Monday, September 17, 2018

Scott on Sir Francis Bacon


Sir Francis Bacon (Scott Klaiss)

Sir Francis Bacon was born January 22nd, 1561 in London, England, to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and Lady Anne Cooke. Being born of a prominent family, he studied at Trinity College in Cambridge before studying Law at Gray's Inn. After receiving his law degree, Bacon was elected to Parliament in 1584, where he would serve as a representative for various constituencies for the next 37 years. Sir Francis Bacon initially struggled as a statesman under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, due to his opposition to granting Parliamentary funds to the Queen, but gained favor under the rule of James I after her death. After being knighted by King James I in 1603, Sir Francis Bacon would rise through a series of prominent advisory positions, such as Attorney General and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, until being appointed Lord Chancellor in 1618. During his time as Lord Chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon would be convicted of accepting bribery, resulting in him forfeiting all his offices and his position in Parliament. Retaining his personal property and titles, Sir Francis Bacon would spend the last remaining five years of his life dedicated to his scientific and philosophical works (Britannica).  
            Throughout his education and political life, Sir Francis Bacon sought to reform learning and further the discovery of scientific knowledge. He called into question, even during his time at Trinity College, the prominent methods of scientific inquiry during his time. He challenged not only the much revered classic philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, but also the humanists and other Renaissance scholars. During Bacon's time, many intellectuals still relied on Aristotle's deductive logic for scientific inquiry; this approach works from a general claim towards a specific conclusion, or in other words, that if a proposed premise is true than following true inferences can also be made. A simple example of this might be: Ben is a man, and all men are mortal; therefore, Ben is mortal. Bacon felt that this form of reasoning, especially when applied to natural phenomena, failed to acknowledge specific details of an occurrence, and was therefore faulty in its approach. Bacon argued against this method, in his Novum Organum, for a scientific method that relied on making a series of concrete observations, recording and categorizing them, and making generalizations based on these observations about a natural phenomenon. Bacon claimed this form of inductive reasoning was an essential tool for a correct interpretation of nature. This form of inductive reasoning challenged the more philosophical and metaphysical approaches made by intellectuals in Bacon's time (Klein).
            To further address human fallacies in logic and reasoning, Bacon stated that the human mind was not inherently objective in its acquisition of knowledge, and had to be trained to avoid its innate fallacies. Bacon devised the metaphorical concept of "idols" to address this. In Baconian fashion, he classified these idols into four different classes: The Idols of the Tribe, Idols of the Cave, Idols of the Market, and Idols of the Theatre. Idols of the Tribe refer to natural weaknesses and tendencies common to the human condition. Idols of the Cave are more individual fallacies that arise from cultural influences, such as personal bias or allegiance to a particular belief. Idols of the Market are shortcomings derived from language itself, such as names for things that don't exist or misleading names for things that do. Idols of the Theatre address weaknesses in popular philosophies. In short, these idols represent an effort to acknowledge the physiological causes of human error that may impede scientific pursuit of fact and knowledge (Simpson).
            Beyond Sir Francis Bacon's political career, we see a flawed yet practical visionary who was representative of his time. We observe a man who sought to question the world around him in a deeper and more concrete way and devise methods to uproot classical thought that had been upheld as superior for roughly two thousand years.
Image Taken From:
Blakemore, Erin. "Six Degrees of Francis Bacon is Your New Favorite Trivia Game." Smithonian.com, 16 Oct. 2015, www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/move-over-kevin-six-degrees-francis-bacon-here-180956977/. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.
Sources:
Klein, Jürgen "Francis Bacon," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.) www.plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/francis-bacon. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.
Simpson, David. "Francis Bacon." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, www.iep.utm.edu/bacon/#SH2i. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018.
The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. " Francis Bacon." Encyclopedia Britannica, inc., April 02, 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Francis-Bacon-Viscount-Saint-Alban. Accessed 17 Sept. 2018. 


Charles on England and the Thirty Years War


England and The Thirty Years War (Charles Smith)

The Thirty Years War was in a word, complicated. Although the conflict lasted from 1618 to 1648, in reality the Thirty Years War is a smaller chapter of a larger period of political and religious conflict between various European factions and powers spanning roughly 300 years. The particular dynamics of the Thirty Years War were catalyzed by the election of “ultra-Catholic” Ferdinand II to lead the Holy Roman Empire (Sutherland, 588). Ultimately Ferdinand’s conflict with German Protestant states envelopes most of Europe, pulling in foreign powers along the lines of Religious affiliation.

 England’s involvement during this period was mainly characterized by its Protestant affiliations and ongoing competition for power and survival with both France and Spain leading up to the war. James I tried unsuccessfully to balance the English relationship to both Protestant and Catholic sides leading up to the conflict through marriages. He is successfully able to marry Elizabeth of England to German Frederick V, who was a Calvinist. However his intention to create a stronger connection to the Catholic Spain by marrying off Charles I to a Spanish wife was unsuccessful (Sutherland, 601). France, under the capable leadership of Henry IV, was in a much better position to make in impact on the conflicts in Germany than Britain was. However Henry IV is killed in 1610, and James I is “said to have turned whiter than his shirt upon hearing this” (Sutherland, 607). James I wanted to stay uninvolved in the larger war and maintained a peaceful stance, although some English troops were loaned out here and there.

The most direct involvement England had in the Thirty Years War came under the rule of Charles I, following James I. Charles I ultimately married Henrietta Maria of France after the failure of negotiating a Spanish marriage, and in 1623 decided along with the Duke of Buckingham to initiate hostilities against Spain in response to a Spanish incursion into Germany. This is something which England was really in no position to do, and the endeavor failed miserably (Sutherland, 519). This failure, coupled with Charles’s marriage to the Catholic Marietta and general dissatisfaction with his rule, ultimately led to the English Civil War and kept England out of the broader events and resolution of the Thirty Years War. Essentially the failure of the English monarchy to successfully navigate the political mire of the Thirty Years War is what leads to the domestic political strife and conflict in England during the latter part of the 17th century.




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Aurora on the Personal Rule of Charles I



         The Personal Rule of Charles I (Aurora Dressler)  
3 Views of Charles I by Sir Anthony Van Dyck

The Personal Rule of Charles I was an era of politics mostly without the rule of parliament that lasted from 1629 to 1640. This period appeared to many as a time of growth and little conflict from an outsider’s view. Truly, though, it was a time of many conflicts regarding religious and economic views. These issues arose due to the controversial methods Charles I used to rule in England.
Charles believed in using medieval policies for gaining money, which was very unpopular amongst the public. Some of his methods for attaining money were to collect tonnage and poundage, impositions. When he brought back these many ancient tax policies, he was taxing people without their permission. This, of course, did not set well with the public. In 1629, merchants tried to resist from paying taxes. These attempts to strike were shut down by Charles, and the main person leading the strikes, Richard Chambers, was fined and put in prison for going against the tax laws set in place. With the recent calling of peace between France and Spain, taxes also went up when trade with these countries started picking up. Charles also allowed monopolies in his rule, as it gained more money. The worst tax in place during Charles’ rule, though, was the taxing of ship money. He used these funds to finance the Royal Navy. Citizens that resisted were imprisoned, and often fined.  
Charles I came to power in 1629 from the dissolution of the parliament, taking its place as the ruler. This led to many of his opponents to make peace and join sides with his ruling. William Noy, who led many attacks on monopolies in the year 1621, was one of his opponents who came to terms with Charles. With his power, Charles appointed William Noy as the attorney general, who then resurrected old tax laws. These tax laws are the ones that created many issues during Charles’ rule. Another opponent who later sided with Charles was Sir Dudley Diggs, who previously was the leader of the House of Commons in judging Charles’ ministers. In 1636 he became Master of the Rolls. Another opponent of Charles’ was Richard Weston, First Earl of Portland, was against the wars with Spain and France. In 1628, he became Lord High Treasurer and persuaded Charles to end the war with Spain. He was secretly a Roman Catholic. Many had suspicions of the numerous secret Catholics of Charles’ court and had much resentment to his rule due to this.
Charles I only appointed those with the same views as his own, which led to a lonely and isolated life wit a court that was strictly business. He never called Parliament during his rule, which was another factor as to why a barrier was created between Charles and the citizens of England. Charles didn’t let the resentment the public had towards him change his policies or way of ruling.
Later during the rule of Charles I, Scotland started to go against the policies of Charles’. They were against his religious policies and started to act. When Queen Mary of Scots resigned in 1567, a Presbyterian church was put in Scotland. James VI/I attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring back Bishops in Scotland. In 1618 he placed the Five Articles of Perth through the Scottish General Assembly and Parliament. This did not hold up well, as with these articles, James was trying to bring Catholicism into Scotland. In 1637, Charles I introduced a book of prayers and gave power to the Bishops. This led Scotland to rebel. In November of 1638, the Scottish gathered and brought back Presbytery, knocking Episcopal government. Charles wanted to do something about this but was low on funds. This led his army to be low funded and undermotivated. In contrast, the Covenanting army was well paid, consisted of many Scottish mercenaries. The English army backed down, bringing an end to the First Bishops’ War. In 1639, Charles signed the Pacification of Berwick, forced to allow the customs and demands of the Presbyterians. He secretly still plotted against the Scottish, though. On April 13, 1640, he called Parliament, in hopes of creating an anti-Scottish feeling. Parliament didn’t not trust Charles, so he broke up Parliament on May 5, 1640. This short assembly was known as the Short Parliament. Charles eventually was defeated and his attempts to go against the Scottish army ended. He was forced to sign the Treaty of Ripon on October 26, 1640, which required that Charles fund the Scottish army. Charles did not have the funds to do so, causing him to call Parliament again. On November 3, 1640, the Long Parliament assembled.


Works Cited
“Charles I: Personal Rule.” The Peasants Revolt, faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/361/361-25.htm.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Kyla on the Gunpowder Plot

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (Kyla Forkert)



The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was a plan to assassinate King James I of England and members of Parliament. The plot was hatched by a group of English Roman Catholics led by Robert Catesby in response to the widespread intolerance to Roman Catholicism throughout England (“Gunpowder Plot”). Following the Reformation, the Penal Laws were passed in Britain and Ireland, resulting in fines or imprisonment for Catholics, as well as the denial of civil liberties, such as the ability to vote or own land (“Penal Laws”).
Thus, Robert Catesby formulated a plan to kill King James I, in which he would blow up Parliament. Over the course of a couple years, Catesby joined forces with fellow Roman Catholics John Wright, Thomas Winters, Thomas Percy, and Guy Fawkes, among many others, to develop the plot. In May 1604, Percy, who had connections to the ruling bodies, rented a house next to the House of Lords, and the conspirators soon began to dig a tunnel, connecting the two buildings. A vault in the cellar of the House of Lords became available, so Percy rented it. The vault was subsequently filled with approximately 36 barrels of gunpowder, which was concealed beneath firewood (Holloway, 9-10).
The explosion was set to occur on November 5, 1605, the day Parliament was set to open. After the explosion, the conspirators planned to kidnap both princess Elizabeth and prince Charles. Catesby and his fellow Roman Catholics were ready to force an unstable government to agree to their demands and to ultimately take over the country (“Gunpowder Plot”).
Fortunately for the governing bodies, the plan was not successful. Several weeks before November 5, an anonymous letter (most commonly presumed to be written by conspirator Francis Tresham) was delivered to Lord Monteagle. It read: “as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift your attention at this parliament; for God and man hath concurred to punish the wickedness of this time... they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament; and yet they shall not see who hurts them.” When King James I returned to London, he was shown the threatening letter, prompting a search of the Houses of Parliament. In the cellar of the House of Lords, Guy Fawkes was found posing as a servant of Thomas Percy, guarding the contents of the vault, which appeared upon first inspection to be firewood. However, later that night, a second search was conducted, during which the barrels of explosives were discovered (Holloway, 11).
Fawkes was captured and tortured until he revealed all the details of the plot. In a standoff with 200 men led by High Sheriff of Worchestershire Sir Richard Walsh, Wright, Catesby, and Percy were shot and killed. Winter was wounded and taken into custody, and the remaining coconspirators were soon caught and hung (Holloway, 12).
Although the conspirators of the gunpowder plot sought to gain more control for Roman Catholics, the failed attempt resulted in harsher laws against their religion and greatly hampered attempts for religious tolerance. In 1606, Parliament made every November 5 Guy Fawkes Day to express gratitude that the plot failed. The holiday is commonly observed with fireworks, bonfires, and the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (“Gunpowder Plot”).


 Works Cited
“Gunpowder Plot.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/event/Gunpowder-Plot.
Holloway, Don. “The Gunpowder Plot.” History Magazine, vol. 18, no. 4, Apr/May 2017, pp. 8-13. EBSCOhost, www.state.lib.in.us.
“Penal Laws.” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/event/Penal-Laws.



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Taylor on the Duke of Buckingham

George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (Taylor Swope)

George Villiers was known by many different names, some of which include: 1st Duke of Buckingham, Sir George Villiers, Baron Whaddon, Viscount Villiers, Earl of Buckingham, and Marquess of Buckingham. Villiers almost had more names that he was known by than years that he was alive; he was born on August 28, 1592 and he died on August 23, 1628. Although Villiers was known by many, using many different names, he was not liked by many people at all. He was the ruler during the last years of King James I’s reign and also for the first years of Charles I’s reign. Villiers and his “aggressive, erratic” foreign policy lead to tensions being high, which brought upon the Civil War between the royalists and the parliamentarians. 
​Villiers was the mastermind behind many failed attempts to create partnerships and relationships with other groups of people. A few examples of these are when he tried to arrange a marriage between Charles (King Charles I) and the daughter of the Spanish king and the marriage between the French Roman Catholic Princess, Henrietta Maria. The marriage of Henrietta Maria ended up happening, but it didn’t create the relationships and deals that he wished it would have(Britannica 1).
​One of the many people who didn’t like Villiers actually went as far as to assassinate him. The man who did this is John Felton, who was a member of the Cadiz expedition and also the Isle of Rhé expedition. Once Felton returned to England he was wounded and extremely upset with Villiers, because he prevented Felton from getting a promotion. Upon return to England, The House of Commons’ was lodging attacks on Villiers, and this convinced Felton that he was not the only person who fell victim to Villiers. These accusations and attacks are what sent Felton over the edge, and he decided to kill Villiers. 
​After Felton decided that he was going to kill Villiers, he wrote a declaration to show what his intentions were and he sewed it into his hate. At the Greyhound Inn in Portsmouth, on August 23, 1628, Felton stabbed Villiers in the chest. Felton was soon taken into custody and told the police officers that he was working alone, during the interrogation. He was found guilty of the assassination and was executed on Tyburn Hill on November 29, 1628. After his execution, Felton’s body was sent back to Portsmouth and was hung up for everyone to see in public. Even though Felton was found to be guilty and was executed because of his actions, what he did was toasted all throughout Britain. There were crowds that would crowd around the prison that he was at and would call down God’s blessing on him. There were even poets who would write and create lyrical on his deed. 
​After Villiers’ death, there was no right-hand-man that was helping to rule under King Charles I, but rather his wife, Henrietta Maria played a larger role in his life. After Villiers’ death, it was also possible for Charles I to reconcile his relationship with John Digby, Early of Bristol. This is due to the fact that many of Charles’ relationships were strained or gone because of Villiers and the ruling that he was doing. Villiers was never actually in power, he was just extremely close with those who were in power and he was calling all of the shots and making all of the rules(Sommerville 1). 



Works Cited
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 24 Aug. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/George-Villiers-1st-duke-of-Buckingham.
Sommerville, J.P. “The Death of Buckingham.” The Peasants Revoltfaculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/123/123%20302%201629.htm

Monday, August 27, 2018

Zac on Puritan Theology

A Brief Investigation of Puritan Theology (Zac Bodine)


Within Puritan theology, worshipers tried to define what it means to be truly and fully human, which required a relationship with the Divine outside of the hierarchical, sacramental, sacerdotal, system of cooperative salvation grounded in canon law, known as the Catholic church. This search produced many great theological works and subsequent movements but not without growing pains and the ugliness of violence from the overflow of internal squabbles all on public display. To understand the Puritan disposition and the ideology of their day – and consequently the ideology of early American life – one must examine their works without eisegesis, allowing the work to speak for itself.
The way to best understand the Puritans is to encounter their expressions of devotion found within their poetry and theology. The Puritans's theology is filtered through the Reformed or Reformation theology, in particular Calvin’s Tulip – known as the five points of Calvinism. “The five points represented by the word [tulip] are: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the Saints” (Grudem, 597).
These theological points can be summarized to mean that man’s nature is bent on destruction and selfishness which needs to be redeemed or redefined to become one who loves both the Divine and humanity and is utterly selfless. God looks upon the evil of the world and chooses men and women who will rise up and bring redemption to it by the sharing of the liberation God has brought to humanity from evil. The people God has recruited are in a sense drafted and therefore cannot ignore God’s demands to be involved in the fight against evil. God will ultimately provide help and hope to allow those he called to join the fight to stay true to the message, endure and truly believe.
“For Reformed theology the fundamental issue is, where does the initiative lie in the divine-human encounter? And the answer given to this question… is that God alone is the initiating party. Those who have been chosen, called, saved, and commissioned then have the privilege and responsibility of responding to this divine initiative in faithfulness and praise” (Maas and O’Donnell, 206-207).
The outward expression of this theology can be found especially in “the writings of…theologians [like] William Perkins, William Ames, and John Owen…particularly in…their teaching on the extent of the death of Christ, the divine sovereignty in providence and election…[and]…reached its zenith in the ministry and writings of Richard Baxter.” (McGrath, 79). Among these theologians and pastors are Puritan poets like Anne Bradstreet who best synthesized these complex and often confusing ideas into simple verse. “My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good; / He in his Bottle put my tears, / My smarting wounds washt in his blood, /And banisht thence my Doubts and fears” (Bradstreet).
This one stanza exemplified the Puritan ethic and understanding of the Divine which emphasized that it is the individual’s responsibility to know God and to respond to him. The church was then not the ends to which salvation was found, nurtured, and sustained, but a means to which the congregants were able to grow and experience God alone, but with others.  This notion radically changed how men and women experienced the Divine, engaged with others within the faith, and practiced their beliefs within the social and political spheres outside of their denominational lines.
As the Puritan poet Edward Taylor would express, “My heart was made thy tinder box. / My ’ffections were thy tinder in’t: /Where fell thy sparks by drops. / Those holy sparks of heavenly fire that came / Did ever catch and often out would flame” (Taylor). The individual believer is the keeper of the Holy flame, not a building, not an institution. God is the only one who can light the fire of passion within the individual. The individual’s responsibility is to maintain the relationship.
This rugged individualism birthed by Reformation theology, nurtured by the Puritan movement, and then eventually expanded by the Pietist movement made its way across the waters of Europe to the land in which we live today, the United States of America. “Puritanism may be described empirically as that point of view, that code of values, carried to New England by the first settlers… the New Englanders established Puritanism – for better or worse – as one of the continuous factors in American life and thought.” (Miller, 1). The better we understand the Puritan’s point of view, by the examination of their poetry and comprehend this code of values by their theology, the better we understand the oddities, complexities, and virtues of a culture far removed, but influential, to our current ways of living.


Sources:
Bradstreet, Anne. “By Night When Others Soundly Slept by Anne Bradstreet.” Poetry      Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43698/by-night-      when-others-soundly-slept.

Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Zondervan Pub.  House, 2000.

Maas, Robin, and Gabriel O'Donnell. Spiritual Traditions for the Contemporary Church.  Abingdon, 1997.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell, 2000.

Miller, Perry, editor. The American Puritans, Their Prose and Poetry. Anchor Books: Doubleday            & Co, Inc, 1956.

Taylor, Edward. “The Ebb and Flow by Edward Taylor.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry
            Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/58102/the-ebb-and-flow.

Image Source:

“Puritan Downloads.” Puritan Downloads, Still Waters Revival Books, 2018,        goo.gl/images/mtC2cU.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Tara on Court Masques


The Seventeenth-Century Court Masque (Tara Olivero)



A masque is a tradition of court entertainment that became especially prominent during the reigns of the Tudors and Stuarts. It was performed either at court or at a royal or noble residence in order to either honor a particular noble or to glorify the court in general, and the audiences were elite and invitation-only. Action would take place in the middle of the floor of the residence’s main hall, with room for the stage, machinery for the set and special effects, space for the audience, and an elevated seat for the king directly across from the center of the stage. Masques were occasionally used to celebrate state occasions or marriages as well. Reliant on choreography by performers in masks, masques sometimes invited certain audience members to participate as well, especially near the end of the performance. This breaking of the fourth wall “blurs the line between performance and reality, making allegory and symbolism significantly more suggestive” as the audience members become directly involved in the exaltation of the court and monarchy (Hull et. al).

Under Elizabeth I, masques tended to focus on literary conventions of the time such as the inclusion of Petrarchan sonnets and classical references. Masques were also a staple of court entertainment under King James I, who didn’t participate in the masques but attended as an audience member. However, his wife, Anne, participated frequently and commissioned masques for political purposes, especially from Ben Jonson, the most popular court masque writer from 1605 to 1625. This was not only because of the quality of his masques but because of the new advancements he added to the art form.

Whereas masques previous to his time were generally either “wholly literary and dramatic or wholly choreographic and theatrical,” Ben Jonson advanced the masque tradition by combining these two options to create masques that were both spectacular and meaningful. The stage design of court masques played into this, especially once he collaborated with the neoclassical architect Inigo Jones in order to design the sets. The two men eventually disagreed on the importance of spectacle versus the poetry of the text and parted ways. When Charles I took the throne, Jonson’s masques dropped in popularity, most likely because “the Carolinian court seemed to prefer more elaborate masques than the Jacobean court,” although Jones remained popular as a masque designer (Hull et. al). Ben Jonson is also credited with developing the idea of the “anti-masque,” in which comic or grotesque characters are included in the drama as foils to the main characters. This added additional layers of meaning to the story and further elevated the literary art form.

At what is considered the height of the genre’s development, masques included a poetic prologue, one or more anti-masques, the main masque, revels (in which the audience participated in the dancing), and an epilogue, in addition to the costuming and sets. The actual script of the masque might only be a few pages, but the performance of the text plus choreography could take hours. They were also inordinately expensive because the performance of one masque would have to employ the writer, designer, music arranger, professional musicians, and dancing instructors. The lavish costumes were the bulk of the cost, however, as fabrics were disproportionately expensive at the time. The machinery of the sets were often elaborate as well, with revolving sets (called machina versatilis) or sliding sets (scena ductilis) that would move to seamlessly reveal entirely new scenery. Other interesting production elements could include a fly gallery (for aerial ballet and stunts), people who could descend from scenery above, masquers arriving in set pieces on wheels, and more. Lighting resources were also experimented with, with lighting coming from candles, torches, color projected through colored glass bottles, light created by burning camphor in water, light refracted by silver paint on the sets, and more. The budget for most masques in the Jacobean era was around £2,000, which would be the equivalent of roughly $800,000 today (assuming the conversion I used was even close to correct). Since masques were how the monarchy legitimized themselves and enforced their own importance, they had no problem spending the money.

Jonson is credited as the author of at least thirty court masques, most of which were only performed once. The Dyce Collection at the National Art Library (in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum) houses many of his original texts. This is helpful for scholars because the texts of the masques often included the date of the performance, the reason for the masque commission (whether it be for a holiday like Christmas, a marriage, or otherwise), and a list of which aristocrats performed which parts. The texts, which were printed and sold as quartos and also reprinted in folio collections of Jonson’s works, often included detailed notes about the performance elements of the masque that were not evident in the text alone. For example, one note in Hymenai states: “The Song ended, they daunced forth in Paires, and each Paire with a varied and noble grace; to a rare and full Musique of twelve Lutes” (Sillitoe).

Jonson’s first masque performed at Whitehall, The Masque of Blackness, is regarded as being especially important, as is the masque that it was printed with, The Masque of Beauty. Queen Anne performed the main role in The Masque of Blackness, which involved black face on the part of the performers and aristocratic women playing even male roles. More information about his specific masques can be found through the links below.

Sources:
Butler, Martin. “The Court Masque.” The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online. http://universitypublishingonline.org/cambridge/benjonson/k/essays/court_msq_essay/1/

Hull, Helen, with Meg Pearson and Erin Sadlack. “A Maske Project.” The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. https://mith.umd.edu/comus/final/cegenre.htm.

Sillitoe, Peter. “Ben Jonson and Masquing Culture at the Jacobean Court.” ShaLT Collection Enhancement Report No. 4, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012.  http://shalt.dmu.ac.uk/media/uploads/documents/reports/cer-4.pdf

Image credit:

Presentation link: