Download Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century by Frances Amelia Yates PDF

By Frances Amelia Yates

This publication examines the pictures and symbolism of eu monarchy within the sixteenth century. The accession of Charles V, together with his colossal dominions in either the previous and new worlds, used to be the celebration for a renewal of the parable of Empire within the West. The subject was once echoed within the pageants and ballets of the declining Valois dynasty in France and, specifically, within the glorification of Elizabeth I. This publication makes an attempt to light up reader's figuring out of the Renaissance monarchies as they struggled with the darkish undertow of reformation and counter-reformation.

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Extra resources for Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century

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In the next essay it will be shown that the key to the complex symbolism used o f this queen, the key to the many images under which she was presented to the world, is the imperial idea, and particularly the idea o f imperial reform. 28 P A R T II THE T U D O R IM PERIAL REFORM Q U EEN E L IZ A B E T H I AS A STR A EA In the prologue to Thomas Dekker’s Old Fortunatus, two old men meet one another and before entering the queen’s presence hold the following conver­ sation:1 Are you then travelling to the temple o f Eliza?

Its majesty paled before the light o f the gospel, as the moon before the sun. In the invasions o f the barbarians it was extinguished, though after many centuries the Roman Pontiffs restored it ‘but in name rather than in fact*. He doubts whether it is now either possible or desirable to restore the Empire, though he admits that, in theory, a universal monarchy would be the best state for the world. This seems now quite unrealizable, and, in any case, the office o f universal monarch is too heavy a responsibility for one man to bear.

In this w ay, the titular emperor would become a truly Roman Emperor. His movement implies, o f course, that the preceding medieval emperors had not been truly Roman Emperors. Nevertheless, by calling himself, not only ‘Tribune o f the People’, but also ‘Knight o f the H oly Spirit’, Rienzo retained those chivalrous associations belonging to the northern pattern o f imperial renewal, which were hardly consonant either with republicanism or w ith a more purely Roman type o f imperialism. Petrarch pinned his faith to Rienzo’s movement.

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