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

By Frances Amelia Yates

This ebook examines the photographs and symbolism of ecu monarchy within the sixteenth century. The accession of Charles V, along with his substantial dominions in either the previous and new worlds, used to be the get together for a renewal of the parable of Empire within the West. The topic 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 knowing of the Renaissance monarchies as they struggled with the darkish undertow of reformation and counter-reformation.

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134, 145). 2 See the chapter on ‘L ’Erasmisme au service de la politique espagnole* in Marcel Bataillon, Erasme et VEspagne, Paris, 1937, pp. 395 ff. 3 There is an English translation o f this w ork; see A . de Valdes, Dialogue of Lactancio and an Archdeacon, trans. J. E. Longhurst, University o f N e w M exico Press, 1952. 24 CH AR L E S V A N D THB ID E A OF THE EMPIRE allow the sack o f Rome as a final providential warning. He suggests that now that the Pope is in the Emperor’s hands he will be prevented from doing evil.

The symbolism o f the empire o f Charles V, which seemed able to include the whole world as then known and to hold out the promise o f a return to spiritual unity through a revival o f the cementing power o f the Christianized imperial virtues, was a comforting phantom in the chaotic world o f the sixteenth century. After Charles’s reign, the imperial tide, which was not held by his son Philip, receded once more into a local concern, and Europe was left with only the memory o f the psychologically comforting revival o f the idea o f imperial universality and continuity which Charles as the new Charlemagne had seemed to represent.

529. C £ Dolger, op. t p. 97. 2 For some Renaissance mythographers, Astraea was a name for the moon. Amongst the names o f Luna, Zucchi gives ‘Diana, Hecate, Ludna, Proserpina, Astraea. / F. Zucchi, Discorso sopra li dei de* gentili, 1602, reprinted in F. Saxl, Antike Getter in der Spdtrenaissance, Studien der Bibl. t V m , 1927. * Edogue IV, 6. 4 Aeneid, VI, 791--5. 2 Although a virgin, she gives fertility, a contradiction which Manilius finds surprising. In the moral sphere she is just and reasonable, and also pious and skilled in sacred mysteries.

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