Gout was among the most common physical complaints encountered in the dispatches of early modern ambassadors, yet ambassadorial illnesses have received little more than anecdotal asides in the literature on early modern diplomacy and statecraft. This article argues that diplomats’ experiences of negotiating gout had profound effects on the conduct and rhetoric of early modern diplomacy. Not only were early modern statesmen believed particularly susceptible to gout, but many diplomats claimed to be afflicted in ways which hindered or prevented them from fulfilling their diplomatic duties.
At the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), Raimondo Montecuccoli (1609–80), an Italian military entrepreneur in Austrian Habsburg service, attempted to transition from a career on the battlefield to a career at court in Vienna. In 1653, he won a diplomatic assignment to Queen Christina of Sweden’s court, which allowed him to showcase his political skills and abilities.
Placed on the altar of the Cappella Altemps in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Rome) in 1593, the medieval icon of the Virgin and Christ known as the Madonna della Clemenza was the focal point of a newly decorated space. The chapel’s pictorial program underscores that decisions ratified at the Council of Trent were not only situated in the context of biblical history, but were also directly connected to the presence of the cult image of the Madonna della Clemenza.
This article reexamines the intellectual and religious inclinations of Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, or “Bess of Hardwick.” Popular accounts emphasize her wealth, strong-willed character, staunch Protestantism, and dynastic ambitions. This study revises common assumptions about her character using evidence from a set of embroidered wall hangings Bess owned and designed. Their iconography reveals that she studied Boccaccio’s Famous Women, and linked it to other texts in formal comparisons.
In 1576 Martin Frobisher captured an Inuk man off the coast of Baffin Island using several bells. These sounding objects were viewed in two fundamentally different ways. The Inuk considered them to be soul-filled gifts; all things, and especially sounding things, were said by the Inuit to have a guardian spirit. For Frobisher, however, as for most European merchant adventurers from the late 1400s onwards, bells had a specific function within the early capitalist enterprise. They were trinkets that helped get commodities by securing the trust of native peoples.
Book 6 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene examines courtesy’s social and moral demands, reframing the conceptual parameters of courtesy by suggesting the courteous performance and aesthetic experience are mutually informing. Although Continental conduct books had long established courtesy as a social expedient, Spenser swerves away from the narrow field of the social by opening courtesy up to the complex demands of the ethical, proposing that courtesy plays a central role in regulating gracious exchange.
Thomas Swalwell, OSB (d. 1539), monk of Durham, left significant marginalia in his many books. Well educated and reform minded, Swalwell’s notes indicate his high expectations for the clergy. In addition, these notes suggest how he might have preached on this topic, using both the homily and the scholastic sermon style. Prelates and curates were to be engaged with those in their charge, not abuse their power, and live up to their callings.
This paper looks at deceit’s ambivalent nature in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron. The first part of the article is made up of an overview of how legal commentators in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries understood the notion of deceit as both good (dolus bonus) and bad (dolus malus). The second part turns to Marguerite de Navarre’s activities in the fall of 1525, when she was trying to negotiate her brother, Francis I’s freedom from Charles V’s prison following his capture at the Battle of Pavia.
Renaissance lot books, sometimes called books of fortune or books of sorts, first attracted scholarly attention in the mid-1800s and have since then been discussed in general terms with reference to pagan and Christian divination and medieval astrological prophecy. Although most studies focus on the sixteenth-century printed lot books, an examination of the only hand-painted example known today, the beautifully illustrated “Libro delle Sorti” by Lorenzo “Spirito” Gualtieri (c.
Although twenty-first-century scholarship tends to see the connections between music and poetry in terms of mellifluousness, rhythm, meter, and the like, early modern poets understood those connections as a poetic discourse that interacts with, destabilizes, or undermines the social and literary contexts in which it appears. Lute poems provide fascinating opportunities to explore the implications of song as discourse.