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Re-writing history

book of poetry by Ovid
Ovid; "lascivious poete"
The history of a conflict is always written by the victor, and in Elizabethan England, where Protestantism is being pushed as the victor over Catholicism, the State's spin doctors are taking a sharp knife to any portions of recent history that they don't like very much. In 1582, The Privy Council recommends that all schools use the preferred Protestant history book. A memo, meanwhile, also calls for "the removing of such lascivious poetes as are commonly read and taught in grammar schools..."

By this they mean some of William's favorite reading matter, the pagan poets Ovid and Virgil, whose rich, occasionally ripe language is seen to owe more to the perceived excesses of Catholicism than the new wave of Puritanism growing at the heart of the State.


Warwickshire landscapeShakespeare's England

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