Abstract and Keywords
Roman history had a shaping influence on early modern political culture. In the historiography, the focus has been typically on court-centred uses of Roman historians, principally Tacitus, or else on Shakespeare. By contrast, this chapter explores how late Elizabethan print publications representing a variety of non-dramatic genres deployed Roman history to sway educated classes beyond the confines of the political elite. More precisely, it considers the role of romanitas in polemical writings responding to the rise and fall of the earl of Essex, the period’s most controversial political figure. The three instances described in the chapter—Romes Monarchie (1596), Clement Edmondes’s Observations upon . . . Caesars commentaries (1600), and William Fulbecke’s Historicall Collection (1601)—show how ancient Rome could be appropriated and utilized by authors with different political agendas wishing to appeal to a broad range of publics.
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