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

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By Frances Amelia Yates

This publication examines the photographs and symbolism of ecu monarchy within the sixteenth century. The accession of Charles V, together with his immense dominions in either the previous and new worlds, was once the party for a renewal of the parable of Empire within the West. The subject matter used to be 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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53, in Sir John Harington’s English translation. * OrlandoJurioso, X V , xxi, x xiv, quoted below, pp. 54-5, in Harington’s English translation. * G. Ruscelli, Le impress illustri, Venice, 1572, p. 20. O n the devicJe o f Charles V , see Marcel Bataillon, ‘Plus Oultre: La cour d& ouvre le nouveau monde*, in Fites et cirimonies au temps de Charles Quint, ed. Jean Jacquot, Centre National de la Recherche Sdendfique, Paris, 1960, pp. 13-27; Earl Rosenthal, "Plus ultra, Non plus ultra, and the columnar device o f the Emperor Charles V*, Journal o f the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, X X X T V (1971), pp.

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.

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.

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