The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1294  Friday, 5 August 2005

From:           Al Magary <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 05 Aug 2005 03:15:25 -0700
Subject:        Polydore Vergil's Anglica Historia Now Online

Dana F. Sutton, now emeritus at UC-Irvine (and honorary fellow of the
Shakespeare Institute at UBirmingham), has added a parallel text of
interest to the Philological Museum, Polydore Vergil's _Anglica
Historia_.  This comprises the 1555 text in Latin and an English
translation--the first to be published in its entirety.  The URL is

I am particularly pleased to see this online as Polydore (1470?-1555) is
recognized as the pioneer in English humanistic history and was a
principal source for both Hall's Chronicle (1548, 1550) and Holinshed's
Chronicles (1577, 1587).  The history extends from the beginnings of
Britain (but famously pushes most of the Arthurian legend aside) to 1537.

Polydore was sent to England in 1502 to collect Peter's Pence, assumed a
cultural role in Henry VII's court, was naturalized (1510), , became
acquainted with More and other humanists, and by 1513 had drafted the
first parts of _Anglica Historia_ (Vatican MS Codices Urbinates Latini
497/498).  He also edited Gildas (1525) and wrote an influential account
of invention and discovery (De Inventoribus Rerum, most recently
translated by Brian Copenhaver as _On Discovery_, 2002.)

The principal Latin edition of the English history, including the
chapter on Henry VIII from 1509-37, was published in 1555.  A Basel
printing has been put online by a Basque library at

But Polydore, though utilized by Tudor writers, was not published in
English.  An anonymous translation from the late 16th century (BL MS
Royal 18 C VIII/IX) became the basis for two Camden Society volumes
(1844, 1846) covering the period to 1066 as well as 1422-85; these were
edited by Sir Henry Ellis, the 19th century editor of Hall, Holinshed,
and other chroniclers.  In 1950 the Royal Historical Society issued a
third Camden volume, a new translation by Denis Hay of Polydore's last
two chapters, on Henry VII and VIII.

The awkward gap, 1066-1422, has now been filled in by Dana Sutton.  The
whole work in two languages is now not just online but available in a
consistent format.

This is marvelous.  For my Hall project I have this linking resource,
and in particular, I will be able to track citations to Polydore
backward from Holinshed's marginal notes to Hall, who only occasionally
mentioned his sources.

Al Magary

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