archaeology, discussion of inscriptions, and accounts of the practicalities of travel along the way. Latin travel narrative had for a long time been a form in which learned antiquarianism could be presented: Cyriac of Ancona is a suggestive point of comparison here, but his travel diaries do not seem to have been known to Smith.51 A Latin book published by Oxford University Press might give the reader the impression that this would be a ‘scholarly’ book, and of course it is: it contains untranslated Greek inscriptions, learned citations, comments on ancient sites. But Smith is at pains to foreground the travel as much, if not more than, the learning in his book. He brings the dangers and adventures of his journey to the foreground. At least one of Smith’s earliest readers, Edward Chamberlayne, found this combination of adventure and Latin style delightful: he wrote to Smith in August 1672 that he ‘cannot but take notice both of your curiosity in your dangerous Travels & exquisite skill in the Latin Tongue’.52 He seems to have been reading Smith’s book as much for its literary qualities as for its learned content about the ancient Near East. And if in his own era Smith’s Latin was the exception, he was not without followers: the medical doctor Antonio Picenini, who accompanied the great inscription-hunter William Sherard (1659–1728) in his search for inscriptions in Asia Minor in the early eighteenth century, also wrote his diary in Latin (a work which remains in manuscript), which includes passages which perhaps echo Smith’s language. His Diarium in itinere per Asiae minoris septem Ecclesias instituto, breviter conscriptum was perhaps also intended for publication.53 In its combination of genres, therefore—epistle to a patron, journal, travel narrative, inscription collection, pilgrimage, historico-geographical survey—Smith’s little book was a hybrid one. 49   Vincent Stochove (1610–79), Voyage du Sieur de Stochove faict des années 1630, 1631, 1632, 1633 (Brussels, 1643), pp. 230–3; Nicolas Du Loir, Voyage du Sieur du Loir (Paris, 1654), pp. 24–32; Balthasar de Montconys (1611–65), Journal des Voyages du Monsieur du Monconys, 3 vols. (Lyon, 1665-6), vol. 1, pp. 427–30. 50   Some of those in BL Harley MS 7021 are copied in Jerome Saltier’s hand. 51   On Cyriac of Ancona’s place in the history of antiquarianism, especially on the distinctive form of his writings and their survival, see Peter N. Miller, ‘Major Trends in European Antiquarianism, Petrarch to Peiresc’, in The Oxford History of Historical Writing, edited by Daniel Woolf (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), Vol. 3, pp. 244–60. Letters are woven into the history of antiquarianism from its Renaissance beginnings, especially in the celebrated letter of Petrarch to Francesco Colonna on the ruins of Rome. 52   MS Smith 48, p. 89, letter of Chamberlayne to Smith, 12 August 1672. 53   BL Add. MS 6269, fols. 38r–49v.

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  143 In writing his book, what seem to have been Smith’s intellectual priorities? On what does he choose to focus his attention? And what does he leave out? The easiest way to answer these questions is by comparing Smith’s account of a particular archaeological site with that of his contemporaries, and the clearest case study here is Ephesus, because it was the site among the Seven Churches of Asia of which there are by far the largest number of eyewitness accounts in the seventeenth-century.54 Sedentary mythographers since the sixteenth century had attempted to reconstruct everything that could be known about the Ephesian cult of Diana on the basis of ancient texts.55 But the antiquities of Ephesus themselves had exerted a fascination on English scholars and collectors since at least the early seventeenth century. The ambassador Sir Thomas Roe (1581–1644) reported William Petty’s visit to the site in 1625 to the Earl of Arundel, for whom Roe was orchestrating the collection of archaeological finds, including the great Arundel Marble on which John Selden worked in the 1620s.56 And shortly before Smith visited the city, Robert Huntington, the Levant Company’s chaplain in Aleppo, in a letter full of news of his experiences in the Middle East, was reporting to the philosopher John Locke that the ‘Great Cities once famous through the world, are now fallen into small Townes or Villages, or else quite buryed in their Ruines; and by the crumbling and hollow soyle (as at Ephesus and Antioch) it appeareth that Earthquakes, the deadly Falling-sickness of These Places, might very well help on their Destruction’.57 Restoration intellectuals of all kinds were clearly fascinated by the ruins at Ephesus. When Smith arrived there on 20 April he was immediately impressed by the ‘vast marble pillars’ which he saw lying ‘dispersed upon the ground in several places’. He first saw the ruins which ‘tradition and fancy will have it’ constituted the remains of the famous Temple of Diana.58 Smith was far from alone in his suspicions that this may well not be the Temple of Diana at all (he believed it might be a Christian church built on the foundations of the old temple), and in fact, as John Turtle Wood showed in the 1870s, this was not the site of the Temple of Diana, which in its final and grandest form was built outside the city; instead, the seventeenth-century travellers were looking at the ruins of the Gymnasium.59 Most travellers also struggled underneath this building to enter its foundations, which were, in the seventeenth century, known as ‘the labyrinth’: tradition had it that it was possible to crawl all the way to Smyrna in this network of 54   This account of seventeenth-century travellers’ responses to Ephesus is greatly indebted to Clive Foss, Ephesus after Antiquity: A Late Antique, Byzantine and Turkish City (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), esp. pp. 168–80. David Constantine offers an invaluable comparative account of Ephesus in his Early Greek Travellers and the Hellenic Ideal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), ch. 1. 55   See for instance the work of Pierre Du Faur de Saint-Jory, Liber Semestrium Tertius (Lyon, 1595), pp. 51ff. 56   Sir Thomas Roe, The Negotiations . . . in his embassy to the ottoman Porte from the year. 1621 (London, 1740), p. 445. 57   John Locke, The Correspondence of John Locke, ed. E. S. de Beer, 8 vols. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976–89), Vol. 1, pp. 352–3. 58  Smith, Remarks, pp. 257, 258. 59  J.  T.  Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus, Including the Site and Remains of the Great Temple of Diana (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1877), pp. 122–3.

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144  Thomas Roebuck tunnels.60 Near Diana’s temple was another popular site for travellers: ‘a very large Font of porphiry, the inmost circle being about six foot in diameter, which is called by the name of St. John’s Font, there being four pillars not far from it, upon which they ­suppose it was raised’. This, however, as Smith (and many of the other travellers) noted, was ‘a thing very unlikely, that in those sad times of persecution under Domitian and Trajan, when the poor Christians were forced to serve God in grottas, and Converts were baptized secretly’.61 Most travellers, including Smith, also visited the Basilica of St John, which had now been turned into a mosque. Inside it were to be found four pillars, which Smith found to be ‘about the bigness of those that are in Sultan Suleiman’s Mosch in Constantinople’, and Suleyman had indeed taken pillars from Ephesus for the Agia Sophia mosque in the city.62 Another Christian site that most travellers saw was the supposed Cave of the Seven Sleepers, where there had been a Christian church to commemorate this mythic group of Christians who fell asleep during the Roman persecutions of the Christians and woke up two hundred years later after Christianity had become the state religion. Very worn mosaics were still visible in this chapel in 1639, but by Smith’s day little of the church on this site seems to have survived.63 What is I think clear from this account is that Smith is not simply recording the ruins as he found them; in both the English and Latin versions of his book, Smith is recording the interpretive traditions that had grown up around these ruins. Every traveller went to see the ‘Temple of Diana’ or the ‘Cave of the Seven Sleepers’, and so did Smith. Although Smith attributes these identifications to ‘tradition’ in the abstract, it seems likely that he is effectively recording here the local Greek Christians’ traditions about these ruins. This point is made clearer in the earlier French accounts of Ephesus. Nicolas Du Loir observes of the stone font attributed to St John that this was font ‘in  which the Christians of the country hold that St John the Evanglist baptized five thousand people in a single day’.64 A village near Ephesus, known in Smith’s period as Kirkingécui, was made up entirely of Christians, and it is probable that they kept some of these Christian traditions about the Ephesus ruins alive. In his account of Ephesus, therefore, two aspects of Smith’s interests—ancient ruins and the beliefs of Greek Christians—mingle together seamlessly. He is not so much recording, straightforwardly, where the Temple of Diana and so on were to be found, as he is recording what the Greek Christians believed about those places. Smith’s emphasis was very much placed upon Greek traditions, too, rather than on Turkish interpretations of the ruins. But such emphasis was not inevitable. Two English travellers of Smith’s era did pay attention to those Turkish traditions: John Luke and Edmund Chishull. As we have already noted, both men were known to Smith, who almost certainly would have seen a version of Luke’s travel account of the  Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus, pp. 28–9. 62  Smith, Remarks, p. 260.  Smith, Remarks, p. 261. 63   ‘Au dedans elle est toute réuestuë de Marbre, & sa voute estit ornée de peinture à la Mosaïque, que l’humidité & la fraischeur des arbres, qui sont dessus, ont effacée’, in Du Loir, Voyage, pp. 28–9. 64   Du Loir, Voyage, p. 28 (emphasis added). 60 61

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  145 region. In his account of Ayasaluk, the Turkish town which had grown up next to Ephesus, but which was already dilapidated by the seventeenth century, Luke notes that ‘[t]he talke of the Turks’ is that there were ‘of old in this famous City’ as many as 360 bath houses.65 Chishull makes a very similar note, although he is explicitly far more sceptical of the Turkish claims. ‘In several places there occur the walls of ruined bagnios’, Chishull records, ‘tho they are increased by the fabulous Turks, and reported to have been here to the number of three hundred and sixty six.’66 The almost identical extravagant number of bath houses is striking: this must have been a local Turkish tradition which was passed on to travellers in the region. Indeed, the remarkable seventeenth-century Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi (1611–82) also recorded hyperbolically that the remains of the city witness to its former greatness, when there would have been ‘300 public baths’ to be found there.67 This is a tantalizing glimpse of overlaps between English and Turkish accounts of the period, both of which may have recorded some of the same oral traditions. But Smith’s focus is firmly upon the Christian traditions surrounding the ancient city’s ruins. There were also a group of ruins which travellers knew as the ‘new’ (Turkish) and ‘old’ (Byzantine) castles. On the way into the latter stood a Byzantine gate, which was known then (and now) as the Gate of the Persecutions. The builders of the gate had adorned it with older, classical bas reliefs, recovered from elsewhere in the Ephesus site. In Smith’s day there were three bas reliefs visible on the gate: one, very faded, representing a bacchanal, with figures, grapes, and baskets; the third showed a dead man on a funeral bed with mourners. Smith described neither of these, but instead focussed on the middle bas relief, which showed ‘figures engraven, representing several, who seem to be haled and dragged away’.68 There were several different interpretations of what these engravings represented, but two of the most popular were that they showed Hector being dragged around the walls of Troy, or, for those who imagined that this might be a later, Christian engraving, that they represented the persecuted Christians (hence the name of the gate, the Gate of Persecutions). Smith offers interestingly different interpretations of this relief in his Latin and English treatments of this subject. In Latin, Smith only goes so far as to say that these figures ‘were carved with a curious and artificial hand, as if showing to the eyes someone snatched by force; what these figures signify, to me clearly is uncertain, and it is irksome to proffer conjecture ineptly’.69 In his Latin work, aimed at a wider audience of scholars, he had to be circumspect. In English, however, Smith gives a free reign to his speculations. There are to be found here ‘very curious figures engraven, representing several, who seem to be haled   BL Harley 7021, fol. 359v.   Edmund Chishull, Travels in Turkey and Back to England, edited by Richard Mead (London, 1747), p. 23. Chishull visited Ayasaluk on 1 May 1699. 67   Evliya Çelebi, An Ottoman Traveller: Selections from the Book of Evliya Çelebi, edited and translated by Robert Dankoff and Sooyong Kim (London: Eland Publishing, 2010), p. 310. 68  Smith, Remarks, p. 261. 69  ‘quid innuant hae figurae, mihi saltem, incertum est, & piget in proferendâ conjecturâ ineptire’ (Epistolae Duae, p. 161). 65

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146  Thomas Roebuck and dragged away, as if perchance the design had been to shew how the poor Christians were formerly seized upon and treated by their heathen persecutors’.70 Other interpreters of these reliefs in Smith’s own time knew that they could not possibly represent ­persecuted Christians because the engravings were classical, even if the ruined gate they were part of was not. It is striking to see Smith being willing to lend credence to these beliefs about the engravings, and again, I think, it supports the idea that Smith is as much concerned to represent local traditions about the ruins as he is to represent the ruins themselves.71 How does Smith’s account of Ephesus differ from those of his contemporaries? Perhaps the account which most strikingly contrasts with Smith’s is that of his fellow Levant Company chaplain and the future Master of Christ’s College, John Covel (1638–1722). Covel shared many of Smith’s interests, including in antiquities and in the Greek church, of which he published a lengthy account in 1722, the year of his death. Despite the close relationship between their interests, however, no letters between Smith and Covel survive, and Smith never seems to have discussed Covel’s work, perhaps indicating an antipathy between the two men. Covel perhaps embraced his experience in the Levant with greater enthusiasm than Smith did, travelling extensively in the region for lengthy periods. These journeys led Covel to produce a substantial book about the Levant, one that he surely intended to publish, but portions of which still remain in manuscript in the British Library, including an enormously long description (amounting to around 18,000 words) of the ruins of Ephesus, one of the first sites which Covel visited after he arrived in the Levant in 1670 (a little before Smith arrived at the site).72 Covel was probably putting finishing touches to his account of Ephesus soon after he returned home around 1679.73 His book also incorporates and makes use of the astounding drawings of the site produced both by Jerome Saltier, a Levant Company merchant and fellow enthusiast of Near Eastern antiquities, and Covel himself.74 At its vastly greater length than Smith’s, Covel’s account is not only substantially more detailed, it is also considerably more critically penetrating. Whereas Smith simply comments of the supposed Temple of Diana that he finds it more likely to be ‘a Christian Church built upon the ruines’ of the original temple, without offering anything in the way of explanation of his belief, Covel presents a substantial (and, incidentally, accurate) argument to show that this cannot ever have been the site of Diana’s  Smith, Remarks, p. 261.  Compare Thomas Herbert’s speculative attempts to decode the carvings at Persepolis’s Gate of Nations, discussed in Ladan Niayesh’s chapter in the present volume. Whereas Herbert (and his illustrator), as Niayesh shows, ultimately translate Persepolis into ‘Western formats and categories’, for Smith, the distinction between Eastern and Western interpretive traditions cannot be so firmly fixed. 72   BL Add. MS 22912, fols.46r–72r. For a wide-ranging account of Covel’s interest in the ancient Near East, see Pollard, The Quest for Classical Greece. 73   The reference to Humphrey Prideaux’s Marmora Oxoniensia (1676) having been ‘lately’ published in Oxford makes a date of composition in the late 1670s highly probable. 74   Saltier’s hand is the one that gives titles and a key to the map of Ephesus in Covel’s manuscript. Of the drawing of the aqueduct at Ephesus, Covel comments, ‘Mr Saltier gaue me this designe of it drawne with his own hand’ (BL Add. MS 22912, fol. 60v; the drawing is at fol. 61r). 70 71

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  147 temple. He not only draws on Strabo’s account of the location of the temple to show, rightly, that in its final form it must have been built outside the city centre of Ephesus, but he also shows that the ‘very large pillars’ found in the supposed Temple of Diana, about which ‘there can be no doubt that these belonged to this building’, were both too small to match the height of the pillars of the temple given by Pliny, and that they were not of the Ionic style described by Vitruvius. ‘I cannot see so that if Pliny and Vitruvius mean both the same Temple, (or this last which was standing in their time)’, Covel concludes, ‘these pillars shew that this building was some other thing.’75 As well as offering this kind of detailed argument about the antiquities he encountered, Covel also offers substantial philological commentaries on each of the inscriptions he records, which in themselves entail digressions on the subject of Roman surnames or on the word ‘Plelela’, which Covel takes to have originally been a name for Ephesus. He does not even entertain Smith’s English interpretation of the bas reliefs in the Gate of the Persecution, stating simply that ‘There are many conjectures about this piece of Antiquity, and I think none farther from the Truth, then that fancy which makes it some Christian persecution.’76 How can we account for the differences between Smith’s and Covel’s approaches? Most straightforwardly, we might conclude that Covel was simply the better scholar of antiquities than Smith. There is certainly some evidence for this. For one thing, Smith has a tendency to view the evidence that inscriptions offer as unassailably accurate. When noting how John Luke and Paul Rycaut correctly identified the site of Thyatira by locating a group of inscriptions which give the city’s name, for instance, Smith concludes: ‘behold what most firm authority the ancient marbles provide’.77 Covel, on the other hand, repeatedly recognizes that inscriptions provide no such unambiguous authority. In his discussion of Ephesus, he notes at one point that the Latin of an inscription does not make proper sense. ‘I am confident I haue copy’d this Inscription very exactly’, he notes, and so offers his own explanation for the confusion. ‘I take this to be a fault of the stone cutter, who perhaps was a Greek and understood not Latine (as in those early days might well be), and there follow many more such of his blunders in it.’78 Covel sees here that the stones themselves have to be placed in historical context, and that the process of making them was fraught with potential error. However, it would be too simplistic to conclude straightforwardly that Covel was somehow more ‘learned’ than Smith, or that he was necessarily the better ‘Critick’ (to use Covel’s word).79 Smith, too, could produce exactly the kind of detailed commentaries on inscriptions that Covel writes when he chooses to do so, as he would do in the

76   BL Add. MS 22912, fol. 58r.   BL Add. MS 22912, fol. 47r.   ‘sed ecce quam firmissimam fidem faciunt antiquissima marmora’ (Epistolae Duae, p. 124). 78   BL Add. MS 22912, fol. 47v. 79   BL Add. MS 22912, fol.49r: ‘and therefore untill more learned Criticks shall better satisfye me in that point . . . ’. 75

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148  Thomas Roebuck 1690s and 1700s when he wrote on inscriptions found at Persepolis and Palmyra.80 The thrust of his notes on the Persepolis inscriptions is precisely towards the kind of exact dating of inscriptions that is the main focus of Covel’s work on Ephesus: Smith is keen to show that the Bodleian’s librarian, Thomas Hyde (1636–1703), who was renowned for his work on Persia, but of whose scholarship Smith was often sceptical, was wrong to date the inscriptions to the time of Alexander the Great, ‘which phansy the shape of some of the letters brought into use severall ages after his death, sufficiently overthrowes’.81 When Smith wanted to produce this kind of erudition, he could. The differences between Smith’s and Covel’s works are better understood as differences of genre than they are straightforwardly of differences between the two writers’ methods or approaches. Covel is writing something close to the kind of antiquarian treatise that might more usually be found in Latin in the period. On the other hand, there is clear evidence that Smith was deliberately eschewing the kind of erudition found in Covel’s account. In the revised 1676 Latin edition of his book, he introduced a slightly longer note on an inscription he recorded at Pergamon, which was dedicated to Gaius Antius Aulus Julius Quadratus, proconsul of Asia. Smith breaks off this note (to which we will return), which is only a couple of short paragraphs in length, by saying that ‘this is beside the point; for we do not now write annotations’.82 But Smith’s deliberate suppression of erudition is most evident in his account of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers. For Covel, mention of the Seven Sleepers provides opportunity for an elaborate account of Greek Orthodox beliefs about the Seven Sleepers, and the sources of those beliefs in ‘lives of their saints, written in Vulgar Greek’.83 Smith’s account is much briefer. He first added it in 1676, when he notes the existence of the cave and the ‘several small arches’ nearby, ‘where through so many years they are fabled to have slept and to have been laid at last as in their own dormitory’. Revealingly, Smith also records a learned detail here: that ‘Mohammed in the Koran also makes mention’ of the Seven Sleepers.84 But he could have gone further. Smith’s brief notes on 80   Smith’s ‘Conjecturae et Observationes in duas Graecas Inscriptiones in marmoribus prope Persepolim hodie exstantibus incisas’ survive in MS Smith 88, p. 3; for his work on Palmyra, see Inscriptiones Graecae Palmyrenorum (Utrecht, 1698), pp. 33–82. An overview of scholars’ interests in Palmyra in this period is provided by Gregorio Astengo, ‘The Rediscovery of Palmyra and its Dissemination in Philosophical Transactions’, Notes and Records 70:3 (2016): 1–22. A full account of English scholars’ work on Palmyra is to be desired. 81   MS Smith 64, p. 194, letter of Thomas Smith to Narcissus Marsh, 23 January 1700/1. The inscriptions had originally been published as ‘A Letter from Mr. F.A. Esq; R.S.S. to the Publisher, with a Paper of Mr. S. Flowers Containing the Exact Draughts of Several Unknown Characters, Taken from the Ruines at Persepolis’, Philosophical Transactions 17 (1693): 775–7. On Hyde and his work on Persia, see Dmitri Levitin, Ancient Wisdom in the Age of the New Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 95–109. 82   ‘Sed haec obiter, neque enim jam scribimus annotationes’ (Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1676), p. 7). 83   BL Add. MS 22912, fol. 54r. 84  ‘Ostenditur spelunca Septem Dormientium; (quorum etiam meminit Mohammedes in Alcorano) prope sunt parvi fornices, quos ingens fornix continet & circumambit, ubi ipsos per tot annos dormiisse, & tandem uti in proprio dormitorio repositos fuisse fabulantur’ (Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1676), p. 31).

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  149 the Seven Sleepers are to be found in an important notebook, which is likely to date from the early part of Smith’s career and which he may even have taken with him to Constantinople; it contains sermons preached by Smith at Constantinople, along with considerable notes on Arabic and Hebrew sources.85 Here Smith mentions the  Koran’s reference to the sleepers, but he also gathers Arabic references to Egyptian Christian beliefs about the Seven Sleepers, citing for instance a calendar of Egyptian Christian festivals from the third volume of John Selden’s account of the Jewish Sanhedrin.86 This is exactly the kind of material that interested Covel, albeit Smith has gone to Arabic Christian traditions rather than vernacular Greek ones to learn more about Eastern Christians’ beliefs about the Seven Sleepers. But none of this material makes it into Smith’s book, even in the final 1694 Utrecht edition. The sparse erudition of Smith’s book, therefore, emerges as a deliberate choice. In its comparative eschewal of the polymathic, polyglot erudition of his earliest works, Smith chooses to foreground his account’s kinship with travelogues and diaries, rather than with the traditions of English early modern oriental learning.

The Uses of the Ancient Near East: Smith’s Motivations and His Readership Smith’s decision to foreground travelogue over erudition may seem surprising. For a writer who, in his early works, seemed to have been deliberately setting out to imitate and even rival John Selden, it would have seemed natural to produce a major work of epigraphic scholarship, in imitation of Selden’s own Marmora Arundelliana (1629). Smith did not do this. But what was Smith’s book designed to achieve? What could he do with his account of the ancient Near East? To whom was it designed to appeal, and how? One answer to this question we might offer is to suggest that this work makes an appeal to noble patronage. As we have seen, Smith’s early works of oriental scholarship were aimed specifically at oriental scholars in Oxford who had themselves perfected this kind of erudition. But his account of the Seven Churches was styled as a letter addressed to his patron, Sir Joseph Williamson. ‘I send to you’, Smith wrote at the start of the epistle, as though it were a formal Latin letter, ‘most famous man, whom I always reverence, a description of the seven Churches of Asia, which once the most Holy Spirit thought it fit to address in Letters at the beginning of Christianity.’87 A work which balanced erudition with grand Latin prose was calculatedly appropriate in its appeal to a leading man of affairs who himself took an enthusiastic amateur interest in   MS Smith 131, p. 124: ‘De 7 dormientibus’.   A version of the Seven Sleepers story can be found in the 18th Surah of the Koran. Smith is citing Selden’s edition of the calendar of Egyptian festivals of Calcasend: see De Synedriis Veterum Ebraeorum: Liber Tertius (London, 1655), p. 369. 87   ‘Mitto jam ad Te, Vir Clarissime mihíque semper Colende, Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum, quas olim Sanctissimus Spiritus nascente Christianismo literis salutare dignatus, descriptionem . . .’ (Epistolae Duae, p. 101). 85 86

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150  Thomas Roebuck matters of literature and scholarship. At the time of the first publication of his book on the Seven Churches, it seems to have been unclear to Smith what direction his career might take after his return from the Levant. He thought of leaving Oxford, and may have planned to take roles which might lead him towards public affairs. The controversial head of Magdalen College, Thomas Pierce (1622–91), upon receipt of a gift copy of the Epistolae Duae in 1672, praised the book, and added that he hoped ‘Sir Joseph [may] have the Grace by real services for the future to thank you for the honour you have done to his name and memorie’.88 Soon afterwards Smith did indeed enter Williamson’s service as his chaplain. Fashioning his work in a way that was firmly rooted in the university (printed by the Sheldonian press in Latin), but that also looked towards the wider world of affairs in its emphasis on Smith’s own active role as a traveller and recorder of the world, seems likely to have been a calculated career move. Styling his work as an epistle, a genre which is self-consciously imperfect and provisional, emphasized that the work of studying the Seven Churches was far from complete. Smith frequently emphasized that his descriptions and transcriptions were produced hastily, under pressure of time, thieves, and other harassment. This helped support patronage of Levantine travel from another direction, by strengthening the case for future trips to the Levant in order to survey the churches again and more thoroughly. It seems that Smith may have been angling to make such a journey himself in the 1670s. In November 1676 Smith noted in a letter to Bernard that ‘I could wish the seaven Churches of Asia were again surveyed’, and goes on to note that this is a task ‘I had done my selfe, if I had thought fit to accept of an overture of returning in to the Levant’. But the offer had, ultimately, not been tempting enough: ‘I have no assurance of Preferment before I went, and I did not think it so well to depend upon promises. A Prebend & a living with it would have made mee venture once more into Turkey.’89 Even if such patronage opportunities were not to fall to him personally, Smith clearly saw one of the aims of his work to be to encourage the nobility to sponsor further efforts at collecting antiquities in the Levant. In doing so he was self-consciously reviving the patterns of patronage of the great noblemen of the earlier seventeenth century, an era which Smith revered: Thomas Howard (1586–1646), the Earl of Arundel, had supported the Near Eastern explorations of the ambassador Sir Thomas Roe, whose letters Smith studied, who had been responsible for acquiring the famous Arundel Marble, which was interpreted by John Selden.90 This is a point he emphasizes in the preface to his 1678 English translation. ‘An incredible number of marbles still remain behind in those parts’, Smith writes, which ‘might be purchased upon no very hard terms, if some excellent persons would be at the expence of enriching their Countrey with the spoils of the East’. He picks out the example of Thomas Howard, whose ‘marbles’ ‘now serve to adorn the area about the Theater at Oxon’ (A6r), as a   MS Smith 53, p. 95, letter of Thomas Pierce to Smith, 2 July 1672.   MS Smith 57, p. 3, letter of Smith to Bernard, 18 November 1676. 90   For Smith’s notes on Roe’s letters, see MS Smith 88, pp. 65–75. 88 89

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  151 particular model for noble patronage of this kind of collecting. And even long after Smith had no prospect of returning to the Levant, when he published his revised version of his book in Utrecht in 1694, his preface concluded by noting that ‘[f]rom the monuments recently in Greece and Anatolia that have been put forth, no-one is of so dull an intellect but that he may agree easily that a great light could be amply shed upon matters that are still shrouded in thick darkness, if these things were the cares and delights of Princes and Noblemen, if some little portion of assistance, which magnificence pours forth, were expended on the promoting of this elegant and useful literature’.91 As late as 1704 Smith was hoping that a letter might be sent from the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University to the consul at Smyrna, William Sherard, encouraging him ‘to search after, and possess himself of such kind of old stones’, which would ‘bee a great service done to learning’.92 The search for patronage for the study of the Near East was by no means only a matter of personal self-interest to Smith; his work sought to shape the future direction of Near Eastern studies by directly reviving the precedents set by the earlier seventeenth-century English nobility. If Smith’s account of his journey to the Seven Churches appealed to learned patrons outside the university, it certainly appealed to scholars, too. It circulated among many of the leading Oxford scholars, including those who would have enjoyed Smith’s earliest works, such as the orientalist Thomas Marshall (1621–85), who thanked Smith for a copy of the 1676 edition of his book.93 It was the inscriptions Smith had copied which made the work of particular interest to learned readers. Epigraphy was his particular focus: although he did collect details of engravings from coins and medals in Constantinople, he never published them.94 The study of inscriptions was a vibrant field of late seventeenth-century English scholarship.95 In the preface to his edition of Greek inscriptions, Humphrey Prideaux summed up inscriptions’ value to historians in a grand style: ‘How often is History, previously not able to be understood, brought to light from marbles? And so does not history often seem to be preserved in vain in books, unless it is also explained in Marbles? Leagues, laws, decrees, about which we have only read in writers, in these marbles are often exhibited entire. Through this also we have acquired new knowledge today of victories, of great deeds, rites, and other things, which pertain to the better understanding of matters of antiquity; through this same marble the Emperors, Leaders, Consuls, and other officials, the memory of which through many centuries had passed into oblivion, is brought up from the bowels of 91  Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1694), pp. A4r–v: ‘Ex monumentis nuper in Graeciâ & Anatoliâ erutis, nemo tam hebetis ingenii est, quin facilè concedat, magnam quoque lucem rebus spissâ caligine adhuc sepultis affatim affundi posse, si haec Principum & Magnatum cura & deliciae essent, si exigua opum, quas luxus profundit, in hac eleganti utilique literaturâ promovendâ pars impenderetur.’ 92   MS Smith 127, p. 54, letter of Smith to Thomas Hearne, 12 August 1704. 93   MS Smith 52, p.159, letter of Thomas Marshall to Smith, 29 November 1676: ‘This is chiefly to acknowledge my obligation for a Copie of your Notitia 7. Ecclesiarum Asiae, now received.’ 94   For Smith’s collections of medals he made at Constantinople see MS Smith 29, pp. 94–6. 95   The fundamental study of Renaissance epigraphic scholarship, which focusses on the sixteenth century, is William Stenhouse, Reading Inscriptions and Writing Ancient History: Historical Scholarship in the Late Renaissance (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2005).

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152  Thomas Roebuck the earth, from where these things are dug up, as if they are brought back to new life again among their posterity to flourish in glory.’96 Inscriptions could fill in the gaps in narrative history. The possibilities for historical discovery that inscriptions present made Asia Minor’s ‘marbles’ tantalizing, and Smith’s own discoveries were a source of excitement to his contemporaries. Robert Huntington, writing to Bernard from Aleppo in May 1672, apologized for his own poor efforts of recording merely a few inscriptions at Smyrna and Ephesus, ‘possibly not with the accuracy as Mr Smith hath done a great many more’.97 The inscriptions that Smith did record largely dated from the Roman Empire of the first and second century ce, and they did indeed have multiple roles to play in illuminating the history and culture of that period. Inscriptions’ ability to recover the names of ‘emperors, leaders, consuls, and other officials’ meant that they were of particular value to scholars of chronology. It was those pursuing the labyrinths of chronology in England that seem to have taken particular interest in Smith’s inscriptions. William Lloyd, then Dean of Bangor (1627–1717), was struck by one of the inscriptions which Smith had sent to Prideaux to appear in his Marmora Oxoniensia, and asked Smith (via their mutual friend Henry Dodwell (1641–1711)) to check whether his transcription had been correctly published. The problem seemed to have been that Lloyd was suspicious that Brutus Praesens was made to govern as consul in two successive years, although as Smith explains ‘it is not unlikely, but that the first time Hee was onely substituted, suffectus, as the word is’. Smith did indeed confirm that the transcription was correct: ‘I have all the assurance, that both my eyes can give mee, that I found it so upon the stone, as I transcribed it, having examined it twice upon the place, when I was in Smyrna.’98 Although such details may seem small, in Lloyd’s elaborate chronological system, where exact numbers of years held prophetic, millenarian significance, no detail could be considered small.99 In the preface to the English edition of his book in 1678, Smith notes that inscriptions from the Levant could help in ‘settling the accompts of time, and rectifying the Fasti Consulares’, something of which the world will become better aware ‘when the Reverend and most judiciously learned Doctor William Lloyd Dean of Bangor shall think fit to publish those things of this kind, which he has been pleased to shew me in his Collections’ (A6v). Inscriptions from the ancient Near East, including Smith’s own, were playing their part in helping to correct our understanding of the chronology of 96   ‘Quoties ex his Historia non intellecta prius, lucem mutuatur; ita ut ea frustra saepe in libris praeservari videretur, nisi etiam explicaretur in Marmoribus? Foedera, leges, & decreta, de quibus in scriptoribus tantum legimus, in his saepe exhibentur integra. Per haec etiam victoriarum, rerum gestarum, rituum, aliorumque, quae ad intelligendas res antiquas maxime conducunt, novam quotidie acquirimus notitiam; per eademque Imperatores, Duces, Consules, aliique viri insigniores, quorum memoria per multa secula oblivione penitus fuerat deleta, è terrae visceribus, unde haec effodiuntur, quasi ad novam vitam resuscitati incipiunt iterum apud posteros suos gloriâ florere’ (Humphrey Prideaux, Marmora Oxoniensia (Oxford, 1676), p. A3r).

  Royal Library of Copenhagen, NKS 1675, no. 37, letter of Huntington to Bernard, 15 May 1672.   MS Smith 60, p. 43, letter of Smith to Henry Dodwell, 15 July 1676. 99   For an account of Lloyd’s life and thought (which deserves to be updated in many respects) see A. Tindal Hart, William Lloyd, 1627–1717: Bishop, Politician, Author and Prophet (London: SPCK, 1952). 97 98

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  153 the ancient world.100 Only occasionally did Smith draw out the significance of his inscriptions himself for the understanding of the sequence of governorship of the Roman Empire. In the case of the inscription from Pergamon we have already mentioned, the one which gave details of the proconsulship of Asia of Gaius Antius Aulus Julius Quadratus (first/second century ce), in the 1676 edition of his work Smith shows that Quadratus was one person who held the proconsulship twice, rather than two separate people. ‘[I]n vain are those’, Smith concludes, ‘(among whom Thomas Lydiat) who from one and the same Consul make two.’101 Although Lydiat had died in 1646, his chronological account of Roman history had recently been published in Oxford in 1675, and so clearly held enough currency to be worth correcting.102 However, such explanatory notes are rare digressions in Smith’s book. That annotations on Smith’s inscriptions are largely absent meant that he hands over the responsibility for interpreting what the inscriptions can tell us about Roman history to the wider scholarly community. Because Smith’s book was written in Latin, it had the chance to reach scholars, antiquaries, and travellers on the continent. It soon did so. In the summer of 1676 Smith travelled to Paris. This was potentially an important moment in his career, and could have allowed his work to become better known in the wider scholarly circles known as the Republic of Letters. A letter from Smith of June 1676 reveals that he seems to have been quite swept off his feet by Parisian intellectual culture. ‘I am so charmed’, he enthused, ‘with the civility of the French both Gentlemen & Scholars of our owne & the Roman Communion too, that I could willingly spend all the summer here in Paris.’103 He made a number of important acquaintances, including Henri Justel (1620–93), the Huguenot scholar who would leave France to become Royal Librarian in London, and Antoine Galland (1646–1715), the Levantine traveller and royal antiquary of Louis XIV, who would go on, in the early eighteenth century, to be ­celebrated in French salons as the first European translator of the Arabian Nights.104 Smith maintained correspondence with both men upon his return to England. Galland was a scholar with whom Smith shared many interests—antiquarianism, the Greek church, Levantine scholarship—although confessional differences were clearly far from irrelevant for both men. It seems likely that Smith felt his book on the Seven 100   The fundamental work on Renaissance chronology is Anthony Grafton, Joseph Scaliger: A Study in the History of Classical Scholarship, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983–93), Vol. 2. More recently, and in a specifically English context, see Scott Mandelbrote, ‘"The Doors shall fly open": Chronology and Biblical Interpretation in England c.1630–c.1730’, in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c.1530–1700, edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 176–95. 101   ‘Frustra enim sunt, (inter quos Lydiatus) qui ex uno eodemque Consule binos faciunt’ (Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1676), p. 7). 102   Thomas Lydiat, Canones Chronologici, Nec non Series Summorum Magistratum et Triumphorum Romanorum. Opus posthumum. Ex Autoris Autographo fideliter editum (Oxford, 1675). 103   MS Smith 59, p. 331, letter of Smith to T. Craddock, 20 June 1676. 104   The standard biography of Galland remains Mohamed Abdel-Halim, Antoine Galland: sa vie et son oeuvre (Paris: A. G. Nizet, 1964).

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154  Thomas Roebuck Churches would be of particular interest to French antiquarian circles, and the decision to reprint the book as a standalone volume in the autumn of 1676 may have partly been inspired by his visit to Paris. Smith sent the book to Galland in late 1676.105 However, Smith’s account of his visit to Asia Minor seems not quite to have met with the reception in Paris that he could have wished. This was down, at least partly, to Smith’s acrimonious relationship with another French antiquary, the Calvinist Lyonnais doctor Jacob Spon (1647–85). In November 1676 Edward Bernard wrote to Smith to introduce him to one George Wheler, who ‘hath traveld Greece’ and ‘taken a folio volume of Inscriptions thence’.106 George Wheler (1650–1723) is an important figure in the history of botany, who travelled to the Levant with Spon. In his relatively short life Spon established himself as a leading figure in the international world of antiquarianism, and he has remained a definitive representative of that field for many modern scholars.107 Wheler and Spon visited Ephesus and Thyatira, relying on the accounts of the rest of the Seven Churches offered to them by Sir Paul Rycaut when they returned to Smyrna. Wheler’s account was largely a translation of Spon’s, which was published first in 1678, and Wheler concentrated on expanding the material on plants and animals, which was his particular interest. But it was the antiquarian erudition on display in Spon’s work that would worry Smith. Spon’s account was published first in Lyon, in 1678, and then in Amsterdam the year afterwards. It offers both a travel narrative of the kind Smith presents, interspersed with inscriptions, and a much fuller commentary on those inscriptions than Smith offered. This allows Spon to preserve the narrative account of his journey while explicating problems presented by the inscriptions: identifying consuls or other figures referred to in them, commenting on what they can teach us about pagan religion, all in much greater depth than Smith had done.108 Spon could also place those inscriptions in a much broader comparative context. A traveller across the confessional borders of the Republic of Letters, he was able to contextualize the inscriptions of Asia Minor by referring to those he had seen at Rome, in such major sites of antiquarian research as the Barberini Palace.109 Spon also produced spin-off volumes which used the inscriptions at the Seven Churches to treat dedicated antiquarian topics. His account Of the Altars of the Unknown Gods drew 105   MS Smith 55, p. 140, letter of Smith to Antoine Galland, 1676: ‘Nuper è Typographo Prodiit Septem Asiae Ecclesiarum notitia mea longè emendatior, novisque inscriptionibus auctior. Exemplaria Parisios transmittam’ (‘My book on The Seven Churches of Asia has recently been printed, greatly emended, and supplemented with new inscriptions. I will send copies to Paris’). 106   MS Smith 47, p. 36, letter of Bernard to Smith, 22 November 1676. 107   On Spon see Roland Étienne and Jean-Claude Mossière (eds.), Jacob Spon: un humaniste Lyonnais du XVIIème siècle (Paris: diff. de Bocard, 1993). On Spon’s journey to the Levant with Wheler see Constantine, Early Greek Travellers, ch. 1. On Spon’s place in the history of antiquarianism, see the use made of him by Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘Ancient History and the Antiquarian’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 13:3/4 (1950): 285–315. 108   Jacob Spon, Voyage D’Italie, de Dalmatie, De Grece, et du Levant, Fait aux années 1675. & 1676, 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 1679). See especially e.g. Vol. 1, p. 391 on the worship of Artemis in Asia Minor; Vol. 1, pp. 398–400 on the rare word τυμβωρυχίας; Vol. 1, pp. 408–9 on the emendation of ACCENSORENSI. 109  Spon, Voyage, Vol. 1, pp. 416–17.

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  155 upon an inscription from Thyatira, which refers to the God Tyrimnos as the ‘Patron Deity of Thyatira’.110 He corrected some of Smith’s transcriptions of inscriptions and collected new ones from the sites he visited: although just as the visitors to each of the Seven Churches seem to have been conducted to the same sites (the Temple of Diana, the Gate of Persecution, etc.), they also seem to have been conducted around the same inscriptions; Spon had the time at each site to record further discoveries. Taken together, Spon’s work of 1678 threatened to render Smith’s book obsolete. In the end, rather than acting as a calling card in the international Republic of Letters, Smith’s book led to into a somewhat acrimonious exchange with Spon, and Galland acted as their intermediary. In June 1677 Galland sent Smith the comments he had received from Spon on the 1676 edition of Smith’s Seven Churches of Asia book. In particular, Spon had noted a ‘double error’ in one of the inscriptions which Smith had gathered at Pergamon: the important inscription from the people of Pergamon to Gaius Antius Aulus Julius Quadratus, commending him and thanking him for being their city’s benefactor. The exact detail of the words Spon corrected will be discussed below. For now it is worth noting the impact of this exchange on the book’s reception. Smith replied swiftly to Galland ‘lest the errors of this inscription are harmful to me’. He explained that he already knew there were errors in this inscription, which had pained him, and he was planning to forestall Spon’s criticisms by publishing ‘a little paper, which fortuitously came to me recently’. For this had been an inscription ‘which uniquely I had neither transcribed nor seen’, and which Smith had only included in his book on the basis of a sketch he had been given at Smyrna. Smith regretted that he had been unable to transcribe every inscription himself, and was forced ‘to rely too much on the eyes of others (alieni oculi)’ because, while he was at Pergamon, ‘the intolerable heat of the day distracted me’ from the task of transcription.111 Teasing away at the small details of Smith’s work risked opening the whole thing to charges that he was not, in actuality, quite the authentic eyewitness that he claimed to be. Over the years, however, Smith’s attitude towards Spon changed from one of defensive deference to outright hostility. After he saw Spon’s book, he realized that Spon and Wheler had never actually visited many of the sites of the Seven Churches of Asia. Smith came to believe that Spon had seen many of the inscriptions—including probably this Pergamon one—in Smith’s own transcription of inscriptions and handwritten account of his journey, which he left with the Levant Company at Smyrna. After Spon’s death, in the preface to the 1694 Utrecht edition of the Seven Churches book, Smith launched a full-scale attack on Spon: out of a copy of the earliest manuscript version of his account 110   Jacob Spon, Ignotorum atque Obscurorum Quorundam Deorum Arae, Nunc primum in lucem datae, notisque illustratae (Lyon, 1676), pp. 71–2. 111   MS Smith 55, pp. 145–6, letter of Smith to Galland, 26 June 1677: ‘De duplici sphalmate, quod ille annotavit in Epigraphe Pergamenâ, haec paucula habe e chartulâ, quae mihi jam auspicatò quidem occurrit, quam prelo destinaveram ne inscriptionis istius errores, quos ipse compertissimos habui, mihi fraudi fuerint. In hanc inscriptionem quam unicam a me nec descriptam nec visam . . . edidi . . . Eam tamen juxta ἒκτυπον mihi Smyrnam reduci . . . Serò paenituit me alienis oculis nimium quantum confisum, id laboris cùm Pergami adessem, id me non suscepisse, licet aestus diei ferè intolerabilis deterreret.’

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156  Thomas Roebuck of the Seven Churches which Smith had left at Smyrna, ‘it seems clear to me that Spon gathered all the many Inscriptions found at Pergamon, Sardis, Philadelphia, Hierapolis, and Laodicea into his Itinerary; hence it is absolutely clear to me, that in these places, which he did not never happen to see, I was the first to copy these inscriptions, when they were plainly unknown to everyone before this’. Yet Spon ‘scarcely endured to name me, except most grudgingly, or to cite my little book, which he saw both in print and in manuscript, stirred up by what gad-fly of envy I do not know’. ‘About this matter’, Smith concluded, ‘in his lifetime, I often lamented publicly to his friends.’112 Smith turned the questioning of the validity of his own eyewitness testimony back on to Spon himself. This kind of squabble did not seem to have been especially endearing to the international world of the Republic of Letters. Rather than being an opportunity for his work to become better known internationally, it is striking that this moment of Smith’s engagement with French scholarship in the late 1670s seems to have petered out quickly. This was due to his argument not only with Spon, but also over religion: later in the same letter in which Smith admitted errors in his Seven Churches book, he began to engage in detailed discussions with Galland about Catholic interactions with the Greek church. Their letters had descended into the trading of argumentative minutiae, and the correspondence was abandoned.113 While Near Eastern archaeological studies held out the prospect of a space of engagement with French scholarship (across confessional divisions, in the case of Galland), such international interactions were jeopardized both by Smith’s own volatile and argumentative personality and by his commitment to confessional argument. However, Smith certainly continued to keep his book up to date with developments in the international field of epigraphic scholarship over the twenty years after he published the 1676 edition of his work. In the handwritten revisions to his own copy, Smith was explicit in his condemnations of the French scholar, but he removed such moments from the body of the version printed at Utrecht, preferring simply not to name Spon.114 From the 1678 English edition onwards, too, he silently absorbed Spon’s emendations to the Pergamon inscription.115 He also continued to add new inscriptions 112   ‘Ex exemplari illic relicto D. Sponium, sedulum harum rerum investigatorem, Inscriptiones plerasque omnes Pergami, Sardibus, Philadelphiae, Hierapoli, & Laodiceae repertas in Itinerarium suum congessisse, hinc mihi maximè constat, quod iis in locis, quae vidisse illi nunquam contigerit, eas, cum omnibus antea planè incognitae essent, primus exscripserim . . . licet me nominare, saltem frigidissimè, aut libellum meum, quem etiam typis expressum paritèr ac chartas manu exaratas coram oculis habuit, citare, nescio quo invidiae aestro percitus, vix sustinuerit. De quâ re, ipso vivente, coram amicis ipsius saepè questus sum’ (Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1694), pp. A3r–v). I am grateful to John-Mark Philo for his help with the translation of this and the previous passage. 113   See MS Smith 55, p. 147. I will be able to treat Smith’s correspondence with Galland more fully in my monograph on Smith. 114   e.g. Smith’s own annotated copy of Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1676), Bodl. 4o. Rawl. 145, p. 10: ‘Hic graviter errat D. Sponius, qui facit S. Theodorum Episcopum Smyrnae’. This edition is marked up with the emendations and additions for the 1694 Utrecht edition; the passage just quoted is crossed out, and does not appear in 1694. 115  Smith, Remarks, p. 214.

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  157 from each of the Seven Churches that other scholars had brought to light, drawing on Spon but also other travellers in the region.116 In the 1694 edition of his book the first-person observations and travel accounts become braided with the wider developments of the epigraphic study of the Near East in the Republic of Letters over the twenty years since Smith’s journey there. Rather than purely a witness to a particular journey in April 1671, the book began to embody both Smith’s own journey and the subsequent reception of that journey in Europe.117 We have seen that Smith’s work on the ancient Near East appealed to several audiences at once in different ways: patrons, chronologists, antiquaries, scholars at home and abroad. But, perhaps most importantly, this is a work produced by a clerical scholar, and its ecclesiastical implications were apparent to its first audiences. Smith was a deeply principled high churchman, who was eager to defend the emergent branch of the Restoration English church which might be called ‘Anglican’, with its emphasis on episcopacy, ecclesiastical hierarchy, and an appeal to the ‘primitive purity’ of the preNicene church Fathers.118 He was an equally vigorous opponent of Presbyterianism and Catholicism. After the Glorious Revolution, these principles would lead Smith to become a non-juror. Many of the visitors to the Seven Churches broadly shared Smith’s clerical positions: John Covel shared Smith’s ecumenical vision of a deep connection between the primitive purity of the English church and the Greek Orthodox church, with its roots in a liturgy and set of patristic writings that predated the excesses of popery; George Wheler was a high churchman, having been tutored at Oxford by George Hickes (1642–1715), one of the future bishops of the non-juring church.119 Clearly, then, the Seven Churches held potential significance for high churchmen. But the Seven Churches were necessarily complex sites within the history of Christianity, and were capable of being interpreted in multiple ways. On the one hand they were places worthy of being visited by the Apostles and by St Paul, and therefore Christian sites worthy of a special reverence; on the other, their destruction was forewarned in Revelation, and their wretched state today seemed to have spectacularly confirmed those warnings. How did Smith draw out the ecclesiastical significance of these ruins? How did they serve his particular vision of the church and its organization? In its English translation, in particular, Smith is at pains to point out that the ecclesiastical devastation he has witnessed in the Near East could by no means be comfortably delimited as a problem faced only by the Eastern Christians. It could easily have happened in England too. He explains at the conclusion of the English translation that he was gazing on the present state of Constantinople and the ‘brutish and barbarousness’ 116   In particular, Smith makes use of Thomas Reinesius’s Syntagma Inscriptionum Antiquarum (Leipzig, 1682), to which Smith refers the reader, for instance, for more detail on an altar dedicated to Hadrian at Sardis (Smith, Septem Ecclesiarum Notitia (1694), p. 30). 117   Compare Niayesh’s account in this volume of travel writers’ habits of ‘recycling material from other ancient and contemporary writers’ (see p. 128). 118   See Jean-Louis Quantin, The Church of England and Christian Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 119   For Wheler’s early life and education, see his autobiography, Lambeth Palace Library, MS 3286.

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158  Thomas Roebuck of those who pulled down its ancient buildings. ‘But I soon laid my hand upon my mouth’, Smith says, ‘when I further considered, that sacriledge had done the like to several goodly houses of Religion and Learning in Christendom, and that it was wholly owing to the miraculous providence of God, who laid a restraint upon the mad and impious zeal of some of the prevailing faction in the late times of usurpation (when the revenue of the Church became a prey of their covetousness) that the Cathedrals, which are the wonder of all ingenious forrainers, and one of the standing glorys of England, had not been laid wast and levelled with the ground, and turned into confused heaps of stone and rubbish, like Ephesus or Laodecea.’ Presbyterianism, iconoclasm, attacks on the ecclesiastical hierarchy: all these might ‘bring as great desolations along with them as any that are now in Turkey’.120 Smith, then, reads the ruins of the Seven Churches as a warning of what might happen in Western Europe, or even in England, if certain factions were to win control of the church, as they had already done during the civil war and interregnum (what Smith calls ‘the late times of usurpation’). By contrast, what Smith gleaned from his archaeological investigation of the manner of decorating churches during the first centuries of the church’s existence was a quite different attitude to that of the Presbyterians, and one much closer to his own and that of other high churchmen: a desire to let the physical buildings stand as beautiful and monumental witnesses to God’s glory. It is here that the Latin versions of Smith’s book are more explicit than the English. In his account of Laodicea, Smith only notes in the English that the ‘walls of a very large Church still remain’ at the site. In Latin, however, he expands on the implications: ‘the walls of the large church demonstrate to us that the ancient Christians spared no expense in making buildings dedicated to religious worship’.121 Ancient Near Eastern archaeology, viewed in these terms, did not only look back to the past; it had a prophetic quality, which pointed towards the future. This kind of prophetic archaeology, by looking backwards to the practice of the early church, showed that no expense should be spared on the church’s visible infrastructure and buildings. It is, I think, striking that Smith only puts this comment into the Latin version of his book, and takes it out of the English. Smith is trying to tread a careful balance between drawing out what he sees to be the ecclesiastical implications of his archaeological studies, while at the same time maintaining a sense that his book rises above the contemporary pamphlet arguments provoked by religion. The scholarly high church readers of Fell’s Latin press and the international world of the Republic of Letters are both likely to have found greater consensus with Smith in the attitudes displayed here towards the beautification of churches. It is local British audiences who might find such a comment on religio-political issues to be more controversial, and so Smith removed it in English. Religious and political commitments were central

 Smith, Remarks, pp. A7v–A8r.   ‘Amplissimae Ecclesiae muri nobis demonstrarunt, veteres Christianos nullis sumptibus in fabricandis aedibus religioso cultui dicatis pepercisse’ (Epistolae Duae, p. 152). 120 121

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  159 driving forces behind all Smith’s scholarship, but, in this book in particular, by and large he chose to leave the uncovering of its implications to his first readers. They were not slow to uncover these implications. Smith’s friends and early readers viewed his own work as itself a kind of ecclesiastical restoration and rebuilding. The patristic scholar William Cave (1637–1713), who shared Smith’s fascination with the Greek church, wrote in grand terms—in Latin, when most of Smith’s correspondence with English scholars is in English—to celebrate Smith’s achievement in publishing his account of the Seven Churches in 1676: ‘But those who are studious of sacred Antiquities owe to you the most solemn thanks for rescuing those seven Churches from rubble, and they have been saved if not quite from the sway of the enemy tyrant, at least from the power of oblivion; you have returned them to the European world in their own appearance, even if that is miserably deformed and repulsive.’122 This is far more subtle than conventional praise. As ever when it comes to the Seven Churches, there is ambivalence here. On the one hand, Smith has restored the churches; on the other, he has honestly allowed them to appear in their ‘miserably deformed’ state. On the one hand, Smith’s work is one of ecclesiastical rebuilding; on the other, it is a warning that there is indeed much real rebuilding still to be done. Bernard would write to Smith in remarkably similar (albeit, somewhat less ambivalent) terms in 1694, to celebrate the publication of the Utrecht edition of his book. ‘For thus the Seven Stars of the Asian Churches have been summoned from the shadows: thus the seats of the most ancient Bishops are restored, so that I seem to see before me the seven-headed candlestick burning and shining once again.’123 Drawing on the language of Revelation itself, Bernard imagines Smith’s book itself to be capable of restoring, vividly, the ancient church, with its bishoprics intact, and bringing those before our very eyes. Archaeological and antiquarian research into ecclesiastical history become a means of re-instantiating the past in the present. This builds on an earlier letter of Bernard’s, in which he sent a copy of Smith’s 1672 book to Robert Huntington in Aleppo, announcing that ‘Mr Smith hath published here his travailes, like St John, through the Heptarchie Ecclesiastique of Asia Minor’.124 Again he presents Smith’s journey, and the subsequent book he published from it—styled, of course, like the ‘letters’ to the Seven Churches in Revelation, as a letter—as itself a figurative revival of primitive Christianity, and of the church government that went with it. But did it matter that Smith was reviving these churches in particular? Or would any archaeological history of the sites of the ancient churches of the first centuries of 122   ‘Sed maxime solennes gratias tibi debent sacrarum Antiquitatum studiosi ob septem illas Ecclesias e ruderibus erutas, et si non ab hostis tyrannide, saltem ab oblivionis potestate vindicatas, quas facie sua, turpi licet & misererè deformata orbi Europaeo reddidisti’ (MS Smith 46, p. 189, letter of William Cave to Smith, June 1676). 123  ‘Sic enim Asianarum Ecclesiarum Pleiadas e tenebris denuo excitas: sic antiquissimorum Episcoporum sedes instauras, ut candelabrum ἑπτάλοφον cum magno Theologo & Apocalypta iterum ardens ac fulgens videre mihi videor’ (MS Smith 47, p. 178, letter of Bernard to Smith, October 1695). 124   MS Smith 104, p. 239, letter of Bernard to Huntington, 19 August 1672. This letter survives only as part of a series of ‘testimonia’ that Smith collected about himself.

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160  Thomas Roebuck Christianity have been just as significant? In answering these questions, we start to see the interconnections between Smith’s various areas of interests in this work: between the hunting of (largely pagan) inscriptions and the recovery of ancient church architecture. In the 1640s, the ‘late times of usurpation’, in Smith’s terms, one of the principal combatants on the side of episcopacy had been another of Smith’s heroes, the Irish Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher (1581–1656). In 1643 Ussher had published a book at Oxford which made striking historical arguments about the Asian churches: A Geographicall and Historicall Disquisition, Touching The Asia properly so called, The Lydian Asia (which is the Asia so often mentioned in the New Testament) the Proconsular Asia and the Asian Diocese. This is a little book—only about thirty pages in length—but it is not an insignificant one to Smith. In the 1680s, when Richard Parr published his edition of the letters of James Ussher, Smith contributed a summary of Ussher’s book to Parr’s biography of the archbishop.125 Smith would later acknowledge his authorship of this little summary, and translate it into Latin, in his own life of James Ussher, which he published at the head of his Lives of Illustrious and Erudite Men in 1707.126 To give only a very brief summary of a summary, Smith explains Ussher’s argument in something like the following terms. The ancient administrative structure of the church was mapped closely onto the administrative structure of the Roman Empire. Originally, each of the seven cities that make up the Seven Churches of Asia constituted a ‘metropolis’, but by Constantine’s time Ephesus had been made the ‘sole Metropolis’; accordingly, the Bishop of Ephesus became superior to all the other sees of the Seven Churches of Asia, and governed over them. Smith concludes in the final point of his summary of Ussher’s book that ‘there was a great harmony between the Civil and Ecclesiastical Government’ in Asia Minor, ‘and consequently, that the Bishops of every Province were subject, subordinate to the Metropolitan Bishop, (the same then with our Arch-Bishop) as the Magistrates, that Ruled in the other subordinate Cities, were to the President, or chief Governor of that Province’. In other words, Ephesus’s superiority over the other Seven Churches became an early model for the structure of bishoprics and arch-bishoprics which Ussher (and Smith) were defending in the modern church. Demonstrating Ephesus’s own superiority over the other cities of Asia Minor therefore becomes a crucial means of justifying, historically, the arch-episcopal structure of the church. Viewed in this context—in which the harmony between ‘Civill and Ecclesiasticall Government’ was vitally important—the inscriptions Smith was collecting, which dealt with the ‘Civill’ structures of government in the region, were far from irrelevant to the book’s intervention in ecclesiastical history and politics. In this context, too, it becomes clear why the points of criticism that Spon raised of Smith’s Pergamon inscription were so important, and why Smith feared that he might 125   Richard Parr, The Life of the Most Reverend Father in God, James Ussher, Late Lord Arch-Bishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of All Ireland (London, 1686), pp. 50–1. 126   Thomas Smith, Vitae Quorundam Eruditissimorum et Illustrium Virorum (London, 1707), p. 82.

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Antiquarianism in the Near East  161 be accused of deception. Spon pointed out that, in this inscription, the city of Pergamon referred to itself as protos neokoros, ‘the first custodian of the temple’. ‘Neokoros’ was the distinctive term adopted by Ephesus to demonstrate its unique prosperity and superiority in the region. Pergamon had started to use this term—and indeed had gone one further, by describing itself as ‘protos neokoros’, the first neokoros—to show that its status might rival that of Ephesus in the region.127 This inscription, therefore, when read correctly by Spon, reveals a problem with Smith’s (and Ussher’s) account of the harmonious relationships between civil governments leading seamlessly to the harmonious structure of arch-episcopal government. In this argument it was vitally important that Ephesus was indeed superior to the other cities of Asia, and that those other cities accepted that superiority. The hints of rivalry implied by Pergamon's attempt to adopt a superior status to that of Ephesus implied a much less clearly hierarchical relationship between the Asian cities (and, thus, between bishoprics and Arch-bishoprics). Perhaps Smith might even have felt he was being accused of having deliberately distorted the inscription by supressing the term neokoros. More importantly for our purposes, this example demonstrates that each of the elements of Smith’s book—its pagan inscriptions, its treatment of Greek Christian traditions about the Seven Churches ruins, and its attempt to trace the sites of the Seven Churches themselves—are all inseparably woven together. When encountering the ancient Near East, Smith is encountering a multi-layered history: from ancient Greece, to Rome, to the origins of the church, to Byzantium, and to the modern Greek Orthodox church. Ancient monuments are described in the terms that they were interpreted by modern Greek Christians, which allowed Ephesian ruins to become the Font of St John, the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, and so on. Ancient and modern history merge. For Smith, the ancient and modern Near East must be viewed as a whole, in which each layer of the ancient past acts as a justifying precedent for the next one. It does not seem quite true to Smith to argue that he is investigating the history of a ‘pagan’ Rome and a ‘Christian’ church, as these entities have been messily superimposed on one another from the start. The ancient Near East, for Smith, is a place which defies easy categories such as ‘pagan’ or ‘Christian’, or even ‘ancient’ and ‘modern’. Instead, Smith perceives a continuously evolving series of institutions, peoples, and faith, each of which transforms into the next one, eventually leading downwards to the wretched state of the Greek church (as he perceived it) which he encountered in his own day. * * * That Smith was writing at the start of a crucial period in the history of Near Eastern antiquarianism and archaeology is not in doubt: Michael Crawford has traced the 127  Bruce  W.  Longenecker, ‘Rome, Provincial Cities and the Seven Churches of Revelation 2–3’, in P. Williams et al. (eds.), The New Testament in its First Century Setting: Essays on Context and Background (Grand Rapids, WI: Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 281–91, 285–7.

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162  Thomas Roebuck emergence of the ‘epigraphic habit’ of searching the Near East for the monumental inscriptions of the ancient world to this vital period in Smyrna at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries.128 Although Smith may not have been the first English person to travel around the Seven Churches, he was the first person to publish a book about it, and his work remained a touchstone of Near Eastern Christian archaeology for centuries. For that reason alone, it has deserved our close attention. The survival of Smith’s thousands of letters and many notebooks in the Bodleian Library has given us unprecedented access to the book’s motivations, development, and reception. As we have seen, the book was forged out of a cocktail of competing pressures: Smith’s need to present himself as a scholar-chaplain of the Levant Company in the traditions of seventeenth-century orientalism, but also to forge patronage links with the world of public affairs; Smith’s desire to engage with the cross-confessional audiences of the Republic of Letters, but also to produce a work that bolstered the cause of arch-episcopacy in England. The result was a hybrid work, one that embraced the Latinate, high church patristic culture of John Fell’s Oxford University Press, but that also, in its focus on first-hand narrative, adventure, and melancholy ruins as much as on learned transcription, signalled a break with the traditions of polymathic English orientalism with which Smith began his career in Oxford. In doing so, the book was still able to appeal to later eighteenth-century traditions of antiquarianism sponsored by the Society of Dilettanti, which prized accuracy and evocative melancholia far above confessional disputes.129 In its aftermath, then, the book can be seen to anticipate distinctively eighteenth-century developments in the history of antiquarianism. In its own era, however, born as it is out of a tension between the claims of a more confessionally neutral classical antiquarianism and of a confessionally committed ecclesiastical history, the work helps us to map the unresolved (for Smith, ultimately perhaps unresolvable) tensions within the late seventeenth-century study of the Near East.

128   Michael Crawford, ‘William Sherard and the Prices Edict’, Revue Numismatique, 6th series, 159 (2003): 83–107. See also his ‘Discovery, Autopsy and Progress: Diocletian’s Jigsaw Puzzles’, in Classics in Progress: Essays on Ancient Greece and Rome, edited by T. P. Wiseman (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 145–63. 129   On the Dilettanti, see Jason M. Kelly, The Society of Dilettanti: Archaeology and Identity in the British Enlightenment (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009).

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7 Journeying to an Antique Christian Past Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives in the Era of the Reformation Megan C. Armstrong

That the ancient near east was very much ‘present’ in the early modern imagination receives further support when we look closely at early modern pilgrimage treatises to the Holy Land. The popular devotional genre has received renewed attention as of late from early modern historians, spurred in particular by growing interest in the eastern Mediterranean as a site of Western European cultural, political, and economic engagement. One can understand this interest when we consider that these treatises were (for the most part) first-hand accounts of a journey that few early modern Europeans were able to make in person. Palestine, Egypt, and Syria—the regions that comprised the early modern Holy Land—lay at a great distance from Europe under the jurisdiction of a powerful Islamic empire. They had done so throughout most of the medieval and early modern periods, more recently under the Mamluk sultans based in Cairo, who assumed control of much of the region in 1250, and then the Ottoman Turks who swept the Mamluks from power in 1517. Permission to go there, moreover, was largely restricted to diplomats, clerics assigned to work in the Holy Places, merchants, and pilgrims. For these reasons among others, pilgrimage treatises offer the careful modern reader a rare window into not only the experience of pilgrimage after 1500 but also the Islamic world in which it operated. It is fair to say, even so, that the allure of the pilgrimage genre for its broad Catholic readership throughout the medieval and early modern periods rested first and foremost upon its promise of a spiritual journey to an antique Christian past. It was with the objective of engaging with the past that pilgrimage treatises led their readers on a well-choreographed descriptive visitation of the Holy Places, the sacred sites that mark the most important salvific moments in the life of Christ. The Holy Places are among the many sacred places that jostle for space in a Megan C. Armstrong, Journeying to an Antique Christian Past: Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives in the Era of the Reformation In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0008

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164  Megan C. Armstrong crowded sacred landscape shared by Muslims, Jews, and Christians. For Christian pilgrims in particular, the epicentre of this sacred landscape was, and remains, Jerusalem and in particular the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The cavernous structure was first constructed by Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen in the fourth century to cover the sites of Christ’s crucifixion and the resurrection, and its visitation to this day marks the highpoint of the pilgrimage itinerary. The following investigation argues that this Christian past, in the material form of the Holy Land and its many sacred sites, took on new significance for members of an embattled Catholic Church after 1517 as a tangible and accessible source of spiritual authority. Alerting us to this significance is the increasingly descriptive character of the early modern pilgrimage treatises. That pilgrimage treatises began devoting more attention to the geography, architecture, culture, and history of the Holy Land during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is generally accepted by scholars of the genre, though some diversity of opinion exists over the underlying causes. A number at­tri­bute it to growing interest in travel as a vehicle of knowledge acquisition (curiositas), as well as the influence of other ‘reporting’ modes of travel writing.1 While enormously fruitful, these approaches have tended to presume a secular agenda when a spiritual explanation was not only possible but also quite likely, especially given the devotional function of the genre. Religion does feature more prominently in the work of both Christine Gomez-Giraud and Zur Shalev. For Gomez-Giraud, the well-known treatise of the Franciscan Jean Boucher placed evocative descriptions of the pilgrimage at the service of a more contemplative (baroque) model of piety characteristic of ­seventeenth-century Catholicism. Shalev’s examination of erudite travel narratives of the Holy Land illuminates, in turn, their participation in antiquarian and theological controversy over the spatial and historical accuracy of the pilgrimage itinerary. For Shalev, these debates reflected humanist and Protestant as well as Catholic concerns about religious reform among other issues.2 Studied with a particular eye to contemporary debates over the nature and locus of the sacred, this chapter suggests that the descriptive character of the early modern treatises was no less useful for ratifying the truth of Catholic teachings on divine immanence. Through their vivid descriptions of the journey of the pilgrim to Jerusalem, early modern Catholic narratives purposefully concretized the Holy Land as the place where Christ lived and evoked the transformative impact for the pilgrim of being there. At the same time, pilgrim authors also embedded the Catholic tradition in the very fabric of the Holy Places, in the form of  Catholic altars, ornamentation, rituals, and bodies. These twin strategies of ­concretization and embedding worked together, simultaneously rendering Christ and his apostles a palp­able presence in the Holy Land while bringing the Catholic tradition safely and firmly within its sanctifying embrace. 1  Donald Roy Howard, Writers and Pilgrims: Medieval Pilgrimage Narratives and their Posterity (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2013), and Frédéric Tinguely, L’Ecriture du Levant à la Renaissance: enquête sur les voyageurs français (Geneva: Droz, 2000). 2   Zur Shalev, Sacred Words and Worlds: Geography, Religion and Scholarship, 1550–1700 (Leiden: Brill, 2012).

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  165 In pondering the shared objectives of this volume, the ‘palpable’ past evident in the pilgrimage treatises studied here provides further evidence of the ancient near east’s formative influence upon early modern mentalities. In particular, it argues for the inventive function of the ancient Christian past, since it was to this past that the Catholic authors of this study turned to legitimize a changing Western Church. It was an inventive function, however, which rested upon a deeply held conception of the material world as a mechanism of spiritual renewal, reifying the place of Christ—the Holy Land—as an authentic and powerful vessel of Christ’s authority. Such a view of the Holy Land urges us to think about the role of religious ‘spaces’ as active agents in broader processes of religious change, an argument that Alexandra Walsham has made so convincingly in her recent work on sacred landscapes in early modern Britain. Certainly, their reification of the Holy Land as a tangible vessel of Christ’s authority suggests that the destructive forces of the Reformation only intensified the material cast of Catholic spirituality after 1517, as Catholics turned to a sacred landscape to ground their claims to Christian truth and perfection. It is worth pondering, at the same time, whether our Catholic authors, through their descriptive accounts of the pilgrimage journey, were engaged in a similar process of ‘re-rooting the faith’ that Scott Hendrix identifies among his Protestant reformers. Whereas his reformers located Christian wisdom in the Word, the textual record of Christ’s life, our authors staked a claim to the legitimacy of the Catholic tradition in the place where Christ first plied his ministry.

Pilgrimage Treatises Among the many sources that provide us with a window into Catholic engagement in the early modern Holy Land, pilgrimage treatises are without question one of the most important. To treat them as historical sources, however, means first grappling with the distinctive literary and devotional character of the genre. Pilgrimage treatises to the Holy Land fulfilled many functions—as sacred histories, polemics, and aids to contemplation—but they were first and foremost modes of spiritual journeying designed to take devout Christians on a virtual visitation of the Holy Places.3 As mentioned at the start, the Holy Places are the sacred sites associated the life of Christ and most importantly his birth, death, and resurrection. By the fourteenth century, the Holy Land pilgrimage followed a carefully choreographed itinerary, or rather set of three itineraries. Since these itineraries also structured medieval and early modern narratives, they merit a brief description here. The most important one centred upon the Holy Places located in and near Jerusalem. These included the Church of the Nativity 3   On pilgrimage narratives see, among others, Wes Williams, Pilgrimage and Narrative in the French Renaissance: The Undiscovered Country (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), Marie-Christine GomezGéraud, Le Crépuscule du Grand Voyage: les récits des pèlerins à Jérusalem (1458–1612) (Paris: Champion, 1999), and, more recently, Thomas Noonan, The Road to Jerusalem: Pilgrimage and Travel in the Age of Discovery (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

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166  Megan C. Armstrong in the town of Bethlehem (the site of Christ’s birth), the Tomb of Mary in the Valley of Jehosophat just outside the gates of the city, along with the Cenacle, and the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. The Cenacle, the purported site of the Last Supper, was located on Mount Sion within the city walls though at a distance from the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre, also in the city, was located not far from the Jaffa Gate. It was first built in the fourth century under the direction of the Roman emperor Constantine to mark the sites associated with Christ’s crucifixion (Calvary) and resurrection. By the fourteenth century, the sites associated with the via crucis—Christ’s fateful final walk carrying the cross to his execution—comprised an especially important and emotional part of the procession of the pilgrim. The journey was already familiar to pilgrims through the popular devotional rite known as the Stations of the Cross.4 The procession began at the House of Pilate (station one), where Christ was publicly denounced and flagellated, and lead along the via dolorosa to the site of his crucifixion in the Holy Sepulchre. The other two itineraries took pilgrims to biblical sites in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, including the River Jordan, Mount Tabor, and Mount Sinai.5 Throughout their stay in the Holy Land, pilgrims remained under the jurisdiction of the Observant friars who guided them from site to site and performed the requisite liturgical rites.6 Friars feature prominently in many of the early modern narratives for this reason. They were the officials responsible for the Custody of the Holy Land, an ecclesiastical jurisdiction first established in 1342 through negotiations with the Mamluk Turks of Egypt to facilitate Western pilgrimage to the region. The Franciscan order was placed in the role of custodians from the start, and the Observant branch of the order assumed jurisdiction in 1431. It remains in charge of the Custody to this day.7 The production of pilgrimage treatises remained remarkably vigorous throughout the early modern period even though the numbers of pilgrims who made the real journey shrank dramatically after 1500.8 The many hundreds that flocked twice a year from Europe in the late fifteenth century were reduced to a handful by the 1520s. 4   By the sixteenth century there were fourteen Stations of the Cross associated with the via crucis. Six of  these lay within the walls of the Basilica (8–14). On Franciscan transmission of the Stations of the Cross  outside of Jerusalem, see for example Norman Neuerberg, ‘The Indian Via Crucis from Mission San Fernando: An Historical Exposition’, South California Quarterly 79 (1997): 329–82. 5   Kathryn M. Rudy, ‘A Pilgrim’s Memories of Jerusalem: London, Wallace Collection MS M319’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 70 (2007): 311–25. 6   On the late medieval organization of the pilgrimage in Jerusalem, see Lucia Rostagno, ‘Pellegrini italiani a Gerusalemme in età Ottomana: percorsi, esperienze, momenti d’incontro’, Oriente Moderno 17 (1998): 63–157, and the excellent thesis of Béatrice Dansette, ‘Les pèlerinages en terre sainte au XIVè et XVè siècles: étude sur leurs aspects originaux, et edition d’une relation anonyme’ (thesis, Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1977). 7   The papal bulls Gratias agimus and Nuper carissimae (12 November 1342) officially recognized the Custody of the Holy Land. On the origins, see Felix del Buey and Cristoforo Alvis, ‘Origenes de la custodia de Tierra Santa’, Archivo ibero-americano 65 (2005): 7–96. For a brief survey of the history see Martiniano Roncaglia, The Custody of the Holy Land (Jerusalem: The Franciscan Press, 1981). The foundational study remains Girolamo Golobovich’s masterful multi-volume edition of primary sources, Biblioteca biobibliografica della Terra Santa e dell’Oriente Francescano (Quaracchi, 1906–27). 8   We do not have precise numbers for the early modern period, though Christine Gomez-Géraud (among others) notes that the seventeenth century was a boom period for the production of Holy Land

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  167 It remained low throughout the sixteenth century, rebounding somewhat after 1600. Several factors likely explain this dramatic reduction in the pilgrimage, including the financial collapse of an important Venetian pilgrimage carrier (the Contarini), growing piracy in the Mediterranean, and the Ottoman conquest of Palestine in 1516/17.9 The greater difficulty of accessing the region by this time may alone help to explain the continuing vigour of the pilgrimage genre.10 One could also perhaps attribute it to the resurgent crusading fervour that Geraud Poumarède, among others, finds percolating across Europe in response to the steady westward expansion of the Ottoman Empire.11 Certainly, the crusading language found in many pilgrimage accounts suggests that the conquest of Jerusalem revivified a longstanding sense of ‘loss’, reminding Western Christians of a time when the region lay under Latin (Western Christian) rule during the time of the medieval Crusades.12 The Ottoman regime quickly resumed Western privileges in the Holy Places, however, and supported a restoration of the pilgrimage. For these reasons it seems unlikely that crusading fervour was the main reason for the continuing allure of the pilgrimage genre though it certainly was one of them.13 Other scholars have instead pointed to the changing character of the genre itself as it ventured into the early modern period. While the pilgrimage genre remained diverse in nature,14 longer, more descriptive narratives were becoming much more common by the end of the fifteenth century and especially from the end of the sixteenth century. For many scholars, including Donald Howard, Frédéric Tinguely, Paul Kumthor, and Catherine Peebles, the greater attention paid in many early modern treatises to the geography, history, and culture of the places encountered along the route to the Holy Land should be attributed to the influence of new modes of travel writing. Kumthor and Peebles, for example, point to curiositas as a particularly important motivation by the fifteenth century, and argue that the traditional model of religious travel writing was giving way to a new one governed by a thirst for knowledge unmoored from a strictly religious mental framework.15 The importance given in many of the early treatises. Hundreds were produced. Jean Boucher, Bouquet Sacre des fleurs de la Terre sainte, edited by Marie-Christine Gomez-Géraud (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2008), p. 12. 9   Rostagno, ‘Pellegrini italiani a Gerusalemme in età Ottomana’. Zur Shalev counts only 240, for ex­ample, in the registry of pilgrims found in the archives of the Custody of the Holy Land for the period 1561–99. That is an average roughly of six per year. Some years there were none recorded. See Shalev, Sacred Words, p. 77. 10  On the impact of the Ottoman conquest upon the Latin Custody, see for example Oded Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem: The Question of the Holy Sites in Early Ottoman Times (Leiden: Brill, 2001). 11   Geraud Poumarède, Pour en finir avec le Croisade: mythes et réalités de la lutte contre les Turcs aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004). 12   See, for example, Anthoine Regnault, Discours du voyage doutre mer (1573), preface. 13   Oded Peri shows, in fact, that the Ottomans were eager to promote Western pilgrimage because it was lucrative. Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem. 14   Shorter guidebooks (vademecum), for example, remained popular after 1500, as did contemplative works. On the guidebooks see, among others, Rudy, ‘A Pilgrim’s Memories’. 15   Paul Zumthor and Catherine Peebles, ‘The Medieval Travel Narrative’, New Literary History 25 (1994): 809–24, Tinguely, L’Écriture du Levant, pp. 54–9, Howard, Writers and Pilgrims, p. 24. Howard in particular

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168  Megan C. Armstrong ­ odern narratives to observation and personal experience as markers of authority m also points suggestively to the influence of the ‘relation’ genre (i.e. Venetian relazione) as well as the more ethnographic and/or scientific genres emerging from European exploration of the Atlantic world.16 Whether curiositas or other ‘secular’ impulses came to reframe the intent of the pilgrimage narrative after 1500 is open to question, however, given that the genre remained stubbornly devotional in character throughout the early modern period. The greater attention given to the mundane world in these narratives begs in particular for analysis that probes the place of the material world in Catholic thought—an approach that seems all the more essential given that these texts were produced at a time of profound religious debate in Europe over the nature and locus of the sacred. The treatises examined here were selected to represent the diverse nature of the genre and come from a larger sampling of over sixty narratives. While the authors were all male and Catholic, they came from different social groups, professions, and regions. Of those cited specifically in this article, we note four Italians (Amico, Bianchi, Rocchetta, Suriano), nine Frenchmen (Regnault, Benard, Goujon, Tressan, Thenaud, Nau, Roger, Boucher, Castela), and two Flemish (Zuallart, Surius). One should note as well that eight of these authors were Observant friars while another five (Rocchetta, Regnault, Tressan, Benard, Zuallart) were members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a (mostly) lay religious brotherhood that embraced a unique pilgrimage crusading model of piety. These two latter groups form the core of the following investigation.17 A comparison of the popular treatise of Noe Bianchi with later narratives provides a good starting point for exploring the changing character of pilgrimage narratives after 1500. By the time friar Noe Bianchi wrote his own account at the end of the fifteenth century, pilgrimage treatises were already providing more details about the journey, including the preparations required of the pilgrim. Bianchi begins with the requisite practical instructions for the pilgrim, including a rather lively description of foods that travelled well. He followed with a brief itinerary including the distances between the major stops along the journey from Venice to Jerusalem. His description of each des­ tin­ation, however, is still cursory in nature. Venice merited only one page, for example, and is a general albeit brief paean to its great wealth and beauty. The palazzo of the Signoria, for example, ‘is something to marvel at, with two enormous piazzas, bridges under which pass three thousand canals all made of stone’. Bianchi mentions that in notes that those of Poggibonsi and Faber were quite descriptive. I argue here, however, that the early modern narratives, especially by the seventeenth century, were as a rule even more so, especially with regard to the personal experience of the pilgrim. 16   The Venetian relazione—reports produced by ambassadors—represented a particularly early and influential model. See Filippo da Vivo, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). For the influence of the relazione upon Franciscan Holy Land narratives, see Megan C. Armstrong, ‘Missionary Reporter’, Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 34 (December 2011): p127–58. However, I argue that the spiritual function remained most important. 17  Nau was a Jesuit. Of the sixty treatises that comprise the larger study, twenty were written by Franciscans and twelve by confriars. The remainder were produced by a mix of clerics and other lay men.

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  169 the Basilica of San Marco there are many reliquaries and bodies of saints which he and his pilgrims had time to visit while waiting for their boats. After quickly listing several other churches in the city with no description, Bianchi informs his reader that they were ready to board the galley for the journey. In the account of Bianchi, virtually every site visited is described in a few sentences, though an image of the place was also attached to help the reader visualize the journey. The Holy Land received more attention to be sure but still much less than the later accounts.18 One does find a number of more detailed narratives from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, notably those of the Franciscan Poggibonsi and the Dominican friar Felix Faber. However, in terms of its level of description, Bianchi’s text was fairly typical of late medieval accounts. It was, more to our purpose here, much less expansive than the narratives which were emerging from the presses by the late sixteenth century. Anthoine Regnault’s treatise, published several decades later in 1573, is noticeably more detailed. His account of Venice, for example, describes at some length the procession on Ascension Day, noting the colourful vestments of clerics and elites, the richly ornamented church and the joyous accompaniment provided by the finest musicians.19 The differences between the narrative of Bianchi and those produced after 1600 are especially striking. By the seventeenth century, descriptions of the journey to the Holy Land had become much more elaborate. The Flemish friar Bernardin Surius, for example, who published his account in the 1660s but travelled to the region twenty years earlier,20 devoted the first sixty pages of his long text to the route from his convent in the Netherlands to Venice. Here the friar included a rather harrowing account of his clandestine journey through the France of Louis XIV, dodging soldiers and hiding in convents. Surius arrived at the recollect convent of Saint François-sur-Sambre in Liege, for example, where he described a conversation with the vicar who warned him about not having a passport from the French king. He advised him to travel by way of Aveines rather than the city of Rocroy for this reason, and Surius also received a letter from the local commander, a Monsieur Souhait, to let them pass through. The rest of the journey is equally detailed.21 The example of Surius reflects a deepening interest on the part of many authors to incorporate the sights and sounds of the mundane world into the traditional pilgrimage accounts, including the reactions of the author–pilgrim. To read into them a creeping 18   Noe Bianchi, Viaggio da Venezia al S. Sepolcro ed al Monte Sinai (1705), pp. 6–9. This is a later edition. It was likely first written after 1490, and multiple editions were published after this time. As Kathryn Blair Moore has shown, there were two Bianchi. Noe Bianchi was a Franciscan. Moore, ‘The Disappearance of an Author and the Emergence of a Genre: Niccolò da Poggibonsi and Pilgrimage Guidebooks between Manuscript and Print’, Renaissance Quarterly 66 (2013): 357–411. 19   Anthoine Regnault, Discours du voyage doutre mer au sainct sepulcre de Ierusalem et autres lieux de la terre saincte (Lyon: n.p., 1573), pp. 9–15. 20  Surius, Le pieu pelerin ou voyage de Jerusalem divise en trois livres contenans la description topographique de plusieurs Royaumes, pais, villes, nations estrangeres nommement des quatuorze religions orientales, leurs moeurs & humeurs, tant en matiere de Religion que de civile conversation &c (Brussels: François Foppens, 1666). 21  Surius, Le pieu pelerin ou voyage de Jerusalem, pp. 19–20.

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170  Megan C. Armstrong secularism, however, risks misrepresenting a genre that remained firmly attached to its medieval function as a mode of spiritual journeying throughout the early modern period. Indeed, it is the argument here that our early modern authors used vivid descriptions of the journey of the pilgrim to underscore the mundane world as the natural and divinely ordained location of Christ. The French bourgeois Anthoine Regnault, for example, mentioned earlier, dedicated his Discours to the service of French Catholics ‘who are walking in the faith of the son of God crucified and under the pure doctrine of the holy Catholic Church, and Roman’. Regnault, like Surius, rejected curiosity as a legitimate motivation. Rather than a desire to see the world, Regnault insisted that the reader must instead go to ‘see, visit with overflowing tears, the Holy Places that God has chosen in this world to ensure the salvation of human nature’.22 Similar assertions are found in the majority of the other treatises consulted here, including those of Michel Nau, Jean Zuallart, Henri Castela, Jean Boucher, Eugene Roger, and Jacques Goujon. The French Franciscan Henri Castela, for ex­ample, who travelled to Jerusalem in 1600, insisted that the visit must not be about ‘site-seeing’ but about ‘site-experiencing’. ‘God’, he said, ‘does not inspire this holy pilgrimage to see so many rarities, but rather to confirm for the benefit of the Christian individual through the sight and feel of the Holy Places and the Holy Land on which he walked, preached, and performed miracles, suffered death and the passion, and was reborn.’23 Writing several decades later in 1688, Pierre de la Vergne de Tressan insists that he was moved to write his own treatise to inform his readers on the present state of the places ‘where passed the principal actions and the greatest mysteries of the life of Christ’. That, he argued was ‘the only thing that one should seek there’.24 Authors reminded their readers that pilgrims were no ordinary travellers, and the right outlook was critical from the start of the journey. But perhaps the most important indication of their spiritual agenda was the attention paid to describing the visitation of the Holy Places. Sean E. Clark makes this point in his examination of Protestant travel accounts of Palestine, but it holds true for most other contemporary forms of travel literature on the Mediterranean including the Venetian relazione. While the Holy Land remained an important destination in travel narratives on the eastern Mediterranean throughout the early modern period, it was only in pilgrimage narratives

 Regnault, Discours, pp. 6–7.   Henri Castela, Le guide et adresse pour ceux qui veulent faire le S. Voiage de Hierusalem par V.P.F. Henry Castela Tolosain religieux observantin et confesseur des Dmes religieuses a Bordeaux (Paris: chez Laurens Sonnius rue S. Jacques au compas d’or, 1604), ff. 4–5. ‘Dieu n’inspire point d’entreprendre ce S. Pelerinage, pour puis apres se iacter d’avoir veu beaucoup de raretés: ains pour confirmer d’avantage la personne Chrestienne pour la veue, & l’attouchement des saincts lieux & de la terre saincte sur laquelle il a marché, presché, faict des miracles, souffert mort & passion, & est resuscité . . .’ 24   ‘[E]lle donne une connoissance entre de l’état present des lieux où se sont passées les principales actions & les plus grands Mysteres de la vie de Jesus-Christ . . . c’est Presque la seule chose qu’on y doive chercher.’ Pierre de la Vergne de Tressan, Relation nouvelle et exacte d’un voyage de la Terre Sainte (Paris: Antoine Dezallier, 1688), sig. A3. 22 23

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  171 that it remained the purpose of the entire journey.25 With this narrative structure in mind, the attention to the mundane world in the text of Surius discussed previously takes on a distinctly spiritual function. The vivid description of sites seen from the roads of Europe and the decks of Venetian galleys reinforced the spatial and chronological distance between early modern readers and the Holy Land even as it reaffirmed Christ’s presence there. Surius wanted his readers to know that Christ truly resided in Jerusalem, ready and awaiting their arrival and their subsequent spiritual trans­ form­ation. This spiritual agenda—locating Christ in the Holy Land—also accounts for the even more detailed descriptions of the journey once the pilgrim touched the soil of the Holy Land. Tracing the presence of Christ in the Holy Places was especially important because it was at these sacred sites that Catholics expected to encounter Him. To this end, Catholic narratives used the journey of the pilgrim–reader to trace the material and historical vestiges of the apostolic past and described the transformative experience of the pilgrim once inside their walls.

Locating Christ in the Holy Land The treatises of Friar Bernardino Amico and Jean Zuallart provide two very different but vivid examples of this process of mapping the apostolic past in the Holy Places. Amico spent time in the Holy Land as part of the Franciscan mission, a fact he ­mentions in his treatise. Indeed, he held the important administrative office of praeses (president) of the Franciscan convent in the Holy Sepulchre in 1596, the community responsible for the performance of Catholic liturgical rites in the basilica. He was, in other words, a w ­ orthy expert on the sacrality of the Holy Places. Amico’s intention was to use his descriptions of the Holy Places to ‘inflame hearts’ and encourage his readers ‘to contemplate the sacred and divine mysteries associated with the saviour of the world’. For Amico, this meant taking his readers to the places where Christ lived. Shalev notes that the Trattato della Piante et Imagini de sacri edifizi di Terra Santa (1609) has been praised for its ‘unprecedented accuracy and level of detail’, and represented a ‘new “renaissance” mode of description in the sacred geography of Jerusalem’.26 Amico’s account was especially celebrated for its detailed floor plans of the Holy Places, and indeed it was not a typical pilgrimage account for this reason but more of a visual mapping of the most important religious sites. However, it followed the traditional route of the pilgrimage. In addition, each floor plan was accompanied by descriptions of the biblical history and its interior spaces, including their measurements and ornamentation. At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, for example, Amico ventured room by room. In the Chapel of the Nativity, he dutifully measured its width and length, and described 25   Sean E. Clark, ‘Protestants in Palestine: Reformation of the Holy Land pilgrimage in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’ (PhD diss., University of Arizona, 2013), Part II, ch. 3. 26  Shalev, Sacred Words, p. 139.

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172  Megan C. Armstrong its decoration. A painting of the Virgin and Joseph, for example, lay over the marble altar. The biblical figures were depicted on their knees ‘in atto di vedere & adorare il nato Bambino’. Praising the artistry of the painter, Amico mentions his skilful rendering of the animals at the birth of Christ, and a scene in one corner of the painting of the shepherds in their field visited by the angels.27 Amico’s detailed descriptions of the interior spaces of the Holy Places went hand in hand with vivid depictions of the biblical event that made these spaces sacred. At the House of Pilate, Amico accompanied his plan of the site with a moving description of Christ’s denunciation by the Roman official. Amico recounted this history in the present tense to suggest that it was unfolding in the presence of the pilgrims. ‘There’, he says, ‘stands Pilate in this place, having Jesus cruelly flagellated, covered in blood from the crown of thorns on his head’, [Pilate] wearing the purple cloak and before the ­people of Judea, saying ‘ecco l’huomo’. At this moment, Amico had Jesus motion to the window, where there was a piece of white marble visible ‘of five palms squared, well washed’ in which it was written in grand letters tolle, tolle crucifige eum. For Amico, the presence of Christ was rendered tangible as well as visible to the devout Christian through the feel of the earth where Christ had stood and the sight of the marble pillar that may have been a remnant of the former Roman building. Amico’s use of the present tense and evocative description of the biblical scene was not unusual in late medieval and early modern narratives, and reflected the contemplative function of the Holy Land genre.28 But more than that, Amico wanted his readers to understand that Christ suffered at this location. The use of the present tense and vivid description of the scene meanwhile invited the reader to witness a past that was then unfolding, thus reinforcing a traditionally Catholic conception of shrines and other sacred places as ‘ruptures of the divine’ in the material world.29 This conception of sacred space was well established in the Western Church by the twelfth century and underlay the flourishing business in pilgrimage throughout the late medieval and early modern periods. The presence of divinity forever transformed the space that it touched, rendering it part of the heavenly kingdom. As such, Catholic authorities argued, sacred places lay outside the temporal and spatial boundaries of the mundane world. Holy Land pilgrimage narratives consequently argued that pilgrims were visiting a biblical past that was still unfolding because that history lived on at that site.30   Bernardino Amico, Trattato della Piante et Imagini de sacri edifizi di Terra Santa (Rome, 1609), pp. 1–2. ‘Si vedono anco espressi gl’animali, l’efigie di una notte, che riceve il suo splendore dal Bambino, con mirabilissimo artificio del Pittore, il quale anco ha espresso in una parte più lontana un vago paese, dove si vede l’Angelo ch’apparue alli Pastori.’ 28   Such evocative descriptions are typical, for example, in virtual pilgrimages written for monastic communities. Francesco Suriano, custos of the Holy Land from 1511 to 1514, wrote one for the sisters of the Poor Clares in his native Italy that became part of his own narrative, Il Trattato di Terra Santa e dell’Oriente (1524). See the excellent edition by Girolamo Golubovich (Assisi: Artigianelli, 1900). 29   Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, trans. by William Trask (1957: rptd, New York, 1987). Eliade’s point about ‘rupture’ was of course not restricted to Christian perceptions of the nature of the sacred, though it seems especially useful for thinking about the medieval and early modern Catholic tradition. 30   See, for example, Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality. An Essay on Religion in Late Medieval Europe (New York, NY: Zone Books, 2011), and Sara Ritchey, Holy Matter: Changing Perceptions of the 27

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  173 The use of the present tense and vivid description evoked a living biblical past at the House of Pilate. Amico’s use of floor plans and internal descriptions, moreover, affirmed this House of Pilate as the genuine place of Christ’s suffering. Indeed, he refuted the claims of another contemporary scholar named Andromico Delfo, who suggested the real House of Pilate lay at a significant distance from the present site.31 A similar concern about the geographic accuracy of the biblical events underlay the treatise written by the Flemish nobleman Jean Zuallart. Zuallart travelled to the Holy Land a decade before Amico in 1586, but he produced the first edition of his famous treatise almost immediately, and several editions followed into the seventeenth century.32 Zuallart’s lengthy treatise is unusual even within the body of treatises studied here for its depth of detail on the geography of the region, its history, as well as the material state of holy sites, and for this reason bears close scrutiny. The overland route from Jaffa— the city that was the main port of debarkation for most Western pilgrims—is the reader’s introduction to the Holy Land. In his account, Zuallart asked the reader to look left and right as they passed important sites mentioned in the Bible and in classical sources. The reader passed the house of the good thief, then on to an ancient well called the Well of Job because he supposedly built it.33 Beyond it were the woods and mountains and deserts leading to the city of Jerusalem—a sign, he says, of the tribulations required of the journey.34 The first sight of Jerusalem was an expected trope in medieval and early modern treatises, an opportunity to pause and ponder its sacrality, and ready oneself for the experience that lay behind its walls. Zuallart began with a survey of the buildings vis­ ible from afar that revealed its Christian past. He first pointed out the remains of Aelia Capitolina on Mount Sion, the name for the Roman city of Jerusalem that Hadrian built after 130 ce after its destruction in 70 ce. Mount Sion, we learn, was also where the angels spoke to the apostles and the site of the Last Supper. At this point the pilgrims descended from their asses, kissed the earth, and sang the ‘te deum laudamus’ and the psalms. Zuallart described their joy at seeing the city for the first time, noting that they Material World in Late Medieval Christianity (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014), and Jonathan Z. Smith, The Place of Place: Toward a Theory of Ritual (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1987), pp. 104–5. 31  Amico, Trattato, pp. 25–6. Shalev has argued that Delfo was one of many authors who produced maps of the Jerusalem sites during this period, which the brothers of the Holy Land challenged as inaccurate. Shalev, Sacred Words, p. 30, n. 155. Amico was likely referring to Christiano Adricomio Delfo. 32   The first edition was published in Italian in 1586, entitled Il devotissimo viaggio di Gierusalemme fatto, e descritto in sei libri dal signor Giovanni Zuallardo, cavaliere del Santissimo Sepolcro di N. S. Multiple editions followed, including in French. The edition used here was published in French in 1608: Le tres devot voyage de Jerusalem, avec les figures des lieux saincts, & plusieurs autres, tirées au naturel (Anvers, chez Arnould S’Conincx, 1608). 33   Zuallart does state, however, that the illustrious former custos Bonifacio da Stagna (Ragusa) had refuted this claim. Zuallart is likely referring to the friar’s well-regarded treatise, de Perenni cultu Terrae Sanctae et de fructuosa eius peregrinatione (Venice: Guerraea, 1573). 34   ‘Plus outré que cedit Puis finit la plaine, & commencement les bois & montagnes, les desertz & aspreté des chemins, qui durent iusques à la saincte Cité de Jerusalem: Voire plus on approche d’icelle, & plus sont ilz facheuz, arides, rudes, & pierreux, significant que pour parvenire à la Jerusalem celeste figuree par ceste cy, il convient plustost soy y acheminer par tribulations, que plaisirs & delices mondaines . . .’, Zuallart, Très devot, p. 203.

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174  Megan C. Armstrong forgot all of their fatigues and ‘past suffering’, suddenly feeling relieved.35 They walked on foot from this point on, he said, in imitation of Godefroy of Bouillon (d. 1100). The reference to Godefroy was no doubt intended to remind readers that Zuallart was a proud member of the crusading confraternity of the Holy Sepulchre, a fact he mentions at the start of his treatise. Godefroy was the celebrated Christian ruler of Crusader Jerusalem whose tomb in the Holy Sepulchre had become part of the pilgrim itinerary by the fourteenth century. The confraternity claimed Godefroy as its founder, though there is little if any evidence to support this claim.36 The pilgrims reached the Jaffa gate shortly thereafter, which was the traditional point of entry for pilgrims under Ottoman rule. There they waited for the Franciscan custos (head of the Franciscan community) to come and meet them.37 Zuallart and his companions had officially arrived in Jerusalem, and from this point on we are introduced to a city overflowing with the remnants of its Christian past. Just as he had done for the overland journey to Jerusalem, Zuallart conveyed movement through space by providing directions from site to site and describing specific structures along the way. One of the first sacred sites on the procession was that which witnessed the decapitation of John the Baptist and it provides a good sense of Zuallart’s technique: ‘In passing further along down another street and turning to the left hand, we entered by another little door, into a fairly large court, surrounded by many buildings, which is a hospital, built along with the church by the Spanish in honour of Saint John.’38 Noting that they entered the chapel barefoot like good pilgrims, Zuallart then set the scene for the experience of the interior space. We ‘proceeded to the altar under which there was a stone bearing the mark of the knife and three fingers at the site where St Jacques became the first martyr.’ The church, he says, was under the jurisdiction of the Armenian Christians, and the Franciscan custos urged them to give alms because they were poor. Then the custos gave them a brief ‘exhortation’ on the biblical event that happened in this space and sang the text of the gospel and an antienne.39 The vivid nature of this description of the chapel is characteristic of Zuallart’s entire account and speaks to his interest in rendering the biblical past visible in the soil of early modern Palestine. In this case he was tracing the vestiges of an important biblical  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 26.   As another example, Nicolas Benard insisted that the sword used to create knights had been blessed by Godefroy: Le Voyage de Hierusalem et autres lieux de la terre sainct par le Sr Benard Parisien chevalier de l’ordre du St Sepulchre de nostre seigneur Jesus Christ (Paris: chez Denis Moreau, 1621), pp. 196–7. JeanPierre de Gennes mentions a charter of the foundation of the confraternity that was purportedly dated to 1099 but states that it was likely forged. Gennes, Les Chevaliers du Saint-Sépulcre de Jérusalem, Vol. 1 (Paris: Herault, 2004), pp. 33–4. 37  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 34. 38  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 40. The Church of Saint John the Baptist was built in the fifth century. The hospital mentioned was built by the Knight’s Hospitallers of St John, also known as the Muristan. Zuallart may have confused the Greek Orthodox who lived there with the Armenian Christians. 39  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 40: ‘nous entrasmes à piedz deschaux, puis à genoux iusques à l’autel, soubz lequel y a une Pierre portant la marque d’une incisure ronde & profonde de trois doigtz, posee à mesme lieu ou ledit S. Iacques fut le premier des Apostres martyrisé’. 35 36

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  175 figure, John the Baptist, at the site that witnessed an important biblical event: the moment of his execution. The stone that still bore the visible impressions of the fingers of the saint and the imprint of the knife that severed his head were significant details that signalled the function of the material vessels of the biblical past—the Holy Places—as present loci of Christ’s authority. As in the case of the account of Amico, these details were intended to fix the biblical story at that site, but it was no less im­port­ant to fix the biblical execution spatially in early modern Jerusalem by carefully mapping the route to the chapel from the convent through the maze of city streets, and also by describing the more modern décor of the chapel that had been constructed by later Christians to venerate the site. Even more of a striking contrast with Amico’s account is the dense textual evidence marshalled by Zuallart to provide supporting evidence for the location of the execution in the form of scriptural, classical, and even Byzantine sources. Zuallart cited, for example, the Acts of the Apostles, Eusebius, Clement of Alexandria, and the ninth-century Byzantine scholar Nicephorus of Constantinople.40

The Reformation Context Zuallart like Amico carefully crafted the spiritual journeying of his readers to make the Christian past a visible and tangible presence in the Holy Land. He did so by providing spatial details, deictic exhortations, and early Christian textual sources to convey the veracity of the experience of the author–pilgrim. In trying to explain the importance given in these accounts to locating Christ, one could perhaps point to the increasingly Christocentric and material cast of Western spirituality from the end of the middle ages. Growing thirst for direct contact with Christ underlay the emergence of the feast of Corpus Christi as the most popular Christian rite by the fifteenth century, for ex­ample, along with the apotropaic use of hosts in urban and parochial processions, and the increasingly realistic rendering of Christ in late medieval art, whether as the playful infant Jesus or the Man of Sorrows.41 A thirst for a present Christ may also account for the popularity of architectural copies of the Holy Places that appeared across Europe from the late medieval period. As Robert Ousterhout among others has shown, such copies became especially popular in the wake of the Ottoman seizure of Constantinople in 1453, and its subsequent conquest of the Holy Land in 1517. 40  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 40. The citing of Eusebius (d. c.340), Nicephorus, and Clement of Alexandria (c.215) and many other authorities referenced by Zuallart embeds his text in Christian humanist biblical scholarship. Nicephorus (Nikephorus) likely refers to the Patriarch of Constantinople (d. 828) who was a highly respected patristic scholar. Eusebius was the former bishop of Caesarea and an important historian of the early Church. Clement was also an early Christian historian. Zuallart, however, also relied upon recent authorities, including respected members of the Franciscan mission, to prove the ‘true’ nature of his description of the Holy Places. These modern Franciscan authorities included works by the sixteenthcentury former custos and author Boniface Stephanis of Ragusa (1555), and Antonio de Angelis (1575). On these authorities, see Zuallart, Très devot, p. 31. 41   See, for example, Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), and Charles Zika, ‘Hosts, Processions and Pilgrimages: Controlling the Sacred in Fifteenth Century Germany’, Past and Present 118 (1998): 25–64.

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176  Megan C. Armstrong The example of the seven Jerusalems built on the mountaintops of the Piedmont has been especially well cited, but across Europe both small- and large-scale Holy Places were constructed as sites of pilgrimage.42 Perhaps the most visible manifestation of the translation of the Holy Land westward was Rome itself.43 Long voracious consumers of the bones of Christian saints and martyrs, Roman churches, monasteries, and cathedrals formed a sacred itinerary for Western pilgrims that rivalled that of the Holy Land by the end of fifteenth century. An estimated 400,000 flocked to the papal jubilee in 1575 alone, an event vigorously promoted by the post-Tridentine papacy as part of its broader quest to restore the centrality of Rome to Western worship.44 The construction of these and other new ‘Jerusalems’ was promoted by Church authorities as legitimate conduits of the sacrality of the Holy Places, a fact that helps to explain their appeal for devout Christians who were unable to make the challenging journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Divinity rested in the place itself, which meant that not only direct material fragments taken from the Holy Places but also their likenesses, captured through images and even measurements, could convey their sa­cral­ity.45 As Kathryn Rudy among others has argued, Holy Land treatises functioned in a similar way, transporting the Holy Places into the homes of devout Catholic readers.46 The more detailed rendering of the sacred sites, in other words, conveyed through the use of words, measurements, and engravings, may have reflected a desire to better facilitate the flow of the transformative power of the Holy Land westward. It is im­port­ant to note, however, that the provision of measurements, engravings, and verbal description in Holy Land narratives also served simultaneously to reaffirm Catholic 42   See, for example, Robert G. Ousterhout, ‘The Church of Santo Stefano: A “Jerusalem in Bologna” ’, Gesta 20 (1981): 311–21, and Bram de Klerck, ‘Jerusalem in Renaissance Italy: The Holy Sepulchre on the Sacro Monte de Varallo’, in The Imagined and the Real Jerusalem in Art and Architecture, edited by Jeroen Goudeau, Mariette Verhoeven, and Wouter Weijers (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 215–36. See also Kathryn Blair Moore, The Architecture of the Christian Holy Land: Reception from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). 43   Lucia Rostano, ‘Pellegrini italiani a Gerusalemme in età ottomana: percorsi, esperienze, momenti d’incontro’, Oriente Moderno 17 (1998): 63–157 (p. 66). On the emergence of Rome as a popular early modern pilgrimage destination see also Simon Ditchfield, ‘Reading Rome as a Sacred Landscape, c. 1586–1635’, in  Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe, edited by William Coster and Andrew Spicer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 167–92. Loreto also experienced a resurgence in popularity ­during the 1500s. See, for example, Karin Velez, The Miraculous Flying House of Loreto: Spreading Catholicism in the Early Modern World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019). 44   It is important to note that many pilgrims destined for the Holy Land passed through Rome as part of their journey. Benard, for one, described his visit at length. His account emphasizes the historic ties between ancient Christian Rome, the papacy, and the churches as repositories of apostolic and saintly bodies presided over by the papacy. Benard, Le Voyage de Hierusalem, p. 510. 45   Robert Ousterhout, ‘Architecture as Relic and the Construction of Sanctity: The Stones of the Holy Sepulchre’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 62:1 (2003): 4–23; Felipe Pereda, ‘Measuring Jerusalem: The Marquis of Tarifa’s Pilgrimage in 1520 and its Urban Consequences’, Città et Storia 7 (2012): 77–102. See also Jonathon  Z.  Smith, To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 113. 46   See, in particular, Kathryn Rudy, Virtual Pilgrimages in the Convent: Imagining Jerusalem in the Late Middle Ages (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011) and ‘A Guide to Mental Pilgrimage: Paris, Bibliothèque de L’Arsenal Ms 212’, Zeitschrift für Kuntsgeschichte 63 (2000): 494–515.

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  177 belief that apostolic past lived on in the real places that once played host to Christ’s life and ministry.47 That the location of Christ was a matter of spiritual concern for our authors becomes clear when we consider their narratives in their early modern context, and in particular in contemporary scholarly and theological debates over the accuracy of the Holy Land pilgrimage itinerary. As Adam Beaver and Zur Shalev among others have shown, questions about the accuracy of Constantine’s reconstruction of the Holy Places had become an antiquarian pasttime by the late middle ages, but an especially vigorous focus of scholarly debate in the sixteenth century once it attracted the attention of humanist biblical scholars.48 As these scholars make clear, the debate was fuelled by more than religious concerns, entangled as it was with other important considerations including the weight of ‘traditional’ authority vis-à-vis new approaches to knowledgemaking, notably humanist modes of textual analysis and personal observation. A respect for traditional authorities, above and beyond the specifics of religious belief, may well have shaped how our Catholic authors interpreted the Holy Land. As Ladan Niayesh observes in her own chapter in this volume about erudite travellers to Persepolis, the weight of traditional scholarly authority on the Near East did lead some travellers to distrust their own eyes and experience. They often saw, in other words, what they expected to see. In a similar fashion, Thomas Roebuck argues that the respected Protestant scholar and traveller Thomas Smith found in his visitation of the seven ancient churches of Asia material as well as textual evidence that legitimated the English ‘archiepiscopacy’.49 The example of Smith suggests that the weight of religious tradition was an especially heavy one for many European travellers who visited places already pregnant with religious meaning, especially in such a contested era as the Reformation. More to our purpose here, it also makes a case for viewing religious places as ever-agile spiritual authorities in their own right because of their association with Christian pasts. Here Smith engaged with the seven churches through multiple, overlapping lenses—those of personal experience, antiquarian scholarship, and religious change. In doing so he made these sites participatory in his imagining (or reimagining) of the Anglican Church as a Christian tradition. The seven churches could function in this way because they were already carriers of an ‘Anglican’ past. In a similar fashion, Zuallart and other Catholic authors were relying upon a trad­ ition­al understanding of the Holy Land as a living vessel of Christ to authenticate 47  Zur Shalev, ‘Christian Pilgrimage and Ritual Measurement in Jerusalem’, Micrologus 19 (2011): 131–50. 48   Adam Beaver, ‘Scholarly Pilgrims: Antiquarian Visions of the Holy Land’, in Sacred History: Visions of the Christian Past in the Renaissance World, edited by Kate van Liere, Simon Ditchfield, and Howard Louthan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 267–83, and ‘A Holy Land for the Catholic Monarchy: Palestine in the Making of Modern Spain, 1469–1598’ (PhD diss., Harvard University, 2008), and Shalev, Sacred Words. 49   Ladan Niayesh, ‘Reterritorializing Persepolis in the First English Travellers’ Accounts’, and Thomas Roebuck, ‘Antiquarianism in the Near East: Thomas Smith (1638–1710) and his Journey to the Seven Churches of Asia’.

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178  Megan C. Armstrong Catholic claims to Christian truth. But like Smith as well, in turning to the Holy Land to legitimize the Catholic tradition, they were simultaneously privileging a role for it in its reimagining as a Post-Reformation Church. The legitimizing intent of Catholic accounts makes sense when we consider that many of those questioning the accuracy of the Holy Land pilgrimage itinerary after 1517 were Protestants. Tracing the material as well as historical vestiges of Christ in the early modern pilgrimage treatises was intended, in particular, to assert the veracity of Catholic belief in divine immanence and the efficacy of the Holy Land pilgrimage. Protestant denials of the presence of Christ in the region were a particularly thorny problem, one that Jean Zuallart addresses head on in the lengthy prologue to his 1608 edition. As Zuallart explains, his treatise was addressed at those who ‘questioned the legitimacy’ of the modern Holy Places: ‘To respond to this, to corroborate and aid the devotion and piety of those who desire to make the journey, I wish to assure them that . . . the places described in the scriptures match with the present place if they compare them.’ To those scholars who cited ‘Saint Luke’, the Christian father who described the utter destruction of the walls of the original city of Jerusalem in 70 ce, Zuallart countered with the early accounts of Saint Hegesippus who died in Jerusalem (d. 180 ce), and the Roman historians Dio Cassius (d. 235 ce) and Aelius Spartianus to argue that vestiges of the original Roman city remained.50 He went on to assure his readers that Christians continued to occupy and worship within the original walls from the time of their destruction, and indeed they were still there when Constantine built the Holy Sepulchre in the fourth century. Zuallart’s pilgrimage treatise at times has the feel of a scholastic compendium, weighed down as it is with so many biblical, classical, and ancient near eastern references. Certainly his citing of Saint Hegesippus here provides further evidence of the continuing importance given in humanist learning to ancient near eastern authorities as well as the classics, a source base that would have been especially useful for a humanist-trained traveller to the Levant such as Zuallart. In this particular instance, Zuallart found it no less useful for engaging in religious polemic. He was fighting fire with fire, relying upon the same intellectual tools as scholarly critics to prove the ver­ acity of the traditional sacred geography. With a similar polemic intent in mind, Amico also reaffirmed the veracity of the existing geography of the Holy Land. ‘The location of this holy city’, he argued, ‘is the same as it always has been, and always will be.’51 Zuallart’s defence of the Holy Places, however, shows that he was doing much more 50   Dio Cassius (c.150–235 ce) was known for his great work Roman History that began with the Aeneid. Aelius Spartianus was a biographer of the emperor Hadrian among others. All three authors were the subject of humanist editions and scholarly interpretation by the sixteenth century, reflecting the expansion of biblical scholarship during this period. Aelius Spartianus, for example, was one of six Roman authors included in the Historia Augusta, a work that received a number of critical editions during the early modern period. 51   Shalev points out, for example, that the site of Calvary was a point of contention in antiquarian debates—whether it lay outside, or within, the city walls. By the 1580s, Franciscan pilgrimage narratives among others argued that the site was legitimate, but the walls were built by Hadrian and thus were not the original walls. Shalev, Sacred Words, p. 131.

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  179 than engaging in a scholarly debate over sacred geography. At stake was the Catholic tradition itself, a tradition whose claim to spiritual truth and authority was seriously battered in the decades after 1517 in the form of Protestant reform. By the time Zuallart produced his 1608 edition, Protestantism had become a fixture of Western Europe but relations between the faiths remained contentious over rival claims to Christian authenticity. One of the most contentious lines of debate hovered over Catholic belief in divine immanence, and the practice of pilgrimage.52 As the most important of the sacred landscapes in the Christian tradition, the Holy Land quickly emerged in Reformation debates as a focal point of controversy. Luther and Calvin were among the reformers who were harshly critical of Catholic insistence that the Holy Land was spiritually transformative because of its biblical past.53 Responding to the ‘reformez pretenduz’, Zuallart defended the Holy Land pilgrimage as efficacious: ‘Heretics today attack ancient practices and saintly institutions of the Catholic church.’ They did so, he said, by ‘distracting and misrepresenting devotions and pious conceptions of those eager to do the sacred journey of passed times, insisting that these practices were only abusive, diabolical illusions, full of idolatry and without fruit’.54 In the above passage, Zuallart argued that Protestant rejection of the efficacy of the Holy Land pilgrimage was itself an indication that they were heretics. What clearly bothered him was their denial that the pilgrim would truly encounter Christ. As Zuallart put it, reformers asserted that ‘pilgrims do nothing but waste time and money, especially those who go to the Holy Land, believing wrongly that they would see the redeemer in Jerusalem, converting, and suffering the death and the passion’.55 They deny this, he notes, even though miracles had been recorded in the Holy Sepulchre. Zuallart’s interest in tracing the vestiges of the apostolic past in the Holy Land makes all the more sense when we consider Luther’s admonishment that Christ could not be restricted to any one space because he was the Son of God, thus immaterial and unbound.56 He could no more be found in the Holy Land, he argued, than in any other place. Luther’s denunciation of the Holy Land pilgrimage as fraudulent was influential, 52  On the pilgrimage as a site of religious contestation during the Reformation, see in particular Alexandra Walsham, The Reformation of the Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press), and Coster and Spicer (eds.), Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe. 53   On Luther and Calvin’s criticism of the Holy Land pilgrimage, see Sean Eric Clark, ‘Protestants in Palestine: Reformation of the Holy Land Pilgrimage in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’ (PhD diss., The University of Arizona, 2013), p. 80, and Graham Tomlin, ‘Protestants and Pilgrimage’, in Craig Bartholomew and Fred Hughes (eds.), Exploration in a Christian Theology of Pilgrimage (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2004), p. 14. 54   Jean Zuallart, Très devot, pp. 12–13. ‘Les heretiques homes mondains, charnelz & contempteurs des anciennes usances & sainctes institutions de l’Eglise Catholique, afin de divertir & faire mepriser les devotions & pieuses conceptions à ceux qui on envie & volonté de faire de S. & salutaire voyage, disans avec les vieux Arriens, Pelagiens, Manicheans & autres heretiques de temps passé, que ce ne sont qu’abusions, illusions diabolicques, pleine d’Idolatrie Y sans fruict.’ 55  Zuallart, Très devot, p. 12. Reformers ‘ne servent que de faire perdre temps & argent, à ceux qui les font: & specialement celuy de la terre saincte, à raison que l’on n’y veoit plus rien de ce qu’estoit en Jerusalem, lors que le Redempteur y conversoit, & souffrit mort & passion . . . ’. 56   Tomlin, ‘Protestants and Pilgrimage’, pp. 14–15.

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180  Megan C. Armstrong and helped to fuel a mini-industry of Protestant travel accounts criticizing the Catholic pilgrimage by the time of Zuallart’s own journey. Their intent was at least in part to debunk Catholic claims to the presence of Christ and the transformative power of the Holy Land. Daniel Vitkus for this reason described English Protestant travellers to the Holy Land as ‘anti-pilgrims’.57 The response of Zuallart and many other authors was to criticize reformers who relied solely upon their own interpretations of the Bible to understand God. In his rather lengthy assault on Protestant criticism, the Flemish friar Surius cited Augustine as well as the Gospel of Matthew to refute Calvin in particular for suggesting that one place was no more holy than another. ‘We say with Augustine on this holy city, that although God is present in all places, sometimes it was his will to choose certain places to demonstrate his clemency to men more so than other places.’58 It is precisely because many pilgrimage treatises were directly responding to the criticisms of Protestant reformers that they must be understood on one level as forms of religious polemic. Catholic authors countered Protestant denunciations of the efficacy of the pilgrimage with eyewitness testimony of its salvific powers, and material and textual evidence of its historical veracity. But in defending the legitimacy of the existing itinerary, the Catholic narratives examined here were also reassuring their devout readers that Christ truly resided in the Holy Land awaiting His encounter with the devout pilgrim. It was also to reassure their readers of the presence of Christ that the early modern narratives asserted the transformative experience awaiting the pilgrim once inside the Holy Places. Nicolas Benard, who travelled to the region in 1620, described the experience of making contact with Christ in the Holy Sepulchre as overwhelming. He felt an inexpressible joy to be in the presence of ‘my sweet redeemer Jesus, who without ceasing protects and sanctifies the place of his holy sanctuary, and who wished to be raised in the empty and humble hearts of his good and faithful servants, who meditated on the suffering, the opprobrium, the “peines & langueurs” and even the ignominious death and tremendous suffering on the cross, as suffered by our lord Jesus Christ for our redemption’. Benard spoke directly to Christ, saying that it was ‘His sanctuary, sepulcher, monument’. Everyone, he noted, was ‘ravi’ by the experience.59 Even more effusive is the account of friar Jean Boucher, who travelled to the Holy Land in 1611/12. As in the case of the other treatises discussed here, Boucher vividly 57  Daniel Vitkus, ‘Trafficking with the Turk: English Travelers in the Ottoman Empire during the Seventeenth Century’, in Travel Knowledge: European ‘Discoveries’ in the Early Modern Period, edited by Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna Singh (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2001), p. 36. 58  Surius, Le pieu pelerin ou voyage de Jerusalem, pp. 8–9. ‘Nous disons avec Augustin sur le lieu cite, bien que Dieu est present en tous lieux, c’est toutes-fois son bon vouloir d’élire quelques lieux pour y monstrer aux homes sa clemence plus qu’aux autres.’ 59  Benard, Le Voyage de Hierusalem, pp. 192–3: ‘mon doux redempteur Jesus, qui sans cesse garde & regarde le lieu de son sainct Sanctuaire, & spirituellement veut ester ensevely dans les coeurs nets & humbles de ses bons & fidelles serviteurs, meditant les douleurs, opprobres, peines & langueurs, mesmes la mort ignominieuse & tres douloureuse de la croix, soufferte par nostre seigneur Jesus-Christ pour nostre redemption’.

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  181 described the interior spaces, including their ornamentation, and the relevant biblical story. It is his emotional response, however, that effectively conveys the power ­contained in the region through the contact of pilgrim and sacred space. At the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, where Boucher felt her presence, the friar mentioned his trembling body and experiencing a ‘sudden rush of astonishment in his soul’.60 Each holy place was a site of encounter with a living biblical past, and the most important were those associated with Christ during his time of suffering. At the House of Pilate, Boucher asked the pilgrim to experience Christ’s pain along with him. ‘Oh my soul, if you could see your lord in this place the day of the Passion in the state he was in, walking with such hardship, how would you not experience his pain? . . . you would see him walk slowly, panting, and drenched with blood and water, bent under the unbearable weight of the heavy cross, wearing a crown of thorns.’61 In her seminal edition of Boucher’s Sacre Bouquet, Gomez-Géraud argues that Boucher’s construction of the Holy Places as sites of intimate encounter between the pilgrim and the apostle was ‘a Franciscan project’, reflecting the Christocentric piety of this grand medieval spiritual tradition and its embrace of the emotions as critical aids to personal reform.62 Stirring contrition in the hardened hearts of sinners was a fundamental responsibility of Franciscan preachers, and Boucher was in his day a widely celebrated one. His mingling of emotional effusiveness with an emphasis upon contemplation was also very much in line with the more affective model of piety promoted by the post-Tridentine Church, what many scholars refer to as ‘baroque’ piety.63 Indeed, Gomez-Géraud suggests that spiritual contemplation was the primary im­port­ ance of the journey for Boucher. The Holy Land was a landscape of signs that could be read to deepen one’s understanding of the Bible.64 It was nevertheless also on Boucher’s agenda to reassure his readers that Christ was truly present in the real Holy Land, a fact he could testify to through his time spent in the region. These functions of the Holy Land narrative—contemplative, historical, and experiential—were compatible rather than irreconcilable objectives. For Boucher, like many of the other authors, the Holy Land was an intimate, emotional, and ultimately transformative place because of its Christian past, one that he wished to share with his readers by recounting his own vis­it­ation of the region. 60   Jean Boucher, Bouquet Sacre compose des belles fleurs de la Terre (Paris: Denis Moreau,1620), pp. 232–3. ‘Or quant à moy que j’aye esté dans ce lieu environ d’une heure, mais je confesse franchement & dis en verité que quand j’y entray je sentis en moy mesme une grande esmotion de sang dans mes veines, avec un tremblement de corps, une frayeur de tous mes sens, & un soudain estonnement d’esprit dont j’ignorois la cause . . . ’. 61 62  Boucher, Bouquet Sacre, pp. 225–7.  Boucher, Bouquet Sacre, introduction. 63   See, for example, Thomas Worcester, Seventeenth Century Cultural Discourse: France and the Preaching of Bishop Camus (Berlin and New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997). Though not discussed in depth here, one wonders about the influence of Jesuit thinking on image and meditation. 64   ‘À trop considerer le récit de voyage comme un genre asservi à la seule information scientifique, le lecteur fait fausse route. La traversée du monde est pour Boucher, comme pour bien d’autres voyageurs, traversée des signes.’ Introduction to Boucher, Sacre Bouquet, p. 11.

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182  Megan C. Armstrong

Re-Rooting the Catholic Faith As the above examples suggest, for many authors tracing the material and historical vestiges of the apostolic past went hand in hand with evoking the presence of Christ in the Holy Places. For some, like Boucher, the personal experience of the pilgrim was the most important proof of the transformative power of the region. In emphasizing the presence of Christ and the efficacy of the pilgrimage, Catholic narratives were reaffirming core doctrines and practices of the Catholic faith in the face of Protestant criticism. Through their insistence upon the Holy Land as an authentic vessel of the apostolic past, however, the Catholic narratives also argue for the importance given to the life of Christ for anchoring Catholic as well as Protestant claims to spiritual authenticity. Indeed, their elucidation of the Holy Land as a material vessel of the Bible provided an effective challenge to Protestant reification of the Bible as the sole source of Christian legitimacy. Catholic narratives continued to insist that the place where Christ was born and plied his ministry was no less a conduit of his authority. Indeed, it was a place that was perhaps an even more powerful reservoir of Christ’s authority than the scriptures by virtue of its containment of his human life—in other words, Christ at his most potent. The former custos Francesco Suriano makes just this point in Il Trattato di terra santa (1524) when he insists that the Holy Land was the most sacred of all sacred spaces: ‘God has ennobled, marked, and adorned [the Holy Land] with every prerogative of sanctity and grace above all other parts of this world because it contains all perfection in the world.’65 For Suriano, the Holy Land was the ‘heart’ of all sacrality, diffusing its perfection throughout the world just as the heart diffused ‘vital spirits’ throughout the animal body. Over a century later, Jacques Goujon wrote that one cannot simply write about the history of the Holy Land or about its geography because ‘every step of Christ contained mysteries’. One must visit the region in person, he insisted, and bring one’s devotion to bear on the experience ‘because these places were sanctified’.66 Goujon was only reiterating a truism of medieval narratives, that to walk in the footsteps of Christ was to leave the region a theologian. But he was doing so with an eye to Protestant claims to greater authenticity through their sole reliance upon the scriptures. The above examples serve as an important reminder that a hierarchy of holiness underlay Catholic conceptions of sacred spaces, and the Holy Land lay at the apex because of its hosting of the apostolic past. It was, as Alphonse Dupront has argued, the true ‘home’ of the pilgrim because Jerusalem was the heavenly kingdom on earth.67 Going to the Holy Land, in other words, was to go to the very source of Christian 65   ‘Dio ha nobilitato, insignito, et adornato de ogni prorogativa de sanctità et gratia sopra tutte l’altre parte del mondo; como principio che contiene ogni perfectione del mondo.’ Francesco Suriano, Il Trattato di Terra Santa è dell’Oriente, edited by Girolamo Golubovich (Assisi: Artigianelli, 1900), p. 5. 66   Jacques Goujon, Histoire et voyage de la Terre-Sainte, Où tout ce qu’il y a de plus remarquable dans les Saints Lieux, est tres-exactement descript (Lyon: Pierre Compagnon & Robert Taillandier, 1670). 67   Alphonse Dupront distinguishes between three kinds of Holy Places, the highest being those where God was believed to reside, such as Jerusalem. To visit here in the Christian tradition was not only to

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  183 perfection, a perception of its authority that also explains why Catholic narratives eagerly traced the material manifestations of the Catholic tradition in the Holy Places even as they traced the presence of Christ and the apostles. We see this perhaps most visibly through their mapping of Catholic altars, ornaments, and worship in the Holy Places. Descriptions of the modern-day chapels and their ornamentation were briefly discussed earlier with regard to the narratives of Amico and Zuallart, but it is worth noting that they form an important discussion thread throughout many of the early modern narratives, including those of Tressan and the Jesuit Michel Nau. Of the two, Tressan’s account is the most straightforward and also relatively short at only two hundred pages. It is typical, however, in its interest in recording the presence of the Franciscan community in the Holy Places and in particular during the performance of their spiritual duties. Tressan was clearly fascinated by the existence of a Franciscan convent within the Holy Sepulchre, for example. The convent was one of two belonging to the friars in Jerusalem, and it is where friars such as Amico who were assigned to the divine offices lived full time. He described the space as very humid and very clean. Every day they received victuals from the main convent that were passed through a small window in the middle of the great door. He noted that the other Christians shared the choir and the chapel of Calvary and other places in the Holy Sepulchre, but he proudly noted that it was only the Latin Christians who could celebrate in the chapel which housed the burial site of Christ.68 In this chapel, he described forty-four silver lamps burning all the time, given mostly by princes out of their devotion.69 The presence of Catholic worship comprises an even richer thread in the narrative of the Jesuit Michel Nau. Nau went twice to Jerusalem, and this treatise grew out of his visit to the region in 1674. As the treatise of Nau shows, early modern narratives did not ignore the presence of the other Christian faiths in the Holy Places. After spending Holy Week in Jerusalem, for example, Nau mentioned waiting another five weeks in the region in order to witness the performance of the Orthodox Easter rites in the Holy Sepulchre.70 By the time of the Ottoman conquest, ten Christian communities lived in Jerusalem and held altars granted to them by Ottoman authorities for their worship in the Holy Places. For Nau as well as his fellow Catholic travellers, however, the descriptions of other Christian communities were often intended to highlight the prominence contact divinity but to go ‘home’. Alphonse Dupront, Du Sacré: croisades et pelerinages images et langages (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), p. 286. 68   Tressan, Relation nouvelle, pp. 122–3. Tressan’s claim about sole Franciscan jurisdiction at the sepulchre of Christ is not entirely accurate. Chapels were contested jurisdictions in the basilica among the many Christian faiths. The seventeenth century was a particularly intense period of rivalry between Catholics and Greek Orthodox over the more important altars. On this conflict see, among others, Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem. 69  Tressan, Relation nouvelle, p. 126. ‘Il y a quarante quatre lampes d’argent qui sont toujours allumées la nuit comme le jour. Divers Princes en ont donné la plus grande partie, & à leur exemple quelques particuliers après eû ont eu la même devotion.’ 70   His description of the Holy Saturday rites including the ritual of the holy fire is particularly detailed. See Michel Nau, Le voyage nouveau de la Terre-Sainte, enrichi de plusieurs remarques particulieres qui servent à l’intelligence de la Sainte Ecriture (Paris: chez Andre Pralard, 1679), pp. 491–5.

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184  Megan C. Armstrong of the Latin altars in the Holy Places and the greater perfection of the Latin rites. We see this, for example, in his description of the Holy Thursday rites that were performed in the Holy Sepulchre. This ritual involved spending a night in the Holy Sepulchre to process through the myriad chapels that marked Christ’s final days on earth. Nau described listening to many sermons on the passion, and then the commencement of the internal pilgrimage at the Chapel of the Apparition of the Virgin. This chapel was one of the ones under the jurisdiction of the friars in the basilica and was the trad­ ition­al starting point of the tour of the Holy Sepulchre for Latin pilgrims. Here we learn that the preaching was in Italian, and that it was followed by prayers. Processing with a candle in hand, they went to the chapel marking the ‘division des vestements’ of Christ. Father Cherubin, whom he describes as a zealous recollect Franciscan, gave a beautiful discourse in Latin on this mystery, and then another in French in the next chapel on the crown of thorns and the outrages suffered by Christ in the ‘pretoire’ of Pilate. After prayers they moved on to the chapel marking the site of Calvary that also lay under Franciscan jurisdiction. There the friars had a handsome Christ ‘en bosse’ nailed to the cross. Father Joseph, a Spaniard, an excellent preacher and theologian according to Nau, then preached in Italian on the crucifixion of Christ in a manner that he describes as ‘spiritual and moving’. Then they put the cross in the hole of Calvary, while one friar supported it on his knees. The same father climbed on this sacred site and continued to preach for another hour just as powerfully. The pilgrims meanwhile listened, kneeling, with their heads bared. The two religious playing the roles of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus then carried the body removed from the cross and wrapped it in a shroud (‘suaire’) and there bathed him with myrrh and the other costly ‘liqueurs’ needed to embalm him, taken from enormous silver vases. This excerpt featured Franciscan priests, Catholic altars, and the performance of the rites associated with Latin Easter in the most sacred of the Holy Places. Later on in his description of Holy Thursday, Nau described the altar as ‘richly decorated’, and the priests and officiants dressed in the precious ‘gifts’ that the French crown had given to them. The Franciscan custos celebrated ‘pontificalement la Messe’ (in his episcopal role and wearing the robes of the office) accompanied by the priests and the majority of the Catholics of the country.71 ‘We were so full of joy to see them [Catholics] in such a grand number, but even more so to see them go to the holy table two by two, with an angelic modesty, and then retire with equal respect.’ Nau also mentioned the presence of a number of Armenians who could not hold back in their admiration for the Latin rite. Greeks were also there, he noted, and likely just as edified in their souls, but they regarded it all ‘coldly, and with even less veneration than the Turks’.72 71  Nau, Le voyage nouveau de la Terre-Sainte, pp. 481–6. He is likely referring to resident European merchants, who would have travelled to Jerusalem for Holy Week from Aleppo, Alexandria, and other nearby port cities. 72  Nau, Le voyage nouveau de la Terre-Sainte, p. 486. Nau’s description of the response of the Greek Orthodox should be taken with a grain of salt. The friars and the Greek Orthodox were engaged in intense

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  185 Nau’s narrative was typical of the seventeenth-century accounts in its more detailed description of the sights and sounds of Catholic worship in the Holy Places. It was important to him to mention that other Catholics were present (likely European merchants and local converts), and the places assigned to their worship in the basilica. The descriptions of Latin vestments and ornaments as well as the rituals themselves also rendered the Holy Places familiar to European Catholics. That the Armenians were moved by the experience was further indication of the legitimacy of the Catholic rites and the Catholic tradition. But even in the earlier account of Tressan, one notices a shared interest with Nau in embedding Catholic chapels, rituals, and ornamentation in the sanctifying authority of the Holy Land. In doing so, one might well argue that Catholic narratives were participating in a similar process of ‘re-rooting their faith’ described by Scott Hendrix.73 Whereas his Protestants turned back to the scriptures to ground their claims to Christian authenticity, Catholics grounded it in the very place that gave birth to Christ and witnessed the most important moments of the New Testament. This desire to ‘re-root’ gains further credibility when we note the intensification of Catholic engagement in the Holy Places after 1517, much of it in the form of material and political support for the preservation of Latin altars in the Holy Places.74 Surviving documents allow one to track the flow of large sums into the Custody from Spain, France, Venice, and other Catholic states from the middle of the sixteenth century. Spain was the single largest benefactor of the Custody from the fifteenth century, responsible, for example, for the restoration of the Dome of the Holy Sepulchre during the 1550s.75 The collection of alms for the Holy Land also became a much more centralized and far-reaching administration in Western Europe under the jurisdiction of the Observant friars during this time, funnelling large sums of money from European parishes along with other gifts in the form of building materials, skilled artisans, religious art, and liturgical objects.76 As a number of scholars including Adam Beaver have also noted, the Custody itself also became a critical site of imperial competition for Habsburg and Bourbon rulers alike from the sixteenth century.77 At the same time, miniature replicas of the Holy Sepulchre and other Holy Places travelled in vast competition during these decades for the control of important altars in the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. 73   Scott Hendrix, ‘Re-Rooting the Faith: The Reformation as Re-Christianization’, Church History 69 (2000): 558–77. 74  This broader scope of Catholic engagement is the focus of a forthcoming monograph: Megan C.  Armstrong, Going to the Source: The Holy Land, the Franciscans and the Reinvention of the Catholic Tradition, 1517–1700. 75   On Spanish patronage, see Adam Beaver, ‘A Holy Land for the Catholic Monarchy’, and Patrocinio Garcia Barriuso, España en la historia de Tierra Santa (Madrid, 1992), 2 vols. 76   On the organization of alms administration, see in particular Barriuso, España en la historia de Tierra Santa. Alms-gathering is discussed extensively in the registers of correspondence (scritti referiti) on the Custody in the Archives of the Propaganda Fide (AVPF) after 1622. 77   See in particular Beaver, ‘A Holy Land for the Catholic Monarchy’; Pierre Benoist, Le Père Joseph, l’eminense grise de Richelieu (Paris: Perrin, 2007); and Armstrong, Going to the Source, ch. 3.

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186  Megan C. Armstrong quantities across Europe and into the Atlantic world, providing material and thus spiritual contact with the real Holy Places.78 Finally, it is worth mentioning that while European pilgrims were travelling in fewer numbers to the Holy Land, the region proved to be a beacon for the new missionary orders emerging in Europe. By the end of the sixteenth century, the Jesuits and Capuchins in particular were carving out missionary ter­ri­tor­ies at the fringes of the Custody of the Holy Land and waging a systematic assault upon the jurisdiction of the Observant friars.79 The intensive nature of Catholic engagement in the Holy Land was not only a response to the criticisms of Protestant reformers. As I have discussed elsewhere, the conquest of the region by Ottomans in 1517 ratcheted up anxiety, especially in the immediate aftermath, about continuing access to the region. Moreover, the Custody was in dire need of financial support throughout the early modern period to fix dilapidated structures as well as to fund its many legal battles with the Greek Orthodox Church over jurisdiction over important altars in the Holy Places.80 The fact remains, even so, that Catholic monarchs and clerics, as well as ordinary Catholics, believed it was essential to protect a place for the Latin tradition in the Holy Places because it was here that Christ and the apostles still lived.

Conclusion As this chapter has argued, the antique Christian past of the Holy Land was a living history for early modern Europeans. It was a living history because it remained central to defining the character of the traditional Church as it responded to the divisive forces of reform. It was a living history, as well, because Christ lived on in the Holy Land, offering all Catholics continuing access to the very source of Christian perfection. Assuring devote Catholics of this belief helps to explain the increasingly descriptive character of many early modern pilgrimage treatises, which incorporated the sights and sounds of the mundane world and traced the material and historical vestiges of the apostolic past in the Holy Land. The insistence of these narratives on the presence of Christ in the place where he plied his early ministry speaks to the profound unease shared by many devout Catholics regarding Protestant criticism of the Holy Land pilgrimage. In disavowing its efficacy, Protestant critics were at the same time dislodging Christ and the apostles from the material world, denying their traditional 78   On the trade in Holy Land replicas see, for example, Jacob Norris, ‘Exporting the Holy Land: Artisans and Merchant Migrants in Ottoman-Era Bethlehem’, Mashriq & Mahjar 2 (2013): 14–40, and the forthcoming article of Karen Melvin, ‘The Travels of Il devoto peregrino: A Franciscan Holy Land Comes to New Spain’. 79   Bernard Heyberger, Les Chrétiens du Proche-Orient au temps de la Réforme Catholique (Rome: Ecole Française de Rome, 1994). 80   Megan  C.  Armstrong, ‘Spiritual Legitimization? Franciscan Competition over the Holy Land (1517–1700)’, in The Frontiers of Mission, edited by Alison Forrestal and Sean Smith (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 159–79. On the legal process, see Peri, Christianity under Islam in Jerusalem.

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Holy Land Pilgrimage Narratives  187 function as stable, tangible, and accessible reservoirs of spiritual wisdom and authority. When taken into consideration with the many other manifestations of Catholic interest in marking its presence in the Holy Land, however, the pilgrimage treatises studied here do more than illuminate fault lines of confessional belief vis-à-vis the sacred. They illuminate a changing Catholic tradition, one in which its material nature became an increasingly important marker of its identity after 1517. This argument receives further support from recent scholarship on Western Europe, suggested by the resurgence of local and long-distance pilgrimage in the late sixteenth century, the proliferation of new shrines, and the reconstruction of older ones destroyed during previous bouts of iconoclasm. It also helps to explain the renewed enthusiasm for the construction of Holy Land replicas in Catholic parts of Europe, and the vigorous circulation of pilgrimage mementoes produced in Bethlehem—a trade that by the sixteenth century centred the Holy Land and the Franciscan brothers of the Custody in an increasingly global Catholic trading network. A material conception of Catholicism also helps to explain why Western Europeans continued to thirst for first-hand accounts of the Holy Land pilgrimage, and also why, in these accounts, Catholic authors took pains to make Christ a palpable presence in the Holy Places. This particular observation about the material cast of the Catholic tradition speaks to one of the central objectives of this volume, namely to illuminate the formative, and indeed transformative, role played by the ancient near east in shaping the imaginations of early modern Europeans. For the Catholic authors of this study, this influence took the form of the apostolic past but in the material form of the Holy Land—a landscape that Eastern Christians as well as Western Catholics believed resonated with the sanctifying power of Christ and the apostles. To be sure, most Catholics could not go there in person, but readers of pilgrimage treatises understood that its authority remained accessible nonetheless, because the Catholic tradition was imbedded in its sanctifying power. Catholic authors affirmed this belief by describing a region filled with Catholic convents, chapels, liturgical rites, lavish gifts from European powers, and Catholic bodies engaged in worship. These conduits anchored the Catholic tradition in the place of Christ, ensuring the continuing flow of Christ’s wisdom and authority into the Western tradition. Thus, in the context of Reformation controversy (among other forces of change), the Holy Land saw its status both as a sacred destination and as a vessel of spiritual authority heighten, intensifying early modern Catholic perception of the region as the true ‘home’ of Catholic tradition and the source of its perfection. Such an interpretation provides further support to scholarship that considers an increasingly Christocentric nature of Western piety an important legacy of the Reformation controversies. At the very least, the reification of the Holy Land as a spiritual vessel in the treatises suggests that many Catholics, like the early Protestant reformers studied by Scott Hendrix, were rooting their contemporary claims to spiritual truth in the same antique Christian past, that of the life of Christ. Finally, perhaps what is most striking about the early

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188  Megan C. Armstrong modern pilgrimage treatises is the very present-ness of the ancient near east in the spirituality of early modern Catholics. Though living at a great distance from Jerusalem, devout Catholics still could see, touch, and experience the biblical past of the Holy Land through the detailed renderings of its important structures, spaces, and history found in early modern pilgrimage narratives.

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PA RT I I I

Refiguring Sources

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8 Richard Verstegan and the Symbol of Babylon in the Early Modern Period Deirdre Serjeantson

At the beginning of the early modern period, the city of Babylon was already an ancient ruin. So little remained of its original splendour that interested travellers, of whom there was a steadily increasing stream, had difficulty in identifying its location. Baghdad, some fifty miles to the north, was known as the New Babylon, which led many to search for the old city in its immediate vicinity. The ruins of Aqar Quf, complete with ziggurat, were visible on the plains west of Baghdad, and must have seemed an obvious location: among English travellers, John Eldred (The Voyage of M. John Eldred to Trypolis in Syria by Sea, 1583); John Cartwright (The Preacher’s Travels, 1611); and Sir Anthony Sherley (Sir Anthony Sherley his relation of his travels into Persia, 1613) all describe features which correspond with this settlement, rather than the true site. Others looked to Birs Nimrud, much closer to Babylon, and also containing the remains of a ziggurat. It was perhaps not until Pietro della Valle’s visit in 1616–17 that a westerner made accurate records of the remains of the ruined city.1 Despite the different locations at which they stood, these travellers, nonetheless, seem to have seen the same things. In ziggurats or great mounds of stone, they read the traces of the Tower of Babel; in the abandoned settlements, they perceived the destruction of Babylon promised by the prophets.2 Some writers followed the Bible with picturesque precision, like Heinrich Bünting, who reported that ‘within the ruines . . . there are found certaine Serpents very noisome and venemous about the bignes of a Lyzard, 1   For this early modern confusion about the location of Babylon, see Michael Seymour: ‘Babylon’, in Cities of God: The Bible and Archaeology in Nineteenth-Century Britain, edited by David Gange and Michael Ledger-Lomas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 164–98 (p. 167), and Babylon: Legend, History and the Ancient City (London: I. B. Tauris, 2014), pp. 83–96. 2   This process of reading the landscape through a filter of inherited texts and cultural memories was not unique to visitors to Babylon—see Ladan Niayesh’s nuanced discussion of travellers’ descriptions of Persepolis in this volume.

Deirdre Serjeantson, Richard Verstegan and the Symbol of Babylon in the Early Modern Period In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.009

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192  Deirdre Serjeantson having three heads’ (compare the Geneva version of Jeremiah 51.37: ‘And Babel shall be as heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.’ Serpents and dragons are regularly conflated in early modern translations, and three-headed serpents would certainly seem to constitute ‘an hissing’. Except in the case of the very hardiest of travellers, they would probably count as ‘an astonishment’ too).3 Other visitors, like Anthony Sherley, were less spectacular in their claims; however, he too perceived divine retribution at work. All the ground on which Babylon was spred, is left now desolate, nothing standing in that Peninsula, betweene the Euphrates and the Tigris, but onely part, and that a small part, of the great Tower; which God hath suffred to stand (if man may speake so confidently of his great impenetrable Counsels) for an eternall testimony of his great worke in the confusion of mans pride.4

That the biblical Babylon should have shaped early modern perceptions of these physical ruins is unsurprising: the most important Babylon of this period was a city of the imagination. There was a widespread interest in classical sources which attested to its history; however, these were employed chiefly to elucidate the vignettes of Babylon as it appeared in the Bible. Zur Shalev has noted the prevalent belief among theologians that ‘correct reading [of Scripture] must be based on correct geography’.5 The sites chosen for the performance of miracles, the distances travelled by disciples on their missionary journeys, the span of a city wall, could all contain crucial exegetical clues, as well as moral lessons. As R. B.’s preface to his translation of Bünting explains, It hath alwaies beene held a matter worth note (gentle Reader) even to the best Divines, to have the Typographicall description of the townes and places, as they are mentioned in the Scriptures; and so much the rather, because by comparing the actions of men with the beginnings and endings of Cities, they might the better understand the Prophets, and perceive the wonderfull providence of God.6

Thus early modern accounts of Babylon described the defensive walls, which Strabo said had been built by Semiramis and measured 385 stadia around, and they noted Pliny’s comments on the river Euphrates, which could bear ships into the middle of the city. The hundred gates, the trade in gold from India and Arabia, the distance from Jerusalem, were all measured and recorded to help contextualize the biblical references. These, in turn, were frequent. In Genesis, the city was traditionally identified with the Tower of Babel, symbol of mankind’s pride, which was punished by the scattering of 3   R. B. (trans.) Henry Bunting [Heinrich Bünting], Itinerarium Totius Sacrae Scripturae (London: Adam Islip, 1629), sig. R1. Bünting’s German text refers to ‘gifftige Thier’, i.e. poisonous beasts: ‘Serpents’ is the English translator’s own reading. For Bünting’s version, see his expanded second edition, Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae (Wittenberg: for Ambrosius Kirchner, 1587), p. 219. 4   Anthony Sherley, Sir Antony Sherley his Relation of his Travels into Persia (London, 1613), sigs D3r–v. 5   Zur Shalev, Sacred Words and Worlds: Geography, Religion, and Scholarship, 1550–1700 (Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2012), p. 8. 6  R. B., Itinerarium, sig. ¶4.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  193 the nations and the confusion of language. Through many of the historical and prophetic books of the Old Testament, Babylon is the destroyer of Jerusalem, and the site of the Jewish captivity, as lamented in Psalm 137, Super flumina Babylonis (By the rivers of Babylon).7 It reappears ultimately in the Book of Revelation personified in the harlot and enmeshed in images of luxury and corruption. These visions of Babylon provided European writers with a resonant and ubiquitous set of metaphors. Their symbolic power was to make an ancient ruin into one of the most vital cities of the early modern period. Sometimes the name of Babylon appears in sixteenth- or seventeenth-century literature merely to gesture towards a sense of the exotic wealth of the east. In Thomas Dekker’s Old Fortunatus (1599), for instance, we hear a description of its armory, in which ‘ten hundred thousand’ corselets of pure gold await the Soldan’s fighting men, and magical silver doves produce music as they fly.8 Elsewhere its role is at least partly historical, as when Marlowe’s Tamburlaine lays siege to its walls, just as Timur did (although to Baghdad) in 1401.9 The most potent aspects of Babylon, however, did more than merely offer a name to conjure with: instead, they generated entire literatures. In an age when religious exile became a commonplace, and psalm translation was one of the most popular poetic practices, lamentations by the waters of Babylon form a literary sub-genre of their own. The figure of the Whore of Babylon in early modern Protestant writing has been much studied, but her many appearances, in broadsheet and sermon and play, are too numerous to catalogue. The Tower of Babel spanned both religious and philosophical scholarship across Europe. The decline of the once-mighty empire was contemplated by historians and moralists, but also advertised as an opportunity for western merchants.10 Nor was its impact confined to the written word: Babylon was also a popular subject in art, from cheap woodcuts of the Whore on her seven-headed beast, to the scholarly archaeological drawings in Athanasius Kircher’s Turris Babel (1679). Babylon, therefore, is a complex symbol which could be drawn on by artists and thinkers engaged in very disparate areas of thought, from philosophy of language to religious corruption. In some cases, these themes overlap within the work of a single author. This is the case with Richard Verstegan (1548/50–1640)—the recusant, printer, engraver, intelligencer, polemicist, scholar, writer, and merchant—whose wide-ranging 7   For the sake of clarity, I note that Ps. 137 appears in the Vulgate as Ps. 136, and that Catholic authors generally adhere to the latter system of numbering. 8   Thomas Dekker, The Pleasant Comedie of Old Fortunatus (London, 1600), sigs D1v–D2. Babylon is not alone in having achieved a certain flexibility of meaning: Galena Hashhozheva’s discussion, in this volume, of the manner in which the concept of the Scythian was utilized by early modern authors unearths a similar range of meanings. 9   However, see Per Sivefors, ‘Conflating Babel and Babylon in Tamburlaine 2’, Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 52 (2012): 293–323, for an analysis of Babel as a political and religious symbol in the play. 10   For a full discussion of Babylon in respect of both the ubi sunt tradition and the opportunity Asia presented to European traders, see chapter 2 of John Michael Archer, Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India, and Russia in Early Modern English Writing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001).

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194  Deirdre Serjeantson

Figure 8.1  Babylon, from title page, Richard Verstegan, A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605). Reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge.

interests over an exceptionally long career kept bringing him back to the image of Babylon (Figure 8.1). He was born in London as Richard Rowlands.11 Verstegan was the name of his grandfather, a Dutch immigrant to England in the wake of war in Guelders in 1510; his grandson seems to have adopted it as a nom de guerre when forced to fly the country in 1582, after printing Thomas Alfield’s A true reporte of the death & martyrdome of M. Campion Jesuite, a tribute to the recently executed Edmund Campion. Over the next sixty years of his exile, he would produce thirty-two further texts and translations, collaborate on at least four more books, and see about twenty others through the printing press.12 Across this substantial bibliography, Babylon is a constant theme. Verstegan was not alone in his interest in the city: Edmund Spenser, for instance, revisited the image of Babylon from his schoolboy translations in Jan van der Noot’s Theatre for Worldlings (1569) to his mature works, most notably Book I of The Faerie Queene (1590), and the example above from Dekker’s Old Fortunatus 11   I am indebted for my biographical information about Verstegan to Paul Arblaster, both for his ODNB life, and his important biography of Verstegan: Antwerp and the World: Richard Verstegan and the International Culture of Catholic Reformation (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2004). 12   A. G. Petti, ‘A Bibliography of the Writings of Richard Verstegan (c. 1550–1641)’, Recusant History 7 (1963): 82–103.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  195 represents only a fraction of the playwright’s treatments of the theme. Nonetheless, Verstegan is unusual for the sheer scope of his writing—scholarly, literary, religious— and for the many facets of Babylon which appear therein. Spenser’s approach to Babylon partakes in the anti-Catholic tradition in early modern writing, and, in particular, he draws on that period’s reinterpretation of Petrarch’s so-called ‘Babylon’ sonnets to marry polemic and poetic form.13 To this, Dekker adds an interest in the decadence and wealth of the lost city. Later, John Milton was to characterize the mid-seventeenth century’s renewed factionalism and the disputes over language in his writings about a Babylon which was sometimes Catholic or Laudian, and sometimes royalist, but which always represented a political evil.14 Verstegan, perhaps because he lived so long, perhaps because his Catholicism and his continental exile put him at odds with the mainstream of writing in English, combined in one career all of these elements, and more. He was well known in his own time, satirized in popular London broadsides, cited in texts on language, and appearing next to William Allen and Robert Bellarmine in Matthew Sutcliffe’s 1592 list of dangerous Catholics.15 If he is now something of a shadowy figure, it is in part due to the multilingual nature of his works (English, Latin, French, Dutch) and to his situation in Antwerp, both of which have tended to exclude him in the past from general accounts of early modern English writers. The multifarious nature of his output has also made him difficult to classify: he is typically remembered by critics under different headings in separate fields of enquiry. For instance, within a few years of leaving England he was established in Antwerp, and the works he produced there, both as author and as intelligence agent for Robert Persons, have been widely discussed in recent studies of recusant history—especially the Theatrum crudelitatum haereticorum (1587), a riposte to Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, for which Verstegan provided both the text and the lurid images of Catholic martyrdom.16 His Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605) is still regarded as a significant work of antiquarianism and as a landmark in the study of Anglo-Saxon,17 and his English 13   For an account of Petrarch’s Canzoniere 136–9 in anti-Catholic polemic see Deirdre Serjeantson, ‘Milton and the Tradition of Protestant Petrarchism’, Review of English Studies 65 (2014): 831–52. 14   Sharon Achinstein, Milton and the Revolutionary Reader (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), especially ch. 2: ‘Royalist Reactions: John Cleveland, Babel, and the Divine Right of Language’. 15  G. W. P. S., To the Most Irreverend Pope (London?: mid-1590s): this set of verses also avails of the image of Babylon to criticize the Pope’s temporal power. For the scholars, see for instance John Brinsley, Calendar-Reformation (London: Francis Neile, 1648), sig. A2v, and n. 21 below. The Sutcliffe reference is noted in Arblaster, Antwerp and the World, p. 44. 16  For the Theatrum, see A.  G.  Petti, ‘Richard Verstegan and Catholic Martyrologies of the Later Elizabethan Period’, Recusant History 5 (1959): 64–90; Anne Dillon, Constructions of Martyrdom in the English Catholic Community, 1535–1603 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002); Christopher Highley, ‘Richard Verstegen’s Book of Martyrs’, in John Foxe and His World, edited by Christopher Highley and John N. King (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 183–97. For Verstegan’s role in recusant politics, see references in Michael Questier, Stuart Dynastic Policy and Religious Politics, 1621–1625 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Christopher Highley, Catholics Writing the Nation in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). 17   Richard  W.  Clement, ‘Richard Verstegan’s Reinvention of Anglo-Saxon England: A Contribution from the Continent’, in Reinventing the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, edited by William F. Gentrup

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196  Deirdre Serjeantson translations for Otto Vaenius’ Amorum emblemata (1608) continue to be discussed among students of the emblem.18 Only recently have two books attempted to take a coherent view of his varied output: Paul Arblaster’s biography, Antwerp and the World (2004), and a collection of essays, Richard Rowlands Verstegan: A Versatile Man in an Age of Turmoil (2012), edited by Romana Zacchi and Massimiliano Morini.19 Zacchi and Morini have called Verstegan’s career ‘a mirror of its times’ for its variety and range; but it is also a mirror that reflects the multiple facets of Babylon as that city appears in early modern writing.20 For the rest of this chapter, I propose to use Verstegan’s work— religious polemic, linguistic scholarship, and travel writing—as the glass in which can be seen, in parvo, Babylon in all its manifestations across the period as a whole.

The Tower I: Language Verstegan’s account of the story of Babel in the opening pages of the Restitution of Decayed Intelligence marries the biblical account with a series of commentaries and traditions about the text. Genesis 11 provides the bones of the story: that after the Flood, the world contained one nation, united by a single language; that the people of this nation built a tower, which God saw as a sign of their disobedience, and he punished them by confounding their language so that they could not understand each other’s speech. In the subsequent disorder, they abandoned the tower and left to form new communities, scattered across the world. Further details in Verstegan’s retelling come from other sources. From the first-century Jewish historian Josephus he took the idea that the tower was built at the behest of Nimrod, grandson of Noah, who was leading the people in a rebellion against God by refusing his command to disperse and populate the earth. From Philo of Alexandria he took the number of Noah’s progeny (24,000 men ‘besydes wome[n] and children’, A1v). Verstegan also refers to other, unnamed, authorities: ‘as by some wryters is declared’; ‘some authors’; ‘some ancient authors’ (A2v–A3r). There was no shortage of sources available to him, but it seems likely that one of the texts he employed was Augustine’s highly influential De Civitate (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), pp. 19–36; Jacques Lezra, ‘Nationum Origo’, in Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation, edited by Sandra Bermann and Michael Wood (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), pp. 203–28; and the work is contextualized in Christopher Highley, ‘ “A Pestilent and Seditious Book”: Nicholas Sander’s Schismatis Anglicani and Catholic Histories of the Reformation’, in The Uses of History in Early Modern England, edited by Paulina Kewes (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 2006), pp. 147–68. 18   Donna B. Hamilton, ‘Richard Verstegan and Catholic Resistance: The Encoding of Antiquarianism and Love’, in Theatre and Religion: Lancastrian Shakespeare, edited by Richard Dutton, Alison Findlay, and Richard Wilson (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), pp. 87–104; Tina Montone, ‘ “What after Nature Liues, Liues Subject Unto Mee”: Richard Verstegan and Otto Van Veen’s Emblems of Love (1608)’, in Richard Rowlands Verstegan, edited by Romana Zacchi and Massimiliano Morini (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012), pp. 133–78. 19  Arblaster, Antwerp and the World; R.  Zacchi and M.  Morini (eds.), Richard Rowlands Verstegan (Turnhout: Brepols, 2012). 20   See the editors’ introduction to Richard Rowlands Verstegan, p. xxi.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  197 Dei, which established a paradigmatic distinction between the worldly city of Babylon and the heavenly city of Jerusalem. Like Augustine, Verstegan offers his reader an alternative edifice to offset Babel, but in his case the second tower is a vision of England: And heer leaving this towre, by these new-languaged masons thus left unfinished, I must among them begin to lay the foundatio[n] of another buylding upon which the noble & ­honorable English name and nation must afterward bee erected.  (A3)

This new building is ostensibly made of the Anglo-Saxon language, which is Verstegan’s most immediate subject; however, it will emerge as a political structure, shored up by Saxon legal institutions as much as by their vocabulary. The Restitution has long been valued as a work of antiquarianism: Clement has suggested that the engravings, including Verstegan’s images of pagan gods like Woden and Thor, were particularly well received.21 The extensive dictionary of Anglo-Saxon words which occupies roughly half the text was, to judge by citations in seventeenth-century glossaries, widely read in its own period, and it continues to command respect today.22 Both of these elements, antiquarian and linguistic, are essential to support the central thesis of the book, which is that the English are descended, not from the survivors of the fall of Troy—or, as Verstegan had it, ‘the poore miserable fugitives of a destroyed citie’ (M3v–M4)—but that they are in fact a Teutonic race. This argument runs counter to the Trojan origin story as it was popularly received in early modern England, and recounted by writers from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edmund Spenser. To make his controversial case, Verstegan drew on geological arguments, on classical history, on the fact of a shared pagan pantheon, and primarily, on the linguistic features which united English with the Germanic tongues. After the fall of Babel, its people divided into seventy-two linguistically defined nations, and then dispersed. The account given by Pseudo-Berosos relates that Tuisco, the great-grandson of Japhet, and great-great-grandson of Noah, was the progenitor of the Teutons, and Verstegan argues that the similarities between Anglo-Saxon and various Germanic languages, including Dutch, prove that the English belonged to the same Babylonian tribe. This can still be seen: It is not lo[n]g since that an Englishman travailing by wagon in West-Flanders, and hearing the wagoner to call unto his man and say, De string is losse / bind de string aen de wagen vast. presently understood him as yf hee had said, The string is loose / bynd the string on the wagon fast / and weening the follow to have bin some English clown, spake unto him in English. (2B3v–2B4) 21   See Clement, ‘Richard Verstegan’s Reinvention of Anglo-Saxon England’, p. 33, for reference to the engravings in Anthony à Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1691) and William Nicholson, English Historical Library (1697). 22  For contemporary references to Verstegan on the history of language see, for example, Thomas Blount, Glossographia (London, 1656), sig. F3. For the quality of Verstegan’s linguistic scholarship see John Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe: Lexicography and the Making of Heritage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), p. 190.

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198  Deirdre Serjeantson This particular family of languages, moreover, is of great antiquity, to the extent that it can be shown to originate at Babel: That this language is in deed so ancient, is . . . prooved by a tradition in thesaid toung immediately caused at the towre of Babel, and ever since therein continued even unto this day . . . It is this, when it hapneth that any one chanceth to speak confusedly or vainely, without sence or from the purpose, wee say unto him What Babel you? or by mispronountiation, what bable you? which beeing by our first ancesters brought in use, upon thesaid confusion, whyle yet it remayned among them fresh in memories, was as much among them as to say, as what confuse you, or what do you by imitating them of such a place where such confusion was?  (2Av–2A3)

This concern with the origins and antiquity of languages was shared by Verstegan’s contemporaries, and in many cases the Tower of Babel framed their approach to the topic. It marked a moment of rupture between what was conjectured to be a language closely related to the tongue spoken in Eden and the plurality of languages as they existed in the modern world. In most cases, plurality was read as a loss. The Restitution appeared in the same year, for instance, as Francis Bacon’s Advancement of Learning, and shared its interest in Babel and its consequences. For Bacon, the events of Genesis 11 represented a tremendous loss in terms of mankind’s intellectual development: [T]he first Acts which man perfourmed in Paradise, consisted of the two summarie parts of knowledge, the view of Creatures, and the imposition of names . . . In the age after the Floud, the first great iudgement of God vppon the ambition of man, was the confusion of tongues; whereby the open Trade and intercourse of Learning and knowledge, was chiefely imbarred.23

That the original language of Eden represented a perfect match of word and object was a commonplace of theological commentary.24 The theory maintained that this connection had been severed with the confusion of language at Babel, and that afterwards the relationship between word and idea had become purely arbitrary. Some theologians, like Martin Luther, felt this problem had been resolved with the gift of tongues at Pentecost, but for most the barrier of language remained an insuperable obstacle to the free exchange of ideas and—as many took care to emphasize in the prefaces to their works—the propagation of the gospel in the new world.25 Hebrew was conjectured to be closest to Adam’s language, and was studied for clues it might contain about the nature of the perfect human tongue; the alternative was to devise a new ‘philosophical’ or ‘artificial’ language, designed to be universally comprehensible. This endeavour attracted some of the greatest minds of the seventeenth century: Robert Boyle, Jon Amos Comenius, Samuel Hartlib, and John Wilkins all contributed to the project, 23   Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, edited by Michael Kiernan, The Oxford Francis Bacon, Vol. 4 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), p. 34. 24   Although scholars differed in their sense of the ways in which Adamic language matched word with object: see Rhodri Lewis, Language, Mind and Nature: Artificial Languages in England from Bacon to Locke (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 17–19, for an account of Bacon’s unorthodox take on the subject. 25   E.g. Cave Beck, The Universal Character (London: for William Weekley, 1657), sigs A7r–v.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  199 suggesting new alphabets, pictograms, and hieroglyphics in which to communicate, or working towards a great taxonomy of the natural world which could then be codified in words. In his Polygraphia nova et universalis (1663) Athanasius Kircher even canvassed the possibility of translation machines which would process any given language and turn it into another, although he regrettably failed to provide information as to how this function was to be achieved.26 These projects were almost invariably framed in terms of repairing the damage done at Babylon. The laudatory poems in Cave Beck’s Universal Character (1657) are typical in this respect: one contributor discusses the problems of language in terms of ‘Babels Curse’ (B3r); another refers to Beck’s numerical system as apt to ‘make our hand officious to help out, / Of tongues confusion, made at Babels rout’ (A5r); a third claims that Beck’s system results in ‘Babel reversed’ (A6r).27 Some scholars went as far as envisaging another tower to counter the first. When Bacon depicted man’s struggle against ‘the seconde generall Curse (which was the confusion of Tongues)’ he noted that the solution lay in ‘the Art of GRAMMAR’.28 It may be that in the hinterland of his imagery lay a picture of the Tower of Grammar. The humanist struggle against the consequences of Babel predates the project of an artificial language: earlier in the sixteenth century, endeavours to systematize the study of existing languages were also conceived as redeeming the confusion of language more generally. This found visual representation in a series of towers consisting of elements with labels like ‘praepositio’, ‘conjunctio’, ‘adverbium’, and so on. Sometimes, as in Gregor Reisch’s 1517 image in the Margarita Philosophia, the tower represents knowledge, with Grammar guiding the scholar through the door; sometimes, as in Heinrich Vogtherr and Valentinus Boltz’s 1548 depiction, the tower consists entirely of language in its most orderly and ­hierarchical form. In both cases, the pictorial symbolism acts as a refutation of Babel: whereas Babel is always shown in the process of being built, the towers of grammar are perfectly finished, serene, and populated by virtuous men, from Peter Lombard and Aristotle to a well-behaved set of scholars and kings—a stark contrast to the tyrannical figure of Nimrod overseeing his labourers, who appears in so many images of Babel.29 Nimrod is absent from the title-page illustration of the Tower of Babel in the Restitution; he may, however, be the key to interpreting Verstegan’s use of that myth, which transpires to be not solely concerned with linguistic issues. Throughout the book, Verstegan shows himself to be less involved than his contemporaries with the loss represented by the confusion of tongues. He is keen to show himself involved in 26   Jonathan Sawday, ‘The Fortunes of Babel: Technology, History, and Genesis 11.1–9’, in The Word and the World: Biblical Exegesis and Early Modern Science, edited by Kevin Killeen and Peter  J.  Forshaw (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp. 191–214 (p. 192). 27   See similar examples in Jim Bennett and Scott Mandelbrote, The Garden, the Ark, the Tower, the Temple: Biblical Metaphors of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (Oxford: Museum of Science with Bodleian Library, 1998), pp. 103–34. 28  Bacon, Advancement of Learning, p. 121. 29   This tradition is discussed in Irene Mittelberg, ‘The Visual Memory of Grammar: Iconographical and Metaphorical Insights’, metaphorik.de 2 (2002): 69–89.

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200  Deirdre Serjeantson the same learned debates—he depicts himself, for instance, discussing theories of Adamic language with the cartographer and Anglo-Saxon scholar Abraham Ortelius, and contemplating the works of Johannes Goropius Becanus, who argued that Dutch was the language spoken in Eden (2A3v–2A4).30 Verstegan dismisses the idea, but refers to his conversations with ‘the excellent learned ma[n] M. Justus Lipsius’ to confirm his own arguments about the status of the Teutonic tongue as one of the most ancient languages in the world (C3). Lipsius, he notes, ‘I also founde to concurr with mee in opinion.’31 It seems that Verstegan wished to be taken seriously as a scholar; nonetheless, for him Babel was not the great disaster it represented for Bacon and his followers. Rather, it was something of a felix culpa, because it was the origin of the English nation, to which Verstegan’s linguistic arguments are subordinate. The disposition of the modern nation is Verstegan’s true subject, and to carry this point he invokes another set of meanings current in early modern interpretations of Babylon: that is, issues of rule and tyranny, exemplified in the figure of Nimrod.

The Tower II: Tyranny The Restitution is dedicated to James VI and I, and regularly protests its high esteem both for his royal ancestry and for England as a whole. And yet, even in the process of praise, Verstegan is busily dismantling national myth. Donna Hamilton’s two excellent essays on the Restitution uncover definitively the Catholic agenda at work in the text, which undermines the account of England’s past as it had been systematically established in the sixteenth century by a series of state-sanctioned historians like John Foxe, John Leland, and Matthew Parker.32 These men had presented a narrative of England’s past calculated to support royal authority and the longue durée account of Christianity in England. In this version, the monarch’s authority descended through the Trojan Brutus and the British Arthur, and the Christianization of England had taken place without Rome’s intervention. They insisted, instead, that the conversion had occurred shortly after the death of Christ, under the auspices of Joseph of Arimathea, rather than via the sixth-century mission of St Augustine—who had, significantly, been dispatched to England by the Pope. Verstegan reinstated Augustine as apostle to the English, and commemorated his arrival with an engraving showing tonsured monks being received by the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelbert of Kent, and with a description of a ceremony which sounds unequivocally Catholic: ‘These religious fathers . . . carrying before them in place of a banner, a crosse of silver, and the image of our saviour painted 30   For Ortelius’ interest in Anglo-Saxon, see Clement, ‘Richard Verstegan’s Reinvention of Anglo-Saxon England’, pp. 26–7 and Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe, pp. 169–71. 31   For a full account of the theories of Goropius, and for Lipsius’ contribution to the study of language, see Considine, Dictionaries in Early Modern Europe, ch. 4. 32   Donna  B.  Hamilton, ‘Richard Verstegan’s A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605): A Catholic Antiquarian Replies to John Foxe, Thomas Cooper, and Jean Bodin’, Prose Studies 22 (1999): 1–38, and ‘Richard Verstegan and Catholic Resistance’.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  201 in a table, with invocating almightie God in singing the litanies approached unto the kings presence’ (S4v). They are, moreover, heard by a king who might not immediately share their faith, but who, in a turn of phrase surely calculated to resonate for the early modern reader, ‘freely licensed them to preach’ (T1r–v). By 1605 English recusants would have given up hope that the new king would declare for Rome; they might, however, still have looked for freedom of religion, including licence to preach. The Restitution should certainly be seen as a strong hint to James about historical precedent for this line of action. As Hamilton has shown, there are further Catholic subtexts encoded into the long wordlists of Anglo-Saxon place names and personal names—the glosses provided by Verstegan show a strong tendency to inscribe a confessional identity into the landscape and people of England. Perhaps the most political aspect of all, however, turns on another aspect of the early modern conception of Babylon. Generations of commentators had established the story of the Tower of Babel as about more than the issues of language which Verstegan discusses so openly in his text. The Restitution refers ­frequently to the writings of Isidore of Seville, so it seems likely that Verstegan knew the section of his Etymologies which glossed the name of the man traditionally held to be the first instigator of the tower: ‘Nimrod’, says Isidore, ‘means “tyrant”, for first he seized unwonted tyrannical power among the people, and then himself advanced against God to build the tower of impiety.’33 This was a reading which endured. In his 1554 commentary on Genesis, Calvin called Nimrod ‘the first Tyrant and authour of tyrannie’, and Juan Luis de Vives made a similar point in his influential commentary on Augustine’s De Civitate Dei (1522).34 Where Augustine had condemned Nimrod as ‘a hunter against God’, Vives elaborated: Josephus writeth that Nimrod first taught mankinde to injure GOD, and to grow proud against him: for being wondrous valiant, he perswaded them that they might thanke themselves, and not God, for any good that befell them. And so ordeined he himselfe a soverainty, and to provide that God should not subvert it, fell a building of this tower, to resist a second deluge if God should be offended. And the multitude held it a lesse matter to serve man then God: and so obeying Nimrod willingly began to build this huge tower . . .35

These commentaries are not just a condemnation of Nimrod’s violence and ambition: they also serve to place him in a political context. Augustine had seen the separation of languages as a divine intervention to confound Nimrod’s command of his people; in the sixteenth century, Calvin took up the theme of Nimrod’s tyranny to discuss how God instead favours ‘moderate governement’, in which ‘if any had the preeminence 33   The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville, edited by Stephen A. Barney, W. J. Lewis, J. A. Beach, and Oliver Berghof (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), VII.vi.22, p. 163. 34   For Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis (1554) see A Commentarie of John Caluine, upon the First Booke of Moses Called Genesis: Translated out of Latine into English, by Thomas Tymme, Minister (London: for John Harrison and George Bishop, 1578), p. 241. 35   Quotations are taken from the first English translation of Civitate Dei, Of the Citie of God: With the Learned Comments of Jo. Lod. Vives, Englished by J. H. [i.e. John Healey] (London, 1610), sig. 3D1v.

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202  Deirdre Serjeantson over others . . . neither tooke they unto them any kingly authoritie, but . . . had more authoritie then power’ (pp. 240–1). Nimrod, in other words, was one of the biblical exempla ready to be invoked in early modern discussion of the rights of kings, and by extension, in the highly charged debates around resistance theory. In this connection, he has been much studied in relation to Milton’s Paradise Lost—he appears in the poem as a nameless rebel building towers at the mouth of hell (12.24ff.). Critics continue to debate whether he functions to criticize the Commonwealth, or the king, or Cromwell’s actions in Ireland.36 In the meantime Nimrod was equally available to Catholic readers, to serve their purposes and express their concerns, and among these readers were several of Verstegan’s close acquaintance. The Restitution indicates Verstegan’s awareness of Nimrod’s place in this debate. He draws on the commentary tradition (rather than the biblical text) to present him as a tyrant: ‘Nemroth (who was a man of great stature strength and high mynd) . . . began upon promise of defence and protection, the first domination over others’ (A2v). This issue of domination had been a pressing concern earlier in Verstegan’s career, when he had collaborated with Robert Persons and others on A Conference about the Next Succession to the Crowne of Ingland Divided into Two Partes (1595), popularly known as Doleman’s Conference.37 This sets up a series of alternative candidates for the throne of England, and presents them in the context of a critique of absolute monarchies. Kings, Persons shows from historical precedents, derive their power from the people, who can—crucially—depose them if they overstep their limits, for example in respect of religious practice. Doleman’s Conference is perhaps the most rigorous English Catholic contribution to resistance theory, and Hamilton has argued powerfully that, although the Restitution represents itself as an uncontroversial text, its historical sources and narrative ‘duplicated Parsons’ emphasis and so implicitly his arguments regarding monarchy’.38 Verstegan’s marshalling of the facts might be more subtle, but both texts invoke the same Babylonian imagery. When Doleman’s Conference comes to discuss tyrannical kings, ‘Babilon’ is prominent among the nations ‘whos manner of government, not only Historiographers, but Philosophers also . . . doth note to have bin very tyrannical’; and Nimrod is described among the ‘ancient and first tyrantes’.39 The engraving of the tower on the title page of the Restitution sits well with contemporary debates about language, but it also serves to recall the sharp edge of Persons’s arguments, and this is an impression which is strengthened as Verstegan develops his thesis. His second tower—the tower of the English ‘name and nation’—is ostensibly concerned with constructing a true account of the origins of the English. However, early modern 36   See for example Elizabeth Sauer, Barbarous Dissonance and Images of Voice in Milton’s Epics (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996), ch. 1; Eric B. Song, Dominion Undeserved: Milton and the Perils of Creation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013). 37  ‘R.  Doleman’ [William Allen, Robert Persons, Richard Verstegan, and Francis Englefield], A Conference about the Next Succession to the Crowne of Ingland (Antwerp: A. Conincz, 1595). 38   Hamilton, ‘Richard Verstegan’s A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence’, p. 12. 39  ‘Doleman’, Conference, fol. 70; fol. 83.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  203 readings of Nimrod also serve to politicize the image. The new tower is shown to be erected on the solid historical foundation of an Anglo-Saxon monarchy elected by common assent, and is offered as such to James I, along with the Anglo-Saxon pedigree sketched here for him. Should he refuse it (and his defence of absolute kingship in his Trew law of free monarchies (1598) suggests he might) the implication of Verstegan’s text is that he risks being another Nimrod, hated by God, and at risk of legitimate overthrow by men. For all the book’s polite assumption of scholarly disinterest, the issues invoked by the Tower of Babel make the Restitution into a threatening read for the work’s royal dedicatee.

The Harlot James VI and I was far from the only king to be compared to Nimrod in this period. Shortly after the defeat of the Armada off the English coast, a small volume appeared from the press of John Wolfe. This was a translation of a Spanish report on the state of its navy before the beginning of the campaign—the translator, Daniel Archdeacon, introduced his English version of this text with a preface consisting of his own, mocking, commentary on Spanish pride. In these opening pages, he likens Philip II to Nimrod and his lofty warships to so many floating ‘Babel towers’.40 It is clear that the reference here takes in Nimrod as tyrant, and the Tower of Babel as a symbol of worldly ambition; however, there is also a strong confessional element to Archdeacon’s choice of epithet. For the early modern Protestant, both Nimrod and his city were symbols of Catholic heresy. In the wake of his disobedience to the true God, Nimrod had led his followers away from Babylon, and introduced to them the idolatrous worship of fire. Nimrod’s city was even more strongly coloured with the tints of false religion, because the Book of Revelation 17–18, as read by Protestant reformers, identified the Whore of Babylon firmly with the Catholic Church. In their efforts to refute this charge, early modern Catholics also found themselves involved in a religious polemic that circled the idea of Babylon. The obscure symbolism of Revelation, with its image of the woman mounted on the seven-headed beast, drinking the blood of the martyrs, and the references to seven kings and seven mountains, and ten horns and a further ten kings, had exercised exegetes well before the sixteenth century. It had long been aligned with Rome: the seven mountains were read as the seven hills of that city, and the comparison was traditionally explained as a reference to the Roman empire’s persecution of early Christians. The new context of the Reformation offered a set of correspondences between Babylon and the Roman Church which proved irresistible to Protestants.41 40   Daniel Archdeacon, A True Discourse of the Armie which the King of Spaine caused to bee assembled in the haven of Lisbon (London: John Wolfe, 1588), p. 8. 41   See Paul Christianson, Reformers and Babylon: Apocalyptic Visions from the Reformation to the Eve of the Civil War (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978).

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204  Deirdre Serjeantson Martin Luther’s 1520 treatise On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church proffered the identification of Catholicism with Babylon, and this rapidly became one of the most consistent tropes of Protestant writing. John Bale’s 1545 Image of Both Churches, an extensive commentary on the Book of Revelation, rigorously applied the same interpretation to the New Testament text, and the Geneva Bible’s marginal notes fixed it for a general readership: ‘The woman is the Antichrist, that is, the Pope with the whole bodie of his filthie creatures.’ The details were a straightforward match. The worldly power of the Church fed into the description of the Whore’s rule over the kings of the earth; the vestments and ornate chalices of the Catholic Church mapped readily on to her rich robes and cup of abominations; and the likeness was underscored by popular illustrations showing the Whore of Babylon wearing the Pope’s triple tiara, and surrounded by men in bishops’ mitres and cardinals’ robes. The sensational nature of this reading of Revelation is perhaps one of the reasons it took such firm hold in the Protestant literary imagination. John Bale suggests in his Scriptorum Illustriu[m] Maioris Brytannie that the young Edward VI was an early adopter of the conceit, claiming for the young king the authorship of a (lost) play entitled De meretrice Babylonica (The Whore of Babylon).42 Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy (c.1587) engages explicitly with Babel in the multilingual chaos of its play-within-a-play, but its setting in a corrupt and Catholic court invites the reader to perceive the lineaments of the Whore of Babylon in Spain, that enemy of England and ally of the Pope.43 Dekker’s The Whore of Babylon (1606) is explicitly an Armada text: its dramatis personae features ‘Titania, the Fairie Queene: under whom is figured our late Queene Elizabeth’, who must protect her realm from the Empress of Babylon and her flotilla of ships. In Dekker’s case, the Armada is a way of dramatizing the Catholic threat in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot, and although the imagery of the Whore of Babylon was regularly applied to Spain after 1588, it was also a commonplace of Protestant culture more generally. Throughout the early modern period, the Pope, the Catholic Church, the Mass, and even the Virgin Mary would all—across an extensive body of texts—be identified with the scarlet woman of Revelation.44 These paths in the imagination were so well beaten that even the depiction of a woman painting her face—as in, say, Barnabe Barnes’s The Divils Charter (1607)—was enough to lead an audience via the topic of harlotry to a condemnation of the Pope. Catholic responses to this strand of early modern Babylonian imagery resorted in the first instance to explanation and rebuttal. The commentary appended to Revelation 17 in the 1582 Rheims New Testament acknowledges the Protestant definitions in circulation, and accepts that there is a long tradition of associating Babylon with Rome in respect of this text: ‘This great whoore sometime signifieth Rome, specially which at   John Bale, Scriptorum Illustriu[m] Maioris Brytannie . . . Catalogus (Basle, 1557–9), p. 674.  See Frank Ardolino, ‘ “Now Shall I See the Fall of Babylon”: The Spanish Tragedy as Protestant Apocalypse’, The Shakespeare Yearbook 1 (1990): 93–115. 44   For the Virgin Mary as Whore of Babylon, see Frances Dolan, Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender and Seventeenth-Century Print Culture (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999), p. 30. 42 43

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  205 that time when the Apostle wrote this, did persecute the Church of God, but otherwise it signifieth the whole citie of the Divil, that is, the universal corps of the reprobate.’45 Literary responses demonstrated a similar refusal to accept the premises of the Protestant argument. Anthony Copley’s A Fig for Fortune (1596) is an early response to Spenser, reworking Book 1 of The Faerie Queene from a Catholic perspective. For Copley, the horror of the Whore of Babylon is precisely her lack of those accoutrements of ceremony which were decried in Protestant accounts: She had no altar, nor no sacrament, No ceremony, nor oblation; Her school was cavil and truthless babblement, Riot her reign, her end damnation. This was the haggard Whore of Babylon, Whose cup envenomed all that drunk thereon.46

This is an obvious hit at Spenser’s Duessa, so apparently (but falsely) beautiful, so splendidly dressed, and so enmeshed in idolatrous imagery that she takes the sevenheaded beast as her mount. His reference to ‘babblement’ strikes at another charge associated with Babylon and frequently levelled against Catholics in the period. Senseless babbling in the manner of Babel is often linked by the reformers with Catholic prayer in Latin. A Salisbury Lollard in the 1440s was recorded as saying that it was ‘no better for laymen to say the pater noster in Latin than to say “bibull babull” ’; by the sixteenth century, babbling in the Mass and over the rosary was a common trope.47 This conflation of the two strands of the Babylon myth—Whore of Babylon and linguistic confusion—is where Verstegan enters the fray. He engaged directly in his work with the figure of the harlot, but his most sustained response to the use of Babylon in polemical literature comes via language and its ramifications. Just as the imagery of Revelation 17 corresponded neatly with Protestant concerns, so the Tower of Babel was a potent tool in the hands of Catholic polemicists. The separation of one nation into many was received as an image of schism; coupled with Nimrod’s reputation for worshipping false gods, it provided a means of condemning the multiplicity of Protestant churches. The Rheims-Douai Bible emphasizes the heresy at stake—in the commentary on Genesis 11, the editors stated, ‘Here we may see in Nemrod the common causes of heresies, and the maner of Hertikes proceding.’ The side note is still more explicit: ‘pride is cause of schisme and heresie. False pretences deceive the simple.’48 Verstegan certainly understood Nimrod in these terms. In the Restitution, he describes him straggling ‘with his seduced followers into Persia, there making himself 45   The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English, out of the Authentical Latin (Rheims, 1582), sig. 4Z1v. 46   Anthony Copley, A Fig for Fortune (London: Richard Jones for C.A., 1596), p. 70. 47   From Bishop Neville’s Register, cited in Margaret Aston, Lollards and Reformers: Images and Literacy in Late Medieval Religion (London: The Hambledon Press, 1984), p. 15. 48   The Holie Bible Faithfully Translated into English (Douai: Laurence Kellam, 1609), sig. F3.

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206  Deirdre Serjeantson the first author of Idolatrie’ (A4v). The equation of confusion of faith with confusion of language, however, is a theme which plays out across his works more broadly. From his early publications on the continent, when he produced graphic wall charts comparing Catholicism and Protestantism, Verstegan had celebrated the unified nature of the former, and condemned the disparate character of the latter.49 He was still exercised by these themes in the 1620s, when he turned his attention to the Protestant sects of the northern Netherlands. Once more, he was quite explicit about turning the standard tropes of anti-Catholic polemic on their heads, and this meant tackling the allegory of Babylon. Protestants hate the Spanish Inquisition, he claimed, ‘because it hateth the Babel of their belief ’.50 This recasting of Catholicism—here figured in Spain, itself so often likened to Babylon—as the stable bulwark against a shifting, chaotic Protestant Babel is a device to which he had regular recourse. Babylon, with all its ramifications of disobedience and chaotic language, offered a neat fit for his observations. ‘There were not’, he wrote, ‘more differe[n]t languages at the tower of Babel, then ther are differe[n]t beliefs in Holland’; and this variety of belief had its origins in the reformers’ democratic attitude to biblical interpretation: ‘every Idiots babling out of the Bible’ (16–17). The equation between Babel and Protestantism is elaborated in a poem which Verstegan attributes—disingenuously?—to a friend: The first confusion that the World befell, Was in the many speaches variation, When men had sought, nigh unto Haven to dwel, By making on a Towre their habitation. But to the Worlds astonishment and griefe, A new confusion now is falne agayne, Consisting not in language, but beliefe, And far exceeding seaventy sorts and twayne . . . (16–17)

Despite Anthony Copley’s efforts, the comparison with the Whore of Babylon could not easily be shifted to the Protestant Churches, which, at least in the sixteenth century, largely eschewed the luxury and shows of wealth with which she was associated in the popular imagination. The Tower of Babel, however, with its resonances of schism, heresy, and confusion, was a way for Catholic polemicists to take control of the imagery of Babylon. For Verstegan, it would remain the central image of his work.

The Exile In about 597 bce, Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem and took a large portion of the population of Judah into captivity. These events are commemorated   Richard Verstegan, Typus Ecclesiae Catholicae (Paris, 1585).   Richard Verstegan, Observations Concerning the Present Affayres of Holland and the United Provinces (Saint-Omer: English College press, 1621), p. 17. For Verstegan’s writing on the Netherlands, see Herman van der Heide, ‘ “The Seven-Headed Beast”: Myth and Allegory in Richard Verstegan’s Polemic against the Northern Netherlands’, in Richard Rowlands Verstegan, pp. 97–114. 49 50

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  207 in the Book of Lamentations, and perhaps most famously in Psalm 137, Super flumina Babylonis (By the rivers of Babylon), in which the Jewish exiles mourn their lost home. Biblical commentaries offered the early modern reader an allegorical treatment of this text, in which the soul is exiled from its true home in heaven, but frequently in this period of religious change the exile in question was very real.51 The psalm, with its powerful elegiac qualities, and its promise—in its invocation of ‘the Lord’s song’—of a legitimate religious poetics, would become one of the most resonant texts of the period. Psalm translation was perhaps the most common verse genre in early modern English writing, and much of it was undertaken by writers who were themselves in exile. Miles Coverdale’s Goostly Psalmes and Spirituall Songes (1535) and his Psalter or Boke of Psalmes (1540) were written on the continent, after he had left the Augustinian order and fled England in 1528: both include versions of Psalm 137. In 1556 William Whittingham added another version to the collection of psalms being made among the Marian exiles at Geneva—this would eventually become the Whole Book of Psalmes (1560) and would remain in use in the Church of England until the nineteenth century.52 Anthony Welch has argued that for that royalists in the 1650s ‘the silenced harps of Psalm 137 . . . became a shared symbol for a community in bondage’, whether their exile was on the continent (as was the case for William Davenant) or it was a domestic exile under England’s new regime (Robert Herrick, Izaak Walton).53 The text was equally popular elsewhere in Europe. Terence Cave, for instance, mentions a collection of ten translations of the psalm published in Paris in 1606 by Jean Regnoul: Dix traductions du Super flumina Babilonis.54 I have been unable to trace an extant copy of this text, but the fact of its publication testifies to the popularity of the psalm among readers as well as among poets, who returned to it so frequently. In many cases, psalm translations were tailored to their translator’s personal ­circumstances. Luís de Camões, during three years of enforced military service in the Far East, wrote a paraphrase in which his native Lisbon featured as the lost Jerusalem, and Goa, his place of exile, was Babylon. Elsewhere, he used the psalm’s conceits more loosely in his sonnets (120 and 282), as did Du Bellay in the Regrets (sonnet 10), and the poet Guillaume Colletet, while banished from France in 1626, mourned his exile in a sonnet about a fountain in Anderlecht in terms which also echo the psalm.55 The Irish bardic poets, whether writing from foreign courts after the Flight of the Earls in 1607, or describing the desolate state of Ireland once its native nobility had departed, also invoked the Babylonian captivity as a figure for loss. In particular, they lamented their own silencing in the wake of their Gaelic patrons: Aindrias Mac Mánais, like the 51  Augustine, Expositions of the Psalms, 121–150, Vol. III/20, translated by Maria Boulding, edited by Boniface Ramsey (New York, NY: New City Press, 2004), 6.155–77. 52   Beth Quitslund, The Reformation in Rhyme: Sternhold, Hopkins and the English Metrical Psalter, 1547–1603 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 1; 148–50. 53   Anthony Welch, The Renaissance Epic and the Oral Past (Yale, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 108. 54   Terence Cave, Devotional Poetry in France, c. 1570–1613 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 97n. 55   Gilles Banderier, ‘Note Biographique sur Guillaume Colletet’, Revue belge de philologies et d’histoire 80 (2002): 945–58.

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208  Deirdre Serjeantson biblical harpists, complained about the loss of music and poetry in a land now rendered strange, and compared it to ‘an sníomh do bhaoi ar Bháibhiolóin’ (the sorrow that was in Babylon).56 In England, Hannibal Hamlin has argued that the psalm also underlies Spenser’s The Ruines of Time—and thus the extensive literature of imitation which followed that work.57 Given this wealth of precedent, it is striking that Verstegan did not attempt a translation or paraphrase of the psalm. It should have seemed applicable: he lived most of his life in exile, and his circle—at the English College, among men like Lipsius at Antwerp, and with the various English and Irish exiles who contributed dedicatory poems to the Restitution—consisted in considerable part of men who had been forced by circumstance from their homes. Nonetheless, Super flumina is not among the various psalm versions which appear in his Odes in Imitation of the Seaven Penitential Psalmes (1601) or in the Primer, or office of the blessed virgin Marie (1599). This is not to say that he was indifferent to his exile. He refers in the Restitution to the ‘greatnes of my love unto my most noble nation; most deer unto mee of any nation in the world, and which with all my best endevours I desyre to gratify’ (++r)—the manner of his gratification might not have been agreeable to everyone in England, but since the volume of his efforts in that line cannot be disputed, it seems reasonable to take the protestation as a whole to be sincere. Hamilton has drawn attention to the vocabulary list which appears later in the same text, and interprets the incongruous choice of words (and the inclusion of some which are not obviously words at all) as a coded lament for his own state: ‘Upstigan or Vpstegan and Netherstigan. Mounting up, and dismounting, to wit, ascending and descending. Utgang. Out-going, departure. Ut awurpen. Out-cast’ (Gg2). The visual puns on his own name and his place of exile—Antwerp—lead into the crucial, unhappy, adjective ‘out-cast’.58 Even if he neglected Psalm 137, Verstegan’s most explicit expressions of alienation return once more to the image of Babylon. In a letter to Robert Persons in 1593, he outlines an idea for a treatise which he might call ‘The Confusion of Albion’. Against the heretikes that would prove Roome to be Babilon and the Pope the whore of Babilon I had once a toy in my head to have controled that alusion, and to have shewed how Albion might, by transposing the letters, seme to be Babilon. The 7 hilles, saith the scripture, are seaven kinges, ergo not seaven hills; and unto seaven kinges’ govermentes hathe Albion bene devyded,

56   ‘Talamh bánaithe’ (The Desolate Land), in Paul Walsh (ed.), Beatha Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill, 2 vols. (Dublin: Irish Texts Society, 1948–57), 2:138–48. For the comparison between the Irish and the exiled Jews, ‘the central literary metaphor of the period’, see Brendán Ó Buachalla, ‘James our True King: The Ideology of Irish Royalism in the Seventeenth Century’, in Political Thought in Ireland since the Seventeenth Century, edited by David George Boyce, Robert Eccleshall, and Vincent Geoghegan (Oxford: Routledge, 1993), pp. 7–35 (p. 26). 57  Hannibal Hamlin, Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 225–6. 58   Hamilton, ‘Richard Verstegan’s A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence’, p. 17.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  209 and Roome never. Also that the woman sat uppon a rose coloured beast, and the rose is the armes or banner of England.59

With, as he admits, the doubling of one letter, England/Albion, in its current confused state, is Babylon—and confusion, for Verstegan, was a potent concept, taking in all of the religious disarray and political tyranny that his writings on Babel explore. De Civitate Dei might have encouraged its readers to see themselves as exiles in the earthly Babylon, longing for their true home in heaven, but the tendency of Verstegan’s writings is less allegorical. His Babylon is simultaneously a longed for home and the psalmist’s ‘strange land’. Petti’s note to this letter in his edition comments that ‘Verstegan never made use of the idea in his subsequent works’, and it is true that nothing called ‘The Confusion of Albion’ survives;60 however, the Babylonian themes set out here, of heresy, misrepresentation, confusion, and unlawful domination, underlie all of his writings about England during his long exile.

Cities Real and Imaginary Verstegan’s career is virtually bookended by his two works on travel. The first, The Post of the World, printed in London in 1576, does not mention Babylon. It is a practical guide to the cities of Europe, complete with accounts of distances, fair days, and such brief historical details as might be of interest to a business-minded traveller. Over forty years later, in 1618, De Gazette van nieuwe-maren van de gheheele wereldt. Ghemenght met oude waerheden (The gazette of news reports from the whole world. Mixed with old truths) appeared in Antwerp, when Verstegan was about sixty-eight. It looks quite like the earlier work, with notes arranged under the names of major cities—but this time Verstegan includes Babylon on his itinerary. Whereas travellers like Cartwright and Sherley attempted to identify a site and included details of access to Baghdad and notes on local trade, Verstegan—who seems to have been an armchair traveller—uses his account to revisit familiar concerns. He quibbles on the polemical debate about the location of the Whore of Babylon, who has, he suggests, long ago abandoned her original haunt and will now be found ‘where the most confusion of diverse opinions are . . . her name and nature always requiring such things’.61 Just as he argued in the Observations, this is likely to be in Holland rather than in Rome; but for those who insist on seeking her in the Italian city, he has some advice—they will need to start their journey on an auspicious day, which in their case will be 1 April: the feast of All Fools.62 59   Anthony  G.  Petti (ed.), The Letters and Despatches of Richard Verstegan (c. 1550–1640) (London: Catholic Record Society, 1959), p. 142. 60  Petti, Letters and Despatches, p. 143. 61   ‘[W]esen daer de meeste confusien van verscheyden opinien zijn . . . haren naem ende nature sulcks altoos vereyschende’, De Gazette van nieuwe-maren (Antwerp, 1618), p. 87. I am most grateful to Marieke Sjerps for her translation of this passage. 62   Gazette, p. 88.

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210  Deirdre Serjeantson The Gazette then moves on to Japan and China, but what is perhaps most striking is the book’s final destination—the island of Utopia. Thomas More’s fictional civilization is a very apt place in which to finish a tour of the early modern Babylon. Readers were equally familiar with both. Utopia went through five international editions within four years of its initial publication, and, like Babylon, it became a powerful metaphor as well as a literary genre. In Antwerp, Ortelius engraved a map of the island, which Verstegan must have known, and which may have inspired the inclusion of Utopia in the Gazette. Conversely, although More does not mention Babylon as a spur to his creative process, it is nonetheless the case that Utopia presents solutions to all the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century anxieties as expressed in representations of the biblical city. The utopian disdain for gold and stern sexual morality counteract the luxury and licence represented by the Whore of Babylon, just as the religious tolerance of the regime defuses confessional polemic. Its emphasis on consensus and equality makes Nimrod’s tyranny unlikely to prevail, even had the political structures of the country not been carefully designed to prevent the ‘tyrannous oppression of the people’.63 The alphabet of the Utopian language designed by Peter Giles is echoed in the schemes for artificial languages drawn up in the seventeenth century. Utopia’s military strength makes the forced exile of its citizens impossible; indeed, the only lamentation in the text comes from Hythlodaeus, who longs to return to this perfect commonwealth. These two complementary civilizations serve to illuminate each other. The overlap between them, especially in respect of politics, makes it clear that Babylon is not purely a vehicle for confessional disputes, but part of a broader humanist enquiry into the nature of a good society. Utopia provides a possible set of answers, but one function of Babylon in the early modern imagination is to frame the question for debate. Renaissance depictions of the city were almost inevitably negative, but this need not have been the case. There were some historians, like Walter Ralegh, who found positive things to commemorate in the city’s reported technical achievements, and the classical accounts from which they drew their information celebrated wonders like the Hanging Gardens.64 The wicked Babylon of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century texts clearly had its utility. As a biblical city it lent itself well to religious disputes, but in a period of state formation and imperial ambition it also provided a test case of why empires failed—its lessons about princely power and moral confusion could be applied to any number of early modern equivalents. Verstegan’s account of Babylon in the Gazette gestures towards this wider application: it revisits polemical questions, but with wry humour. Indeed, the whole book is framed as a series of whimsical takes on the humanist genre of the laus urbis, with all the implications of learning and civil society which 63   Thomas More, The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, edited by Edward Surtz and J. H. Hexter (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993), Vol. 4, pp. 125. 64  Archer, Old Worlds, p. 68.

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Babylon in the Early Modern Period  211 that implies. Babylon, it seems, was capacious enough to accommodate a joke. It is entirely fitting that the city was unmapped throughout so much of this period: for all the historical research which focused on the site, the real power of the early modern Babylon, as manifested in the works of Verstegan and his contemporaries, inhered in the flexibility of this imaginary space.

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9 Casting Models Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East in Seventeenth-Century French Drama and Gallery Books (1642–62) Derval Conroy

Amidst the numerous illustrious women who enjoyed considerable popularity in the politico-moral imaginary of early modern France, five figures from the Ancient Near East, transmitted through the histories of Herodotus, Xenophon, Diodorus Siculus, Justin, and Cassius Dio, among others, are given particular attention: Semiramis, Panthea, Tomyris, Zenobia, and Artemisia II. The popular gallery books of the period provide useful evidence of their currency: within Georges and Madeleine de Scudéry’s Les Femmes illustres (1642), the Ancient Near East is represented by Panthée, Artemisia, and Zenobia together with Sisigambis; the same trio are aligned with Camma and Monime in Pierre Le Moyne’s hugely popular Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647) to constitute his sub-gallery of barbares; while the female figure of the Ancient Near East to feature in Jacques Du Bosc’s Femme héroïque (1645) is Tomyris. In parallel, the dramatic literature of the period sees the production of twelve plays between 1604 and 1662 concerning Panthea, Semiramis, Tomyris, and Zenobia.1 Add to this group figures such as Nitocris of Babylon, Laodice of Cappadocia, Laodice of Syria, Rodogune of Syria, Zenobia of Armenia, Bérénice of Cilicia, together with invented or 1   Five concern Panthea—Hardy (1604), Guérin de la Darronière (1608), Billard de Courgenay (1610), Durval (1639), and Tristan L’Hermite (1639); three concern Tomyris—Borée (1627), Quinault (1659), and Rosidor (1662); two concern Semiramis—Gilbert (1647) and Desfontaines (1647); and two concern Zenobia—d’Aubignac (1647) and Magnon (1660). Borée’s 1627 text resurfaces in 1654 and 1655 in an anonymous rewriting (see note 40). A further Zénobie, attributed to Boyer, was performed in 1693, but has been lost. Pousset de Montauban’s tragedy Zenobie, reyne d’Arménie (1653), as the title indicates, concerns the first-century ce queen of Armenia, later the focus of Crébillon’s well-known Rhadamiste et Zénobie (1711). Details of these plays and the whereabouts of extant copies can be found in Alain Riffaud’s prodigious répertoire, available at https://repertoiretheatreimprime.yale.edu/. Full bibliographical details of all plays examined in this chapter are provided in the notes and bibliography.

Derval Conroy, Casting Models: Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East in Seventeenth-Century French Drama and Gallery Books (1642–62) In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0010

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  213 largely invented figures such as Elise of Tyre and Dynamis of Caria, not to mention biblical figures such as Esther, Judith, and Athaliah, and what emerges very quickly is a rich and diverse panoply of Eastern women populating the early modern French imaginary. Such a panoply begs a number of questions. What constructions of alterity emerge of the ‘Oriental woman’, doubly ‘Other’ by geography and gender? To what extent should these women be viewed alongside Cyrus and Cambyses and Darius, as part of a greater inherited classical landscape, manifesting an engagement with and interest in the civilizations of the Ancient Near East?2 Or is their popularity more a testament to the perdurance of the classical genre of biographical Lives, compendia of famous women popularized particularly by Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (1361–2)? In other words, to what extent has it little to do with geography and more to do with constructions of gender, in the shifting mire of sexual politics of the time? On another tack, in what ways is the reception of the Ancient Near East nuanced or inflected by the growing interest in orientalist studies and in the contemporary Near East?3 To what extent are the contemporary Near East and the Ancient Near East aligned or differentiated, the latter paradoxically more familiar? Finally, and more pragmatically, to what extent is the choice of Near Eastern subjects for theatre quite simply a testament to its usefulness as historical material ill known enough to be exploited at will by dramatists constrained by theoretical dramaturgical conventions? Satisfactory answers to many of these questions would necessitate a broad-ranging examination of the multiplicity of ways in which the Ancient Near East is appropriated and negotiated in early modern France, and an analysis of the complex interaction between the reception of the ancient texts and contemporary moral, political, and ­economic concerns.4 The aim of this chapter is considerably more modest. Leaving 2   If one were to focus on Persia, for example, we find a further seven published plays in the seventeenth century featuring rulers of the Achaemenid empire: Mainfray, Cyrus triomphant (1618), Magnon, Artaxerce (1645), Du Ryer, Thémistocle (1648), Thomas Corneille, Darius (1659), Boyer, Oropaste (1663), Desjardins, Nitétis (1664), and Boyer, Artaxerce (1683), in addition to La Rue’s Jesuit collège tragedy Cyrus (1680). 3   Recent studies on seventeenth-century orientalism (as opposed to the later Saidian model) include a special issue of XVIIe siècle, Connaître l’Orient en Europe au XVIIe siècle (2015): 268.3; Nicholas Dew, Orientalism in Louis XIV’s France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); Alastair Hamilton and Francis Richard, André du Ryer and Oriental Studies in Seventeenth-Century France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004); Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, Orientalism in Early Modern France: Eurasian Trade, Exoticism and the Ancien Régime (Oxford: Berg, 2008). 4   To the best of my knowledge, no study to date is devoted to such an examination. Analyses of the contemporary Near East can be found in Dominique Carnoy, Représentations de l’Islam dans la France du XVIIe siècle: La Ville des tentations (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998); Olivier H. Bonnerot, La Perse dans la littérature et la pensée française au XVIIIe siècle: De l’image au mythe (Paris: Champion; Genève: Slatkine, 1988); Orient baroque, Orient classique: Variations du motif oriental dans les littératures d’Europe (XVIe–XVIIe siècles), edited by Anne Duprat and Hédia Khadhar (Paris: Bouchène, 2010); the much older Pierre Martino, L’Orient dans la littérature française au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Paris: Hachette, 1906; repr. Geneva: Slatkine, 1970); Michael Harrigan, Veiled Encounters: Representing the Orient in Seventeenth-Century French Travel Literature (Amsterdam and New York, NY: Rodopi, 2008); and Michèle Longino, Orientalism in French Classical Drama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), which looks at Corneille’s Le Cid, his Tite et Bérénice, Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and Racine’s Bérénice, Bajazet, and Mithridate.

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214  Derval Conroy aside Panthea, the other four women who dominate this Near East imaginary are all rulers. This in itself is not surprising, there being a greater likelihood of public figures featuring in the inherited classical historiography; nor is it surprising that their popularity is particularly marked during the decades which follow Anne of Austria’s accession to the regency in 1643. However, timely though this celebration of gynecocracy may be—a celebration of gynecocracy which cannot be taken for granted in the face of the dominant patriarchal paradigm of the period—its timeliness should not blind us to the significance of the ways in which gender and sovereign virtue are represented through these women, and the fact that it is the Ancient Near East which provides the examples for such a representation. Within the context of this volume, analysis of the appropriation of the stories of these classical women allows us to examine a type of popular reception of Ancient Near Eastern history, and the ways in which particular versions of it are cast and propagated for the early modern aesthetic aims of utile dulci, to please and to instruct. This chapter then aims to provide a useful example of the ‘liveliness, currency and flexibility’ of Ancient Near Eastern history which Jane Grogan evokes in her introduction.5 Furthermore, examination of the virtues which these three women are seen to embody, and the ways in which they are cast as exemplary rulers, provides a fruitful demonstration of the diversity of ways in which exemplarity is negotiated in a post-humanist seventeenth-century France. Since it is the gallery books which dominate in the creation of knowledge regarding the heroines of the Ancient Near East within the salon-going aristocratic readership of the time, for whom these models are specifically being presented as exempla, focus will be on the above-mentioned texts of Scudéry, Du Bosc, and Le Moyne, frequently grouped together but in fact radically different.6 First published in 1647, Le Moyne’s Gallerie enjoyed tremendous popularity for twenty-five years, was reprinted seventeen times in French between 1647 and 1672, and translated into English, Italian, and Spanish. (A German translation was undertaken but not completed.)7 Volume 1 of the Scudéry Harangues was printed four times between 1642 and 1666, translated into English and German, and the translations also reprinted. The reception and circulation of Du Bosc’s text was considerably more limited than the other two (reprinted only See also the articles in Isabelle Martin and Robert Elbaz (eds.), Jean Racine et l’Orient (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2003), particularly, for our purposes, Alain Viala’s, ‘L’Empire de l’Asie’, pp. 71–9.   See ‘Introduction’, p. 16.   On compendia of famous women, see Glenda McLeod, Virtue and Venom: Catalogs of Women from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 1991); on seventeenthcentury French galleries of women in particular, see Catherine Pascal, ‘Les Recueils de femmes illustres au XVIIe siècle’, available at www.siefar.org/docsiefar/file/Pascal-dicos.pdf (accessed 25 June 2019). 7   Pierre Le Moyne, La Gallerie des femmes fortes (Paris: A. de Sommaville, 1647). See Henri Chérot, Étude sur la vie et les oeuvres du P. le Moyne (1602–1671) (Geneva: Slatkine, [1887] 1971), pp. 517–23 for an extensive, although not exhaustive, list of editions. The reference to seventeen printings is made by Pascal, ‘Les Recueils de femmes illustres’, p. 3, n. 7. Although frequently represented in modern scholarship as a feminist text (through the repeated quotation of well-known passages), in fact it harbours as much scorching misogyny as it does pro-woman ideas. The sections on Artemisia and Zenobia fall more or less into the latter category and so are representative of one (and only one) aspect of the volume. 5 6

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  215 once in 1669), yet it provides in many respects, in its treatment of Tomyris, the most innovative and sophisticated reading of any of the ancient heroines here. Since Semiramis does not feature in these compendia, focus will be on Tomyris, Zenobia, and Artemisia II.8 Consideration will also be given to the plays of the period, whose limited success should not mask us to a particularly interesting appropriation of Ancient Near Eastern figures. The question of any would-be particularity in the treatment of these women rulers as Near Eastern, the extent to which their geographical and ­political situation creates a specificity, a distinct Otherness, by comparison with other illustrious women of the past, is one to which we will return in conclusion. * * *

Artemisia The first model for examination here of an Ancient Near East female ruler that is presented for emulation by contemporaries is one that is cast within a normative and normalizing framework of prescribed female behaviour and virtue, yet its uses— particularly in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century—demonstrate the potential to reinterpret and exploit such a model. The story of Artemisia II, Queen of Caria (d. 350 bce) was frequently presented to, and appropriated by, early modern ruling women as a powerful tool in the construction of allegorical power.9 Two characteristics in particular of the Asia Minor queen made her especially attractive: a demonstrated ability to rule her country well, following the death of her brother-husband Mausolus; and a deep-rooted conjugal devotion, as manifested in the construction of the extraordinary funeral monument to him which gave its name to all such subsequent monuments. That she allegedly ingested her husband’s ashes, thus giving a material reality to the idea of incorporating his essence within her, incarnating his spirit, made her even more attractive a figure to Baroque tastes. Both Boccaccio and Christine de Pizan (La Cité des Dames, 1405) mistakenly merge her with her predecessor Artemisia I (who fought at the Battle of Salamis in 480 bce), and although the error does not begin with them, they contribute to its propagation.10 In the Scudéry and Le Moyne gallery books under consideration here, the queen (once again mistakenly associated with the 8   On Semiramis, see Enrica Zanin, ‘Sémiramis: Une Héroïne entre féminin et masculin’, in Héroïsme féminin et femmes illustres (xvie–xviie siècles): Une Représentation sans fiction, edited by Gilbert Schrenck, Anne-Élisabeth Spica, and Pascale Thouvenin (Paris: Garnier: 2019), pp. 21–36, and Jennifer Sarha’s chapter in this volume, ‘Assyria in Early Modern Historiography’. 9   For an overview of Artemisia II’s political role in the Hacatomnid dynasty, see E. D. Carney, ‘Women and Dunasteia in Caria’, The American Journal of Philology 126:1 (2005): 65–91. 10   In some cases, the fusion of the two figures was quite deliberate. Nicolas Houel’s manuscript Histoire de la reyne Arthémise, presented in 1563 to Catherine de Médicis, the early modern French female ruler most associated with the exploitation of the model of Artemisia, testifies to a very clear construction of an ‘Artémise’ amalgam, merging the conjugal devotion of Artemisia II with the maternity of Artemisia I to create an appropriate representation of the ideal regent figure: devoted widow, educator of the future king, able interim ruler.

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216  Derval Conroy Battle of Salamis) is cast in the mould of grieving widow, a mould which serves both to occlude her own political role and to shroud in obscurity the political agency of her predecessor. The Scudéry Femmes illustres ou Les harangues héroïques takes the form of a collection of twenty harangues pronounced by historical figures which aims to constitute a veritable arc de triomphe to celebrate women, as the preface puts it and as is highlighted by the visual representation of a triumphal arch in the frontispiece.11 In this ‘aristocratic and secular’ discourse, as Catherine Pascal puts it,12 the tone as a whole is unmistakably mondain rather than moralistic. Given pride of place as the first of the female orators who speaks in this gallery of twenty, Artemisia’s harangue deprecates the role of the mausoleum as funeral monument that others were so much at pains to celebrate, and glorifies instead the monumentality of eloquence and the written word over the ephemeral nature of the stone edifice. In a fashion typical of Madeleine de Scudéry—a fervent advocate of the aptitude of women for eloquence—it is given to Artemisia to exhort Isocrates to immortalize her husband and herself through the Word, a reference presumably to the competition which the historical Artemisia had indeed established for the production of panegyric devoted to Mausolus. The figure is given more agency here than elsewhere, primarily through her demonstration of eloquence throughout the speech, particularly exemplified in a striking accumulative preterition concerning her own political role and rule (merged, as indicated above, with that of the historical Artemisia I), a flourish that allows her to underline both female ability to rule and female ability to master the very techniques of rhetoric itself.13 Nonetheless the emphasis remains very clearly on the figure of the grieving widow, whose main concern is the immortalization of her husband’s memory, and whose ingestion of her husband’s ashes is bereft of any political significance and would-be androgyny to become a gesture of desired eternal union. The Scudéry model reflects the aim of the text to glorify women, to excite admiration, rather than to provide models to be imitated. The figure of the grieving widow becomes even more dominant in Le Moyne’s Gallerie des femmes fortes but Le Moyne’s appropriation of the past is decidedly political. Interestingly, it shares with the early humanists a conception of the example as a rhetorical device to provoke action, and yet moves at times towards the reading of 11   [Madeleine et] Georges de Scudéry, Les Femmes illustres, ou Les harangues héroïques de Mr de Scudéry, avec les véritables portraits de ces héroïnes, tirez des médailles antiques (Paris: chez A. de Sommaville et A. Courbé, 1642). A second volume featuring primarily fictional heroines appeared two years later: Les Femmes illustres, ou Les harangues héroïques de Mr de Scudéry, Seconde partie (T. Quinet et N. de Sercy, 1644). A partial modern edition of Volume 1 was published by Côté-femmes in 1991, attributed to Madeleine. All page number references are to this edition. The most comprehensive study of this text remains Rosa Galli Pellegrini, ‘Les Femmes illustres di George de Scudéry’, in La prosa francese del primo seicento, edited by Cecilia Rizza (Cuneo: Saste, 1977), pp. 91–146. Much ink has been spilt regarding the authorship of these volumes: contemporary evidence suggests a collaboration between the Scudéry siblings, although the text is published under George’s name. 12   Pascal, ‘Les Recueils de femmes illustres’, p. 7. 13  Scudéry, Les Femmes illustres, p. 36.

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  217 history as a source book of universal ‘types’, typical of his own period.14 The highly ambivalent eclectic Gallerie sets out explicitly to both edify women and glorify them, through the celebration of twenty heroic figures from the past. Seven elements are devoted to each of the twenty illustrious women, in a display of diverse subgenres which explains in part the popularity of the volume: an elaborate copperplate engraving; a verbal painting or ekphrasis based on the engraving; a sonnet; a eulogy; a moral reflection inspired by the particular heroine’s exploits; a ‘moral question’ based on the same; and finally an example (or two, in the case of the biblical Deborah) drawn from modern European history. In addition to the explicit aims of the edification and glorification of women, the text is also marked by the implicit (and even more politically charged) aims of specifically glorifying the dedicatee, Anne of Austria, and prescribing appropriate modes of behaviour for her. The idea that the multiple portraits in a gallery combine to constitute the ‘indirect portrait’ of the dedicatee is not new.15 However, here what emerges is less a portrait of the queen as she is (if such could ever be depicted accurately), but rather one of how Le Moyne would like her to be. Here, the understanding and reliance on the exemplar as tool of ‘practical social change’, as John Lyons puts it, is palpable.16 Le Moyne, in this regard, appears to blithely ignore any crisis of exemplarity of the previous century, happily exploiting the exemplar ‘as a kind of textual node or point of juncture, where a given author’s interpretation of the past overlaps with the desire to form and fashion readers’.17 Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of the visual and verbal portrait of  Artemisia, which (re)presents the ingestion by the queen of Mausolus’ ashes (Figure 9.1) and which constitutes a heavily loaded prescriptive discourse regarding widowhood.18 While the inclusion of such a discourse is highly common in moralist writing of the time, it takes on particular significance in a volume dedicated to the queen. The verbal painting which follows the engraving—commentating, explicating, supplementing—is peppered with highly stylized rhetorical figures aimed both to move the reader and to control the reading of the image. Colour and movement are added, the queen’s physiognomy analysed as revealing her character and emotions (a nod to the traditions of physiognomics and pathognomics still in circulation), the 14  On this move to universality, see Timothy Hampton, Writing from History: The Rhetorica of Exemplarity in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 1990), p. 302, according to whom, for texts of moral philosophy in the seventeenth century, ‘the exemplary history of antiquity seems to offer at times little more than a source book’. 15   See Dominique Moncond’huy, ‘Les Femmes illustres en leurs galeries (littéraires et picturales) dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle’, Littérature et peinture au temps de Le Sueur, edited by Jean Serroy (Grenoble: Diffusion Ellug, 2003), pp. 87–94 (esp. pp. 89–92). 16   John Lyons, Exemplum: The Rhetoric of Example in Early Modern France and Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 12. In fact, theorization of the exemplar reminds us of the political element to Le Moyne’s text. As Timothy Hampton points out, ‘The fact that exemplars both embody ethical ideas and demonstrate practical action suggests the implicitly political and ideological aspects of the processes of appropriation and application of past to present’ (Writing from History, p. 16). 17  Hampton, Writing from History, p. 3. 18   Since ‘Strabo, Book 14’ is cited as the source in the legend to the engraving, the emphasis on widowhood is to be expected. Strabo’s comments in his Geography are with regard to the Mausoleum.

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Figure 9.1  Artémise, from Pierre Le Moyne, Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647). Reproduced by kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  219 reaction of the spectators in the engraving (functioning as Albertian commentators) explicated, and the reader aligned with them.19 Emphasis is on the role of Artemisia as a model of stoic constancy in affliction (not unlike Du Bosc’s Tomyris, as we will see later) and as a living tomb for her husband. In fact, it is this latter that explains her political and military aptitudes: Artemisia is the strong ruler she is only because she has embraced and embodied her husband’s essence. While her mourning, modest and despondent, we are told, is that of a ‘perfect widow’ [‘une parfaite Veuve’], ‘her daring and courageous actions in war and her astute and skilful management of political affairs’ are those ‘of a woman who continues to act with the heart and spirit of her husband’.20 Artemisia goes on to serve as a springboard for Le Moyne to sketch more generally a highly prescriptive construction of what constitutes the appropriate mourning, and duties, for widows. Since, he argues, drawing on Scripture, ‘man . . . is the head of woman’ [‘l’Homme, selon le mot de l’Escriture, est la Teste de la Femme’], it is not surprising that the new widow would cry, just as a body bleeds when the head is cut off. However, excessive ongoing tears and sighs should be avoided. Her affliction should be dynamic and disciplined, apparently. Above all, it should not obscure her mind, nor interfere with the running of the household or of the state—a direct allusion to the queen regent.21 The modern example chosen to illustrate this ‘active and courageous widowhood, this reasonable and disciplined sorrow, this wise and magnanimous mourning’22 is Blanche de Castille, who has the added advantage, as an example, of sharing Spanish roots with Anne of Austria. In a telling formulation, Blanche is described as ‘[one] of these Artemisias born in Spain and educated in France’, [‘[une] de ces Artemises nées en Espagne & formées en France’]: ‘Artemisia’ has become a type, succinctly demonstrating the seventeenth-century move away from humanist exemplarity towards universality. However, in a revealing development, she is a type which well exceeds the model of the grieving widow, and the concomitant constructions of ‘female’ virtue, if the portrait of Blanche is anything to go by. What emerges from Le Moyne’s account is the image of a prudent and courageous ruler, skilled in her dealings with presumptuous nobles, assiduous in the education of the dauphin, rigorous in her defence of Christianity, well equipped apparently to wield both sceptre and sword. Ironically, the portrait of Blanche as an able and astute sovereign is possibly truer to the essence of the historical Artemisia II than Le Moyne’s own portrait of the Carian queen is. Ancient and modern example merge with a necessary malleability in the fulfilment of the ultimate aim: the creation of a model for Anne of Austria. 19  On this, see Derval Conroy, ‘Description or Prescription? Verbal Painting in Pierre Le Moyne’s Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647)’, French Forum 36: 2–3 (2011): 1–17. 20  ‘[S]on action hardie & courageuse à la guerre, sa conduite adroite & deliée au maniement des affaires . . . estoient d’une Femme qui agissoit encore avec le Cœur & l’Esprit de son Mary’ (Le Moyne, Gallerie, p. 120). 21   Le Moyne, Gallerie, pp. 121, 122. 22   ‘[Un exemple] de ce Veuvage actif & courageux, de cette douleur raisonnable & disciplinée, de ce deüil sage & magnanime’ (Le Moyne, Gallerie, p. 123).

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Tomyris Accounts of Tomyris, the sixth-century bce queen of the Massagetae, can be found in Herodotus (The Histories I.205–14), Justin (Trogus 1.8), Diodorus Siculus (Bib. Hist. III.2), and Valerius Maximus (Facta et dicta IX.10). Brought to early modern attention primarily through Boccaccio and Christine de Pizan, and frequently evoked in ­sixteenth-century pro-woman texts (such as those by Antoine Dufour and Cornelius Agrippa), Tomyris comes to a seventeenth-century French audience chiefly through Jacques du Bosc’s La Femme héroïque (1645), and through four tragedies published between 1627 and 1662, as indicated above. The most thorough treatment of her can be found in Du Bosc. As the full title of the Franciscan’s atypical gallery implies,23 and as the opening chapters make explicit, the text sets out to demonstrate the equal capacity for heroic virtue of men and women by providing comparative portraits, as advocated by Plutarch. Eight pairs of men and women are discussed, each section made up of a series of comparisons (aimed apparently at glorifying women) followed by a series of moral reflections (aimed apparently at edifying women). As has been noted before, and indeed as was noted by at least one contemporary,24 despite his purported aim Du Bosc in fact ends up arguing for female superiority in virtue—the text a testament to the weight of the dominant pro-woman discourse in circulation at the time. However, what appears not to have been noted is that a considerable number of the moral reflections transcend the issue of gender differentiation and implicitly treat of heroic virtue in broadly human terms. These elements are therefore much more egalitarian than the explicit comparisons which in fact reproduce and propagate a paradigm of opposition. Tomyris is a case in point where, in her comparative treatment with Cyrus, she becomes a model for leaders of either sex.25 Since for Du Bosc, drawing on Aristotle, magnanimity is the essence of heroic virtue, this is the quality which he most focuses on throughout the text, and nowhere more clearly than with regard to Tomyris. The empire of the Scythes is ‘le vray Théâtre des femmes Magnanimes’ (an intercalation into the original source—Justin 2.1 in this case—which is seamlessly made to seem part of it due to the typographical conventions, with a freedom typical of translation at the time) and Tomyris is of incomparable 23   Jacques du Bosc, La Femme héroïque, ou Les héroines comparées avec les héros en toute sorte de vertus, 2 vols. (Paris: A. de Sommaville et A. Courbé, 1645). 24   See Saint-Gabriel, Le Mérite des dames, 3rd edition (Paris: J. Le Gras, 1660), p. 107. 25   Pre-empting criticism that the paucity of historical evidence concerning Tomyris renders problematic a comparison with the richly documented Cyrus, Du Bosc uses this very paucity to provide resounding support of women’s lament at their exclusion from history, and draws on Justin’s account of equality in ‘des actions d’éclat’/‘res gestas’ among the Scythian men and women to justify a comparison between the two: ‘Les Dames ont un juste sujet de se plaindre des Historiens, qui on si peu traité de leurs belles actions, & qui semblent avoir esté jaloux ou au moins trop negligens. Et puis si quelques-uns en ont escrit, peut estre que ces belles histoires des femmes Illustres de chaque siècle se sont perdues malheureusement’ [‘Women can justifiably complain about Historians, who have dealt so little with their fine deeds, and who seem to have been jealous, or at the very least too negligent. And if some did write about them, perhaps these fine histories of illustrious women from every century have been unfortunately lost’] (La Femme héroïque, p. 224).

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  221 magnanimity. Du Bosc’s comparison with Cyrus is true to the form adopted throughout his text: Tomyris is depicted as superior in valour, since, despite being in the weaker military position, she greets his invasion with an intimidating and politically prudent sang-froid; superior in military strategizing since her success is due to military ambush rather than ruse and artifice; her military campaigns, unlike his, are not based on imperial designs for conquest; her people are not interested in luxury and riches; her entire campaign is marked by a moral integrity and absence of duplicity which, again drawing on Aristotle (Ethics 4.3), Du Bosc frames as a hallmark of magnanimity. Pre-empting criticism of Tomyris’ famous plunging of Cyrus’ head in a vat of wine as a gesture of vengeance, Du Bosc portrays it as a political gesture, aimed at other potential usurpers. For Du Bosc, Cyrus merited the accusation of insatiety. In justifying Tomyris, he also lauds a general Scythian aversion for those to whom he refers scathingly as petty trouble-makers (‘ces petits perturbateurs du genre humain, qu’on appelle des Conquerans, & qui ne font que troubler toute la terre’ [‘these little disrupters of the human race, referred to as conquerors, who do nothing but bring disorder across the land’)], and attributes to the Scythians a belief that satiability is a mark of true kingship (of which, more later).26 All of this praise of Tomyris can be seen to be underpinned by a number of key themes which are made explicit in the moral reflections, and some of which considerably transcend the alleged aim of the edification of women. The first concerns the use of reason as an antidote to sorrow, an argument that Du Bosc bases on an extrapolation from Justin. Where the latter writes that at the death of her son Tomyris ‘did not waste her time crying for her loss, but sought all her consolation in vengeance’ (1.8),27 Du Bosc, appearing to quote the original, alters it slightly (but crucially) for his purposes: ‘Thomyris ne s’abandonna pas aux pleurs comme eussent fait plusieurs hommes, mais elle pensa au remède, & à une juste vengeance’ [‘Tomyris did not sink into tears, as many men would have done, but turned her thoughts to a solution and to the solace of revenge’] (Du Bosc’s additions in my italics). In this version, tears become the attribute of men, and the avowal of vengeance becomes an adjunct to the queen’s desire to seek a solution (penser au remède).28 This extrapolated idea of focusing on a solution, rather than dissolving in tears, implies apparently that Tomyris acts ‘en Magnanime’, and becomes the cornerstone of a lengthy advocacy of a stoic rationalism in mourning. Evoking a typology of antidotes for sorrow, namely time, divertissement, reason, and religion (where only the latter two demonstrate heroic resistance), Du Bosc frames   La Femme héroïque, p. 219.   ‘[Elle] ne s’amusa point à pleurer ses pertes, mais rechercha toute sa consolation en la vengeance’ (Justin, L’Histoire universelle de Trogue Pompée, traduitte en français par le sieur de Collomby [sic] Cauvigny (Paris: E. d’Aubin, 1644), p. 19). This translation by François de Cauvigny, sieur de Colomby, which had first appeared in 1616 and had been reissued in 1617, 1627, and 1644 (and later), was the most common French translation of Justin’s Epitome in circulation, and the most likely one Du Bosc would have consulted. 28   La Femme héroïque, p. 199. Du Bosc’s sidelining of vengeance is highlighted by the fact that in the second reference to the same episode and reaction, it is dropped altogether (p. 227). 26

27

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222  Derval Conroy Tomyris’ as the example of a heroic virtue which combats sorrow with reason and which eschews unseemly outbursts of emotion. Du Bosc’s second area of reflection concerns Tomyris’ military skill and activity, which he broaches with great reserve. Despite his argument presented in an introductory chapter of the text that men and women can frequently demonstrate a capacity for the virtues traditionally associated with the opposite sex29—an argument that amounts to an admission of the speciousness of a prescriptive code of gendered virtues or sexual ethics—he is more circumspect when it comes to openly advocating that women partake in armed combat. The reason? The age-old association of military zeal and sexual ardour: ‘Il est à craindre que cette ardeur naturelle qui excite à la vaillance, ne soit jointe à une autre ardeur, qui met quelquefois la vaillance & la pudeur mal ensemble’ [‘One might fear that this natural ardour which fuels courage might merge with another ardour, which makes valour and modesty ill-fitted’].30 Exploiting the lexical field of usurpation topical to the Cyrus/Tomyris comparison in hand, he argues that for either sex to adopt the virtues of the other is a type of usurpation, to be endorsed only by prudence, and practised only in extreme situations such as state-saving. Du Bosc differs from other pro-woman writers of the time by historicizing Tomyris’ activity. As a product of Scythian upbringing, it is entirely acceptable for the queen to play the military role she does, and she and her fellow Amazons are praised for it. This does not mean, however, that she should be imitated in this regard. Paradoxically therefore in a gallery of exempla, the limits of exemplarity are apparent. As is the case with the representation of a number of other deeds or actions in the writings of Christian feminists— most notably the clearly problematic issue of suicide—what is praised here is the heroism that fuels an action rather than the deed or action itself. Du Bosc’s reflections point here to a posterior demonstration of the unease characteristic of the late humanists of the tension between historical difference and historical authority.31 Where Tomyris clearly becomes most useful for Du Bosc is not in fact in relation to any would-be female (or male) virtue but in fact in the treatment of what is clearly a key political concern for him, namely the issue of imperial greed, ‘insatiabilité ridicule’—the Herodotean ‘insatiety’ (koros)—to which he next turns and to which he devotes much more space. Here, Du Bosc clearly joins with Herodotus in making of insatiety the lynchpin of a caustic critique of imperial expansion.32 However, the comparative form of his text leads to both a much more explicit critique of Cyrus than is voiced in Herodotus, and secondly to the explicit framing of Tomyris as Cyrus’ antithesis. Tomyris, in sum, is held up as an example of moderation, of ‘the ability to control her desires’ [‘sçavoir borner ses désirs’], to be content with her empire [‘se contente[r] de ses confins, & des limites de son Empire’], while Cyrus is the pitiable fool who 30   La Femme héroïque, pp. 47–8.   La Femme héroïque, p. 243.   See Hampton, Writing from History, pp. 297–9. 32   Du Bosc is of course not alone to do so. For an overview of Herodotean koros and the reception of the Tomyris episode in early modern English literature, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 80–7. 29 31

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  223 spends his time ‘ceaselessly pursuing ridiculous and dangerous conquests’ [‘courir sans cesse après des conquetes ridicules & dangereuses’].33 Not only is Tomyris the model of satiability, she becomes in fact the moralist figure, edifying rulers with her final treatment of Cyrus, as Du Bosc articulates a powerful attack on imperial ambition (in a forceful accumulatio): It is not Cyrus to whom this Queen speaks . . .; it is to the rulers who are still living that she gives such salutary advice, to cure them of their insatiability; to cure them of this vain belief of aggrandizement at the expense of human blood; to shame them, or rather to make them feel pity for the amount of blood they cause to be spilt for a feeble belief, for a passion which is often unjust.34

The human race should be grateful to Tomyris for teaching this lesson to the princes of the world; the portrait of Cyrus’ blood-soaked head should be brought constantly to the minds of would-be conquerors, as ‘more eloquent than all the books of the Philosophers’ [‘plus éloquent que tous les livres de Philosophes’]. And Du Bosc ends his remarks with a succinct and resounding alignment with the Herodotean version of Cyrus’ history as opposed to Xenophon’s: ‘These words alone against insatiability are more useful for rulers than the whole of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia’ [‘Cette seule parole contre l’insatiabilité vaut mieux pour les Princes, que toute la Cyropedie de Xenophon’].35 The Tomyris/Cyrus section of Du Bosc’s text closes with a reflection on Tomyris as an example of Aristotelian magnanimity in her candour and openness, her lack of pretence and duplicity (possibly a nod to the ongoing debates regarding the use of dissimulation in politics,36 although Du Bosc’s arguments are framed in terms of a general morality); and finally a meditation on the inconstancy of fortune, and the foolishness of Cyrus in not foreseeing his downfall. In sum, Du Bosc’s Tomyris represents a fusion of virtues lauded in the early modern sovereign—constancy, courage, moderation, magnanimity—in a fashion which considerably surpasses the character sketch Herodotus provides. The historical exemplum is added to, intensified,37 and ultimately radically surpassed in this creation of a model which is all the more genuinely androgynous for its eschewal of the binary sexual ethics that frequently underpins representations of female capacities of the period.   La Femme héroïque, pp. 249–50.   ‘Ce n’est pas à Cyrus que cette sage Reyne parle . . . c’est aux Princes qui vivent encore, qu’elle donne un avis si salutaire, pour les guérir de leur insatiabilité; pour les guérir de cette vaine opinion de s’agrandir, aux depens du sang humain: pour leur faire honte, ou plutost pour leur faire pitié de tant de sang qu’ils font verser pour une legère opinion, pour une passion bien souvent injuste’. La Femme héroïque, pp. 253–4. 35   La Femme héroïque, pp. 254–5. Du Bosc also evokes another queen, Nitocris of Babylon, as a second oracle against insatiety, through her sepulchral inscription which Herodotus records Darius coming upon (see Herodotus I.187). 36   For a primary and secondary bibliography on dissimulation, see Jean-Pierre Cavaillé, ‘Bibliographie: Mensonge, tromperie, simulation et dissimulation’, Les dossiers du GRIHL, http://dossiersgrihl.revues. org/2103, which lists over 300 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century works that treat of the question (accessed 26 June 2019). 37   On this practice in humanist uses of exemplarity, see Lyons, Exemplum, pp. 14–15. 33 34

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224  Derval Conroy While Tomyris’ military prowess and activity is underplayed in Du Bosc, it is central to the dramatic representations of the Scythian queen, precisely because of the theatrical appeal of the cross-dressed androgynous warrior woman. While swashbuckling heroines may seem to modern readers the stuff of romance novels, and in the drama of the period the model of the Amazon queen can at times appear to be one of (male) fantasy,38 it is necessary to remember the importance of the Amazon model as a legitimizing symbol for political and military activity for women throughout the early modern period, and the ways in which it can be used to present a powerful example of behavioural androgyny.39 Of the four plays devoted to Tomyris in the seventeenth ­century, three draw explicitly on Herodotus, namely Vincent Borée’s Tomyre Victorieuse (1627), the anonymous rewriting of this text as La Mort du grand et veritable Cyrus (1654), and Rosidor’s La Mort du Grand Cyrus ou la vengeance de Tomiris (1662).40 (The fourth play, Philippe Quinault’s La Mort de Cyrus (1659), on the other hand is largely inspired by Scudéry’s novel Artamène ou le Grand Cyrus (1649–53), and therefore only very derivatively from the ancient sources: Tomyris here is volatile and love-struck.) Not surprisingly, the plays inspired by Herodotus tend to exploit, and adapt, elements of the ancient story which might be assumed to have a certain dramatic appeal: not only the representation of the queen and her followers as Amazons, but also Cyrus’ offer of marriage; the role of ruse in the initial Persian victory; Spargapise’s suicide; Tomyris’ desire for vengeance. In Borée’s play the queen oscillates between distraught anxiety (see, for example, I.iv, IV.i) and swashbuckling intrepidity (II.i, V. vi). Spargapise’s role is given more importance and, partly in consequence, Tomyris appears cast within the familiar mode of solicitous maternity. Borée also deviates from Herodotus in portraying the queen as resorting to trickery to combat her enemy (she feigns to reciprocate Cyrus’ love and to accept his proposal of marriage, in order to ambush his army unawares). The candour therefore that Du Bosc was later to focus on is absent here. Rosidor, in his 1662 play, also exploits the motifs of vengeance and maternal tenderness (exceeding Borée in fact in this, and giving some of the most lyrical moments in the play to the grieving mother), but restores a moral integrity to 38   See, for example, the (male) account of the cross-dressed transgressive (titillating?) figure in NicolasMarc Desfontaines’s La Véritable Semiramis (Paris: P. Lamy, 1647), who rises from her bed in the dead of night to defend her husband (scene III.i). 39   On the political usages of the Amazon myth, see, for example, Éliane Viennot, ‘Les Amazones dans le débat de la participation des femmes au pouvoir à la Renaissance’, in Réalité et représentations des Amazones, edited by Guyonne Leduc et Sylvie Steinberg (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2008), pp. 113–29; Sylvie Steinberg, ‘Le Mythe des Amazones et son utilisation politique de la Renaissance à la Fronde’, in Royaume de Fémynie: Pouvoirs, contraintes, espaces de liberté des femmes, de la Renaissance à la Fronde, edited by Kathleen Wilson-Chevalier and Éliane Viennot (Paris: Champion, 1999), pp. 261–73. 40  [Vincent] Borée, Tomyre victorieuse in Les Princes victorieux, Tragédies françoises (Lyon: V.  de Cœursilly, 1627); La Mort du grand et veritable Cyrus (Lyon: Jean Montenat, 1654; reissue 1655), a play that is not a new play but a new version of Borée’s text, erroneously attributed to Françoise Pascal in the Bibliothèque dramatique de Soleinne; Jean Guillemay Du Chesnay, dit Rosidor, La Mort du Grand Cyrus ou la vengeance de Tomiris ([Liège:] Guillaume Henry Streel, 1662). (Tomyris does not feature in the two other plays of the period by Mainfray and La Rue devoted to Cyrus mentioned above (note 2) since they focus on his origins and his accession to power.)

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  225 the character.41 The queen is depicted throughout as a politically astute and noble-minded individual, proud in her sovereignty, driven to save her own sceptre (not least for her son), and casting herself as a buffer in Asia against Cyrus’ imperial designs (II.i), possibly echoing d’Aubignac’s Zenobia (Zénobie IV.iii), who was earlier cast as a buffer against Rome’s enemies. The casting of military prowess as an androgynous quality, available to men and women, is made most explicit here in the arrival onstage of the queen, post bellum, her unsheathed sword in hand (V.i), a gesture that may have shocked the bienséances of 1662. While the dramatic versions may have less of the moral gravitas of Du Bosc (unsurprisingly, since the dramas have the added aim to plaire as well as instruire), nonetheless the dominant image remains that of a capable, honourable sovereign.

Zenobia The use of the Amazon model as legitimizing symbol of female rulership is most apparent in the third figure of an Ancient Near Eastern female ruler frequently marshalled at the time, namely Zenobia. The third-century Palmyran ruler was one of the most powerful figures in the Eastern Roman Empire before her political successes and ambition caused the emperor Aurelian to move against her and eventually secure her defeat.42 Interestingly, she is a figure who may well have shared Cyrus’ ambition and imperialist vision, but that is not how the seventeenth century cast her. The primary source for the history, or rather the myth, of Zenobia can be found in the Historia Augusta, a largely fictionalized series of biographies, composed more than a century after the queen’s death, before 425 ce.43 The moral and physical portrait of the queen in

41   Where he does deviate considerably from the ancient sources is firstly by adding further love interests through the invented characters of Pyraxe, king of Bactria, and his sister Talestris, the former in love with Tomyris, and the latter Spargapise’s fiancée; and secondly, by including a dramatic onstage verbal duel between Cyrus and Tomyris (IV.iv). Some scant details of Rosidor’s career can be found in J. Fransen, Les Comédiens français en Hollande au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Geneva: Slatkine, 1978 [1925]), but no mention is made of the performances or reception of his Mort du Grand Cyrus either here or in Henri Liebrecht, Histoire du Théâtre français à Bruxelles au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècles (Geneva: Slatkine, 1977 [1923]). 42   For recent studies on Zenobia, reflecting the surge of interest in the Palmyran ‘queen’, see Jacques Charles-Gaffiot, Henri Lavagne, and Jean-Marc Hofman (eds.), Moi, Zénobie, reine de Palmyre (Paris/ Milan: SKIRA/Seuil, 2001); Annie et Maurice Sartre, Zénobie: De Palmyre à Rome (Paris: Perrin, 2014); Pat Southern, Empress Zenobia: Palmyra’s Rebel Queen (London: Continuum, 2008); Rex Winsbury, Zenobia of Palmyra: History, Myth and the Neo-Classical Imagination (London: Duckworth, 2010); Yasmine Zahran, Zenobia between Reality and Legend (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2003). The title ‘queen’ of Palmyra is rather misleading since, of course, Palmyra was never a kingdom. On the origins of this title see Sartre, Zénobie, pp. 89–90, 60–2. 43   Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Loeb Classical Library (London: W.  Heinemann; New York, NY: G.  P.  Putnam’s Sons, 1922–32). Treatment of Zenobia is found in the ‘Life of Aurelian’ 26–33, and the accounts of both Zenobia and Odenathus in ‘The Lives of the Thirty Pretenders’, both in Vol. 3 of the Loeb edition. The authenticity of this text was first called into question by Hermann Dessau in 1889. Other sources for the history of Zenobia include Zosimus, Festus, Jordanes, Eutropius, and the Chronicle of Eusebius.

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226  Derval Conroy the Historia Augusta was particularly popularized in Boccaccio and Pizan, the influence of which, as noted above, clearly continues to the seventeenth century. In the case of the Scudéry Femmes illustres, it is Zenobia’s constancy in the face of defeat that is celebrated. In a reminder of the salon culture which fostered this type of literature, the Palmyran heroine’s harangue is juxtaposed with that of Sophonisba, the two representing opposing viewpoints, like two voices in a conversation. Zenobia becomes the manifestation of a ‘sovereign wisdom’, accepting her role in Aurelian’s triumphal parade as a vicissitude of fortune. Addressing fictional daughters, rather than the sons who usually feature—another nod to the feminocentric stance of the text—the Scudéry Zenobia champions her stoic constancy and her self-mastery as her legacy to them.44 The autobiographical account which constitutes the first part of her harangue, largely drawn on the Historia Augusta but also on Zosimus’ New History, includes a considerable amount of geographical and historical detail (as is the case in d’Aubignac’s play, as we will see), which not only adds an illusion of historical authenticity but above all contributes to the portrayal of the political agency of Zenobia. Evocation of the geographical landscape on which Zenobia was alleged to have played out her political career (the strongholds of Mesopotamia, Galatia, Bithynia), of dealings with Gallienus and Valerius and Aurelian, of shifting alliances with Persians and Armenians, of an invasion of Egypt, all contribute to the portrait of Zenobia as a central figure in the Roman–Palmyran power games of the period. That she is furthermore represented as an able warrior and shrewd ruler, a woman of physical and mental courage, well versed in ‘the art of rule and the art of combat’ [‘l’art de régner et l’art de combattre’],45 underpins the ongoing challenge to the speciousness of the prevalent code of sexual ethics, which defines separate spheres for men and women, that d’Aubignac gives it to his character to suggest. This paradigm of ethical equality is given one of its most cogent articulations here, as Zenobia frames herself as what could be described as ‘the complete prince’: J’ai toujours crû, mes filles, que toutes les vertus ne pouvaient être incompatibles, qu’il n’était pas impossible qu’une même personne les possédât toute[s], que celles des hommes pouvaient être pratiquées par des femmes, que la véritable vertu n’avait pas de sexe affecté, qu’on pouvait être chaste et vaillante tout ensemble, témoigner de la grandeur de courage en une occasion et de l’humilité en l’autre, être sévère et clémente en diverses rencontres, pouvoir commander et obéir et savoir porter des fers et une couronne avec un même visage.46 44  The Historia Augusta attributes two children to her, Herennianus and Timolaus, who do not feature in any other source. Her son and co-ruler—Odaenathus’ heir—was Vaballathus Athenodorus. Literary tradition also suggests she had daughters, although no reference is made to their names. See Sartre, Zénobie, p. 87. 45  Scudéry, Les Femmes illustres, p. 83. 46   ‘I have always thought, my daughters, that all virtues are not incompatible, that it is not impossible for one individual to possess them all, that those of men can be exercised by women, that true virtue is not inclined to either sex, that one can be both chaste and valiant, exhibit great courage on one occasion and humility on another, be severe and merciful in different circumstances, be able to command and obey, know how to bear arms and a crown with the same countenance’ (Les Femmes illustres, p. 81).

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  227 What makes her embodiment of an androgynous human morality all the more powerful is the absence of the tell-tale (disempowering) superlatives, or mandatory evocations of beauty, which frequently mark portraits of the warrior woman of the period. (Beauty is only mentioned here in reference to court flatterers.) Of equal interest to this endorsement of an androgynous morality is the subsequent celebration of constancy which forms the focus of the second half of the harangue. Here Zenobia is explicitly given to voice a neo-Stoical discourse as she argues in favour of constancy as the most necessary virtue for kingship and rejects as a weakness the notion of maintaining gloire in death. True virtue consists of confronting, not fleeing, the vicissitudes of fortune.47 True wisdom is the ability to exploit both the pleasures and difficulties of one’s human lot.48 What is noteworthy here is not only the fact that she is given to voice and embody a moral strength which is antithetical to the gender construction of women as weak but also the very fact that she is given to engage at all with a contemporary discourse regarding political and public morality. Like Du Bosc’s Tomyris, she is cast here as the moralist, the commentator for the prince. Some years later the portrait of an able ruler and warrior is again sketched in Le Moyne’s Gallerie, although in a very different and much more traditional fashion, serving once again as a reminder of the different aims of the two galleries. Here, the Jesuit Le Moyne clearly has no interest in the historical Zenobia or in the geographical and political landscape of her life but solely in her role as a model for a certain element of his readership. Le Moyne’s emphasis on the Palmyran ruler as warrior woman is very clear from the outset. In the visual engraving which introduces her (Figure  9.2)— inspired by the Historia Augusta as the legend indicates49—she is represented in full Amazonian attire, the bejewelled warrior queen, advancing with a determined step, her index finger raised in the characteristic gesture of Ripa’s ‘Authority’, her crown and panache merged, symbolizing the fusion of her military and political skills, her figurative dynamism highlighted by the literal movement of her robes. In the Bosse-engraved background, the image of the queen as an athletic and hardy hunter is merged with that of her as solicitous mother, training her children, as the legend tells us, to be valiant and victorious by showing them how to hunt—an exotic and ‘Other’ version of motherhood. On the right-hand side of the background, the presence of three women hunters points to the influence of Zenobia throughout her entourage. Le Moyne’s ekphrastic verbal portrait continues this celebration of physical courage and military skill, her ‘grace virile et militaire’, pointing implicitly to the fashion in which she belies a binary sexual ethics by embodying the virtues traditionally designated male and female: she has apparently ‘all the graces of her sex and all the virtues of

  Les Femmes illustres, pp. 84–7.   ‘Il n’est point de condition en la vie qui n’ait ses peines et ses plaisirs, et la véritable sagesse est de savoir également user de toutes’ (Les Femmes illustres, p. 87). 49   The legend cites as its source Trebellius Pollio, the pseudonym used by the author of the Historia Augusta for ‘The Lives of the Thirty Pretenders’. 47 48

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228  Derval Conroy

Figure 9.2  Zénobie, from Pierre Le Moyne, Gallerie des femmes fortes (1647). Reproduced by kind permission of the Board of Trinity College Dublin.

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  229 ours’ [‘toutes les Graces de son Sexe & toutes les Vertus du nostre’].50 Included in the former, no doubt, for Le Moyne is her chastity in widowhood, her devotion to the memory of her late husband Odaenathus in her eschewal of a second marriage, and even her chastity in marriage, limiting sexual relations with her husband to the purposes of procreation, a detail from the Historia Augusta myth which Scudéry had eschewed.51 However, on balance, the emphasis in the portrait as a whole and in the éloge which follows is not on chastity, as is the case for other widows. Nor indeed is it solely on beauty (although that does feature). What emerges here is as much the image of an intelligent, eloquent, and learned woman, well-versed in the art of government [‘la science des Princes’] as it is the more common image of the beautiful guerrière. That her portrait is markedly less prescriptive than that of Artemisia in the same volume (as we saw above) is highlighted by the very choice of a ‘moral question’ which allows women more agency, namely ‘Whether women are capable of military virtue’ [‘Si les femmes sont capable des Vertus Militaires’]. Although adamant that his intention is in no way to challenge the status quo, Le Moyne presents a series of arguments in favour of female military capabilities (drawing on his typical mix of the theory of the humours, gallantry, and a more rationalist distinction between physical strength and mental courage), contending that it is merely custom that excludes them from military activity.52 A range of French patriots and state-saviours are evoked, including Joan of Arc and Renée de Clermont (whom he refers to as the maréchale de Balagny), as examples of the fact that France, like countries referred to with broad-sweeping vagueness as ‘Scythia and other overseas countries’ [‘la Scythie & les autres Pays d’Outre-Mer’],53 has produced Amazons. The valorization of military activity and leadership culminates in his portrait of Jeanne de Flandres (1295–1374), celebrated for her pivotal role in the War of the Breton Succession, as Le Moyne moves with characteristic ease from ancient heroine to modern example, from the third-century Palmyran ruler to the fourteenth-century Flanders duchess. Once again, any notion of difference quite simply never features. Turning now to the dramatic creations, it is clear that while on the one hand a similar characterization of Zenobia emerges, on the other hand exemplarity is played out rather differently. D’Aubignac’s Zénobie draws clearly on the Historia Augusta in its sketching of the broad geographical and political backdrop—reproducing, for example, versions of the letters allegedly exchanged between Aurelian and Zenobia (‘Life of Aurelian’ 26.7–9 and 27.2–5), and peppering the text with names of exotic-sounding cities such as Ancyre, Thiane, and Emèse—but the dramatist adapts his source   Le Moyne, Gallerie, p. 148.   In a telling confusion, the Araspas of the Panthea episode in Xenophon’s Cyropedia is here mistakenly associated with Zenobia: the fourth figure in the background hunting scene is apparently the besotted but rejected Persian. Le Moyne is interested in demonstrating Zenobia’s fidelity to her late husband, not in recounting Ancient Near Eastern history, and the figure of Araspas suits his purpose very well. 52 53   Le Moyne, Gallerie, pp. 153–5.   Le Moyne, Gallerie, p. 156. 50 51

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230  Derval Conroy c­ onsiderably for the actual plot, not least in the crucial issue of the heroine’s invented suicide.54 Zenobia is a proud, courageous, and patriotic ruler, marked by the powerful self-determination to preserve her gloire in death not uncommon among dramatic heroines of the 1640s. Although depicted as rather dependent on her generals in the present of the play and lamenting her woeful circumstances, nonetheless the portrait emerges of a capable, valiant, and successful warrior ruler, through the description of her single-handed combat against Marcellin (IV.ii), through her evocation of her past political activity, and through her explicit challenging of the exclusion of women from military and political authority, in sum a challenge to the basis of gender-specific behaviours and roles (IV.iii). That this is voiced by a woman who resembles in her speech a habituée of the Hôtel de Rambouillet55 rather than an allegedly uncivilized ‘Other’ only serves to strengthen its impact rather than detract from it. The later versification of this play by Magnon strays even further from any would-be historical truth.56 The play exploits numerous common tragic (or, indeed, tragi-comic) topoi of the period—multiple love interests, disguise, a thwarted flight (of Zenobia), an attempted assassination (of Aurelian)—aimed at pleasing its audience. Nonetheless, against this background of galanterie and qui proquos, d’Aubignac’s portrait of the queen is maintained: able ruler and warrior, staunchly proud of her military prowess and political role, and fervently devoted to her husband’s memory. (Her suicide, in fact, in this version, is motivated by a desire to avoid a second marriage more than to avoid Aurelian’s triumph.) While the characterization of the female rulers in the plays which feature Tomyris and Zenobia is noteworthy in itself, testifying to the circulation of a pro-gynecocracy discourse in some circles, a seemingly inevitable question regards their reception. How successful were the creations of Borée and Rosidor, d’Aubignac and Magnon? To what extent may they have contributed to the creation of knowledge regarding the two 54   Abbé d’Aubignac, Zenobie (Paris: A. Courbé, 1647), probably first performed in 1640; for a modern edition, see Bernard  J.  Bourque (ed.), Abbé d’Aubignac: Pièces en prose (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 2012). For an analysis of the debate concerning female rulership in this play, see Derval Conroy, Ruling Women, Vol. 2: Configuring the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century French Drama (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 77–81. 55   Both Henry  C.  Lancaster (A History of French Dramatic Literature in the Seventeenth Century, 9 vols. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1929–42), II.i, p. 340) and Arnaud remark on the refinement and civility (at times to the point of tedium) of d’Aubignac’s characters. (Charles Arnaud, Les Théories dramatiques au XVIIe siècle: Étude sur la vie et les oeuvres de l’Abbé d’Aubignac (Geneva: Slatkine, 1970 [1887]), p. 289.) 56   Jean Magnon, Zenobie: Reyne de Palmire (Paris: C.  Journel, 1660). This play, which had slipped through the digitization net until very recently, is now available online through the digital collections of the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne, https://nubis.univ-paris1.fr, accessed 15 June 2019. The considerable differences between the plays are examined in B.  J.  Bourque, ‘Deux versions de Zénobie: Imitation ou transformation?’, in French Seventeenth-Century Literature: Influences and Transformations: Essays in Honour of Christopher J. Gossip, edited by Jane Southwood and Bernard Bourque (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009), pp. 219–33. Magnon had earlier shown an interest in Near Eastern history (modern and ancient) as source material, having drawn on it for two other of his five tragedies, Artaxerce (1645) and Le Grand Tamerlan et Bajazet (1647), a testament perhaps to its usefulness as historical material little enough known to be exploited as desired, as well as to the growing interest in the East as dramatic subject matter.

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  231 Near Eastern rulers and by extension contributed to a more widely held acceptance of successful gynecocracy as eminently thinkable? Little is known of the reception of Borée’s, Rosidor’s, and d’Aubignac’s texts, while Magnon’s was by all accounts a dramatic flop (running for a mere seven performances in Paris). However, before we assume these dramas created few ripples, we should recall that the question of success, so bluntly posed, hinges on an assumption that the plays were written for public performance, and as such is perhaps an entirely redundant and inappropriate line of enquiry, at least in the case of Borée and Magnon. The key element in the creation of both Tomyre victorieuse and the 1660 Zénobie, and indeed one which links the two plays very concretely, is the dedicatee, namely the French royal Christine de France (1606–63), sister of Louis XIII and duchess of Savoy.57 Borée’s play appears as one of four tragedies, Les Princes victorieux, all dedicated to members of the Savoy ducal family, and it is clear that it is the dedicatees who influenced the choice of subject matter. In the case of Tomyre victorieux, the epistle addressed to the ‘Serenissime Princesse, Christine de Bourbon, Princesse de Piedmont’ is followed by a lengthy ode which confirms his offering as a homage to the princess, whose support perhaps he had already benefited from (he refers to the fact that ‘to serve you is to live happily’ [‘[c’est] vivre heureusement que de vous servir’], which may be more than mere rhetoric) or whose favour he sought. The four plays may in fact have been written by this Savoyard juriconsulte uniquely to be read or for a private court performance;58 the publisher’s ‘Au lecteur’ alludes to having to persuade Borée to publish, which in this case, again, may not be simply a standard rhetorical flourish. In any event, it is clear that Tomyris is not being held up as an example to be imitated: despite the alleged didactic role associated with theatre, the play is clearly far less didactic than Le Moyne’s moralist Gallerie, for example. Rather, history has provided in Tomyris a retrospective pale reflection of the current Christine. Writing in the 1620s, Borée cannot have known how apt his choice of subject matter was in choosing a female ruler who successfully defended her states. (Familiar with the writings of the ancients through his legal training, the figure of Tomyris may have simply seemed an obvious choice to honour the duchess.) For Magnon, on the other hand, writing over thirty years later, further to Christine’s successful regency and her success in staving off attempts to seize power by her brothers-in-law in the Piedmontese civil war, the choice of Zenobia as subject matter is clearly loaded, as is made explicit from the dedicatory epistle. While this epistle is marked by its typically panegyric tone, the qualities of the duchess emphasized are nonetheless noteworthy, namely birth, 57   On this astute female ruler, neglected in French historiography until recently, see Giuliano Ferretti (ed.), Christine de France et son siècle, special issue of XVIIe siècle, 262:1 (2014); Giuliano Ferretti (ed.), De Paris à Turin: Christine de France, duchesse de Savoie (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2014); and Alain Becchia and Florine Vital-Durand (eds.), Édifier l’état: Politique et culture en Savoie au temps de Christine de France (Chambéry: Université de Savoie, 2015). 58   On the importance and elaborate nature of festivities, including theatre performances, in Christine’s Savoyard court, see Margaret McGowan, ‘Les Fêtes de la cour en Savoie: L’œuvre de Philippe d’Aglié’, Revue d’Histoire du théâtre 22:3 (1970): 181–241, particularly 185–91.

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232  Derval Conroy générosité (nobility of spirit), douceur, intelligence, prudence, constancy, courage—all qualities integral to the humanist notion of the ideal prince, rather than to the ancient Zenobia. Of course, unlike Christine, Zenobia didn’t manage ultimately to resist the imperialist advances of rival powers (in her case, Rome). What emerges, then, in another demonstration of the circularity of example, is that Zenobia (like Borée’s Tomyris) is cast not as the ancient model to be imitated, but rather as the lesser ancient copy of the present-day Christine. Once again, difference is eroded, and temporal and geographical distances evaporate in the parallels drawn between the dedicatee and the subject, but here the deployment of the example is reversed.59 Magnon’s choice of dedicatee also explains his adaptation of the historical material. One of the most obvious changes to d’Aubignac’s plot is the substitution of a daughter, Odénie, for the two small sons who feature in the earlier play and in the Historia Augusta. Odénie represents a parallel with Christine’s daughter Marie Louise, who is also lauded in the epistle and in whose honour Magnon includes a paratextual sonnet, in addition to one to her mother. The poetic licence is explained. Interestingly, the parallel with Borée evoked above goes further: just as the latter had presented Rhodes subjugée, the first of his Princes victorieux, to the duke of Savoy Charles Emmanuel I, Magnon dedicated his Tite to the then duke of Savoy Charles Emmanuel II, Christine’s son. Since Tite and Zenobie were produced in the same year (1659) and the dramatist claims (in the address to the reader in Zenobie) to have travelled to Turin to present both plays to the duke and duchess, the genesis of the play is clearly part of a larger bid for ducal favour. It may indeed have been produced precisely with this Savoyard visit in mind, particularly since Magnon may have abandoned dramatic writing in 1656.60 (Indeed, if he had decided in some haste to produce the play—a haste which would have contributed to the mediocrity of the verse which he himself implies an awareness of in the address to the reader—his decision to versify an already existent play is also partly explained.) One can only speculate. In any event, the fact that the play was a flop in Paris is clearly less important than the fact that the thirdcentury Palmyran ruler is appropriated as a specular reflection (albeit a lesser one) for a seventeenth-century Savoyard ruler with such apparent ease, in a play that was in all likelihood performed for her. (Since the troupe of the duchesse de Montpensier, Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, known as the Comédiens de Mademoiselle, was based in Turin on the invitation of Christine and Charles-Emmanuel from October 1659 to

59   An explicit parallel between dedicatee and subject matter is also key in the appropriation of another Near Eastern model, Semiramis, in the case of Gabriel Gilbert, whose Semiramis (1647) is dedicated to his patron (and possibly employer) the duchess of Rohan, Marguerite de Béthune. In its representation of the Assyrian ruler—one of the most favourable depictions of her of the period—the play apparently presents a portrait of the French duchess (‘un crayon de [sa] vie’, as the dedicatory epistle tells us), whose military and political role in the religious conflicts of the 1620s was considerable. 60   Lancaster (III.i, pp. 175–6) reads the comments in the ‘Au lecteur’ to Jeanne de Naples (1656) as implying a withdrawal from dramatic writing.

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Female Exempla of the Ancient Near East  233 May 1660, precisely the timeframe of Magnon’s visit, it seems highly likely that his play would have been part of their repertory and performed for their noble hosts.)61 Before concluding, a final mention must be made of the most inauspicious of these plays, namely the anonymous La Mort du grand et veritable Cyrus (1654), which, as mentioned above, is a rewriting (i.e. overt plagiarism) of Borée’s Tomyre victorieuse. While there are various reasons an author (perhaps an actor or indeed the publisher) may have recycled an earlier text (which carries no dedication, so cannot be explained by reasons of patronage), the epistle to the reader points to a reading of history which may have been a contributing factor. In a conversational and informal tone, the author claims to have devoted a few hours of his leisure time in Paris to producing this play. Why? Because, he implies, of the success of the novelistic version of history which was a talking point in the capital, an allusion to Scudéry’s Grand Cyrus. In a reaction against the ‘fabulous’ story being promulgated in ten or twelve volumes, the author sets out to portray the ‘veritable’ Cyrus according to Herodotus and Justin, apparently ‘succinctly and without modifying history’. Although similar reactions to the historical novel are not uncommon, the play nonetheless provides a noteworthy act of validation of the Ancients, a performative opposition to the fictionalization of the past.

Conclusion A number of observations can be made in conclusion of this brief overview. Firstly, the exempla of Tomyris, Zenobia, and Artemisia in the hands of seventeenth-century moralists and dramatists provide varying representations of the dynamics of gender and sovereignty which serve as a reminder of the complexity of that dynamic. Sovereignty as embodied by women—by these women—is varyingly cast as hinging on so-called ‘female’ virtues in the conjugal loyalty of Artemisia; on a fusion of male and female virtues in the androgyny of the politically astute warrior woman Zenobia; or on the transgression of the very code of binary sexual ethics in the prudent, constant, and satiable Tomyris, the ultimate ruler. Embedded in those very constructions of female sovereignty, despite their diversity, is a tangible demonstration (if one were needed) of how the rhetoric of exemplarity in the early modern period hinges on the erosion of difference and of distance, the refusal of alterity. In these texts at least, the Ancient Near East is read not for itself but rather through the prism of Anne of Austria’s regency, exploited for examples it can provide regarding the topical issue of gynecocracy, examples which are negotiated and merged with modern models to reflect or to form 61   On this troupe and the invitation, see François Mugnier, Le Théâtre en Savoie: Les Vieux Spectacles, les comédiens de Mademoiselle et de S.  A.  R.  le duc de Savoie, la comédie au collège, les troupes modernes (Chambéry: Impr. de Ménard, 1887), pp. 15–16. We know from the Gazette of 15 November that a ‘comédie française’ and ‘bal’ took place on 9 November. Lancaster points out that one of the actors of Mademoiselle’s troupe, Philippe Millot, had been associated with the company that performed Magnon’s first play, Artaxerce, in 1644 and suggests that the association may have led to the performance of this new play of Magnon’s. See History of French Dramatic Literature, III.ii, p. 459, n. 7.

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234  Derval Conroy the latter. The question remains as to how specific this treatment is, the extent to which, if at all, it differs from representations of other ancient female rulers. On the one hand, there is nothing specific to the Ancient Near East about the association of women with political acumen, with military skill, with constancy, with conjugal loyalty. On the other hand, precisely because of its monarchical and political structures, and its association with successful empire, the antiquity of the Ancient Near East provides a very specific landscape demonstrating the embodiment of those virtues in the female prince, in models that are ill known enough to be exploited at will and devoid of the ideological weight of a Cleopatra. That this ‘civilized’ ancient East of reason and wisdom, of continence and constancy, provides a counter-model to the received ideas of a despotic and violent contemporary East is unsurprising in itself. That it should do so through the unpicking of a code of gendered virtue and through the exemplarity of a number of women (not a ‘female’ exemplarity) is a telling reminder of the centrality of a perception of women as the civilizing influence, the harbingers of stability, in the face of the violence and chaos of seventeenth-century France itself.

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10 Assyria in Early Modern Historiography Jennifer Sarha

When Sir Walter Ralegh wrote about ancient Assyria in his History of the World in 1614, he quoted a Roman author from the second century bce. Knowledge about Assyria in the early modern period was derived from two sources: the Bible, with its scattered references to Assyria as an enemy of the Israelites, and the classical corpus. Among Greek-writing historians, Assyria is mentioned briefly by Herodotus and Plutarch, with more extensive treatments in Athenaeus and Diodorus Siculus. Justin, the aforementioned Roman, was the primary Latin source for later historians from Orosius (fourth century ce) to Charles Rollin (1734–8). The narrative concerning Assyria is centred around two notorious royal figures: Queen Semiramis, who dressed as a man, conquered many lands, built the walls of Babylon, and died after attempting incest with her son, and King Sardanapalus, who dressed as a woman, hid in his palace, and died by setting himself on fire after losing his kingdom to Arbaces the Mede. Until the nineteenth century, writing history about ancient Assyria involved the transmission, sometimes word for word, of this basic narrative. The historiography of this practice in the early modern period is both complex and unstudied. Engaging with Greek and Roman texts was a crucial part of Renaissance humanism, and Assyria formed part of the classical tradition thus received and created. Semiramis and Sardanapalus belonged to the cultural landscape of writers such as Aristotle and Cicero, and their place as signifiers for Assyria was disseminated to early modern Europe along with the classical corpus. The varying trends of historiography in Western Europe—medieval chronicles, antiquarianism, national histories based on Livy and political histories based on Thucydides, investigative inquiries à la Lorenzo Valla—would have exerted pressure on writing history about Assyria, despite its limited pool of texts and its lack of corroborating physical evidence. The history of Assyria at this point is a resolutely textual tradition; unlike ancient Rome, evidence of which could still be found all over Europe, Assyria did not have a material past until the nineteenth century. While not all historians used archaeological artefacts in their Jennifer Sarha, Assyria in Early Modern Historiography In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0011

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236  Jennifer Sarha inquiries, there was a growing paradigm of antiquarianism within historiographical culture from Petrarch’s observations on Roman ruins onwards.1 For Assyria, this would have aligned the production of historical knowledge as an exercise in mythography, closer to locations such as Amazonia rather than the verifiable Greece or Rome. Moreover, the historiography of Assyria would also have been informed by the exemplary traditions around both Semiramis and Sardanapalus. Their names were deployed to debate questions of gender hierarchy, revealing a tendency to insert their acts of cross-dressing and their ways of gaining and losing power into political arguments. Assyrian history in the early modern period was written, read, and used with an eye on multiple historiographical paradigms, and often with specific rhetorical and moralizing aims. This chapter aims to shed light on the problematics of Assyrian historiography; specifically, to explore the strategies used to produce historical knowledge about Assyria through Semiramis and Sardanapalus. In post-medieval Europe, Assyria adopted a pervasive albeit lightly spread role, and much further research is needed to understand the complexity of its presence in different cultures and languages, its discursive functions in exemplary tropes, and its positioning and usage within the competing paradigms of biblical and classical authority. My enquiry, focusing on the use of classical sources to construct knowledge about Assyria—specifically, knowledge that was viewed as valid according to contemporary historiographical trends as well as corresponding to contemporary concerns about gender and power—aims to shed light on a crucial part in the reception of Assyria before the birth of archaeological Assyriology: the ways in which knowledge about Assyria was conditioned by the classical tradition and its centralizing of Semiramis and Sardanapalus. My study is centred on three authors/texts spanning 250 years, several languages, and cultural contexts, all widely read, with influence and audiences outside their specific genres. Giovanni Boccaccio’s De Casibus Virorum Illustrium (1360–73) and De Mulieribus Claris (1361–2), written in Latin for a literate royal court at Naples, establish the status of Semiramis and Sardanapalus in late medieval Europe before the proliferation of accessible translations of Diodorus, Plutarch, and Herodotus in the Renaissance. Johann Carion’s Carionis Chronicon and its later rewritings by Philip Melanchthon, composed in Latin for a sixteenth-century Protestant readership in Wittenberg, ­provide information on the positioning of Assyria in the early modern conceptions of universal history, particularly in the Protestant millenarian tradition. By examining the alterations between the two texts, it is possible to explore the reception of ­specific classical authors as well as the rising influence of humanist rhetoric on Assyrian historiography. Finally, Walter Ralegh’s History of the World (1614) tells us about writing Assyria at a time when investigative strategies and causality had become 1   For antiquarian culture, see Angus Vine, In Defiance of Time: Antiquarian Writing in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); for Petrarch and ruins, see Jennifer Summit, ‘Topography as Historiography; Petrarch, Chaucer, and the Making of Medieval Rome’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30 (2000): 211–46.

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assyria in early modern historiography  237 the mainstay of historiographical practice. While the selection of texts here studied comprises genres with varying ­relationships to historical accuracy, they all contain narratives which aim to provide historical ‘truths’ and they deploy historiographical strategies to do so: using sources considered creditable, but also interrogating and evaluating those sources in order to produce a persuasive argument. The treatment of Semiramis and Sardanapalus allows for an investigation into the main challenges of producing historical knowledge about Assyria as well as a review of the longevity and pan-European scope of this tradition. In order to put it in context, however, it is first necessary to explain how knowledge about Assyria was acquired in antiquity: how was the tradition of knowledge received in late medieval and early modern Europe created?

Assyria as Transmitted Knowledge Ancient Assyria, located broadly in modern Iraq, was both a well-functioning state with a comprehensive administrative system and an expansionist empire in continuous warfare with its neighbours. It held influence as far as modern Cyprus and Armenia as well as locally. From the second millennium to the seventh century bce, it competed for hegemony with Hittites, Egyptians, Medes, Elamites, and above all Babylonians, Assyria’s nearest rival in both culture and politics. During the Neo-Assyrian period (911–612 bce), it aimed to extend its yoke further over the Levant, including Israelite and Egyptian territories.2 The reign of Assyria’s last great king, Ashurbanipal (c.669–630 bce) included successful campaigns against Egypt, Elam, and Babylon, annexed to Assyria since 745 bce. After Ashurbanipal’s death, Assyria fell into decline and was defeated in 612 bce by a combined army of Medes and Babylonians. All this is known to us because of nineteenth-century archaeological excavations; modern Assyriology rests on the discovery of cities such as Nineveh, whose administrative records had survived in the form of clay tablets, and the subsequent deciphering of cuneiform. Prior to these discoveries, however, what was known about Assyria was based on the textual remnants of two hostile, and in the case of the classical corpus of Greek and Roman writers, remote cultural traditions. The biblical tradition on Assyria is mainly concentrated on the Neo-Assyrian period, particularly Assyrian military expansion in the second half of the eighth century and its sudden downfall in 612.3 Isaiah 1, the main biblical source on eighth-century bce Assyria, describes the military might of the Assyrian army, but credits its success to the designs of the Hebrew god. The Book of Nahum takes a similar approach to the fall of Nineveh (ostensibly presented as a prophecy written in advance of the event, but most likely composed during or after).4 For biblical writers, Assyria is 2   For a comprehensive summary of Assyrian history, see Amélie Kuhrt, The Ancient Near East c. 3000–330 BC, 2 vols. (London and New York, NY: Routledge, 1995). 3   For Assyria in the Bible see Peter Machinist, ‘Assyria and Its Image in the First Isaiah’, Journal of the American Oriental Society 103:4 (1983): 719–37. 4   John R. Huddlestun, ‘Nahum, Nineveh, and the Nile: The Description of Nineveh in Nahum 3:8–9’, The Journal of Near Eastern Studies 62:2 (2003): 97–110 (107).

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238  Jennifer Sarha an enemy whose history provides a satisfying arc, from initially oppressive victories over the Israelite peoples to an ignominious defeat. It is also worth highlighting the use of gendered language; Cynthia Chapman has shown that biblical books tend to discuss Assyria as a sexualized (masculinized) threat to the female-gendered Jerusalem, only to be defeated by the even more (and correctly) masculinized Hebrew god.5 There is a tension between the competing masculinities of Assyria and Israel, which is negotiated through an overt and excessively sexualized portrayal of Assyria and predicated on concepts of unlawful abuse. For later Assyrian historiography, this provides a conceptual foundation, but less in the line of useable details. The Greek tradition on Assyria, also the basis of the later Roman tradition, has a more complex history of transmission. Assyrian sources rarely mention Greeks, which suggests, as Amélie Kuhrt has argued, little direct contact between the Assyrian empire and the Greek-speaking peoples of the eastern Mediterranean.6 The earliest references to Assyria in Greek sources occur in Phocylides (sixth century bce), who notes that Nineveh had been foolish to grow so large.7 News about the fall of Assyria would have reverberated across the Mediterranean, but it is likely that Greek conceptualizations of Assyria were informed by their interactions with Persians, with whom both Greeks and Assyrians had direct contact. The lack of contact did not, however, indicate a lack of interest. Hellanicus of Lesbos, an older contemporary of Herodotus, wrote a nowlost history of Assyria, which was still read in the second century ce.8 Herodotus declared his intention to write a second history dedicated to Assyria; whether this intention was serious, or actually implemented, is a matter of debate.9 The most influential Greek source on Assyrian history was the Persika of Ctesias (fourth century bce), now lost except for a few fragments.10 Ctesias served as a source for several later writers such as Diodorus Siculus (first century bce, Greek-speaking Sicily), and Justin who in the second century ce wrote an epitome of the first-century bce historian Pompeius Trogus (Latin-speaking Gaul).11 The wide chronological and geographical scope of Ctesias’ readers (he was known by Photius in eighth-century Byzantium) indicates the influence and popularity—as fabulous tales of the East—of Persika. 5  Cynthia R. Chapman, The Gendered Language of Warfare in the Israelite-Assyrian Encounter (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2004), passim. 6  Amélie Kuhrt, ‘Greek Contact with the Levant and Mesopotamia in the First Half of the First Millenium bc: A View From the East’, in Greek Settlements in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, edited by G. R. Tsetskhladze and A. M. Snodgrass (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2002), pp. 17–25. 7   Anthologia Lyrica Graeca, edited by Ernestus Diehl (Lipsiae: B. G. Tebneri, 1925), p. 48. 8   FGrHist 93 F1. 9   Robert Drews, ‘Herodotus’ Other Logoi’, The American Journal of Philology 91 (1970): 181–91. 10   Jan Stronk’s recent edition of Ctesias counts twenty-nine surviving lines. Jan P. Stronk, Ctesias’ Persian History: Introduction, Text and Translation (Wellem Verlag: Dusseldorf, 2010), p. 2. 11   The extensive debate over Ctesias’ recoverability is beyond my remit. Most recent research has argued, contra nineteenth-century critics such as Felix Jacoby, that Diodorus, Athenaeus, and others do in fact contain the composition of their named authors. See Dominique Lenfant, Ctésias de Cnide: La Perse, l’Inde, autres fragments (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2004); Stronk, Ctesias’ Persian History; Robert  J.  Gorman and Vanessa B. Gorman, Corrupting Luxury in Ancient Greek Literature (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2014).

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assyria in early modern historiography  239 Ctesias’ history, as far as it has been recovered through later writers, centres around Semiramis and Sardanapalus, who serve as both bookends and counterpoints in a narrative that corresponds neatly to Assyria’s expansion and fall. Nevertheless, it is worth highlighting that Persika does not reflect actual events in Assyrian history, nor can Semiramis and Sardanapalus stand for the historical Shammuramat and Ashurbanipal.12 While a transmission is likely—the story of Ashurbanipal’s war with Babylon was still being told in Aramaic in fourth-century bce Persian-occupied Egypt—there is no evidence to suggest any correlation between their biographies.13 Recent studies of Ctesias assume that his sources were Persian, but how he interacted with them is not recoverable.14 What has been noted is Ctesias’ conceptualization of the ancient Near East as infested with gender trouble.15 Assyria is presented as a site where norms of gender and hierarchy are disrupted; it expands its territories because a woman usurps a man’s position and male clothes, and comes to ruin because a man adopts a woman’s life. This framing would have conditioned the ways in which knowledge about Assyria was repeated; in the Greek-speaking world Semiramis and Sardanapalus were used in debates about rightful rule and justified deposition. Aristotle mentions Sardanapalus as a monarch dethroned because of contempt: ‘somebody killed Sardanapallus when he saw him combing wool with his women’, followed by a suggestion that if this was not true of Sardanapalus, it was true about somebody.16 In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle associates Sardanapalus with a life of unthinking enjoyment, like that of cattle.17 Cicero, in Tusculan Disputations, repeats this association, and in Letters to Atticus uses his name for a man who prefers to die on his couch.18 In On the Consular Provinces, Cicero calls a misbehaving military commander a ‘Semiramis’, with implications of murder and corruption, while Plutarch claims that Semiramis was a concubine who tricked her way into power, even if elsewhere he follows Ctesias’ version of the story.19 This would have been the classical tradition received by late medieval and early modern writers. There were, nevertheless, differences between the narratives told by Diodorus and Justin, and their respective histories of transmission and popularity varied considerably. Justin remained the main source throughout the Middle Ages; over two hundred manuscript copies of the Epitome survive, compared to eight of Diodorus. Justin was not a prestigious author, but his relatively simple Latin made him useful as a teaching aid, and this ensured widespread, if not always acknowledged, influence. Diodorus was better known in the Greek-speaking East, but he became 12   For the origins of the names, see Stephanie Dalley, ‘Semiramis in History and Legend: A Case Study in Interpretation of an Assyrian Historical Tradition’, in Cultural Borrowings and Ethnic Appropriations in Antiquity, edited by Erich Gruen (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2005), pp.11–22; Eckart Frahm, ‘Images of Ashurbanipal in Later Tradition’, Eretz-Israel 27 (2003): 37–48. 13   S.  P.  Vleeming and J.  W.  Weselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63: Essays on the Aramaic Texts in Aramaic/Demotic Papyrus Amherst 63 (Amsterdam: Juda Palache Instituut, 1985), pp. 31–7. 14 15  Stronk, Ctesias’ Persian History, p. 17.  Lenfant, Ctésias de Cnide, p. cxxxv. 16 17  Aristotle, Politics 5.13.  Aristotle, Nic. Eth. I.V.3. 18 19  Cicero, Letters to Atticus 10.8.7.  Cicero, On the Consular Provinces 4; Plutarch, Amatorius 9.

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240  Jennifer Sarha more widely known after Poggio Bracciolini’s Latin translation of 1449 (printed in 1472). The transmission, reception, and redeployment of Assyrian history is conditioned by the narrowness of its textual tradition—two sources, both broadly following the same narrative. Their treatment in different cultural contexts allows us to examine how historical knowledge is produced under multiple ideological frameworks, such as faith in the authority of the ancients, early modern Christian morality, and ‘universal’ norms of gender and power.

Giovanni Boccaccio Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) wrote about Assyria in two compendiums of famous lives: De Casibus Virorum Illustrium (1360–73) and De Mulieribus Claris (1361–2). Like his immediate predecessor Petrarch, Boccaccio wrote in a hagiographic tradition according to which the lives of saints were to inspire holy living; both Petrarch and Boccaccio applied this didactic approach to non-holy historical figures. Petrarch chose his exemplars from Greek and Roman history, but Boccaccio’s reach extended from the Bible to his own contemporaries. In such a conception of world history, the value of a historical figure lies less in explicating their immediate historical context than in illustrating universal truths about the world. Boccaccio’s sources on Assyria would have suggested a similar view: for Justin, Orosius, and Diodorus (partly excerpted in Eusebius), all writing universal histories, the aim was to demonstrate the truth of certain moral beliefs, and the whole of the known world was available for this purpose. This would have differed from the views of other universal historians like Polybius, for whom a longitudinal scope was useful for explaining the succession of empires.20 For Boccaccio, historical figures provided an opportunity to write quasi-scandalous narratives in the guise of moral exhortation. What separates Semiramis and Sardanapalus from the others is the strict textual tradition from which they originate, and the way this enables Boccaccio to use fictionalizing strategies while nevertheless producing historically informed and authoritative knowledge. On Semiramis, Boccaccio’s treatment of classical sources combines the faithful repetition of sentences with amplification, realignment, and strategic juxtapositioning. From Justin we have: Semiramis did not dare entrust the throne to an immature boy, but no more would she openly occupy it herself. The many great nations of their empire had barely submitted to Ninus, a man; much less would they submit to a woman. She pretended, therefore, to be the son of Ninus rather than his wife, a boy rather than a woman.21

20   Arnaldo Momigliano, ‘The Origins of Universal History’, Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa 12 (1982): 532–60 (548). 21  J. C. Yardley, Justin: Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1994), p. 15.

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assyria in early modern historiography  241 Boccaccio rewrites this with an emphasis on Semiramis’ agency and sagacity. Instead of ‘not dare entrust’ (‘neque . . . ausa tradere’), we have Semiramis considering, ‘existimans’, the consequences of entrusting the empire to a young boy.22 In Justin, Semiramis’ accession is conveyed through a series of consequently arranged facts (her lack of daring, her unruly kingdom, her act of disguise), but Boccaccio incorporates her daring (‘auderet’), and renders this an active moment: she ‘was possessed of so ­courageous a spirit that she, a woman, dared undertake with skill and intelligence the rule of those nations which her fierce husband had subjugated and controlled with force of arms’.23 Such additions and amplification embue Semiramis with motivations and agency; her narrative grows in dynamic tension without losing its status as transmitter of historical information. Moreover, Boccaccio is here applying a medieval exegetic practice, enarratio. It entailed, as Rita Copeland has shown, paraphrasing and rewriting the text to explicate its ‘truth for the contemporary reader’.24 There is a truth to be found in Semiramis; from Justin’s ‘magnas deinde res gessit’, she does great things, Boccaccio draws out ‘She energetically took up the royal power . . . she preserved both kingship and military discipline while accomplishing many great deeds worthy of even the most powerful men’, which in turn allows him to argue that ‘it was almost as if she wanted to show that spirit (animus), not sex, was needed to govern’.25 Boccaccio is careful about not awarding this argumentative design to Semiramis herself; rather, it is a discovery by Boccaccio. His rewriting of Justin’s narrative has enabled him to reveal this new truth—reveal, not invent—and to suggest that the received tradition on Assyria requires amplification in order to constitute ‘truth’. Furthermore, this is a truth with potential applications, a truth about the world rather than just Semiramis. The conclusion of Boccaccio’s narrative, again borrowed from Justin, is structured to undermine Semiramis’ great deeds through the regrettable flaw which all women share: ungovernable lust. On this question Boccaccio turns from Justin to look for more salacious details in Orosius: her use of her own soldiers and their murder at her hands.26 Her incest with her son is mentioned along with several other vaguely sourced sexual debaucheries, introduced by ‘they say’ and ‘others however write’.27 Collating sources without deciding between them was a feature in medieval chronicles—Caxton in Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1474) argues that it need not matter that different authors have said different things, as long as the moral 22   Giovanni Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. by Vittore Zaccaria (Milan: Arnaldo Mondatori Editore, 1967), 12 vols., Vol. 9, p. 32; Otto Steel (ed.), M. Juniani Justini Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum Pompei Trogi (Stuttgart: Tebner, 1972), p. 4. I am grateful to Dr Alex Millington for his help with Latin translation. 23   Giovanni Boccaccio, Famous Women, trans. by Virginia Brown (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 4. 24   Rita Copeland, Rhetoric, Hermeneutics, and Translation in the Middle Ages: Academic Traditions and Vernacular Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 70. 25 26  Boccaccio, Famous Women, trans. Brown, p. 9.   Orosius 1.4. 27  Boccaccio, Famous Women, trans. Brown, p. 11.

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242  Jennifer Sarha point is agreed upon.28 Yet in Boccaccio this shift from a univocal narrative to several possible sequences of events, explained through unnamed (possibly invented) sources, also takes place at the fault line of Semiramis’ received reputation: when the Semiramis of great deeds becomes a woman whose low morals occasion her downfall. Boccaccio inserts multiple sources in order to detail these, and whether they were invented or not matters less than the apparent need for their inclusion, and its effects. Boccaccio does not question the veracity of any of his authors, but by presenting them cumulatively he provides this aspect of his narrative with authority as a historically informed text. Where the first part relied on his close reading of Justin, the second part is founded on a recognizable practice of contemporary historiography, and if the content of his sources is variable, the overall moral is very clear. This second approach forms the backbone of his reading of Sardanapalus. Boccaccio introduces Sardanapalus still blackened with smoke—an allusion to his notorious death on a pyre, which suggests that Boccaccio expects his readers to recognize the context.29 This kind of referentiality is a key discursive strategy in Boccaccio’s Sardanapalus. His readers would have known Sardanapalus from Justin, but probably also through his exemplary usage in Aristotle and Cicero. Boccaccio creates a trajectory between familiar concepts and pure invention, which reframes the received narrative to highlight Sardanapalus’ vices. These are worth looking at in some detail, since Boccaccio adds several new points to Sardanapalus’ existing list of debaucheries. His pleasure-seeking is expanded to include the invention of several new delights, including wine made without pressing and the canopy bed.30 His withdrawal from the sight of other men, a crucial part of the narrative, becomes a withdrawal from worthy men: Sardanapalus makes friends with butchers, fishmongers, and pimps.31 His sexual proclivities, borrowed from Diodorus through Eusebius, involve immersing himself with concubines in lasciviousness, but Boccaccio also adds that he will not provide any details, since that truth should only be expressed in the company of pimps and prostitutes.32 This recalls a similarly suggestive idea in Dante’s Divine Comedy, where Sardanapalus knows ‘what might be done behind closed doors’— evidently Sardanapalus in late medieval Italy had a reputation as someone whose actions were too naughty to be disclosed.33 Boccaccio’s additions, which constitute a considerable departure from his sources, nevertheless match what his readers might expect; again, in order to produce the recognized truth about Assyria some amplifications are required.

28  W. J. B. Crotch, The Prologues and Epilogues of William Caxton (London: Oxford University Press, 1928), pp. 6–7. 29  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 144. 30  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, pp. 144–6. 31  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 146. 32  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 146. 33   Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, Par. XV, 108. http://etcweb.princeton.edu/dante/pdp/.

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assyria in early modern historiography  243 Crucially, they match what is said by Aristotle in Politics and the Nicomachean Ethics, and repeated by Cicero in Letters to Atticus and Tusculan Disputations (all included in Boccaccio’s library): that Sardanapalus lost his throne because he was caught spinning, that he lived a life of unexamined pleasure like an ox.34 The key part of the Sardanapalus legend for Aristotle and Cicero is his self-indulgence: his problematized gender performance is one aspect of it, but not its central feature. Neither Aristotle nor Cicero mention Sardanapalus’ cross-dressing, and Boccaccio, while clearly condemning Sardanapalus on gendered grounds, nevertheless refrains from dressing him in women’s clothes.35 Boccaccio does follow Justin in concluding with ‘et sic qui vixerat mulier, a Fortuna adversa visitatus, homo succubuit’, thus one who had lived as a woman, having been visited by adverse Fortune, fell as a man—but for him Sardanapalus’ crucial flaws are excessive ornamentation and abandonment of his duties.36 This becomes the argument for Sardanapalus’ deposition: in Justin, Sardanapalus’ cross-dressing is intolerable to his general Arbaces; in Boccaccio, his self-indulgence is intolerable to Fortune, who then inspires Arbaces to gain sight of the king’s activities. By restructuring the narrative to include the hand of Fortune, Boccaccio underlines the moral applicability of the Sardanapalus legend—he becomes a warning example for princes everywhere. This moral paradigm informs Boccaccio’s amplifications on Sardanapalus’ death. In Justin, Sardanapalus first hides, then leads out a small army, and finally withdraws to his palace and sets himself on fire.37 In Boccaccio, Sardanapalus is momentarily roused/excited (‘expergefactus’) to be leading an army consisting of pimps and drunkards whose chatter causes him to imagine himself as Jupiter facing the Giants.38 He is defeated, and then hides in his palace. At this point Boccaccio introduces a moment of self-realization: ‘longi ignavique soporis postremo torpedine pulsa oculos mentis aperuit’, finally, having pushed through the lethargy of a long idleness, he opened the eyes of his mind.39 There is a lesson here: even after a reign of indolence and turpitude it is possible to ‘exuta muliebri anima, virileum induit’, exit the spirit of a woman, and assume manhood.40 The moral and thus historical truth concerning Assyria is always about gender trouble. Boccaccio’s treatment of Semiramis and Sardanapalus tells us something about discursive practices in late medieval Italy: that amplification and enarratio constitute appropriate responses to classical sources, and narratives can be realigned to 34   Teresa de Robertis, ‘L’inventario della parva libraria di Santo Spirito’, in Boccaccio autore e copista (Florence: Madragora, 2013), pp. 403–9. 35   Zaccaria’s Italian translation replaces ‘muliebri anima’ with ‘l’abito di donna’, pp. 152–3. 36  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, pp. 152, 148. 37  Yardley, Justin, p. 16. 38   In Zaccaria’s Italian this is translated as impaurito, frightened, p. 151; Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 150. 39  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 150. 40  Boccaccio, Tutte le Opere, ed. and trans. Zaccaria, Vol. 9, p. 150. In Zaccaria’s Italian this is ‘toltosi l’abito di donna’, removed the habit of a woman, p. 153.

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244  Jennifer Sarha discover a currently relevant moral. As the key strands of Assyrian history, they tell us something more. The conceptualization of ancient Assyria was predicated on the classical tradition, but this involved casual references as well as the longer historical narratives—Boccaccio prioritizes the ideological framework of Aristotle and Cicero over Justin even as he is mining his work for structure and events. Semiramis and Sardanapalus had a popular reputation which had to be incorporated into their narratives. Yet the history in Justin which provides the basic plot is nevertheless also transmitted—the narrow textual tradition which constitutes Assyrian history makes repetition of the main points easy, and even necessary; when what is known about Assyria is very little, this little must be repeated when telling the history of Assyria, and telling this little is enough to constitute the history of Assyria.

Johannes Carion and Philip Melanchthon The publication of Poggio Bracciolini’s Latin translation of Diodorus (1472) and Musurus’s edition of Athenaeus (1514) brought about a considerable expansion in the classical knowledge available on Assyria. While some parts of Diodorus had been previously known through Eusebius, his full-length narratives of Semiramis and Sardanapalus provided new details. Athenaeus, although mainly repeating information familiar from Justin and Diodorus, offered specifics as well as the names of unfamiliar classical scholars such as Duris. These additions to the existing corpus created a new challenge for writers concerned with Assyria. The rise of humanistic studies in the early Renaissance saw a change in both the demographic of reading audiences and their expectations on what they read—there was clearly a market for vernacular editions of exotic narratives from the ancient Near East. Poggio’s Diodorus went through multiple editions despite its many acknowledged flaws, and served as a source for several vernacular translations (into English (1487), Tuscan (1526) and French (1535)).41 The cultural context in which historical knowledge was produced was also in flux. The proliferation of newly discovered ancient texts, the emergence of both popular and scholarly print culture, and the intellectual practices associated with Italian humanism all had a profound influence on early modern historians using ancient sources. In 1440 Lorenzo Valla’s historical analysis of the Donation of Constantine allowed him to discredit papal claims over secular authorities as well as to display his intellectual skills for both profit and glory. Valla went on to popularize a form of scholarly exegesis which interrogated ancient texts for verifiable information about the past, and provided a model for accruing fame through attention to little-known texts.42 Such interpretive strategies could be applied to the production of historical knowledge as   A complete Greek edition was published in 1559 by Henri Estienne.   For Valla’s influence on scholarly practices, see Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Europe (London: Duckworth, 1986), pp. 81–9. 41 42

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assyria in early modern historiography  245 well as its assessment. Leonardo Bruni’s History of the Florentine People (1449) applied Livian and Thucydidean models of causal history to the recent past; instead of the cumulative model inherited from medieval chronicles, his history constituted an enquiry which incorporated archival records as well as chronicles.43 A historian’s duty was still to provide useful exemplars for moral action, but in order for them to be useful, they must also be true.44 For Assyrian history, these developments offered a changed landscape of knowledge production, but while the strategies for writing history had increased, the materials from which information could be sought were still limited. Justin was the most popular source, but rarely credited by historians; possibly his version was so ingrained as general knowledge that no citation was thought necessary, and it is worth keeping in mind that medieval habits such as grammatical exegesis through paraphrasing and explication continued to play a role in educational practices. Johann Carion (1499–1537), a German historian and astrologer to the Elector of Brandenburg, wrote a universal history in 1531 which he sent to Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560) for publication.45 The extent of Melanchthon’s editorial input in the Chronicon Carionis remains unclear, but he was viewed as the main author during the sixteenth century, and it is likely that the two further editions (1558 and 1560) were mostly his work; certainly we can assume that they reflect views he considered acceptable.46 The original German text was translated into Latin in 1537 by Hermann Bonnus with multiple reprints, and into English in 1550 by Gwalter Lynne. The Chronicon Carionis was a foundational text in Protestant universal historiography; it reflects what Asaph Ben-Tov has described as the conceptual framework of ‘the unfolding and gradual revelation of God’s will from Creation to the ever immanent Last Judgement’.47 Its treatment of Assyrian history, and the variations between the different editions and translations, allows us to consider both the transmission of information concerning Semiramis and Sardanapalus and its interaction with a key facet of biblical historiography, the Four Monarchies theory posited by the Book of Daniel. Based on an interpretation of a dream by the prophet Daniel, this theory predicts the rise and fall of four great monarchies, and provided a useful paradigm for Protestant, particularly millenarian, historians.48 The history of Assyria (often placed first, and followed by Media/ Persia, Greece/Macedonia, and Rome), as presented in both the biblical and the classical traditions, was easily enveloped into this paradigm. Although the Four Monarchies theory was rarely mentioned explicitly around Semiramis and Sardanapalus, it served as one of the conceptual frameworks through which Assyrian history was articulated. 43   Eric Cochrane, Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1981), pp. 3–9. 44  Cochrane, Historians and Historiography, p. 4. 45  Asaph Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity: Melanchthonian Scholarship between Universal History and Pedagogy (Leiden: Brill, 2009), p. 37. 46  Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity, p. 37. 47  Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity, p. 7. 48   For overview, see W. Stanford Reid, ‘The Four Monarchies of Daniel in Reformation Historiography’, Historical Reflections 8:1 (1981): 115–23.

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246  Jennifer Sarha The first Chronicon Carionis follows Justin in presenting Semiramis in the context of Assyrian history; she is preceded by Ninus and followed by Ninias and Sardanapalus. This is a brief narrative, including only her rule after her husband’s death, her crossdressing, and her success as a ruler: she excelled in heroic acts, ‘excellevit factis plane heroicis’, and reigned happily, ‘imperavit feliciter’.49 While the specifics of Semiramis’ cross-dressing follow Justin, there are no references to her sexual behaviour. The Semiramis who emerges from this text is an uncontroversial figure—her cross-dressing made unproblematic by reasonable excuses, her incest omitted, and her successful rule praised. This excision goes against the common knowledge regarding Semiramis, by now familiar from both Justin and Orosius as well as Poggio’s translation of Diodorus. Perhaps Carion considered it irrelevant for his overall argument; his Semiramis serves primarily to introduce an enquiry into the succession of Assyria and Babylonia.50 It may also be that Carion declined from presenting a female regent in a negative light; Mary of Hungary had served as regent of the Spanish Netherlands for her brother Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, who was also the overlord of Carion’s employer.51 By comparison, Thomas Lanquet’s An Epitome of Chronicles (1549), based on Lynne’s translation of Carion, incorporates both the revelation of Semiramis’ cross-dressing and her sexual proclivities from Orosius, and produces a heavily gendered and problematized history of Assyria.52 For Carion, however, the main purpose of Assyria was to establish a chronology among the various ancient Near Eastern states.53 He employs evidence from the Bible as well as figures such as Metasthenes and Bion. These are authors who survive only in fragments—in Metasthenes’ case in a fragment invented by Annius of Viterbo, whose works included forgeries of known but lost classical sources. Although Annius was no longer a credible source in the mid-sixteenth century, his additions to the accepted canon were nevertheless occasionally used, as studies by Anthony Grafton have shown.54 These references to minor figures instead of, say, Diodorus or Plutarch suggest that the text was claiming intellectual authority in the Italian humanist mode— we know that Melanchthon viewed humanist scholarship as a valuable addition to the Protestant intellectual movement.55 The effect this produces is not unlike the cumulative   Johannes Carion, Chronicon Carionis correctum & emendatum (Frankfurt: Petrus Brubach, 1546), p. 14.  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 14. The text uses variously imperium (empire or command), monarchia, and regnum (reign/kingdom), but at this point monarchia is preferred. 51   For contemporary debates on the regency of Mary of Hungary, see Sharon L. Jansen, The Monstrous Regiment of Women: Female Rulers in Early Modern Europe (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 98–105. While Europe at this time had no ruling queens, female regents had been a common occurrence in recent years (Anne of France, Margaret of York). 52   For Lanquet’s debt to Carion, see Lily  B.  Campbell, Shakespeare’s Histories: Mirrors of Elizabethan Policy (London: Methuen, 1964), p. 37. 53  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 14. 54   Anthony Grafton, ‘Invention of Traditions and Traditions of Invention in Renaissance Europe: The Strange Case of Annius of Viterbo’, in The Transmission of Culture in Early Modern Europe, edited by Anthony Grafton and Ann Blair (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990), pp. 8–38. 55   James Michael Weiss, ‘Erasmus at Luther’s Funeral: Melanchthon’s Commemorations of Luther in 1546’, The Sixteenth-Century Journal 16 (1985): 91–114. 49

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assyria in early modern historiography  247 addition of unassessed sources in medieval historiography—multiple authors, regardless of their origin, provide extra authority. Carion’s Sardanapalus immediately follows his Semiramis, and is presented as a history of the fall of Assyria. He is introduced with a focus on the partition of ancient Near Eastern kingdoms: ‘nobis de Sardanapalo pauca dicenda, quomodo exutus sit regno suo, & quo postea divisa sint Imperia’, we must speak a little of how his reign ended and afterwards the empire was divided.56 The moral baggage of Aristotle and Cicero—recently repeated by Erasmus in his Colloquies (1526)—becomes here a maxim about God: ‘Quoties punire vult mundum Deus, principes impudicos donat’, when God wants to punish the world, he provides shameless princes.57 As evidence to support this idea, Carion reminds us that all histories agree (‘ex histories constant’) on Sardanapalus’ activities and offers a brief outline: he neglected his rule and gave himself to voluptuousness by painting his face and dressing as a woman.58 It is reasonable, therefore, that he should lose his throne: ‘Quomodo quaeso huiusmodi Imperium calamitosum exitum non recepisset?’59 How should such an empire not receive a calamitous end? Yet there is no dramatization of the scene where Arbaces gains sight of Sardanapalus; Arbaces is only mentioned as the ruler of Media after Sardanapalus’ death. Carion is not interested in narrative dynamics—the purpose of Sardanapalus is to establish chronology and illustrate moral maxims, and for this purpose the basic premise from Justin is sufficient. The 1531 Chronicon Carionis constructs a history of Assyria as a key site within universalist chronology. Debates about gendered rule are ignored in favour of establishing the precise order in which command passed from Assyria to Babylonia. A crucial point for Carion seems to have been illustrating the hand of Providence, for which the narrative of Sardanapalus’ downfall in particular included relevant material. He seems also to have offered an opportunity for displaying scholarly erudition; Carion’s narration of Sardanapalus’ famous death by fire is brief, but he does include some extraneous details about Sardanapalus sending his sons away to Nineveh, for which he cites the historian Duris.60 Most ancient sources would place Sardanapalus himself at Nineveh, the capital city of Assyrians, and the only exception is in Athenaeus, whose Sardanapalus also sends his children to Nineveh, and who also mentions Duris as a source.61 The 1558 edition of Chronicon Carionis presents a very different history of Assyria. Ninus built Nineveh, and held power over both Nineveh and Babylon; Semiramis was his wife, who built the walls of Babylon, cared for its ditches, and occupied many regions.62 This truncated account excises her cross-dressing, her independent rule, and the praise she was accorded in the first edition of the Chronicon. In 1558 the question of female rule was a topic of much contentious debate in Europe, and it appears that 57  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 15.  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 15. 59  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 15.  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 15. 60 61  Carion, Chronicon Carionis, p. 15.   Athenaeus 12.529c. 62   Philip Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis (1559), p. 31.

56

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248  Jennifer Sarha Melanchthon chose not to engage. The text, however, keeps Semiramis’ building works in Babylon—perhaps an attempt to subsume the rule of Babylonia under the Assyrian monarchy within the Four Monarchies framework.63 Semiramis herself receives less attention than her son Ninyas who, according to Melanchthon, lived in indolence, and is used for dating Abraham. After Ninyas, Melanchthon inserts a brief interlude concerning Sodomites and the variations between the reigns and falls of Assyria and Babylonia—it is not uncommon to include a statement regarding the unknown rulers between Ninyas and Sardanapalus (this can be found in both Diodorus and Eusebius), but in Melanchthon this space of historical lacunae is filled with the ‘varias mutationes’ of Chaldean and Assyrian kingdoms.64 The history of Sardanapalus follows a similar pattern. He is introduced as the last to hold the monarchy of both Babylon and Nineveh.65 He is known, Melanchthon claims, because his vices distracted him from his kingdom.66 He is therefore able to evidence a maxim regarding the fall of the lofty: ‘Tolluntur in altum, ut lapsu graviore ruant’, those who have been raised to heights, by a heavy fall will be ruined.67 The focus is on Sardanapalus’ end, and while Melanchthon does reference his vices (painting his face, immersing himself in obscene delights) and connects them explicitly (propterea) to Arbaces’ rebellion, these aspects of the narrative are given comparatively little attention.68 Melanchthon nevertheless finds space for a different extraneous detail from Duris: Sardanapalus’ palace burned for fifteen days.69 The section ends with a moral: ‘Hic tristis exitus ad exampla irae Dei pertinet, mutantis Imperia propter principum & populi delicta’, this sad ending extends to an example of God’s wrath, and the changing of command through the vices of princes and peoples.70 The history of Assyria is thus a prime opportunity to view the hand of Providence; it is a country of unworthy men, whose only merit is in enabling the establishment of chronology for the ancient Near East. In the history of Assyria in the Chronicon Carionis, events are lifted from classical sources and positioned in the continuum of Providential history; logical inquiry is subordinated to providing the truth about scripture. Engagement with Justin and others is minimal—neither text alters or adds to the original material, but rather information is extracted from its location, repositioned within a different universal historiographical framework, and made to serve as evidence in a new argument. This argument is constructed through reference to authorities, uncontroversial maxims about the lechery of princes which contain the rhetorical power of the commonplace, the Four Monarchies superstructure within which the rise and fall arc of Assyria fits neatly, and the weight of moral exhortation brought on by Sardanapalus’ reputation. Assyria here 63   For Melanchthon’s use of various chronological frameworks, see Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity, pp. 41–2. 64 65  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 31.  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34. 66 67  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34.  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34. 68  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34. 69  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34. For Melanchthon’s engagement with ancient Greece in his scholarship, see Ben-Tov, Lutheran Humanists and Greek Antiquity, pp. 133–59. 70  Melanchthon, Chronicon Carionis, p. 34.

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assyria in early modern historiography  249 is more concerned with its worthless men than with the unquestionably (in this text) successful Semiramis. There is little apparent interest in debating the problematics of gendered rule; unlike Boccaccio, the Chronicon Carionis offers no examination of motives or causality, and unlike Lanquet there is no taste for repeating the sensational excesses from Orosius. This realignment of the conceptual baggage of Semiramis and Sardanapalus confirms the argumentative command in Carion’s historiography— their signification in both their classical and early modern articulations is subsumed to the need to discover Providence in history.

Sir Walter Ralegh Sir Walter Ralegh’s The History of the World (1614), written during his long imprisonment in the Tower, provides a final study on the problematics of Assyria in historiography. Like Carion’s Chronicon, the History is a universal history with a providential framework. Ralegh’s teleological approach, however, did not veer towards the hopeful ending promised in Daniel’s Four Monarchies theory; rather, he espoused a view of history in which the hand of God exposes (and punishes) the failures and weaknesses of men. He also had access to a wider range of sources—Nicholas Popper has shown that Ralegh made use of texts in Latin, English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Greek— to draw on for his project.71 For Assyria, Ralegh named an unprecedented number of authors, adding Plutarch, Herodotus, Strabo, Berossus, Arrian, and Duris to the usual Justin and Diodorus. This is less a display of humanist erudition than an opportunity to demonstrate desirable professional skills in textual analysis and logic. The competencies derived from reading and writing history could be used to produce and strengthen political arguments; William Sherman has shown how John Dee, an older contemporary of Ralegh, deployed specific writing strategies as ‘marketing ploys’ to make himself more appealing to potential employers.72 Popper suggests that for Ralegh, the chronological narrative of a universal framework offered an opportunity to highlight his skills: expertise in managing historical information should evidence ‘his prudence and . . .divine approbation, thus persuading his sovereign to accept his counsels’.73 Writing about Assyria, however, offered particular challenges. Despite the increase in texts providing historical knowledge about Assyria (compendiums, political treatises, and histories both modern and ancient), Assyrian history continued to consist of the basic premise set down by Justin and Diodorus. For a writer looking to establish himself as an innovative critic, this offered limited space to manoeuvre, but also a narrative arc that was increasingly widely known. The now widespread moralizing discourse around Semiramis and Sardanapalus would have provided an interpretive grid, 71   Nicholas Popper, Walter Ralegh’s History of the World and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press, 2012), p. 29. 72  William  H.  Sherman, John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1995), p. 124. 73  Popper, Walter Ralegh’s History, p. 28.

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250  Jennifer Sarha which every writer would be expected to reproduce. A further complication was occasioned by the increased popularity of Diodorus. He was the earliest surviving historian to have written on Alexander the Great, and also offered information on ancient Persia, which countered and supplemented Xenophon and Herodotus.74 Yet Diodorus’ writings on Assyria constituted an intervention in the earlier tradition: his Semiramis cross-dresses only to remain unmolested during her campaign, while his Sardanapalus indulges himself in not only wearing female clothes and spinning, but also in sex with men as well as women. He is, moreover, a successful military commander, who leads his army against the rebels and defeats them in three battles before being overcome by an ill-timed flood. It is worth noting that Carion chose not to engage with Diodorus, although Poggio’s translation would have been available. Yet for Ralegh, ignoring Diodorus would not have been an option—by 1614 several vernacular translations had been published, and Diodorus was frequently used by contemporary writers. Nevertheless, reconciling Diodorus’ account of Semiramis and Sardanapalus with the received tradition of Justin and his followers required a certain amount of historiographical ingenuity. Ralegh’s approach to Semiramis combines the chronological narrative with a historical investigation, which enables him to assess both his sources and the plausibility of events. It also allows Ralegh to expand on the basic plot, to reconfigure the morality of the received tradition, and to demonstrate his erudition. The narrative thus proceeds through enquiry; authors are presented, their theories examined and mostly rebutted. That Semiramis took the throne after her husband’s death is agreed, but her crossdressing in pursuit of this goal is debated. Ralegh does not mention Diodorus’ view, but rather quotes Justin in that Semiramis ‘presented herself to the people in the person of her son . . . who bore her external form and proportion without any sensible difference’.75 The logic behind this is stated as improving her chances of taking on the role ‘without murmur or offence’.76 Yet this report is, in Ralegh’s view, feigned. Semiramis ruled for so long, and ‘performed all those memorable acts which are written of her by the name of Semiramis’, and the challenge to the king of India is ascribed to her.77 Even if her son had looked sufficiently like her to allow for impersonation, it would have been impossible to maintain this for forty-two years. It is, however, possible that Ninias enjoyed a lazy life and allowed his mother to rule in his stead. As an enquiry, this is inconclusive. Ralegh takes one of the best-known aspects of the Semiramis legend, then discredits it through logic while also offering a suggestion which allows this theory to stand—without facts having been established, the focus remains on the investigation, not the events. He also presents himself as someone who can comment authoritatively on multiple sources—Justin here is an author whose authority is easy to discredit. Diodorus, in turn, serves to qualify Plutarch’s account of 74   For early modern English interest in ancient Persia, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). 75   Sir Walter Ralegh, The History of the World (London: Walter Burre, 1614), p. 121. 76 77  Ralegh, History, p. 121.  Ralegh, History, p. 121.

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assyria in early modern historiography  251 Semiramis’ accession, Berossus to expand on Semiramis’s birth, and Jerome and others to support a learned digression on whether the Philistine fish-god Dagon was based on the Greek Triton.78 Inserting extraneous information was a tactic used by Carion and Melanchthon as an opportunity to quote minor sources, adding details which were not necessary for the argument, but which confirm the status of the text as containing historical information. For Ralegh, however, these authors serve to undermine the verifiable tradition on Semiramis—they advance neither the chronological narrative nor the historical enquiry. Ralegh’s treatment of Semiramis’ sexual proclivities follows a similar pattern: discrediting through logic, then a digression with a plethora of sources. But her pedigree I leave it to the Assyrian heralds: and for her vicious life I ascribe the report thereof to the envious and lying Grecians. For delicacy and ease do more often accompany licentiousness in men and women, than labour and hazard do. And if the one half be true which is reported of this lady, then there never lived any prince or princess more worthy of fame than Semiramis was, both for the works she did at Babylon, and elsewhere, and for the wars she made with glorious success.79

Ralegh presents a maxim and goes on to provide proof of Semiramis’ great deeds. Her building works in Babylon link her to a construction famous from both biblical and classical traditions. Her successful wars create a sound basis for her characterization as an active person. Here Ralegh is ready to offer some apparently verified information: Semiramis’ public deeds and her praiseworthy rule. This, coupled with the elision of all her gender troubles, constitutes a decidedly non-interventionist intervention in contemporary debates over gender and power. Female cross-dressing in Ralegh’s England had two conceptual currencies: young ladies dressing up as young men for love and profit on the stage (performed nevertheless by actual young men), and the occasionally ferocious debate over ‘man-like’ fashions.80 These concerns would have been part of a wider continuum of anxieties regarding gender identity and costume, yet Ralegh makes no argument for or against cross-dressing, merely notes it would have been unlikely for Semiramis. Her chastity, however, is insisted on. Unlike Boccaccio, who uses Semiramis’ incest to reconfigure his argument, or Carion and Melanchthon, who avoid the topic entirely, Ralegh raises the question but dismisses it as lies. As Judith Richards has shown, sixteenth-century accounts of Semiramis position her debaucheries as her crucial flaw—she was available as a defence of women’s ability to wield power and as an exemplar of lustfulness.81 Both Mary and Elizabeth Tudor were explicitly framed 79  Ralegh, History, p. 122.  Ralegh, History, p. 122.   Stephen Orgel argues that James I’s famous admonition for London clerics to preach against certain unfeminine fashions is less concerned with ladies’ use of masculine accoutrements than with low-born women imitating their betters. Orgel, ‘Insolent Women and Manlike Apparel’, Textual Practice 9 (1995): 5–25 (13). 81   Judith Richards, ‘To Promote a Woman to Beare Rule: Queens in Mid-Tudor England’, The SixteenthCentury Journal 28:1 (1997): 101–21. 78 80

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252  Jennifer Sarha as spared from this usually dominant female trait by their chastity, inviting comparisons with such chaste heroines as the biblical Deborah.82 In Ralegh, the issue is buried under a lengthy list of evidence of her praiseworthy activities and a digression on the number of her troops, thus allowing Ralegh to avoid a discussion over a female ­monarch’s sexuality.83 For Sardanapalus, Ralegh creates a narrative incorporating both Justin and Diodorus, which is deployed through a uniform authoritative voice. Unlike for Semiramis, this is neither an amalgamation of diverse sources (Ralegh names only a few) nor an enquiry with explicit historiographical analysis, but rather a deposition. Sardanapalus is introduced with a gendered insult: ‘a most luxurious and effeminate palliard he was, passing away his time among strumpets, whom he imitated both in apparel and behaviour’.84 While ‘effeminacy’ had been part of Sardanapalian discourse since Boccaccio, Ralegh’s additions of ‘palliard’ and ‘strumpets’ imply venal lechery as well as inappropriately performed masculinity. His treatment of Diodorus consists of paraphrases, on which a gendered judgement is superimposed. Where Diodorus in Poggio’s translation speaks of ‘concubines’ (pellicis), Ralegh uses ‘strumpets’ and ‘harlots’, neutral terms replaced with derogatory ones.85 This interpretive grid creates a spectacle of Sardanapalus, whose gender disruption leads to justified revolt. Arbaces’ discovery of Sardanapalus in women’s clothes is crucial for the narrative in Justin, while Diodorus, although he includes the scene, refrains from connecting it to Arbaces’ decision to revolt.86 Ralegh prefers Justin, but also adds to it. In Justin: On seeing this, Arbactus was incensed that so many warriors were subject to such a ‘woman’ and that men who bore swords and armour served someone who worked with wool.87

In Ralegh: [Arbaces] was so incensed with that beastly spectacle, of a man disguised in womans attire, and striving to counterfeit a harlot, that he thought it a great shame to live under the command of so unworthy a creature.88

Ralegh’s Sardanapalus is a construction of impeccably authoritative sources, positioned to illustrate the expected moralizing message. Ralegh’s amplifications, nevertheless, suggest a need to heighten this condemnation. Diodorus’ Sardanapalus is for Ralegh logically inconsistent: ‘neither did his carriage in the beginning of that war answer to his retiredness’.89 This aspect of the narrative was a source of discomfort for many writers: Louis Leroy in his De la Vicissitude (1575) otherwise repeats Macault’s 1535 translation of Diodorus word for word, but at this point changes to Justin. Ralegh   Richards, ‘To Promote a Woman to Beare Rule, pp. 115, 120. 84  Ralegh, History, p. 122.  Ralegh, History, p. 319. 85   Diodorus Siculus, Diodorus of Sicily, trans. by C.  H.  Oldfather (London: Heinemann, 1933–67), 10 vols., Vol. 1, p. 427; Ralegh, History, p. 319. 86 87  Yardley, Justin, p. 16; Diodorus of Sicily, trans. Oldfather, p. 427.  Yardley, Justin, p. 16. 88 89  Ralegh, History, p. 319.  Ralegh, History, p. 319. 82 83

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assyria in early modern historiography  253 also rewrites the war to highlight Sardanapalus’ losses: betrayed by Bactrians, his troops slaughtered in the middle of a celebratory feast, Sardanapalus was forced to withdraw to Nineveh where he was besieged for two years, and eventually killed himself.90 In Diodorus this is a dramatic narrative, but in Ralegh a summary with a satisfying conclusion of Sardanapalus’ ignoble end. Ralegh’s treatments of Semiramis and Sardanapalus differ considerably; the first is an investigation, in which the received tradition is examined for plausibility, the second a reaffirmation of the received narrative which also adds the extra weight of condemnation on certain aspects of the narrative. Ralegh’s account exemplifies the challenges of writing Assyrian history: the limited textual material requires (but also inspires) discursive agility in order to produce something new. The narrative imperatives, which govern retellings of Semiramis and Sardanapalus, require each story to provide a morally satisfying conclusion. The necessity of condemning discrepancies in gendered logic reveals the tension between authoritative sources—as with Semiramis’ incest, for example—and the intellectual wriggling required to show that this could not be so. Ralegh’s Semiramis and Sardanapalus also tell us about the status of Assyria as a knowable historical site. The chronological trajectory of the book situates them at some distance from each other; instead of a unified history of Assyria, as in Justin, Diodorus, and Carion/Melanchthon, we have insertions of Assyria into a world history. This extractability, while reasonable in Ralegh’s historiographical framework, was also a common practice in early modern uses of Assyria (as well as the classical corpus more widely).91 What Ralegh aims to do, however, is to produce new knowledge through his assortment of materials. Elizabeth Spiller has argued that cultural practice in early modern England distinguished between the ‘making’ of knowledge in literature and science and ‘the truth ascribed to theology’.92 In Ralegh’s Assyria, we can see evidence of both: the history of Semiramis is an enquiry, while Sardanapalus continues to be a legend, inviting explication but impermeable to analysis. * * * Writing the history of Assyria in the early modern period follows a pattern: the ­historical content (narrative structure, events) is taken from two classical sources, Justin and Diodorus, whose accounts of Semiramis and Sardanapalus constitute the received wisdom concerning the history of Assyria. The reception of these tales is further informed by another strand of the classical tradition, derived from Aristotle and Cicero, which directs early modern writers to reproduce the history of Assyria as a depository of specific moral lessons. Both figures are used to demonstrate universal ‘truths’ about gender, but there is also a consistent variation in their treatment.  Ralegh, History, p. 319.   For extractability of classical antiquity, see Ann Moss, Printed Commonplace-Books and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996). 92   Elizabeth Spiller, Science, Reading, and Renaissance Literature: The Art of Making Knowledge, 1580–1670 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 4. 90 91

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254  Jennifer Sarha Boccaccio seeks motivations and causality in Semiramis, but overloads Sardanapalus with invented sins; Carion and Melanchthon repeat Justin on Semiramis, but attach moral maxims to Sardanapalus to reconfigure his narrative; Ralegh interrogates Semiramis’ sources, but imposes a sexually charged interpretive grid for Sardanapalus. As Timothy Hampton has shown, the efficacy of an exemplar was dependent on the extent to which the narrative feeding it corroborated its meaning—it appears that the ‘truth’ about Sardanapalus was particularly problematic and required extra work.93 Assyria’s role in the classical tradition is a key feature in the development of its historiography. While early modern debates over Herodotus and Thucydides would have had few applications to Assyria, it is worth remembering that the rediscovery of Greek and Roman historians did not only include studies of investigative enquiry; that transmission occurred also through the dogged repetition of a received tradition.94 Although Justin and Diodorus formed part of the classical corpus, they were not seen as authors who inspired excitement over their beautiful phrasing, their philosophical acumen, or their spirit of historical enquiry. Alongside the wit of Cicero, the wisdom of Aristotle, and the investigative insights of Polybius or Thucydides, Justin and Diodorus provided texts whose value lay elsewhere: in ‘exotic’ tales of the East or a universalist approach claiming to contain all of history, with the easy extractability which this enabled. No humanist would take credit for having read Justin, but every schoolboy knew him from their Latin lessons (passages from Justin’s Sardanapalus could still be found in Latin primers in the eighteenth century).95 Diodorus was printed and reprinted in numerous vernacular translations, and he was read as a purveyor of entertaining fabulous stories—François I included him in his travel library. The place of Assyria in the classical reception was constituted by differently valued strands of the corpus: the historical information from ‘middlebrow’ writers like Justin and Diodorus, and the guide for interpreting them from the more respected Aristotle and Cicero. This premise has subtle yet powerful effects on the production of historical knowledge concerning Assyria. The narrow pool of sources creates its own limitations, and the pervasively reiterated tradition which grows up around it produces a cultural framework for Assyria which is dependent on both the repetition of certain narratives and the need to evidence certain universalist ‘truths’ about the world. As we have seen, writers can and will deploy a variety of historiographical strategies for arriving at this truth, but the end result—much like the pool of sources—is always the same. This dependency on reiterating received knowledge in order to produce an authoritative argument is, as several chapters in this collection suggest, a common trend in writing 93   On the expected conformity between exemplars and their narratives, see Timothy Hampton, Writing from History: The Rhetoric of Exemplarity in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 1990). 94   Arnaldo Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 51, 36, 44. 95  John Mair, An introduction to Latin syntax: or, an exemplification of the rules of construction (Edinburgh: Ruddimans, 1750).

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assyria in early modern historiography  255 about the ancient Near East.96 Yet the reception of Assyria was not complicated by encounters with contemporary peoples (unlike the Persians or the Egyptians) nor by the presence of possible archaeological remains (unlike Persia or Babylon)—in the early modern period ‘ancient Assyria’ was entirely a textual construction. The backbone of Assyrian historiography is predicated on both the assessment and the production of authoritative texts and, crucially, on the anxious repetition of their content, even if reformulated to fit what the author deems to be the truth of the narrative. What the transmission of knowledge regarding Assyria allows us to do is to consider how history can be written when both the starting point and the conclusion of the narrative are predetermined—not by historically plausible events, but by the gendered logic of the cultural framework of its historiographical tradition.   See particularly chapters by Humble, Niayesh, and Serjeantson in this volume.

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11 Alexander the Great in Early Modern English Drama Jane Grogan

That Alexander the Great was a figure of global rather than simply national or regional proportions was incontrovertible for early modern Europeans. The ‘universal empire’ he achieved and symbolized—and the universal military campaigns he waged—were celebrated in medals, mottoes, and maps, and anchored on the figure of Alexander himself. And not just in Europe. As early modern Europeans knew, several Ottoman sultans, including Mehmed II (conqueror of Constantinople), identified closely with Alexander, even as the Christians who dreamed of defeating the Ottomans also looked to Alexandrian heroic models.1 Most famously, perhaps the Hapsburgs were keen to identify their imperial ambitions with the Alexandrian model. Rewriting the ‘Non plus ultra’ of the Pillars of Hercules (marking the farthest limits of the ancient world and purportedly placed there by Hercules himself), the ‘Plus ultra’ motto chosen by Philip’s father, the emperor Charles V, was quickly absorbed into the imperial ideology of Hapsburg Spain.2 The connections with Alexander are twofold: Hercules was one of Alexander’s own declared models, and adorned the coinage of his era, while Alexander’s proverbial disappointment that there was no more left of the world for him to conquer— bitterly remembered in turn by Julius Caesar while on campaign in Spain—associates him with these Herculean limits.3 In Safavid Persia, too, a Persianized Alexander was 1   Suleyman II (the Magnificent), Selim I, and Mehmed II are among those Europeans knew to have favoured and emulated Alexander. See Richmond Barbour, Before Orientalism: London’s Theatre of the East, 1576–1626 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 19. See also Jerry Brotton and Lisa Jardine on the Burgundian ransom gift sent to one of Mehmed’s forebears by Philip the Bold, whose son had been captured in battle against the Ottomans: a series of tapestries featuring the acts of Alexander. Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000), pp. 76–7; and on Mehmed, p. 62. 2   On further Alexandrian allusions (‘Non Sufficit Orbis’) developed by the Hapsburgs following Philip II’s succession to the crown of Portugal, see David Harris Sacks, ‘ “To Deduce a Colonie”: Richard Hakluyt’s Godly Mission in its Contexts, c. 1580–1616’, in Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe, edited by Daniel Carey and Claire Jowitt (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 201–6. 3   The story is recounted in Plutarch’s ‘Life’ of Julius Caesar, which Plutarch had paralleled with that of Alexander. Interestingly, the 1603 editions of North (STC20068, 20068a, and 20068b) silently added a

Jane Grogan, Alexander the Great in Early Modern English Drama In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0012

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  257 invoked within the Safavids’ syncretic historical ideology, and his fame spread farther east still through his appearance as the Qu’ranic Dhu-l-Qarnayn in Islamic tradition.4 If his empire was a universal empire, Alexander was also, arguably, the first universal imperial hero. And yet, as this chapter will argue, early modern engagements with the well-textualized classical Alexander reveal doubts about the nature and desirability of his imperial achievements, shadings of dark as well as light in his towering career, and opportunities to explore the ethics of their very own imperial dreams and enterprises through his. Those explorations are particularly power­ful­ly imagined through re-embodiments of Alexander in English drama, my main focus here, in which the death of Alexander prompts rich and sometimes riotous reflections on imperial ambitions past and present. A hero among heroes—in both classical and post-classical galleries of heroes, he is a staple—his life is the stuff of fantasy, specifically the fantasy of imperial power: itself the stuff of early modern political ambition in a new global age of empire. His reputation benefited—and proliferated—from his position as both a hortatory as well as a cautionary model in the humanist curriculum. If in his mirror-for-princes Erasmus counselled the young Charles V against using the pagan Alexander as a model to emulate, he only half-meant it: to know Alexander is to know how to set about pursuing an empire—and how to exceed his virtues in Christian fashion. Thus, writing of the moment when Alexander gains the Persian empire but treats his enemy’s household with respect, Erasmus asks Charles to imagine the scenario and to ask himself ‘if a tyrant and a pagan [Alexander] showed this self-restraint; if this youthful conqueror showed this honorable attitude toward the women of the enemy, what should I, as a Christian prince do toward mine?’5 In England, histories and biographies of Alexander comparison between Caesar and Alexander in place of the lost parallel—an Elizabethan addition, together with nine further lives ultimately derived from Cornelius Nepos. 4   In Safavid ideology Alexander appears primarily as the hero, Iskander, in the proto-historical sections of the tenth-century Shahnameh, the epic ‘book of kings’ promoted by Safavid rulers to retrospectively articulate an intact Persian identity through the ages. In the Shahnameh, rather than being the conqueror who brings the ancient Persian empire to an end, Iskander is its hero, a Persian seeker after wisdom. See Colin Mitchell, The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran: Power, Religion and Rhetoric (London: I. B. Tauris, 2012). As Su Fang Ng writes, in Islamic tradition, too, Alexander ‘is sometimes identified with the Qu’ranic Dhu-l-Qarnayn [who] erects an iron wall to enclose Gog and Magog’—a story which in turn intersects with various versions of the Alexander Romance which tell of the wall Alexander built to keep out the ­so-called ‘barbarian hordes’ of the Caucasus. Su Fang Ng, ‘Global Renaissance: Alexander the Great and Early Modern Classicism from the British Isles to the Malay Archipelago’, Comparative Literature 58:4 (2006): 293–312 (294). For a fuller consideration of the Christian and Islamic Alexanders in the reception trad­ition, and the complicated story of their intersections, see Ng, Alexander the Great from Britain to Southeast Asia: Peripheral Empires in the Global Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). 5   More typical for Erasmus is this comment: ‘Now what could be more senseless than for a man who has received the sacraments of the Christian church to set up as an example for himself Alexander, Julius Caesar, or Xerxes, for even the pagan writers would have attacked their lives if any of them had had a little sounder judgment? As it would be most disgraceful to be surpassed by them in any honorable deed of theirs, so it would be the last degree of madness for a Christian prince to wish to imitate them without change.’ The Education of a Christian Prince, translated by Lester  K.  Born (New York, NY: Columbia University, 1936), pp. 202–3.

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258  Jane Grogan were readily available in Latin, and through medieval tradition, in which he featured strongly.6 The popular life of Alexander by Quintus Curtius was translated into English in 1553 by J. Brend, while other major sources on Alexander include Arrian (though not translated into English until much later), Plutarch, Diodorus of Sicily, and Justin’s Epitome of the lost works of Pompeius Trogus (translated into English by Arthur Golding in 1564). Plutarch’s ‘Life’ of Alexander was translated by Thomas North from the French of Jacques Amyot in 1579, and would serve as an important source for Shakespeare, but material from it and other sources was already circulating in English in compendia, epitomes, and anthologies such as Richard Taverner’s two-volume Garden of Wysdome (1539 and 1542?), educational manuals such as Thomas Elyot’s The Boke named the Governour (1531), and in popular dictionaries and chronicles such as those of Lanquet-Cooper and Johannes Carion, respectively.7 Alexander was not only a hero for rulers, but a popular hero as well, thanks to the wide circulation and local reframings of the ‘Alexander romance’ during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. This extraordinary late Hellenistic source, as full of marvels and wonder as any romance, proved a capable and protean traveller throughout the Middle Ages, across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, giving rise to Armenian, Ethiopian, and Syriac variations as well as Latin, French, Spanish, and Middle Irish versions.8 If Alexander-narratives mingled élite and popular in terms of status and readerships, national as well as international traditions, it is entirely characteristic of his cultural reception: the figure of Alexander brings together opposing impulses in a way that early modern readers and writers find irresistible and productive. Both ancient and enticingly early modern, Macedonian and somehow Greek, Alexander was claimed by East and West as a heroic model (even an ancestor) in early modern mythologies and programmes of empire on both sides of the Bosphorus. His geo­pol­it­ ical location in the eastern Mediterranean, his not quite Greek qualities or world view, the ethnic and geographical diversity of his empire make him not wholly a European model either. Thus, the storied landscape of the eastern Mediterranean, well known to European readers through Hellenistic romance and its imitations, served as a hos­pit­ able context and setting for understandings of Alexander’s not quite epic heroism, his wondrous achievements, holding together the contrasts and ambiguities of his life for early modern readers.9 Alexander’s very familiarity, it should be said, was a kind of 6  See Alexander the Great in the Middle Ages: Transcultural Perspectives, edited by Markus Stock (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016). 7  Thomas Lanquet, An epitome of cronicles (London: Thomas Berthelet, 1549) was continued and expanded by Thomas Cooper in multiple later editions; Johannes Carion’s Cronica was translated by Gwalter Lynn as The Thre Bokes of Cronicles, whych Iohn Carion . . . gathered . . . (London: for Gwalter Lynne, [1550]); Carion’s chronicles circulated, too, as a popular Protestant source text in Latin, particularly its continuation by Philipp Melanchthon. 8  See Alexander the Great in the Middle Ages, edited by Markus Stock, and The Alexander Romance in Persia and the East, edited by Richard Stoneman, Kyle Erickson, and Ian Netton (Groningen: Barkhuis Publishing, 2012). 9  See Nandini Das, Renaissance Romance: The Transformation of English Prose Fiction, 1570–1620 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011), and Goran Stanivukovic, Knights in Arms: Prose Romance, Masculinity, and Eastern Mediterranean Trade in Early Modern England, 1565–1655 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  259 notoriety. Whether it was his historic defeat of the mighty Persian empire, or the less reliable narratives of his having built a wall against the northern barbarians (as the Alexander romance had it), or his having installed the pillars of Hercules at the eastern limits of his empire (as Strabo had it), Alexander’s imperial activities would prove enduringly iconic, as relevant symbolically as they were historically, and even more so long after the events themselves. This level of interest, of symbolic significance, of availing detail, this depth and range of sources, this cultural and transnational mobility, make him a particularly rich site of reflection on the nature of empire and imperialism in the early modern European imagination. This chapter looks to English drama to evaluate how, for the early moderns, Alexander stood both for the desideratum of empire and also allowed for the expression of ethical and political doubts about current European imperial ambitions. In an era of imperial rivalry and competition, Alexander’s success in conquering and absorbing the greatest empire before him, that of Persia, became a favourite theme, a shorthand narrative conveying in intense, illustrative colour Alexander’s almost ungraspable imperial greatness and the personal characteristics supporting it. Thus, Alexander’s conquest of Darius III, his benign treatment of the Persian women of Darius’s family, and his respectful marking of the death of the last Persian emperor again and again find expression in plays, pamphlets, historical compendia, and paratextual commentary, as well as in Erasmus’s mirror-for-princes. It was recounted in greater or lesser detail in most of the major classical and derivative sources (Arrian (Book 3), Plutarch’s ‘Life’ of Alexander, Quintus Curtius (Book 5); Diodorus Siculus (73.1), and Justin (Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus, Book 11) remember only the princely funeral Alexander gave Darius), and became one of the most common things for which Alexander was remembered.10 The scene provides a synecdoche of Alexander’s achievements, but also, in its details, a more palatable view of a crucial moment when the world shifted, its global ramifications managed through a carefully choreographed scene of domestic magnanimity.11 His continence with the women of Darius’ family notwithstanding, Alexander’s life was ambivalent and inconsistent in its display of virtues, even on the results-driven early modern models of heroic virtue. Certain episodes were already morally or politically ambiguous in the classical sources, and could be elaborated anew in more contemporary contexts to le­ver­age arguments against, for example, ‘oppressive mercantile empire’.12 In the figure 10   The first two books and the end of Book 5 of Quintus Curtius’ History of Alexander are missing, though most editors suspect it would have followed Plutarch’s account of Alexander’s treatment of Darius and his family, as it does Plutarch’s insistence on Alexander’s regret for the manner of Darius’ death, and his insistence on a princely Persian funeral for him. 11   Jeff Beneker argues that in the Plutarchan account the scene establishes a crucial connection between Alexander’s erotic self-restraint and his military and political success in a fashion already modelled by Cyrus the Great, with whom he is temporarily paired in Plutarchan synkrisis. Beneker, The Passionate Statesman: Eros and Politics in Plutarch’s ‘Lives’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), ch. 3 (pp. 105–18). 12   See Su Fang Ng’s persuasive argument about Milton’s use of an Augustinian anecdote about Alexander (ultimately from a lost Ciceronian work) in Paradise Lost, recoloured through contemporary rivalries of early modern empires, in which a pirate defends himself to Alexander by arguing that his interlocutor acts

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260  Jane Grogan of Alexander, then, the passions of human ambition and imperial enterprise play out in high-definition focus, his personal attributes and activities always made to speak of and to his imperial conquests, his ‘universal empire’. But just as compelling to the early modern imagination as Alexander’s extra­or­din­ary life, I contend, is his death. On the one hand, troping Alexander with death consolidates his place in the received (and revived) tradition of heroic worthies. But it also establishes his subjection to fortune or providence like any other of those heroes. This chapter will argue that the trope also provides a common point of critique of the much wider set of imperial concerns for which Alexander stands in the early modern moment. This holds true in both élite and popular forms, thanks to the richness of detail available about Alexander’s life. Tellingly, what early moderns fixated on was not just Alexander’s death itself and its immediate historical ramifications, but its stunning annihilation of his great ambitions and achievements, the material facts of how his imperial energies are arrested. Again and again they imagined Alexander dead, Alexander’s grave, even the fate of Alexander’s dissolved corpse. This widespread early modern habit of twinning Alexander with death challenges the cultural work he is regularly adduced to perform as heroic model or exemplar even for the most ambivalent of humanists, as well as the values of the empire-building by which his person was defined both during and after his lifetime. This chapter therefore studies the uses of Alexander in early modern English drama of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to understand how, and to what extent, this striking anti-imperial and antihumanist critique was levied. History, ideology, and politics prove inseparable in the widespread cultural uses of Alexander in early modern Europe and the Middle East, where he stands for empire gained and retroactively justified by the gaining. His is an empire partly gained at the expense of other empires before him, most notably the Persian empire established by Cyrus, which gives his achievement two powerful kinds of interest for the early moderns: firstly, it allows him to be plotted within the biblical prophecy of Daniel’s four worldly empires and the eschatological framework of eventual Christian domination that that was deemed to provide.13 Secondly, it made Alexander an even more relevant and inspiring model in what Sanjay Subrahmanyam has described as a global age of ‘inter-imperial competition’.14 But dramatizing episodes from Alexander’s life for the delectation of even those rulers with a self-declared interest in his imperial achievements was not without risk. A Jacobean court performance of Samuel Daniel’s closet drama The Tragedy of Philotas (1605), for example, led to Daniel’s being summoned before the Privy Council to explain himself for having produced a play apparently as piratically as he. Ng, ‘Pirating Paradise: Alexander the Great, the Dutch East Indies, and Satanic Empire in Paradise Lost’, Milton Studies 52 (2011): 59–91. 13   Chapters 2 and 7 of the Book of Daniel, featuring Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s in­ter­pret­ ation of it. 14   Introduction to Part  1, Vol. 6, The Cambridge World History, edited by Jerry  H.  Bentley, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, and Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 6.

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  261 sympathetic to the recently executed Earl of Essex. Daniel’s play made clear charges of tyranny of its Alexander, and the implied parallels between Queen Elizabeth and her onetime favourite and general, Essex, were too close for comfort, even for the court of King James. Edmund Spenser’s well-known claim that he set his great epic romance, The Faerie Queene, in the distant past so as to put himself far from ‘enuy, and suspition of present time’ was only ever a partial truth: early modern writers’ revisitings of an­tiquity were so often politically shaded, and guided by present imperatives (if not parallels), that Daniel’s ‘major blunder’ (as one critic put it) was not so much having written the play, but having allowed it to be produced at court.15 Much more recently, Hilary Mantel dug a little deeper into historical drama to examine these potent effects. In her final Reith lecture, delivered at Stratford-uponAvon on 13 June 2017, Mantel distinguished between the different capacities of prose and drama in treating of the past. ‘A stage play is a brilliant vehicle for the past,’ she commented, ‘because it is a hazardous, unstable form, enacting history as it was made—breath by breath.’ As such, ‘[i]t puts the dead back into circulation, within touching distance’ in a more immediate and powerful way, sometimes, than the novel, which has less temporal control over its readers.16 To perform ancient history, to bring a text to life, is to bring those contemporary imperatives and parallels much closer to the surface for critical scrutiny. In other words, historical material in early modern drama tests Alexander-narratives more stirringly and more dangerously than poetry or prose sources or retellings do, and reveals more of the doubts (often underappreciated by critics) prevailing about the imperial ambitions and history unfolding apparently so irresistibly across the world.17 Moreover, we find a recognizable dramaturgical pattern of allusions to Alexander in a range of English plays from the 1590s to the 1620s: a mise-en-abyme structure, first framing the engagement with Alexander’s life or death within Alexander’s cultural position for early moderns as a heroic ‘worthy’ or humanist exemplary model, while using that frame to undermine or challenge both his exemplariness and the imperial ideals for which he is made to stand. Interestingly, this structure appears both in public and private drama, in the older classical forms of tragedy and comedy as well as in the newer genres (‘Turk plays’, history plays) of the early modern English stage. I begin, therefore, with the exemplary or heroic constructions of Alexander, before moving on to English dramatic explorations of Alexander’s death. Although we will encounter allusions to Alexander in a range of plays, genres, and dramatic traditions across the public and private stage, I will pause over three quite 15   Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, edited by A. C. Hamilton (Harlow: Longman, 2007). From the ‘Letter to Ralegh’, p. 737. Kevin Curran, ‘Treasonous Silence: The Tragedy of Philotas and Legal Epistemology’, English Literary Renaissance 42:1 (2012): 58. 16   Reith lecture 5, ‘Adaptation’. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2017/reith_2017_hilary_mantel_lectureper cent205.pdf. 17  See also Curtis Perry’s work on early modern interest in Sallust, ‘the key Roman historian for Elizabethans thinking about the domestic perils of imperial success’. ‘British Empire on the Eve of the Armada: Revisiting The Misfortunes of Arthur’, Studies in Philology 108:4 (2011): 508–37 (510). See also Peter Burke, ‘The Popularity of Ancient Historians, 1450–1700’, History and Theory 5 (1966): 135–52.

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262  Jane Grogan different Shakespearean examples: the play-within-a-play in the comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost (1598), the retrospective identification of Henry V with Alexander in the history play Henry V (1599), and the scabrous reimagining of Alexander in the graveyard scene in Shakespeare’s great tragedy Hamlet (1603).

Heroic Alexander More than any other figure associated with the ancient near east, Alexander is the most accessible, best known, and most culturally mobile. He exemplifies universal empire on the ancient model, as historical formation, certainly, even (to the millenarian im­agin­ation) eschatologically, but especially as pragmatic political ideology. Notions of universal empire differed, but classical as well as biblical sources located its origins firmly in the ancient near east, and Alexander’s was probably the best example.18 Classical histories and biographies of Alexander were readily available, many in English translation and all in Latin translation. They often took the form of biography (Arrian, Quintus Curtius, Plutarch), which allowed for indicative or even allegorical readings of his life history. Approaches that domesticate Alexander for national uses appear both in eastern and western traditions, and traverse various genres. The Ottoman sultan Selim I was known to have been a keen reader of the histories of Alexander and Julius Caesar ‘because he was so studious of philosophie’, as European commentators had it.19 In his essay ‘Of the Greatest Men’, Michel de Montaigne also readily acknowledged Alexander’s appeal for Muslim rulers: ‘And that more Kings and Princes have written his gests and actions then any other historians of what a quality soever, have registered the gests or collected the actions of any other King or Prince that ever was: and that even at this day the Mahometists, who contemne all other his­tor­ies, by special priviledge allow, receive, and onely honour his.’20 Alexander’s biography accrued more political weight than most, along with self-evidently transnational appeal. Criss-crossing those individual biographical sources were collectivizing traditions of galleries of heroes in which Alexander featured. Most obvious is the medieval ‘Nine Worthies’ tradition, which put Alexander in company with other famous rulers from scripture, history, and mythology. A popular subject for tapestries and the visual arts into the early modern period, there was some flexibility in iconography and personnel, and the composition of nine female worthies sometimes varied.21 Nonetheless, Alexander’s imperial glory is clearly feted alongside figures such as Hector of Troy, King David, Julius Caesar, or Charlemagne. But this heroic pantheon was not necessarily 18   The most familiar formulation of this is translatio imperii, which owed much to the prophecy of Daniel. On the Roman-centred approach, see for example David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 19   Lazzaro Soranzo, The Ottoman, trans. Abraham Hartwell (London: John Windet, 1603), sig. L2r–v. 20   ‘Of the Worthiest and Most Excellent Men’, one of Montaigne’s Essays, translated by John Florio (1603), accessed at http://www.luminarium.org/renascence-editions/montaigne/2xxxvi.htm. 21   Usually they featured three groups of classical, scriptural (Jewish), and Christian heroes, however.

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  263 a safe abode for Alexander. For example, in Edmund Spenser’s epic romance The Faerie Queene, Spenser invokes it to group Alexander with proverbially greedy or tyrannical Ninus, Croesus, Antiochus, and Nimrod as Lucifera’s prisoners in the House of Pride, separated from ambivalent Roman heroes such as Hannibal, Scipio, Tarquin, and Romulus; all of them will eventually end up mingled together in the castle’s yard as ‘A donghill of dead carkases’ (I.v.53).22 In admitting Alexander to such company, and denigrating it so devastatingly, Spenser challenges Alexander’s place within the ‘Nine Worthies’ pantheon of heroes—as Shakespeare will do soon after in Love’s Labour’s Lost (1598). Another proverbial collective in which Alexander featured, to the great gratification of humanist educators, was in company with Homer, Julius Caesar, and Scipio Africanus in an act of emulatory reading. The oft-repeated story of Alexander’s having carried a copy of Homer’s Iliad with him on campaign, a surrogate of sorts for the wisdom of his tutors Aristotle and Lysimachus (who reportedly called Alexander ‘Achilles’), generated precisely the message favoured by humanist educationalists. It modelled Alexander as an exemplary student and adult, still looking to the greatest classical writers for techniques, examples, and values to be deployed in his own, conspicuously successful life. Even Machiavelli cited the story in Il Principe, but it was an old chestnut found in Castiglione’s influential courtesy-book, Il Cortegiano, and in key humanist writings such as Sir Philip Sidney’s justification of literature as ‘the companion of the camps’ in his Apology for Poetry, often shaded more or less clearly behind dramatic allusions to Alexander.23 But once again, this trope could be used against Alexander too. Milton’s Satan, for example, tries to tempt Christ in Book 3 of Paradise Regained by citing the triumvirate of Cyrus, Alexander, and Caesar and their achievements.24 Two final examples of Alexander’s well-known reputation in early modern England, and its malleability across genres, will help establish the suggestive ambivalence of his exemplary or heroic status, whether within or beyond key humanist genres. Alexander held an equivocal place in the European mirror-for-princes tradition, as we have seen,   The Faerie Queene, I.v.46–53.  Sidney, An Apology for Poetry, edited by Geoffrey Shepherd (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1973), pp. 127–8. Chapter 14 of The Prince discusses imitating great men of the past: ‘the prudent prince . . . does as some excellent men have done in the past; they selected for imitation some man earlier than themselves who was praised and honored, and his actions and heroic deeds they always kept before them, as it is said Alexander the Great imitated Achilles; Caesar Alexander; Scipio Cyrus. And whoever reads the life of Cyrus written by Xenophon recognizes afterward in Scipio’s life how much that imitation was to his glory and how completely in chastity, affability, courtesy, liberality Scipio shaped himself by what Xenophon wrote about Cyrus.’ In Machiavelli: The Chief Works and Others, translated by Allan Gilbert (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1965), Vol. 1, pp. 6–96 (p. 57). 24   Satan’s stirring words are worth quoting in full: ‘Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe, the Son / Of Macedonian Philip had e’re these / Won Asia and the Throne of Cyrus held / At his dispose, young Scipio had brought down / The Carthaginian pride, young Pompey quell’d / The Pontic King and in triumph had rode. / Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature, / Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment. / Great Julius, whom now all the world admires / The more he grew in years, the more inflam’d / With glory, wept that he had liv’d so long / Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late’. Paradise Regain’d, Book 3, ll. 31–42 (London: R.E. for John Whitlock, 1695). 22 23

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264  Jane Grogan sometimes cited for his successes and his love of Homer, other times his exemplariness as a ‘prince’ under suspicion, whether on account of his irascibility, insobriety, ambition, or simply his paganness. That ambiguity tailed Alexander into other didactic humanist genres. In his poetic treatise, as part of his argument for the superiority of poetry (literature) to history, Sidney acknowledges Alexander’s ambiguities for writers of a didactic exemplary bent: ‘If the poet do his part aright, he will show you in Tantalus, Atreus, and such like, nothing that is not to be shunned; in Cyrus, Aeneas, Ulysses, each thing to be followed; where the historian (without he will be poetical) of a perfect pattern, but, as in Alexander or Scipio himself, show doings, some to be liked, some to be misliked. And then how will you discern what to follow but by your own discretion, which you had without reading Quintus Curtius?’25 Sidney’s point is about the didactic superiority of literature to history, but relies on his reader’s familiarity with Alexander’s moral ambiguity and how it puts him into a different category to the epic heroes Cyrus, Aeneas, and Ulysses (as Italian poetic theory also had it). Even outside the strongholds of humanist theory, Alexander’s imperial achievements were vitally familiar. For a nice contrast, think of William Warner’s sprawling Albions England (1586–1612), a serially expanding would-be epic that attempts to fuse English history, praise of England’s merchant-adventurers, and a ribald romance subplot. Here, Warner injects some epic scale into the Persian travels of Anthony Jenkinson (Muscovy Company agent in the late 1550s and early 1560s) by juxtaposing—and intersecting— his commercial labours against those of Alexander in Persia: In trauell thitherwards he grieues, in wonder, to behold The down-fals of those stately Townes and Castels which, of old, Whilst Persia held the Monarchie, were famous ouer all, Nor Alexander wonne of those one Peece with labour small. The mightie Citties Tauris and Persipolis he past, Two ruin’d Gates, sundred twelue miles, yet extant of this last: The Gyants Wonders on the Hill of Quiquiffs heard he tolde, And of the yearely Obit which their Maides to Channa holde.26

It is a passing reference, but a crucial one for understanding the historical importance of Jenkinson’s tricky mission: his was the first English venture to establish commercial and diplomatic contacts with Persia. Celebrating Jenkinson’s hard-won success in setting up trade relations of a sort between England and Persia, Warner gives Jenkinson a billing alongside Alexander as he traverses country once ‘wonne’ militarily with difficulty by Alexander himself. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that a stage romance cele­brat­ing a subsequent English visitor to Persia, sometime soldier and sometime trade emissary for Persia Robert Sherley, should remember this precedent and reach to the term ‘Sherley the Great’ for its Anglo-Persian hero.27  Sidney, An Apology, p. 110.   From the closing lines of Book 10. Albion’s England, a Continued History (London: Widow Orwin for J.B., 1596), p. 286 (sig. [T7]v). Jenkinson appears in all the editions from 1596 onwards. 27   John Day, William Rowley, and George Wilkins, The Travailes of the Three English Brothers (London: for John Wright, 1607), 8.30. On the ancient Persian allusions of the play, see Jane Grogan, The Persian Empire in English Renaissance Writing, 1549–1622 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), pp. 158–60. 25 26

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  265 Alexander appears, either in person or by allusion, in a striking range of early modern plays, from the traditional forms of tragedy and comedy to newer genres such as tragicomedy, Turk play, and the history play. In the remainder of this section, one example each from tragedy, Turk play, comedy, and Senecan closet drama will give a sense of his uses across the spectrum of dramatic genres old and new. A natural focus for closet drama, drawing as it often does on ancient history, Alexander also made his presence known in university drama and on the public stage; it is clear that his fa­mil­iar­ity across the social spectrum lay behind this. One example of Alexander in tragedy shows how invocations of Alexander could occupy both ‘high’ literary and popular registers at one and the same time. Marlowe’s Dr Faustus (1604) has Alexander appear on stage before Emperor Charles V—the same Charles who had been warned against Alexander by Erasmus, and then encouraged to overgo him—commanded by a showboating Faustus, and impersonated by a devilish spirit. The Faustus story illustrates the mixture of longing and loathing that Europe felt for the ultra-imperialist Alexander. Marlowe’s Charles implicitly snubs his onetime tutor by requesting the appearance not of the continent Alexander whom he might emulate and surpass, but of the racier Alexander also attested by the primary and derivative sources (and perhaps spe­cif­ic­al­ly the rash, drunken Alexander who set fire to Persepolis supposedly with the encouragement of Thais), rather than the much-praised continent and courteous guardian of Darius’ wife and mother. Drawing on the so-called ‘English Faust Book’ chapbook, Marlowe’s Charles requests that Faustus conjure up Alexander alongside ‘his beauteous Paramour’ (4.1.35), that he ‘raise this man from hollow vaults below,/ Where lies entombed this famous conquerour’ (4.1.33–4).28 Charles is motivated both by the exemplary model of the historical Alexander as well as by his own imperial ambitions in the present moment, ambitions stirred in private moments while remembering past heroes, just as Erasmus had encouraged him to do: As I was sometime solitary set Within my closet, sundry thoughts arose About the honour of mine ancestors— How they had won by prowess such exploits, Got such riches, subdued so many kingdoms As we that do succeed, or they that shall Hereafter possess our throne shall, I fear me never attain to that degree Of high renown and great authority. Amongst which kings is Alexander the Great, Chief spectacle of the world’s preeminence (4.1.17–26)29

28   All references are to the A-text of Dr Faustus, in Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus and Other Plays, edited by David Bevington and Eric Rasmussen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). 29   The wording remains close to that of the English ‘Faust Book’.

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266  Jane Grogan If Charles describes a scene of the kind of humanist attention and emulation that Erasmus had counselled, its effects are not quite what Erasmus expected: he is just as keen to see ‘his beauteous paramour’ as he is to see the inspiring Alexander.30 Faustus demurs, however, not on account of the subjects of the request, but advising that ‘it is not in my ability to present before your eyes the true substantial bodies of those two deceased princes, which long since are consumed to dust’ (4.1.43–5). (The emphasis on the decomposed body is worth noting.) Instead, Faustus proposes to call up ‘such spirits as can lively resemble Alexander and his Paramour . . . in that manner that they best lived in, in their most flourishing estate’ (4.1.48–50)—lifelike surrogates for those decomposed bodies, in other words. In the scene Marlowe presents, it is by identifying a wart on the body of Alexander’s lover that Charles satisfies himself as to the authenticity of the conjuration: ‘Sure these are no spirits, but the true substantial bodies of those two deceased princes’ (4.1.65–6). As Arnd Bohm and others have remarked, the scene illustrates as much about political ambition as it does about theological matters.31 Charles’s own ambitions involved matching and outflanking Alexander by extending his own empire into the New World. But to summon Alexander with his lover as if they were alive, to fetishize the physical details of their dress and comportment, presents a scene not so much of emulation of Alexander by Charles as one of subjugation of him to Charles—a notably different kind of overgoing, although it may be born of the schoolroom desire to see the hero he is so often exhorted to emulate. On stage, it is an equalizing manoeuvre, conjuring Alexander for the stage audience to see and fulfilling their own ‘just desire’ by producing, with its own dramatic frame, a minidrama of a safer, surrogate Alexander resurrected—but only having first invoked his corpse having turned to dust. The nexus of an exemplary Alexander encountered in an educational context, in a command performance, together with a more topically inflected engagement with his imperial success can be found in the more private theatrical context of university drama. Here, too, we find the humanist imperative to emulate heroic models such as Alexander brought into uneasy conversation with the contemporary imperializing mission. And here, too, the Alexander-narrative is set off or framed in a play-withina-play. Thomas Goffe’s The Couragious Turke (1632) is one of two ‘Turk plays’ he wrote while at Christ Church, Oxford.32 A university drama modelling the new, wildly popular Turk play from the public stage, it drew on Richard Knolles’s The Generall History of 30   Subtly invoked here too is the famous story we have already encountered of Julius Caesar’s tears upon reaching the age of Alexander without having conquered as much as him. See footnote 3. 31   Arnd Bohm, ‘Faust and Alexander the Great’, in International Faustus Studies: Adaptation, Reception, Translation, edited by Lorna Fitzsimmons (London: Continuum, 2008), pp. 17–35 (p. 23). Bohm also argues that Faustus’s flight conspicuously imitates and overgoes that of Alexander, and that Faustus’s trajectory is modelled on that of Alexander. 32   The second is The Raging Turk (1631). On the ‘Turk play’ see especially Matthew Dimmock, ‘New Turkes’: Dramatizing Islam and the Ottomans in Early Modern England (Burlington: Ashgate, 2005) and Jonathan Burton, Traffic and Turning: Islam and English Drama, 1579–1624 (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2005).

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  267 the Turkes (1603) in its presentation of episodes from the life of the fourteenth-century Ottoman sultan Murad I, and his falling in love with a Greek captive.33 Early on in Goffe’s play we find an extraordinary dumbshow, composed and directed by Murad’s tutor, Lala Schahin, for his student’s edification but specifically designed to turn his thoughts from love to warfare and imperial conquest. This specially commissioned wedding masque opens fairly conventionally, with Juno and Jove reflecting on love, before moving onto another ‘interlude’, also on a classical theme, this time the theme of war. Alexander appears, silently watching Hector and Achilles (who have been introduced by Fame) fight their famous battle. Then we move on to a scene compiled from fragments of Plutarch’s ‘Life’ of Alexander: the situation now is Alexander’s camp after the defeat of Persian emperor Darius III. Alexander, book in hand, begins to read aloud the opening line of the Iliad, praising Homer’s heroes and making the standard remark about their good fortune in having been memorialized by Homer. Alexander is then approached by Philoxenus, who offers him ‘a Present’: the wife of Darius, and a posse of eunuchs. In a variation on the classical accounts, an angry Alexander spurns them, and demands to be shown instead a courageous soldier, a figure more to his tastes. The dumbshow proves effective: Murad (here ‘Amurath’) responds visibly and fearfully; his courtiers comment that ‘That fayned speech of Alexander’s wrought / Like to most purging Physick’ (sig. [C4v]), and we soon find him having a dark night of the soul, imagining a better life metempsychosed and ‘confin’d within some Dog or Cat, / Than Antique-like [to] pranck in a King’s gay clothes’. But he soon recovers himself and begins to fantasize about how he might yet ‘ouercome more Kingdomes, haue more dominion / Enthrone myself an Emperor . . . I might! I might!’ (sig. D2v).34 In this multi-layered dramatization of the story of Alexander’s fondness for reading the Iliad on campaign, Amurath’s tutor encourages him to emulate the heroic example of Alexander, just as Alexander did Hector and Achilles—with an added layer of em­phasis on the Alexandrian imperial impetus by setting it within the scene of Alexander’s defeat of the Persian emperor.35 (Contemporary hostilities between Safavid Persia 33   The play purports to be an account of the life of the Ottoman emperor Murad I, here called Amurath, but it also incorporates elements from Knolles’s description of the life of Mehmed II. In the play, Amurath falls in love with and marries a Greek captive (a popular western dramatic narrative of the Sultan and the fair Greek, as Daniel Vitkus notes), but his tutor Lala Schahin convinces Amurath to kill her and return to military conquests. The play concludes with the first Battle of Kosovo (1389), in which Amurath is victorious but is killed by the Serbian hero Cobelitz. His older son Baiazet succeeds him but is forced to kill his younger brother to avoid competition for the throne, in a very familiar ‘Turk play’ plotline. See Vitkus, Turning Turk: English Theater and the Multicultural Mediterranean, 1570–1630 (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), p. 99. 34   The Couragious Turke (London: for Richard Meighan, 1632); all references are to this (first printed) edition. See also Claire Kenward, ‘Sights to Make an Alexander? Reading Homer on the Early Modern Stage’, Classical Receptions Journal 9:1 (2017): 79–102, and Joel Elliot Slotkin, ‘ “Now will I be a Turk”: Performing Ottoman Identity in Thomas Goffe’s The Courageous Turke’, Early Theatre 12 (2009): 222–35. 35   In so doing, as Kenward argues, he also recalls the idea that Alexander stored his Iliad by day in a ‘rich iewell cofer of Darius lately before vanquished by him in battaile’ (Kenward, ‘Sights to Make an Alexander?’ pp. 81, 84). George Puttenham was one of several early modern writers who had recounted this link: ‘the noble poemes of Homer were holden with Alexander the great, in so much as euery night they were layd

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268  Jane Grogan and the Ottomans were well-established and much commented upon by western Europeans at this point.) Implicit in Goffe’s play is the knowledge of the Ottoman interest in Alexander, but it also attests to the strong interest of the Ottoman empire for English audiences, the attunement of the new ‘Turk’ plays to contemporary English experiences in the Mediterranean, and the significant economic and social implications of AngloOttoman trade since its establishment in 1581.36 However, Goffe’s play upends the genre expectations of this non-classical genre, by imagining a recalcitrant, uxorious stage-Turk, impassioned by love rather than bombastic warmongering, only eventually ‘turned Turk’ (and killing his wife before going on campaign) by his tutor’s dramatization of the classical, imperial Alexander. That the Turk play is well established on the public stage by the time Goffe writes The Courageous Turk is crucial here; it would be impossible for Goffe’s audiences not to recognize how atypical the Amurath of the opening scenes is. In bringing Alexander into this new, very topical dramatic genre so tendentiously, as the motivation of violent imperial action, Goffe synchs his dramatic innovation with the didactic contexts within which Alexander was often encountered by young men in education. But in so doing, he also sets quite a different value on Alexander’s powers as an imperial model, and on Amurath’s military successes later in the play, recolouring this classical impetus as one shaded with all the brutality, violence, and self-serving ambition English audiences knew of this kind of stage-Turk and found in the later Amurath. If Goffe looked to Alexander in company with Homeric heroes, Shakespeare, too, scrutinized Alexander within a company of heroes rather than as a lone exemplar, in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Shakespeare’s challenge to Alexander’s imperial energies is no less caustic than Goffe’s, for its shambolic appearance in comic register. Once again, the didactic context is the unstable vehicle, and a play-within-the-play the mechanism for exploring Alexander and the ideology of empire he models. Once again, worldconquering Alexander comes in for short shrift through the mise-en-abyme structure and the undermining of its didactic framework. And once again we find a command dramatic performance of Alexander for a royal audience, this time impersonated by the hapless Curate Nathaniel in Holofernes’s pageant of the Nine Worthies and presented for the sniggering French courtiers at the end of the play. Again, an educator presents a dramatic conjuration of Alexander for a royal audience—this time the pedantic schoolmaster Holofernes—having been commissioned to produce ‘some

vnder his pillow, and by day were carried in the rich iewell cofer of Darius lately before vanquished by him in battaile’ (Book 1, ch. 8). The Arte of English Poesie (1589), edited by G. D. Willcock and Alice Walker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936), p. 16. 36   See Dimmock, ‘New Turkes’, Burton, Traffic and Turning, Vitkus, Turning Turk, and Nabil Matar, Turks, Moors and Englishmen in the Age of Discovery (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 1999); Gerald MacLean, The Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580–1770 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  269 delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antic, or firework’ (5.1.90–1).37 But in the event, a nervous Nathaniel fails to deliver his speech in full, and loses heart completely after he is interrupted by Boyet and accused of smelling nasty, and so is dismissed and the next ‘Worthy’ peremptorily summoned by the courtier-audience. Thus the exemplary Macedonian hero gets subjugated rather than emulated, just as Marlowe’s Alexander was—and with undue haste: ‘[t]he conqueror is dismayed’ (5.2.557), the princess declares, and the show moves on. Alexander’s world-conquering earns no admirers in this play-within-a-play, though this time there is none of Marlowe’s emperor’s delight in the impersonation of the ‘true substantial bodies’. Instead, Nathaniel’s nerves, and his audience’s appreciation, may well have been jangled by these hints of Alexander’s corpse in its material reality: dis-made [‘dismayed’], and stinking. These hints of Alexander’s stinking putrefying corpse in Boyet’s insult and the princess’s language undermine his exemplary status in a very basic way, torquing away from the willed formation of young male bodies and minds in the model of Alexander as pursued in school years and pageants such as that of Holofernes. The didactic frame, the weight of expectation of Alexander’s modelling of imperial greatness and aspiration, topples suddenly and humiliatingly with the courtiers’ evocation of Alexander’s corpse—a rich idea to which Shakespeare will return even more mockingly in Hamlet. Much more respectful in its presentation of Alexander is the Senecan closet drama of the early Jacobean court. Daniel’s sticky moment with his Philotas notwithstanding, tales of Alexander proved a rich vein for Jacobean writers of closet drama. Most prolific in working this vein was William Alexander (later an enthusiastic colonist in Canada, whose commemorative plaque can be found outside Edinburgh castle today) whose series of four ‘Monarchick Tragedies’ (1603–7) comprised tragedies of Croesus, Darius, Alexander, and Julius Caesar.38 Curiously enough, Alexander appears only as a raging ghost in the tragedy named for him, which instead concerns the ‘polytragick Tragedie’ of the contest for succession after his death.39 He is, however, a main pro­tag­ on­ist of ‘braue enterprise’ in the tragedy of Darius, which presents several iterations of the story of Alexander’s magnanimity to the defeated Persian ruler’s wife and family.40 In its presentation of a hubristic Darius taking on Alexander—despite the latter’s careful treatment of his wife in captivity—we witness an Alexander encouraged to ransom 37   Love’s Labour’s Lost, edited by William C. Carroll (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). All parenthetical references to the play refer to this edition. 38   Kirsten Sandrock connects the Monarchick Tragedies with their author’s later colonial activities in ‘Ancient Empires and Early Modern Colonialism in William Alexander’s Monarchick Tragedies (1603–7)’, Renaissance Studies 31:3 (2017): 346–64. Jane Rickard and Astrid Stilma both find traces of James’s own mirror-for-princes, the Basilikon Doron, reflected back at him through these tragedies. Rickard, Writing the Monarch in Jacobean England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 35; Stilma, ‘William Alexander, King James, and Neo-Stoic Advice to Princes in The Monarchick Tragedies’, in James VI and I, Literature and Scotland, edited by D. J. Parkinson (Groningen: Peeters, 2013), pp. 233–49. 39   The Alexandraean Tragedie (London: Valentine Simmes for Ed. Blount, 1607), sig. [A4]. 40   The Tragedy of Darius, in The Monarchick Tragedies (London: Valentine Simmes and G. Eld for Ed. Blount, 1604), sig C2.

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270  Jane Grogan Darius’s wife and to disengage from the war with Persia by Parmenio (father of Philotas), but forging onward on his virtuous route all the same. Resisting Parmenio’s advice, Alexander locates his imperial energies in his élite royal status, distinguished, interestingly, from that of a merchant: If I were come to trafficke in this land And like a greedie merchant to embrace Before all hope of glorie gain in hande This your inuild opinion might have place. But soone I surfet of such melting things, And famish, but for fame and crownes of Kings.41

It is one of several notable topical details clarifying the ideological intentions of the plays, addressed both to the recently crowned King James VI of Scotland and I of England, and to his son, Prince Henry.42 (Much has been written of the Protestant ‘hawks’ surrounding Prince Henry and their encouragement of him to undertake a more aggressive international stance than his peace-seeking father. To this end, Francis Vere presented the prince with a suit of armour decorated with scenes from the life of Alexander in 1608 or 1609. But William Alexander’s distinguishing here between royal and mercantile imperatives for empire-building also speak to the growth of commercial voices in arguing for English imperialism.)43 Alexander’s decision is vindicated, legitimated, and admired in the Tragedy of Darius, of course, the moral and political merits of his empire-building once again underlined in the concluding scenes where Alexander magnanimously returns Darius’s corpse to his mother, together with funds for his burial ‘in Princely wise’.44 As in Erasmus’s advice, the gracious treatment of his enemy and the women of his family, however tactically driven, retrospectively justifies Alexander’s imperial advances. The scene is important not just for its display of Alexander’s virtues or honour code, but in mediating the biggest victory of Alexander’s already astonishing career, and the ‘translation’ of the Persian to the Macedonian empire. Its moral and political weight relies on the biographical logic inherited and renewed by humanists, and used to universalize traits of character into fully-formed Aristotelian virtues to ensure successful outcomes for readers in the world beyond books. Plutarch’s famous words about the nature of his biographical method, which appear in his ‘Life of Alexander’, are key: ‘For   Monarchick Tragedies (1604), sig C2.   In opening dedicatory verses to King James in the 1604 edition of the Monarchick Tragedies, the newly acceded King James I of England is exhorted to take on ‘the tirant Ottoman’ (sig. [A4]). 43   See the special issue of Renaissance Studies 26:4 (2012), edited by Andrew Fitzmaurice. On the ‘hawkishness’ of Prince Henry’s circle, see Jason White, Militant Protestantism and British Identity, 1603–1642 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2012). On the gift of armour, Richmond Barbour contends that ‘The armor counselled emulation of not only Hellenistic but implicitly also Ottoman conquerors’ (Before Orientalism: London’s Theatre of the East, 1576–1626 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p.19). The suit of armour, designed for a boy, is now in the Royal Armouries (II-88) and can also be viewed online: https:// collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-1505.html. 44   The Tragedy of Darius (1604), sig. K1v. 41 42

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  271 the noblest deeds do not always show men’s virtues and vices, but oftentimes a light occasion, a word, or some sport makes men’s natural dispositions and manner appear more plain than the famous battles won, wherein are slain ten thousand men, or the great armies, or cities won by siege or assault.’45 What anchors early modern fas­cin­ ation with the scene of Alexander’s clemency and magnanimity towards Darius’ family in the moments just after victory is partly this Plutarchan idea of character revealed in quieter moments, and Plutarch’s implication that Alexander’s success lay less in the lap of Fortune than in his own powers and virtues.46 The timing conveniently exacerbates its moralizing force for humanist educators and, crucially, allows this moral victory of magnanimity to stand over Alexander’s addition of the Persian empire to his conquests. But it is worth remembering that the scenes with Darius’ family also constitute the primary example of Alexandrian continence in a life story replete with examples of incontinence: bodily incontinences such as insobriety and irascibility and spiritual incontinences such as pride and imperial covetousness.47 Another important and even older allusion is also embedded in this scene, to great effect, and perhaps helps to overcome reminders of Alexander’s incontinence: that is, Xenophon’s praise of the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great for his magnanimity towards Panthea, the captured wife of an Assyrian enemy, in the Cyropaedia—another early modern favourite text and scene.48 As such, it presents a reassuring picture of Alexander’s conquest of the mighty Persian empire as being in continuity with its highest previous form, and no mere power grab; William Alexander’s play proves keen to play up this intertext, when Darius praises ‘So continent a victour, and a king / Was neuer seene’ (sig. G1), leading him to the extraordinary wish that Alexander should defeat him and take over ‘the race of Cyrus’ (following Quintus Curtius (Book 5)).49 Thus, the Tragedy of Darius unambiguously endorses Alexander’s empire-building in a way that none of the other plays we have yet encountered do. Tellingly, it makes no use of the more sceptical mise-en-abyme structure that we have seen so far in Alexander’s appearances. And even the Tragedy of Alexander produces Alexander’s ghost, but not his corpse, as embodied surrogate. The play is more a textual than a performed thing, of course, as Senecan closet drama, and it is in its paratexts that we find the imperial project endorsed even more strongly. In both the Monarchick Tragedies and in ‘A Paraenesis to the Prince’ which was printed alongside the first edition of the Monarchick Tragedies (1604), William 45   Cited by Colin Burrow, Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 210. 46   See Plutarch’s essay ‘On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander’, usually printed in the Moralia. 47   Plutarch’s ‘Life’ of Alexander had been clear about Alexander’s shift away from sophrosyne and his increasing disregard for the law following his murder of Cleitus, argues Beneker (The Passionate Statesman, pp. 135–6). 48  Beneker, The Passionate Statesman, ch. 3. In his own slighting take on this, Machiavelli stretches credibility to claim that Scipio Africanus—another hero in the chain of heroic Iliad- or Cyropaedia-readers—was best known for returning a woman untouched to her husband (Discorsi 3.20). 49   On Plutarch’s use of this phrase beyond the Lives, see Beneker, The Passionate Statesman, p. 127.

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272  Jane Grogan Alexander sought to encourage the young prince to become ‘a gallant man of warre’, in keeping with the chivalric militarism of Henry’s circle in its early days.50 ‘[L]abour like some one thy selfe to render, / Who to the height of glorie hath been rais’d. / So Scipio Cyrus, Caesar Alexander, / And that great Pince [sic], chos’d him whom Homer prais’d.’51 The hortatory rhetorical function of paraenesis as exhortation to continue in one’s chosen way of life is particularly relevant here. William Alexander’s title manufactured its own prestige by invoking the title of Isocrates’ Paraenesis ad Demonicum, translated by Rudolf Agricola and from which various moral maxims were culled for schoolroom use.52 But it is clear that the plays themselves were to communicate the imperial message even more powerfully: verses to King James appended to the end of the 1604 edition of all four tragedies apologize for ‘draw[ing] dead Monarkes out of ruined herses / T’affright th’applauding world with bloudie wounds’—but makes their contemporary uses and urgency clear: ‘it seemes this Ile would boast and so she may / To be the soueraigne of the world some day’.53 That sense of Britain being on the brink of empire was crucial to early modern interest in Alexander and his empire in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. We cannot leave this brief tour of Alexander in English drama without a look at the famous Agincourt scene in Shakespeare’s history play Henry V (1599). Here, perhaps above all, Shakespeare makes clear how the example of Alexander cuts both ways rather than necessarily strengthening any imperial impetus. Again we have something approaching a mise-en-abyme structure, presented by the would-be didactic Fluellen, himself (like Holofernes) a stern disciple of textual authority given to elaborating far beyond those texts by his own authority. Here, in the exhausted moments following the battle, Henry’s loyal Welsh general compares Henry in his victory to Alexander (4.7.11–48), as part of his own elaboration of Tudor propaganda claiming Henry for Wales.54 The comparison is famously ambivalent, as Fluellen compares the victorious Henry to Alexander on the basis firstly of his being a ‘gallant king’ (4.7.10), then of the alleged geographical similarity of ‘Macedon’ and Henry’s birthplace ‘Monmouth’ (4.7.20–6), and finally because each of them has in his time killed a beloved companion: Alexander Cleitus, Shakespeare’s Henry Falstaff. The parallels between them as military conquerors, presumably the initial impetus for Fluellen’s comparison, speedily disappear in a catalogue of diminishing returns. Fluellen warms to his theme of synkrisis, 50   Arthur Williamson identifies Alexander’s verse to Prince Henry and his father as pro-imperial, but in a markedly apocalyptic scenario. ‘An Empire to End Empire: The Dynamic of Early Modern British Expansion’, in The Uses of History in Early Modern England, edited by Paulina Kewes (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 2006), pp. 239–42. 51   ‘A Paraenesis’, in The Monarchick Tragedies (1604), sig. A3r–v. 52  See Ian  M.  Green, Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 157–8. 53   The Monarchick Tragedies (1604), sig. L1 r–v. 54   All references come from William Shakespeare, Henry V, edited by Gary Taylor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). On Tudor propaganda regarding the dynasty’s Welsh origins, see Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), ch. 5 (pp. 126–50).

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  273 and expounds his theory to the English captain Gower: ‘If you mark Alexander’s life well, Harry of Monmouth’s life is come after it indifferent well, for there is figures in all things. Alexander, God knows and you know, in his rages and his furies and his wraths and his cholers and his moods and his displeasures and his indignations, and also being a little intoxicates in his prains, did, in his ales and his angers, look you, kill his best friend, Cleitus’ (4.7.28–40).55 There is figures in all things, and Fluellen, he declares, ‘speak[s] but in the figures and comparisons of it’ (4.7.40)—in Plutarchan fashion, in other words. As Benedict S. Robinson writes, ‘It is unclear whether the contrast between the drunken Alexander and the sober Henry credits the English king or darkens the act that he commits in his right wits, and that Alexander only committed when out of his.’56 Certainly, the over-eager Fluellen’s recollection of Henry’s misspent youth with Falstaff at this moment of military victory was signalled as comic excess by his heavily accented invocation of ‘Alexander the Pig’. Not that that troubles him. On being corrected by Gower, Fluellen remains ebullient: FLUELLEN: Why, I pray you, is not “pig” great? The pig, or the great, or the mighty, or the huge, or the magnanimous, are all one reckonings, save the phrase is a little variations.  (4.7.14–16)

Backfiring compliment aside, Fluellen’s struggles to communicate not Henry’s parallels with Alexander (which prove all too plentiful once he gets started), but the basis of Alexander’s imperial ‘greatness’, are revealing in their dubious equation of Alexander’s ‘mighty’ power with his magnanimity—all too distant poles for Erasmus and true humanists who strove to teach the duties of power to their less than magnanimous princely charges. Fluellen’s praise of Henry thus becomes yet another of Shakespeare’s hints as to Henry’s moral compromises as king—but it also resonates strongly with the contemporary allusions to Alexander that we have seen, allusions that evoke and hold in parentheses, as it were, hortatory schoolboy encounters with Alexander even while uncovering the moral cavities beneath the success story of his universal empire. Shakespeare’s Henry, interestingly, was himself not averse to using that hortatory Alexander earlier in the play, which can only add further irony. At the siege of Harfleur Henry had urged his troops to emulate Alexander: ‘On, on, you noblest English, / Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof, / Fathers that like so many Alexanders / Have in these parts from morn till even fought, / And sheathed their swords for lack of argument’ (3.2.17–22).57 This direct, hortatory invocation of Alexander on the battlefield corresponds neatly with the imitative principles of early modern poetics and sociopoetics, and works hard to provide a further sense of genealogical historical destiny at work in his soldiers’ actions. But it fails to acknowledge the prevailing ironies and ambiguities around Alexander’s model signalled and explored by other dramatic 55   Falstaff ’s deathbed scene had been recounted early in the play, with Henry far distant, but with the damning line that ‘The King has killed his heart’ (2.1.84). 56   ‘Harry and Amurath’, Shakespeare Quarterly 60:4 (2009): 399–424 (418). 57   Critics have long noted Henry’s morally questionable threats to the besieged city.

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274  Jane Grogan allusions to Alexander that we have seen, allusions that kept his exemplary and im­per­ial values at arm’s length. Of the two, Fluellen’s is the more typical and revealing invocation of Alexander, the unintentional ambivalence of his synkrisis all the more destabilizing for its echoing of prevailing currents of resistance to the hortatory exemplary narratives of Alexander, the ever-ready transnational hero. Ancient but modern, a desideratum for kings and common soldiers alike, these dramatic invocations of Alexander always carry the scent of the schoolroom with them, and often manage their explorations of the moral ambiguities of Alexander’s political example by setting off these schoolroom Alexanders for analysis using a mise-en-abyme structure. (The humanist schoolroom, its pedantic teachers, and its hortatory values also become a target in those almost vengeful moments where Alexander’s imperial warmongering and unbridled appetites come to the fore. It is difficult not to wonder whether at least some of the animus against the imperializing Alexander emerges from the gaping gulf between the ambitions and opportunities available to the young men educated in these schoolrooms, between those aspirational and even princely ideals and the quiescent obedience on offer to them once they had left the schoolroom.) Drama enacts its doubts through impersonation, through restaging those hazardous contingencies Mantel noticed, however conservative its ambitions. But we have also witnessed another strong scent, too, within these dramatic treatments of Alexander: the scent of death, of bodily corruption.

Corpsing Alexander The recurring interest in dramatizing a dead Alexander also traverses early modern dramatic genres, as we have seen. Around this motif cluster early modern doubts around the imperial ideals for which Alexander was made to stand by humanist educationalists and political thinkers alike, I contend. But in so doing, we must establish that this interest in Alexander dead goes beyond mere convention or the available source narratives. It is, of course, an early modern commonplace that to read classical authors is to commune with the dead.58 Indeed, that is exactly what Goffe’s figure of Fame in Lala Schahin’s masque declares, calling on Hector and Achilles whose tombs ‘have so long orewhelm’d your valiant bones / Yawnes wide to let the imprisoned coarses forth. / I must afresh imbalme your sacred Trunkes, / And sweet your memory with most happy oyle, / Of just report’ (sig. C3). Alexander’s reading of the heroes in the Iliad effectively resurrects them from their graves, as Claire Kenward has noted, for Fame to embalm and anoint, making of a textual encounter something performed and more ‘stirring’. But as Kenward also notes, in Plutarch and Cicero (overlaid intertexts also present in Goffe’s scene) Alexander’s ruminations on Homer are inspired specifically

58   See Phyllis Rackin, Stages of History: Shakespeare’s English Chronicles (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), pp. 2–3.

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  275 by his confronting Achilles’ grave.59 Thus, the resurrectionary force of the conceit of reading Homer is strengthened more reverently still. In fact, graveside epiphanies are a recurring feature of classical and later sources on Alexander, as we will see, most not­ ably his sobering visit to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, and the various stories of his own burial at Alexandria. But what early moderns imagine is not so much such stirring visits, or the historical ramifications of his death, or even the murky details surrounding Alexander’s death itself—whether he was poisoned, and by whom—but the ma­ter­ ial implications of his death, however gruesome or bizarre. Again and again they fixated on Alexander dead, Alexander silenced, Alexander’s potency extinguished, Alexander’s grave, the fate of Alexander’s dissolved corpse. This final section considers the origins and elaborations, in various modes, of this early modern obsession, concluding with perhaps its most damning analysis: the graveyard scene in Hamlet, in which Hamlet savours the image of Alexander done to dust and finds the resolve to seek his own earthly end. Death already stalked the classical narratives around Alexander, more so than other ancient heroes such as Cyrus or Caesar. For example, Montaigne’s praise of Alexander for a host of native virtues is tempered by his reminder that Alexander will be judged by his inexcusable actions, not so much the personal intemperance of the killing of Cleitus but the more cold-blooded ‘ruin of Thebes and Persepolis, the murder of Menander and of Ephistion’s physician, the massacre of so many Persian prisoners at one time, of a troop of Indian soldiers not without prejudice to his word, and of the Cossians, so much as to the very children, are indeed sallies that are not well to be excused’.60 Those shades of death remain a constant of early modern recollections of Alexander. Even in William Alexander’s Monarchick Tragedies we find a conspicuous emphasis on Alexander’s death rather than his achievements: The Alexandrean Tragedy, as we saw, avoids dealing with his life altogether, and in the tragedy that bears his name he is reduced to ‘[a] ghost not worthy Plutoes rest, / . . . one to whom the world no buriall yields’ (sig. B1), as he complains in the long, bitter monologue that constitutes the opening Act.61 (Readers and audiences must have been reminded of the ghostly complaints of the serial (and very popular) Mirror for Magistrates (1559–87) of half a century earlier, that deathly foil to the mirror-for-princes within the genre of political counsel, in which notorious kings, nobles, and historical victims are not extolled but made to voice their tragic complaints and regrets.)62 But the reminder that his burial is itself unsatisfactory is salutary. The insufficiencies and explicit lack of decorum of his death and burial may stand for the unsatisfactoriness of his legacy: ‘And   Kenward, ‘Sights’, pp. 81–4.   ‘For it is impossible to conduct so great and direct so violent motion with the strict rules of justice. Such men ought to be judged in gross by the mistris end of their actions.’ So Montaigne introduces this commentary on Alexander (again, from Florio’s 1603 translation). 61   The Alexandraean Tragedy (1607), sig. B1. 62   See Scott Lucas, A Mirror for Magistrates and the Politics of the English Reformation (Amherst, MA: University of Amherst Press, 2009). 59 60

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276  Jane Grogan must I then so great a trouble haue, / That lately had all th’earth, and all th’earths store, / For some few footes of earth, to be a graue, / Which meane men get: and great men get no more’ (sig. B2). We owe to Suetonius a striking story involving Alexander’s grave, one which makes the connection to his empire-building clear, and which was known to early modern readers through Petrarch’s Itinerarium (dating from the late 1350s, but first printed in 1501). Following the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, the victorious Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) requests to visit the tomb of Alexander—but not, he sneers, the nearby tomb of Ptolemies. He wants to visit ‘a king, not corpses’, he declares.63 But the Suetonian tradition appears to be overwhelmed by this cultural urge to imagine Alexander’s corpse, itself potentially inspired by a powerful counter-trad­ition. If Suetonius granted Alexander the grace of being a ‘king’ visited in tribute, Lucan after him pulls no punches as he presents another Caesar’s visit to the tomb of Alexander, in the final book of the (incomplete) Pharsalia. In Lucan’s republican epic, the victorious Julius Caesar visits the tomb of Alexander, upon which Lucan’s narrator comments at length more in contempt than tribute: ‘There lies the mad son of Macedonian Philip, that fortunate free-booter, cut off by a death that avenged the world. The limbs that should have been scattered over the whole earth they laid in a hallowed shrine’ (10.20–3).64 Sneering at Alexander’s achievements, Lucan’s Julius Caesar describes those heroic acts as merely ‘mowing down mankind’ (10.32), ‘a pestilence to the earth’ (10.35–6), and finds solace only in that ‘Death stood in his way, and Nature alone was able to bring his mad reign to this end: the power, by which he had seized the whole world, he carried away with him in his jealousy, and left no successor to inherit all his greatness, but exposed the nations to be torn asunder’ (10.41–5). Critique of imperial monarchy from republican celebrations of civic virtue such as those of Lucan and Tacitus found ready outlet in early modern English literary and political culture, as David Norbrook and others have shown.65 There is a discernible (and characteristically Lucanian) relish to many early modern reflections on Alexander’s death that pivots on its checking of excessive imperial ambitions. A rather striking Dutch engraving from the 1650s captures this ambivalent attitude to Alexander’s imperialism as it is explored in images of his death (Figure 11.1). Here, the residual force of his exemplariness gets recharged with a sceptical humour, amidst the material details of the dead Alexander. The scene is a graveyard, its five tombs—those of Samson, Croesus, Solomon, Alexander, and Helen of Troy—displayed, 63   Lives of the Caesars, in Suetonius, translated by J.  C.  Rolfe, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann, 1964). In ‘Augustus’, 18.1–2 (p. 149). This caused Petrarch to suggest a visit to Alexander’s tomb as part of the Itinerarium. 64  Lucan, The Civil War, translated by J. D. Duff (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann, 1957), pp. 591–4; all quotations from the Pharsalia are from this edition. 65   See, for example, David Norbrook, Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984), pp. 171–2; Norbrook, Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1625–1681 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2001); and J. M. H. Salmon, ‘Stoicism and Roman Example: Seneca and Tacitus in Jacobean England’, Journal of the History of Ideas 50:2 (1989): 199–225.

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  277

Figure 11.1  Five Tombs Containing Skeletons of Historical Exemplars of Wisdom, War, Beauty, Strength, and Riches: An Allegory of Change, Decay, and Death, engraving after A. P. van de Venne (c.1655). Reproduced by kind permission of the Wellcome Collection.

broken up, the skeletons rudely disarrayed and displayed to groups of keen onlookers who wander among them. The gathering recalls, firstly, a gallery of heroes, but the recurring theme is one of disaster, misjudgement, and loss. Helen’s tomb, at the centre, draws most eyes, primarily female eyes. The skeleton of Croesus, likewise, draws admirers, this time figures dressed as eastern monarchs. Samson’s tomb attracts the attention of hardy young soldiers, but Alexander’s tomb, in the left foreground, draws soldiers and commoners alike, as well as one lone amused character, casting a cold eye on the whole scene. Note the engraving’s rough-humoured tone and com­pos­ition, and the way its viewing point is anchored in the coolly sceptical figure at Alexander’s grave. Graveyards prove a particularly rich site for challenging Alexandrian imperial ideol­ogy, including in early modern rewritings of the visit of Alexander to the grave of Cyrus the Great after the culmination of his Persian campaign, variously described by Strabo (15.3.7) and Plutarch (‘Alexander’, 69.4). The subject of numerous classical and early modern narratives, the episode bespeaks a powerful cultural desire to have Cyrus meet Alexander, in fiction if not in history, in a moment of mutual recognition and frank assessment. (For example, the Geneva Bible glosses to the prophecy of Daniel cast Alexander as God’s instrument against Cambyses and ‘th[e] other Kings of Persia by Alexander the King of Macedonia’; in the millenarian imagination, Alexander’s

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278  Jane Grogan conquest of the empire founded by Cyrus is both necessary and righteous but ­ul­tim­ate­ly subordinate to the ultimate universal Christian empire.66) The moment of reflection is clearly one of identification, presenting Alexander not so much as the nemesis of the Persian empire founded by Cyrus as his logical descendent (as William Alexander hinted), a hybrid figure reinvigorating both the western empire of the Greeks and the eastern empire of the Persians. But in that reinvigoration comes a sharp reminder of the vanity of imperial projects, and the vices propelling them. As the conqueror of the Persian empire founded by Cyrus, Alexander exposes the dismal reality of the succession of historical empires, something already implied in both sacred and secular paradigms and digested powerfully in this scene. While the narrative presented looks credible, its positioning in the source narratives can undercut it, and the possibility for sceptical readings within its variations is strong, particularly in the reception tradition. Sometimes tropologically figured as Alexander’s last moment of heroism before his imperial ambition topples him, other times it is read as a moment of lucid regret for burning Persepolis on the advice of the Greek cour­ tesan Thais. The reminder of ‘the incertainty of worldly things’ that, according to Plutarch, Alexander finds inscribed there strikes a chord with the medieval de casibus traditions in which early moderns had also received Alexander. The message about the demise of worldly glory and empire is obvious; occasionally Alexander hears it. Accounts vary as to Alexander’s actions at the tomb. Quintus Curtius reports that he reverentially lays his cloak over the corpse of Cyrus—though not before he casts Alexander as a disappointed grave-robber tricked by tales of the riches buried with Cyrus. Plutarch’s Alexander, by contrast, recounts a moment of recognition about the vanity of empire and the ‘incertainty of worldly things’, an Alexander so struck by the words inscribed in Persian on Cyrus’s tomb (‘O ma[n] what so thou art . . . I am Cyrus that conquered the Empire of Persia’) that he causes them to be inscribed in Greek too.67 This Plutarchan scene of self-recognition and even despair for Alexander, facing up to the grim reality of where his own imperial ambition inevitably leads him, takes root in the cultural history of both Alexander and Cyrus in early modern England. Thus, when English travellers to Persia and the Ottoman empire encounter the ruined traces of Alexander’s campaigns—fortifications, bridges, cities—they pay heed to them, therefore, as signs not always of imperial success but of futility. But other early modern variations of the epitaph hint at the still-vaunting imperialist’s unrepentant dissatisfaction with a mere grave, as we saw in The Alexandrean Tragedy. In Lodowick Lloyd’s retelling of it, the epitaph now reads: ‘Here lyeth Cirus the great King of Persea, contented nowe with seauen foote, which coulde not be satisfied   The Bible and Holy Scriptures (Geneva: Rouland Hall, 1560), Daniel 10.20, sig. 3X1v (p. 363v).   Quintus Curtius (10.1.30–5). Plutarch, The Liues of the Noble Grecians and Romanes, translated by Thomas North (London: Thomas Vautrollier, 1579), sig. 3S2. Curtius had also reported that Alexander’s interest in Cyrus had previously caused him (briefly) to consider sparing the city of ‘Cyropolis’ supposedly founded by Cyrus (7.6.20). 66 67

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  279 some time with seauen kingdomes: what Kesar, King, or Prince so euer thou art, spare this place vnto Cirus.’68 In absorbing the lessons of Cyrus’ tomb, Alexander faced the same lesson that Caesar faced when he tried to map his own successes onto those of Alexander: a sense of the futility of such heroic emulation, the lesson of the uncertainty of worldly things matched with the very spur to heroic worldly ambitions. Thus the dynamics of this exemplary encounter pull in two opposite directions, towards im­per­ial action and towards a more sanguine inaction. The issue is not so much the in­ev­it­able existence of counter-examples to positive examples—for example, that Alexander may be temperate in his treatment of his enemy, Darius’ wife and mother, but intemperate in his killing of his old friend and supporter Cleitus. Rather this particular d ­ oubled (or tripled) example of the classical heroes Caesar, Alexander, and Cyrus metaphorically meeting at one another’s graveside manages to encode a resistance to the basic pedagogical values of any exemplary imperial narrative within the very ‘teaching moment’ of aspirational identification. All of these allusions and dynamics come into play when Hamlet comes upon the skull of Yorick in the graveyard, and entertains a flight of fancy as to the worldly ends of jesters and world-conquerors alike. The death’s head that Hamlet contemplates is the culmination of a biting series of images of human ashes, skeletons, and dust throughout the play. But it also prompts Hamlet to ironically replay Alexander’s visit to the tomb of Cyrus, now construing it as a final moment of self-recognition and continence before the inchoate energies of imperial conquest play themselves out. In making this connection, Hamlet, the university scholar, foresees that this is the endgame for him too, and finally allows himself to act the tragic role that is asked of him by the corrupt Danish political regime. Standing in the grave (as most performances have it), Hamlet sets about yet another speculative mise-en-abyme of Alexander, with Yorick’s skull propelled into the air as chief protagonist. All of the educational praise of Alexander as a hortatory (and sometimes a cautionary) exemplar flood back into Hamlet’s mind. Let down by all his learning, now it is the corpse of Alexander, the dissonance between the fine stories and the gruesome, even ridiculous remains of these heroizing narratives that match Hamlet’s own sense of the dissonance between what he is asked to do and what is possible for him. He turns to his ‘authentic scholar’ friend Horatio for con­firm­ ation of his new theory—and again, the memory of their shared education is crucial.69 ‘Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ th’earth?’ ‘E’en so,’ replies Horatio, only to be countered with further physical reminders of the dead Alexander: ‘And 68   ‘Which when Alexander the great, passing with his armie vnto Scithia and India, had read this Epitaph, and perceyuing the slipperie state of Princes, the vncertaintie of lyfe, and mutabilitie of fortune, he muche doubted the state of his owne life: howbeit, at that voyage he quite forgat by meanes of Mars, the Epitaph of King Cirus, vntill he returned from India from hys warres vnto Babilon, where he maried Statyra King Darius daughter . . .’. Lloyd, The Pilgrimage of Princes (London: for William Jones, 1586), sig. R1. 69   On Hamlet’s reliance on Horatio who ‘supplement[s] him as a scholar’ when necessary, see Elizabeth Hanson, ‘Fellow Students: Hamlet, Horatio, and the Early Modern University’, Shakespeare Quarterly 62:2 (2011): 205–29 (225–6).

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280  Jane Grogan smelt so? Pah!’ ‘E’en so,’ confirms the loyal Horatio.70 If Hamlet is merely building up to the philosophical heart of his theory in this exchange, he sets some important clues in place first: that far from being eviscerated, Alexander’s corpse still endures, still smells (just as was alleged of Love’s Labour’s Lost’s Nathaniel, playing Alexander), still forms part of the materials of the earth. Mired in irony, his universal empire endures—as earth, repurposed for the most mundane purposes, Hamlet crows. Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam; and why of that loam whereto he was converted might they not stop a beer barrel? (5.1.176–9)

Hamlet’s response is both intellectually rigorous and insistently juvenile, taking a gleeful pot-shot at one of the exemplary models by whose achievement he has conspicuously failed to shape himself, exposing the shallow hortatory exemplary magic that has so conspicuously failed him. But he also draws on contemporary satirical or doggerel retellings of tales of the heroic Alexander, the kinds of tales by which Alexander’s drunkenness, irascibility, and erotic excesses were known. These, too, showed a strong interest in the material facts of Alexander’s corpse. Perhaps the best example is Lodowick Lloyd’s stanzas, in a chapter on ‘liberalitie and liberall Princes’, which concludes with a sequence of doggerel poems on ‘The deathes of Certen Noble Princes in english verse’. The poetry section begins with a familiar trio, Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Cyrus, and its verses on Alexander conclude with a very Shakespearean image: Yesterdaye the sonne of Ioue, might all commaunde at will: To day starcke naked in the earth, with wormes his belly full.71

Or more recently, Shakespeare may have thought of Arthur Warren’s prison poem, Poverties Patience (1605), in which Alexander, Ajax, and Cyrus get their comeuppance precisely for emulating Achilles: Can Alexander lease his Chiualry? No ‘tis expir’d, and he dissolu’d to dust.72

Dissolved to dust. Consumed to dust, as Marlowe had it. Returned to dust, for Shakespeare. Hamlet’s reasoning about the fates of Alexander or Caesar, in all its scab­ rous humour, directly evokes and parodies the sequential structure of heroic exemplars in which Alexander, Cyrus, and Caesar featured in his schooldays, now reduced to a company of rotting, horribly enduring corpses.73

70   William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Philip Edwards (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); all subsequent references are to this edition. 71   Lodowick Lloyd, The Pilgrimage of Princes (London: for William Jones, 1573?), sig. 2L1. 72   Arthur Warren, The Poore Mans Passions. And Poverties Patience (London: I.  R.  for R.  B., 1605), sig. F1v. 73   See Jonathan Gil Harris’s helpful analysis of this scene, arguing for ‘the duration of the past into the present’, and for multiple, interwoven temporalities of culture. ‘Four Exoskeletons and No Funeral’, New Literary History 42 (2011): 615–39 (615, 618).

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alexander the great in early modern english drama  281 Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole, to keep the wind away. Oh that that earth which kept the world in awe Should patch a wall t’expel the winter’s flaw. (5.1.180–4)

The point is not simply the strategic diminution of these heroes, but its inevitability: the truth told better by their putrefying material remains than by the humanist and textual authorities who presented these imperial heroes to their young readers. By way of conclusion, we should note that the dynamics of allusion are always inherently unstable. But in the case of exemplary evocations of Alexander, and the pronounced tendency in early modern drama to challenge his heroic imperial values, we have greater cause to be suspicious. Allusions to Alexander in drama, whether alone or in company with other imperial heroes of commonplace, are striking for their failure to fully endorse their subject and his achievements, even as they (ostensibly) aspire to do so. A strong self-consciousness about the humanist endorsement of Alexander proves difficult to shake off, and scepticism about the form and content of those childhood exemplary ideals prevails in these dramatic reworkings of classical narratives. The ambiguity of Alexander’s empire as a model is engaged formally through vari­ations of the mise-en-abyme or other structures that bracket off Alexander for closer scrutiny. Finally, the grim early modern obsession with the corpse of Alexander contrasts with the treatment of other classical heroes (unless, like Julius Caesar, they have the misfortune of being grouped with Alexander), and allows for a distinctive strand of scepticism about Alexander’s imperial purposes to emerge, not only—but most power­ful­ly—in drama. By the early seventeenth century, this had become abundantly apparent, even within the newest of stage genres. I will leave the last words to Goffe. At the end of Lala Schahin’s masque of Alexander in The Courageous Turke, Amurath retires to bed, soon to take on a new identity as an imperialist stageTurk, motivated by what he has seen of Alexander. He sees his future mapped out before him—and his future reckoning on stage: ‘Thus when we are dead shall we revive o’th’ stage / One houre can present a Kings whole age’ (sig. [C4]).

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12 Crises of Self and Succession Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667 Edith Hall

Herodotus’ Cambyses and the Early English Theatre This chapter addresses the theatrical reception of the strangest Persian king in classical Greek sources, Cambyses II. Mad, bad, and definitely dangerous to know, the Herodotean Cambyses was an important and familiar figure on the early modern English stage. Two popular plays, book-ending the evolution of drama from the accession of Elizabeth to soon before the Glorious Revolution, took different approaches to the Achaemenid conqueror of Egypt. But they were united in stressing that he marked a crisis in the Persian governmental succession. This rang especially true in the sometimes turbulent era between Elizabeth I and Charles II. By the mid-eighteenth century, the Persian monarchs in Herodotus attracting most attention were the invaders of Greece in the early fifth century bce, Darius and Xerxes, the protagonists of books V to IX.1 These two characters both appear in the sole substantial Greek surviving text on the Persian Wars that antedated Herodotus’ Histories, Aeschylus’ tragedy Persians (472 bce). Although Persians was available in Latin translation from 1555 onwards (Saint-Ravy), it was only with the first modern-language translations of Aeschylus in the eighteenth century that the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis came to dominate Western cultural responses to Herodotus.2   For an overview of cultural responses to Herodotus’ account of the Persian Wars see the essays in Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars, edited by Emma Bridges, Edith Hall, and P. J. Rhodes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 2   On the importance of access to Greek tragedy through Renaissance Latin ‘cribs’, see Anne T. Doyle, Elkanah Settle’s ‘The Empress of Morocco’ and the Controversy Surrounding It (New York, NY and London: Garland Publishing, 2005) and Edith Hall, Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris: A Cultural History of Euripides’ Black Sea Tragedy (New York, NY and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), ch. 8. On Aeschylus’ late arrival in modern languages, see Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660–1914, edited by Edith Hall and Fiona Macintosh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), ch. 7; Fiona Macintosh, ‘The “Rediscovery” of Aeschylus for the Modern Stage’, in Eschyle, edited by J.  Jouanna, F.  Montanari, and A.-C.  Hernández (Vandoeuvres-Geneva: Fondation Hardt, 2008), pp. 435–59; and Edith Hall, ‘The 1

Edith Hall, Crises of Self and Succession: Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667 In: Beyond Greece and Rome: Reading the Ancient Near East in Early Modern Europe. Edited by: Jane Grogan, Oxford University Press (2020). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767114.003.0013

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Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667  283 Both Sparta and Athens have subsequently functioned as models and inspirations from the Abolition debates to Waterloo, Parliamentary Reform to the Cold War, under Fascism and in responses to 9/11 and beyond.3 From Catherine the Great’s conquest of the Crimea in the 1780s to the Crimean War, Herodotus’ accounts of Scythians, Taurians, Amazons, and Colchians around the Black Sea in book IV also demanded attention.4 But during the Renaissance, the overwhelming popularity of the portrait of the young Cyrus’ maturation in Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus had always kept the readers of Herodotus’ eyes on his first book. The Cyropaedia is also the source of the romance-unto-death of Panthea and Habrodates. This was staged in, for example, John Bankes’s 1696 Cyrus the Great, or the Tragedy of Love at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, but was already the subject of a musical drama by Richard Farrant, The Wars of Cyrus, performed at Windsor by the children of St George’s Chapel in the early years of Elizabeth’s reign.5 Farrant seems to have been inspired by William Barker’s English translation of the Cyropaedia, the complete edition of which was published in 1567. Yet between the printing of Xenophon and Herodotus and the Glorious Revolution, in uncomfortable counterpoint to the exemplary Cyrus, there lurks Cyrus’ troublesome son, the antihero of Herodotus’ second and third books, Cambyses II. In early modern English theatre, this madman whose death without issue creates an acute succession crisis plays a noteworthy part as the ‘star’ of two highly successful theatre works of the eleven decades between 1560 and 1667. The first is Thomas Preston’s The Lamentable Tragedy Mixed Full of Pleasant Mirth Containing the Life of Cambises King of Persia (1560 or 1561, the earliest surviving Elizabethan tragedy) (Figure 12.1).6 The second is Elkanah Settle’s Restoration drama Cambyses (1667). Neither could have been written without the circulation of the sensational Herodotean account of Cambyses’ life in book III of his Histories.7 Herodotus introduces us to Cambyses as an adult, already on the throne, and invading Egypt. The body of the recently deceased Egyptian King Amasis is embalmed in the temple at Sais. Amasis’ son Psammenitus now rules Egypt. Cambyses wins the first battle and the Egyptian army flees to Memphis. Cambyses mistreats Psammenitus’ Problem with Prometheus: Myth, Abolition, and Radicalism’, in Ancient Slavery and Abolition, edited by Edith Hall, Richard Alston, and Justine McConnell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 209–46.   See Elizabeth Rawson, The Spartan Tradition in European Thought (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), and the essays by Rood, Van Steen, Lianeri, Schulze, Levene, and Hall in Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars (2011), as well as Hall, ‘The Problem with Prometheus’ and ‘Herodotus, the Homer of European Prose’, TLS, 13 November 2013. 4  See Hall, Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris, chs. 1 and 8 and Edmund Richardson, Classical Victorians: Scholars, Scoundrels and Generals in Pursuit of Antiquity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), ch. 3. 5   See the edition of Farrant’s play by Brawner (1942). 6  See Eugene Hill, ‘The First Elizabethan Tragedy: A Contextual Reading of Cambises’, Studies in Philology 89:4 (1992): 404–33 (407): it antedated Gorboduc by one year. 7   See Don Cameron Allen, ‘A Source for Cambises’, MLN (1934): 384–7. 3

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284  Edith Hall

Figure 12.1 Monument to Thomas Preston, Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Reproduced by ­permission of Richard Poynder.

children and other noble Egyptians, then exhumes and insults Amasis’ embalmed body. He fails to conquer the Carthaginians, the Ammonians, and the Ethiopians, losing one army and almost destroying another. He murders the civic officers of Memphis, slaughters the sacred calf whom the Egyptians believe to be their god Apis, and descends into insanity. He has his brother Smerdis assassinated, marries and kills his own full sister, shoots dead the son of his loyal henchman Prexaspes, executes

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Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667  285 twelve Persian nobles by burying them up to the neck, arbitrarily kills slaves, opens up sepulchres to look at Egyptian cadavers, and mocks the images of gods in their temples (3.14–38). Back in Persia, the Magi plan a coup which involves one of them impersonating Smerdis. Cambyses tries to get back to Persia, but mortally injures himself in his thigh, with his own sword, while mounting his horse. This creates a constitutional crisis. After disposing of the Magi threat, seven nobles hold a debate on the future of the country, decide that monarchy is the best form of government, and decide to choose a king from amongst them. He will be the one whose horse neighs first at an equine assembly to be called in the morning. Darius’ attendant invents the ruse of inciting his horse to neigh through excitement about a mare. The stratagem works, and a thunderclap indicates divine approval (3.61–119, 126–41, 150–60).8 Yet however skilful Herodotus’ storytelling, my interest in English plays about Cambyses was first aroused by a source for Jacobean theatre design. ‘Cambyses’ state’ is a metaphor for the actual stage itself, near (or even upon) which upper-class youths liked to sit, displaying themselves to commoners. The evidence derives from Thomas Dekker’s satire The Gull’s Hornbook (1609): Let our gallant . . . presently advance himself up to the throne of the stage. I mean not into the Lords’ room (which is now but the stage’s suburbs). Nor, those boxes, by the iniquity of custom, conspiracy of waiting women and gentlemen ushers, that there sweat together . . . But on the very rushes where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under the state of Cambyses himself, must our feathered ostrich, like a piece of ordnance be planted valiantly (because impudently) beating down the mews and hisses of the opposed rascality.9

The very platform ‘where the comedy is to dance’ is synonymous with ‘Cambyses’ state’ because Preston’s exciting play about the Persian monarch Cambyses was such a familiar work.10 Its contents were dependent on the account of Cambyses’ life in Herodotus, even though Preston drew them from intermediary treatises of the earlier sixteenth century. Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part I, first performed between 1597 and 1600, confirms the popularity of Preston’s Cambises.11 A celebrated scene alludes to Cambises explicitly. In Shakespeare’s Act II scene 4, the heir to the throne and future Henry V, Henry IV’s son ‘Hal’, is jeopardizing his reputation, having taken to drinking in London taverns with uncouth friends, including the decadent knight Falstaff. This particular night a national 8   The studies of Herodotus’ text from which I have learned most that is relevant here are I. Hofmann and A.  Vorbichler, ‘Das Kambysesbild bei Herodot’, Archiv für Orientforschung 27 (1980): 86–105, T. S. Brown, ‘Herodotus’ Portrait of Cambyses’, Historia 31 (1982): 387–403, Christopher Pelling, ‘Speech and Action: Herodotus' Debate on the Constitutions’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 48 (2002): 123–58, and the dazzling essay by Daniel Selden, ‘Cambyses’ Madness, or the Reason of History’, Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 42 (1999): 33–63. 9  Dekker, The Guls Hornebooke (London: for R. S., 1609), p. 60. 10   D. A. Latter, ‘Sight-Lines in a Conjectural Reconstruction of an Elizabethan Playhouse’, Shakespeare Survey 28 (1975): 134. 11  See also Jonathan Gil Harris, Untimely Matter in the Matter of Shakespeare (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008), and Laurence Danson, Shakespeare’s Dramatic Genres (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).

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286  Edith Hall crisis looms because the rebels, led by Edmund Mortimer (who claims to have been declared Richard II’s rightful heir), are preparing for battle. After several drinks, Falstaff suggests that his fellow symposiasts perform ‘a play extempore’. The theme is topical: ‘Henry IV interrogates his son as to his fitness to succeed him’. Henry IV is to be played by the verbose drunkard Falstaff, and the Prince of Wales by himself. Falstaff/Henry IV declares that the tavern stool is his chair of state, his leaden dagger his sceptre, and his bald head his crown. He says that unless Hal has lost all ‘fire of grace’, he will be moved by Falstaff ’s performance in the passionate manner of King Cambyses: Falstaff. Well, an the fire of grace be not quite out of thee, now shalt thou be moved. Give me a cup of sack to make my eyes look red, that it may be thought I have wept; for I must speak in passion, and I will do it in King Cambyses’ vein. Henry V. Well, here is my leg.

The pun on ‘vein’, meaning both acting style and physiological item, reminds Shakespeare’s audience of Cambyses’ fatal leg wound, displayed in Preston’s play and stemming from Herodotus. But it is Falstaff, sitting drunk on his bar stool with his dagger/sceptre, who triggers the memories of all who had seen the Lamentable Tragedy in performance. Falstaff then parodies the old-fashioned style of Preston’s play, eliciting the response from Mistress Quickly, ‘O Jesu, he doth it as like one of these harlotry / players as ever I see!’ She has herself been transformed, by Falstaff ’s parody of Preston’s language, into the first cousin (not sister) whom Falstaff/Henry IV/Cambyses desires and subsequently kills. The same grandiloquent style is mocked in Twelfth Night (1600 or 1601), especially the solemn imperative ‘perpend’, meaning ‘pay attention’, which occurs in Cambises’s opening lines.12 Moreover, the title of The Lamentable Tragedy Mixed Full of Pleasant Mirth Containing the Life of Cambises King of Persia is recalled in the title of the burlesque performed by the ‘rude mechanicals’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1590–6), The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby. A passing allusion to Preston’s Cambises, in Shakespeare’s plays of decades later, could signify bombastic language, an exaggerated acting idiom, a stereotypical tyrant, gore mingled with merriment, and imposing stage regalia. Since Cambises held the stage for decades, it is plausible that Shakespeare saw it in performance, and the fluency of his allusions to its props suggests that he had studied it closely.13

12  Preston, Cambises (London: John Allde, 1570), sig. A2v; see also M. P. Tilley, ‘Shakespeare and His Ridicule of Cambyses’, Modern Language Notes 24 (1909): 244–7. 13   Burton J. Fishman, ‘Pride and Ire: Theatrical Iconography in Preston’s Cambises’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 16:2 (1976): 201–11 (203).

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Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667  287

Preston’s Early Elizabethan Cambises between Morality and History Play Preston’s Cambises is an exhausting read In rhyming fourteen-syllable lines, a metre associated with popular ballads, which when spoken creates a stressed, orotund effect, the Prologue announces that the theme will be princely government. He then introduces us to Cambises: He in his youth was trained vp, by trace of vertues lore: Yet (beeing king) did clene forget, his perfect race before. Then cleuing more vnto his wil such vice did immitate: As one of Icarus his kinde, forwarning then did hate.14

Whatever his subsequent crimes, Cambises did not enter moral decline until he had already become king, when he began to practise wickedness, and ignore advice, leading to a fall akin to that of Icarus. The first scene reveals Cambises, sitting in state to announce that he is about to invade Egypt. He appoints Sisamnes to administer Persia in his absence, but Shame appears to tell us that Cambises is drinking himself into moral turpitude. Sisamnes sees the opportunity to profit by extracting payment for acquitting or condemning litigants. Cambises has him flayed in the presence of his son. When his court­ier Prexaspes suggests that he stops drinking so much, Cambises demands the presence of Prexaspes’ son, shoots him dead, and has the heart excised and presented to the father. The mother laments. Cambises leaves for Egypt, now appointing his brother Smerdis regent. But encouraged by the allegorical Vice Ambidexter or DoubleDealing,15 Cambises has Smerdis murdered, suspecting him of planning a coup. Now Cambises becomes besotted with his first cousin. There is a banquet, but she rejects him, and is taken off to execution, piously singing a psalm. This is quickly followed by Cambises’ accident. He dies on stage, acknowledging that he has met his just deserts: Who but I in such a wise his deaths wound could haue got? As I on horse back vp did leape, my swoord from scabard shot. And ran me thus into the side, as you right wel may see: A meruels chaunce vnfortunate, that in this wise should bee. I feele my self a dying now, of life bereft am I: And death hath caught me with his dart, for want of blood I spy. Thus gasping heer on ground I lye, for nothing I doo care: A iust rewad for my misdeeds, thy death dooth plain declare.16   Cambises, sig. A2.   On Preston’s choice of this unusual Vice, see the perceptive comments of Peter Happé, ‘Tragic Themes in Three Tudor Moralities’, Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 5 (1965): 207–27 (209–12) and Karl P. Wentersdorf, ‘The Allegorical Role of the Vice in Preston’s Cambises’, MLS 2 (1981): 56. 16   Cambises, sig. F2. 14 15

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288  Edith Hall The play’s energy derives from the tension between three character types. The central narrative is enacted in palaces and tents by the Persian aristocracy. Alternating with these scenes are the open-air street antics of low-class characters who perform songs and knockabout routines: the ruffians Huf, Ruf, and Snuf, who make sport with a prostitute, and the peasants Hob, Lob, and Marian, invulnerable to Ambidexter’s attempts to make trouble between them. The third group consists of allegorical figures, besides Ambidexter, called Shame, ‘Comon’s complaint’, ‘Proof ’, ‘Triall’, ‘Diligence’, ‘Murder’, ‘Crueltie’, Venus, and Cupid. This famous work fuses the Herodotean account of Cambyses’ misdemeanours with demotic comedy and the allegorical conventions of the morality play. Although Sisamnes is deplorably wicked, the cruel manner of his execution is the first sign of Cambises’ incipient depravity. Preston departs decisively from the Cambyses tradition that had prevailed prior to the irruption into the Renaissance consciousness of the unstable Herodotean tyrant. The medieval Cambyses had been, rather, an exemplar of justice, even if a brutal one: his commitment to impartial administration of law resulted in the flaying of the corrupt judge Sisamnes to deter all future judges from taking bribes. This tale was known, from as early as 1275,17 through Latin versions including one contained in both the Christian compendium Gesta Romanorum and Valerius Maximus’ Memorable Deeds and Sayings.18 It is this medieval tradition, rather than Herodotus, that lies behind the pictorial displays of the story in courts of law. A fine example is the two panels depicting the judgement and flaying of Sisamnes by the Flemish painter Gerard David (1498), exhibited in the Bruges Palace of Justice.19 The punishment of Sisamnes, as an exemplum redounding to Cambyses’ credit, had therefore circulated from the late thirteenth century onwards. It was not until 1474, twenty-one years after Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press and Constantinople fell to the Ottoman sultan Mehmet II the Conqueror, that the world first saw a printed edition of any book of Herodotus, the Latin translation of Lorenzo Valla.20 And just forty-nine years after the fall of Constantinople, the first Greek edition of Herodotus was printed in in 1502 at the Aldine Press in Venice. By 1535 Herodotus had been published in Italian and German translations, and was certainly being studied in England. In France, a translation of all nine books was available by 1556.21 17   See Hugo van der Velden, ‘Cambyses for Example: The Origins and Function of an exemplum iustitiae in Netherlandish Art of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’, Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 23 (1995): 5–62 (11 with nn. 28–9). 18   See the copious documentation in van der Velden, ‘Cambyses for Example’, especially 8–9 and the bibliography in n. 14. 19   Note that the medieval Cambyses already sometimes functioned as an exemplum of ire on account of his brutal killing of a courtier’s son, the story being derived from Seneca’s de Ira 3.14.1–4, on which see Gerard B. Lavery, ‘Sons and Rulers: Paradox in Seneca’s de Ira’, L’Antiquité Classique 56 (1987): 279–83. The Riverside Chaucer (2008), edited by L. D. Benson, also notes one early allusion to Cambyses’ drunkenness and subsequent tyranny in Chaucer’s ‘Summoner’s Tale’. 20   Historiae, edited by Benedictus Brognolus (Venice: Jacobus Rubeus, 1474). 21   Pierre Saliat (trans.), Les Neuf Livres des Histoires de Herodote (Paris: Estienne Groulleau, 1556).

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Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667  289 Yet in England, which had to wait longer for a full translation, Cambyses arrived in the cultural repertoire as full-blown mad tyrant through the conduits of two volumes published in the fifth decade of the sixteenth century: the second book of Richard Taverner’s Garden of Wisdom (1542) and the English translation of Johann Carion’s Chronicles (1550). Carion was Professor of Mathematics at Frankfurt, but his Chronicles were designed to provide a universal history. The German text had been published earlier, in 1532. Taverner was an evangelical reformer, and his Garden of Wisdom mainly consists of versions of Erasmus’ Apophthegmata. But Starnes has argued that Taverner was drawing for this non-Erasmian part of his Garden (the third of book II dealing with the ancient Persians) on a 1537 Latin edition of Carion.22 So what Cambyses material did Preston find in Taverner, and/or Carion, both of whom include sections on Cambyses and Darius? For both Carion and Taverner, Cambyses has become the unambiguous tyrant of the Herodotean narrative, guilty of the serial atrocities which make Preston’s play so gruesome. But under the heading ‘Darius’, they also both offer detailed versions of the episode including and following Cambyses’ death, which contains perhaps the most politically incendiary materials in Herodotus. These are (a) the constitutional debate conducted by the seven con­spir­ ators who have killed the imposter Smerdis, which includes Otanes’ proposal to introduce an egalitarian regime, and (b) the election of Darius, whose victory is assured by a combination of his corrupt desire to ‘fix’ the result, and the resourceful intelligence of a household servant. Carion’s version of Otanes’ speech, in its English translation,23 has him counselling ‘to chose no more kynges, bit that the princes bounde by an aliaunce, shuld rule a lyke, libertye beynge retayned of ether syde’. Carion seems at a loss how to understand the constitution recommended by Othanes, in Herodotus’ text (3.80) called ‘rule by the plēthos’ (mass, majority), which brings isonomiē (equality under the law). But Carion does zestfully reproduce Herodotus’ detailed account of the accession of Darius, horses and all. Taverner follows Carion closely. His English version is slightly more expansive in advocating liberty, although he, too, fails to translate the full force of Herodotus’ rule by the plēthos: ‘by leage and sure confederacies made betwene them, all the lordes myght rule alyke, so shuld libertie be maynteyned and kept one euery syde and euery man at fredom’.24 Both accounts nevertheless constitute strong political meat. No kings should be chosen, all lords should have the same degree of power, to maintain liberty, consensus, and freedom for every man. But Preston abruptly ends his drama with the providential death of Cambyses, ignoring the sequel which narrates the accession of Darius and raises uncomfortable questions.

22   D.  T.  Starnes, ‘Richard Taverner’s The Garden of Wisdom, Carion’s Chronicles, and the Cambyses Legend’, The University of Texas Studies in English 35 (1956): 22–31. Preston, however, could have accessed the Chronicles in English via Walter Lynne’s translation, published in 1550. 23  Carion, The thre bokes of cronicles (London: for Gwalter Lynn, 1550), book II, xli. 24  Taverner, The second booke of the Garden of wysedome (London: for Richard Bankes, 1542), sig. [C5]v.

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290  Edith Hall When Preston’s play was first performed, probably at court,25 even Herodotus’ election tale (let alone majority rule) would have seemed inappropriate and provocative. Elizabeth I was still in her twenties, and expected to marry and bear children. She had survived not only her two half-siblings, the monarchs Edward and Mary, but the ‘nine days’ queen’ Jane Dudley (their first cousin once removed). Elizabeth had also been declared illegitimate, and therefore ineligible to be queen, more than once in that short life. The audiences of Preston’s play, for several years after 1561, must have felt that the succession problem which had plagued England since Henry VIII’s death might finally be solved. And in Preston’s play, the death of Cambyses precedes no sign of constitutional crisis or rivalry between aspiring successors. It does not occur until the end, and the three lords who wrap up the action do no more than agree that he was a bad king who deserved a wretched demise. The Epilogus closes with a rousing prayer for Queen Elizabeth and those who counsel her. Preston saw spectacular potential in the episodes from Cambyses’ life he discovered in Carion or Taverner. The flaying of Smerdis, the shooting and mutilation of Prexaspes’ child, and a stabbing scene which involves puncturing a bladder of vinegar to represent blood, along with the wounded tyrant’s climactic demise, create a sensational violent realism which must have helped the play succeed.26 But Hill reminds us that the violence would have spoken to a 1560 audience’s direct experience ‘of the recently ended terror in their own land’.27 Besides the closing prayer for the new queen, the sole reference to a contemporary figure is the comparison of Cambyses to Edmund Bonner, the Bishop of London responsible for vicious persecutions of Protestants during Mary’s reign. When Cambyses’ cousin goes to her death, singing a psalm like a heretic at the stake, Ambidexter is choked with emotion, and rhetorically asks: What a King was he that hath vsed such tiranny? He was a kin to Bishop Bonner, I think verely, For bothe their delights was to shed blood: But neuer intended to doo any good.

‘Bloody Bonner’ was imprisoned by Elizabeth in April 1560, and at the time of the first performance of Cambises many Protestants were agitating for his execution, along with that of other imprisoned Catholic leaders. It is possible that some in Preston’s audiences recalled from Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities 6.2 that Cambyses had prevented the Jews from building the temple they had begun under Cyrus. As confirmed in the biblical book of Ezra, they were not able to recommence it until Darius took power; Luther himself had alluded to this part of 25  E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1923), Vol. 4, esp. n. 6; see also Yoshiki Kawachi, Calendar of English Renaissance Drama 1558–1642 (New York, NY: Garland Publishing, 1986), pp. 4–5. 26   Jean I. Marsden, ‘Spectacle, Horror, and Pathos’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre, edited by Deborah Payne Fisk (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 176. See also Fishman, ‘Pride and Ire’. 27   Hill, ‘The First Elizabethan Tragedy’, p. 413.

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Cambyses in the English Theatre 1560–1667  291 the Cambyses tradition and there was a characteristic identification of Protestants with the exiled and persecuted ancient Jews.28 But Preston, no subtle theologian, would probably have underlined this association more explicitly if he had intended it. The case for Preston’s analogy between the Marian terror and the rule of Cambyses is more persuasive. Here the ancient Persians are used to define not a distant foreign foe somewhere in Asia, but one aspect of England’s recent history and divided religious self, the aspect which had so recently been ascendant. Hill points to the oration made by John Hales in honour of the new queen in 1559, in which he bemoaned the recent persecutions: O cruelty, cruelty! far exceeding all cruelties committed by those ancient and famous tyrants and cruel murderers, Pharaoh, Herod, Caligula, Nero, Domitian . . . whatsoever malice in mischief, covetousness in spoil, cruelty in punishing, tyranny in destruction could do, that all this poor English nation, this full five years, suffered already; or should have suffered, had not the great mercy of God prevented it.29

Hales elsewhere adds Holofernes and Sennacherib to this list,30 and Preston adds, in the theatre, the more sensationally savage Cambyses. Through Preston’s Cambises, Herodotus’ narratives influenced not only this play’s immediate audiences—whether they were watching performances by students at Cambridge, ‘crude mechanicals’, ‘harlotry players’, or the ‘scaffold players’ associated with enthusiastic Protestants like Preston in the mid-sixteenth century31—but, in a subterranean fashion, the entire evolution of drama in English. Pincombe has shown how the tragedies of the 1560s anticipated the direction in which Shakespeare’s gen­er­ ation was to move the genre, revelling in Plutarch’s Lives and other ancient Greek his­ torio­graph­ic­al and biographical texts, ‘towards the intermixture with the neo-classical base not only of vernacular elements, but also of frankly “comical” ones, as in Thomas Preston’s Cambyses . . . Modern critics never miss the chance to laugh at this title, but it was in Cambyses rather than in Gorboduc that the future of English tragedy actually lay.’32 This future was also presaged by Cambises rather than by the other classically themed play of the 1560s retaining elements of the morality play, John Pikeryng’s Horestes (1567), which drew on a Greek tragic myth as mediated through Caxton’s Recuyell of the Histories of Troye.33 Preston’s Cambises, with its episodic temporality and admixture of comic episodes, held a pivotal diachronic position in the emergence 28   From Martin Luther’s ‘Lectures on the Minor Prophets III’, in Works, edited by Hilton C. Oswald, Vol. 20 (St. Louis, MI: Concordia Publishing, 1973), p. 83. 29   Hales, cited by John Foxe in The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, edited by Josiah Pratt (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1854–68), p. 674; Hill, ‘The First Elizabethan Tragedy’, p. 414. 30   Pratt (ed.), The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe, pp. 675–6. 31   Hill, ‘The First Elizabethan Tragedy’, p. 411. 32  Mike Pincombe, ‘English Renaissance Tragedy: Theories and Antecedents’, in The Cambridge Companion to English Renaissance Tragedy, edited by Emma Smith and Garrett A. Sullivan Jr (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 8; see also Marsden, ‘Spectacle, Horror, and Pathos’, p. 176. 33  On Horestes, see Hall, ‘Sophocles’ Electra in Britain’, in Sophocles Revisited: Studies in Honour of Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones, edited by Jasper Griffin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 261–306, and

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292  Edith Hall of history plays (such as Henry IV Part I). Its most ostensibly ‘medieval’ feature, the decline of the great man in the toils of sin, epitomized by Boccaccio’s fourteenthcentury De Casibus,34 runs all the way from the English medieval and Elizabethan writers, from Chaucer and Lydgate’s A Mirror for Magistrates, to Macbeth and Richard III.35 But we also need to recognize what Cambises shares, synchronically, with other plays deriving from ancient sources which were important in the early 1560s, the years when Shakespeare and Marlowe were born. Appius and Virginia, attributed to a man called R. B. (probably Richard Bower), draws on Livy III (via medieval intermediaries including Chaucer’s Physician’s Tale). Its powerful tale of tyranny and love, set in the Roman Republic, with Senecan rhetorical flourishes,36 adds figures with homiletic functions from the morality tradition (Appius is tempted by the Vice Haphazard before yielding to temptation). It was performed at court soon after Cambises. Damon and Pytheas (a ‘tragical comedy’ based on the tale of Greek figures of the fourth century bce, easily accessible in Cicero’s De Officiis 3.4537) was performed as ea